Cinnamon Rolls, Gluten-Free

by Jeanne on February 24, 2010

Cinnamon rolls have been on my mind lately.  I don’t really know why.  I think I’m surrounded by people who have been talking about them lately.  And dAhub loves them.  He can’t get enough of them.  Whenever we go somewhere that has cinnamon rolls, he is first in line for them.  I don’t think he’s met a cinnamon roll that he doesn’t like.  While I was working on this recipe and was making batch after batch of test recipes, I came into the kitchen one day to find a whole batch was gone.  I looked at dAhub.  He looked at me.  In a deadpan voice he said, “I hope you don’t mind, but I ate the whole batch.  You have so many more batches around anyway.”  He said this so seriously, I believed him.  I must have looked completely shocked, because he laughed and showed me the tupperware he had transferred them to.  Not that we needed more cinnamon rolls, because the kitchen was covered with them.  But still…

I have a confession to make: I’ve never been a huge cinnamon roll fan.  I’m not sure why.  I guess it’s because all the ones I ever got where the size of a dinner plate, full of a too-sweet filling, and often had raisins (not my favorite thing in most baked things.).  So, I never gave them much thought until now.

As I started working on this recipe and testing batch after batch, I realized I LOVE cinnamon rolls.  I can’t get enough of them.  Many rolls from each batch I tested went directly into my mouth (taste-testing, of course).  I finally realized what people were raving about.  And I finally understood dAhub’s love of them.  As someone who is late to the cinnamon roll party, all I have to say to them is: wow–where have you been all my life?

As I thought about and researched cinnamon rolls over the past few months, I realized that I could adapt my Dinner Roll recipe to use as the dough of the cinnamon rolls.  Once I figured this out, the rest was a matter of tweaking the amount of liquid that would go into the recipe.  I then had to figure out a filling and a glaze recipe.  I studied many cinnamon roll recipes from the web to get ideas for the filling and frosting recipes.  I liked the idea of a simple cinnamon butter filling and a simple cream cheese frosting.  I played with amounts and finally came to the recipe below.  I am so happy about it!  And I think you will be, too!

Cinnamon Rolls, Gluten-Free
-makes 12 rolls

Note: This recipe uses my gluten-free flour mix:
Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in fridge):
1 1/4 C/170 g brown rice flour
1 1/4 C/205 g white rice flour
1 C/120 g tapioca flour
1 C/165 g sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum

Special Equipment Needed

-9″ x 13″ baking pan
-rolling pin
-a stand mixer is very handy, but a hand mixer will do
-a Silpat mat is very handy, but plastic wrap will do

Ingredients

For the Dough
3 C/420 g Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
2 tsp xanthan gum
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 C/50 g granulated sugar
2 TBL active dry yeast (I use Red Star)
1 1/4 C/300 ml warm but not hot milk (about 110 degrees F/43 degrees C)
2 tsp vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
4 TBL neutral-tasting vegetable oil (I use rice bran oil)
2 extra large eggs
extra tapioca flour for rolling out dough and for pan
extra butter for pan

For the Filling
1/4 C (1/2 stick; 55 g) unsalted butter
3/4 C/160 g dark brown sugar
2 TBL Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1 tsp cinnamon
-combine ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low heat to melt butter. Stir to combine. Take off of heat and set aside.

For the Frosting
1/4 C (1/2 stick; 55 g) unsalted butter, softened
4 oz (1/2 bar; 115 g) cream cheese, softened
3/4 C/85 g powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-combine ingredients in a small bowl and beat until combined and smooth; set aside

Butter and flour your pan with extra butter and tapioca flour; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt,and 3 TBL sugar; set aside
-in bowl of mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together eggs, oil and vinegar until just combined
-in a small bowl (or a glass measuring cup), whisk 1 TBL sugar into milk until sugar is dissolved
-add yeast, whisk until dissolved. Set aside to proof (will look foamy on top when it’s ready)
-once yeast mixture is foamy on top, add it to the wet ingredients in the bowl of stand mixer
-add dry ingredients
-with paddle attachment, beat dough on medium high for 3 minutes (dough will be very stiff)

Prepare your work surface: If you have it, place Silpat mat on work surface (or use a large piece of plastic wrap–at least 12″ x 18 inches). My Silpat mat is 12″ x 16.5″. Generously sprinkle with tapioca flour (surface should be completely covered). This will ensure that the dough won’t stick to the surface.

