These vegan cinnamon rolls are soft, chewy cinnamon buns made of simple homemade yeast dough and filled with cinnamon sugar, and topped with a sticky sugar glaze.
They will bring the most delicious sweet smell to your kitchen for a cozy vegan breakfast.
The traditional cinnamon roll recipe is not vegan as its dough contains butter and dairy milk. Most cinnamon roll recipes also use cream cheese glazing, and cream cheese is also made from cow milk.
Making vegan cinnamon rolls requires quite a lot of changes to the classic recipes, but I’ve developed a fool-proof recipe that makes it a breeze.
You can make easy vegan cinnamon rolls at home. It requires some patience and some organization to create delicious bakery-style goodness at home. But, I will show you how to organize yourself to make these vegan cinnamon rolls.
Trust me, it’s so rewarding to make your own breakfast cinnamon buns, and I guarantee the whole family will love this recipe.
The first step is to measure all your ingredients into small bowls. Then, place them in different spots so you don’t get confused.
Group your ingredients for:
- The dough
- The brown sugar
- The cinnamon filling
- The glazing
First, make the cinnamon roll dough. This requires a few ingredients, including:
- Soy Milk – I insist on soy milk because plant-based milk with less than 2% fat gives a dry texture to cinnamon rolls. So, for this special vegan baking recipe, I won’t recommend almond milk, for example. Oat milk or coconut milk can also work.
- Vegan Cream – This brings fat to replace the eggs that are in the classic recipe.
- Vegan Butter – I am using Earth Balance or Naturli in this recipe. Please don’t use coconut oil, or the dough won’t be soft.
- Active Dried Yeast – Yeast is a great vegan source of minerals and brings a light taste to the rolls.
- Cane Sugar – other options are unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar. But watch out! This last option darkens the dough instead of the typical golden brown shade.
- Flour – there are a few options. The easiest is to use all-purpose flour, unbleached if preferred. Other options are white spelt flour or a combination of whole wheat flour and white flour. See my recipe card below for the exact amount for each of these. I don’t recommend using gluten-free flours for this recipe because the rolls wouldn’t rise.
- Optional – You can add half a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the batter for even more flavors.
How To Make Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
- To make the dough, start by warming the soy milk in a saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave until it reaches 98°F (37°C) – think bath temperature.
- Then, stir in melted butter, sugar, and yeast into the mixture.
- Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and sift the 3 cups of flour and salt.
- Finally, knead with the dough hook attachment for 6 minutes until soft and elastic. It shouldn’t be sticky on the sides of the bowl. If it is, add more flour, 1-2 tablespoons at a time.
Rising The Dough
- When the dough is soft and elastic, lightly oil your hands to transfer the dough into a large mixing bowl oiled with melted coconut oil. Note that oiling the bowl is important, or the dough will stick to it.
- Then, cover the bowl with parchment paper or plastic wrap and top it up with a clean, warm towel. The dough will double in size over one hour, so the piece of paper prevents the dough from sticking to the towel. Believe me, you don’t want this to happen. It’s a nightmare to clean up! Let the dough rise in a room that is at least 73°F (23°C) or in a preheated oven at 100°F (40°C).
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- Meanwhile, whisk together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside for later.
- Also, keep the vegan butter used in the filling at room temperature, so it’s soft when needed.
Rolling The Dough
- Now that the dough has doubled in size place the dough on a floured surface.
- Roll it into a large 12.5-inch x 10.5-inch rectangle shape to make 12 cinnamon rolls.
- Now, rub the soft vegan butter all over the rectangle except the edges – leave 1/4 inch uncovered.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar onto the vegan butter to cover the surface evenly. Then, use your hands to rub the cinnamon sugar on the butter. Finally, start rolling the dough tightly from its longest side (12.5-inch side) until it forms a cylinder.
Cutting Into Rolls
- When you reach the top, brush some water on the unbuttered edge. This helps to seal the roll tightly.
- Now, cut the cylinder into 12 cinnamon rolls of about 1 inch each.
- Place the vegan cinnamon rolls into a greased 9-inch square baking dish. You can either use a sharp sushi knife, a regular knife, or even unflavored dental floss. I recommend covering the dish with parchment paper for this vegan cinnamon rolls recipe. This prevents the rolls from sticking to the pan. Cover the baking dish with the piece of parchment paper used before and a clean, warm towel. Rise the rolls a second time for 30 minutes. This second rise is optional, but it makes the rolls very soft and fluffy.
- Cool down 30 minutes in the pan before spreading the vegan cream cheese frosting on top.
Bake the cinnamon rolls in a preheated oven at 350°F (180°C) for 20 to 30 minutes. Note that the longer you bake them, the drier and less soft they will be.
I actually recommend underbaking cinnamon rolls to increase their soft, pillowy texture. 20 minutes of baking time is ideal.
Vegan Cream cheese
To glaze your dairy-free cinnamon rolls, combine powdered sugar with softened vegan butter, dairy-free milk, and maple extract or vanilla extract for flavor. Stir until glossy, and thick then spread generously all over the lukewarm buns.
Expert Tips To Make Perfect Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
With these tips, I’m certain you will have no problem making the best vegan cinnamon rolls.
- Use Soy Milk: The classic cinnamon roll recipe uses eggs that provide fat and protein. To match the texture in this vegan version, you have to use soy milk (bringing protein) and vegan cream (bringing fat).
