December 4, 2008


Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

I have added an update to this post, and I have posted a more whole grain version of the recipe.

For years our family has had the tradition of eating a nice Christmas breakfast together, including cinnamon rolls. They were always one of the highlights for the kids (well, for everyone). The year I was diagnosed with celiac disease we went without cinnamon rolls. No one complained, but it just wasn't the same and I was determined to find a recipe by the next Christmas. I tried a number of recipes and ended up modifying one that I was pretty happy with. We had those every Christmas until last year. That's when I found Roben Ryberg's cinnamon roll recipe. I was blown away. It was so easy and so very very good. My family raved about them. I will never go back to my old recipe, however, I have had a desire to modify Roben's recipe.

Like my son, you're probably wondering why I would want to modify something that is already practically perfect. After trying to explain to my son without using these words he said, "Oh, you want to make them healthier." Yes. I do. I don't want to ruin them, but Roben's recipe uses only starch as the flour. So today to tried one simple modification. I substituted sorghum flour for the potato starch.

The verdict: My family didn't notice any difference. I has been months since I made them, so the old recipe is not fresh in their minds. They were mostly surprised that I made cinnamon rolls and thrilled to eat them. I noticed the difference. The sorghum added a slightly different flavor. They were a little heavier and didn't fill out as much. They seemed a little dryer, but then I realized I forgot to add the oil. One big concern I had was how the dough would handle, but that was fine. Overall, I was very pleased with the results. I think I might go back to the original recipe for Christmas as long as we have plenty of protein along with it.

I put the rolls together in slightly less than half an hour and they baked for 20 minutes. From start to finish you can have fresh delicious cinnamon rolls in less than an hour! That's better than you can do with wheat flour. You can also put the unbaked rolls in the refrigerator overnight and bake them in the morning. I did that last Christmas and didn't notice any difference from when I baked them immediately. And finally, the recipe....

The Best Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

  • 2/3 - 1 c. brown sugar 
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon 
  • 1/3 c. chopped nuts (optional) 
  • 3/4 c. powdered sugar 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 
  • milk

Using a mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Mix well. Add the milk, egg, oil, and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the wet mixture. (If you don't use instant yeast, you should add it to the milk.) Beat on high until well mixed with no lumps. The dough will be soft. You might want to hold back a little milk and see how the consistency is after you mix it. The first time I made these they were too wet and barely held together. They ended up not being distinct rolls in the dish, but they still tasted great. I did use the whole amount of milk in this version of the recipe.

Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and sprinkle it with sugar. Lay the dough on top and cover it with another piece of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 13 1/2 inch square. Lift the top piece of plastic wrap often and reposition if necessary. You can spray the wrap with cooking spray if the dough is sticking.

Combine the filling ingredients. I prefer to use 2/3 c. brown sugar. Remove the top layer of plastic wrap. Spread the filling on the dough leaving a margin at one side. As you roll the dough, the filling with get shifted. The margin keeps it from being pushed all the way out at the end. Roll the dough by lifting up the plastic wrap. Once you get the roll started, it will roll on its own. Once rolled, smooth out the edge. If you want nice clean end pieces, cut a little off each end. I leave them as is. Cut the roll into 8 or nine slices. I do 8 because it's easy to make them even. I cut the roll in half, then cut each half in half, then cut the quarters in half. Use a sharp knife. I find it helps to spray it with cooking spray. Place the rolls in a glass pie dish and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Combine the glaze ingredients. Add milk a teaspoon at a time until the glaze is the right consistency. You can adjust the amount of glaze to your taste. Drizzle the glaze over the warm rolls and serve! I usually make a double recipe because they don't last long and eight rolls is not enough for everyone to have two!

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This post is linked to Holiday Food Fest.  For more scrumptious recipes visit Happy to be at Home.


Wow!!! These look absolutely amazing!! I haven't had a cinnamon roll in over three years (since my Celiac diagnosis). So glad I stumbled upon your blog :)
Do you ever try them without nondairy ingredients such as almond or soy milk instead of the regular milk? And a substitute for butter?