After it has been beaten for 3 minutes, scrape out the dough onto tapioca-sprinkled work surface. The dough will be stiff and sticky. Liberally sprinkle dough and rolling pin with tapioca flour. Adequate coverage will ensure that the dough doesn’t stick to the rolling pin
-roll out dough until it is 12″ x 15″ rectangle (you can also use your fingers to push it out here and there into the correct shape). It will be about 1/4″ thick.

Sprinkle filling mixture over top of dough. Leave a 1/4″ margin on the long sides and on 1 of the short ends, and a 1 inch margin at the other short end. This will help you to roll and seal the rolls. You may have to work a bit to get the dough evenly covered with filling. I use a butter knife to scrape the filling over to parts that don’t have filling.

-with a pastry brush, brush the 1″ margin of dough on the one short side with water. This make it a bit sticky and will help your rolls seal at the end.

Starting at the short end that does not have the 1″ margin, carefully roll the dough into a fairly tight cylinder. This should be fairly easy if you adequately floured your work surface before placing the dough on it. If the dough sticks to the work surface, gently pick up the end of the Silpat mat (or the plastic wrap) and use that to help you push and roll the dough. Carefully and steadily roll into a cylinder, and when you reach the end (the side with the water brushed on) press this part of the dough carefully but firmly to the body of the cylinder. You should now have a roughly 12″ long cylinder (don’t worry if it’s a bit longer or shorter). You can pat the open ends in a bit to make them more even.

Cut your rolls: I usually sprinkle more tapioca flour onto  the work surface and carefully pick up the cylinder and place it into the middle of the work surface so I have room to cut the rolls. Starting at one of the open ends, and using a ruler and a sharp knife, mark dough in 1″ increments. You should now have 12 marks.

With your knife, carefully cut the dough along the marks. I wipe off the knife after each cut. Place each roll cut side up into your prepared pan. You will have 12 rolls. The rolls should be slightly touching, but will have a bit of room around them.  This is purposeful.  I’ve found that the rolls bake best if they’re not tightly squished together.  If you don’t have a 9″x13″ pan, then try two 8″x8″ baking pans to get the effect below:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Let the rolls rise until almost double in bulk (this usually means about 30 minutes for me in Seattle this winter). I place the pan on top of the preheating stove to take advantage of the heat to help the rolls rise.

Once sufficiently risen, the rolls will now be touching each other on all sides, but still have some space around them.

Brush the top of each roll with melted butter.

Bake at 375 degree for 35-40 minutes (the tops will be tinged with brown here and there but not totally brown).

Remove. Let cool in pan on a wire rack.  You may brush the frosting on at any point now, but the warmer the rolls are, the more the frosting will melt down into the rolls (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!).  I usually frost some of the rolls and leave the others plain.  Both ways are terrific!

Enjoy!
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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracy squires March 1, 2014 at 9:13 am

Omg! The cinnamon buns are amazing!!!!! My gluten/egg free six year old is ready to eat the whole pan. Thank you.

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Jeanne March 2, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Tracy: Yay!!

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Kathy Imbriani November 27, 2013 at 2:29 pm

A question about yeast . . . I bought the bread machine yeast that said it is suitable for quick rise recipes. It seems to exhaust pretty quickly and I was wondering it this type of yeast is suitable for this recipe? I have trouble finding plain old yeast anymore around here. Go figure.

