Soft and fluffy dough swirled with cinnamon sugar and topped with a drool-worthy icing, these vegan cinnamon rolls are everything! They are the perfect special occasion breakfast or brunch recipe.

vegan cinnamon rolls in pan with icing

This recipe was originally published in September 2018 and has been updated with new photos, a video, and recipe.

Okay, so we all know cinnamon rolls, cinnamon buns, whatever you wanna call em’, are incredible, I don’t need to convince you of that. But what makes these vegan cinnamon rolls a must make?

  • Crunchy pecan brown sugar filling
  • Sweet vanilla icing
  • Soft and fluffy buns

All that AND they are vegan? I can see you drooling already over this cinnamon roll variation.

ingredients for vegan chai cinnamon rolls

Vegan Cinnamon Roll Ingredients:

Dough:

  • Yeast
  • Almond milk (can substitute with any plant-based milk)
  • Vanilla
  • Vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
  • Flour
  • Cane sugar
  • Salt

Filling:

  • Vegan butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Pecans (can substitute with any nut or remove altogether!)

Icing:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Vegan butter
  • Vanilla
  • Almond milk

How to make cinnamon rolls

Vegan baking probably sounds like a super complex, damn near impossible task if you are unfamiliar with it; however, once you start making the substitutes, you’ll discover it’s really not that different from the traditional way.

And let me tell you, my non-vegan friends go crazy over these cinnamon rolls.

Also, if you see a recipe that calls for yeast, you may run for the hills, at least I do, but I promise you, this recipe is so easy to make!

how to make yeast dough

  • Mix lukewarm water, a sprinkle of sugar, and a packet of active dry yeast. Let sit for about 10 minutes until mixture is bubbly and frothy (if your yeast does not do this, wait a little longer or try again. Your rolls won’t rise with dead yeast!)
  • Mix vegan butter, vanilla, and yeast mixture in one bowl and whisk together the dry ingredients in another bowl
  • Add dry to wet in two batches and stir until just combined. (the dough will be crumbly!)

Pro Tip: Yeast thrives in warm environments! When you mix the wet ingredients together, make sure they are cooled down before mixing with the dry ingredients. We don’t want to kill the yeast.

Warm=perfect, Hot=murder. Got it?

hands kneading yeast dough

How to knead the dough

Here’s some tips on kneading the dough as this step is crucial to getting soft, pillowy rolls

  • The dough will appear crumbly. This is okay! Once you start kneading with your hands, the wet will incorporate with the dry and make a soft, pliable dough
  • Knead for about 10-15 minutes. Yep! Set a timer and get in the zone. I find hand kneading dough is very therapeutic.
  • Only add more flour to the surface when the dough begins sticker to the counter or your hands. You want the dough to be slightly sticky.
  • If hand kneading dough is not your thing, you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook – just be sure to not over-knead!

yeast dough rising before and after

When the dough is in a good place, transfer to a greased mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and rise.

On the left, is the dough in the beginning. The photo on the right is 1 hour later. Your dough should double in size.

Note: It could take longer if your house is cold.

Make vegan cinnamon roll filling:

vegan cinnamon roll filling in bowl

I use to brush butter onto dough then sprinkle cinnamon on top, but now I mix super softened butter and cinnamon until I have a nice, workable paste.

This evenly distributes all the cinnamon to make sure every square inch is packed with butter and cinnamon.

hands rolling cinnamon dough

Roll out the dough til about 1/4″ thick and it resembles a rectangular shape. I use a bowl scraper to fix the edges.

Spread cinnamon sugar-butter mixture and add chopped pecans (optional). Carefully roll the dough.

cutting cinnamon roll with dental floss

Now when cutting the dough, I like to use a piece of dental floss! It cuts perfect cinnamon rolls without squishing the dough.

I won’t tell your dentist if you use your floss mostly for cinnamon roll making rather than on your teeth. 😉

picture of cinnamon rolls proofing before and after

Here’s the step we do a proof aka a second rise. Once the rolls are cut and placed into a pan, cover, and let rise for about 45 minutes. This will yield soft and big rolls.

This step is also a good time to cover and place in the fridge overnight to bake the next day or even freeze for later baking.

hand frosting vegan cinnamon rolls

Once the rolls are baking, simply whisk together the ingredients for the icing and frost generously once cooled slightly.

You now have yourself some AWESOME homemade cinnamon rolls, my friend!

hand holding vegan cinnamon roll with icing

Can you make cinnamon rolls ahead of time?

Yes! Cinnamon rolls require some labor of love but luckily you can make them ahead of time for an easier recipe:

Make them all the way up through the second proofing. You can cover the unbaked cinnamon rolls and keep them in the fridge overnight (up to 24 hours). Remove from the fridge and preheat the oven. Now they are ready to bake!

CAN YOU FREEZE CINNAMON ROLLS?

