Cinnamon rolls are a classic holiday treat. My family makes them every year on Christmas morning, but this year we’ll be enjoying this delectable grain-free version, instead.
These cinnamon rolls are almost too good to be true. They have a soft, bread-like texture with a warm and gooey center, just like the traditional recipe I love, but they are gluten-free and yeast-free– making them much faster to prepare. No need to wait for the dough to rise!
Of course, gluten-free and grain-free baking can be challenging. Even though I’ve tested this particular recipe nearly 20 times before sharing it here, I’d recommend testing this recipe ahead of time, before you serve it to guests, to make sure it works for you. Practice definitely makes perfect!
Topped with a dairy-free maple glaze, these cinnamon rolls are truly satisfying. They aren’t exactly the same as Paula Deen’s recipe, which is the one we’ve used for years, but they are close. And they are definitely better than the time I accidentally used whole wheat pastry flour to make Paula’s recipe. (The texture was awful!)
For best results, be sure to make these cinnamon rolls the same day you plan on serving them. You can make the dough and roll them up a day in advance, and you can make the icing ahead of time, too, but don’t bake the rolls until you’re ready to serve. I have a feeling they’ll disappear quickly!
Paleo Cinnamon Rolls (Nut-free)
Makes 6-7 rolls
1 1/2 cups arrowroot starch
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut flour (level measurement)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup coconut sugar
Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
Maple Cashew Glaze*
3/4 cup cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours and drained
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*The glaze isn’t nut-free. Feel free to replace the cashews with 6 tablespoons of sunflower butter or coconut butter for a nut-free option.
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking dish with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the cinnamon rolls and stir very well to mix– there should be no clumps! Place the bowl of dough in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill and thicken.
Note: When working with coconut flour, it’s crucial that you measure correctly. Be sure to scoop the measuring cup into the bag of flour, then use the back of a knife to swipe off the excess for a level measurement. You don’t want any extra coconut flour in this recipe or it will dry-out the result!
Place the chilled dough on a large piece of parchment paper, and use your hands to press the dough into a 8″ x 12″ rectangle. (Alternatively, you could roll out the dough using a rolling pin over an additional layer of parchment paper.) Sprinkle the coconut sugar over the top of the dough, then top with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Use the parchment paper to help you roll the dough up, the way you would use a bamboo mat to help you roll up sushi. You want the dough to be rolled as tightly as possible. Seal the end, then slice the roll into 6-7 pieces. (Depending on the temperature of your dough at this point, they could be fragile.) Carefully transfer the rolls to the lined baking dish, and cover the top with foil.
*Note: I normally avoid using aluminum foil in cooking, but in this case the foil should not touch the rolls– just the pan– and it’s an easy way to prevent the rolls from drying out. If you’d still prefer to skip the foil, you could try covering the rolls with additional parchment paper, but the result may be drier and more biscuit-like in texture.
Bake the rolls for 25 minutes at 350F, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the sides of the rolls are firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then serve warm with the Maple Cashew Glaze, if desired.
To make the Maple Cashew Glaze, simply combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender, and blend until completely smooth and creamy. This recipe may make more glaze than you need, depending on how much icing you like on your rolls. (The extra freezes well if you want to save it for a future batch!)
These rolls are best served shortly after baking them, but you can save the leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week. Be sure to warm them again before serving for best texture. (We warmed ours for 8-10 minutes in a 350F oven.)
Paleo Cinnamon Rolls (Nut-free)
- 1 1/2 cups arrowroot starch
- 1/2 cup + 2 T. coconut flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- Ground cinnamon , for sprinkling
Maple Cashew Glaze*
- 3/4 cup cashews , soaked in water for 2 hours and drained
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking dish with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the cinnamon rolls and stir very well to mix-- there should be no clumps! Place the bowl of dough in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill and thicken.
