Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

baked gluten free cinnamon rolls

by Kelley Herring

I love every season of the year. Each one has its own special memories and activities to look forward to. But there is no season more nostalgic than the fall.

As the air begins to cool and the nights grow crisp… as the leaves turn brilliant shades of orange and red and yellow… as the logs crackle and burn in the fireplace… we can’t help but to be transported to times gone by.

We think of the Holidays spent with family… parties with friends… playing in the leaves… and the familiar smells and flavors wafting from the kitchen.

And there is probably no smell more reminiscent of fall than the warm and spicy aroma of cinnamon. Folded into pastry and drizzled with icing, it makes a delicious complement to a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning.

Unfortunately, cinnamon rolls and pastries are not the healthiest fare. And if you spend all winter eating them, you’ll need to loosen your waistband come spring.

Take a Cinnabon cinnamon roll for example. Those tasty treats that always seem to tempt our senses at the mall (I swear they must pump that smell through the vents!) can seriously harm your efforts to stay lean and healthy. At 880 calories apiece, they are loaded with white flour, sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavorings.

Fortunately, there is a way to make delicious, moist and buttery cinnamon rolls with good-for-you ingredients like almond flour and coconut oil. And we’ve included a recipe below that you absolutely MUST try!

The recipe you’ll find below is also light on sugar, but has a bold, sweet cinnamon flavor… and the extra goodness of crunchy pecans and chewy raisins.

And while this recipe takes a little bit of time to prepare, it’s worth the trouble if you’re looking for a warm and spicy treat to serve for a holiday breakfast or weekend brunch. Topped with a delicious low-glycemic icing instead of the high sugar glaze you’ll normally find on a cinnamon roll, these will warm your heart all winter long. So, without further adieu, here’s how to make delicious (and healthy!)…

Making Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls (that are Low in Sugar Too!)

Before you begin, gather your ingredients and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In addition the ingredients pictured below, you’ll need a few staples like salt and baking powder.

ingredients for gluten free cinnamon rolls

To start, put 3 cups of almond flour in a large bowl with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

In a separate bowl, combine 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 2 tablespoons coconut sugar and two large eggs (at room temperature). It’s important that the eggs are room temperature, or you may get clumps in your coconut oil.

Next, add the egg mixture to the almond flour. Stir with a spatula until the dough is smooth. If it seems too wet, add more almond flour a tablespoon at a time.

gluten free cinnamon rolls dough

Lay a sheet of parchment paper on your countertop and put the dough on top. Now, lay another sheet of parchment over the top.

gluten free cinnamon roll dough

Flatten the dough with your hands and then roll out until you have a rectangle that is about 9×13 inches and ½ inch thick.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1/2 cup raisins (chopped if you prefer), 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 2 tablespoons coconut sugar. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over your rectangle of dough.

pecans on dough

Now comes the tough part — rolling up your cinnamon rolls. The best way to do it is to very gently roll the short edge of the dough away from you, trying to keep your log as tight as you can without tearing the dough. Use the parchment paper to help you roll it. But be careful not to roll the parchment into the dough!

Once dough is rolled into a log, use your hands to ensure that the roll is a uniform in size and thickness. Your ends will probably be narrow, but that’s okay.

roll the dough

Using a sharp knife (serrated works too), slice the log into slices 2 inches thick. Lay them down on a parchment lined cookie sheet a few inches apart.  Some of your filling might come out a bit, but that’s okay.

gluten free cinnamon rolls on parchment

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, checking for the first time around 8 minutes or so. They should be lightly browned with soft centers. Be careful not to over bake. When they are done, let them cool on the pan to avoid breaking.

While the cinnamon rolls are in the oven, make the frosting by heating 1/4 cup canned, full fat coconut milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Add your Frosting Starter Mix and stir until any crystals are dissolved. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir and remove from heat. The icing will thicken nicely as it cools and you’ll be able to drizzle it over the warmed cinnamon rolls.

One bite and you’ll agree that these will pair perfectly with a cup of coffee on a crisp fall weekend morning. And you won’t have to expand your waistband when it’s time to hit the beach or the lake in the spring!

