How have cinnamon rolls gotten by all these years calling themselves breakfast? Cake gets classified as dessert with all it’s sweet layers, but somehow if it’s rolled up rather than stacked up it’s fine for morning time?? Plus cinnamon rolls have filling AND frosting! Two creamy, sweet, normally sugar-laden components yet it’s still allowed before 10 a.m.? It’s a double standard I tell you.
Now these cinnamon rolls, these can reasonably be classified as breakfast. A dough made with sweet potato. A filling made with dates, sugar optional. No oil or gluten. A much healthier morning meal than anything that pops out of a cardboard tube.
Frosting. I just used coconut whipped cream to top these swirly sweet rolls. You could thin out the coconut whipped cream to more of a glaze consistency with non-dairy milk or the liquid from the can of coconut milk. Or you could just blend up a really easy date frosting like I used on the first trial with just dates and water.
Cinnamon rolls are something I’ve been attempting for a while, but I could never get the dough quite right. Inspired by this soft flexy flatbread I discovered that sweet potatoes make for a much more manageable gluten-free dough. And it’s still soft after baking, especially those inside parts that are snuggled next to the delicious date filling!
I do suggest baking them in a muffin pan otherwise they turn into cinnamon blobs instead of rolls.
A spiral of gooey cinnamon caramel wrapped in a soft sweet potato dough perfect to tear apart and eat as sticky layers or even better with a cloud of coconut on top. Now doesn’t that sound enticing…Print
Oil-Free Cinnamon Rolls (Vegan + GF)
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 18 minutes
- Total Time: 63 minutes
- Yield: 8 rolls 1x
- Sweet potato puree
- 2 cups diced sweet potato
- 1.5 cup water
- Date paste
- 16 pitted Medjool dates
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups gluten-free all purpose (I used King Arthur’s GF Blend which is gum-free)
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 2 tsps apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup sweet potato puree (above)
- 3/4 cup date paste (above)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup date paste (above)
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar (optional)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 can full fat coconut milk (chilled)
- 2 tbsps maple syrup or powdered sugar
- Sweet potato puree: Combine the sweet potato and water in a sauce pan. Cover and boil until tender. Cool for a few minutes then blend till smooth. Set aside.
- Date Paste: Blend the dates and water on high until smooth. Set aside.
- Filling: In a bowl, stir together 1 cup of the date paste, the coconut sugar, and the cinnamon.
- Dough: In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Gently stir.
- Add the the remaining date paste (about 3/4 cup), 1 cup of the sweet potato puree, and the apple cider vinegar. Mix with your hands to form a soft supple dough.
- To assemble: Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Press/roll out the dough on a piece of wax paper to about 1/2 inch thickness. Try to keep it as rectangular as possible.
- Sprinkle the side facing up with flour. Cover with another sheet of wax paper and flip so the flour side is down. This will ensure it doesn’t stick as you roll.
- Standing at one of the long sides, spread the filling on the 2/3 of the dough closest to you.
- Using the wax paper to help you roll, roll the dough to form one long log. (See video if you are confused)
- Slice off the tapered ends, then slice the log into 8 rolls.
- Transfer the rolls to the muffin pan (lightly oiled) and bake for 16-18 minutes at 350F.
- Frosting: Open the can and spoon out the solid part. Whip with the sweetener until smooth. You can thin it out to more of a glaze by adding more of the liquid left in the can.
- Once the roll are cool, frost and enjoy!
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
They are awesome!!!!! I knew there would be dates involved, but not sweet potato!!! <3 Ahhhh Now I'm craving cinnamon buns!!! Yea, but you totally cheated and used the muffins pan …we talked about that!!! "fake" cinnamon buns, but nonetheless…delicious!!!!!!
Don’t be knocking my muffin pan usage, they are not fake! They still taste just as yummy regardless of which pan they come out of. I think they could work in a round pan too, but they didn’t fill it up enough to be snuggled in there. I needed more rolls or a smaller pan. And yes of course dates 🙂
What could I use instead of tapioca flour? Can’t find it here and I reaaaally want to give this recipe a try! 😀
You could try, TRY cornstarch. I am not sure it will work at all, tapioca is a pretty essential ingredient here, but that is my best bet. Sorry I don’t have a foolproof answer 🙁
Have you tried ordering tapioca flour online?
