It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for — Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls!
If you have to eat gluten free then you know how badly it stinks (pardon my French) to miss out on special treats like warm, sweet cinnamon rolls, especially around the holidays. I love cinnamon rolls so much that I once paid a small fortune to overnight a pan of them from a gluten free bakery in San Francisco and they were horrrrible. Like bricks! These babies are not like bricks!
These homemade gluten free cinnamon rolls are tender, heavily spiced, and dripping with the most insane yet easy icing. They are SUCH a treat — I can’t wait for you to sink your teeth into one/half the pan.
VIDEO: Watch How to Make Them!
Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls Made from Pantry Staples
I can’t decide what I love most — the classic, sweet and cinnamon-y taste of these rolls, or the fact that I can eat them any time I want. It’s a win all around! PLUS, for my dairy-free friends, this recipe can easily be made dairy free by using vegan butter instead of regular butter, and unsweetened almond milk instead of cow’s milk.
Best of all, these cinnamon rolls require zero speciality ingredients like milk powder or xanthan gum, etc. to make. All you need is a high-quality gluten free flour blend (I’ll share my favorite below), plus fridge and pantry staples including egg, sugar, butter, and milk.
Is making gluten free cinnamon rolls a labor of love? Sure. Are the results TOTALLY worth it? Absolutely! There is no better feeling than being able to enjoy something you loved in your pre-gluten-free life in the here and now.
For the Dough:
- Butter: Feel free to use the dairy-free / vegan butter of your choice instead of regular butter.
- Milk: I’ve used everything from whole milk to unsweetened almond milk in the dough with great results.
- Quick rise instant yeast: for that classic cinnamon roll flavor and texture. I like Red Star, which is gluten free.
- Sugar: feeds the yeast in the dough.
- Egg: to help bind the dough together. I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill Powdered Egg Replacer and, while the dough is more on the biscuit side, it works.
- Gluten free baking flour blend: I highly recommend Schar MixIt Universal gluten free flour blend for this recipe. I’ve successfully used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour in this recipe for years, though the dough is softer and not as easy to work with compared to Schar. Whatever blend you use, be sure that it already contains a binder like xanthan gum.
- Baking powder: to help get that nice tall fluffy rise.
- Salt: to balance the flavors in the dough.
For the Filling:
- Sugar: granulated sugar sweetens up the swirly centers of the rolls.
- Cinnamon: can’t have cinnamon rolls without it!
- Butter: again, this can be regular or plant-based butter. No matter what kind you use, it’s important that it’s very, very soft.
For the Icing:
- Butter: some may say cream cheese is the key to the best cinnamon roll icing, but a butter-based icing is my favorite.
- Powdered sugar: to sweeten the icing.
- Vanilla extract: for cozy flavor.
- Hot water: to mix everything together.
No Knead Yeast Dough
YES, these cinnamon rolls contain yeast but, before you start sweating, 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 — gluten free or not.
Best Tips for Making Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
Now, baking regular cinnamon rolls from scratch can be intimidating. Baking gluten free cinnamon rolls can be even more so. That said, after making countless batches of these cinnamon rolls, here are my best notes and tips. Be sure to read the post text for additional helpful tips:
- Fresh ingredients: Make sure your yeast AND baking powder are fresh and not expired, which will affect the successful rise of the rolls.
- Soft texture: 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. Watch the video to see the texture before you get started.
- Don’t roll too thin: Otherwise the rolls will fall apart. This is the #1 thing to keep in mind to successfully getting the rolls in the pan.
- Don’t stress: If your unbaked rolls look hideous, it’s fine! They’ll taste delicious and are going to be slathered in icing anyway. You should have seen my first few batches.
- Want to prep ahead? You can prep these gluten free cinnamon rolls a day ahead of time. Please see the recipe card for timing instructions.’
- Use our recommendations: Your results may vary if you use a different gluten free flour blend than the ones recommended here.
Alrighty – ready to do this?!
Step 1: Combine the Wet Ingredients
Start by microwaving butter or vegan butter in a large glass bowl until melted. Add milk and sugar then microwave for 45-50 seconds. Stir the mixture then take a temperature using an instant-read thermometer — we’re looking for 110 degrees.
TIP: Be sure to stir the milk mixture before taking a temperature to avoid hot or cold spots and get an accurate reading.
Sprinkle in 1 packet quick rise instant yeast then let the mixture sit until foamy, 8 minutes.
TIP: if your mixture does not foam, likely your yeast was old and/or your milk mixture was too hot or not hot enough.
Next add a whisked egg plus more sugar then stir with a spatula to combine.
