Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls

A dairy free cinnamon roll on a white plate next to a fork.

These dairy free cinnamon rolls are fluffy, soft, and absolutely delectable! They may not have butter or real cream cheese, but there’s certainly no shortage of flavor in this tasty treat. They take a little time to make, but I promise you – they’re worth it.

Ingredients

Here’s a photo of everything you’ll need to make these, along with selected ingredient notes:

Overhead shot of all of the ingredients for the recipe.
  • Dairy-free cream cheese – These products have come such a long way in the last few years! For this recipe, I recommend SoDelicious Cream Cheese Style Spread. To me, this alternative tastes slightly sweet, which makes it perfect for the frosting on baked goods. You can try other alternatives too (though stay away from any flavored plant-based cream cheeses), or you can purchase a dairy free cream cheese frosting from the baking section. For example, at the time of publish, Duncan Hines Cream Cheese Frosting is dairy free (always double check labels though).
  • Active dry yeast – Remember that yeast can die, and if that happens, your baked goods will turn out flat. As such, be sure you periodically replace it if you’ve had it on hand for a while. At the beginning of this recipe, the yeast mixture should be a bit foamy after mixing it with sugar and warm oat milk for about 5 minutes – if this is not occurring, you probably need new yeast.
  • Oat milk – We usually have this on hand and it works great for baked goods. You can also substitute it with any other neutral dairy-free milk alternative, like almond milk or soy milk.

Instructions

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You’ll find step-by-step process photos below, and you can find the recipe in its entirety – with amounts and instructions – in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. The recipe is a little involved and takes some time, but it’s perfect for birthdays, holidays, or a lazy snowy weekend.

As a quick heads up, this recipe is made with a stand mixer (like a KitchenAid). If you do not have one, you can mix the dough then knead the by hand for a few minutes to fully combine, and whisk the frosting by hand – but just be aware that it’ll take a little longer and be a bit tougher.

Start by preparing your dough. The first step is to combine the yeast with a teaspoon of sugar and warm oat milk in the bowl of your stand mixer. Heads up – you want to use warm oat milk, not scalding hot. I usually just place mine in a mason jar (without a lid) for about 30-40 seconds in the microwave.

Once you’ve mixed that together, let it sit for 5 minutes. It should get a bit foamy on top, which tells you that the yeast is working properly. If it’s not foamy or bubbly at all, that’s a sign your yeast is dead and you’ll want to buy new yeast before attempting to make these.

Yeast mixed with sugar and warm oat milk in a mixing bowl.

Next step is to mix in the rest of the sugar, dairy-free butter, eggs, salt, and flour. Start with about 4 cups of flour, mixing everything with the dough hook of your mixer. Gradually more if needed. You want the dough to be soft and smooth to the touch – not dry, but not sticky. It’s a careful balance.

Dough in a silver mixing bowl.

When the dough is ready, pour it out into your hand or on a plate. Lightly oil the mixing bowl, then put the dough back in. Place a damp kitchen towel over the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for an hour.

A few minutes before the hour is up, make your cinnamon sugar filling by combining the brown sugar, melted dairy free butter, and cinnamon.

Melted dairy free butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon mixed together in a small bowl.

When an hour hits, take the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. I recommend a pastry mat for this. Create a large rectangle, around a quarter inch thick (give or take – no need to be perfect!).

Rolled out dough on a pastry mat.

Spread the filling all over the dough. You can use the back of a spoon, but I find it’s easier to spread with my hands. The warmth of your hands helps spread it without tearing the dough.

Cinnamon sugar filling spread onto the dough.

Next, roll the dough down from the long side of the rectangle. You’ll have a long roll with some scraggly edges. Cut a little bit off the edges to even it out (around an inch or two).

A roll of dough on a pastry mat, with two ends cut off.

You’ll cut this roll of dough into twelve pieces. I like taking my knife and making small indentations along the dough before cutting. I find this helps me more accurately estimate twelve even-ish pieces.

Cut those and place them into a greased 9×13 baking dish. It may look like there’s a lot of room between the rolls, but they’ll expand as they rise more before baking and during baking.

Uncooked cinnamon rolls in a baking dish.

Cover the baking dish with the damp kitchen towel, and set aside again for another 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

When it’s time to bake, pop that dish into the oven and bake for about 23-26 minutes. The rolls should be just starting to turn a slight golden brown on top and be cooked all the way through.

Cooked cinnamon rolls in a baking dish.

Remove those and prep your frosting. Use your stand mixer bowl, and add in the dairy free butter, dairy free cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Mix using the whisk attachment on your stand mixer, starting slowly until all the ingredients are combined, then increasing the speed for a minute or two until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Frosting in a mixing bowl.

When the dairy free cinnamon rolls have somewhat cooled (but are still slightly warm, which makes them best for eating!) – spread that frosting on top. It should sink a bit into some of the nooks and crannies, but not melt off completely.

Now dig in and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Frosting spread on top of cinnamon rolls in a baking dish.

Recipe FAQ

Here are some common questions that may come up as you prepare this recipe:

How should you store dairy free cinnamon rolls?

Store these in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (because of the dairy-free cream cheese frosting). You can reheat in the microwave to serve warm.

Why didn’t my cinnamon rolls rise?

If your cinnamon rolls stayed small and dense, this is most likely due to using yeast that has died, or not allowing for adequate rise time as directed in the recipe. Purchase new yeast and try again!

I can’t find dairy-free cream cheese – what should I use instead in frosting?