5 from 1 reviews
Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Yield: 10
Ingredients
  • For the rolls:
  • 3 cups blanched almond flour (plus 2 Tbs more if needed)
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Coconut Sugar
  • 2 large room temperature pastured eggs
  • For the filling:
  • 2 Tbsp. Coconut Sugar
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • ½ cup organic raisins
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • For the icing
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Frosting Starter Mix
Instructions
  1. Preheat heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda
  3. In a separate bowl, gently beat together the coconut oil, 2 T coconut sugar, and room temperature eggs. If the eggs are too cold, they might cause the coconut oil to harden.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the almond flour mixture, gently mixing to form a smooth dough.
  5. On a large piece of parchment paper, place the dough. Place another piece of parchment on top of the dough. Flatten a bit with your hands. Now roll the dough out into about a 9×13 rectangle with approximately ½-3/4 inch thickness.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, raisins, nuts and remaining coconut sugar.
  7. Remove the top layer of parchment covering the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon-nut mixture evenly over the dough to cover the whole surface. Be gentle not to tear the dough.
  8. Now roll up the dough. Begin with the short end of the rectangle; start to roll the edge of the dough away from you, making a tight roll. Continue rolling to create a uniform log, using the parchment paper to help you roll. Take your time! Keep it tight but be gentle. Almond flour dough is not as flexible as grain-based dough.
  9. One you have rolled the dough up, it is time to lengthen it. Gently roll the whole log of dough to make it longer and uniform in thickness. (The ends will ne narrow)
  10. With a sharp knife, slice the roll into 2 inch thick slices (that is approx. the width of two fingers).
  11. Lay the slices cut side down onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Space them a few inches apart.
  12. Transfer to oven and bake for 10-15 min. Stay close to the oven and start checking around 8 minutes. They should be golden with slight browning at the top. The center of the rolls should be soft but not mushy. Do NOT overbake.
  13. When done, remove from the oven and let cool. Do not move them before cooling – they will break.
  14. Meanwhile, make the icing.
  15. Add the coconut milk to a small saucepan over low heat. Add the Frosting Starter and stir to dissolve crystals. Add in the coconut oil and the vanilla. Remove from heat. As the mixture cools, it will thicken. You can either drizzle your rolls individually, or save the icing in the fridge in a covered container and spread on a cinnamon roll and reheat in the toaster oven.
Notes
Nutrition Information (Per Serving)

349 calories, 29 g fat, 8.7 g saturated fat, 19 g carbohydrate, 8.5 g sugar, 6 g fiber, 9 g protein, 42 mg cholesterol, 218 mg sodium

 

Comments

  1. wanda says

    these sound so good! can’t wait to make some! husband will most definitely enjoy these also. thank you for ALL the wonderful recipes!!

    • Kelley says

      Hi Wanda! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you love these cinnamon rolls as much as we do at our house. I have to hide them in a sealed container in the back of the fridge – otherwise I don’t get any (smiles). Once I make them, I just warm them up in the toaster oven for a few minutes. I keep the icing separate and spread a little on the tops before popping them in. Dee-lish!

  2. Diane G says

    If you wanted to eliminate all sugar, can you substitute the coconut sugar with an equal amount of granular xylitol?

  3. barbara says

    How many rolls is one serving? I did not see that above. Hopefully more than one as the nutritional info is fat dense- a bit too much for one roll… Thanks! Looking forward to making these.

    • Kelley says

      Hi Barbara! Thanks for your question. The recipe makes 10, good-sized, satisfying cinnamon rolls. You can easily cut the fat and calories in these with a couple modifications. First, reduce the amount of pecans or walnuts. I was pretty generous with these. By using 1/4 cup and chopping them fine, you will still get a good bit of “crunch” in every bite. The next way to cut the fat and calories is to choose a different milk – coconut milk is very rich and dense. You could use almond milk instead and also reduce or omit the coconut oil in the frosting with little difference in taste or texture. While these cinnamon rolls are higher in calories and fat, they are also rich in nutrients. They are an excellent source of fiber and manganese and a good source of calcium and protein. Not to mention that you also get heart healthy monounsaturated fats from the almond flour and metabolism-boosting medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) from the coconut oil. Pretty good for a delicious cinnamon roll. Hope you enjoy!

  4. Angela says

    Hi Kelley, These sound so good! My daughter has a tree nut & flaxseed allergy, what can I substitute for the nuts and almond flour that will keep the good nutritional protein content but eliminate the allergens?
    Thanks!

    • Kelley says

      Hi Angela! Thanks for stopping by. Coconut flour is a great low glycemic, gluten free flour that is tolerated very well by most people and would be my first suggestion. However, for pastry recipes like cinnamon rolls, it is difficult to work with because it is very dense and requires a lot of moisture. A good rule of thumb for coconut flour is 1 egg per Tbsp. coconut flour. Using protein powder in combination with the coconut flour may be a good option. Check out this delicious-looking coconut flour cinnamon roll recipe over at Healthiful Balance: https://healthifulbalance.blogspot.com/2012/05/protein-cinnamon-rolls.html.

