Craving a fall dessert, but want something vegan? Look no further than these pumpkin cinnamon rolls. They're gooey, fluffy, and soft--everything you want in a cinnamon roll without any animal ingredients.
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Fortunately, most of the ingredients in this recipe are basic pantry staples. The only specifically vegan ingredients you'll need are a plant-based butter and non-dairy milk. I chose to use Earth Balance butter and Silk Original almond milk for my recipe.
- Flour: bread flour will give you the gooiest, fluffiest cinnamon rolls. My all-time favorite brand is King Arthur (affiliate).
- Yeast: using fast-action will allow you skip the blooming or proofing that's needed with active dry.
- Salt: this is an important ingredient that adds flavor and keeps the yeast from growing too quickly.
- Vegan Butter: any plant-based butter will work here.
- Brown Sugar: if you've run out of brown sugar, mix a little molasses with white sugar.
- Pumpkin Spice: adding some of this to the dough amps up the pumpkin flavor. Make your own if you don't have any.
- Pumpkin Puree: this is a key ingredient in this recipe! It's best to use canned puree, as it's less watery than homemade.
- Non-Dairy Milk: any plant-based milk will work.
- Cinnamon: Cinnabon uses Saigon cinnamon (affiliate), so that's what I'm using here.
- Powdered Sugar: this is the key ingredient in the glaze.
Why are my cinnamon rolls not fluffy?
- The dough. It should be slightly tacky; sticking to a metal mixing bowl a little. If it's dry and floury, or excessively sticky, the rolls won't turn out well.
- The rising. Let the cinnamon rolls rise until they are springy to the touch before baking. If they haven't risen long enough, they'll be dense and stodgy.
What happens if the rolls rise too long?
Overproved bread will collapse or become doughy when baked, since the gas pockets inside have grown so large that the gluten structure can't support it anymore. That's why it's crucial to keep tabs on yeast breads as they rise. Like any yeast recipe, placing these cinnamon rolls in a warm place will help them rise faster.
How should you store cinnamon rolls?
The best way to keep them fresh is to freeze them soon after baking. Since homemade bread doesn't contain preservatives, it can go stale overnight, but freezing prevents this from happening. If you must keep them out of the freezer, store them tightly covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours.
Can I freeze leftovers?
Absolutely! Seal the cooled pumpkin cinnamon rolls inside of a zip-top freezer bag or freezer-friendly container, and freeze for up to 1 month. You can defrost it at room temperature for an hour or so, or microwave individual pieces for 30 seconds at 100% power.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients for the dough. Make sure to use vegan butter and non-dairy milk to keep this recipe vegan.
Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides. Stir them into the flour to keep the salt from touching the yeast directly.
Dump in the other ingredients (pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, vegan butter, and brown sugar).
Mix with a stand mixer on medium-low speed using the paddle attachment. The mixture should become dry and clumpy.
Gradually trickle in the almond milk as the mixer runs until a sticky dough has formed.
Switch attachments to the hook and knead for about 7 minutes on medium-low speed.
Let it rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Punch it down, roll it into a 19x19-inch square, and spread it with softened vegan butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Roll the dough into a log and cut it into 12 equal pieces.
Let the buns rise until they are springy to the touch, about 30 minutes. Then, bake them at 400 F for 25 minutes, covered loosely with a sheet of foil. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes.
As soon as the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, spread them with the simple almond milk frosting. Let them cool for 15 minutes before enjoying.
Enjoy the freshly baked vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls!
- Chocolate: mix in 1 cup of chocolate chips to the dough after it has completed its first rise.
- Overnight: mix up the dough, let it rise, then shape the cinnamon rolls as written. Tightly cover the pan of rolls and let them rise in the fridge for 8-12 hours. Bake the next day as the recipe directs.
- Non-Vegan: use dairy butter, cow's milk, and cream cheese frosting instead of the vegan alternatives.
- In a pinch, you can use all-purpose flour in this recipe, but realize that the result will not be as light, fluffy, and gooey.
- If you don't own a stand mixer, mix the dough together by hand. You'll need to knead it on a lightly floured surface for 10-15 minutes.
- Have leftovers? Freeze them in a zip-top freezer bag for up to 1 month. Individual cinnamon rolls can be defrosted in the microwave for 30 seconds at 100% power.
Other Fall Pumpkin Recipes to Try
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Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
For the Dough
For the Filling
- 5 tablespoons vegan butter, softened
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons Saigon cinnamon
For the Frosting
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup almond milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Making the Dough
- Pour the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides, then stir each one in with your finger. This prevents the salt from touching the yeast directly, which can kill it.
- Add the vegan butter, brown sugar, pumpkin spice, and pumpkin puree and mix on medium-low speed with the paddle attachment until the mixture is crumbly.
- Keep the mixer on as you trickle in the almond milk. Let the mixer blend the ingredients to create a slightly sticky dough. Continue to add more milk as needed; there should be no flour at the bottom of the bowl.
- Switch attachments to the dough hook. Turn the mixer on medium-low speed and let it knead for about 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, less sticky, and passes the windowpane test. This means that a lump of dough can be stretched until it's translucent without tearing. If it doesn't pass the windowpane test, knead for another minute and check again.
- Shape it into a ball and place it back into the mixing bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
- Measure out the filling and frosting ingredients while the dough is rising.
- Once it has doubled in size, scrape it out onto a floured surface and punch it down all over to knock out any pockets of gas.
- Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a square, measuring about 19x19 inches. The dough should be fairly thin, but keep in mind that it will expand as it rises a second time.
- Use an angled spatula or silicone spatula to spread the softened vegan butter over the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the surface.
- Roll it up tightly from one end, then pinch the seam to form a log. Cut the log into 12 equal pieces using a piece of thread or dental floss. Do this by wrapping the thread around the log and cinching it tighter and tighter, like a noose, until the log is cut.
- Space the rolls equally apart with their swirl facing up in an 11x14 inch lasagna pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until the dough springs back quickly at the touch, about 30 minutes.
- About 10 minutes before the rolls are done rising, preheat the oven to 400°F and make sure the rack in the center.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the pan and cover the cinnamon rolls loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil. Bake them at 400°F for 25 minutes, then remove the foil to let the rolls brown slightly and bake for another 5 minutes. They're done when they have an internal temperature of 190°F on a digital thermometer.
- While the rolls are baking, mix up the frosting. Sift the powdered sugar into a mixing bowl, then add the vanilla extract. Stir in enough almond milk to create a thick but spreadable glaze.
- As soon as the baked rolls come out of the oven, spread the frosting on top with an angled spatula or butter knife. Let them cool for 15 minutes before serving.
- Ran out of bread flour? You can use all-purpose for this recipe in a pinch, but keep in mind that the result will not be as light, fluffy, and gooey.
- Don't have a stand mixer? Simply mix the ingredients together with your hand, and knead it on a lightly floured surface for 10-15 minutes.
- Leftovers? Freeze them in a zip-top freezer bag for up to 1 month. Defrost individual rolls in the microwave for 30 seconds at 100% power.