Gluten free cinnamon rolls don’t need to be disappointing or difficult. This recipe is easy. Yep, easy gluten free cinnamon rolls that taste amazing. They are warm, soft, and don’t taste like sawdust! They are dairy free and egg free, making them a delicious vegan cinnamon roll recipe, too.
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Isn’t it a beautiful thing how food can bring us back to moments in time?
Cinnamon rolls do that for me.
They bring me back to a Christmas morning when I was a kid. They bring back the warm memories, full of love and laughter.
…I can feel my mom’s velvety-robe-clad arms holding me.
…I can feel the excitement of waiting to open presents.
…I can feel the sleeplessness from staying up most the night with my two sisters.
Ahhh, do cinnamon rolls invoke memories in you?
I do have another cinnamon roll memory…a gluten-free cinnamon roll memory.
That one isn’t good.
The cinnamon rolls were heavy and dry. They fell apart in your mouth, but in the worst kind of way.
And I can tell you nothing that happened that day.
I just remember those bad gluten-free cinnamon rolls.
(Just in case you think I’m being rude about someone’s baking, I did it to myself. I sadly made them).
But don’t worry! I’m not showing you how to make those cinnamon rolls. These easy gluten-free cinnamon rolls, oh, these ones make good memories. These cinnamon rolls are soft, fluffy, warm to your toes, and are now my go-to for holidays and birthdays (and sometimes just for funsies).
And did you catch that they’re easy? No kneading or double proofing, and only it only takes a handful of ingredients.
And did I mention they’re dairy free, gluten free, and vegan cinnamon rolls?
Yeah. They’re practically magic.
Tips for Easy Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
- Since you’re not using wheat, you’ll need to add xanthan gum to help bind the dough together and give it that soft chewiness. The gum is best when you beat it for 2-3 minutes. I recommend using a kitchen mixer for best results (a hand held one on low will work for this).
- Use a silicone mat or parchment paper. There’s no way around it, really. You need it to be able to roll up the sticky dough.
- This gluten free dough is sticky so it takes some getting used to. Sticky is really good for gluten free dough. If you’ve had a hard gluten free cinnamon roll it is because there is too much flour in it (think about cold rice and how that texture feels, because that’s essentially what you’re creating by packing in rice flour).
You want to use enough flour when pressing out the dough so that is doesn’t stick to the silicone mat, but not so much flour that it looks like it got caught in a blizzard. And keep the flour on the outside of the roll instead of in the dough itself (try not to knead it in).
- Only press out the dough to 1/2 an inch at the thinnest. If it’s too thin it will easily fall apart when you try to roll it up. No bueno.
What type of flour should you use?
I recommend using a rice based gluten free flour blend. If you want to buy your own blend, this is one of my favorites.
My favorite and reliable baking flour is one I make myself. It’s much cheaper than buying a pre-made blend, too. Win-win.
Fly over to this post really quick to make the best gluten free flour blend.
Related post: Simple and inexpensive gluten free flour blend
Whatever you do, you’ll want to steer clear of any flour that uses garbanzo beans in it. It just adds a weird flavor. Trust me.
How to make these easy gluten free cinnamon rolls ahead of time
These gluten free cinnamon rolls can be made ahead of time multiple ways.
To freeze them, bake them fully and add frosting. The day before you plan to eat them, thaw them in the fridge overnight. Then bake them at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until they’re warm in the middle.
You can keep them frozen up to 3 months.
To make them the night before, complete the dough rolls, but don’t bake them yet. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and let the rolls sit on the counter for 20-30 minutes. Bake normally for 25-30 minutes and then cover with icing.
If you’d like more make-ahead breakfasts, you can grab this FREE 7-day breakfast recipe download.
It’s perfect to download onto your phone for quick access. You’ll get recipes like:
- Chocolate cherry oatmeal bake
- Sneaky-veggie hash browns
- Easy blender pancakes
Enough chit chat, let’s make the softest gluten free, vegan cinnamon rolls ever!
*NOTE: This recipe is UPDATED. After comments about wet, unroll-able dough, I compared notes with my recipe and the post. The measurement for water read 1 3/4 cup instead of 1 1/4 cup. It should be 1 1/4 cup water. I am so sorry for those of you who tried this recipe and were unable to get it to press out properly. It is now correct. The dough is still very sticky, but it is MUCH better to work with when it’s the proper measurements. If your dough is NOT sticky, increase the water by 1/4 cup until the dough looks like a thick batter.
