Vegan cinnamon rolls that are fluffy, moist and delicious! They will make your home smell incredible and comforting, especially during chilly winter months.
The key to this vegan cinnamon rolls recipe is the dough. This dough has been tested and perfected a number of times.
The end product is a wonderfully soft but chewy roll that practically melts in your mouth and leaves your home smelling like a Cinnabon store.
This recipe is completely vegan and easy to make. There are three components that you’ll need to create: the dough, the filling, and the glaze.
Putting it all together is simple, and the rolls bake fairly quickly. They’re sure to become a favorite!
- All-purpose or bread flour – Bread flour is my preferred choice for the best cinnamon rolls. It has a higher gluten content than all-purpose flour which makes for fluffier, chewier cinnamon buns.
All-purpose flour is still fine to use but you can also make bread flour by adding 2 tbsp (20g) vital wheat gluten to 5 cups (600g) of all-purpose flour.
- Brown sugar – Crucial for feeding and activating the yeast. Light or dark brown sugar is fine. You can also use white granulated sugar if you’re running low on brown.
- Active dry yeast or instant yeast
- Warm water – This is also important. Hot water will kill yeast while cold water won’t cause it to activate. The water should be warm enough to be able to touch or about 110°F (43°C).
- Barley malt syrup – Helps break down the starches in the flour for a softer final product but this is optional.
Some brands for bread flour, such as King Arthur, has malted barley flour added which does a similar thing.
- Vegan butter
- Brown sugar – Gives a richer flavor than white sugar. Use light or dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar will have a hint of rich molasses flavor.
- Cinnamon – This is where the classic flavor comes from. For the most bakery-style flavor in cinnamon rolls, go for Korintje or Saigon cinnamon.
Korintje cinnamon is most popularly used in commercial bakeries. It has a sweet and smooth flavor with a hint of spiciness. Saigon or Vietnamese cinnamon has the most intense spicy-sweet flavor.
Vegan Cream Cheese Glaze:
- Vegan cream cheese – I used the Go Veggie brand. Violife is another good brand.
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Plant-based milk – I used soy milk.
(Scroll to the end for the full measurements and more details.)
Component #1: Make the dough
1. Activate the yeast by combining it with sugar and warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer. It should foam up within 5 minutes, which confirms that the yeast is alive.
2. Add oil, barley malt syrup, salt, and half the flour. Mix using a dough hook in a stand mixer. Gradually mix in the remaining flour.
3. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10 minutes. This allows the flour to absorb water.
4. Continue kneading in the mixer for 6 to 8 minutes. The bowl should look fairly clean.
5. Try the window-pane test to check if the dough is well-kneaded. A piece of dough should be stretched thin enough for some light to pass through without ripping.
6. Place the dough in a large, well-oiled bowl. Cover and let it rest in the fridge until doubled in size, for a minimum of 2 hours, up to 8 hours for more flavor development.
Component #2: Make the filling
- Combine brown sugar with cinnamon.
- Let vegan butter come to room temperature.
Component #3: Make the vegan cinnamon roll glaze
- Combine the vegan cream cheese with vanilla.
- Stir in confectioners’ sugar.
- Whisk in some plant-based milk to your desired consistency. I prefer a thinner glaze but use very little liquid for a thicker one.
Assemble, bake and glaze
1. Once your dough has doubled in size, give it a punch to release the gas.
2. Roll it out to 18 by 14 inches (46cm x 10cm). Spread softened vegan butter on the dough.
3. Sprinkle the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture on top and roll into a log.
4. Slice into 12 individual rolls. Measure and cut with dental floss for perfect slices. Tuck the ends under the rolls to prevent unraveling while baking.
5. Place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, 1 inch apart. Cover and let rise in a warm area for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
6. Bake in a pre-heated 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool, then top with vegan glaze.
Key Tips to Follow
1. To nail the vegan cinnamon roll dough, pay close attention to its consistency, as different types of flour absorb different amounts of water.
If your dough is a little dry, add a little warm water 1 tablespoon at a time. If your dough is too wet, add extra flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
2. To help each cinnamon roll retain its shape, roll up tightly and tuck the end of the roll under the bottom before placing it on the baking sheet.
3. Try not to overproof the buns at room temperature. When over-proofed, they have a strong smell of alcohol but large bubbles on top. The dough may also collapse before or during baking.
4. If you’d like a true cinnamon flavor, lightly sprinkle the baked rolls with Ceylon cinnamon just before you add the glaze. The flavor tends to reduce when heated so it’s best to use before serving.
- If you do not have vegan cream cheese, you can create a simple vegan vanilla glaze with only confectioners’ sugar, soy milk, and vanilla.
- Spread with vegan vanilla frosting for an even thicker, richer glaze.
- Add chopped pecans or walnuts to your filling, for nutty cinnamon rolls.
Vegan cinnamon buns keep for 3 days at room temperature when stored in an airtight container. They can also be frozen for up to 1 month for the best results.
Wrap individually in plastic wrap or place in a food storage bag. To reheat, remove from the bag and zap in the microwave for a quick bite whenever you want!
How do you avoid dry or dense cinnamon rolls?
