I recently put a poll out on Instagram asking if people usually had coffee cake or cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast. I personally grew up with coffee cake every Christmas morning, but most of you chose cinnamon buns so I knew I needed to get perfecting the BEST Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls ASAP. I’ve tested versions of this recipe so many times, I’m pretty sure I’m turning into a cinnamon roll. But all the testing was worth it.
Gluten free cinnamon buns are something that has seemed super daunting to me over the years. I’ve always wanted to play around with a recipe, but whenever I tried other vegan gluten free cinnamon rolls recipes, they were always disappointing and I just didn’t know where to start. But then I started baking a bit with cassava flour. It has a texture and powderiness similar to white flour (in my opinion at least). I thought I would try using it in a cinnamon bun recipe, after being inspired by Feasting on Fruit and doing further research on how to make the best gluten free cinnamon roll.
Unfortunately, I would not suggest using any other flours in this recipe. I truly believe you will be left with a super dense roll if you don’t use cassava flour. It’s truly worth the splurge in my mind. And when you’ve been eating gluten free baking for as long as I have you know when you’ve stumbled upon a good thing. You can get cassava flour at most natural health food stores. I’ve also lucked out at The Real Canadian Superstore in the natural aisle. It’s the best price I’ve seen for it (as it is a pricier flour).
Can you make these vegan gluten free cinnamon rolls ahead of time?
One of the reasons these are the BEST gluten free cinnamon rolls is because they can be made ahead of time. You can make these rolls the night before. This involves making the dough, rolling out the dough, brushing the butter on the dough, sprinkling on the cinnamon sugar, rolling the dough into an 11×16 rectangle and then cutting it into rolls. You then add the 9 rolls to an 8×8 pan (that is lined and brushed with butter) and cover that pan with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge overnight or for at least 6 hours.
The next morning, all you have to do is let the rolls sit out on the counter for 30 minutes and then bake them for 25. Making hot dairy free cinnamon rolls in the morning never looked so easy!!!
how to make the best gluten free cinnamon rolls
When tackling this recipe, I would try to avoid making any substitutions. What is recorded is what has been tested. It’s key to follow the instructions. I dive into more details in the directions of the recipe but things to start with are proofing your yeast (get your water at the right temperature!), melting the butter and warming the milk up. Once those have been handled, combine all the dry ingredients. Once everything is combined, a beautiful dough will be created that isn’t dry at all. It will be somewhat moist, but easy to deal with.
That lovely dough will be rolled into a rectangle, brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Are you drooling yet? You should be? Then it’s rolled into a magical spiral shape and gently cut into 9 rolls. You gotta let these babies rise in a warm spot, covered for 1 hour or overnight in the fridge. Once they are risen, they are baked for 25 minutes and then coated with a mouthwatering vegan cream cheese frosting. These babies are best when fresh out of the oven- but aren’t all baked goods?!
here are a few reasons why these are the best gluten free cinnamon rolls, so listen up!
- I love that you can make these the night before. Then the next morning they just need to bake for 25 minutes in order to have warm and soft dairy free cinnamon rolls to enjoy. If I’m being honest, I think these rolls turn out slightly better when they are made and baked the same day. But that being said, we are human and convenience is so important. So making these vegan gluten free cinnamon rolls the night before is probably just better for some people. They still turn out with a soft inside and will have you digging in for a second one.
- The vegan cream cheese frosting is NEXT LEVEL. I used Earth Island dairy free cream cheese, as it doesn’t have an overly intense flavour. This frosting literally tastes like the icing from dunkaroos if you happen to store any extras in the fridge. It will thicken a little, and then it’s really hard not to dip your finger in every time you open the fridge… I’m speaking from experience. But this vegan cream cheese frosting is AMAZING on these vegan gluten free cinnamon rolls and is HIGHLY recommended when you make these rolls.
- These rolls are perfect for a vegan Christmas breakfast. They are moist, soft and gooey. A little NOTE to keep in mind. These gluten free cinnamon buns will come out of the oven looking dry on the outside, but that is gluten free baking. The outside layer will look a little crackly but know that they ARE NOT dry at all. Super moist in the middle, and the perfect doughy texture. The Picky Husband was so impressed with the texture, these are surely going to become a holiday staple in our home.