Step 2: Combine the Dry Ingredients
Add the dry ingredients — gluten free baking flour blend, baking powder, and salt — to a medium-size mixing bowl then whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, stirring until the flour is just combined before adding the next batch.
TIP: The dough will be soft like cookie dough but shouldn’t be incredibly sticky.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl then cover loosely with a tea towel and 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 works too.
Step 3: Spread the Dough Out
Once the dough has doubled in size, scrape it onto a sheet of parchment paper that’s been sprayed with nonstick spray. Spray the dough and your hands with nonstick spray then spread the dough into a rectangle approximately 1/4″ thick — roughly 10×14″.
TIP: the dough will be the consistency of soft play dough, versus stretchy like traditional cinnamon/bread dough.
TIP: don’t spread the dough any thinner than 1/4″ thick or it will fall apart when slicing the cinnamon rolls.
Next, use your fingers or the back of a spoon to spread 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 granulated sugar and 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!
Step 4: Roll then Slice the Dough
Time to roll. Starting at the top, pull the parchment paper down towards you to make the first roll. Continue rolling the dough using the parchment paper instead of your hands until you have one roll left.
At that point, lift the bottom of the parchment paper up so the log sits in the center(ish) of the parchment paper versus the bottom.
Then, gently pinch the seams together to close.
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 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 rise a second time. Mine usually take 30-40 minutes.
Step 5: Bake then Ice the Rolls
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 room temperature butter or vegan butter stirred together with with powdered sugar, hot water, and vanilla extract.
I’ve tried topping these rolls with cream cheese frosting and this simple butter + powdered sugar version knocks it out of the park. It tastes like Cinnabon — or at least, what I remember Cinnabon tasting like!
Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls FAQ
What’s the best gluten free flour blend to use?
- I highly recommend Schar MixIt Universal gluten free flour blend for these gluten free cinnamon rolls. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour Blend also works well, though the dough is very soft. Your results may vary if you use a different gluten free flour blend.
Can you reheat gluten free cinnamon rolls?
- These rolls reheat fabulously. Just microwave a roll on a plate for 20 seconds or so.
Can I make these rolls ahead of time?
- You can prep these rolls up to a day ahead of time. Follow the directions through step 6 then cover the pie pan with saran wrap and refrigerate. The following day, remove the saran wrap then place the rolls somewhere warm to rise — mine can sometimes take up to an hour and a half, though yours may take more or less time. Bake then frost according to recipe directions.
Can you freeze the baked gluten free cinnamon rolls?
- Yes! Cool the cinnamon rolls completely (do not ice) then cover with saran wrap and then a piece of foil and freeze. Thaw fully in the refrigerator on the counter then cover with foil only and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees or until warmed through. Ice according to recipe instructions.
Can I make these gluten free AND vegan?
- 100%! Swap the butter and milk with your favorite plant-based butter and milk. I Country Crock plant-based butter sticks and unsweetened almond milk, respectively. Replace the egg with Bob’s Powdered Egg Replacer. The texture of the baked rolls will be more biscuit-like, but still very delicious.
My dough didn’t rise — can you tell me why?
- If you’re dough did not rise, likely your yeast and/or baking powder were expired. Also be sure to place your dough and rolls in a warm enough spot to rise.
Can I add chopped nuts?
- Sure! Add finely chopped nuts on top of the cinnamon sugar layer before rolling.
I hope this recipe brings you and yours as much joy as it brings to my family and me. Enjoy every last sweet and cinnamon-y crumb!
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Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls (With Video)
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
- 1 packet quick rise instant yeast
- 1 large egg, whisked
- 2-1/2 cups gluten free flour blend WITH binder (Schar MixIt Universal recommend, see notes)
- 2 teaspoons 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
- Read post in its entirety before making.
- 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 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 - kind of like sugar cookie dough. 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. Your dough may not rise if it's not in a warm enough spot.
- 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.
- Leave a comment and star rating if you loved the recipe! Thank you for considering!
- Be sure to read the post text for photos and tips!
- I highly recommend Schar MixIt Universal gluten free flour blend for this recipe. I’ve successfully used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour in this recipe for years, though the dough is softer and not as easy to work with compared to Schar. Whatever blend you use, be sure that it already contains a binder like xanthan gum.
- I have tested this recipe using whole milk, 2% milk, and unsweetened almond milk.
- Make sure your yeast AND baking powder are fresh and not expired, which will affect the successful rise of the rolls.
- The consistency of the cinnamon roll dough is like very soft play dough so don't be surprised or discouraged when it doesn't look or feel like traditional cinnamon roll dough.
- 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.
- 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 6 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.