Totally drooling!!! That ooey gooey cinnamony center – I want to dive right in there!! Job well done!
That center part, that’s the place where I want to take up residence <3 Thanks Jenn!
Melissa @ vegan does it says
These look amazing, Natalie! The sweet potato was really unexpected, but I love it! I make a PB & J style sweet bun using dates in in the filling too. For the peanut butter monsters in my house of course! I’ve attempted to make a gluten free version of it, but so far I’ve had no success 🙁
PB&J buns? That sounds amazing! Do you have them on your site, I don’t think I’ve seen those 😮 You should post them, there are many other PB monsters in the world that would love them I think! And maybe try something with potato for a GF version, idk it’s the best ingredient I’ve found so far for this sort of thing!
audrey @ unconventional baker says
Ooooooooooooooooooh! I LOVE these. I’m sure I’m not alone, but cinnamon rolls is something I’ve been attempting for a while too, and have yet to make something that I felt was really worth sharing (yet!). The sweet potato rolls I made a while back were actually an attempt at sweet potato cinnamon things that didn’t quite work out (though I discovered in the process how to make those chocolate sweet potato rolls instead, which was a win). Glad you figured out how to make that sweet potatoyness work — I knew I was on the right track there somehow 😀 These look truly wonderful <3
I though of your sweet potato rolls while I was creating these, they remind me of them too! I just didn’t go in quite as much of a dessert direction with the fillings 🙂 I have debated posting this recipe for a while now, but finally decided to do it because I really like them even if they aren’t perfect. I was trying to get some sort of actual yeasted thing to work but that was just not happening! Perhaps in the future 🙂
audrey @ unconventional baker says
Hehe. I know, yeast and I don’t get along often — it just never wants to rise :S
But my sweet potato rolls are not like these in texture at all — they worked for a roll, but nothing like a cinnamon bun… That’s why I like these so much.
I love everything about this recipe! Cinnamon rolls are one of my favourite baked treat. Here in England they usually make them using puff pastry which I think is so wrong! They have to be soft and fluffy, like yours look 😀
Thanks Nadia! Puff pastry? That sounds strange but good but like a completely different creation!
Sarah | Well and Full says
I love that you used the muffin pan to make these cinnamon rolls! That’s such a smart idea!
To be honest it’s just because they didn’t fill up my 9 inch round pan well enough so they started turning into blobs, but yeah we’ll go with smart idea! 😀
The vegan 8 says
Oh I love baking with sweet potatoes too! These look so pretty Natalie and definitely healthy, just wonderful! I know, it’s funny they are a breakfast item when they are typically filled with butter and GOBS of sugar! Cinnamon rolls are one of my all-time favorite treats and honestly, I’d eat them more as a midday snack than breakfast, lol! I love the super duper soft pull-apart magic of a cinnamon roll and the icing, ain’t much that tops it! But you are right, they shouldn’t be called breakfast! Your version is much healthier! Love them!
Baking with sweet potatoes. Cooking with sweet potatoes. Pudding with sweet potatoes. Girl you do everything with those guys!! I used to love the store-bought kind for breakfast too, but not exactly the start to a productive day ha! More like the start to a feeling sick all day day! No sick feelings here, actually I ate these for dessert though because thats about the time I finished photographing them…meals/snacks all revolve around photo lighting lol 😀 Thanks Brandi!
Tiina @myberryforest says
Cinnamon rolls!! These are insane!! I haven’t eaten a cinnamon roll in years, and it’s definitely something I really really miss. Thank You so much for sharing this amazing recipe and video! I love the gooeyness of the caramel…omg it makes my mouth water every time. And the dough seemed so perfect too – totally rollable and soft 🙂 And gotta love this also for the sneaky veggie there…those sweet potatoes..they are really something, right?! Once again a huge thumbs up and now only if I could find tapioca flour somewhere… 🙂
Thank you Tiina <3 I know I just wanted to save the dough and make a pillow out of it or something it was so soft and wonderful! Sweet potatoes are my hero when it comes to bread-like things, I just got two MONSTER sized ones and can't wait to make more flatbread with them 🙂 I'm realizing that tapioca flour seems to not be a worldwide thing sadly, I've had others say they can't get it either 🙁 Tapioca, you need to get better distribution! I need to try them with cornstarch or potato starch, see if I can find a substitute. But what I really need to do right now is hop over your way and find out how you made BLUE!!!
