These tender vegan cinnamon rolls are bursting with ooey-gooey spiced filling and smothered in sweet vanilla glaze. Perfect with a cup of tea! The best part? The buns can be assembled a day in advance and then popped in the oven just before serving.
I do a lot of holiday shopping online these days. Do you guys?
It makes life so easy! I certainly don’t miss the crowds, lines, pushing and shoving for holiday deals.
But maybe do I miss the smells wafting from Cinnabon as I would walk by. Even if I haven’t actually bought a Cinnabon since 1995.
Well, good news: these suckers make your house smell just like Cinnabon. But better! You can actually eat these vegan cinnamon buns, because they’re vegan. And they’re more delicious than anything I ever got at a mall, if I do say so myself.
Also, this cinnamon bun recipe has an overnight option, so you can assemble them on Christmas eve and then bake them Christmas morning and share your Cinnabon experience with the whole family. Most Cinnabons aren’t even open on Christmas.
Here’s how it’s done!
First, make your dough. Whisk some warm milk and yeast together in a liquid measuring cup and let it sit for a few minutes. While that happens, stir some sugar, butter and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl. Next, add your yeast and milk mixture along with some flour and salt. Stir it all up to make a dough.
Next comes the (not) fun part. Kneading. I’m not a fan, but these rolls are worth it. If you’ve got a stand mixer, put it to work here. I went for good old-fashioned hand kneading.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and let it rise until it doubles in size.
And then comes the (actually) fun part. Roll the dough into a giant rectangle and brush it with melted vegan butter. Sprinkle with a mix of cinnamon, sugar, and if you’d like, some other spices (I went for a Chai-type blend). Roll it up into a tight log, and slice it into 18 rolls.
Tip: Start by slicing your log in half, then slice each half into thirds (so now you’ve got six pieces), then slice each of those pieces into thirds. This will ensure you get nice evenly sized pieces, and the right number of pieces. I actually goofed when I made this batch and ended up with 20. Oops!
Arrange the slices in an oiled baking pan. There will be some gaps initially, but they’re fill out. At this point you have two options: leave the rolls out for their second rise, or refrigerate them overnight, and then let them rise again in the morning.
Either way, you’ll need another one or two hours of rise time. You’ll know they’re ready when they’ve gotten nice and puffy and fill in most of the gaps in the pan.
Now the rolls are ready to bake. You can make the glaze in the meantime.
Give them a few minutes to set when they come out of the oven, but not too long — they’re awesome while they’re still hot. Drizzle with glaze and serve.
FAQ & Tips for Making Awesome Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
- If you’ve got a stand mixer, feel free to use it for mixing and kneading the dough.
- I recommend getting these out of the pan while they’re still warm, as the sugary filling tends to harden and make them stick once it cools down.
- The vegan cream cheese frosting from this recipe would make an awesome alternative to the glaze.
- The filling for this recipe includes not just cinnamon, but also ginger, nutmeg and cloves. I like lots of spices! If you’re not into that, feel free to leave the extra spices out and just use cinnamon. If you want to experiment with even more additional spices and flavors, try some allspice, cardamom and/or orange zest.
- Can I refrigerate the uncooked rolls longer than 12 hours? How about freezing them? I’ve only tested the recipe with 12 hours of chill time, so I can’t say for sure. I suspect that after 12 hours the rolls will start to lose their ability to rise. As for freezing, I think, based on my experience with freezing other yeast doughs, that this would work, but I can’t say for sure.
- Can I substitute whole wheat flour? I’d recommend using a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour if you want to try. Again, I haven’t tested this, so no promises!
- Can I make these gluten-free? Honestly, I don’t have much experience with gluten-free yeast breads, so my guess is as good as yours.
- Help! My dough isn’t rising! This could be a few things. Most likely: (1) Your yeast is old. Check the expiration date! (2) The room is too cold. Yeast are more active in warm temperatures. (3) Your milk was too hot in step 1. It should be between 100° and 110°F, or the temperature of hot bath water. If it’s much hotter it could kill them.
Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
These tender vegan cinnamon rolls are bursting with ooey-gooey spiced filling and smothered in sweet maple glaze. Perfect with a cup of tea! The best part? The buns can be assembled a day in advance and then popped in the oven just before serving.
For the Dough
- 1 cup unflavored and unsweetened non-dairy milk, heated to about 110°F
- 1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 6 tablespoons vegan butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup organic granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- About 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Vegetable oil for the bowl and pan
For the Filling
- 1/4 cup melted vegan butter
- 2/3 cup organic granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
For the Glaze
- 2 cups organic powdered sugar, plus more as needed
- 2-4 tablespoons unflavored and unsweetened non-dairy milk, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Begin by making the dough. Whisk the milk and yeast together in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Set it aside for a few minutes.
Place the butter, sugar and vanilla into a large mixing bowl, and stir them together until smooth and uniform.
Stir the milk mixture into the butter mixture, then add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, adding the salt with the last flour addition. Stir to form a dough, adding a couple more tablespoons of flour if needed.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Lightly oil a large mixing bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover it with a damp towel and place it in a warm spot.
Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
When the dough has finished rising, prepare the filling by melting the butter and stirring the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg together in a small bowl.
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and use a rolling pin to roll it out to a 12 x 18 inch rectangle.
Spread the butter evenly over the dough, then sprinkle with the sugar mixture.
Roll the dough up tightly, lengthwise, then use a sharp knife to cut it into 18 slices (each about 1-inch thick).
Arrange the slices in a lightly oiled 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
If you're planning on baking them the next day, cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. Otherwise, skip to step 14.
If you chilled the rolls overnight, remove the pan from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap the next morning.
Cover the pan with a damp towel and place it in a warm spot. Allow the rolls to rise until they're puffy and most of the gaps between them have filled out, 1-2 hours
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Bake the rolls until fluffy and lightly browned, about 25 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow the rolls to cool a bit while you prepare the glaze.
To make the glaze, whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, adding more powdered sugar if the mixture seems too thin, more milk if it's too thick.
Drizzle the glaze over the rolls, then serve.