The Best Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

August 29, 2019

I guarantee you’ve never had cinnamon rolls like these before. Move over, other cinnamon roll recipes, because these are The BEST Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls. They’re thick, they’re fluffy, they’re sweet, they’re chewy, and they are truly divine. Whether you are gluten-free and have been missing cinnamon rolls, or if you’ve been looking for a healthier version of your favorite treat, I promise that these cinnamon rolls won’t disappoint!

Hi friends! Thank you for your patience as I finally got my act together and tested this recipe a billion times to get it right for you guys. Attempting something like cinnamon rolls can definitely be daunting, especially when you’re going in blind. I tried practically every combination of ingredients in the book, in order to achieve the perfect texture and result. I did it, so you don’t have to!

But here’s the thing – making cinnamon rolls on the regular doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, cinnamon rolls are actually very EASY to make. You just have to realize that, unlike 99% of my recipes, this one doesn’t come together in 10 minutes. I’d give yourself a solid hour or so, to make sure that they turn out perfectly. But the result will be well worth any wait, and once you nail this recipe, it’ll get easier over time!

When made according to the instructions below, these cinnamon rolls taste JUST like Cinnabon! Truly! I have fond memories of loving Cinnabon cinnamon rolls as a kid, and if you did too, then I promise that you will love this recipe as well.

Which leads me to the question of substitutions… unfortunately, I do not recommend making any substitutions in this recipe, if at all possible. Why? Because baking is a science! I spent days playing around with different variations of the ingredients below (as well as trying out different ingredients) to achieve the ideal results. And this, my friends, was the only way to do it! If you do decide to substitute, I can’t guarantee your rolls will turn out the same… or have that same Cinnabon nostalgia. It’s just the way that baking goes, sometimes!

What You Need to Make This Life-Changing and Delicious Recipe

  • Gluten-Free Flour: I use the Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free baking flour in this recipe, and I highly recommend it here! But any 1:1 gluten-free flour should work well in this recipe.
  • Coconut Sugar: I love using coconut sugar, because it gives the perfect amount of sweetness, minus the refined sugars!
  • Unsalted Butter: Real, unsalted butter works perfectly, in this recipe!
  • Non-Dairy Milk: You can use any non-dairy milk you’d like, in this recipe! I use almond milk, but they all work the same. 🙂
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar may seem like a strange ingredient in cinnamon rolls, but there’s a method to this madness! The vinegar helps to achieve the right texture and consistency.
  • Eggs: You’ll need both whole eggs and egg yolks for this recipe. And like I mentioned above, they cannot be substituted for a flax egg or other egg replacement.
  • Rapid / Instant Yeast: Yeast IS gluten-free, and is a necessary component to helping these rolls “proof” – aka, rise!
  • Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract is a “must” for achieving that perfect, bakery flavor. Don’t skip this!
  • Baking Powder: Baking powder will help these cinnamon rolls rise. And who doesn’t want a fluffy cinnamon roll?!
  • Xanthan Gum: Xanthan gum is a binder that helps these rolls hold their fluffy shape. If your 1:1 baking flour already includes xanthan gum, then you can omit this. If not, then add it in. Always check the ingredients on your flour first, because too much xanthan gum will create a gummy texture!
  • Sea Salt: A pinch of sea salt is a necessity in any baked good!
  • Cinnamon: Of course, you need cinnamon in order to make cinnamon rolls!
  • Powdered Sugar: While the rolls themselves are refined sugar-free, we’ll need a little powdered sugar to make the icing. I promise, it won’t hurt, and will make the icing taste absolutely delicious!

Can These Cinnamon Rolls be Made Vegan?

Unfortunately, this recipe cannot be made vegan (trust me, I’ve tried!) While it can be made dairy-free, the eggs are essential to achieving that perfect light and fluffy texture.

If you are looking for a vegan-friendly recipe, however, I just released my Real-Deal Vegan Cinnamon Rolls recipe, and let me tell you, it really is the real deal. This recipe is NOT gluten-free (a gluten-free AND vegan cinnamon roll recipe is much harder to develop than it may sound), however it is vegan and does not include any eggs. Woohoo!

How to Make These Delicious Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

As I mentioned above, making these Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls is a small labor of love. This is not a 10-minute recipe; it takes some time, but I promise, the end result is totally worth it.

This recipe really comes together in three main steps. First, it involves making the dough (aka the cinnamon rolls themselves). Second, it’s about making the delicious, creamy, cinnamon filling. And finally, it’s about making the decadent glaze that we’ll drizzle over the top.

The key to making this recipe PERFECT every time is ensuring that you follow the direction step-by-step. I know that this is probably a given, but with this recipe, it is especially crucial. Even though this recipe is time consuming, trying to cut corners or speed up the process may result in these rolls falling flat. Trust me, I’ve tried!

You may also notice that this recipe includes making your dough in a Kitchenaid stand mixer with a dough hook. This is optional, but highly recommended. It not only makes the process go easier, but it also helps to ensure that your dough reaches the perfect consistency, every time.

