Grain-Free Cinnamon Rolls

December 21, 2013
2 Ratings
  • Makes 12 to 18 rolls, depending on the size of the rolls
Author Notes

Every Christmas morning, my mom made fresh cinnamon rolls. Soft, yeasty, and slathered in powdered sugar frosting, these were the sustenance between bouts of opening presents.
When I had to go gluten-free after being diagnosed with celiac, I went years without eating them. And then, my curiosity and stubborn nature compelled me to work on them, repeatedly. After quite a few baking messes and careful notes, I realized that it's entirely possible to have soft, yeasty cinnamon rolls without gluten. —glutenfreegirl

What You'll Need
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk (use your favorite non-dairy milk, if you wish)
  • 300 grams finely ground almond flour
  • 170 grams arrowroot four
  • 30 grams psyllium husk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft at room temperature
  1. Proofing the yeast. Stir together the yeast, coconut sugar, and milk in a small bowl. Let them sit and mingle until there is a bubbly foam on the surface of the water. This means your yeast is alive and ready to go.
  2. Combining the dry ingredients. Whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot flour, psyllium husk, and salt. (For best results, whirl them together in the food processor to aerate the flours.) Set aside.
  3. Making the dough. Put the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and turn the mixer on low. Add the two eggs, one at a time, waiting until the first egg is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next. Slowly, pour in the melted butter, then the yeasty water. The final dough should be wet, gathering around the paddle of the mixer, then slowly slumping off it when you turn off the mixer. Do not expect this to look like gluten dough.
  4. Letting the dough rest. Transfer the cinnamon roll dough to a large, greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set the dough in a warm place. Allow the dough to sit for 2 to 3 hours. Remember that gluten-free dough will not rise as much as gluten dough. What you are really doing here is letting the flours and psyllium and liquids hydrate. When the dough is softer to the touch than it was before, slightly risen, and feels more like traditional dough than it did before, you are ready to go.
  5. Preparing to bake. Heat the oven to 375° F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan.
  6. Rolling out the dough. Cut the dough into two balls. Lay a greased piece of parchment paper down on the counter. Put one of the dough balls onto the paper. Top with another greased piece of parchment paper. Slowly, roll out the dough into a long oval shape.
  7. Filling the dough. Mix the cinnamon and coconut sugar together. Spread the butter over the dough, taking it almost to the edge. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dough.
  8. Rolling up the dough. Roll the long side of the dough, using the parchment paper to push the dough onto itself. Keep the dough log as tight as possible. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the log into 2-inch pieces. (You can make the rolls as small or large as you want, of course.) Put the rolls into the greased cake pan. Repeat with the other ball of dough, filling the cake pan.
  9. Let the rolls sit in a warm place to rise again, about 45 minutes.
  10. Bake the rolls until the rolls are slightly firm to the touch and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.
  11. Let the rolls cool for 15 minutes, then put a plate on top of the cake pan, and flip them over. Voila! Cinnamon rolls. Frost as you desire.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cathy
  • insecureepicure
  • LysiaLoves
  • MrsButtons
  • glutenfreegirl
Shauna writes about food. Danny cooks it. We grow excited every Saturday morning to go to the farmers' market. This time of year, a Billy Allstot tomato is enough to make us look like goons at the stand, jumping up and down with excitement. We will eat one slice with sea salt, standing over the sink. Another goes to our baby daughter. The rest might go into the smoker to make smoked tomato salsa, or thrown together with watermelon and good olive oil for a watermelon gazpacho, or stacked with smoked salmon and drizzled with horseradish sour cream. Every day is new. I have no idea what we're having for dinner tonight. But I'm sure interested to find out.

26 Reviews

Cathy December 24, 2017
Some measurements in cups and some in grams? Sorry, no metric measuring cups or scale here. Can you translate to all to non-metric? I've noticed the switchback in other recipes as well. Isit possible to list both?
Cathy December 24, 2017
Some measurements in cups and some in grams? Sorry, no metric measuring cups or scale here. Can you translate to all to non-metric for me?
Jamie February 5, 2014
Finally was able to find all the ingredients (the natural foods stores around me carry various GF flours inconsistently; took a while to find arrowroot starch in a large enough quantity). Both my non-GF husband and I loved them!

I would say the consistency is more like a pull-apart bread than a cinnamon roll, but hey, I'll take it! For anyone who is also DF (like myself), I substituted original almond milk and Earth Balance buttery spread 1:1 for the dairy products in the recipe. Worked perfectly. Recipe made enough for a 9" cake pan and a small ramekin. The cake pan I greased and dusted with sugar; the ramekin I only greased. After snacking on the rolls/bread from the ramekin, we both agreed we would have wanted the recipe a tad sweeter (the filling part, not the dough). We tasted the rolls/bread from the greased & sugared pan, and that seemed to be the perfect amount of additional sweetness!

