I once drove 2 hours before work at 5:30 in the morning in the pitch black just to get a cinnamon roll at an Amish bakery. That’s how much I love cinnamon rolls, and apparently how unwilling I am to make them myself. Go figure.
Why doesn’t anyone make cinnamon rolls? They’re complicated, difficult and time consuming. That’s why.
But these cinnamon rolls are different:
No complex steps
No difficult methods
Practically fool proof
Just straightforward, fluffy, gooey goodness in cinnamon-roll form.
Oh yeah, and they’re vegan. Holy friggin’ delicious.
I was able to keep the ingredients to a minimum by narrowing down what you really need in a cinnamon roll and forgetting the rest. And then I went a step further and tested the true need for “scalding the milk” and letting them rise a second (sometimes third) time.
Turns out? Not necessary. And they turned out JUST AS DELICIOUS as bakery fresh cinnamon rolls. This, my friends, is my new go-to cinnamon roll recipe and it just so happens to require 7 ingredients and one lazy morning’s preparation. Behold, the World’s Easiest Cinnamon Rolls.
When I pulled these beauties out of the oven I was mesmerized. I couldn’t believe how fluffy and perfect they looked despite minimal ingredients and time.
Although a glaze isn’t really necessary or within the 7-ingredient limit, it’s an easy last-minute addition that will send them over the top. In other words, highly recommended for pure cinnamon roll bliss.
Origins of Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon rolls are believed to have originated in Sweden in the 1920s. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that they became popular. In Sweden, they’re commonly served for fika, which is a gathering time that includes a cup of coffee or tea. Sweden even has a National Cinnamon Bun Day. We’re on board for that!
Can I prep these cinnamon rolls the night before?
Yes. Follow through step 5, then refrigerate overnight and let the pan “rise” on top of the oven while the oven is preheating so they don’t get shocked from cold to super hot.
Can I use a different type of milk?
Yes. Most milks should work. Find our recipes for homemade dairy-free milks here.
Can I use dry active yeast?
Yes. Use the same measurements and just let it rise longer until almost doubled in size.
Can I use coconut oil instead of vegan butter?
Coconut oil doesn’t provide the same flavor and fluffiness/tenderness. But it should be okay.
These vegan cinnamon rolls are:
In other words, perfection. Hooray for easy cinnamon rolls, finally!
More Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
The World’s Easiest Cinnamon Rolls
- 3 Tbsp vegan butter* (such as Earth Balance)
- 1 packet instant yeast* (or use rapid-rise yeast // 1 packet yields ~ 2 1/4 tsp)
- 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk*
- 1 Tbsp organic cane sugar*
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour*
- 3 Tbsp vegan butter* (such as Earth balance // melted)
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar*
- 1/2 – 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon (to taste)
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter* (such as Earth balance // melted)
- Simple Powdered Sugar Glaze (see step 8)
- Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- DOUGH: In a large sauce pan (or in a bowl in the microwave at 30-second increments), heat the almond milk and vegan butter until warm and melted, never reaching boiling. Remove from heat and let cool to 110 degrees F (43 C) or the temperature of bath water. It should be warm but not too hot or it will kill the yeast.
- Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle on yeast. Let activate for 10 minutes. Then add 1 Tbsp sugar and the salt and stir.
- Next add in flour 1/2 cup (68 g) at a time, stirring as you go (you may not add it all). The dough will be sticky. When it is too thick to stir, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or so until it forms a loose ball (be careful not to overmix). Rinse your mixing bowl out, coat it with avocado or olive oil, and add your dough ball back in. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size (see photo).
- FILLING: On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a thin rectangle (the thickness of the dough should be about 1/4-inch). Brush with melted vegan butter and top with sugar and desired amount of cinnamon.
- Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough and situate seam side down. Then with a serrated knife or a string of floss, cut the dough into 1.5 – 2 inch sections and position in a well-buttered 8×8-inch square or comparable sized round pan (you should have about 10 rolls as original recipe is written). If preparing the cinnamon rolls the night before, stop here, cover the pan, and refrigerate overnight, then proceed with the next step in the morning.
- TOPPING: Brush with vegan butter (melted) and cover with plastic wrap. Set on top of the oven to let rise again while you preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).
- Once the oven is hot, bake rolls for 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes and then serve immediately.
- Optional: Frost with dairy-free cream cheese frosting or a simple mixture of 1 cup (112 g) organic powdered sugar and 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) almond milk.
- Best when fresh, though they will keep covered at room temperature for ~2-3 days.
- FREEZING: You can make the rolls up to the point of putting in a baking dish (step 5), and instead, freeze them in a freezer-safe container. Then, thaw the night before in the fridge. Once completely thawed, proof covered with a towel in a greased baking dish as your oven preheats, then bake as instructed.
*YEAST: You can use regular or dry active yeast, but it will require more time to let them rise properly.
*MILK: Most milks should work. Find our recipes for homemade dairy-free milks here.
*GLUTEN-FREE: For gluten-free cinnamon rolls, see this recipe.
*I have not tested this recipe with other sweeteners, but it may work! Let me know in the comments if you have success.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without frosting.