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Jeanne November 27, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Kathy: The quick rise yeast is just fine for this recipe as long as it has not hit its expiration date. Happy baking!

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Sandy June 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Is there a way to make these dairy free?

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Jeanne June 16, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Sandy: Yes–check out my substitutions post!

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Erika Gebhardt June 15, 2013 at 8:53 am

Wow! My husband just made these — followed directions exactly — and they are INCREDIBLE! Thanks for a fantastic recipe.

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Jeanne June 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Erika: Yay! I’m so glad!

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maria67 March 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm

just made these boy are they well nice only one thing wrong with them i cooked them too long or i got tempature on cooker wrong i cooked them 35mins like it said my cooker is in centergrade and its a fan oven so i cooked them at 190c next time i will cook them for less time i think.my daughter loves them thank you

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Jeanne March 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Maria: I’m glad you like them!

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Nicole December 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I’m allergic to eggs too…:( do you think these would be terribly with egg replacer (ener-g??) I can usually get away with subbing up to 2 eggs. Has anyone out there tried it?

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Jeanne December 30, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Nicole: It can work, but just know that the rolls won’t be as fluffy as they would be with eggs. See my ingredient substitution post for suggestions on egg replacers.

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Candice December 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Over the holidays I have prepared both the cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls, but instead of allowing them to rise I put them on parchment lined cookie sheets in the freezer. After they froze, I stored them in freezer bags until I needed them. I let them return to room temperature, rise, and cooked them up for the appropriate holiday meal. They tasted great, as normal, and I was able to do all the preparation when I had the time.

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Jeanne December 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Candice: Thank you so much for the pre-preparation suggestions!! Merry Christmas!

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Lori November 18, 2012 at 12:06 am

Do you have a tortilla recipe?

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Jeanne November 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Lori: I don’t have one, but my pal, Kate, of Hipgirls has one: http://hipgirlshome.com/blog/2010/3/20/putting-the-tex-back-in-your-mex.html. Check it out!

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Alexia August 6, 2012 at 8:48 am

Third recipe in 3 days and again, a great success, even with the changes I had to make!
Like several others here, I’ve always been a keen baker, bread maker etc..but going GF free myself and for my son (and having massive GF flour restrictions for 2 years due to lack of safe flours and a highly food allergic toddler – so only rice flour allowed, no tapioca etc) meant no more pastries, nice breads etc and I live in Paris (France) so you can imagine, we have bakeries on every street corner!

This recipe worked out great with the filling made from olive oil (we’re non dairy) and muscovado sugar (very dark/sticky). I reduced the sugar to 1/4+ and didn’t ice it, we don’t eat a lot of sugar.
I halved the batch and made the 1/2 with strawberry jam (haven’t tested cinnamon on him yet, tomorrow we will) and I suspect he will like it (verdict in 1 hour), will try with chocolate filling too.

Note: the dough with only tapioca and rice was pretty sticky and I was pretty worried when I got out of the KA but with tapioca on the mat it worked out fine exactly like you said.
Also, I’m sharing a raising trick I’ve found on a French site, to prep the yeast, I put the milk/yeast mix in my oven set at its lowest (120°F in my case) for a few minute and use the oven also to raise the dough, I either leave it at 120°C or switch off the oven and leave the dough in. I’ve tried your system of preheating the oven but mine must be very well insulated so it didn’t really help!

Thanks again, I think your recipes are the best GF with ‘easy flours’ (ie not a mix of 5-6 flours, many pretty exotic or corn/nut) that I’ve found and I’ve been looking for a while.
Are you interested in a French style brioche recipe? I can share the one I use (and have translated)

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admin August 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Alexia: Yay! Thanks for sharing your adaptations and ideas! I love it when people make the recipes their own. Also, I would love to see the French brioche recipe you have. Thanks! Also, I do have a brioche on my site in the form of the King Cake. Check that out and see what you think.