  5. Cheri says

    Hi Kelley,
    You absolutely read my mind with this recipe!! I have been looking for a healthy cinnamon roll recipe recently and this one looks great and also has all the ingredients I have on hand! I have one silly question though…if I wanted to reduce the calories more and not really miss out on the whole “experience” could I leave off the icing or would it make the rolls too dry or much less flavorful? Thank you so much for hard work you do in making healthy treats like these!! Can’t wait to try them soon!!

    • Kelley says

      Hi Cheri!
      I’m glad to hear you’re excited about the cinnamon rolls. I’m actually baking up a batch this morning…

      If you want to reduce the calories a bit, I would suggest halving (or reducing) the nuts and raisins and using almond milk in the frosting (instead of coconut milk). These cinnamon rolls are also amazing with a simple pat of ghee on top. Yum!

      I hope you enjoy!

  6. Paul Wilson says

    Hello Kelley,

    I’m Paul Wilson and it seems like you’re on a mission to satisfy America’s appetite for delicious sinful treats only in a healthier way, right? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to say there’s fun taking on the challenge of taking healthy ingredients and crafting up something decadent?

    I’ll be glad to try out this recipe because I’m looking forward to trying new things in the kitchen. Frankly, its the same old same for most families. What are some substitutes for pecans? I think of almonds.

    What would 2 TBSP of real maple syrup do for the Cinnamon Rolls?

    Having said that, I’d like to get my hands on your Guilt Free Desserts ebook at the best affordable price. I’ve sent you an email on the 4th of October.

    Best of all, I’d like to experiment with this gluten free stuff. I’d like to make some chocolate chip cookies and Oatmeal Raisin Whoopie Pies(Oatmeal Raisin Cookies With Cream Cheese Filling Inside) using Coconut Flour. I’m used to White Whole Wheat Flour.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I’ll be glad to hear from you.

    Wish you well,

    Paul Wilson

    • Kelley says

      Hi Paul,
      Thanks for stopping by.

      We don’t recommend maple syrup in such quantity due to the fact it is high glycemic. Coconut sugar is a low glycemic sweetener that makes the perfect complement to our cinnamon rolls.

      You’ll find lots of great gluten free, low glycemic recipes in Guilt Free Desserts. And you can get it at the best price here: https://www.guiltfreedesserts.net

      Enjoy!

  7. Lesley O'Donoghue says

    Hi Kelley, a sugar-free advocate in Australia had this to say about coconut sugar:

    “As you know, we’re interested in the fructose content – it’s the dangerous, fattening bit of sugar. Everyone gets excited about agave which is 90% fructose.

    So this is what the manufacturers of coconut sugar are saying:

    The major component of coconut sugar is sucrose (70-79%) followed by glucose and fructose (3-9%) each. Minor variations will occur, due to differences in primary processing, raw material source, tree age and variety of coconut.

    Good, yes? No! This is very tricky wording. Because sucrose – or just plain table sugar to you and me – is half fructose! So in effect coconut sugar’s between 38% and 48.5% fructose (I did the maths just now). Which…is about the same as sugar and honey.

    Back to square one…Thought I’d just share….”

    I was wondering if you’d agree with how the compound was broken down and whether in fact it’s true that it’s almost 50% fructose.

    Thanks.

    • Kelley says

      Hi Lesley!
      Thank you for your comment. This is a very good and important question.

      First, let me begin by saying that sugar – in ANY form – has negative effects when consumed in quantity. And of the sugars we commonly use, fructose seems to pose the biggest risk.

      In fact, studies show that people consuming fructose (as opposed to other forms of sugar including sucrose, dextrose and glucose), are more at risk for ‘intra-abdominal’ or ‘visceral’ fat – is the most harmful type linked to diabetes and heart disease. Too much fructose also increases LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, insulin resistance and more. I did a blog post on this topic and you can read it here: https://blog.healinggourmet.com/dates-for-diabetes/

      It is true that sucrose (table sugar – and in this case coconut sugar) breaks down into the two monosaccharides glucose and fructose. While virtually all cells in the body can use glucose for energy, only liver cells break down fructose. This is bad news for the liver, and one of the reasons why excess fructose is associated with non alcoholic fatty liver disease, not to mention obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

      But let’s talk about “excess”…

      Check out the gluten free cinnamon roll recipe above. Each serving has a total of 8.5 grams of sugar – and that is including the raisins (12 grams of fructose per 1/4 cup). So let’s say that each cinnamon roll has about 5.5 grams of fructose. That is VERY low compare that to the national average daily consumption of 55 grams per day (73 grams for adolescents). And it is VERY Low considering that half an apple contains around 7 grams of fructose.