- Place the chilled dough on a large piece of parchment paper, and use your hands to press the dough into a 8" x 12" rectangle. (Alternatively, you could roll out the dough using a rolling pin over an additional layer of parchment paper.) Sprinkle the coconut sugar over the top of the dough, then top with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Use the parchment paper to help you roll the dough up, the way you would use a bamboo mat to help you roll up sushi. You want the dough to be rolled as tightly as possible. Seal the end, then slice the roll into 6-7 pieces. (Depending on the temperature of your dough at this point, they could be fragile.) Carefully transfer the rolls to the lined baking dish, and cover the top with foil.
- *Note: I normally avoid using aluminum foil in cooking, but in this case the foil should not touch the rolls-- just the pan-- and it's an easy way to prevent the rolls from drying out. If you'd still prefer to skip the foil, you could try covering the rolls with additional parchment paper, but the result may be drier and more biscuit-like in texture.
- Bake the rolls for 25 minutes at 350, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the sides of the rolls are firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then serve warm with the Maple Cashew Glaze, if desired.
- To make the Maple Cashew Glaze, simply combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender, and blend until completely smooth and creamy. This recipe may make more glaze than you need, depending on how much icing you like on your rolls. (The extra freezes well if you want to save it for a future batch!)
Per Serving: Calories: 546, Fat: 32g, Carbohydrates: 59g, Fiber: 5g, Protein:6g
Like I mentioned above, it took me nearly 20 attempts to get this recipe right– so experiment at your own risk! I have a feeling tapioca starch would work similarly to arrowroot, and chia eggs would work “okay” in this recipe, too. The vegan version isn’t as good as this version made with eggs, but if you’re okay with that, they’re not bad.
Reader Feedback: Does your family have a traditional recipe you make for Christmas morning?
Questions and Reviews
Can I use something other than arrow root starch?
She explains the substitutions the last paragraph.
thanx for this amazing recipe! can I substitute arrowroot starch with any other starch like tapioca or potato? 🙂
I have a question,
Could you make the dough the night before then form the rolls the next day?
Yes, I think so. You would just need to let it rise the next day, so make sure you allow plenty of time for the dough to warm up again before baking.
Can’t wait to try these!
Christmas morning, we have a longstanding tradition of eating 1 whole pomegranate and Sponge Candy for breakfast. Basically chocolate covered sponge, difficult to explain on a blog, it’s a Buffalo thing. It’s amazing. Best stuff you’ll ever eat. Google it! But not vegan.
Anyhow, I love how these are grain free and gluten free. So nice you don’t have to wait for dough to rise….and might usually doesn’t anyhow!! Inspired =)
This recipe sounds really good! Do you think the dough could be made a head of time and left in the refrigerator to chill overnight instead of just the 20 minutes? Wondering if you think this might have any negative effects. Thanks!
Yes, I think that would work. Just cover the dough tightly so it doesn’t dry out.
I can’t wait to make these! I”m a little afraid of arrowroot flour, but willing to give it a try. Our Christmas traditions are breakfast pizza (basically crescent roll dough with eggs, sausage, and veggies on top) and of course…cinnamon rolls! Since going GF I haven’t been able to indulge in either tradition, but hopefully now I can indulge in at least one!
We use this roll recipe as a pizza dough.
I double the recipe to make two small/medium pizzas. Just prebake and add toppings. Cook at the same template in the recipe.
If you can’t have dairy, this roll recipe might work for pizza.
I forgot the link to the dairy free roll recipe. Sorry
oh. my god. This is SO going to happen over the Christmas holiday! TY for this one!!!
Do you think ghee would work in-place of coconut oil? I need to figure out where to get Arowroot flour in Canada….lol! Or even Tapioca Starch! Can the weekend come now so I can make these already!? YUMM!! BTW Thank You for your insight on Egg Yolks & their cholesterol benefit, I now feel much more confident adding them to coconut flour recipes (which call for so many!)
