Gluten Free & Vegan Cinnamon Buns

I highly recommend you hop on over to my new and improved gluten free vegan cinnamon bun recipe because it’s been tweaked, perfected and fine-tuned for your eating pleasure! This old recipe has such unreliable results I couldn’t stand it. I had to go back to the drawing board and come up with something better for everyone.

(Just a note that I won’t be able to answer any more comments and questions regarding this recipe.)

Who doesn’t like a good cinnamon bun?

I stumbled across the basis for this recipe in a folder of recipes that I’ve clipped and written out from other books, etc. and honestly I have no clue where this came from other than my giant folder. I hate not giving credit where it’s due.

In any case, the original recipe was gluten-free but not vegan. I veganized it and with impressive success. The whole time I was making these and then later when I was eating these I kept thinking and saying ‘I can’t believe these turned out’.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Gluten Free & Vegan Cinnamon Buns
Cook time
Total time
  • 2 cups warm unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 2½ teaspoons yeast
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 6 tablespoons warm water
  • ⅔ cup melted vegan margarine
  • 4½ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix
  • 1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup softened vegan margarine
  1. Combine the warm milk with yeast in the work bowl of your mixer. Allow to sit for a few minutes to allow the yeast to begin to activate.
  2. Mix ground flaxseed and warm water and let sit a few minutes to thicken.
  3. Combine flax eggs, melted margarine, gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, salt and granulated sugar in the work bowl of your mixer. Mix on high for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size.
  5. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  6. Grease a 9x13 baking pan generously.
  7. Spread plastic wrap on your counter and flour with gluten-free flour.
  8. Pour out dough onto floured plastic wrap. The dough will be very sticky and you might think it's going to be impossible to roll out.
  9. Sprinkle dough with flour and flour the rolling pin well.
  10. Gently roll out dough to a rectangle that measures 16" x 21". You won't have to push hard at all, but instead you're mostly using the rolling pin to smooth out the dough to the proper size and thickness.
  11. Spread softened margarine gently over the dough. I ended up using my hands to soften the margarine even further.
  12. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and spread out to the edges of the dough.
  13. Roll up the dough length wise, using the plastic wrap to lift and fold the dough over. If you've ever made sushi and are familiar with using a rolling mat you'll use the same principles in rolling the cinnamon buns with the plastic wrap. Make sure the first roll is as tight as possible
  14. Cut into 12 equal portions. Place into the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
  15. Preheat the oven to 400°F and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  16. Let cool and serve as desired.

Here’s a recipe for flax eggs.

Here’s a recipe for cream cheese frosting if you decide to ice these. You’ll notice I opted to not frost them.

Also, here’s a link to a video with instructions to properly roll up this sticky dough.

Some Notes:
***I’ve had a few people commenting about not getting a good rise out of the buns. I use a quick-acting fast-rising yeast and have no problems with dumping the yeast in with the mixture all at once. However, this seems to be presenting a problem for some. So I’ve revised the recipe to accommodate this. Basically, instead of just dumping everything into one bowl and mixing, I’ve separated out the yeast/warm milk step to allow time for activation of the yeast. This should give everyone the rise they need regardless of the type of yeast you use. (My apologies to any who made these and they didn’t turn out!)***
The first time I made this recipe I followed the timing of 15 minutes and when I tested with a cake tester it seemed that they were done. I had to return them to the oven for another 10 or more minutes to finish cooking as it was just not long enough.
I had a thought about how to make sure these get evenly cooked better for next time and decided that the best way would be to utilize a jumbo muffin pan. This way, the outside cinnamon buns wouldn’t get overcooked while the middle cinnamon buns were getting steamy but not baking through at the same rate. Next time I will be testing my theory out.

Before Baking …

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61 Responses to “Gluten Free & Vegan Cinnamon Buns”

  1. October 11, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    It is like you read my mind. I’ve been dreaming of finding a way to make GF and vegan cinnamon buns. I will make these soon! Thanks for sharing!

