These gluten free cinnamon rolls are fluffy and soft, with a sweet filling and icing. Make this gluten free brunch recipe for the holidays! Vegan option included.
Gluten free cinnamon rolls recipe testing
This recipe was tested over 16 times – yes, I am completely serious!
To be absolutely sure that you have the very best cinnamon rolls, we tested this recipe:
- with yeast and without yeast – ALSO, using active dry yeast versus instant (rapid rise) yeast
- using an egg and no egg
- adding xanthan gum versus using gluten free flour that has xanthan in it.
To be honest, they all taste delish! The difference is in the texture of the final product. Obviously, no yeast means a heavier, denser roll, which isn’t what we were looking for.
SO, we narrowed things down and now the recipe is PERFECT!
For a softer, fluffier texture like you find in a traditional cinnamon roll, make the rapid rise yeast version, and use an egg.
Vegan cinnamon rolls (without egg) are equally delish.
Either way, be sure to serve them warm and hot out of the oven (with glaze) for best results. Another benefit is that you can make the batter ahead of time, very easily!
How to make cinnamon rolls
NOTE: If you’re making the vegan cinnamon rolls recipe, see the notes below. You will need to make an adjustment to the first step. The rest of the recipe is exactly the same.
- Make the dough.
For the best results, use an electric stand mixer to combine the ingredients. When you mix ingredients by hand, it can be really easy to overwork the dough, which causes the rolls to be hard and chalky tasting.
Knead the dough using a dough hook attachment, and only for only 2-3 minutes. The dough should be similar in consistency to pizza dough.
If the dough seems too dry (depending on the kind of flour you’re using), add a tiny bit of water.
- Shape and rise the dough.
With well-floured hands, shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl. The texture will be similar to sticky playdough.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place it in a warm place until the dough doubles in size. This usually takes 70 to 90 minutes, but it could be longer if your environment is cold or too dry.
TIP: If you live in a cold climate, preheat your oven to its lowest temperature for a couple of minutes, then turn it off. Then, let the dough rise inside the warm oven.
Filling, slicing, and baking
- Make the filling.
While the dough is rising, make your filling. Just combine the sugar, cinnamon, pinch of sea salt, and softened butter. You should have a thick, paste-like texture. Set it aside until your dough is ready to roll out.
- Roll out the dough, add filling, and slice.
You’ll want a rectangle that is approximately 10×12 inches, and about 1/3 to 1/2 inch in thickness. I like to place wax paper on top, then use a rolling pin to roll it out.
Brush the dough with some melted butter, then spread the filling out onto the dough, leaving 1/2-inch space as a border.
Starting on the longer side of the dough, gently roll the dough into a tight log.
Gently pinch the seam down to seal on both ends. Then cut the ends off so you can create even slices. I like to freeze the dough for 20 minutes so it’s easier to slice (noted below). Then slice the dough into 10 or 12 slices.
NOTE: If the dough seems too soft to slice, place it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to firm up.
- Rise the rolls again, then bake and serve!
The second rise takes about 30 minutes, but don’t expect them to double in size again. They may barely rise at all, but they WILL rise!
After that, put them into the oven to bake. That’s when I usually make the icing for the top
There are multiple options for icing. If you can tolerate dairy products, feel free to make regular cream cheese frosting, or powdered sugar icing.
If you need a vegan option, I recommend using my recipe for sweetened vegan condensed milk. Or, vegan cream cheese frosting… it’s SUPER delish!
Gluten free cinnamon rolls recipe tips
- Flour is your friend! The cinnamon roll dough is VERY sticky. Fortunately, there isn’t gluten in the flour, so feel free to use a LOT of it to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands, counter top, and clothing… haha.
If your batter becomes too sticky to work with (after you add the yeast and milk) then place it in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes. Or, flour your hands VERY VERY WELL so you can roll the dough into a ball before letting it rise.
- Stand mixer recommended. Using a stand mixer will give you the best results with the smallest amount of effort. Also, it keeps the flour blend more consistent. I tried mixing with hands/spoon, and while it works, the dough isn’t as fluffy.
NOTE: If you are adding xanthan gum to the batter (versus using a GF flour blend that already has it in the mix), it is VERY important not to over mix.
- Tip for easier rolling. If the dough is too dry to roll, lightly wetting your fingers with water will help. Or, use flour if the dough is too sticky.
- Buttermilk replacement- The non dairy milk and apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) create a buttermilk-type liquid, which also helps the dough rise. You may replace it with yogurt or real buttermilk if you can tolerate dairy.
Gluten free cinnamon rolls are the BEST way to celebrate any occasion, but I highly recommend them for a gluten free brunch recipe on Christmas morning or New Year’s day!Print
We had several people in our facebook group try out different versions (with and without yeast, no xanthan, etc.) They all turned out delicious, just different textures! Feel free to check out the group and ask questions! That’s what we’re here for.
Phew, that was a lot of talk about cinnamon rolls, but I think we got this!