Looking for other additions to your Vegan Christmas Breakfast? Try these:
I’m BEYOND proud of these gluten free cinnamon buns. They aren’t dense or crumbly. They are the opposite. Beautifully soft, with a texture that doesn’t seem gluten free AT ALL. These rolls are the perfect holiday treat, loaded with cinnamon, sugar, and a killer vegan cream cheese frosting. I’ve tested and tried TOO MANY vegan gluten free cinnamon rolls so I feel confident in saying these are the BEST ones that I have ever had.
The Best Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup water (water should be at 110ºF)
- 2 tsp yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup plant based milk (warmed to 90-110ºF)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup vegan butter (melted, cooled)
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 cups cassava flour
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
- 3 tsp psyillium husks
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- additional brown rice flour for rolling
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- 1/4 cup vegan butter (melted, cooled)
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz vegan cream cheese (I used the Earth Island brand- 113g)
- 2 tbsp vegan butter (room temperature)
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Measure 1 cup of water that is around 110ºF in temperature. Add 1 tsp of sugar and 2 tsp of yeast to the water. Don't stir. Just let it sit for 10 minutes. It should be foamy at the end of 10 minutes, if it isn't, your yeast may have expired.
- Melt 1/4 cup of vegan butter, set it aside to cool.
- Heat 1 cup of plant based milk up to around 110ºF. Once warmed, add 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, let sit for 5-10 minutes to slightly curdle.
- Add the cassava flour, brown rice flour, arrowroot powder, psyllium husks, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Once the yeast mixture is ready and the butter has somewhat cooled, add the butter and 3 tbsp of sugar to a stand-up mixer. You can use a hand mixer for this part if you don't have a stand-up mixer. Mix for 20 seconds or so.
- Then add the milk + apple cider mixture and the yeast mixture to the butter. Give it a quick mix and then add in the dry ingredients. SLOWLY mix the dry into the wet ingredients using the paddle attachment of the mixer. If you don't have a stand-up mixer you can use a wooden spoon followed by your hands. The dough should incorporate nicely, it shouldn't be dry or crumbly at all, once it's all combined. If it is too wet, add another 1/4 cup of cassava flour.
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- Prepare the cinnamon sugar filling. Melt 1/4 cup of vegan butter, set it aside to cool.
- Combine the coconut sugar and the cinnamon in a bowl and mix together. Set aside.
- Place a large piece of parchment paper on the counter and dust it with brown rice flour. Transfer the dough to the parchment paper.
- Dust a rolling pin with more brown rice flour to avoid any sticking (you will need to do this multiple times while rolling). Roll the dough into a 11×16 rectangle.
- Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving behind roughly 1/2 tablespoon to brush on top of the cinnamon rolls (later on- right before baking). Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling on top- reserve a few tablespoons to sprinkle on top, again before the baking process.
- Line an 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper, lightly butter the sides and sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar reserve in it.
- To roll the dough: Start with the shorter edge, and tightly roll the dough into a spiral shape. Use the parchment paper the dough sits on as a guide. On the shorter edge of the rolled out dough, take that same edge of parchment paper and guide it over the dough, it will naturally start to push the dough to roll. Alternatively, you can just use your fingers to roll the dough.
- Use a ruler or measuring tape to divide your log into 9 equal pieces (roughly 1.5 inches wide). Cut the log using a sharp serrated knife. Gently use a back and forth motion with not a ton of downward pressure. Continue to do the same for all pieces. Place the pieces, cut side up into your baking pan.
- Two options here for rising: 1) If letting them rise overnight, cover the top with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for the night. To bake them in the morning, take the plastic wrap off and let them sit on the counter for 30-45 minutes before baking. 2) If baking them same day, place a clean towel over the rolls and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. I usually let mine rise in the oven with the oven light on.
- After the rising time (whether it was overnight or just for 1 hour) preheat the oven to 350ºF. Brush the tops and sides of the rolls with the reserved melted butter and sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar filling on top. and then bake uncovered for 23-25 minutes.
- While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. Mix the vegan cream cheese and butter together using a hand mixer or a stand-up mixer, once smooth add the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Mix until silky smooth!
- When the rolls are done they will be a little soft on top and the outside layer will look a little crisp and crackly (but they won't be dry!). Let the rolls cool for a few minutes when they come out of the oven and then cover them with the icing. Cinnamon rolls are best fresh but if you don't eat them all, store them in a sealed container on the counter and reheat in the microwave for 45 seconds before enjoying. They will get drier the longer they store on the countertop.