I usually exchange gifts with a friend around the holidays. She had one simple request. That simple request was to bake her some vegan cinnamon rolls.

I’ve made many things, but not once did I ever consider making cinnamon rolls, let alone vegan cinnamon rolls.

She gave me a recipe she thought I should try and realized the only thing vegan about the cinnamon rolls was the replacement of butter and milk. Luckily, I already consume a milk substitute, but I had to get introduced to vegan butter.

Just to make sure it was strictly vegan and ingredients I know my friend could consume, I asked her to recommend a vegan butter and she chose Earth Balance. Now, I use real butter when I back, so I had never heard of Earth Balance. Thankfully I found it and was ready to get to work.

vegan cinnamon rolls

I’m still new to yeast, so as usual, I was skeptic of my handling of the yeast and kneading. I have a stand mixer with a kneading attachment, but there is beautiful sense of joy when kneading by hand.

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

Skip ahead to the final process, I was concerned they would taste good or I over-baked them. I get a bit nervous when I’m making food for other people. I really need to work on my confidence when it comes to that.

Thankfully, the vegan cinnamon rolls turned out to be perfect. I was a little short on powdered sugar, so they weren’t as packed with icing, but my friend actually enjoyed minimal icing.

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

My first time was a success. I felt so proud of myself, I made an alternate version of the cinnamon rolls…by adding bacon! Yes, I jumped from vegan to full meat. I’ll share that with you in another post.

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls (adapted from Minimalist Baker)

  • 1 packet yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk*
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance (vegan butter), divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups (408 g) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, heat the almond milk and 3 Tbsp Earth Balance until warm and melted (in 20-30 second increments depending on your microwave), never reaching boiling. Remove from heat and let cool to 110 – 115 degrees F. I used a thermometer to keep track of the temperature.
  2. Add yeast and 1 Tbsp of sugar. Gently whisk to combine. Let activate for 10 minutes until foamy.
  3. Next add in flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring as you go (you may not need all of the flour). 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 (do not over knead). Rinse your mixing bowl out, coat it with canola oil, and add your dough back in. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.*
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a thin rectangle. Brush with 3 Tbsp melted Earth Balance and top with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 – 1 Tbsp cinnamon and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Feel free to add more sugar or butter according to your taste.
  5. Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough and situate seam side down. Then with string of floss or sewing thread, 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 – 12 rolls*). Brush with remaining 2 Tbsp Earth Balance (melted) and cover with plastic wrap. Set on top of the oven to let rise again while you preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Once the oven is hot, bake rolls for 20-30 minutes or until slightly golden brown.* Let cool for a few minutes.
  7. Frosting: Combine 1 cup powdered sugar and 1-2 Tbsp almond milk.
  8. Pour frosting over warm vegan cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.

*I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk. You could not taste the vanilla.
*I placed my rolls in a preheated warm oven.
*I ended up with 14 rolls. I stretched the dough to purposely get a couple more.
*Cooking times may vary depending on your oven.

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