To avoid dry cinnamon rolls, make sure you start with a moist dough. If the flour has absorbed too much liquid, add some warm water back to your dough 1 tablespoon at a time.
To avoid dense cinnamon rolls, make sure the dough is not too wet or too sticky as it’s an indicator that you do not have enough flour. You can add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time.
How do you get perfectly even cinnamon rolls?
A great trick for perfectly even cinnamon rolls is to use unflavored dental floss to slice them.
First measure and mark equal pieces. Next place the floss underneath the log, under a mark, holding the floss towards you. Then pull in a criss-cross for an even cut.
How do you know the cinnamon rolls are done?
Insert a skewer in the middle of the roll in the center of your baking sheet. If it comes out clean, they’re done. If a little bit of dough sticks to the skewer, let the rolls continue baking.
Another method is to gently press the middle and tap the sides. The middle should be firm and the roll should sound hollow when tapped.
More Dessert Recipes
- Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
- Vegan Lemon Pound Cake
- Vegan Cranberry Orange Bread
- Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
- Stand Mixer
- Rolling Pin
Baking Recipes: For more accuracy, use Metric measurements and measuring spoons.
- 5 cups (600 g) unbleached all-purpose or bread flour, See Notes
- ⅓ cup (80 g) brown sugar, light or dark
- 4 teaspoon (14 g) instant yeast, or active dry yeast
- 1 ¼ cups (300 ml) warm water
- 2 tablespoon (30 ml) oil
- 2 teaspoon (15 g) barley malt syrup, optional
- 2 teaspoon (11 g) salt
- ⅔ cup (160 g) brown sugar, light or dark
- 2 tablespoon (15 g) ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoon (86 g) softened vegan butter (not unsalted), (¾ stick)
Cream Cheese Glaze (see notes for glaze recipe without cream cheese):
- 4 oz (115 g) vegan cream cheese
- 2 teaspoon (10 ml) vanilla
- 1 ½ cup (190 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) plant-based milk, or as needed
Make the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, sugar and warm (not hot) water. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes or until foam starts to form on the top.4 teaspoon (14 g) instant yeast ,1 ¼ cups (300 ml) warm water ,⅓ cup (80 g) brown sugar
- Add the oil, barley malt syrup, salt and half the flour.2 tablespoon (30 ml) oil ,2 teaspoon (15 g) barley malt syrup ,2 teaspoon (11 g) salt ,5 cups (600 g) unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
- Mix the ingredients using a dough hook on the mixer on the lowest speed. Gradually spoon in the remaining flour until combined.
- Stop and cover the bowl with a clean towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes. This gives the flour time to absorb the liquid so it’s easier to knead.
- Restart the mixer at medium speed and knead for 6 to 8 minutes. The dough should be soft, smooth and begin to pull away from the sides, leaving an almost clean bowl.
- Place the dough in a large, well-oiled bowl. Coat the top of the dough with oil to prevent it from drying out.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rise until doubled in size. This should take 2 hours or ideally 6 to 8 hours. A slow rise develops even more flavor in the dough and a chilled dough is easier to roll out.
Fill and shape the rolls:
- Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.⅔ cup (160 g) brown sugar ,2 tablespoon (15 g) ground cinnamon
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and give it a punch to release the gases.
- Flour a clean work surface and a rolling pin and roll out the dough to about 18 by 14 inches (46cm x 10cm). Ensure the thickness is even. For more swirls, roll out to 18 x 18 inches.
- Evenly spread the vegan butter on the dough with a small offset spatula or butter knife. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mix.6 tablespoon (86 g) softened vegan butter (not unsalted)
- Starting at the wider end, roll up the dough tightly into a log. Measure and mark out 12 equal pieces or about 1 ½ inches (3.8cm) each.
- Using a clean piece of dental floss, cut out individual rolls. Place the floss under the dough, where the first mark was made, lift ends, criss-cross then pull to cut.
- Tuck the end of the cinnamon roll under the bottom to help hold its shape. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 1 inch (2.5cm) apart.
- Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for about 30 minutes in a warm area or until doubled in size.
Bake the rolls:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Place the cinnamon rolls in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The center should be firm when pressed and the roll should sound hollow when tapped.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before glazing.
Make the glaze:
- Combine the vegan cream cheese with the vanilla in a bowl.2 teaspoon (10 ml) vanilla ,4 oz (115 g) vegan cream cheese
- Gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Stir in just enough plant-based milk until the mixture is thick and smooth.1 ½ cup (190 g) confectioners’ sugar ,1 tablespoon (15 ml) plant-based milk
- Spread over each cinnamon roll before serving.
- Different types of flour absorb different amounts of water. You may need to add more flour or water to the dough, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed.
- Barley malt syrup helps to break down the starches in the flour, making softer bread. But it is optional.
- For the most bakery-style flavor in cinnamon rolls, go for Korintje or Saigon cinnamon.
- For even more cinnamon flavor, lightly sprinkle the rolls with Ceylon cinnamon, just before applying the glaze. This type of cinnamon has a delicious flavor but tends to get lost when heated.
- Plain glaze without cream cheese: 1 ½ cups (188g) confectioner’s sugar, 1 tbsp (15ml) soy milk, 1 tbsp (15ml) vanilla. Best applied when the rolls are hot.