Faith VanderMolen says
You have the most creative recipes! These look incredible! Also, so glad they really are healthy enough for breakfast!
Thanks Faith <3 I still usually eat them as a snack/dessert because smoothies almost always hold the breakfast spot in my life 🙂
Aimee / Wallflower Girl's Kitchen says
I am so excited about this recipe! Absolutely love the ingredients you’ve used to make this a more healthy treat. Bookmarked it to give it a try myself 🙂
Thanks Aimee! I know right, sweet potatoes and dates in one recipe–I’m a happy camper 🙂
Megan - The Emotional Baker says
I love baking with sweet potatoes! These rolls will be a perfect healthy breakfast 🙂
Aren’t they amazing!? I can’t stop putting them in everything, they bring so much moisture and binding power its the best for healthy baking! Thanks Megan <3
[email protected] says
Is it wrong to describe a baked good as luscious? Cause that’s exactly how these look! I WANT. Looooove that you used sweet potatoes and dates of course!
When there is a frosting component, ‘luscious’ is totally justified I think! Heck I’d even call a muffin luscious sometimes, baked treats deserve those kinds of adjectives in my mind! Yassss two killer ingredients <3
Yay!! This totally made my day. They look so incredible..absolutely mouth-watering!!! Just a question…do you think it might be possible to use all brown rice flour for the gf blend?
Ummm I wish i could say yes, but I don’t have good feelings about that substitution 🙁 You could try it, the worst that will happen is they will be too dry. If you do then I might suggest equal parts tapioca to brown rice, so 1 1/2 cup of each.
Thank you so much for replying! I will try it soon and update you on how it goes!
I’m excited to try these. I found you on Instagram and love your page. Liked the video too. Questions… Can I use regular flour since I don’t have gf flour? And if so do I still use the tapioca flour or can I just do all regular flour?
No one asked this yet, that’s why I’m bugging you. ?
No worries, I never mind questions! Yes I do think they will be just fine with all purpose flour. And no you will not need the tapioca flour in this case. So just 3 cups of all purpose total. And thank you, I’m happy you found my site 🙂
This is seriously so genius!!! From the ingredient list to the use of muffin pans!! I love it! Watching the video made it look a lot less intimidating, so I’m super excited to try these! Gosh, sweet potatoes are so magical and versatile. And I love that you used King Arthur flour! Wonderful recipe, Natalie!
Yes yes yes thank you for turning me onto that flour! And my normal grocery store has it which is even better! I’m glad the video helped, I have to say this is one of the most involved recipes I’ve done in a while. It took me forever to film it–so many steps. But I’m sure it would be faster to make for real since you won’t have to adjust the camera 2203984 times 😀
Harriet Emily says
What a mouth watering recipe Natalie! These cinnamon rolls look incredible! The dough looks so moist and delicious, such a good idea to top them with a coconut milk frosting too! Yumm!!! I could definitely eat a whole batch of these hehe! Cinnamon rolls are the best!
Thanks Harriet! I’m going through a mild coconut whipped cream addiction right now, so that’s been ending up on everything 😀 Especially strawberries…so good! I was really happy with the consistency of the dough though, thank you sweet potatoes! And that gooey inside, the camera loved it 😀
Thank you for the sub approval , I ended up using half oat flour and half regular flour and they turned out great. I’m going to enjoy them the rest of the day. They are moist and gooey. Thank u Thanku .
I’m so happy you liked them! Thanks for the feedback, good to know the half and half worked 🙂 Enjoy the rest!
ooo myyyy goodness. Girl I am in love with this recipe <3 It has been SO long since a cinnamon roll has entered this body. This recipe is giving me ALL the cravings 🙂 This is a must try!
Thanks Erin! It had been years for me too before these, like I don’t even remember the last time I had one of those ones from the tube. You need to change that fact ASAP 🙂
Oh my gosh! These are perfection! I love the use of sweet potatoes!