The Bulk Barn has Arrowroot and Tapioca starch 🙂
I would really like to try these, they sound delicious! Do you think I could substitute the cocnut sugar with honey?
sorry for posting twice, haven’t really understood the comment section yet 😉
I know this question was asked a long time ago, but yes! I used honey in the dough rather than coconut sugar since that is what I had on hand and they were fabulous. I did use duck eggs, though, which are not quite as wet as eggs since they have more yolk and less white. Maybe add less water if using chicken eggs and honey?
OMG I might die! These look amazing. Must make them for the in-laws and not say what’s in them.
Looking forward to making these. Just wondering if you ever post your ingredient measures by weight? This would avoid a lot of measurement errors and allow for easy substitution (eg: butter for coconut oil).
Thanks and happy eating!
Theselook SO yummy! Can I use a cup for cup gluten free flour instead of the arrowroot or tapioca or coconut flour or would that be a whole new recipe? I’m looking for a new cinnamon roll recipe for Christmas morning. Not having to use yeast and letting it rise is so great!
These look so yummy. Can’t wait to try!
Cinnamon rolls is pretty traditional , as well as muffins! These look amazing and will be on my festive breakfast menu for sure, i have made them before with ground flaxseeds but this looks like a great variation:)
These look soo delicious, but I don’t have access to arrowroot starch or coconut flour. 🙁
They look amazing and delicious! =)
Do you know if tapioca starch/flour increases blood sugar levels? Thanks!
Oh lawdy! These are THE BEST looking grain free cinnamon buns I’ve ever seen. I love so many of your recipes, so I’m sure these are delish, too! 🙂
I have been anxious to find a gluten-free cinnamon roll recipe for a long time and was so excited to try this one. I made them last night and they turned out perfect. Thank you so much for another awesome recipe, Megan.
any sub for coconut sugar? sounds expensive and i don’t want to have to buy something extra
Made these yesterday with no substitutions or alterations. They were tasty but very dense and dry. Any idea what I might have done better? Thank you I do enjoy so many of your recipes.
Did you cover them with foil for baking? They can dry out without being tightly covered. And since they don’t rise with yeast beforehand, they are a little more dense than a traditional cinnamon roll– but they should still be soft!
I used tapioca starch instead of arrowroot starch and they were good but kind of gummy. So, I decided to use the batter to make waffles and they were AMAZING
Oh my goodness. I’m going to have to stop checking your blog; my recipes-to-try list is getting too ridiculously long. !! Just out of curiosity, is there a reason you didn’t use your Maple Pecan Glaze? Did you feel the flavor wouldn’t go with these? Thank you for another amazing recipe!
I think the maple glaze would be delicious over these! I just wanted something a little whiter-colored for the photos. 🙂
Got it. 🙂 Thanks!
Hi! I just had to write back and let you know the following: 🙂 Chanukah started two nights ago, so I made traditional donuts for dessert – my husband’s *favorite* food in the world – using “real” flour, yeast, etc! Then last night I made your Cinnamon Rolls for dessert, and HE LIKED THEM BETTER!! Than regular donuts!! 🙂 Just wanted you to know! 🙂 We used the maple pecan glaze and they were absolutely delicious. Thank you!
That is so great to hear! I’m glad you all enjoyed them! 🙂
These look and sound delicious! Is there a possibility of using “gelatin” eggs instead?
I am new to arrowroot starch, having only used it in small amounts mixed with water as a thickener. Can you explain to me what purpose it serves when using it in such large amounts? It’s pretty pricey at Penzey Spices, where I usually get mine, I guess I will have to investigate other sources if I am count to use it by the cup instead of teaspoon!
Thanks for the recipe, I have pocketed it for later!
It’s part of the “binder” in this recipe– it gives these rolls their chewy, gooey texture, similar to using flour. I buy mine in a big bag at Whole Foods, which would be much cheaper than Penzey’s.