Also, as a note for people looking for psyllium husks. The natural foods stores near me (Whole Foods) carry the psyllium husks in the personal care aisle with the other natural laxatives. Not in the baking aisle.
insecureepicure January 19, 2014
I made these and my gluten loving family loved them!!. My daughter made an icing with confectionary sugar, vanilla and water. I miss sticky buns almost as much as bread and these were really good. Thank you!!
Joan R. January 5, 2014
I like this recipe but I'm using it for my "low carb" dietary restrictions. I know that Almond flour is a good choice for my needs...what is the carb count on Arrowroot flour? I would like to use Stevia or another sugar substitute and I would like the carb count that possible?...any and all changes in this recipe that would make it lower in carbs would be greatly appreciated!
MrsButtons January 6, 2014
Have you done a websearch on stevia or *low carb*? I would think you'd find a ton of websites that focus on creating recipes geared toward your restrictions. Subbing stevia for essentially 3/4 C of any sugar is complicated, especially in a baked good. Stevia is not a sugar and is many many times sweeter than sugar. Instead of trying to make substitutions in recipes that look good, I would try finding a community of people who share the same dietary concerns and see how they are getting their sweet treats in without eating sugar. Good luck! I would start with Paleo websites - I believe strict Paleo does not allow any real sugar but allows stevia.
Joan R. January 6, 2014
I've just begun to research "low carb" foods because I'm beginning to have problems with a high insulin count and a climbing glucose level... Doctors "Simplified Orders"...Loose 30-40 pounds... and eat NOTHING out of a "box"... I'm kinda freaked out... but every day, I'm finding something to make and to eat that's yummy and "legal"...I think I'm going to make it! Looked into the "Paleo" diet... doesn't thrill me... Even on Diabetes sites, I find mistakes in their recipes!... I don't know why they choose to include "Low fat" products in their recipes when making something "Low fat" usually adds carbs! If you don't believe the carb content of half and half milk to 1% fat milk (The carbs are MUCH higher in 1% milk!)
LysiaLoves December 27, 2013
I'd like to sub out the arrowroot starch and use a blend of the starches I have on hand: tapioca, potato & cornstarch. Can you please recommend what ratio of these starches I should use to replicate the texture of arrowroot? Thanks!!
Also so glad to see you using coconut sugar! I made your gingerbread & served it warm w/homemade peach ice cream (which I made in a blender!) for Xmas eve dinner with the fam. Yummmm!!!
glutenfreegirl December 27, 2013
You can substitute one or more of the other starches by weight. So you'll need 170 grams of starches, total. (I'd try a combination of tapioca and potato starch.) Glad to hear the gingerbread worked well. Peach ice cream!
LysiaLoves December 28, 2013
PS the peach ice cream was so easy! Threw FROZEN organic sliced peaches, cream, coconut sugar, vanilla & orange zest in the blender, gave it a whirl, firmed it up a bit in the freezer, et voila! So delish!
Cari December 27, 2013
Can someone who "proofed these in the fridge tell me a little more clearly what you did. I am not much of a baker and not sure I understand the sequence of events. Did you put the dough together and let it rise overnight in the fridge and then roll, fill and bake? THANK
glutenfreegirl December 27, 2013
Yep! You have the right instinct. Make the dough, then put it in the refrigerator. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, pull out the dough and let it come to room temperature before rolling it out.
mountainmomma December 27, 2013
These worked like a charm. I left the dough in the fridge overnight, and substituted maple sugar for the dough, and regular sugar for the cinnamon mix. Plus, since it was a christmas morning treat, I added a maple glaze (from this recipe: Non-gf family couldn't get enough. Only thing that was a true pain was trying to spread butter on the dough, even though the butter was really soft. Maybe I'll try melting it next time?
glutenfreegirl December 27, 2013
Yours sound delicious! And yes, feel free to melt the butter instead.
snappyfish December 26, 2013
Food 52, what is happening? This author always seems to leave out something from almost every recipe, or miscategorize things: cinnamon, butter and sugar left out from this recipe, psyllium husk from her tea cookie recipe, referring to things with eggs in them as vegan, etc. Shauna may have time to "play" with her ingredients but most of us spend 8-10 hours a day at a job and just want GF recipes that will work, on they first try. These recipes are like a culinary Where's Waldo, and it is frustrating. I believe I will be looking elsewhere for my GF recipes from now on.
Lauren11 December 26, 2013
When I made these, I kept them in the fridge overnight before proofing-they still turned out great! I also made them with cashew meal instead of almond meal. Thank you for the great recipe!
glutenfreegirl December 27, 2013
Glad to hear they worked well for you!
Olga December 25, 2013
Where can I gat coconut sugar/ I live in Melbourne Australia.
glutenfreegirl December 27, 2013
I don't know how to find coconut sugar in Australia. Perhaps natural foods stores? But you can also use whatever sugar you wish.
MrsButtons January 6, 2014
I get my coconut sugar online through Amazon. I know companies like and navitas naturals sell it online and they are both delcious products.
MrsButtons December 23, 2013
Any chance these could proof overnight? Of course, I'll probably be wrapping until the wee hours regardless...
glutenfreegirl December 23, 2013
I don't know! I haven't tried proofing them overnight in the refrigerator. But it's worth a try! (Good luck with the wrapping.)
glutenfreegirl December 27, 2013
Several people, here and other places, have told me that they proofed them overnight and they worked well. I did too, for Christmas morning. Easy!
MrsButtons January 6, 2014
Thank you for all your work on this recipe and all your recipes, Shauna!
glutenfreegirl December 23, 2013
Somehow the cinnamon, sugar, and butter for the filling were cut off! They're in there now.
Jan M. December 23, 2013
I don't see the cinnamon in the recipe?