Cinnamon Rolls

I make these homemade cinnamon rolls every year for the holidays. Soft, gooey, and easy to make, they're always a hit with family and friends!

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls were always what my family ate for breakfast on Christmas morning. Not only were they easy to pop in the oven as my sister and I excitedly unwrapped presents, but they were delicious too – gooey, soft, and smothered in sweet cream cheese frosting.

As an adult, my Christmas morning excitement no longer comes from what presents are under the tree. I look forward to sharing a relaxing day with my family, and cinnamon rolls still seem like the perfect way to kick it off. They’re great finger food (a huge plus on a busy holiday morning when gathering everyone around the table is tough), they’re meant for serving a crowd, and they’re downright delicious.

This cinnamon roll recipe is the one I make every year for the holidays. It’s super easy, and the homemade cinnamon rolls are so much better than any you’d get at the store. Soft and gooey all the way through, they’re jam-packed with brown sugar and cinnamon. A big slather of vanilla glaze adds the perfect sweet finishing touch. Make them for any holiday you celebrate, for a cozy weekend brunch, or any time you’re cooking for people you love!

Cinnamon roll recipe

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls

My cinnamon roll recipe is simple – it calls for straightforward pantry ingredients, and you don’t even have to get out the stand mixer to make it! Here’s what you need to do:

First, make the dough. I wanted my cinnamon roll recipe to be dairy-free, so I use coconut oil and almond milk in the dough instead of melted butter and cow’s milk. These cinnamon rolls are every bit as rich and delicious as regular ones, but they’re totally vegan!

Mixing dough in a large bowl Dough in a large bowl

After you’ve stirred the dough together, knead it! At this point, the dough will be sticky and springy. Knead it on a lightly floured surface until it becomes smooth. Then, form it into a ball and set it inside a large bowl greased with coconut oil. Cover the bowl and set it aside for one hour, until the dough has doubled in size.

How to make cinnamon rolls

Next, it’s time to roll! Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to shape it into a large rectangle. This shape doesn’t have to be perfect, but the straighter the edges are, the more uniform your cinnamon rolls will be. Brush the rectangle with coconut oil and cover it with brown sugar and cinnamon, leaving a border around the edges.

Then, roll again! Starting at a short end of the rectangle, roll the dough tightly into a log.

Homemade cinnamon roll recipe Rolling dough with cinnamon and sugar

When you’ve rolled up the dough, slice it into 12 even rolls. Place them in a large greased baking dish, cut-side up. Cover the rolls, and set them aside to rise for one more hour. You’re almost there!

Finally, bake the cinnamon rolls at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until they’re lightly golden brown. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes before adding the glaze. Serve warm, and enjoy!

Best cinnamon roll recipe

Cinnamon Roll Recipe Tips

  • Make sure your milk is at room temperature. Because I make these cinnamon rolls with melted coconut oil instead of softened butter, it’s crucial that your milk is at room temperature when you’re stirring together the wet ingredients for the dough. If it’s not, the melted coconut oil will solidify. I like to measure the milk and pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds before mixing it with the other ingredients.
  • Let the dough rise somewhere warm. Yeast responds to warmth, so, for an extra productive rise, stick the dough somewhere warm. We like to put ours on a sunny windowsill!
  • Add the glaze when the rolls are still warm, but not hot. If the rolls are too hot when you add the glaze, it will melt. If they’re too cold, it won’t spread and ooze over them. I find that letting them cool for 10 minutes brings them to the perfect temperature. They’ll still be warm when you eat them, and the frosting will soften over them without completely melting.
  • Make them ahead! To make these cinnamon rolls ahead of time, follow the recipe from start to finish, stopping before you add the glaze. Allow the rolls to cool completely before freezing them for up to a month. Covered in foil, they reheat perfectly in a 350-degree oven. Add the glaze right before you eat!

Homemade cinnamon rolls

More Favorite Brunch Recipes

If you love these homemade cinnamon rolls, try one (or more) of these brunch recipes next!

Or, check out this post for more great brunch recipes or this post for 60+ healthy breakfast ideas!

For more vegan recipes, visit this post for 85 of our favorites!

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

rate this recipe:
5 from 24 votes
Serves 12
These soft, gooey homemade cinnamon rolls are perfect for the holidays or any weekend brunch!