    • Megan
      October 11, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

      Yay! Well I hope your try at them turns out just as great as mine did. I am still shocked at how easy and tasty they turned out too. Let me know if you try the muffin-tin trick or if you bake it with success in the baking dish.

  2. October 11, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    Thank you so much for posting this!! I am a celiac vegan and I have missed these sooo much! I am excited to make them!!

    • Megan
      October 11, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

      Excellent! I hope you enjoy them. :)

  3. Zoe
    November 4, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    I’ve been looking for a recipe for cinnamon buns that works forever!!! What kind of flours did you use?

    • Megan
      November 5, 2011 at 11:36 am #

      I had purchased a gluten-free flour blend from the bulk food store. I think any sort of GF flour all-purpose baking mix would do the trick. Bob’s Red Mill has one that I’ve heard has good results. If I am blending my own flours I usually use a combination of brown rice flour, tapioca starch, corn starch and chickpea flour. It usually depends on what it is I am making though. I think next time I make these I’ll try with a home-blend and post the results. :)

      • Zoe
        November 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

        Cool thanks! I’ll try ‘em out and post my results too :)

  4. jo
    January 23, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    what would happen without the yeast? my husband and i cannot do yeast but he loves his cinnamon buns.

    • Megan
      January 23, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      Hmmm … to be perfectly honest I have very little experience in baking breads and buns without yeast. Like, no experience actually. I wish I had a solution that I could say I knew would work but I don’t. A quick Google search later though, I did find this neat little article about swapping out yeast for things like baking soda/baking powder/cream of tartar. I have no clue if it is suitable for your diet or if it even gives the right information you’d need to swap out yeast in this recipe. If you give it a try, please let us know! I’m very curious. :)

      • jo
        January 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

        What a great and informative website. i have an okay cinnimon bun recipe but it is not really fluffy but maybe double acting baking powder might do it? i will keep you posted!!

  5. Helen
    April 4, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    I am following your recipie and while waiting for the dough to rise, I decided to read over the ingredients again and noticed that Xanthan Gum was in the ingredients but no where in the directions. I am now worrried that your recipie wont work-I hope it doesn’t fail me..
    (I am forced to add the Xanthan gum to the dough even after it’s been about 20 minutes of waiting time. There would be nowhere else to add it in later but now I’m concerned this will disrupt the bonding/rising process..) your thoughts..?

    • Megan
      April 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      Oh dear. I’m so sorry Helen. You’re right, in the recipe instructions I mistakenly left out the xanthan gum. I have edited the recipe to include it. But yes, the best time to add it would have been with the dry ingredients. Xanthan gum helps add stickiness – a gluteny quality – to the dough. Leaving it out might have led to a denser dough. I hope adding it in later won’t completely ruin your recipe. Again, so sorry. :( Thanks for letting me know it was missing.

  6. Kita
    May 8, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    Hi! Thank you for this recipe. Will definitely be trying it out soon :)
    Just had one question: What kind of yeast did you use?
    And I usually use an egg replacer similar to the energy egg replacer…any thoughts if that would work?

    • Megan
      May 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

      Hi Kita, Using Ener-G- or other powdered egg replacer should work just fine. You would want to use the equivalent of 2 eggs in this recipe. As for the yeast I use, I just use regular quick-rise instant yeast – I believe the brand I’ve got right now is Fleischmann’s. Good luck with these. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

  7. Biz Markie
    May 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Great recipe! Turned out wonderfully. We added a little twist out of necessity. …we rolled and cut and panned the buns the night before, covered tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerated overnight for quick baking in the morning.
    They still turned out great but there was an interesting (and yummy, actually!) byproduct. When we got the pan out of the fridge, there was brown liquid in the bottom of the dish where the cinnamon and sugar had liquefied. The upside was that this turned into a sticky-bun type of glaze as the rolls baked. Bonus!
    Not 100% sure why this happened, as I’ve done this refrigeration with wheat-based buns before without this phenomenon.
    Still – decadent!!