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Destiny June 15, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I am new to this website but very thankful for it because so many of the recipes are items my gf husband would like me to bake; however, I have had any ‘knock your socks off’ recipes. Until now! I am going to try to make these for the Father’s day breakfast at my n-laws. My husband is the only gf person but I suspect no one will be complaining after one bite of these cinnamon rolls!
I do have one question: Can I take them straight to the oven if i refrigerate the unbaked rolls overnight? Your help is greatly appreciated!

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admin June 15, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Destiny: Yes, make them up until the baking part, and cover and put into the fridge. In the morning, remove them from the fridge and preheat the oven. Then bake. You will need to bake them a bit longer because they will be cold. But, they should be fine! Happy baking!

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jamie hamrick June 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Hey just wanted you to know we LOVE your site and it has been a HUGE blessing to our family!!! That said, I love baking from scratch but I am a freeze/can/ make ahead kinda girl….how do you think the cinnamon rolls would do in freezer? I want to try but I am not sure if I should freeze cooked or uncooked , half baked…I have people over often (no invite needed here) and I find myself pulling out of my stash in freezer, Just wondered if you had any tips before I make and “ruin” or “save” a batch…Thanks for your site and all the hard work you have done and continue to do! Also wondered if the hamburger bund would be similar to a yeasted donut..gonna make some buns for a camping trip his weekend and it is national donut day today!!!!

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admin June 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Jamie: Thanks! For the cinnamon rolls: I would make them up until the point of baking–and then freeze in the pan if you can. Then you can put them in the fridge to defrost overnight before baking. The hamburger bun is similar to a yeasted donut dough. If you’re going to experiment, I would sweeten it a bit and then deep fry it. It doesn’t retain as much oil as people think it does. I keep meaning to post a yeasted donut recipe–I have one that’s close but I keep getting sidetracked. Sigh. Happy baking!

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Tara February 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm

So yummy! Your banana bread has already become a staple at our house and now we have another great recipe. My daughter (has celiac) loved them. Thank you so much!

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admin February 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Tara: Yay!! I’m so glad!

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Becky January 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I made these for my son’s 10th Birthday today. He just told me that these are the best things he’s tasted since he went Gluten free. Best words a Momma can hear. Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes!

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admin January 11, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Becky: Yay! I’m so glad! Thanks for letting me know. And I’m so glad the recipes are helpful!

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Beth December 21, 2011 at 10:48 am

Hi! A mutual friend recommended your site to me – I’m attempting my first Christmas morning GF, and was not about to give up our cinnamon roll tradition. I’m super new to the world of gluten free baking. Since I’m making these for XMAS morning, do you know if I could make the recipe all the way through to the pan phase and then refrigerate, bringing out XMAS morning to rise and then bake? I used to do this successfully with gluten recipes, but don’t want to risk complete failure on the big day. :)

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admin December 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

Beth: Yes, I think that would be fine. Just do it overnight–the rolls will rise slowly in the fridge, but they will rise, so don’t let them sit in their longer than that. Merry Christmas!

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Beth December 22, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Thank you!! Merry Christmas to you too. :)

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Jessi (GF foodie) October 29, 2011 at 11:00 am

I just stumbled across your website as I was doing research on GF items for my first ever GF Christmas dinner at home (normally we go out to family, this year they are coming to us!). I have been Celiac for quite some time and GF for 10 years and I have yet to see products like yours on any website or in any store. I need to stock up on a few things but I cannot wait to go through your website and try every recipe from a-z. As a person who trained as a chef before her diagnosis, the re-discovery of my passion for cooking (that now doesn’t make me ill!) has been a blessing. And FYI my fiancee will owe you a huge debt once I make these (His fave food too). Thank you so much for dedicating your time to this blog, and to all of us in this cyber world.

