When I first arrived in the United States, more than two decades ago, it was almost impossible for me to leave a mall without first digging into a cinnabon.
I knew I was not doing my waistline any favors, but honestly, can anyone resist that aroma?
After going vegan I began experimenting with the perfect cinnamon roll recipe, and I found it! This recipe is not just delicious and as good as anything you can buy at a restaurant (or in a strategically placed food court at your local mall), it is better. And what's even more amazing is that it's a super easy recipe you can put together with just a few minutes of hands on work.
Just like those cinnabons, these cinnamon rolls pull you in from the moment that aroma of cinnamon and sugar baking inside a pillowy bun hits the air. I can't think of anything better.
Except, of course, the experience of actually biting into one of these gorgeous beauties.
The easy cinnamon rolls are topped by a delicious vanilla cashew cream glaze that'll leave you licking your fingers. And they're healthier than you think, with olive oil instead of shortening or vegan butter.
I like to make my cinnamon rolls with yeast because they taste the best this way. I often see recipes for vegan cinnamon buns that take under an hour or are made with baking powder, I remain committed to doing this the proper way because I wouldn't trade the perfection of these for an extra hour. Honestly, would you rather have something great, or something that's just okay?
The dough will need a one-hour rise and you will need to let the rolls rise for another 45 minutes to an hour after forming them and before putting them in the oven. Altogether, factor a total of three hours for making these rolls, from start to finish.
Yes! If you want to bake these up for breakfast, prep the dough the night before and let it rise in the refrigerator. That way you'll just need another one-hour rise in the morning and you can bake up your rolls in time to wake everyone up with that amazing cinnamon aroma.
The aquafaba replaces the eggs, and I've had great success with making baked goods using it, like my vegan brioche doughnuts, vegan challah and vegan brioche. It helps makes these rolls even softer and more pillowy, but if you don't want to use it, leave it out and you'll still get a delicious result.
You don't really need any added salt in this recipe because the aquafaba itself, especially if you use storebought, is already salted, and while you want a soupcon of salt in your baked sweet goods, you don't want to overwhelm them. If you don't use aquafaba, add another ¼ tsp of salt to this recipe.
I would be amiss if I didn't tell you that Jay absolutely went bonkers for these cinnamon rolls. He wanted to eat them all at one sitting. But, sadly for him, so did I.
Better luck next time, son!
Looking for more vegan breakfast recipes?
- Blueberry Sourdough Pancakes
- Apple Pie Pull-Apart Bread
- Orange Almond Breakfast Loaf
- Vegan Orange Rolls
- Whole Wheat Maple Sourdough Rolls
- Vegan Cinnamon Cake
Vegan Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
For Cinnamon Buns:
- 2 ¼ tsp (1 package) active dry yeast
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- ¼ cup almond or other nondairy milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup aquafaba
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 ½ to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
For the filling:
- 1 tbsp powdered cinnamon
- ½ cup lightly roasted, finely chopped walnuts
- ½ cup sugar, turbinado or cane
For the vanilla cashew cream glaze:
- ½ cup raw cashews
- ⅓- ½ cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Mix the yeast with the water, almond milk and sugar in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let it stand for five minutes so the yeast can flower.
- Add the aquafaba and olive oil and mix it in. Now add 2 cups of all purpose flour and mix by hand or on medium-low speed in the mixer until everything is incorporated. Slowly, add more flour, half a cup at a time, until you get a smooth, supple dough. I needed a total of about 3 ½ cups on a humid day.
- Continue to knead for a couple of minutes, by hand or on low speed in the stand mixer.
- Remove the dough to a bowl sprayed with oil and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. (I leave it in the unheated oven with the light on).
- When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and roll it into a rectangle on a floured surface, 15 inches in length and 9 inches in width.
- Mix the filling ingredients in a small bowl: sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Sprinkle them evenly over the surface of the dough.
- Start rolling up the dough as tightly as possible along the longer seam, so you have a 15-inch cylinder.
- Cut the roll at 1-inch intervals, making 15 individual rolls.
- Spray a 9 X 12 inch pan with some oil. Place the rolls side by side.
- Set the rolls aside, again in a warm place, for about 45-60 minutes.
- A few minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (if your rolls are rising in the oven, be sure you take them out before you preheat!)
- Bake the rolls for 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove and place on a rack to cool slightly before drizzling the glaze on.
Make the glaze:
- Place all ingredients in a blender with ½ cup water and blend until very smooth. Try and make the glaze at least half an hour before you glaze the cinnamon buns to let it thicken a little.
- Drizzle or brush on the glaze over still-warm rolls.