If you don’t own a stand mixer, then your next option is to knead the dough by hand. Keep in-mind that this dough is sticky, and you don’t want to add additional flour to the mixture to aid in the stickiness (it’ll make these rolls dense, which we want to avoid!)

How to Prepare These Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls Overnight

If you want to prepare your rolls ahead of time, so they’re nice and fresh to bake in the morning (we LOVE a warm breakfast treat!) then just follow these simple steps while you’re preparing them:

Follow steps 1-10 as directed, laying your pinwheels on the baking dish. Once they’re all laid out, wrap the baking dish in plastic wrap or with a bowl, and set them in the fridge overnight. Then, in the morning, take them out of the fridge and, without uncovering them, let them rise at room-temperature on the counter for 45-60 minutes. Then, follow the baking instructions above. Easy peasy!

Enjoy these gluten free cinnamon rolls and tell all your friends! Tag me on Instagram if you make them, so I can repost!

Dairy Free/gluten-free/Paleo/Refined Sugar Free

GLUTEN FREE CINNAMON ROLLS

4.5 from 2 votes
Nicole Modic
SERVES 12 Cinnamon Rolls
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I guarantee you've never had cinnamon rolls like these before. Move over, other cinnamon roll recipes, because these are The BEST Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls. They're thick, they're fluffy, they're sweet, they're chewy, and they are truly divine. Whether you are gluten-free and have been missing cinnamon rolls, or if you've been looking for a healthier version of your favorite treat, I promise that these cinnamon rolls won't disappoint!

Equipment

Ingredients

FOR THE DOUGH:

  • 3 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (I recommend Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour)
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 packet rapid yeast/instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (NOTE: if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum, you can omit this! The Bob's Red Mill suggestion above DOES contain it, so you are all good if you purchase that one)
  • pinch sea salt

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Warm the non-dairy milk in a small bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute. NOTE: you don't want the milk to be too hot, or it will kill the yeast. I suggest using a thermometer so as not to exceed 110-115 degrees F), but that's up to you!
  • Pour the yeast on top of the milk, and let it sit for a few minutes. It should very slightly begin to bubble/fizz, but in each time I've made this recipe, it's very slight. Don't get alarmed if yours doesn't bubble up. It's all good.
  • After about 2-3 minutes, add the coconut sugar to the bowl with the milk/yeast, and whisk together. Next, add the eggs, melted butter, and apple cider vinegar to the mixture and whisk together. Set bowl aside.
  • Next, add the gluten free flour, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum (if using). Use the dough hook on a kitchen aid mixer and mix for about 5 minutes until a dough forms. If you don't have a kitchen aid / dough hook, no worries, knead the dough with your hands for a few minutes, until a dough forms. The dough will be sticky. Do not add any more flour. Place a damp, warm towel on top of the bowl, and let it sit for 1-1.5 hours so the dough rises (it should double in size).
  • While the dough is rising, prepare the filling ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the softened butter, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
  • Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper. I suggest oiling the inside of the dish first, so that the parchment paper sticks.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, it's time to have some fun. Pour some flour on your surface, and use your hands to form a rectangle with the dough, about 9 inches by 9 inches (the dough should be about 1 inch thick).
  • Spread the filling onto the rectangle, leaving about 1/2 inch from all sides with no filling.
  • Roll the dough tightly into a log shape (I like to roll from the bottom up).
  • Slice the dough into 9 equal pieces. Gently place each piece into the baking dish. There should be no space left in the baking dish.
  • Bake for 25-28 minutes until light golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Prepare the icing by whisking together all ingredients in a small bowl and the drizzling on top of the cinnamon rolls.
  • DEVOUR.
  • Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to one week.
  • To soften, simply microwave for 30 seconds.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see what you made – tag @kalejunkie
in your posts and I’ll re-share!

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    • Hi Shannon, this recipe has only been tested with non dairy milk, so I can’t confirm that dairy milk will work the same! However you are welcome to try it out and report back if it works for you! 🙂

  1. I made these on Christmas Eve, refrigerated uncooked overnight, and baked them Christmas morning. The taste was awesome and even my super picky 5 year old and even pickier Dad ate them up. My only comment is that they were more “grainy” than a gluten-filled one would be. I used Bob’s 1-for-1 Flour with the xantham in it but wondering if I added more to the mix, that might solve the problem? Or if rolling them the night before was the problem? Anyone have any advice? I’ll make them again either way bug would love to perfect them! Thanks!!!

    • Hi Kate! Thank you so much for leaving such a detailed review, and for sharing your experience! In general, gluten-free baked goods vs glutinous baked goods are going to have a different consistency. Even the most esteemed gluten-free bakery is going to have pastries that different from their glutinous counterparts. The gluten protein in wheat is what gives baked goods that light, bouncy, yet held-together texture, so without it, it’s hard to achieve that same texture. This recipe is as close as you can get to the “real” thing! If you’re finding that they’re too grainy for your liking, you can try using a different 1:1 gluten-free flour, or try letting the dough “rest” for about 30 minutes before baking. Hope this helps!