    • Megan
      May 15, 2012 at 5:57 am #

      Sticky buns! That’s awesome. I’m not sure why it happened either. Did you use vegan margarine or regular butter/margarine? Sometimes I find unique things happening with vegan margarine. Either way, I think it’s neat you discovered this side-effect – mmmm sticky buns. :)

  8. Taryn
    June 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    How long does the dough take to rise usually? Mine is taking exceptionally long even w/ quick rise yeast. Also, I stupidly but the brown sugar in the dough because I wasn’t paying ful attention to the recipe! hope they turn out okay!

    • Megan
      June 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

      Hi Taryn, It shouldn’t take a super long time for the buns to rise. Is your yeast fairly fresh? I can’t think of any other reason why it wouldn’t rise up like usual than the yeast being too old or something. I hope these turn out for you.

  9. Rabz
    July 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    cream cheese icing? should i just buy vegan cream cheese (tofutti?) from the store or do you have a recipe for that too? :)
    see i am now stalking your page!!

    • Megan
      July 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

      Hehehe, I do not currently have a vegan cream cheese recipe … yet. But that sounded a lot like a challenge and I like a good challenge. Maybe I’ll have to work on a faux cream cheese recipe this summer. :)

  10. Rabz
    July 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    Megan, so I tried these bad boys couple of days ago. Turned out pretty good but I think I might have made a mistake. When you say yeast, do you mean just the dry yeast or should it be mixed with water and be in liquid form? The reason why I ask is that I just dropped 2.5 tsp of yeast straight from the packet and maybe that’s why the dough didn’t double in size, in fact it didn’t rise at all. So while the taste was terrific, the buns were quite dense and not big. I want to make them again but wanted to check with you first …

    • Megan
      July 23, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      Hey Rabz, Generally speaking my yeast ends up working pretty good even if I don’t proof it first in warm liquid. It could be the type of yeast I’m using (instant quick-acting). What I would suggest you try next time is to combine the yeast with the warm milk for a few minutes before adding in the rest of the ingredients to the work bowl of your mixer. It should help give your yeast the head-start it needs to get some rise out of it. I’ll add a note to the original post so people don’t have the same issue. Thanks for the heads up! :)

  11. Rabz
    July 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    thanks Megan for such a quick reply and making additional notes on the recipe. you’re really awesome! :)

  12. Marissa
    August 4, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    Well I just made these rolls tonight, when I rolled them up the log completely fell apart. Any ideas why? Could it be because I used soy milk instead of almond milk?
    I threw all the dough in the pan and cooked it up anyways, it tasted amazing!
    Thanks so much for such an amazing gf recipe.

    • Megan
      August 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      Do you mean the dough was crumbly and fell apart? Or just that the spirals didn’t stay together very well? This dough is actually quite sticky so it shouldn’t crumble apart, so I assume you mean the spirals weren’t tight and fell apart. You really have to roll this up tightly and when you cut it sometimes you have to hold the part you’ve cut off to prevent it from unraveling. Too bad it fell apart on you, but I’m glad it tasted amazing. It took me a bit of practice to get the hang of rolling this dough up so definitely don’t give up on trying to roll it again! :)

  13. Kate
    December 19, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    Just made these. Fresh out of the oven. They taste amazing and i’m not a very good cook! Thanks so much!

    • December 19, 2012 at 9:30 am #

      YAY!!! I love hearing about recipe success!

  14. Leslie
    January 10, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    Just signed up for your Blog.
    The recipes look great, in particular these Cinnamon Buns!
    Wish I’d had them a couple weeks ago at Christmas when the rest of the family was eating
    the gluten ones!
    Question though, would you know if anyone has made them at higher altitudes?
    I’m at 6300 ft.