If you can’t find dairy-cream cheese, you can either make a dairy-free buttercream frosting, or you can look for a store-bought dairy free cream cheese frosting (which are more common than you may think!).

Can you switch up the ingredients in the cinnamon roll filling?

Yes! Feel free to reduce the cinnamon and add a fruity element to the filling, like smashed raspberries or strawberries along with a little lemon zest. If you do this, add in a little cornstarch as well to prevent the filling from getting too soggy.

Allergens

Disclaimer:  Always double check ingredients and labels yourself prior to making a recipe.  While I try to check all ingredients for allergens, there’s always the chance I may miss something or manufacturer formulations can change.

As written, this recipe is dairy free and peanut free.

It does contain eggs, wheat/gluten, and coconut.

Unfortunately, I do not recommend substituting the eggs or flour in this particular recipe. (If you need a recipe that’s both dairy-free and egg-free or gluten-free, try looking for another recipe specifically designed for those restrictions).

Depending on the choice of dairy-free butter, it may also contain soy. I used Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks which do contain soy, but that can easily be switched to a different alternative if needed.

You can make this coconut-free by choosing a different cream cheese alternative for your frosting, or by choosing a shelf-stable cream cheese frosting from the baking aisle that does not contain coconut.

A dairy free cinnamon roll that's been broken in half with a fork.

More Dairy Free Desserts

If you’re looking for more delicious dairy-free desserts, here are four other recipes from our site that are highly rated:

I hope you enjoy these dairy free cinnamon rolls! If you get a chance to try them, please feel free to leave a recipe rating or comment below.

Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls

These dairy free cinnamon rolls are soft, fluffy, and absolutely delectable! Perfect for a special breakfast or dessert.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword dairy free cinnamon buns, dairy free cinnamon rolls
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rising Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 12 cinnamon rolls
Calories 508 kcal
Author Dairy Free for Baby

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup oat milk, warmed (or another milk alternative)
  • cup dairy-free butter, softened (see notes)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided

For the filling:

  • cup dairy-free butter, melted
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon

For the cream cheese frosting (see notes):

  • cup dairy-free butter, softened
  • cup dairy-free cream cheese, softened (see notes)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar

For greasing the bowl and baking dish:

  • Avocado oil or olive oil

Instructions

  1. Start by preparing the dough. Add the yeast, 1 teaspoon of the sugar, and the warmed (not hot) oat milk to the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for 5 minutes, until the mixture starts to get bubbly and slightly foamy on top.
  2. Add the remaining dough ingredients to the mixing bowl: the rest of the granulated sugar, dairy-free butter, eggs, salt, and 4 cups of the flour. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on medium speed. The dough should start to come together. If it’s still sticky at this point, add the extra flour, a little at a time, and continue to mix until the dough feels soft and smooth (not sticky and not dry).
  3. Pour the dough out for a minute onto a plate. Lightly oil the mixer bowl. Put the dough back in and cover the mixing bowl with a damp kitchen towel, and let sit for an hour.

  4. A few minutes before the end of the hour, make the cinnamon sugar filling. Combine the melted dairy-free butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  5. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set it aside for now.
  6. When the dough is ready, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle (around a quarter inch thick).

  7. Spread the cinnamon sugar filling on the dough. You can use the back of a spoon, or use your hands to spread this. (I find using your hands helps spread it evenly without tearing the dough).
  8. Roll the dough down from the long edge of the rectangle. Then ends will be a bit scraggly – cut off about an inch or two from each end and discard.
  9. Cut the remaining rolled dough into 12 equal-sized pieces. It can help to use your knife to make indentations along where to cut first, so you know that you are cutting equal sizes. Place the cut pieces in your 9×13 baking dish.
  10. Cover the baking dish with the damp kitchen towel for another 20-30 minutes, to allow for additional rise. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. When it’s time to bake, place the dish in the oven on the center rack (uncovered). Bake for 23-26 minutes, until the dough is cooked through and is starting to get lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and let the cinnamon rolls start to cool in the baking dish.

  12. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Clean the bowl of your stand mixer. Place the dairy-free butter, dairy-free cream cheese, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar into the bowl. Use the whisk attachment on your stand mixer. Use a slow speed at first until the ingredients are combined, then use a fast speed to help make the frosting light and fluffy.

  13. When the cinnamon rolls have cooled for about 15 minutes, go ahead and spread the frosting on. You don’t want the rolls too hot, or the frosting will melt off completely – but spreading it on a slightly warm roll will allow the frosting to get into all the nooks and crannies. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • If you’d prefer not making your own frosting, you can purchase a store-bought dairy free cream cheese frosting instead.
  • For best results in this recipe, use either Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks or Country Crock plant-based avocado oil sticks for your dairy-free butter, and SoDelicious cream cheese style spread for your dairy-free cream cheese.
  • If the frosting is too thick when mixing, add a quick splash of oat milk.
  • Refrigerate leftover cinnamon rolls for up to 4 days. Don’t leave on the counter due the cream cheese icing.

Nutrition analysis (approximate per roll): 508 calories, 19.5 g fat, 7.5 g saturated fat, 76 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g fiber, 36.5 g sugar, 6.5 g protein, Vitamin D: 2%, Calcium: 5%, Iron: 15%, Potassium: 2%

Share: What’s your favorite type of dairy free treat? If you tried these cinnamon buns, what did you think?

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A dairy free cinnamon bun on a white plate.

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