Learn how to make homemade vegan friendly cinnamon rolls! Simple ingredients, easy-to-follow directions and the perfect recipe.
If you haven’t made cinnamon rolls yet, you must give them a try. I’ve made cinnamon rolls so many times now and they get easier every time! If you jump to the recipe card below, the steps look long but I am just being thorough.
Vegan Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Reading through this entire post will give you a lot of information so you can feel confident if this is your first time making homemade cinnamon rolls.
Baking with yeast really isn’t as scary as it seems and making cinnamon rolls is well worth the (little) effort!
Less than 10 Ingredients!
- cashew milk – or dairy-free milk of your choice. Use soy milk to keep nut-free. Use full-fat coconut milk for richer rolls.
- rapid rise yeast – I prefer using active or quick yeast. One packet is equal to 2 1/4 tsp.
- brown sugar or coconut sugar – either works here but brown sugar will give you a more traditional cinnamon roll.
- plant based butter – vegan butter is best for these rolls to give them rich flavor.
- flour – bread flour will give you the fluffiest rolls, but unbleached all-purpose flour works too. While you can use whole wheat pastry flour, the rolls will be more dense.
- cinnamon – can’t do cinnamon rolls without cinnamon! I like to add an extra teaspoon compared to the traditional recipe.
- plant based cream cheese – Use a brand like Daiya. And softened is important here! So let it sit at room temperature as you’re preparing and making the cinnamon rolls. You can also use a simple glaze (more on that below.)
- vanilla extract – for a hint of flavor in the frosting
- powdered sugar – to use for frosting the rolls.
Making the Dough
Start with proofing the yeast – you do this by combining sugar, yeast and warm milk and let it sit for about 10 minutes, until the top is foamy.
If the mixture did not get foamy, your yeast is not active. So make sure you’re not pulling old yeast packets out from months and months ago – check the dates.
Once the top is foamy (see picture below) you’ll then add the melted and cooled butter.
then stir in the flour (and touch of salt) about 1/2 cup at a time. The dough will start to come together around the 3 cup mark. You’ll know it’s time for the dough hook when the dough looks elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Next I change to the dough hook attachment and knead the dough for about 5 minutes. You’ll need to add more flour here as well when dough begins to ball up but likely stick to the bottom. I add about 2 tablespoons at a time, take the dough off the hook to reshape and then place back in the bowl to continue kneading.
Once you’ve kneaded the dough for 5 minutes, it needs to rise in a draft-free environment.
TIP: Set the oven to 170ºF, turn off once it reaches temperature and allow the dough to rise in a lightly greased large bowl until it doubles in size – about 45 minutes.
Rolling Out the Dough
Be gentle as you roll the dough out into a large rectangle, on a floured surface, about 15 inches long by 9 inches wide.
Then spread on the softened butter, and add the sugar and cinnamon. Gently pat down the sugar into the butter so it doesn’t fall out when you’re rolling.
Then using the the heels of your hands, making sure your surface is still lightly floured, roll up the rectangle into a long roll to slice the cinnamon rolls.
Easiest Way to Slice Cinnamon Rolls
The floss method!
Trust me, it’s so easy and you won’t run the risk of smushing your dough roll as you try to cut into it.
The way you use floss is to shimmy the floss under the log, pull the floss together towards each other in the center and pull down until you’ve cut the roll.
Tips for Baking
Make sure you leave enough room in your baking dish for the rolls to rise again. I spread mine out just a little bit so as you wait for the second rise, they don’t overcrowd each other.
Bake the cinnamon rolls until the tops are lightly golden and when you push them they kind of spring back a little bit. Check the rolls half way through baking and if the tops are browning too quickly, cover the cinnamon rolls with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.
Vegan Cinnamon Roll Icing
You can use plant based vegan cream cheese for a classic cream cheese frosting, or a simple powdered sugar glaze for vegan cinnamon roll icing.
If you don’t typically purchase vegan cream cheese, feel free to make the simple powdered sugar glaze. Just stir together 1 cup powdered sugar with the vanilla extract and milk, then pour over freshly baked rolls.