I just got a big bag of sorghum flour so I am happy to put it to use.
I haven't tried any substitutes, but I think they would work well. Let me know if you give it a try.
If you use plain dental floss to cut them it will not stick to a knife. Just put the floss under the roll where you want to cut and then pull the ends together. I have used it for several rolls similar to this. I am going to make them Christmas Morning as well.
This comment has been removed by the author.
jflood21, I don't know why your comment shows as being deleted, but here's your answer. Rapid rise (bread machine yeast) and instant yeast are the same, so just use that.
My mom makes cinnamon rolls once a year only, for Christmas morning. It's the one thing that makes me sad when I think of not eating gluten. But I'm going to make gluten-free cinnamon rolls so that I can join in with everyone! Thanks for a great recipe!
Thank you so much for sharing this. I made them for my daughter's 10th birthday breakfast and she must have thought she awoke in someone else's home--it's been SO long since we've had cinnamon rolls (GF for 2+ years).

They were easier than I thought and as yummy as predicted.

Have you ever increased the sorghum successfully?
Jen, I haven't tried increasing the sorghum--yet. I probably will at some point. I'll keep you posted, but I won't do much baking experimentation until the weather cools.

I did up the sorghum slightly for our County Fair. WOW! Even better/easier the 2nd time. =D

My 10 yr. old girl won Best of Show w/ them for Food Preparation, and I rec'd a 2nd place in the Open category. Thanks again!
They look yummy. Thank you for the recipe. My children will love these.
Can the dough be made the night before and then sliced in the morning? I want to make these for Christmas morning but won't have time to do the whole recipe in the morning.
What I have done is slice the roll and place it in the dish or pan, cover and refrigerate. Then in the morning remove the cover and put it straight from the frig into a hot oven. I haven't tried putting the roll in the frig, but that would probably work.
Made these for the family for Christmas morning (Hubby has Celiac) and they were great! I put red and green sugar down along with the white sugar when I rolled out the dough - it made them a little more festive :-) Thanks so much for sharing - we have a new tradition!
I made these with some changes because I am no dairy and no corn. They came out delicious! Thanks for the recipe. I used almond milk and tapioca starch instead of corn starch. The final substitution I made was guar gum instead of xantham gum. Thanks!!!
The first gluten free baked items we have made that taste good! My wheat-free six year old LOVED them. Thank you so much. He was just diagnosed two months ago and one of his first comments was "does that mean i never get to have cinnamon rolls?"...thanks to you...we made his day today!
Thanks so much for telling me. That made my day!
I made these today for Easter brunch. At first I was thinking...hmmm, not quite like wheat rolls, but good. Interestingly enough, later in the day I think their flavor and texture improved. I added raisins to the filling. We will definitely make them again. They were very fast to put together and the dough, though soft, is surprisingly workable. Thanks!
I made the cinnamon rolls the night before and baked them Easter morning....they were wonderful! My Celiac 17 yrs old (picky) son LOVED them---I will make them again and I am sure 2nd time around they will be even better! After 2 years of GF baking I think I am catching on with the help of your blog and others! Thank you for your blog, recipes and sharing!
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your talent and expertise with all of us. I am happy my search for cinnamon rolls helped me find you.
My MIL made cinnamon rolls for my DH when he was growing up so cinnamon rolls have always been a big part of Christmas morning. I didn't want to be left out this year because of my Celiacs.
Have you ever used almond flour for baking? I thought I had all the flours necessary for the recipe, but in the end had to use some almond flour instead.
I am just learning how to cook with all of these flours and not sure what substituting one for the other will do. The result was yummy.
Thanks again.
Maria ~ Thank you for letting us know that some almond meal works in this recipe. I have used it a little, but not much.
So, Im not sure. I have been baking "normally" for a long time. We are going to try some gluten free stuff. Do you not let these rise again after rolling and cutting?
Anonymous ~ Gluten-free breads only get one rise time, but these buns don't even need that because of the baking powder and baking soda in them.
I tried these rolls with millet instead of sorghum (what I had), and they turned out great! Thank you so much for all of your recipes - you have made cooking fun again! I am the only celiac in my family, but everyone gets to try everything I make and it is finally fun to have some recipes that everyone likes. Thanks!

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