Yes, you can be gluten-free and have your cinnamon rolls too! Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls are sweet, fluffy, and made from pantry staples. Sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill.
It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for – Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls!!!
I’ve been previewing this recipe to my Instagram followers on stories over the past couple of months and am beyond excited to finally share it. Just in time for the holidays, too! I mean, is Thanksgiving morning even Thanksgiving morning without a warm pan of gooey cinnamon rolls dripping with buttery icing?
The answer is no. NO. IT’S. NOT.
If you have to eat gluten-free then you know how badly it sucks (pardon by french) to miss out on special treats like warm, sweet cinnamon rolls. I love cinnamon rolls so much that I once payed way too much to overnight a pan of them from a gluten-free bakery in San Francisco, and they were horrible! Like bricks! These babies are not like bricks! They’re flaky and perfect and oh my gosh, I’m just obsessed.
Over the past 5 years of having to eat gluten-free I’ve tasted quite a few gluten-free baked goods that I’ll convince Ben to take a bite of. “Isn’t this so good?!” I’ll ask him. “…you’ve been eating gluten-free for too long…” he’ll usually reply.
That said even Ben, lover all all things gluten, has scarfed countless gluten-free cinnamon rolls over the past several weeks of recipe testing. We’re talking hunched over a pie pan shoveling hot, iced cinnamon rolls into his mouth in a single bite then washing it down with ice cold milk straight from the carton. Sorry for the visual.
All that to say, you’ll never have to miss out on cinnamon rolls again (nor pay for overnight, cross-country shipping!) I can’t decide what I love more – the classic, sweet and cinnamon-y taste of these rolls, or the fact that I can eat them ANY TIME I WANT now. It’s a win all around! PLUS, for my dairy-free friends, this recipe can easily be made dairy-free by using vegan butter (we use Earth Balance) instead of regular butter, and unsweetened almond milk instead of cow’s milk. You should have seen the look on little Lincoln’s face the first time he tried a batch of fresh cinnamon rolls – my goodness.
Before I get into a few helpful notes and tips for making these gluten-free cinnamon rolls, I want to tell you that this recipe is sponsored by my new friends at Bob’s Red Mill! If you have to eat gluten-free then I’m sure you’re familiar with this wonderful brand which offers dozens of gluten-free baking products, including gluten-free flour alternatives, that are not only certified gluten-free but processed in a separate facility from their gluten-containing products to ensure there is zero cross-contamination.
I love that Bob’s products are not only affordable and minimally processed, but easy to find. My local HyVee carries a TON of their products, including the Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour, baking powder, and active dry yeast I used in these rolls. YES, these cinnamon rolls contain yeast. Before you start sweating though, just know that if you can pour something into something else then you can bake with yeast. There is literally nothing more to it then sprinkling yeast into warm milk. No kneading, no nothing. Plus that yeasty scent, flavor, and rise is a MUST for homemade cinnamon rolls.
Now, baking regular cinnamon rolls from scratch can be intimidating – baking the gluten-free version is even moreso. That said, after making 12+ batches of these cinnamon rolls over the past two months, here are my best notes and tips. Be sure to read the post text for more tips as well:
- You don’t need ANY fancy equipment to make this recipe. Just a few bowls and a spatula. I guess an instant-read thermometer but that’s not too fancy. We use and love this one.
- Don’t be surprised by the texture of the cinnamon roll dough. It’s like a very soft play dough vs pliable and stretchy like regular cinnamon roll dough. Be extra gentle with it and you’ll be fine.
- Don’t roll the dough too thin otherwise it will fall apart. This is the #1 thing to keep in mind to successfully get the rolls into the pan.
- If your unbaked rolls look hideous, it’s fine! They’ll still taste delicious and are going to be slathered in icing anyway. You should have seen my first few batches.
- You CAN prep these gluten-free cinnamon rolls a day ahead of time. The recipe contains directions for timing.
Alrighty – ready to do this?!
