Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

Just pretend you’re sitting down at a table with freshly baked Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls featuring tender, baked, diced apples throughout and a delicate drizzle of icing on top. Not only is it possible, but you can also make this recipe with easy step-by-step instructions!

An apple cinnamon roll sits on a plate in front of another one on a plate in the background. There are two apples in the background.

There’s nothing like some vegan cinnamon rolls for breakfast. But adding a special filling and diced apples? That makes it even better!

I love taking a traditional recipe and transforming it into something magical.

Several apples sit on a wooden table.

Best Apples for Apple Cinnamon Rolls

You can use your favorite apple for the filling, but I prefer using honey crisp apples because they’re a perfect blend between crisp, sweet, and tart. A tart apple like granny smith will work fine here, too. If you use apple pie filling, be sure to cut the apple pieces into smaller bits and minimize the amount of the gooey filling, because it makes it difficult to roll the dough.

Key Ingredients

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Flax egg — I prefer using a flax egg, but you can substitute a chia egg or even 1/4 cup of applesauce.
  • Soy milk — You can substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
  • Vegan butter — Use either vegan butter or you can substitute a neutral oil, like melted refined coconut oil.
  • Flour — I prefer using bread flour to make these cinnamon rolls soft and tender.
  • Sugar — This recipe uses both granulated (for the dough) and brown sugar (for the filling).
  • Yeast — You’ll need one packet of yeast, either active or instant.
  • Apples — Adding diced apples to the filling
  • Vegan Cream Cheese — I typically use either Tofutti’s or Daiya vegan cream cheese, which can be found in the health food section of many grocery stores or in health food stores.

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Bread flour has a higher protein content, making these rolls oh-so soft and tender
  • Adding diced apples to the filling creates bites of tender baked apples throughout each roll
  • A bit of cornstarch added to the filling helps bind the filling, making up for the added moisutre from the apples
  • A tangy cream cheese frosting is the perfect finishing touch to these breakfast rolls.

How to Make Apple Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Melt milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl then add the flax egg and stir.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, yeast.
  3. Stir in the milk mixture until a soft dough forms.
  4. Knead the dough for several minutes.
  5. Cover and set it aside to rest, for around 30 minutes.
  6. Use a rolling pin to flatten out the rested dough to a 16″ x 12″ shape.
  7. Spread softened butter across the dough.
  8. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Sprinkle this over the butter.
  9. Add the diced apple pieces evenly across the top.
  10. Roll the dough tightly, then pinch seam.
  11. Slice the rolls and place them into a greased pan. Cover and set aside to rise in a warm, draft-free area about an hour.
  12. Once sufficiently risen, bake the rolls 24 to 26 minutes until golden in color.
  13. Prepare the icing.
  14. Remove the rolls from the oven and add frosting immediately.

Step-By-Step Instructions

If you’d like more detail, these step-by-step instructions include photos and can be very helpful, especially if it’s your first time making homemade cinnamon rolls.

Step One: Make the Dough

  1. Mix the flax egg and set aside.
    A measuring spoon drizzles a flax egg mixture into a small glass bowl
  2. Combine the milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute. Set it aside for several minutes.
  3. Then add the flax egg and stir. The mixture should be between 105°F/40°C and 108°F/42°C (the same temperature as your finger if you dip it into the liquid).
  4. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Stir to combine. Pour this milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir together until a soft dough forms.
  5. Knead the dough in the bowl with your hands or use a dough hook on a mixer for 5 minutes. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the bottom of the bowl. The dough should form into a ball but still be slightly sticky.
  6. Spray the top with vegetable cooking spray, cover with a kitchen towel, and set it aside to rest, for around 30 minutes.
    Dough is in the bottom of a bowl.

Step Two: Roll and Add Filling

  1. After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Then pour it out onto a well-floured surface, sprinkle with a little more flour and use a rolling pin to flatten it out. Your goal is to shape the dough into an approximately 16″ x 12″ shape. You can achieve that by turning and rolling the dough in different directions until you get it just right.
  2. Spread softened butter across the dough.
    Vegan butter has been spread over dough rolled out in a rectangle.
  3. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Sprinkle this over the butter, covering all of it except for about a half-inch of the long edge furthest away from you.
    A hand sprinkles cinnamon sugar over rolled out dough with vegan butter on top.
  4. Add the diced apple pieces evenly across the top.
    Dough is rolled out with cinnamon sugar over the top and chopped green apples.
  5. Beginning with the long side closest to you, and roll the dough one section at a time. Keep rolling the dough tightly as possible until you reach the end.
    Two hands roll dough into a log to make cinnamon rolls. You can see the filling on top of the dough that has not been rolled yet.
  6. Dampen your fingers and then run that along the end of the dough. Then pinch the ends of the dough and then turn the roll so the seam is down.
    Two hands are pinching a log of dough to create a seam.
  7. Using a serrated knife, slice the rolls about 1 ½″ thick and carefully place them into a greased pan.
    Using a serrated knife to cut cinnamon rolls.
  8. Leave some space between each roll. Cover loosely with a dampened kitchen towel, and set aside to rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about one hour.

Step Three: Make and Bake Cinnamon Rolls

  1. When the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 350ᵒF/175°C.
  2. Place pan in a center rack and bake about 24 to 26 minutes until the rolls are golden in color.