I can’t wait to try these out!!! I think I haven’t eaten a cinnamon roll in years 🙁 and it has been a torture since I looove cinnamon. With this recipe I am gonna include then back into my life. Thanks Natalie 😉
I hope your reunion with this delicious cinnamon-filled pastry is very sweet!
Just curious, why chemical leavening instead of the traditional yeast? Is it a dietary sensitivity, perhaps?
These are a delicious-looking variation on classic pumpkin cinnamon rolls, that I’d love to try making, and I am trying to work out if it’s better to stick with the sodium bicarb to raise the dough.
Either way, nicely done!!
Yes it is partly a personal dietary sensitivity, but also I don’t have much luck with yeast working in GF baking. I know I’ve seen recipes using it, but it never rises right for me. I need to research and experiment more in that area, but for now the baking soda/powder works just fine for recipes like this 🙂
Hi Natalie, I love your recipe but unfortunately I don’t have a sweet potato at home at the moment. I was wondering if you could use something else other than a sweet potato, maybe apple sauce or more oat flour? And if so, how much would you suggest?
Hi Olivia! The sweet potato is really important for binding and moisture here, I can’t think of anything that will be quite as good in it’s place. My best recommendations would be pumpkin puree or mashed banana (same amount as the sweet potato), but I still can’t guarantee it. Sorry!
Alright, thank you so much! I will try your recommendations and if they don’t bind that well, I will definitely have to buy a sweet potato as soon as I can!
Jan Lajeunesse says
Can you tell me if canned sweet potato puree would work as well as using fresh? Very anxious to try and thanks for posting.
Hi Jan! I don’t think the canned will work very well here as it is much more watery and more like pumpkin puree. The blending part of making your own puree is what makes the potatoes especially starchy/sticky and helps bind these rolls. Sorry!
I saw this recipe and totally loved all the ingredients. However I made them following the instructions and instead of a “supple dough” I ended up with a crumbled mess! What the heck?!??? Very upset about this 🙁
Oh no, so sorry to hear that Liz! Small variations in a vegan/gf bread dough can make a big difference. If you try it again, I would suggest starting with less flour since it was too crumbly you said, and adding more of the sweet potato puree until you have a dough that resembles that in the video. You can also try using more tapioca flour and less GF flour as it is much stickier and better at binding. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!
Thanks for the response! Also I’m wondering why there was an extra cup of sweet potato left over? The recipe called for 2 cups sweet potato and 1 1/2 cups water which made 2 cups sweet potato mix but the recipe only calls for 1. I ended up adding the rest in but it only helped a little with the dough being crumbly. I will have to try again next time with the variations you said.
The 2 cups of sweet potato is because that is about how much an average sweet potato yields, calling for half a sweet potato is a little awkward. Also if you have too little volume it won’t blend as well. Also the brand of GF flour you are using could be a part of the textural issue as well, they can vary quite a bit.
Jan Lajeunesse says
almost ready to make these and so anxious to do so…one last question. could maple syrup be used in place of the coconut sugar for the filling?
Sure, you could use maple syrup for the filling! Or just use the date paste by itself, it’s pretty sweet as is. Happy baking 🙂
Hello! I don’t have any GF flour and I don’t require GF, so I was wondering if I could sub whole wheat flour for the GF+tapioca?
Yes you can! The amount may vary somewhat though as all flours absorb water/moisture differently, so I would suggest starting with 1.5 cups flour and just adding it slowly until you have a sticky but rollable dough. Good luck!
These rolls are so good! I don’t usually use pre-made gluten free flour blends though, so I am wondering if I can use other gluten free flours in its place. Do you think oat flour + something would work? Thank you! The video was helpful; thank you for making it. I’ll be making these again!
Hi Hannah! Haven’t tested it so I can’t say for sure, but I do think oat flour could work instead or possibly buckwheat or almond, as long as you still use the tapioca flour with any of them. Good luck!
Can I just use regular flour or w/w flour when replacing gluten flours. I don’t have a gluten problem
I haven’t tested it personally, but yes that should work!
Do you think these have a shot at freezing okay? I always want to make your recipes for family who are gluten and dairy free, but they live far away. Was hoping to make something in addition to pies! Thanks!
Hmm I worry they will be really dry after defrosting so I don’t really recommend it with this one. The baked recipes with a little bit more fat in them do much better with freezing and transport. Sorry!