Learn how to make ever-so-satisfying vegan cinnamon rolls using this simple recipe. These rolls are pillowy soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, filled with the most fragrant spiced sugar, and covered with shiny, decadent glaze.
So next time you crave the warm aroma of freshly baked cinnamon rolls, give this dairy-free, fool-proof recipe a go.
Table of Contents
Why you’ll love this recipe
This recipe was adapted from my popular gluten free cinnamon rolls. While that one uses eggs, I wanted to make a recipe suitable for those who don’t eat eggs!
- It has the perfect texture. Yeast makes the dough light and airy, and the vegan butter makes it soft and rich. Once baked and topped with a vegan cream cheese glaze, the crispy swirls shine beautifully.
- It has the perfect taste. These cinnamon rolls are mildly sweet yet not overwhelming. But trust me; the mascarpone frosting elevates the taste manifolds.
- You can make ahead. One of my favorite things is making overnight cinnamon rolls. I halt the recipe before the second rise by shifting it to the fridge. I allow the rolls to return to room temperature and bake them fresh the next day.
- It’s plant based. You or your guests won’t be able to tell this apart from a dairy-based cinnamon roll.
The recipe uses common dairy-free ingredients used in baking. Here’s what you’ll need:
Cinnamon roll dough.
- Vegan butter. To enrich the dough. Use good quality organic vegan butter for this recipe.
- Instant yeast. I have used instant yeast as a leavening agent because it’s fast acting. You could also use active dry yeast instead. Before mixing with other ingredients, always check the expiry date and activate it in sweet, warm milk/water. Also, check the expiry date on the yeast packet before using it for the best results.
- Cane sugar. Yeast uses sugars to grow and multiply while mildly sweetening the dough. White or raw sugar works.
- Plant-based milk. I have used almond milk for this recipe, but you may use any non-dairy milk.
- All purpose flour. To make the dough. Be sure to sift the flour to ensure there are no clumps throughout.
For the filling.
- Vegan butter. To bind the filling and achieve the perfect golden color during baking.
- Cane sugar. I have used organic cane sugar for this filling because it is slightly less processed than regular sugar. You can use brown or white regular sugar for this step.
- Cinnamon. The star of the show. You can use more or less cinnamon to your liking.
For the frosting.
- Vegan cream cheese or mascarpone. I have used vegan mascarpone for the frosting, but if you cannot access it, feel free to use plant-based cream cheese instead.
- Vegan butter. To make the buttercream frosting.
- Sugar. Use vegan powdered sugar for this step. It makes the frosting smooth and shiny.
How to make the best vegan cinnamon rolls
Step 1- Prep the yeast
Add room-temperature butter to almond milk in a large microwave-safe bowl and heat it in a microwave for 40 seconds. Stir in sugar, and once the mixture cools to 100-110°F, add instant yeast and let it bloom for 10 minutes.
Step 2- Make the dough
After you see yeast bubbles, stir in the flour slowly, a half cup at a time. Knead it into a rough dough, sprinkling a little flour in between if it gets too sticky. Then transfer it into a clean bowl greased with a neutral oil like avocado.
Step 3- Rest the dough
Now, cover it with a clean cloth and let the dough prove at a warm place for about two hours or until it doubles in size.
Step 4- Roll dough into a sheet
Punch down the dough and knead again to form a smooth ball. Roll it out into a rectangle to a ¼ inch thickness using a rolling pin. Brush the dough with softened butter and evenly spread cinnamon powder and cane sugar. Press it down gently to ensure the filling sticks to the dough.
Step 5- Shape into rolls
Roll the dough into a firm log starting at the longer side of the rectangle close to you. Cut it into six equal wheels using a sharp knife or a floss.
Place the rolls into a lightly 9-inch baking tray lined with a lightly greased baking sheet and let them rise for 30 more minutes. Then, brush them over with softened butter.
Step 6- Bake cinnamon rolls
Preheat the oven to 375°F and transfer the tray to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
Step 7- Make the frosting
Combine vegan butter, mascarpone, and sugar in a large bowl and beat it with a handheld electric mixer until silky smooth. Once the rolls are baked, transfer them onto the wire rack to cool down. Then, slather the frosting generously and enjoy.
Tips to make the best recipe
We’ve been making this vegan cinnamon roll recipe for years and have perfected it to a T. If you follow these easy tips, you’ll make the most perfect rolls every single time.