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admin October 29, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Hi Jessi: Thanks–I’m so glad my site is helpful for you. And I totally get it about re-discovering your passion for cooking. When I was diagnosed 11 years ago, I spent several months mourning the loss of baking. Then I got myself out of the funk and set about figuring out how to do it again. And yay for your fiance, too! Happy cooking and baking!

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Gail Bennett September 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I made these rolls twice yesterday and wanted happy. The first time I
realized I made a mistake so that one I understand. The second time everything I did by the recipe. They looked like they were raising properly but when they came out, they just were’nt fluffy enough. I have to lower the temp on my oven because it cooks hot. I also added a gluten free additive that is supposed to help with the dough and make it act like a more gluten product. I was sooo looking forward to these.

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admin September 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

Gail: Hm. I don’t know what to say. I have had outside testers make this recipe and it turns out fine. Have you tried it without the additive? It doesn’t need an additive to work well. I am thinking that might be the problem. Try it again and let me know!

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Megan August 2, 2011 at 8:43 am

Wow! I made these for my husband and I! He just got back from deployment and hasn’t tried anything GF.. and he LOVED them! He said they were just as good or better than the non GF ones! Thank you again! I enjoy these recipes very much!!! :)

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admin August 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Megan: Oh, I’m so glad!! Yay! And I’m so glad your husband is back from deployment–extra yay!

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barbara March 2, 2011 at 9:12 am

My husband is a willing taste tester for me but not until today did I ever hear the words, “are you sure this is gluten free?” His eyes literally lit up after his first bite of this warm cinnamon roll. The rolls were absolutely wonderful.
I have three daughters and they all have a sweet tooth. While raising them our house had constant baking going on. However, after becoming gf and baking all the tasteless and lame substitutes…..I finally just gave up. Everyone was really bummed this Christmas when the usual trays laden with cookies were absent. I just had no motivation to make things no one really liked. We ate a lot of candy. Not a satisfying or festive trade.
I have tried two of your wonderful recipes in two days and I have to thank you for giving me the inspiration to be back in the kitchen! Your baking mix is the bomb!
I can’t wait to share this link with my friends and family who are gf! Thanks so much :)

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admin March 2, 2011 at 9:23 am

Barbare: Oh, I’m so glad–yay!!! I’m totally with you–baking during the holidays (and beyond) is part of my life. The first year I was diagnosed, I was so depressed because I thought I would never bake again! But, I figured it out and am so very happy to share my successes!! Thanks again!

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Susan B. February 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm

She’s an awesome daughter-in-law too, so we’re a good match. We have a thing: I bake gluten-free stuff and take it to her, and she lets me hold my grandson. (To be fair, I would still bake for her, and she would still let me hold the baby, but this way works well for us. ) :-)

And they came out perfect. I’m resisting the urge to eat one, as I want her to have them all.

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admin February 28, 2011 at 9:26 am

Susan: Aw, that is so nice!! I love it! Thanks for letting me know!

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Susan B. February 26, 2011 at 2:01 pm

My gluten-free daughter-in-law (who, by the way, just gave birth to my precious grandson) told me that she’s been craving cinnamon rolls for a while now. She has recently consumed a batch of your dinner rolls that I made for her while she was pregnant; I am now going to give the cinnamon rolls a try. Thanks for your great website!

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admin February 26, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Susan: Oh, I’m so glad! And you are an awesome MIL!! Yay!

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Stephanie December 5, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Jeanne- These rolls are so good! My husband says they are as good as the ones I used to make in my non-GF baking days. It was always tradition in our family that I would make cinnamon rolls on snowy days while everyone was out shoveling snow. (No one ever figured out that making them was my way of getting out of shoveling! They just thought I was being a really nice wife/mother. LOL!) After three years I can finally make them again.

I used to make an orange icing using OJ concentrate, orange zest, a bit of butter, and confectioner’s sugar. Sometimes I would make a maple walnut icing that was very good as well.

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admin December 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Stephanie: Oh, I’m so glad!! And your icing recipe sounds fab. I will make it soon!

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