Softest Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
Gluten free cinnamon rolls don't need to be disappointing or difficult. This recipe is easy. Yep--easy gluten free cinnamon rolls that taste amazing. They are fluffy, slightly chewy, and they don't taste like sawdust! They can easily be made dairy free and are also egg free, making them a delicious vegan cinnamon roll recipe, too.
Dry Ingredients for Dough
- 2 1/2 cups gluten free flour
- 1/4 cup coconut or cane sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (extra, even if your flour contains it)
Yeast Mixture Ingredients
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
- 1 Tablespoon cane sugar or honey
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
Wet Ingredients for Dough
Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
- 1/3 cup coconut or cane sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- optional: 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, vegan butter, or real butter
- 1/4-1/2 cup extra gluten free flour to roll out the dough
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup softened coconut oil, vegan butter, or real butter
- 2 Tablespoons-1/4 cup milk of choice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: 4 oz softened cream cheese
To make the dough
- In a measuring glass combine warm water and cane sugar, stirring to combine. Add in the yeast, stir together briefly, and let it sit until it's foamy (5-7 minutes).
- In the bowl of a mixer (a hand mixer will also work), combine the flour, coconut or cane sugar, salt, and xanthan gum.
- When yeast mixture is frothy, pour it into the dry mix and add the 1/4 cup of oil.
- Turn the mixer on low, scraping down the sides as needed. Increase the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 3 minutes.
- If the batter is dry and crumbly, add another 1/4 cup of water. The dough should look like a really thick batter and yet hold together in a ball when scraped down.
- Scrape the dough into a ball in the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tight-weave towel. Place it in a warm spot to rise for 25-30 minutes.
- While dough is rising, prepare the pan by greasing it lightly with coconut oil. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
To fill the gluten free cinnamon rolls
- Mix together the 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, and optional nutmeg.
- On parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, sprinkle a 1/4 cup of gluten free flour. (I'm talking one good 1/4 cup). Scoop the cinnamon roll dough onto the flour and sprinkle the top and sides generously with another 1/4 cup of starch or flour. The dough is very sticky and not like a wheat based dough that you can knead. Nope. This will be more like a thick batter. So use that extra flour!
- With flour on your hands, gently roll the dough into a ball, pressing the flour into the sides so it becomes less sticky.
- Use your floured hands to press the dough into a rectangle that is about 1/2-3/4 of an inch thick. Mine is almost the size of my baking silicone mat.
- To fill the dough, use a spoon to get small blobs of coconut oil and evenly distribute them all over the dough (leave about a half an inch around the edges to the filling doesn't pour out). If using butter, you can shred it and sprinkle it over the dough, or soften it and use the "small blob" method 😉
- Generously sprinkle all of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the oil , once again leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge.
Making the rolls
- Here comes the only slightly tricky part. With the dough rectangle horizontal (longest side parallel to you), roll the dough starting from the side closest to you. Use the silicone mat or parchment paper to start the roll tightly, and then continue rolling with the parchment paper, very similarly to rolling up sushi. Don't roll the parchment paper or mat inside the cinnamon roll. Just use it by rolling from the bottom up. If it starts to stick at all, put extra flour or starch on the bottom and press it in with a spatula.
- Cut the roll in half with a sharp knife dipped in flour or starch (wipe it in between each cut). Then cut each half in half again. Now divide each quarter into three rolls. Place the rolls tightly together in the prepared pan.
- If you are waiting to bake the cinnamon rolls until the morning, go ahead and wrap them in plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
- To bake immediately, place place them uncovered in the preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.
To ice them
- While the cinnamon rolls cool slightly, make the frosting by whipping the softened oil or butter until it's creamy. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of the milk. Slowly mix it together, scraping down the sides as needed. Then increase the speed to medium high for 30 seconds. Add more milk if needed.
- Pour frosting over the top of the warm cinnamon rolls and serve.
Note: To make a cream cheese frosting, replace oil with softened cream cheese (this is not dairy free).
These gluten free cinnamon rolls can be made ahead of time multiple ways.
To freeze them, bake them fully and add frosting. The day before you plan to eat them, thaw them in the fridge overnight. Then bake them at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until they're warm in the middle.
To make them the night before, complete the dough rolls, but don't bake them yet. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and let the rolls sit on the counter for 20-30 minutes. Bake normally for 25-30 minutes and then cover with icing.
For a healthier frosting option, use 8 oz cream cheese (vegan cream cheese will also work) at room temperature. Whip it until creamy and then add in a teaspoon of vanilla and 1/4 cup of maple syrup (more to taste). Add 1-2 Tablespoons of milk for a lighter consistency.
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