    • January 12, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      Hi Leslie, I personally don’t have tons of experience baking at higher altitudes but I did look up some info about it online. I think you should still be okay to bake these as directed in the recipe. If you’re concerned about the dough rising too fast and then falling, I would just keep a close eye on it while you’re waiting for it to double in size. Once it’s doubled, or nearly doubled, pop it right into the oven. Don’t let it sit for too long since yeast tends to produce larger gas bubbles at higher altitudes (according to what I learned online) and so you might risk a huge rise that just falls flat. I hope it works for you.

  15. Jackie
    January 17, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    Is it possible to freeze parts of unbaked dough/roll?

    • January 17, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

      Hi Jackie, To be perfectly honest I’ve never tried freezing this dough and baking it later. I’m curious how this would turn out so if you do decide to give it a try please let us all know! If I get around to experimenting I’ll be sure to update you and this recipe with notes about how it worked.

  16. Lindsey
    March 5, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    I haven’t had cinnamon rolls since I went gluten free in May last year due to a gluten intolerance. I’ve recently been trying to make the transition to being an “at-home vegan” and found your cinnamon roll recipe. I made it on Sunday and, oh my god, these are the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever eaten! I didn’t even frost them! I did have trouble with the rolling part because I didn’t use enough flour so my rolls fell apart but they tasted soooo good. I’m excited to see what else you have on this website for me to try. :)

    • March 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      The best cinnamon rolls you’ve ever eaten! :D That’s the kind of comment I like to get. Thanks for sharing Lindsey.

  17. Carolynn
    April 5, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    I made these cinnamon rolls on Easter morning and they were amazing! The best thing I’ve eaten in a long time. This was actually the first thing I’ve made that is gluten-free and vegan, and your directions were perfect. I try to avoid soy products so didn’t make the cream cheese frosting. Instead I made your vegan buttercream frosting (which is my favorite super sweet frosting anyway) and I am seriously in love with these things!

    • April 6, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your comments Carolynn! I’m thrilled you enjoyed these cinnamon buns so much!

  18. Dhita
    April 21, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Dear Megan, Thank you for making this blog and post this recipe.
    I leave in Jakarta, Indonesia, and its pretty hard to find gluten free vegan recipe in the magazine or even bookstore, so I’m so glad to found your blog ;)
    Although it’s challenging to find some of the ingredients here, but I definitely will try this menu out. And also the rest of your cookies menu (it’s looks so yummy)
    Great works Megan!

    • April 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

      Hi Dhita, Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. I’m thrilled to hear that people from all corners of the world are finding some use from my website and recipes. I hope you are able to find the ingredients to make the recipes that caught your eye. Happy cooking & baking!

  19. April 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a
    coworker who has been conducting a little homework on
    this. And he actually ordered me breakfast because I stumbled upon it
    for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!
    ! But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this subject
    here on your website.

  20. Carrie
    June 28, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    This did not work at all….. liquid batter…. I added more flour, enough to be able to roll it out… just fell apart like other commenters said. Ugh…

  21. Cassie
    July 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    This maybe a dumb question, but the is the egg substitute added as 1/4 cup of dry powder or is it mixed with water to equal 1/4 cup of liquid egg substitute? I’m sorry if it should be obvious but I want to be sure since I’ve so many recipes with egg substitute that didn’t work before!

    • July 27, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

      Not a dumb question at all Cassie. It’s 1/4 cup of prepared egg replacer. In this case I made two flax eggs and measured it out to 1/4 cup worth. I am going to update the recipe to make it clearer.

  22. Kate
    July 31, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    I’m allergic to all nuts, will this recipe work with soy milk instead of almond milk? Because I’m DYING for a cinnamon roll right now.

    • July 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      Yes, soy milk will work just fine.

  23. Kate
    August 10, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

    Hi! Thanks so much for your website, i’m so happy to find it. I have a question, can you make these without the xanthan gum? I’m not sure where I could find that around my way that’s way I’m asking, but Thank you again so much!