    • Hi Abbie, great question! The post has been updated to include “make ahead” instructions. 🙂

    • Hi Becca! This recipe has not been tested with self-rising flour, so I can’t guarantee the same results.

    • Hi Meg! Not that I know of! However if you do end up trying it, let me know! I hope it works out for you 🙂

  2. Made these for Christmas Eve! I believe the measurements in the instructions for the baking pan should be 9×9 not 9×13?? I realize the instructions say there should be no room left in the pan when placing them in before baking and there was some space left because I used a 9×13. Should have diverted from the instructions at that point. The cinnamon rolls spread quite a bit. They still taste good but I think the pan size was where I went wrong.

  3. Hi!
    Can I assemble these the night before and bake in the morning? (Thinking Christmas Eve 😉
    Also, if I subbed regular sugar do you think they would be too sweet?
    Thanks!
    Helen

  4. 5 stars
    These were SO good and a welcome treat for my celiac boyfriend who hadn’t had cinnamon rolls in ages! I’m a very experienced gluten free baker and followed Nicole’s recipe exactly and they turned out great! For those having any problems I would recommend a) making sure your milk isn’t TOO hot! Even for regular cinnamon rolls, milk that’s too hot can ruin the mixture. b) know that it won’t be like a typical bread dough that’s stretchy! The texture will seem really different and sticky and almost…foamy? But keep going and trust! c) when you’re turning out the dough mixture and shaping into a rectangle and then logs, have PLENTY (more than you’d think!) of flour on your work surface.

    Thanks for this awesome recipe Nicole! ♥️

    • AWESOME!!! I am so happy the recipe turned out perfectly for you! And I really appreciate all of the tips you share for others! Happy Holidays!

  5. 4 stars
    The dough was not workable at all for me, even though I was extra careful to follow the recipe! Very mushy and sticky and no way to form cinnamon rolls out of it! Wonder if I needed to add more of the Bob’s 1:1 flour? Maybe it’s an altitude difference? Definitely going to try again!

  6. Just made the recipe and used the same exact brand flour you recommended be my dough came out a sticky mess after it rested for 2 hours I wasn’t even able to roll it out with my hands 😭. Any suggestions? Could I have added more flour even after letting it rest?

  7. We made these today for the first time and OH MY GOODNESS. They are so good! It’s the first recipe I’ve made from your blog and my celiac husband is so excited to finally have a cinnamon bun that he can eat (and likes). Thank you so much for this!

  8. This is my GO-TO Cinnamon Bun recipe! I saw your IG post and made it with AP flour ( although i find i need at least an extra 1/2 cup – 1 cup of AP flour during the dough making process for it to less sticky to work with) and use regular brown sugar. I also find the dough a little too sticky to knead by hand, so i end up kneading/folding/working the dough in the mixing bowl with my spatula for 5 minutes instead. It is DIVINE. Always a hit and becoming my signature dish for parties!

    I will try it with GF flour next time and see how it fairs… Thank you Nicole for another fantastic recipe 🙂

  9. I followed the recipe to a tee but when I was taking the dough out after letting it set aside, it was so sticky and impossible to roll into the log. Any tips for next time?

    • Yes! Depending on what flour you used, etc., just add more flour until the dough is easier to work with! 🙂

    • Thank you! I used the 1:1 that you suggested for the recipe. Regardless, they came out delicious!!

  10. This is awesome! I am gluten intolerant and love cinnamon rolls! Thank you so much for sharing! I’m also so glad you use coconut sugar! Thanks again!

  11. I have food sensitivity to gluten and a bad one to xanthan gum (all the gums for that matter) is there anything else I could use as a binder? Thank you!

    • Hi, I’ve founds that mixing the same amount of ground flax seed with twice the amount of water works well in place of xanthan gum! So if the recipe calls for 1 tsp of gum, use 1 tsp of ground flax mixed with 2 tsp of water.

    • Hi Stephanie! I’m a chef and food allergies are my expertise 🙂 I love this cinnamon roll recipe!

      Have you tried using psyllium husk? it’s interchangeable with guar gum and xanthan gum….usually use 3x as much psyllium husk as the recipe calls for xanthan gum and you should be fine!

  12. Just finished devouring my first one, and it was amazing! Would these store okay in the freezer or are they best kept in the fridge?

    • Hi! Best kept in the fridge, but you can definitely freeze them and pop them out when ready to eat!

  13. A couple of questions…. Can I use dairy milk? And i don’t have a kitchen aid or dough hook – would kneading be the answer? Thanks!

    • Yes! You can use the dairy milk for sure! And you can knead with your hands for a few minutes, you don’t need the KitchenAid/dough hook. ENJOY!