Ingredients

For the yeast

  • ½ cup warm water, 110°
  • 1 (¼-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cane sugar

Dough

  • cup melted coconut oil, plus more for brushing
  • ½ cup almond milk, at room temp
  • cup cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading

Filling

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • tablespoons cinnamon

Glaze

  • cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Grease an 8x11 or 9x13-inch baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy.
  • Make the dough: In a medium bowl, combine the coconut oil, almond milk, sugar, and salt. Stir in the yeast mixture. Place the flour in a large bowl, then add the yeast mixture and stir until combined. The mixture will be sticky. Use your hands to roughly knead the mixture, then turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead 3 to 4 minutes until smooth, sprinkle with more flour if needed, and form into a ball.
  • Brush a large bowl with coconut oil and place the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 60 minutes.
  • Make the filling: In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Punch down dough and roll out on a floured surface into a 20x14-inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar to within ½ inch of the edges.
  • Starting at one of the short 14-inch ends, roll tightly into a log, then slice into 12 rolls. Place the rolls into the baking dish cut-side up, cover, and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Make the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons almond milk, and vanilla until smooth. If it’s too thick, add more almond milk.
  • Bake the rolls 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then drizzle the glaze on top and serve.

Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows.

46 comments

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  1. Ashley
    12.22.2019

    Any chance you’ve tried making these with gluten free flower? They look amazing!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.22.2019

      Hi Ashley, I haven’t – I don’t think they’d be great swapping with a 1:1 store-bought blend. I’d recommend searching specifically for a GF recipe.

        • Ingrid
          12.23.2019

          Let me know how they turn out with the GF flour!

  2. Olivia
    12.22.2019

    These look incredible! I am definitely going to make them for Christmas morning! I was wondering if I could use a different oil instead of coconut oil?

    • Olivia
      12.22.2019

      Also, I was wondering if I was to make them but instead of an hour rise, they went in the fridge overnight? Would that work? I don’t want to make them 2 days ahead for time and freeze them.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.22.2019

      I haven’t tried them with another oil, but I think any neutral oil (or melted butter) would work. If it’s the coconut taste you don’t like, look for refined coconut oil, it doesn’t have a coconut taste. I also haven’t tried refrigerating them overnight. I think it might work as long as you let them come to room temp before baking. I can’t say how it would affect the baking time.

    • Allison N
      01.26.2020

      I did just make these the night before and after rolling them and putting them in the pan I just popped the pan in the fridge overnight. I pulled them out and placed them in a warm spot for the second rise then baked them the morning we wanted them. They turned out great!

  3. Tina Wilson
    12.23.2019

    I have a couple of questions about freezing. Do you freeze them in the pan or remove? Please explain how you prepare them for the freezer. Also, how long does it take in the oven to reheat at 350 degrees? Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.23.2019

      Hi Tina, here are some options: I’ve reheated single rolls in the microwave for 3o seconds. I’ve reheated multiple rolls (out of the baking dish) wrapped in foil together in the 350 oven for about 20 minutes. To thaw the whole baking dish, it might be helpful to thaw in the fridge overnight and bake in the morning until they’re warmed through. Hope that helps!

      • Tina Wilson
        12.23.2019

        Thanks Jeanine! Do you place the baked cinnamon rolls in the pan in the freezer or do you remove from the pan and wrap with plastic wrap or foil or both?

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          12.23.2019

          Either way is fine – if you want to re-bake the whole pan at the same time you can freeze the whole dish wrapped in foil. If you want to bake them separated, you can wrap them in foil without the baking dish. I do foil, not plastic wrap.

          • Tina Wilson
            12.23.2019

            Thanks Jeanine! Have a wonderful Christmas!

          • Jeanine Donofrio
            12.23.2019

            you too!

  4. Sabrina from newkitchenlife.com
    12.23.2019

    great recipe, thank you, from scratch is always much better, much appreciated

  5. Kathy Derrick
    12.25.2019

    5 stars
    Hands down the best cinnamon roll recipe I have tried. Even if you are not vegan it is the best. Perfect combination of spices and sugar!Not overly sweet like a lot of recipes. Light and fluffy rolls! Thank you for my new favorite.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.25.2019

      Hi Kathy, I’m so glad you loved them!

  6. Kelly
    12.25.2019

    5 stars
    Made these for Christmas morning and they turned out AMAZING! Only changes I made- we don’t do nuts in our family so I used oat milk instead of almond. Also, I made the rolls and let them do their final rise for an hour and then left them covered and refrigerated overnight. In the morning I let them come to room temperature for about an hour and baked them per your instructions and they were perfect. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.25.2019

      Hi Kelly, I’m so glad you loved them!! I’m so happy that the oat milk worked well and that they worked out over night!

  7. Mia
    12.25.2019

    5 stars
    These were DELICIOUS!!!!

  8. Marissa
    12.25.2019

    5 stars
    Merry Christmas! My daughter and I prepared these cinnamon rolls (last night) through step 7, except we didn’t let them rise for an hour after they were placed cut side up in the pan. Instead we wrapped them tightly with plastic wrap, then foil and put them in the fridge overnight. We then set them on top of the stove in the morning for 1.5-2 hours before baking as instructed.