How to Make Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
If you’re looking to have fresh cinnamon rolls in the morning but don’t want to be up super early, here’s what you do:
- Prep the recipe up until you’ve sliced the dough, and place rolls in a baking pan.
- Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
- Bring the pan out of the fridge about 45 minutes before pre-heating the oven.
- Place the rolls in the preheated oven and bake for about 25-35 minutes.
Butter vs. coconut oil. I used vegan butter in this cinnamon roll recipe because it will give these homemade rolls the best flavor.
Flour. Bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour will give you the fluffiest, lightest rolls. I didn’t test this with any gluten-free flours.
Let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a comment and rating below! It helps others learn more about the recipe too! Xx Ashley
- 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (such as cashew, oat milk, soy, etc.)
- 1 packet instant yeast (rapid rise yeast, equal to 2 1/4 tsp)
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 5 Tbsp plant based vegan butter, melted & cooled
- 3 1/2 – 4 cups bread flour, or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup softened plant-based vegan butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 5 ounces plant based cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup, heat milk for about 20-30 seconds. Allow temperature of mixture to reach 110ºF (or lukewarm). If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast. Add yeast and sugar into large mixing bowl of stand mixer and slowly add milk. Stir until combined and allow to sit for 10 minutes, until top is foamy. If your mixture doesn’t get foamy, the yeast did not activate and you’ll need a fresh yeast packet to start over.
- Once the milk and yeast mixture is foamy, add melted butter mixing on low speed until combined. Add 1 cup flour and salt and start to mix on low speed. Then begin adding more flour, about 1/2 cup at a time. You will likely need about 3 1/2 cups. Dough should be elastic and start to pull away from edge of bowl when it is ready. At this time, change the attachment to the dough hook, and allow the hook to knead the dough on low speed for about 5 minutes. Dough should remain soft but not overly sticky – this is typically where I add another 1/4 cup of flour with the mixer running, then stop the mixer once the flour has mixed in slightly, reposition the dough and start the mixer again to continue kneading the dough.
- Lightly oil large bowl and shape dough into ball, place dough in bowl and cover with towel and let rise in warm environment until dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes. TIP: set oven to warm or preheated to 200ºF then turn off. Place bowl in the warmed oven and allow to rise.
- Grease a 9×13″ baking dish with butter or coconut oil, set aside. Once the dough has about doubled in size, lightly cover rolling pin and flat surface with flour. Roll out dough into a 15×9 inch rectangle. Be patient, and roll gently. Don’t use too much flour or your dough will be stiff. Spread on softened butter, sprinkle sugar and cinnamon; gently pat to let sugar absorb into butter slightly. Using the heels of your hands and thumbs, gently roll dough into a long roll, placing seam side down. Use floss method to slice rolls (this video helps for a visual) or a serrated knife to gently cut into about 1 1/2″ width. Discard the ends. You should get about 12 rolls for a 9×13 pan. Place rolls in greased pan, leaving room to rise, and put pan in draft-free environment. You can use the warm oven tip above. See notes below for overnight adaptation.
- Once the rolls have risen again slightly (about 15 minutes), preheat oven to 350ºF (take rolls out and wait for oven to get up to 350ºF). Bake cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. Then, if necessary, cover top of rolls with foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Covering the rolls for the last 5-10 minutes will prevent them from getting too brown on the top.
- Make the frosting: In medium bowl using electric hand mixer (or stand mixer with paddle attachment) beat softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract, powdered sugar and milk; mix on low speed until combined. Spread on slightly cooled cinnamon rolls. Best served warm – enjoy!
Overnight method: Prepare cinnamon rolls through step 4. Instead of letting the rolls rise again, you’ll cover them and place them in the fridge overnight. Allow rolls to come to room temperature for 45 minutes before baking in a preheated oven at 350ºF.
Simple cinnamon roll icing recipe: use 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of orange juice or lemon juice for a citrus glaze, or use milk of choice.