I make these homemade cinnamon rolls every year for the holidays. Soft, gooey, and easy to make, they’re always a hit with family and friends! Cinnamon rolls were always what my family ate for breakfast on Christmas morning.
Not only were they easy to pop in the oven as my sister and I excitedly unwrapped presents, but they were delicious too – gooey, soft, and smothered in sweet cream cheese frosting. As an adult, my Christmas morning excitement no longer comes from what presents are under the tree. I look forward to sharing a relaxing day with my family, and cinnamon rolls still seem like the perfect way to kick it off. They’re great finger food (a huge plus on a busy holiday morning when gathering everyone around the table is tough), they’re meant for serving a crowd, and they’re downright delicious.
This cinnamon roll recipe is the one I make every year for the holidays. It’s super easy, and the homemade cinnamon rolls are so much better than any you’d get at the store. Soft and gooey all the way through, they’re jam-packed with brown sugar and cinnamon. A big slather of vanilla glaze adds the perfect sweet finishing touch. Make them for any holiday you celebrate, for a cozy weekend brunch, or any time you’re cooking for people you love!
How to Make Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
This cinnamon roll recipe is simple – it calls for straightforward pantry ingredients, and you don’t even have to get out the stand mixer to make it! Here’s what you need to do:First, make the dough. I wanted my cinnamon roll recipe to be dairy-free, so I use coconut oil and almond milk in the dough instead of melted butter and cow’s milk. These cinnamon rolls are every bit as rich and delicious as regular ones, but they’re totally vegan!
After you’ve stirred the dough together, knead it! At this point, the dough will be sticky and springy. Knead it on a lightly floured surface until it becomes smooth. Then, form it into a ball and set it inside a large bowl greased with coconut oil. Cover the bowl and set it aside for one hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
Next, it’s time to roll! Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to shape it into a large rectangle. This shape doesn’t have to be perfect, but the straighter the edges are, the more uniform your cinnamon rolls will be. Brush the rectangle with coconut oil and cover it with brown sugar and cinnamon, leaving a border around the edges.Then, roll again! Starting at a short end of the rectangle, roll the dough tightly into a log.
When you’ve rolled up the dough, slice it into 12 even rolls. Place them in a large greased baking dish, cut-side up. Cover the rolls, and set them aside to rise for one more hour. You’re almost there!Finally, bake the cinnamon rolls at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until they’re lightly golden brown. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes before adding the glaze. Serve warm, and enjoy!
Cinnamon Roll Recipe Tips
Make sure your milk is at room temperature. Because I make these cinnamon rolls with melted coconut oil instead of softened butter, it’s crucial that your milk is at room temperature when you’re stirring together the wet ingredients for the dough. If it’s not, the melted coconut oil will solidify. I like to measure the milk and pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds before mixing it with the other ingredients.Let the dough rise somewhere warm. Yeast responds to warmth, so, for an extra productive rise, stick the dough somewhere warm.
We like to put ours on a sunny windowsill!Add the glaze when the rolls are still warm, but not hot. If the rolls are too hot when you add the glaze, it will melt. If they’re too cold, it won’t spread and ooze over them. I find that letting them cool for 10 minutes brings them to the perfect temperature. They’ll still be warm when you eat them, and the frosting will soften over them without completely melting.
Make them ahead!
To make these cinnamon rolls ahead of time, follow the recipe from start to finish, stopping before you add the glaze. Allow the rolls to cool completely before freezing them for up to a month. Covered in foil, they reheat perfectly in a 350-degree oven. Add the glaze right before you eat!
½ cup warm water (110°) 1 (¼-ounce) package active dry yeast 1 teaspoon cane sugar ⅓ cup melted coconut oil, plus more for brushing ½ cup almond milk, at room temp⅓ cup cane sugar 1 teaspoon sea salt 2¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading½ cup brown sugar 1½ tablespoons cinnamon 1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted 3 to 4 tablespoons almond milk ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Grease an 8×11 or 9×13-inch baking dish.
In a small bowl, stir together the water, yeast, and sugar.
Set aside for 5 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy.
Make the dough: In a medium bowl, combine the coconut oil, almond milk, sugar, and salt. Stir in the yeast mixture.
Place the flour in a large bowl, then add the yeast mixture and stir until combined. The mixture will be sticky. Use your hands to roughly knead the mixture, then turn it out onto a floured surface.
Knead 3 to 4 minutes until smooth, sprinkle with more flour if needed, and form into a ball.
Brush a large bowl with coconut oil and place the dough inside.
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 60 minutes.
Make the filling
In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon.
Punch down dough and roll out on a floured surface into a 20×14-inch rectangle.
Brush with 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar to within ½ inch of the edges.Starting at one of the short 14-inch ends, roll tightly into a log, then slice into 12 rolls. Place the rolls into the baking dish cut-side up, cover, and let rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Make the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons almond milk, and vanilla until smooth. If it’s too thick, add more almond milk.Bake the rolls 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then drizzle the glaze on top and serve!
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