Start by microwaving 1/4 cup butter or vegan butter in a large glass bowl until melted. Add 1 cup milk (any kind – I’ve tested this recipe with skim, 2%, and whole milk, and unsweetened almond milk) and 1 Tablespoon sugar then microwave for 45-50 seconds. Stir the mixture then take a temperature with an instant-read thermometer – we’re looking for 110 degrees.
Sprinkle in 2-1/4 teaspoons Bob’s Red Mill Active Dry Yeast (the equivalent to 1 packet active dry yeast) then stir gently and let the mixture sit until foamy, 8 minutes.
TIP: Be sure to STIR the milk mixture before taking a temperature to get an accurate reading.
TIP: if your mixture does not foam, likely your yeast was old and/or your milk mixture was too hot/not hot enough.
Next add 1 whisked egg plus 1/3 cup sugar then stir to combine.
Meanwhile, stir together the dry ingredients – that’s 2-1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour, 2 teaspoons Bob’s Red Mill baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, stirring until the flour is just combined (small lumps remaining are fine) before adding the next batch. The dough will be soft like cookie dough but shouldn’t be incredibly sticky.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl then place it somewhere warm to let the dough double in size, about 1 hour. I use my oven’s “bread proof” setting, though in the past I’ve placed the bowl on top of a heating pad set to low. A warm sunny spot should work too!
Once the dough has doubled in size, scrape it onto a sheet of parchment paper that’s been lightly sprayed with nonstick spray. Lightly oil your hands then spread the dough into a rectangle approximately 1/4″ thick – the rectangle should be roughly 10×14″.
TIP: the dough will be the consistency of soft play dough, versus sturdy and stretchy like traditional cinnamon/bread dough, so don’t be alarmed!
TIP: do NOT spread the dough any thinner then 1/4″ thick or it will fall apart when you slice the cinnamon rolls.
Next, use your fingers to spread 1/3 cup very soft butter or vegan butter over the dough, leaving 1″ clear on the bottom. Be sure the butter is very soft otherwise you’ll tear through the dough.
Mix together 1/2 cup sugar and 2 Tablespoons cinnamon then sprinkle it evenly on top of the butter, again leaving 1″ of the dough clear at the bottom. This will feel like an excessive amount of cinnamon-sugar, but every drop is necessary!
Time to roll. Starting at the top, pull the parchment paper down towards you to make the first roll. Continue to roll the dough using the parchment paper instead of your hands until you have one roll left.
At that point, use the bottom of the parchment paper to pull up the bottom of the dough so the log sits in the center(ish) of the parchment paper versus the bottom. Gently pinch the seams together to close.
Next, using a sharp knife, slice the log in half using one confident slice versus a sawing motion. Slice each half in half, then each quarter into thirds to make 12 slices total. Wipe off the knife as necessary with a paper towel. If the dough seems super wet it might be helpful to dip your knife in the flour blend in between slices.
Transfer the rolls into a nonstick sprayed 9″ pie pan – I use the knife as kind of a scraper/support for each slice. Again, this dough is much softer then traditional cinnamon roll dough so be gentle. If the slices get misshapen – that’s ok. They’ll puff up during the second rise, plus they’ll be covered in icing anyway!
Place the pie pan in the same warm spot to let the cinnamon rolls puff up and rise a second time – mine usually take 30-40 minutes.
Bake the rolls for 16-20 minutes at 350 degrees or until the tops are golden brown, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through. Let the cinnamon rolls cool for at least 15 minutes before slathering in icing, otherwise they’ll absorb it all.
The icing is just 2 Tablespoons room temperature butter or vegan butter whisked vigorously with 1 cup powdered sugar, 1-1/2 Tablespoons hot water, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. I tried this recipe with a cream cheese frosting and this simple butter + powdered sugar version is amaaaaaaazing!
These rolls are best enjoyed warm (duh) though they actually reheat FABULOUSLY. Just microwave for 20 seconds or so. Also YES, you can make them a day ahead of time! Directions are in the notes section of the recipe card below. I hope these gluten-free cinnamon rolls bring you as much joy as they’ve brought us over the past couple of month!! ENJOY!
Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls
Yes, you can be gluten-free and have your cinnamon rolls too! Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls are sweet, fluffy, and made from pantry staples.
- For the rolls:
- 1/4 cup butter or vegan butter
- 1 cup milk (see notes)
- 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon sugar, divided
- 2-1/4 teaspoons Bob’s Red Mill Active Dry Yeast (or 1 packet of yeast)
- 1 large egg, whisked
- 2-1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour
- 2 teaspoons Bob’s Red Mill Baking Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- For the filling:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/3 cup extremely soft butter or vegan butter
- For the icing:
- 2 Tablespoons butter or vegan butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons hot water
- Add butter to a large glass bowl then melt in the microwave. Add milk and 1 Tablespoon sugar then microwave for an additional 45-50 seconds, stir with a spatula, and take a temperature using an instant read thermometer - we’re looking for 110 degrees. Sprinkle in yeast then stir gently and let sit until foamy, 8 minutes. (If your mixture does not foam, likely your yeast was old and/or the temperature of the milk mixture was too cool or too warm.) Add whisked egg and remaining 1/3 cup sugar then stir gently to combine.
- Meanwhile, in a another bowl add gluten-free flour blend, baking powder, and salt then stir with a fork to combine. Add to wet ingredients in two batches, stirring until flour is just incorporated (small lumps remaining are fine) before adding the next batch. Dough should be very soft but not overly sticky. Cover with a tea towel then set somewhere warm to double in volume, 1 hour. I use my oven’s “bread proof” setting, though placing the pan on a heating pad set to warm, or placing in a warm sunny spot will also work.
- Combine sugar and cinnamon from filling recipe in a small bowl then set aside. Spray a 9” pie plate with nonstick spray then set aside.
- Scrape the dough onto a large sheet of parchment paper that’s been lightly sprayed with nonstick spray then, with lightly oiled hands, spread dough into a 1/4” thick rectangle, roughly 10x14”. THE KEY TO SUCCESSFULLY SLICING THIS DOUGH IS TO NOT PRESS IT TOO THIN.
- Using your fingers, gently spread softened butter over the dough, leaving 1” clear on the bottom. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly on top, avoiding the clear strip of dough then, using the parchment paper, gently roll the dough from the top down towards you. Continue to roll the dough into a log using the parchment paper instead of your hands until you reach the bottom. Lightly pinch the seams of the dough together then slice the log into quarters using a sharp knife in one slicing motion vs sawing at the dough. Wipe off knife in between cuts as necessary and/or dip knife in flour blend to prevent sticking. Slice each quarter into thirds for 12 slices total then arrange the slices in the prepared pie plate. Since the dough will be very soft, it helps to use the knife to re-slice and scrape each roll off the parchment paper and into the pan.
- Place rolls somewhere warm to rise until puffy, 30-40 minutes. Again, I use my oven’s “bread proof” setting. During the last 10 minutes of rising time, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for 16-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through.
- Let rolls cool for 15 minutes then make the icing. (If you ice them while they’re too hot they’ll absorb all the icing.) Add ingredients for the icing in a bowl then whisk vigorously until smooth. Spoon icing on top of the rolls then serve. Rolls are best the day they're made but leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and microwaved for 20-25 seconds uncovered to warm back up.
- Be sure to read the post text for helpful photos and tips!
- I have tested this recipe using whole milk, 2% milk, and unsweetened almond milk.
- The consistency of the cinnamon roll dough is like soft play dough so don't be surprised or discouraged when it doesn't look or feel like traditional cinnamon roll dough.
- Don't panic if your rolls don't slice up perfectly - they'll rise and shape up nicely, plus they'll eventually be covered in icing. Again, my biggest tip for successfully slicing the rolls is to make sure the dough isn't rolled too thin.
- You may prepare the rolls a day ahead of time - prepare through step 5 then cover pie pan tightly with saran wrap and refrigerate. The following day, remove saran wrap and place rolls somewhere warm to rise - mine take 1-1/2 hours though yours may take more or less time. Bake and frost according to recipe instructions.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.