After years of testing, I have come up with the ultimate healthy & vegan cinnamon roll recipe. It's extremely soft and fluffy with a gooey center, and yet it has no dairy or eggs. These rolls pack in more fiber and healthy fats than the average kind but still taste incredible.
I've created so many cinnamon roll recipes, from pumpkin to oatmeal to cookies. But recently it occurred to me that I should probably put up a basic recipe. Just the classic healthy vegan cinnamon rolls. I'm really surprised I don't already have one (until now of course)!
Cinnamon rolls are my favorite dessert without a question, and my love for them only increases each time I make them. They're soft and fluffy with a gooey center and sweet cinnamon filling. It's just the perfect combination!
I don't think I have ever called one of my recipes "the best" because I know this claim carries a lot of weight. I'm not saying that I'm not proud of my other recipes, but I truly believe that this one is the best.
I only say this because I have tried dozens of disappointing healthy cinnamon roll recipes on the internet. They all end up being too dry or not sweet or bland, even the ones with good reviews. In the opinion of me and my family, this recipe beats them all by far and I know you will enjoy it too 🙂
If you don't have time to read or make this now, be sure to click here to save the recipe on Pinterest!📌that way, you can always come back to it🥰
This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you make a purchase through them, at no additional cost to you. These funds help me keep this blog running for free! Please note that I only recommend tools that I personally use and love and I always have my reader’s best interest at heart.
MAKING THE DOUGH
Making the dough is the thing that turns people away from making bread or rolls…but it’s really not that complicated! The most important thing is that you’re using the right ingredients, and each provides it’s own necessary quality.
HOW TO MAKE SUPER FLUFFY + HIGH FIBER ROLLS
Traditionally, cinnamon/bread rolls/bread in general are made with all purpose, or white flour. This flour is refined but soft and will result in a light and fluffy texture and taste. There really is nothing else like it.
Many people use white whole wheat flour instead of all purpose, because it’s higher in fiber, keeps you full for longer, and spikes your blood sugar less. Although it may seem like it, the “white” in the name does NOT mean that it’s refined. Rather, it’s made with a different variety of wheat than the traditional, giving it a lighter taste and texture with the same health benefits of regular flour. It is harder to come across, but you can find it easily online (this brand is my favorite!)
White whole wheat flour is a great substitute for regular whole wheat and you can get pretty much the exact results you’re looking for when making things like muffins, brownies, or cookies. But for bread, it’s a different story. Bread’s purpose is to be light and fluffy, so it’s really obvious when the texture isn’t quite right. So, we’re going to combine all purpose flour with white whole wheat!
This way, you’re getting the fluffy texture of the white flour, plus the nutritional benefits of the whole wheat flour. And honestly? You can’t even tell that the whole wheat flour is there (remember, we’re using the lighter variety!). Be sure that your all-purpose flour is unbleached like this one, for obvious reasons 😉
We’re also going to be including flaxseed meal, for more fiber, protein, healthy fats, and omega 3 fatty acids 🙂 It’s one of my favorite ingredients of all time, and for a good reason. In case you’re not familiar, flaxseed meal is literally just flax seeds that are ground into a fine powder. They’re often used as a vegan egg replacement, but the uses don’t stop there! They are absolutely perfect to use in these rolls 🙂
The reason this high-fiber ingredient works instead of just adding more whole wheat flour is because of the fat content. While it may seem like a dry ingredient, flaxseed meal actually adds more moisture and doesn’t dry out the dough like flour does. So you just made your bread healthier AND more delicious!🥳
And one more thing I want to mention: the type of flaxseed meal you buy makes a huge difference. I actually didn’t think so at first, until I tried this brand and it really turned out so much better. It’s ground much finer, and contains more moisture–just what we need.
ingredients for healthy vegan cinnamon rolls
Besides the flour subs, there are plenty of other swaps to make these rolls both healthy and delicious.
Although many cinnamon roll recipes have eggs, it’s very common to find eggless cinnamon/roll recipes. The harder part to making this vegan is replacing the dairy.
But it’s actually pretty simple! For the milk, I used oat milk—it’s my favorite plant milk and the one I recommend, but you can also use almond, soy, or whatever your favorite vegan milk is.
As for the butter, we’re using unsweetened applesauce and avocado oil. These will add the richness and moisture that butter would, but with more nutritional value, and no dairy.
Unsweetened applesauce has all the nutrients of apples (because it really is just grated apples) like fiber, potassium, and a variety of vitamins. It also adds a hint of natural sweetness—just make sure you get an unsweetened variety like this one, as many have added sugars and other weird ingredients.
Avocado oil is my favorite oil to use (apart from sesame oil, but that’s more for cooking than desserts😂), for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s got many health benefits similar to olive oil, like omega 3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats. Unlike olive oil, however, avocado oil has a neutral taste and you won’t be able to tell it’s there.