- Check the water temperature before adding yeast. Use a thermometer to ensure the milk temperature is between 100-110°F before stirring in yeast. If the milk temperature is too high, the yeast will die, and you’ll have to start all over.
- Roll out a thin dough. Remember to flour the surface and the rolling pin before rolling out your dough. Also, try to make it as thin as possible to get more cinnamon sugar per bite.
- Cut into shorter rolls. You can slice the roll as tall or short as you like. If you make shorter rolls, you’ll need two trays to bake.
- Slice the dough before rolling. You’ll thank me for this nifty trick to prevent the oozing of the filling. After layering the filling on the rectangular dough, make long stripes parallel to the shorter side. Roll individual cinnamon rolls and bake.
- Don’t burn the cinnamon rolls. You want the tops to be just golden and not brown. So, keep a close eye after 20-22 minutes.
Flavor and recipe variations
The beauty of these rolls is that they are so easy to customize! Here are some ideas to try:
- Finish off with flaky salt. Salt cuts through the sweet flavors of the roll and adds complexity to desserts. Once frosted, sprinkle a few flakes if you like the sweet-salty taste.
- Make a berry frosting. Make raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries coulis to frost your cinnamon rolls.
- Add banana to the filling. Bananas and cinnamon are a match made in heaven. Mash a banana and layer it with cinnamon sugar to make this filling variation.
- Make a nutty topping. Chop up toasted pecans or almonds and fold them in salted caramel sauce. Drizzle it all over the cinnamon rolls for a nutty twist.
- Make a raisin filling. Use rum-soaked or candied raisins with cinnamon spice as the filling. It tastes utterly decadent and festive.
I prefer to enjoy cinnamon rolls fresh, but you can store them in a few ways.
To store. Cinnamon rolls keep well at room temperature for 2-3 days when stored in an air-tight container.
To freeze. One of the best things about cinnamon rolls is that you can freeze the leftover rolls in a freeze-safe container for a few months.
To reheat. If frozen, you can reheat the rolls in the microwave for 30 seconds before serving.
Recommended tools to make this recipe
- Baking dish. A larger-than-expected baking dish will allow enough room for the dough to rise nicely.
- Stand mixer. Don’t want to use a mixing bowl and spoon? A stand mixer is a cheat way!
- Mixing bowls. Large and sturdy to reduce the mess.
More tasty vegan recipes to try
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can stop at step six. Move the tray into the refrigerator for an overnight break. Transfer it to the kitchen counter the next day and let it come to room temperature. Once ready, bake it in a preheated oven, and follow the rest of the recipe.
I haven’t tried it with maple or agave syrup, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Don’t use sugar-free alternatives for feeding the yeast. Stick to brown or regular sugar or plant-based syrups.
Absolutely. If you have a stand mixer or an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment, you can use it for kneading the dough.
You can freeze the cinnamon rolls before the second rise. After layering the rolls in the baking tray, cover them with a cling film and store them in the freezer for 2-3 months. When you want to bake, thaw the rolls in the refrigerator and allow them to undergo second proofing at room temperature for an hour. Once they are well risen, bake them as indicated above.
Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter divided
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 6 ounces vegan cream cheese or mascarpone
- 1/3 cup vegan butter
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- Make the dough; add butter and almond milk to a large bowl. Heat in a microwave for 40 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir in sugar. Once the butter is melted and the milk is cooled to 110F, stir in yeast. Set the mixture aside for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, fold in flour gradually adding ½ cup at a time.
- Knead the dough until it comes together. Transfer the dough into a clean bowl, greased with some avocado or desired type of oil. Cover the dough with a clean cloth and let it rise for 2 hours at a warm spot.
- Once doubled in size, punch down the dough and knead it until smooth.
- Roll out the dough to a ¼-inch thick rectangle.
- Brush three tablespoons of the vegan butter over the dough, and sprinkle it with cane sugar and cinnamon. Firmly roll the dough to a log shape.
- Cut the dough into 6 large parts or 12 smaller ones and arrange it into a 9-inch baking dish. let the dough stand for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, melt that one reserved tablespoon of the butter and use it to brush the rolls.
- Preheat oven to 190C/375F. Once hot, bake the rolls for 30 minutes.
- Make the frosting; in a bowl, add all frosting ingredients. Beat the frosting with a hand mixer until smooth.
- Once the rolls are baked, cool them completely on a wire rack before placing the frosting on top.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.