- Correct Temperature: Yeast must be activated at about 105°F (40°C). The best way to achieve that is to heat the soy milk on its own and add room-temperature ingredients. If your vegan butter is cold, it might take the yeast to its optimal temperature. Too hot (above 110°F) and it would kill it.
- Patience is Key: You need to knead for 6 minutes in the stand mixer and let the dough rise for 90 minutes in the bowl and another 30 minutes in the pan. It’s by no means a quick recipe!
- Shape in Rectangle: Roll your dough in a perfect rectangle. This will make the dough much more uniform allowing the rolls to cook at the same rate.
- Roll Tight: Roll the dough quite tight to prevent the filling from falling out and to keep the rolls together.
- Measure The Rolls: Use a measuring tape to make rolls of the same thickness. This is again essential for a uniform baking of the rolls. If one of them was thicker, it wouldn’t be cooked inside.
- Choose a Glass Pan: While the recipe works in tin pans as well, I recommend using a glass pan. This better traps moisture, keeping the rolls moist.
You can store the rolls at room temperature for 3 days if your house is at 66°F (19°C).
Otherwise, place them in the fridge in a sealed cake box. They will be delicious for up to 5 days.
Freezing Cinnamon Rolls
You can also freeze these vegan rolls in a sealed container.
Make sure they don’t touch each other, so it is easier to thaw them individually.
Thaw the rolls one day before on a plate at room temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can sprinkle up to 1/2 cup of dried sultana raisins or dark vegan chocolate chips all over the dough rectangle, on top of the cinnamon sugar.
Make sure you gently press them into the dough, or they will run away from the roll when rolling.
You can use this recipe to make healthier cinnamon rolls. Follow the swaps below:
– Flour – use 2 cups of white flour with 1 cup of whole wheat flour or 2 cups of white spelt flour with 1 cup of whole spelt flour.
– Sugar – use unrefined cane sugar or low GI sugar or coconut sugar.
– Powdered sugar – use powdered xylitol or erythritol to cut the sugar.
No, Cinnabon cinnamon rolls are not vegan since they contain milk and egg products.
No, Pillsbury cinnamon rolls are not vegan since they contain whey and other dairy products.
Annie’s Organic Cinnamon Rolls are accidentally vegan because they don’t include any egg, dairy, or other animal products (source).
No, the classic recipe uses dairy milk, eggs, butter, and cream cheese for the frosting, they are therefore not vegan-friendly at all.
A few brands offer accidentally-vegan cinnamon rolls, including Auntie Annie, Immaculate Baking Company, or Trader Joe’s.
Vegan Cinnamon Rolls are not hugely healthier than their non-vegan counterparts as they also contain refined sugar and fat.
But my recipe below has options to make your vegan cinnamon rolls healthier!
More Vegan Breakfast Recipes
I love freshly baked goods as a vegan breakfast. It brings the best smell to the house, and it’s so rewarding to bake bread.
Below I listed my favorite vegan bread recipes for breakfast:
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Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
For The Dough
For the Cinnamon Filling
- Add soy milk, vegan cream, into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds until lukewarm. Otherwise, place in a small saucepan and warm up to 110℉/40°C – think bath temperature.
- Remove from heat, transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and add sugar, melted vegan butter, and active dried yeast. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.
- Add salt and sift in the flour into the bowl.
- Using the dough hook of the stand mixer, knead the dough on medium speed for 6 minutes. The dough will form a soft, sticky dough that doesn't stick to the bottom or to the borders of the bowl. If it does, sprinkle extra flour, 2 tablespoons at a time.
- Slightly oil your hands and remove the dough from the stand mixer. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap, and then top with a clean, warm towel and let the dough rise for 1 hour 30 minutes, in a lukewarm room. You can also place the bowl in an oven preheated at 40°C/100°F. This accelerates the process. Wait until dough double in size.
- Meanwhile, prepare the cinnamon filling. In a small mixing bowl, stir cinnamon and soft brown sugar. Set aside.
- When the dough has doubled in size, transfer onto a floured kitchen surface, shape into a rectangle, and start rolling into a 14 inches x 9 inches rectangle (35 cm x 23 cm).
Filling and rolling
- Spread the soft vegan butter all over the surface, leaving 1/4 inch on the border uncovered.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over the butter, use your fingers to rub it into the butter, and stick well.
- Start rolling the dough from its shortest side (9 inches). Roll tightly and when you reach the end, brush a bit of water on the top part of the dough so it seals well. You can also pinch the border into the roll to seal the roll perfectly.
- Using a serrated knife, or dental floss, cut the cylinder into 9 cinnamon rolls of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thickness. The ones on the borders will contain less cinnamon sugar, and that's normal.
- Place the cinnamon rolls in a 9-inch square pan covered with parchment paper.
- Cover the pan with the warm, clean towel you used before to let the roll raise a second time for 30 minutes.
- Bake in preheated oven 350°F/180°C for 20-30 minutes or until it starts to brown on the top and edges. Don't overbake them, or they won't be as soft and chewy in the center.
- Cool in the pan for 30 minutes before adding the vegan cream cheese glaze.
Vegan Cream Cheese
- To glaze, combine the powdered sweetener, with softened vegan butter, dairy-free milk, and maple extract. If too dry add more milk, if too thin add more powder sugar. It should be glossy and easy to spread on the buns.
- Spread the vegan cinnamon rolls cream cheese all over the lukewarm buns
- Store the cinnamon rolls in the fridge in a sealed box for up to 5 days or freeze upto a1 month, and thaw the day before at room temperature.