These sweet potato cinnamon rolls are decadent, cinnamon-infused rolls, slathered with a yummy almond butter icing. This recipe delivers step-by-step instructions making it easy to make. Grab a cup of tea and settle in for a lazy weekend morning with this indulgent breakfast treat.
Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite baked goods because it’s so hands-on. There’s a sense of fulfillment when something is more physical, like kneading the bread and rolling the dough. It’s like baking takes me to my happy place. Are you with me, friends?
Besides, we almost always have a few sweet potatoes sitting around (either cooked or ready to be cooked) which was the inspiration for making these vegan sweet potato cinnamon rolls.
I love the addition of sweet potatoes in my recipes, such as these sweet potato black bean burgers. And now these sweet potato cinnamon buns are perfect for breakfast!
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Adding sweet potato puree makes these cinnamon rolls tender, tasty, and colorful
- An Almond Butter Glaze has a unique flavor and creates a golden-colored frosting, pairing nicely with these sweet potato sticky buns
- My handy trick for kneading the dough in the bowl saves time, space, and achieves the desired result of big, fluffy buns
What You Need
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:
- Sweet potato — You’ll need one medium sweet potato (about 5 inches long and 2 inches wide).
- Plant-based milk — Soy milk has a higher protein content than other plant-based milks and therefore more closely resembles dairy milk. I highly recommend it for vegan baking, but. you can substitute different plant-based milk.
- Vegan butter — If using storebought, I recommend Earth Balance or Miyoko’s, or make homemade vegan butter.
- Brown sugar — Use light, dark, or homemade brown sugar.
- Flour — I used all-purpose flour, but you can substitute whole wheat pastry flour. To make your sweet potato cinnamon rolls gluten-free, substitute a high-quality gluten-free baking flour.
- Yeast — I used instant yeast, but you can substitute active dry yeast.
- Ground flax seeds
- Ground cinnamon
- Almond butter — We’ll be using almond butter for the glaze, but you can substitute peanut butter or even vegan butter.
- Powdered sugar
How to Make Sweet Potato Cinnamon Roll Dough
When it comes to making these tasty cinnamon rolls, only a few steps are required.
- Prepare the sweet potato by cooking it in a microwave until tender.
- Chop the sweet potato, add it to a food processor with the milk, butter, and sugar. Pulse until smooth.
- Heat mashed sweet potato mixture until it’s warm to the touch.
- Stir together dry ingredients from the flour to the ground flax. Stir in the sweet potato mixture.
- Knead the dough in the bowl for 3 to 5 minutes, adding additional flour as needed. Cover and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
- Roll the dough into a 14×9 inch rectangle and spread the filling mixture over the dough.
- Roll the dough tightly into a log, cut it into 12 evenly sized rolls, place them in a prepared pan, cover, and set aside to rise until doubled in size.
- Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until the rolls are golden in color.
- Prepare the glaze and then drizzle it over baked cinnamon rolls.
Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions.
Step One: Make the Sweet Potato Puree
I start this process by cleaning the sweet potato and cooking it (with the skin) in the microwave for approximately 3 minutes. You want the sweet potato to be nice and tender. It will be hot so either leave it in the microwave to cool or use oven mitts to remove it.
Add the milk, butter, and brown sugar to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse it once or twice to combine.
Step Two: Mix Flour Ingredients
In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, cornstarch, ground flaxseeds, and yeast.
Step Three: Add Sweet Potato Mix & Knead
Add the sweet potato mixture and stir until combined. Next, knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes. Kneading helps activate the gluten to build structure for the rolls so it’s an important step.
It helps to sprinkle flour over the dough ball and knead it right in the bowl. This saves cleaning up the countertop afterward!
Cover the dough and set aside in a warm place to rest in a warm spot for about 15 minutes.
My favorite place to let dough rise is in the microwave! Fill a pyrex measuring cup with 1 to 2 cups of water and heat it for 1 to 2 minutes. This creates steam in the microwave. Next, cover the dough and place it in the microwave and close the door. It’s a perfect environment for rising dough.
Step Four: Rolling Cinnamon Roll Dough
I prefer rolling the dough with plastic wrap. Here’s how to do it:
- Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over a working surface (it helps with cleanup and doesn’t require adding flour to the dough).
- Place a damp paper towel or a non-skid pad underneath the plastic wrap to prevent it from sliding as you roll the dough.
- Place the dough ball on top of the plastic wrap.
- Tear off another sheet and place that on top of the dough ball.
- Use your rolling pin to form the dough into a 14×9-inch rectangle.