    • August 12, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

      Hi Kate, I would hesitate to omit the xanthan gum because it helps give the gluten-free dough a bit of stretch and texture. If you have a health food store you can likely find it or guar gum. You can interchange guar gum for the xanthan gum if it’s easier/cheaper to find. If all else fails, you could give these a try without and see how it works out. If you do, I’d love you to comment back and let us all know how it went.

      • Kate
        August 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

        Cool thanks! I’ll try to find it but if i can’t find it i will do it without the gum and let you know. :)

  24. Ana
    September 9, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Delicious! I got the yeast to rise in the milk mixture, but it didn’t rise much more – if at all – once I mixed everything together. Not much of a loss though, as my dough was still very fluffy and delectably moist in the centre :) my carnivorous, gluten-loving, dairy-addicted boyfriend loved them!

    I didn’t realize how much I was craving cinnamon buns until I bit into one of these bad boys fresh out of the oven (it smelled too good to wait) and practically cried of happiness.

    Amazing recipe!

  25. orchids
    September 21, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    My batter came out extremely liquid and when I rolled it out it all turned to mush. Just wasted a whole bunch of ingredients. I followed the recipe to the letter and used all the correct amount of ingredients. I have rolled gluten free dough before, no problem, and I know it can be sticky. But it literally turned to liquid and fell apart. Really disappointed.

    • September 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

      That is so disappointing Orchid. I’m sorry you didn’t have good results. I have decided to test this recipe yet again and see why the results don’t seem to be consistent for everyone. I have some ideas that might be affecting the recipe so I want to put it to the test. Stay tuned for a new and improved recipe coming soon.

      • orchids
        September 22, 2013 at 10:55 am #

        I wonder if there’s too much milk? Maybe a 1 cup and 1/4 would be enough? But anything gluten-free and vegan is very tricky. It is very strange that we all seem to have such different results. I shall check back! Also, have you tried refrigerating the rolled up dough for an hour and cutting with a hot knife instead? Good luck!

        • September 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

          Totally going to take all your suggestions into consideration when I make this next time. I haven’t tried refrigerating the dough but I just may give that a try too. Thanks Orchids.

  26. Emma
    September 26, 2013 at 6:24 am #

    Thanks for this recipe! They were soooo tasty! And it’s easy to make :) I’m low FODMAP (including being essentially gluten free) and vegan so stumbling across your recipes has been fantastic, I intend to make many more of them!

  27. MJ
    October 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Hello, thanks for the recipe. Step three mentions eggs but I didn’t see eggs in the ingredients. Please clarify? I would love to make these sometime soon. Thanks for sharing. I am falling in love with all of this food and possibilities!

    • October 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

      Step three mentions ‘flax eggs’ – so the 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds + 6 tablespoons water – not regular eggs. :)

  28. Kay
    October 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    Hi, can I use coconut oil instead of margarine or earth balance?

    • October 27, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      It should work fine to use coconut oil.

  29. Hannah
    January 27, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

    Just made these, amazing results! Trying to resist not eating all 12 in one go… Thanks for the recipe.

  30. Amanda
    February 19, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    Hi there. Just tried these but substituted olive oil for the soy margarine using 2/3 cups as called for with the margarine ( my daughter has a soy allergy). The dough was so loose and sticky. Do I think that the amount of oil should be decreased? I make my own gf flour that has worked really well in other recipes. I ended up throwing these glob like creations in the oven in the pan in hopes it may not be a complete waste but any suggestions?

    • February 19, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

      Hmmm, tough to say Amanda. I’ve been getting comments where this recipe turns out great as written, and some where it turns out horrible and I cannot seem to figure out why the results are so all over the map. Changing out the olive oil may have contributed to the wetness of the dough, but I can’t say for sure because others have reported a wet dough with the recipe as written. Sorry. One of these days I’ll do a bunch of re-testing with this recipe to see just what is going on. I suspect it is the all-purpose gluten-free flour blend that varies from baker to baker causing unreliable results.

  31. Victoria
    February 21, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    Megan, could coconut flour be substituted for the all purpose g free mix???


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