Make gluten-free cinnamon rolls with this simple recipe. They’re sweet, soft and come together quickly. No stand mixer required! They’re the perfect addition to a holiday or weekend brunch.
I got so many questions asking if my regular cinnamon rolls could be made gluten-free, so I thought it was time to take a stab at making gluten-free cinnamon rolls!
I was definitely intimidated at first and assumed that I could just swap the all-purpose flour in my classic cinnamon rolls recipe with gluten-free all-purpose flour. I was wrong because my first attempt was a failure! After some research and recipe tweaking I came up with this specific gluten-free cinnamon roll recipe.
I had never had or made gluten-free cinnamon rolls before so I was pleasantly surprised at how these turned out! They’re delicious and even without the gluten they’re still soft, fluffy and loaded with cinnamon-sugar goodness. And the best part is that you don’t need a stand mixer to make this recipe! The gluten-free dough is much more delicate and soft so you just have to mix the dough by hand, let it rise and bake!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
They taste just like regular cinnamon rolls, but are gluten-free!
milk – we’re mixing the yeast into warm milk until it dissolves. You want to make sure your milk is warm but not hot (around 105°–115°F) otherwise it could kill off the yeast! I like using almond milk, but whole milk and 2% milk will also work.
granulated sugar – helps to activate the yeast. Cane sugar works as well.
eggs – helps the dough rise. Make sure you’re using room-temperature eggs!
butter – for the dough and cinnamon sugar filling. I used unsalted butter, but salted butter will work as well!
flour – I recommend using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free baking flour for these cinnamon rolls. Not all gluten-free flours will work for this recipe as you need to make sure your flour contains xanthan gum. See below for some additional gluten-free flour suggestions.
sea salt – to bring all the flavors together.
baking powder – helps the dough rise.
brown sugar – we’re mixing this with the cinnamon to make a cinnamon-sugar filling.
ground cinnamon – you can’t have cinnamon rolls without the cinnamon!
cream cheese frosting – we’re using a healthier cream cheese frosting for this recipe made with 4 simple ingredients: cream cheese, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
Best Gluten-Free Flour to Use
There are many different types of gluten-free flour, but not all of them will work well for gluten-free cinnamon rolls. For the best results, I recommend using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free baking flour, which is what I used to test these cinnamon rolls, but if you have another favorite gluten-free flour you prefer just make sure it contains xanthan gum. This ingredient is important in gluten-free baking because it helps to bind the ingredients together. It’s especially important in recipes like cinnamon rolls, where you want a dough that is easy to work with and doesn’t fall apart. The xantham gum not only helps to bind the flour together but also gives the cinnamon rolls a more traditional texture.
Combine yeast & milk: Stir yeast and 1 Tablespoon of sugar into warm milk until dissolved. Let the mixture set until you see bubbles, 5-8 minutes.
Make dough: By hand, whisk together eggs, melted butter and remaining sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture and whisk to combine. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until a nice dough forms. The dough should be soft, but not too sticky.
Let dough rise: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a warm towel and set in a warm spot in the kitchen. Let the dough rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in volume. Time will depend on how warm your house is.
Make filling & prepare pan: While dough is rising you can make your cinnamon sugar filling. Stir together brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Then, grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish or a round 9.5-inch pan with butter.
Roll out dough: Once the dough has doubled in size, roll out a large sheet of parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Lightly oil your hands and spread the dough onto the parchment paper. With a rolling pin roll dough into roughly a 14 x 10-inch rectangle. Don’t press the dough too thin!
Spread cinnamon sugar filling: Spread softened butter on the dough with your fingers or a knife and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture onto the butter. Starting at the top, roll the dough toward you into a large log, using the parchment paper to help roll, moving back and forth down the line of dough (in a “typewriter” motion) and always rolling toward you. Roll it tightly as you go so the rolls will be nice and neat.
Cut rolls: When it’s all rolled, pinch the seam closed and cut roll crosswise into 12 1-inch-thick pieces using a sharp knife (cut down in one motion vs sawing the dough). Wipe off the knife in between each cut to prevent the dough from sticking.
Let rolls rise: Place rolls on a prepared baking pan. Cover, and place in a warm place again for 45-60 minutes, until they rise and puff up.
Bake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cinnamon rolls for 16-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through. Do not over-bake!
Make frosting: While cinnamon rolls are cooling, make cream cheese frosting by adding cream cheese, greek yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, whip all the ingredients together until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer.
Serve & enjoy: Spread frosting over warm cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.
Tips For Success
Make sure flour has xantham gum. Make sure the gluten-free flour you’re using contains either xanthan gum. This will help keep the rolls from falling apart and give that traditional gooey texture we all love.
Don’t overheat your milk. You want your milk to be warm to the touch, but not hot. It should be around 105°–115°F. If it’s not warm enough the yeast might not activate and if it’s too hot it could kill off the yeast! If it gets too hot you can let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to cool down.
Use fresh yeast. Always use fresh yeast. When activating the yeast in the warm milk make sure it bubbles up a little otherwise your yeast might be old and you might need to start over.
Use softened butter. For the filling, make sure you’re using softened butter and not melted butter otherwise the cinnamon sugar filling might leak out and get messy before baking! If your butter is too hard you can soften it in 5-second increments in the microwave. Just make sure to not melt it fully!
Use room-temperature eggs. Make sure you’re using room-temperature eggs. If it’s too cold it could affect the butter or yeast!
Grease bowl for dough to rise. Make sure to grease the bowl and pan that you are letting your cinnamon rolls rise in. As the dough rises, it could stick to the dish and tear instead of rising.
Use parchment paper for rolling dough. This dough is very delicate, so when rolling the dough out I recommend first putting a piece of parchment paper down and rolling the dough out on the parchment paper versus straight on your counter.