      At Wellness Bakeries, we offer Coconut Sugar as a complement to our zero calorie, zero glycemic sweetener (Sinless Sweetener). We do advise it be consumed in small quantities, as it is in our gluten free cinnamon roll recipe above. https://www.wellnessbakeries.com/our-products/coconut-sugar/coconut-sugar/

      Thanks again for the great question!

  8. steveandcarol@plateautel.net says

    Hi Kelly,
    I am ready to make these cinnamon rolls, but have a serious question. The recipe calls for baking soda, but in your directions you refer to baking powder. So, which should I use?
    Thanks, Carol

  9. Debbie L. says

    Hi Kelley,
    Quick question, on this great recipe, “can you prepare the dough the night before, roll it, and
    then refrigerate, and bake the next morning”? Thank You
    Debbie L.

    • Kelley says

      Hi Debbie! Thanks for stopping by. That’s a great question. You can absolutely refrigerate the cinnamon roll dough overnight – or even freeze it, if you’d like. Be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in an airtight zip top bag to prevent moisture loss. The cold dough is a bit easier to slice. After slicing, let it come to room temperature before baking. Enjoy!

  10. William F. Lee says

    What about substituting Stevia as the sweetener-and I would not touch the organic virgin coconut oil-best fats for you on the planet. Bill

    • Kelley says

      Hi Bill!
      Thanks for stopping by.

      You are right on about coconut oil!

      For the sweetener, you can substitute stevia. But stevia in its pure form is very potent. A little goes a long way and it needs to be combined with a “carrier”. An ideal calorie-free carrier is erythritol. It is zero glycemic and was recently found to have some impressive antioxidant activities. We offer it here: https://www.wellnessbakeries.com/our-products/erythritol/sinless-sweetener/

      In this cinnamon roll recipe, you could substitute the coconut sugar for an equal amount of erythritol… and then add pure stevia (1/8 to 1/4 tsp.) to boost the sweetness.

      One thing you have to watch out for are “stevia blends” that use maltodextrin as their carrier. Maltodextrin is very high glycemic (105). That is more glycemic than table sugar – which defeats the purpose! Maltodextrin is also genetically modified.

  11. Joanie says

    A lot of your recipes seem to have milk and cheese. Many people with gluten issues also have dairy issues. I am allergic to dairy and eggs so I try to stay away from them. Milk is easy to substitute for but cheese is a little harder. Eggs? I guess flaxseed works ok but they aren’t fluffy like eggs. I never had any luck with that powdered egg-substitute.

    The Nourishing Meals cookbook has a great vegan cinnamon roll recipe made with buckwheat flour. The frosting is made with sweet potatoes and applesauce. I made these on Thanksgiving morning and everyone loved them.

    • Kelley says

      Hi Joanie,
      Thanks for your comment.

      First, to address your comment on milk and cheese. This recipe is dairy free – there is no milk or cheese in it. And we are certainly sensitive to food sensitivities here at Wellness Bakeries.

      Next, to tackle the eggs. This is a bit more difficult – especially when you are using gluten free flours. As you may know, the more eggs you must substitute, the more the recipe deviates in texture. We do recommend flax eggs, but a better option for this recipe is chia gel. I find it has better binding and results in a product that is not so “flaxy”. Chia is high in fiber and rich in antioxidants. It absorbs more than nine times its weight in water and turns into a gel in minutes. To substitute 1 egg, add 1 Tbsp. chia to 3 Tbsp. water. Let it stand for 10-15 minutes or until it gels. 4 Tbsp = 1 egg.

      As for powdered egg substitutes, that is not something we would EVER recommend. The reason? It is made from soy flour, corn syrup solids and wheat gluten. Not only are these highly processed, but most of our readers have allergy issues with these foods (gluten, corn and soy). Not to mention soy flour has a long laundry list of health issues.

      Finally, the Nourishing Meals cinnamon roll recipe (https://www.nourishingmeals.com/2010/04/buckwheat-cinnamon-rolls-gluten-free.html). Buckwheat has a glycemic index of 54. That’s pretty high. But not as high as tapioca flour – which comes in at 81. That’s higher than table sugar! And the recipe calls for a cup of it. Not to mention 1 cup applesauce, 2/3 cup maple syrup and 1/2 cup sugar. The nutrition information is not posted on this recipe, but suffice it to say it is VERY high glycemic and not suitable for anyone watching their weight…. or concerned about preventing blood-sugar related diseases including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and many other chronic illnesses. That is not a “nourishing” recipe that I, or most of our readers, would ever want to eat.

      Your blood sugar is probably the single most important factor in disease prevention and the basis for our healthy dessert creations here at Wellness Bakeries. Please look into the natural low glycemic ingredients we use including almond flour, coconut flour, stevia and erythritol to protect your health!

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