Just pretend you’re sitting down at a table with freshly baked vegan Apple 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!
There’s nothing like some vegan cinnamon rolls for breakfast. And don’t you love mixing things up? For example, these sweet potato cinnamon buns are a nice twist.
I’ve been excited by the idea of making apple cinnamon rolls vegan. Because adding diced apples to the cinnamon filling? That makes this breakfast treat even better!
I love taking a traditional recipe and transforming it into something magical.
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.
- Milk — Use your favorite plant-based milk.
- Vegan butter — Use either vegan butter or substitute melted refined coconut oil.
- Flour — I prefer using bread flour to make my cinnamon rolls soft and tender. For gluten-free vegan cinnamon rolls, use high-quality gluten-free flour formulated for baking.
- Sugar — This recipe uses granulated (for the dough), brown sugar (for the filling), and powdered sugar for the icing.
- Yeast — You’ll need one packet of yeast, either active or instant.
- Cinnamon — Of course, we’ll be using ground cinnamon to make cinnamon rolls!
- Apples — Add diced apples to the filling. Here are tips for selecting the best apples for pies and cinnamon rolls.
- Cornstarch — We’ll add cornstarch to create a thick apple filling.
- Vanilla — Adding some vanilla extract to the icing enhances the flavor.
- Vegan Cream Cheese — I use Tofutti’s or Daiya vegan cream cheese. Find it in the health food section of many grocery or health food stores.
How to Make Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Want to know how to make vegan apple cinnamon rolls? You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantitites, below.
Here’s a snapshot of how to make this recipe.
- Make the dough and knead it for 5 minutes.
- Cover and set it aside to rise for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the filling.
- Roll out the dough into a rectangle.
- Spread melted vegan butter over the dough.
- Sprinkle with the filling mixture.
- Top with chopped, peeled apples.
- Roll the dough into a tight log.
- Cut it into slices and place them in a prepared pan.
- Cover and set aside for the rolls to rise.
- Once the rolls have risen, bake in a preheated oven until done.
- Add icing to warm rolls.
Why do cinnamon rolls need to rise twice?
The dough rises twice to create soft and tender cinnamon rolls. The first rise happens immediately after making and kneading the dough. The second rise (the proof) occurs after the rolls are filled with cinnamon, cut, and arranged in the pan. Proofing them creates tight cinnamon rolls without gaps between the layers.
What are good egg replacers for cinnamon rolls?
We add eggs to cinnamon roll dough to give them a stretchy, chewy texture. You can substitute a flax egg, a chia egg, or even some applesauce for vegan cinnamon rolls.
Can I use storebought dough for cinnamon rolls?
Yes, you can use store-bought dough as a time-saving alternative. Look for pre-made pastry or dough that’s made without eggs or dairy and is suitable for cinnamon rolls. Follow the recipe instructions for filling and baking.
- Make-ahead tip — Cover the unbaked rolls in the pan and refrigerate overnight. The following day, allow the rolls to come to room temperature and then preheat the oven and bake.
- You’ll notice moisture in the pan as the rolls rise. This is the extra liquid from the apples. It will bake off as the rolls bake.
- Be sure to roll the log tightly to help them bake without gaps between the layers.
- Use this batter to make vegan gluten-free cinnamon rolls.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- SOFT — Bread flour has a higher protein content, making these rolls oh-so soft and tender
- DELICIOUS — Adding diced apples to the filling creates bites of tender baked apples throughout each roll
- SWEET — Cream cheese frosting is the perfect finishing touch to these breakfast rolls.
Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Of course, vegan cream cheese icing is a delicious topping for these cinnamon rolls, but you have options if you want to try something else!
- Make Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls by drizzling these rolls with some smooth dairy-free caramel sauce.
- Vegan Maple Cinnamon Rolls — Using maple Icing is also delicious on these buns. To make it, replace the vanilla extract with 1/2 teaspoon of maple extract.
- Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls — Substitute peanut butter for the vegan cream cheese to make a deliciously sweet peanut butter glaze. Drizzle it over your rolls and enjoy!
Store cinnamon rolls in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 7 days. You can freeze them for up to 2 months. To serve, cook in the microwave until heated through.
Vegan Cinnamon Recipes
Here are more amazing vegan cinnamon recipes:
Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls
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
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 everything except for about a half-inch of the long edge furthest away from you.
- Add the diced apple pieces evenly across the top.
- Roll the dough as 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.
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Apple Pie FillingYou 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.
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.