Yupp, you can freeze cinnamon rolls too! The best way to freeze cinnamon rolls is before baking. Here’s my recommended method:

  1. After you slice the cinnamon rolls, place them on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and pop it in the freezer for a couple of hours until the rolls are frozen.
  2. Transfer the rolls to a bag and freeze them for up to 6 weeks.
  3. The night before baking, Place them on a parchment-paper-lined pan and let them thaw/rise on the counter overnight. 
  4. In the morning you can bake the rolls and make the icing!

vegan cinnamon roll on white plate

These vegan cinnamon rolls are the best for special occasions, weekend breakfast or brunch, holidays, or even Christmas morning! Do you really need a special occasion to make these though? Let’s be real.

I don’t need to tell you when to eat these!

fork eating cinnamon roll with pans of cinnamon rolls, pecans, and cinnamon

Variations of these vegan cinnamon rolls:

  • Substitute pecans with walnuts or have a combination of both
  • For the filling, use chai spice instead of just cinnamon!
  • To make GF cinnamon rolls, follow my gluten-free recipe!
  • Serve with pure maple syrup instead of icing for a delicious topping

girl wearing apron holding pan of cinnamon rolls

If you tried this vegan cinnamon rolls recipe, let me know in the comments below and share a photo using #mindfulavocado. I’d love to hear from you! Want to see more recipes? Let’s get social! CONNECT WITH ME on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest to see what I’m currently cooking up!

If you love this vegan cinnamon roll recipe, you’ll LOVE:
Vegan and Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

vegan cinnamon rolls in pan with icing

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

Print Recipe
Pin Recipe
Soft and fluffy dough, brown sugar cinnamon pecan filling, and an irresistible icing, these vegan cinnamon rolls are the BEST!
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American, Vegan
Keyword chai spice desserts, easy vegan cinnamon rolls, vegan brunch recipes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 12 cinnamon rolls
Calories 364kcal
Author Amanda

Ingredients

Chai Dough:

  • 1 1/4-ounce packet instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk can substitute with any plant-based milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter melted (I like Earth Balance baking sticks)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading and rolling out
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter very soft
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar can substitute with coconut sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2-1 cup pecans chopped (optional). can substitute with walnuts

Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vegan butter melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Instructions

To Make the Dough:

  • Wake up yeast: Microwave almond milk for about 40 seconds. Should be lukewarm. Add a pinch of sugar and one yeast package. Mix until combined and let sit for 10 minutes. Yeast will be bubbly and frothy when ready.

  • In a large mixing bowl add vanilla, butter, and active yeast bath. Stir to combine.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to wet mixture and stir with rubber spatula. Add the remaining flour and stir until just combined. The dough might look floury and that is okay!
  • Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. Only add more flour if the dough begins to stick to the surface or your hands. When the dough is ready, it will be slightly sticky and spring back when you press it.
  • Add a small amount of oil to a clean bowl to coat the bottom and sides. Add dough and give it a swirl around the bowl so all sides are covered in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour. The dough should double in size.

To Make the Filling:

  • In a small bowl, mix softened butter, sugar, and cinnamon. The mixture should be smooth and spreadable.

Assemble Rolls:

  • Remove plastic wrap and punch dough to release the air. Transfer to a floured surface and roll into a 9x13" rectangle. The dough will be about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Add filling and smooth out with a rubber spatula. Add pecans (optional). Roll tightly starting from the shorter side. Push in the sides as you roll so it stays uniform.
  • Using dental floss, cut the dough into 12 even pieces. Place in greased pan or line with parchment paper. I grease my pan with the empty butter wrapper! Cover with a towel and let sit for 45 minutes. If you want to make these rolls in advance, now is a good step to stop. You can keep unbaked rolls covered in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for 6 weeks. See notes for further instructions.

Bake Rolls:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


  • Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before adding icing.

To Make the Icing:

  • Whisk together all the ingredients for icing in a bowl. Add more powdered sugar or butter for a thicker frosting and more almond milk for a thinner icing.
  • Pour icing over baked and slightly cooled cinnamon rolls. Serve warm. Leftovers keep in the fridge for about 1 week.

Notes

To freeze cinnamon rolls:
  1. After you slice the cinnamon rolls, place them on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and pop it in the freezer for a couple of hours until the rolls are frozen.
  2. Transfer the rolls to a bag and freeze them for up to 3 months.
  3. The night before baking, Place them on a parchment-paper-lined pan and let them thaw/rise on the counter overnight. 
  4. In the morning you can bake the rolls and make the icing!
To make cinnamon rolls the night before:
  1. Place sliced cinnamon rolls in the pan lined with parchment paper.
  2. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
  3. The next day, remove from the fridge and preheat the oven.
  4. Bake according to instructions.
To make these vegan cinnamon rolls with chai spice
Create a DIY chai spice blend, and use 1 Tablespoon in the filling instead of cinnamon!
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger

Nutrition

Serving: 1cinnamon roll with icing | Calories: 364kcal | Carbohydrates: 50.7g | Protein: 5.1g | Fat: 16.7g | Saturated Fat: 5.6g | Sodium: 280mg | Potassium: 155mg | Fiber: 2.5g | Sugar: 24.9g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 2.2mg
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