These cinnamon rolls are a cinch to make! They're soft, fluffy, and tender, without using eggs, butter, or dairy milk. For anyone who isn't vegan here, that probably sounds like a super disappointing recipe, but I promise these rolls are rich and delicious for vegans and non-vegans alike!
This dough is breeze to develop and work with. You can get everything mixed up in about 20 minutes, then relax while the yeast takes over the show.
One thing to keep in mind here: if you're using butter (dairy or vegan) instead of shortening, you'll need to reduce the amount of liquid in your dough recipe. I suggest cutting the almond milk down by 1.5 tbsp, so you'll use 1 cup + 2.5 tbsp of almond milk.
Time: 3 hours
Yield: 24 cinnamon rolls
1 1/4 cup almond milk
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3.5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp cornstarch (or tapioca)
1/2 cup shortening, softened
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Cinnamon & Sugar Smear
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp cinnamon (less or more depending on your preference)
1/2 cup toasted pecans, finely ground (optional)
Heat almond milk to ~110F. Add the yeast and sugar and mix well to disperse the yeast. Let this sit for 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy.
In the meantime, add the flour, salt, and corn starch to your mixer, fitted with a dough hook. Mix for 30 seconds to blend ingredients together.
Add the warm milk mixture to the flour and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the flour is roughly incorporated. It won't be cohesive yet, but it’ll come together in the next steps.
Add the softened shortening to the dough and mix on low speed for a total of 5-6 minutes. I start on low speed speed then increase to medium speed once the shortening is mostly incorporated. The finished dough will be soft and smooth.
Remove the dough from the bowl and knead by hand a few times to shape dough into a tight and smooth ball. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with a damp towel and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour. The dough will double in size.
While the dough is proofing you can make your cinnamon sugar smear by using a spatula to mix all ingredients into a paste.
Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. This should fit the 24 rolls.
Assembly and Bake
When the dough is finished proofing, punch it down and place it on a clean and lightly floured countertop.
Roll the dough into a 30 x 34 inch rectangle. For giant cinnamon rolls, use this entire rectangle to make 12 rolls. For smaller cinnamon rolls, cut the dough down the center to make two separate logs of 12 rolls each (making 24 rolls).
Evenly spread the cinnamon sugar smear over the dough, leaving about a 1/4 inch space at the end of the roll so that you can seal it. Tightly roll the dough into a log and slice the log into 1 1/4 inch size pieces. Place the rolls in your prepared baking dish.
Proof the rolls for 30 minutes. This can be done at room temperature, or if your oven has a “proof” setting you can place them in your oven to proof. I like to place a bowl of boiling water in the oven while my dough proofs so that the dough retains more moisture. Not a requirement, just a preference.
Preheat your oven to 350F and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.