February 27, 2017

The Best and Easiest Dairy and Egg Free Cinnamon Rolls

My mom makes amazing cinnamon rolls. She got the recipe from her friend, who got the recipe from a cook in her high school's cafeteria. It's amazing to me that once upon a time high school cafeterias were serving fresh, made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls, but I digress. Her cinnamon roll recipe makes three dozen, freezes well, tastes amazing, and takes all day to make. It also calls for milk and eggs, two items which are no-go's in our food-allergy-filled home.

I wanted to have cinnamon rolls to feed my kids on Easter and Christmas mornings, just like my mom always did, but I wanted them to be easier to make and be egg and dairy free. Easy peasy!  (That last bit was sarcasm.)

But I finally figured out the perfect solution for my family. The recipe I use is actually the white bread recipe that came with my bread machine, very slightly modified. Because I am able to make these in the bread machine it is so super easy, but if you don't have a machine you can still use a good, ole fashioned bowl and spoon.

1 1/3 C water
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 heaping Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
4 C flour + more for kneading
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Butter or dairy-free butter-like spread such as Earth Balance, approximately 2 Tbsp
1/3 C sugar + 2 Tbsp cinnamon, mixed together

2 C powdered sugar
2 dashes of salt
1 Tbsp water (or more depending on desired consistency)

*Honestly, for the filling and the icing I have never measured anything so these are approximate. If you like your rolls more or less cinnamon-y then adjust accordingly. Likewise, if you like more or less icing on your rolls - you guessed it! - adjust accordingly.

**I use this recipe for dinner rolls, soup bowls, bread to serve with stew, Santa Lucia buns, and more. I've found a vegan bread recipe that tastes great and I make it work for whatever I need. For non sweet breads I use 3 Tbsp sugar instead of 4 heaping Tbsp. For the Santa Lucia buns I add saffron. I have found that all you have to do is change the shape, maybe the ingredients, and possibly the baking time and this recipe can become a lot of things.

Bread Machine Directions: Add all ingredients to bread machine in order they are listed. Choose Dough setting, start, walk away.

Bowl and Spoon Directions: Mix yeast and one cup of flour. Add warm water and set aside to let yeast activate. Once yeast mixture is bubbly and has grown a bit (5-10 minutes) add oil then other dry ingredients. Combine until sticky; if using a mixer allow dough hook to knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. If using spoon, turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead dough for 5-10 minutes. Dough should have a good stretch and be velvety with just a touch of stickiness.

Place dough in a large, lightly greased, oven-proof bowl and cover. Keep in a warm place until dough has doubled, about 60 minutes. (I like to pre-heat my oven to its lowest setting, then turn off, and allow my dough to rise there.)

Risen dough in bread machine should be 
popping  up over the top of the basket. 

Next Step for Both Methods:
Once Bread Machine is done or dough in bowl has doubled turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and with a lightly floured rolling pin roll out into a 9x13 rectangle.

Cover dough with butter or Earth Balance Spread and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.

Roll the dough up so you have a thick, long rope, seam-side down.

Cut off the uneven ends and discard (or, you know, eat). Cut the rolled dough in half, then cut each half in half. Cut each quarter section into thirds so you have twelve slices.

Arrange slices in an greased 9"x 13" dish and place in a warm place until rolls have doubled, usually 45-60 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow rolls to cool before icing.

King Cake Method:
If you want to turn the cinnamon rolls into King Cake you line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the sliced rolls in a circle. Rise, bake, and ice as directed above. Sprinkle with green, yellow, and purple decorating sugar.

Some prefer their King Cake with a cream cheese filling and to do so I just substitute cream cheese in place of the butter. Tofutti makes a good dairy-free "cream cheese."

You can use this at Epiphany or Mardi Gras - both are appropriate times to feast on King Cake. If you have a little plastic baby Jesus you can tuck him in the underside of one of the rolls once they have baked. Then the person who finds the baby Jesus is King for the Day - which can mean whatever you want in your home.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing. I will go dairy free when I nurse our next baby! I appreciate dairy free recipes!

  2. That looks delicious! I wonder if it would work with a GF flour mix...

  3. I go crazzzy for a good, doughy, cinnamon roll! I oh so very happy you have shared your recipe. So, silly question, do you,use bread flour specifically or,just an all purpose?