The fluffiest, softest, most decadent vegan cinnamon rolls you’ll ever taste. With only 8 ingredients, this recipe couldn’t be simpler – and it’s entirely plant based! Vegan comfort food at its best.
Let’s make vegan cinnamon rolls. How difficult can it be? (Spoiler alert: not at all.)
Sure, there’s eggs and butter and milk in the “usual” cinnamon roll dough, and a whole lot of cream cheese in the frosting… but are these really crucial to capture the essence of a good cinnamon roll?
You see, this is how I develop vegan (or gluten-free or whatever-free) recipes. I search for the very best recipes online, and then strip them down to their bare bones. I look at every ingredient and decide its role and importance.
There’s no point starting from scratch. Why would I try to completely re-invent cinnamon rolls, when other people have spent years and decades perfecting the recipe? My aim is to give you a VEGAN cinnamon roll recipe that tastes just as good as the “original”. To do that, I first need to find the best original.
The best original is usually an average of many very good recipes. (I’m a scientist at heart, so taking averages and comparing variables and pondering trends is kinda my thing.)
And then, the fun begins.
To answer my own question: no, eggs and butter and milk aren’t 100% necessary for delicious cinnamon rolls. Their main purpose is to provide the liquid element in the dough, as well as give the cinnamon rolls their richness.
For this vegan cinnamon rolls recipe, we’ll achieve the same results with almond milk (as the main liquid element) and coconut cream (to make the rolls extra soft and decadent and almost buttery).
The filling usually requires butter to stick the sugar and cinnamon to the dough… but coconut cream will do the job just as well.
As for the frosting… we mainly need to replace the cream cheese (although some recipes also use butter and cream). Again, easy. We’ll go with the… you guessed it: coconut cream! Why complicate when it can be oh-so simple?
The end result, though? Spectacular.
There’s a point to this. To my giving you a glimpse into my thought process as I develop recipes. It’s a strange mix of scientific approach and intuition developed through years and years of throwing things together and seeing what works. But it does work, and it can work for anyone – regardless of experience level.
The point is to get you into the kitchen and start experimenting. It’s not difficult. Vegan baking isn’t scary. It’s not impossible.
There’s this idea that vegan baking is bland and inaccessible to the average mortal. Sure, there will be spectacular fails, but with time, the balance between fails and successes will tip in your favour. Just… give it a go. It’s worth it. Promise.
And if my words don’t convince you… let these vegan cinnamon rolls do the talking.
They’re fluffy. And soft. And so so cinnamony.
The frosting is perfect. Especially when you drizzle it onto still warm vegan cinnamon rolls and it melts slightly, soaking into the dough… It’s giving me chills just thinking about it.
And all of this?
Easy to make.
8 ingredients only.
Now, if that doesn’t prove that vegan baking can be freakin’ amazing… I don’t know what can. (Though if you’re still not convinced… I’m willing to sacrifice myself and make another batch of these. You know, in the name of scientific advancement, taste testing, veganism and my sweet tooth.)
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The Best Vegan Cinnamon Rolls You'll Ever Eat
For cinnamon roll dough:
- 1 cup (240 mL) almond milk, lukewarm
- 3/8 cup (75 g) white sugar
- 1 heaped tbsp (9 - 10 g) active dry yeast
- 3 3/4 cups + 1 tbsp (460 g) plain flour, divided (Note 1)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup (75 g) coconut cream, melted
For cinnamon filling:
- 2 - 3 tbsp (~40 g) coconut cream
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup (100 - 150 g) white sugar
- 1 - 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (110 g) coconut cream
- 1/4 cup (30 g) powdered sugar
For cinnamon roll dough:
In a small bowl, combine the the lukewarm almond milk, sugar, yeast and 2 tbsp flour. Whisk lightly until no flour clumps remain and leave to stand for ~5 minutes.
Add the rest of the four and the salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture and start kneading the dough with the dough hook attachment. When the dough starts coming together, but there is still some flour left, add the coconut cream.
Leave the dough to knead for at least 15 minutes. The final dough should be slightly sticky.
Transfer the dough into a lightly floured bowl, cover the bowl with cling film, and allow the dough to proof/rise for about 1 hour at room temperature, or until doubled in volume.
For cinnamon filling:
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. (The exact amounts depend on how sweet and cinnamony you want your cinnamon rolls to be.)
Assembly and baking:
Prepare a round 11-inch (28 cm) baking pan (or a 11 x 11 inch square one) by lightly greasing it with coconut oil.
After the dough has doubled in size, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a roughly 18 x 9 inch rectangle. (Don't fuss too much if you don't get these exact dimensions.)
Spread 2 - 3 tbsp coconut cream over the dough and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top. Then gently rub the cinnamon sugar into the cream – this will prevent it flying everywhere when you roll up the dough.
Roll up the dough tightly (length-wise) so that you get an (approximately) 18 inch roll. Place the seam side down and cut ~1.5 inch (~3 - 4 cm) thick slices using floss or a very thin thread. I don't recommend using a knife, as this will flatten the cinnamon roll pieces while you cut them.
Place the cinnamon rolls into the greased baking pan, leaving a bit of space between them.
Cover the baking pan lightly with a tea towel or cling film, and leave to rise for 30 minutes - 1 hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC).
Bake the vegan cinnamon rolls in the pre-heated oven at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for 25 - 30 minutes until golden brown on top.
Allow to cool slightly.
Mix together the powdered sugar and coconut cream. If the frosting is too thick, add a splash of almond milk.
Drizzle the frosting all over the still slightly warm cinnamon buns.
The vegan cinnamon rolls are best eaten on the day they are baked, but they keep well in a tightly closed container in a cool dry place for about 2 - 3 days.
Note 1: I haven't tried this recipe with a gluten free flour blend, so I can't guarantee success if you decide to substitute plain flour for gluten free flour.