There are other neutral oils like canola and vegetable oil, but those are usually genetically modified and chemically processed, while avocado oil is not. You can buy some here—it’s a pretty good deal for the size 🙂
Instead of white refined sugar, we’re using maple syrup. While yes, it’s still sugar, it’s unrefined and natural. It also contains some antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and has a lower glycemic index. Make sure you are getting pure maple syrup and not maple-flavored syrup!
how to use yeast + troubleshooting
Many people fear using yeast to make bread/rolls, but it’s really not that complicated! Really the only thing you have to pay attention to is the temperature of the milk.
A lot of people use a thermometer to make sure the temperature of the milk/water is right, but in all honesty? It’s really not necessary! I’ve baked with yeast more times than I can count, I’ve never used a thermometer, and it’s worked every time.
The temperature should be slightly warmer than room temperature, but not hot. The yeast will deactivate if it’s too hot or too cold, but there is a pretty large temperature range so it’s hard to get wrong.
You’ll know when your yeast is deactivated because it’ll look exactly the same as how it started. When your yeast activates, it’ll get a strong smell (kind of like bread), and it’ll foam. Here’s the before and after pics:
This usually takes 5-10 minutes. If you’re not seeing or smelling any difference after 5 minutes, it probably never will. If there is still no difference after 10 minutes, the yeast have been killed and you can’t use it (even if you fix the temperature). When this happens, you’ll have to start over. However, it will work as long as you make sure it’s slightly warmer than room temperature.
This recipe calls for active dry yeast. I like to buy it in a container like this one since I use it pretty often, but you can get it in packets too if this is a one-time thing.
more ways to make healthy vegan cinnamon rolls
I love variations, so here are some of my favorite ways to eat cinnamon rolls!
Ready within minutes & yeast free: Microwave Cinnamon Rolls
Quick, gluten free, paleo: Cinnamon Roll Cookies
For breakfast & gluten free: Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal
Extra veggies: Zucchini Cinnamon Rolls
For autumn: Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls
Other flavors: Matcha Chocolate Rolls and Heart-Shaped Strawberry & Chocolate Rolls
>>> Click here to save the recipe on Pinterest so you can always come back to it!📌
I really hope you like this recipe! If you decide to make it, be sure to post a picture/story and tag me @nutritiousdelights on Instagram–I’d love to see!💕
Also, don’t forget to leave a comment if you make this so everyone knows how it goes 🙂 You can also feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about the recipe!🥰
More recipes you might love:
Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal (Vegan, Healthy, Gluten Free)
The Best Healthy & Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup warm oat milk or other nondairy milk
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 ½ teaspoon active dry or instant yeast or 1 packet
- 1 ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup avocado oil or other neutral oil
- ⅓ cup flaxseed meal optional
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
- 3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 tablespoons avocado oil or other neutral oil
- ½ cup cane sugar or other granulated sweetener
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- powdered sugar
- oat/plant milk
- In a large bowl, heat the milk until it is just warmer than room temperature–be sure it's not too hot. Mix in the maple syrup. Add the yeast and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it "blooms" or activates and becomes bubbly/foamy.
- Whisk in the applesauce, avocado oil, and flaxseed meal. Once fully combined, fold in the white whole wheat flour and all but ¾ c of the all-purpose flour. Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm place to rise for an hour.
- Once the dough is done rising it should be about double in size. Fold in the rest (¾ c) of the all-purpose flour, then baking powder and salt, then transfer to a floured surface. Use more flour as needed (about 6 tablespoons or more) to knead. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. Do NOT keep adding flour until the dough is dry; only add flour if it is really sticking to the counter/surface. Divide the dough in two.
- Make sure the surface is well-floured so it doesn't stick, then roll each dough (make sure your rolling pin is floured too). Roll until it is about ½" thick. Cut off the edges to make them super clean. You can use the scraps to make more later. This is optional, but it will result in the best-looking rolls. For the filling, brush on the avocado oil then sprinkle on the cinnamon and sugar. Spread it out evenly.
- Prepare a baking tray with oil spray. They will not all fit in one pan so you can either use multiple or do multiple rounds. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You can roll and cut the traditional way, but I find this method much easier and has a better-looking result: Cut the dough while it's flat, about 1" thick slices. Roll each slice individually and transfer to the prepared pan.
- Bake for about 8 minutes. While they're baking, make icing with powdered sugar and a splash of plant milk. Serve warm with the icing or alone. If you aren't planning to finish them on the first or second day, freeze as soon as it cools, and microwave to reheat.
Can ignore baking powder??
I wouldn't! Baking powder is important to the fluffiness and rise of the cinnamon rolls.
These are so amazing. They were a hit with my wife and with our kids! Thank you so much!
thank you Raven! I'm so glad you enjoyed them💗