Step Four: Ice and Serve

  1. While the rolls are baking, prepare the icing. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and vegan cream cheese until fluffy. Add the vanilla, followed by the powdered sugar beat until creamy. Stir in one tablespoon of soy milk at a time to get a spreadable consistency.
  2. When the rolls are ready, remove them from the oven and add frosting immediately. Serve warm.
A spoon hovers over cinnamon rolls, drizzling icing on top. There is an apple and a bowl of icing in the background.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Why do cinnamon rolls need to rise twice?

We let the dough rise twice to create soft and tender cinnamon rolls. The first rise happens immediately after making and kneading the dough. The second rise (called the proof) happens after the rolls are filled with cinnamon, cut, and arranged in the pan. Allowing the rolls to proof helps create tight cinnamon rolls without gaps between the layers.

What are good egg replacers for cinnamon rolls?

Eggs are added to cinnamon roll dough to give them a stretchy, chewy texture. You can substitute a flax egg, a chia egg, or even some applesauce to create the same texture for vegan cinnamon rolls.

Marly’s Tips

  • Make-ahead tip — Do everything except for heating the oven the night before. Then cover the rolls in the pan and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, allow the rolls to come to room temperatre and then preheat the oven and bake.
  • You’ll notice moisture in the pan as the rolls rise. This is extra liquid from the apples. It will bake off as the rolls bake.
  • Be sure to roll the log tightly to help the rolls bake without gaps between the layers.

Storage Tips

Store cinnamon rolls in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 7 days. These can be frozen for up to 2 months. To serve, cook in the microwave until heated through.

Looking down on several apple pie cinnamon rolls with a bowl of icing and some apples in the mix.

Vegan Cinnamon Recipes

If you love these vegan apple cinnamon rolls, you’ll love these amazing vegan cinnamon recipes, too:

An apple cinnamon roll sits on a plate

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

These Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls are delicious and relatively easy to make. You'll enjoy the tender dough with apples in the middle!
5 from 5 votes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 325kcal

Ingredients

Dough

Apple Pie Cinnamon Filling

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup vegan butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and diced

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons vegan butter, , softened
  • 2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons soy milk (or favorite plant-based milk/creamer)

Instructions

For the Dough:

  • Mix the flax egg and set aside.
  • Combine the milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute. Set it aside for several minutes. Then add the flax egg and stir. The mixture should be between 105°F/40°C and 108°F/42°C (the same temperature as your finger if you dip it into the liquid). 
  • In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Stir to combine. Pour this milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir together until a soft dough forms. 
  • Knead the dough in the bowl with your hands or use a dough hook on a mixer for 5 minutes. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the bottom of the bowl. The dough should form into a ball but still be slightly sticky. 
  • Spray the top with vegetable cooking spray, cover with a kitchen towel, and set it aside to rest, for around 30 minutes

For the Filling:

  • After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Then pour it out onto a well-floured surface, sprinkle with a little more flour and use a rolling pin to flatten it out. Your goal is to shape the dough into an approximately 16″ x 12″ shape. You can achieve that by turning and rolling the dough in different directions until you get it just right.
  • Spread softened butter across the dough. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Sprinkle this over the butter, covering all of it except for about a half-inch of the long edge furthest away from you. Add the diced apple pieces evenly across the top.
  • Beginning with the long side closest to you, and roll the dough one section at a time. Keep rolling the dough tightly as possible until you reach the end. Dampen your fingers and then run that along the end of the dough. Then pinch the ends of the dough and then turn the roll so the seam is down.
  • Using a serrated knife, slice the rolls about 1 ½″ thick and carefully place them into a greased pan. Leave about an inch between each roll. Cover loosely with a dampened kitchen towel, and set aside to rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about one hour.

For the Rolls:

  • When the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 350ᵒF/175°C. Place pan in a center rack and bake about 24 to 26 minutes until the rolls are golden in color.

For the Icing:

  • While the rolls are baking, prepare the icing. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and vegan cream cheese until fluffy. Add the vanilla, followed by the powdered sugar beat until creamy. Stir in one tablespoon of soy milk at a time to get a spreadable consistency.
  • When the rolls are ready, remove them from the oven and add frosting immediately. Serve warm.
  • Store cinnamon rolls in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 7 days. These can be frozen for up to 2 months. To serve, cook in the microwave until heated through.

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Notes

Apple Pie Filling

You can use your favorite apple for the filling, but I prefer using honey crisp apples because they’re a perfect blend between crisp, sweet, and tart. A tart apple like granny smith will work fine here, too. If you choose to use apple pie filling, be sure to cut the apple pieces into smaller bits and minimize the amount of the gooey filling, because it makes it difficult to roll the dough.
Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 549IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

This post was originally published in 2012 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

7 Responses to Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMina Reply

    5 stars
    Our family loves bread and I think this will be a hit when I serve it during breakfast or snacks. Thanks for the recipe, Marly!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      So glad you liked it Mina!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJulieD Reply

    5 stars
    Wow this looks lovely, Marly!! And that coconut cream drizzle…oh my!! Looks awesome!!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyDebbie Reply

    Hi looks great, going to try it with almond milk. I hate soy and don’t thinks its the best, hope almond will be an ok sub.

    Ty for rec

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAverie @ Averie Cooks Reply

    5 stars
    Ive been into yeast-breads lately and these rolls look fabulous!

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlynarf7 Reply

    Decadent, scrumptious and soon to be mine! Cheers for this wonderful recipe that reminds us that vegan food is NOT boring or tasteless 🙂

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyShannon Reply

    5 stars
    Combining two of the greatest sweets can only lead to great things!

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