Gluten-Free Sticky Buns

These Gluten-free sticky buns are soft, buttery rolls packed with cinnamon and the perfect sticky caramel pecan topping. It’s undeniably delicious! If you’re after a gluten-free, soft, fluffy cinnamon rolls recipe, you’ll love this one.

Three gluten-free sticky buns are on a plate. There's another plate of these rolls barely visible in the background.

I love my healthy breakfasts, like our daily Green Smoothies. But there are times when adding some indulgences makes it fun. That’s where these gluten-free sticky buns come in handy!

Cooking the rolls “upside-down” creates a gooey topping. That’s why I oftentimes refer to these as gluten-free caramel rolls, because of the caramel-like flavor of that baked-in topping.

Key Ingredients

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

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.

  • Gluten-Free flour — see more on gluten-free flour options below
  • Ground Cinnamon — You can mix things up by using some Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend
  • Almond Flour — I love adding Almond Flour to my baked goods, especially gluten-free baked goods. You can buy this at the store or make your own homemade.

Ingredient Spotlight

A pile of flour has been poured into a measuring cup.

What gluten-free flour is best?

I recommend using a 1:1 gluten-free baking flour because it’s been specifically formulated to work like regular, all-purpose flour. There are a lot of different gluten-free flours available these days, all of them with slightly different formulations. I have found Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 to be a go-to favorite.

How to Make Gluten-Free Sticky Buns

  1. Mix the yeast with the barely warm milk and sugar. Then stir in melted butter and some of the gluten-free flour. 
  2. Stir together the remaining dry ingredients and stir in with the yeast mixture.
  3. Mix on low until a sticky dough forms. Add more flour if necessary. Continue mixing 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Cover and let the dough rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
  5. Stir together the topping and spread it in the prepared pan.
  6. Roll out the dough and spread with softened vegan butter. Then sprinkle with brown sugar and then cinnamon.
  7. Roll the dough into a log, then use a knife to cut it into 10 pieces.
  8. Cover and set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
  9. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the rolls are golden brown on the edges. 
  10. Remove them from the oven, and let them sit for several minutes. Then invert them onto a pan to cool some before serving.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions.

Step One: Make the Gluten-free Dough

  1. Mix the yeast with the barely warm milk and sugar.
  2. Then stir in vegan butter and one cup of the gluten-free flour. 
    Looking down on a mixing bowl full of a frothy yeast mixture with gluten-free flour added on top.
  3. Stir together the remaining dry ingredients. 
  4. Pour the remaining dry ingredients in with the wet mixture and mix on low. You should see a sticky dough form.
  5. Continue mixing to allow the mixture to combine.
  6. Cover and let the dough rise for 45 minutes to an hour.

Step Two: Make the Topping

  1. Whisk together butter, brown sugar, syrup, and salt. Stir until smooth.
  2. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with vegetable cooking spray. Pour the topping mixture into the pan. Sprinkle evenly with chopped pecans.

Step Three: Fill, Roll, and Slice

  1. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough until it’s approximately 11 x 14″ rectangle. 
  2. Gently spread the softened vegan butter in an even layer on top of dough.
    Rolled out dough has a layer of vegan butter spread on top. It sits beside a rolling pin.
  3. Spread brown sugar on top.
    A hand holds a spatula spreading brown sugar over rolled out dough. There's a rolling pin on the right side.
  4. Sprinkle evenly with ground cinnamon.
    A hand holds a spoon sprinkling ground cinnamon over rolled out dough.
  5. Starting with the long side closest to you, roll the dough up using the parchment paper to help lift and roll the dough.
    Two hands are using parchment paper to roll up dough into a log for cinnamon rolls.
  6. Use a sharp, serrated knife to slice the roll into 8 to 10 pieces, equal in size, and place them in the prepared pan. Cover and set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
    A serrated knife sits below a log of dough that has been sliced into a number of rolls.
  7. Place the pan on top of the filling.
    A hand places a cinnamon roll in a white pan with more rolls. There are more cut rolls on the left.
  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until they’re golden brown on the edges. If your rolls are getting too golden, you can tent with foil at around 20 minutes and then bake for another 10 minutes or so.
  9. Once the rolls are done, remove them from the oven, and let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes before inverting them onto a serving plate. Be very careful not to touch the rolls because the sugar will be very hot at this point. Let the rolls cool and then serve.
Looking down on three sticky buns on a plate. They're topped with chopped pecans.

Storage Tips

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. They can also be frozen in proper freezer containers for up to 2 months. To reheat, pop them in the microwave for a few seconds (if frozen it will take up to a minute to reheat).

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Adding the caramel topping in the bottom of the pan creates that classic “sticky bun” gooey topping
  • Using a high-quality gluten-free flour makes the perfect dough
  • Adding ground cinnamon to the filling creates that perfect flavor we all know and love
  • Chopped pecans add bits of crunch and texture to every bite!

Serving Suggestions

Serve these sticky buns with your favorite beverages, hot or cold, such as these:

Vegan Cinnamon Favorites

If you love the cinnamon goodness in these gluten-free sticky buns, here are even more vegan cinnamon favorites to enjoy:

A hand holds a gluten-free sticky bun hovering over a plate with more of them.
Three gluten-free sticky buns are on a plate. There's another plate of these rolls barely visible in the background.