- It helps to remove the top piece of plastic and reapply it to the dough.
Step Five — Add the Filling
Mix the filling ingredients together and spread it across the top of the rolled out dough. Leave a 1/2-inch boarder along the edge farthest from you.
To roll the dough, beginning at the long end closest to you, roll it tightly. Then pinch the end seam to seal it.
Step Six — Cutting the Rolls
I use a serrated knife to cut the dough, but there’s also a handy thread trick I’ve used to “cut” cinnamon rolls in the past.
To get evenly-sized slices, cut the log in half and then cut those halves in half. Cut each of the four remaining sections into thirds to create 12 rolls.
Step Six — Final Rise and Baking
Place the sliced rolls in a greased round baking pan. Cover the pan and set it aside to rise in a warm spot. Use my microwave tip from above! You’ll want the rolls to rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.
When they’re ready to bake, preheat the oven first. Then carefully remove the covered rolls and bake them for about 20 to 25 minutes. They will be golden around the edges.
Step Seven — Glaze
Prepare the glaze while the rolls are baking.
- Whisk together the powdered sugar and almond butter.
- Add the soy milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach a spreadable consistency.
- Spread the glaze over slightly cooled rolls.
Store cinnamon rolls in a sealed container 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.
Can you make cinnamon rolls with instant yeast?
You can use instant yeast when making sweet potato cinnamon rolls to keep things simple. Because making homemade cinnamon rolls is a little more work than your average recipe, one step to make the process go more quickly is to use instant yeast.
Can you make cinnamon rolls without milk?
You can make cinnamon rolls without milk by substituting plant-based milk like soy milk or almond milk. You can achieve soft, tender rolls without milk. In fact, I make a sweet potato dinner roll without milk as well, and they’re a great addition to our dinner routine.
Are cinnamon rolls healthy?
Making cinnamon rolls healthy requires some planning because they’re known for being highly caloric and low fiber. These sweet potato sticky buns add fiber and nutrients from sweet potatoes. You can also use whole wheat pastry flour for additional fiber. Either way, cinnamon buns are a great occasional indulgence.
There’s nothing like knowing that your family will wake to the smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. It reminds me what the holidays are really all about — feeling thankful for another year with family and friends.
More Cinnamon Recipes
Sure, these sweet potato cinnamon rolls are amazing! How about adding some more tasty vegan cinnamon recipes, perfect for breakfast or any time of day, to your routine!
I hope you love this recipe for Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls as much as we do!
Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls
Sweet Potato Dough
- 1 medium-sized sweet potato (see notes)
- ¾ cup plant-based milk
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast one packet
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Cinnamon Roll Filling
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter softened
Almond Butter Glaze
- 1 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
For the Dough:
- Wash and scrub the unpeeled sweet potato, removing any undesirable areas. Pierce it 3 to 4 times with a knife and cook in a microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Prick it with a fork. If it’s still firm, cook it for another minute until the potato is tender.
- Once the potato is cool enough to handle, chop it into chunks. Place that in a food processor with the milk, vegan butter, and brown sugar. Pulse until smooth. Transfer this to a microwave-safe bowl (or use a saucepan over medium heat) and heat until it's warm to the touch (about 110°F/43°C).
- In a large bowl, add the all-purpose flour, yeast, salt, cornstarch, and ground flax seeds. Stir to combine. Pour in the sweet potato mixture and stir to combine. Knead the dough in the bowl for 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl. Spray the top of the dough with vegetable cooking spray, cover with a kitchen towel, and set it aside to rest for about 15 minutes.
- Once the dough is ready, cover a working area with a sheet of plastic wrap. Place the dough on top of the plastic wrap and cover it with another sheet of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to approximately 14×9 inches in size. It helps if you pull the top layer of plastic wrap off the dough and cover it again with the same sheet. It also helps to place an anti-slip pad to keep the dough from sliding as you roll it.
- Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place rolls in the prepared pan. Cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside to rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about one hour.
For the Filling:
- Combine the filling ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour this over the rolled dough, covering all of it except for about a half-inch of the long edge furthest away from you. Starting from the long end closest to you, roll the dough into a log. Cut into 12 evenly sized rolls.
- When the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 375ᵒF/190°C. Place pan in a center rack and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until the rolls are golden in color.
For the Almond Butter Glaze:
- While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and almond butter. Once combined add milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach a desired, spreadable consistency.
- When the rolls are ready, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes before adding the glaze. Serve warm.
- Store cinnamon rolls in a sealed container 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.
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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 2019 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.