Use a serrated knife when cutting the rolls. It makes all the difference, trust me! You can also use plain dental floss to cut the rolls.
What to Serve With Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls
These gluten-free cinnamon rolls would be the perfect addition for Christmas morning or Easter brunch. Here’s what I would serve them with:
Kale and Feta Crustless Quiche – I love pairing sweet and savory for brunch and this kale and feta crustless quiche is one of my favorites for brunch.
Fruit Salad – Fruit is always a good brunch option. I love this simple mixed berry fruit salad.
Pumpkin Spice Latte – Definitely have to serve cinnamon rolls with some sort of coffee to sip on and this pumpkin spice latte is so delicious! If you’re looking for a chilled option, this cold brew coffee would be perfect.
Mimosas – To round out this special brunch, I would serve these cinnamon rolls with mimosas (or just orange juice while pregnant)! I also have a peach bellini recipe if that’s more your thing!
How to Store Leftovers
Make sure the cinnamon rolls are cooled completely and then store in an airtight sealed container for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Reheat leftovers in the oven, toaster oven or in the microwave for 30-40 seconds.
You can also store these cinnamon rolls in the freezer for 1-2 months. Make sure they are stored in a freezer-safe container and covered tightly. I’ve found it’s best to freeze them without the frosting and add that once you’ve reheated them. When ready to enjoy, thaw the cinnamon rolls and heat in the microwave or toaster oven until warm.
Why did my gluten-free cinnamon rolls turn out dry?
There are a few reasons that your cinnamon rolls might have turned out dry. One possibility is that you used too little liquid in your dough or that the rolls got overcooked causing the moisture to evaporate. It could also be the type of flour you used. If you use gluten-free flour without a type of binding agent you may end up with dry or crumbly cinnamon rolls.
How can I make my dough rise faster?
First, make sure you’re letting your dough rise in a warm location in your house. But if you’re in a rush and want your dough to rise faster there are a few things you can do to try and speed up the process. If you have a bread-proofing option on your oven you can turn that on and place your dough in the oven covered. Another option is to wet a kitchen towel with hot water, ring it out and then place it over the plastic wrap. This will add more warmth to the dough and help it to rise faster.
Why did my rolls not rise?
There are many reasons why your rolls might not have risen. Your yeast could be older, the milk could have been too hot, killing off the yeast or it might not have been warm enough, causing the yeast to not activate. Also, if your house is cooler, the rolls might need more time to rise. Make sure you’re letting the cinnamon rolls rise in a warm place.
Can I use a different frosting?
Yes, totally! I like using my healthy cream cheese frosting on these rolls, but feel free to change up the glaze/frosting if you prefer! I also like making a glaze by whisking together 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 Tablespoons of almond milk.
How can I make these vegan?
I haven’t tried making this recipe vegan and I’m not sure how it would turn out because the eggs are needed to help bind all the ingredients together. If you’re looking for a vegan cinnamon roll recipe, I recommend making my vegan cinnamon rolls recipe instead. I also have a vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls recipe if you’re looking to switch things up with a pumpkin version.
Can I use instant yeast for this recipe?
Instant yeast should work just fine in this recipe, but I haven’t tested it. It won’t need to be dissolved in the warm milk (or “proofed”) and can be mixed directly into your dry ingredients. That said, I prefer to activate my yeast first to make sure it’s good and not old, which could affect the rolls rising.
If you haven’t already melt your butter and set aside to cool.
Heat milk in a saucepan or in the microwave (about 50-60 seconds) until warm, but not hot. Around (105°–115°F). Make sure milk isn’t too cold otherwise it won’t activate your yeast, but if it’s too hot it’ll kill the yeast!
Add 1 Tablespoon of sugar to the milk and stir to combine. Pour yeast on top and let mixture stand until it bubbles, about 5-8 minutes.
By hand, whisk together eggs, melted and cooled butter and remaining sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour in yeast mixture and whisk to combine.
In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder.
Add dry ingredients to liquid mixture and stir until combined and dough forms. Dough will be soft, but shouldn’t be too sticky.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a warm towel and set in a warm spot in your kitchen. Let rise 1-2 hours, or until doubled in volume. Time will depend on how warm your house is. You can also use your “bread proof” setting on your oven or set your oven to the lowest temperature and heat for 1-2 minutes, turn oven off and add covered bowl to oven to let dough rise.
While dough is rising, make cinnamon sugar filling by stirring together brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan or round 9.5-inch pie pan with butter.
Once dough has doubled in size, roll out a large sheet of parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Lightly oil your hands and spread the dough onto the parchment paper. Roll dough with a rolling pin into roughly 14 x 10-inch rectangle. Do not press the dough too thin!
Spread softened butter onto dough with your fingers then sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over butter. Press down slightly to ensure the cinnamon sugar mixture sticks to the butter.
Starting at the top, roll the dough toward you into a large log, using the parchment paper to help roll, moving back and forth down the line of dough (in a “typewriter” motion) and always rolling toward you. Roll it tightly as you go so the rolls will be nice and neat.
When it’s all rolled, pinch the seam closed and cut roll crosswise into 12 1-inch-thick pieces using a sharp knife (cut down in one motion vs sawing the dough). Wipe off knife in between each cut to prevent the dough from sticking.
Place rolls on prepared baking pan. Cover, and place in warm place again for 45-60 minutes, until they rise and puff up.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cinnamon rolls for 16-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through. Do not overbake!
While cinnamon rolls are cooling, make cream cheese frosting by adding cream cheese, greek yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, whip all the ingredients together until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer.
Spread frosting over warm cinnamon rolls and serve.