Gluten-Free Sticky Buns

These gluten-free sticky buns are soft, chewy, and undeniably sweet! If you're after a gluten-free soft, fluffy cinnamon rolls recipe, you'll love this recipe with its sticky caramel-pecan topping.
5 from 3 votes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rising Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 390kcal

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup plant-based milk, warmed between 105°F — 110)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast (1 packet)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup vegan butter, melted
  • 2 ¾ cups gluten-free flour (1:1 baking flour)
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Topping

  • 4 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
  • cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Filling

  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter, softened
  • cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

For the Dough:

  • Mix the yeast with the barely warm milk and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a mixing bowl if using an electric mixer). Let it sit 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture gets bubbly.
  • Stir in the vegan butter and 1 cup of gluten-free flour.
  • Stir together the remaining dry ingredients.
  • Pour the remaining dry ingredients in with the wet mixture and mix on low. You should see a sticky dough form. Continue mixing to allow the mixture for 5 to 7 minutes to get air into the batter. Your dough will still be sticky but it will be thick. If it's not thick, stir in a tablespoon or two of additional GF flour.
  • Cover the dish and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour.

For the Topping:

  • Whisk together butter, brown sugar, syrup, and salt. Stir until smooth.
  • Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with vegetable cooking spray. Pour the topping mixture into the pan. Sprinkle evenly with chopped pecans.

For the Filling:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
  • Tear off a large strip of parchment paper. Either tape down the edges, or add a non-stick mat below it on a counter.  Place the dough on top of the paper and sprinkle with a bit of GF flour. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough until it's approximately 11 x 14″ rectangle. 
  • Gently spread the softened vegan butter in an even layer on top of dough, and then sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar filling mix. Starting with the long side closest to you, roll the dough up using the parchment paper to help lift and roll the dough.
  • Use a sharp, serrated knife to slice the roll into 8 to 10 pieces, equal in size, and place them in the prepared pan. Cover and set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until they're golden brown on the edges. If your rolls are getting too golden, you can tent with foil at around 20 minutes and then bake for another 10 minutes or so.
  • Once the rolls are done, remove them from the oven, and let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes before inverting them onto a serving plate. Be very careful not to touch the rolls because the sugar will be very hot at this point. Let the rolls cool and then serve.
  • Store rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days, in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. To serve, cook in the microwave until heated through.

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Notes

Note for rising dough:  I like to heat a small mug of water in the microwave for about a minute or two. Then add the covered dough. It’s the perfect warm and dark environment! 
Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 348mg | Potassium: 154mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 646IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 2mg

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 2011 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

Enjoy!

18 Responses to Gluten-Free Sticky Buns

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJoAnn Reply

    I used only half the topping, that was plenty, and they still “boiled over” and got all over the oven. I did not bake them nearly as long as suggested only 22 minutes. They were good though. I guess I would put them in a cake pan instead of muffin tins next time because of the mess in the oven. Mine looked a lot like the picture which, was beautiful but is a little more done than I like them. It made a dozen rolls.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      That topping is so good, it’s not bad to have some of it on hand. I’ve even sprinkled it over ice cream before. Thanks for sharing how you adapted the recipe to work best for you. I think that’s so helpful to others. Having a mess in the oven is never any fun. Sometimes I’ll put a pan down underneath the pan that’s baking if I’m worried about a mess or even, as you suggest, baking them in a cake pan would work too. So glad you enjoyed the rolls!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyThe Healthy Apple Reply

    Love this recipe and love your blog!!!! I just came across it and it’s fabulous. Loving your posts and this fabulous gluten-free treat!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAngie Halten Reply

    These are my grandma’s favorite dessert. She hasn’t made them since she’s went into the nursing home, so I’m going to make these for her when I see her this week. And since they’re gluten-free, I can enjoy them too. Happy 4th of July!

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMonet Reply

    Hi Marly! I have so many friends who can’t tolerate gluten. I’m really excited to see this recipe! And I’m also happy that you found some relief for your stomach issues. Thanks for sharing, sweet friend. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend, and I wish you a very happy 4th!

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyCarla @ Gluten Free Recipe Box Reply

    Wow! What a success story! Congratulations on discovering your gluten intolerance!

    I used to cheat on my gluten-free diet about once a month. Then I stuck to it without cheating and my nerve pain that I had been suffering with for 1.5 years improved tremendously! Recently I was watching the “Gluten Sensitivity & Celiac Forum (2009 version) and heard that cheating once a month will increase your mortality rate by 600%. Scary! I’ll never cheat again, well not intentionally!

    I have a bit of sweet tooth myself. I recently discovered a great, natural sugar-free alternative, xylitol. It’s great for your teeth and body. Unlike stevia and sugar alcohols, it can be slowly introduced into your diet without causing bloating, like the others.

    Great recipe! Knock those bakery’s socks off – and keep up your fantastic work!

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLeanne @ Healthful Pursuit Reply

    Holy moly! I love this panera event! I’ve been gluten-free for a couple of years and love coming up with new ways to make regular baked goods into something I can have, too! I’ve been thinking of attempting cinnamon buns. Thanks for showing me it is possible. Gosh, these look amazing.

  7. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyKathryn Reply

    Those look incredible! I haven’t had cinnamon buns in such a long time- I might just have to try making these.

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