    They came out perfectly and everyone loved them. They were insanely good. I will be making these from now on anytime I want cinnamon rolls from scratch.

    Also, we used earth balance butter for the dough (instead of coconut oil) and for brushing onto the dough before the cinnamon-sugar mixture and oat milk instead of almond and we had no issues at all. Delicious!

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I also made your hazelnut milk (which is now a Christmas tradition in my house) to go in everyone’s coffee. The coffee and the cinnamon rolls were a perfect combination.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.28.2019

      Hi Marissa, I’m so glad these were a hit! Sounds so delicious with the hazelnut milk!

  9. Liz
    12.25.2019

    5 stars
    I made these for Christmas breakfast and they were a huge hit. I make cinnamon rolls every year for Christmas but this is definitely the best recipe I’ve tried. I put them together last night and after the final rise I put them in the fridge for the night . This morning I brought them to room temperature and then baked them. Perfection… and we’re devoured even without the icing. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.28.2019

      Hi Liz, I’m so glad you loved them! Thanks for the tip about chilling them overnight!

  10. ali from sevencastles.life
    12.26.2019

    5 stars
    I made these as a special treat for my family on Christmas morning. They are so pretty and tasted great! My only problem is baking at altitude–the dough didn’t rise as much as i would have liked so they were a little dense, almost like cinnamon roll-oughala. A friend told me to try doubling the amount of yeast so I’ll try that next time. Love your vegan desserts, always such a treat!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.28.2019

      Hi Ali, I’m glad you enjoyed them – thanks for the tip about altitude baking.

  11. Sare
    12.27.2019

    5 stars
    Thanks for the inspiration! Because of this post, I made this recipe Christmas Eve night and then stored the unbaked rolls in the fridge overnight to put into the oven first-thing Christmas morning. I followed the recipe as written, with an addition of some chopped hazelnuts and raisins to the filling. Waking up to the smell of cinnamon rolls was delicious enough, but the rolls were fabulous to eat, too! Baking fresh homemade cinnamon rolls will absolutely become an on-going Christmas tradition in our household – thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.28.2019

      I’m so glad you loved them!

  12. Meagan
    01.01.2020

    5 stars
    My sister and I made these on Christmas morning. They were hands down the best cinnamon rolls we’ve ever had! I don’t have a lot of experience baking but these were so easy and tasty. Such a great recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.03.2020

      Hi Meagan, I’m so happy to hear that! I’m glad you loved them and that the instructions were easy to follow!

  13. Kelly
    01.20.2020

    5 stars
    I made the cinnamon rolls this morning…these are THE best ever!! Worth the time!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.26.2020

      Hi Kelly, I’m so glad you loved them!

  14. Jilldiamond
    01.27.2020

    Do you have a gluten free version of your cinnamon rolls?

  15. Evelyn
    02.04.2020

    How much yeast if not using a packet?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.04.2020

      Hi Evelyn, a packet is 1/4 ounce. I hope you enjoy the cinnamon rolls!

  16. Anna Beaty
    02.23.2020

    5 stars
    These are decadent and delicious. They baked beautifully and the whole family loved them. Very time consuming, but the double batch and freeze is what I’m going to do next time. Perfect 10!

  17. Jeff
    03.26.2020

    5 stars
    Just wonderful, simple to make and taste great.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.29.2020

      So glad you loved them!

  18. Jaclyn
    03.27.2020

    5 stars
    These look incredible!
    If butter is my only option, could you suggest any tips (for substituting this for the oil)?
    1) Salted vs. Unsalted?
    2) Still using approx 1/3 cup (or modify)?

    Thank you, and many thanks also for the time and effort you put into this blog!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.27.2020

      Hi Jaclyn, you can use melted unsalted butter – the same amount.

      I hope you enjoy!

      • Jaclyn
        03.28.2020

        5 stars
        Thanks very much for the feedback!
        (Unfortunately just realized we only have “Fast-Rise” yeast in the cabinet. So if that isn’t conducive to this recipe (??) these may have to wait until the yeast shortage ends).

        Wishing you & all of your followers health & wellness during this time! Love your posts, thanks for doing what you do!

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          03.29.2020

          I’m pretty sure Fast-Rise will be just fine!

  19. Frankie
    04.04.2020

    These look incredible! What can I use instead of coconut oil? I’m allergic.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.04.2020

      Hi Frankie – melted butter or vegan butter!

      • Frankie
        04.04.2020

        Thank you so much! 😊😊

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.