This crave-worthy vegan cinnamon rolls recipe has the double bonus of being lighter in calories and also having an extra easy, no-yeast variation. What’s not to love!
From Light & Easy Vegan Baking by Jillian Glenn, it shows how a little creativity goes a long way in making all your food favorites, veganized and low-cal to boot.
Enjoy vegan takes on luscious cakes, chewy brownies, crumbly biscuits and savory breads without having to worry about your waistline, even with the ample serving sizes that Jillian offers up. So there’s no reason so feel unsatisfied if you’re vegan or trying to keep your calories down.
All the recipes feature no-fuss ingredients and even details on how to make each recipe gluten-free so there’s something for everyone, no matter what their dietary needs.
Jillian tells us about her cinnamon rolls recipe: “There are two variations of this recipe, and both will blow your mind.
“The first is a classic vegan cinnamon roll that uses yeast in the dough. This recipe takes about 2 hours and is well worth the wait. The result is a batch of giant fluffy cinnamon rolls that take your breath away.
“I’ve also included a recipe for my easy, no-yeast, 30-minute cinnamon rolls, which are perfect for when you’re in a pinch or if you have a yeast allergy.
“No matter which version you choose, you won’t believe how golden, buttery and ooey-gooey-good these are! Drizzle them with vegan cream cheese frosting and you and your family will be fighting over the last bite.”
Cinnamon Rolls: Ingredients
Classic Yeast Dough
- 1 cup (240 ml) warmed almond milk (microwaved for about 30 seconds);
- 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) freshly melted vegan butter;
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) pure maple syrup;
- 1⁄2 tsp salt;
- 2 tsp (9 g) baking powder (only use if baking with gluten-free flour);
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) cider vinegar (only use if baking with gluten-free flour);
- 1 tbsp (13 g) active dry yeast;
- 21⁄2 cups (312 g) regular or gluten-free all-purpose flour (for gluten-free, I like Cup4Cup or King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure), plus more for dusting;
- Nonstick spray, for dish
Alternative No-Yeast Dough (Quick 30-Minute Recipe):
- 3⁄4 cup (180 ml) unsweetened almond milk;
- 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) melted vegan butter;
- 11⁄2 tsp (7 g) baking powder;
- 2 cups (250 g) regular or gluten-free all-purpose flour (for gluten-free, I like Cup4Cup or King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure), plus more for dusting;
- Nonstick spray, for dish
- 1⁄4 cup (57 g) softened vegan butter
- 1⁄2 cup (100 g) cane sugar
- 2 tbsp (24 g) ground cinnamon
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 oz (57 g) vegan cream cheese
- 2 tbsp (28 g) softened vegan butter
- 3⁄4 cup (90 g) confectioners’ sugar
Classic Cinnamon Rolls: Instructions
Prepare the dough: In a large bowl, use a fork to mix together the warmed almond milk, freshly melted vegan butter, maple syrup and salt. If baking with gluten-free flour, mix in the baking powder and cider vinegar. Next, sprinkle the yeast evenly over the top of the mixture and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes. Then, stir in the flour until a dough forms.
Use your hands to gently form the dough into a round mound. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Leave the dough in the bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Allow it to rise for 1 hour. I like to set the dough on top of a preheated oven to help it rise faster. You will know it has risen when it has nearly doubled in size. If you are using gluten-free flour, the dough will be less voluminous.
Spray a 10- to 12-inch (25- to 30-cm) casserole dish with nonstick spray. Once the dough has risen, lay it on a well-floured surface and roll it out to a 1⁄3-inch (1-cm)-thick rectangle. Sprinkle more flour on top if the dough is too sticky to roll.
Add the filling: Spread the softened vegan butter evenly onto the dough and then sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon over the top. Carefully roll up your dough into a log and slice it into about 12 equal-width pinwheels. If you are using gluten-free flour, the dough will be more fragile so take your time. If it falls apart while rolling, simply use your hands to form it back together.
Place the pinwheels into your prepared casserole dish, making sure that there is enough room for them to double in size. Cover the dish loosely with the kitchen towel and set aside for 30 minutes to allow them to rise. Set them on top of the preheated oven again if you choose. You will know they are done rising when they have nearly doubled in size. If you are using gluten-free flour, you may skip the second rise and proceed to baking.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Remove the kitchen towel from the rolls and bake them for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden.
While the rolls bake, prepare the frosting: In a medium-sized bowl, use an electric hand mixer to mix together the vegan cream cheese, softened vegan butter and confectioners’ sugar.
Once the rolls are done baking, remove them from the oven and wait 5 to 10 minutes for them to cool before spreading the frosting over the top. Serve warm and try not to eat the entire dish!
Quick 30-Minute No-Yeast Cinnamon Rolls: Instructions
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). In a large bowl, use a fork to mix together the almond milk, melted vegan butter and baking powder. Then, mix in the flour until a thick dough forms.
Spray an 8- to 10-inch (20- to 25-cm) casserole dish with nonstick spray. Lay the dough on a floured surface and roll it out a 1⁄4-inch (6-mm)-thick rectangle. You may need to sprinkle a little flour on top if the dough is too sticky to roll. Add the filling: Spread the softened vegan butter onto the rolled dough, then sprinkle the cane sugar and cinnamon over the top. Roll up the dough into a log and slice it into about 12 equal-width pinwheels.
Place the pinwheels into the prepared casserole dish. Set the rolls close enough together to where they are almost touching each other.
Bake them for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. If desired, broil them for 1 to 2 minutes at the end to give them more color.
While the rolls bake, prepare the frosting: In a medium-sized bowl, use an electric mixer to mix together the vegan cream cheese, softened vegan butter and confectioners’ sugar.
Once the rolls are done baking, remove them from the oven and wait 5 to 10 minutes for them to cool before spreading the frosting over the top, then dive right in.
Reprinted with permission from Light & Easy Vegan Baking by Jillian Glenn, Page Street Publishing Co. 2022. Photo credit: Jillian Glenn