I’ve made this recipe a few times and seriously love it, however, the dough always breaks. When I try to press the dough in a triangle position & then try to roll it up, it always breaks. Is there something else I’m missing? Thanks so much! 🙂
Have you ever rolled sushi before? That’s how I use the parchment paper to roll up these rolls– the parchment paper does all of the work, like a bamboo mat helps you roll sushi. When I try to roll the cinnamon roll dough with my hands it breaks, but if you pull the parchment paper evenly and firmly to help it roll, it turns out perfectly. Hope that helps!
I am just making these now.. Could these be frozen before I bake them. Was wanting them for Christmas morning, but didn’t want to bake them now.
Your picture makes it look like these spread out a bit in baking. Mine stayed stiff as boards. Is this missing baking soda or something?
I have tried time and time again to create the perfect paleo cinnamon roll. I almost gave up, and then I tried this recipe this morning. All I can say is WOW. My search for the perfect paleo cinnamon roll is over!! These are simply perfect! They are soft and chewy and cinnamon-y and sticky and everyone in my family loved them! Thanks for making our Christmas morning just a bit more special!
Made these this Christmas morning! Everyone loved them…they turned out delicious! I will definitely be making these again! : )
I made these and baked them on a cookie sheet not a round pan and they flattened out like pancakes? Could I have over mixed them? Has this happened to anyone else? They still tasted good with the cashew glaze but they didn’t look good.
I also had the same issue – mine turned into one giant swirled cinammon cake. Still tasted great, but it was a disappointment to the hubby who was really wanting a scroll!
can’t have arrow root or tapioca or any starch, can this work with jelatin and almond flour or something else?
I just tried these. I have the same problem with rolling the dough. I used the parchment paper. The dough was sticking to the paper. Did I forget a step? At the end I left the parchment paper on and just baking it with the paper still wrapped around… I hope it comes off when they are ready!
Hey, these are great! The first time I made them they were perfect! The second, however they went flat? Any reasons why?
This is the 1st time I made them and the flavor was great but they did not raise at all, not like the pics show they do. I had to bake them about 50 minutes just to get them not like the raw dough. Any idea’s on what I did wrong. Followed the recipe exactly. Thanks for any hints or idea’s. My DH is celiac so he was just thrilled to get cinnamon rolls but would like to get them to bake up a little better!
I had the same problem. They tasted ok but they never changed shape as they cooked. I cooked them for at least 40 minutes. The picture on this page makes it look like they should rise a bit but without a rising agent I don’t know how that would happen. Is there an ingredient missing?
I used tapioca flour instead of arrowroot and the results were pretty good. Kinda dense and eggy, but that’s paleo baking for you. However, they took about one full hour to bake (like the commenter above, mine were total dough for at least the first 45 minutes) and the dough was extremely iffy/delicate and hard to work with. All in all, way too much work for something that isn’t nearly tasty enough to beat “real” cinnabons, nor healthy enough to beat actual healthy foods (I mean these buns are essentially just nutritionally empty starch/carbs, sugar and oil, just like normal cinnamon buns – don’t think they’re really healthy just because they cost a lot more than “normal” starch, sugar and oil!).
Followed recipe completely and mine fell apart when I went to roll them in wax paper 🙁
I made these and they tasted soooo good….however, I really had trouble rolling the dough. Like, it kept sticking to the parchment paper and the result was not especially attractive! Next time, should I powder some arrowroot on the paper before putting the dough on it? Or should I refrigerate the dough overnight??
These did not work for us at all. The dough fell apart when rolling and became very hard in the oven. these were a fail for us
Same. Wish I read the comments before trying these on Christmas morning.
This looks so yum!! Can’t wait to try it out!
**I was just wondering if someone,(or possibly even Megan, since your the expert (lol)), could tell me why you can’t add yeast to this dough? Is it the paleo thing? And since I don’t follow that diet, I just try to stay away from dairy could I put yeast in this dough recipe or would it be completely off? Hope you can answer cause I would love to try these!! Thank you!!
p.s. – And thank you for the recipe for the sweetened condensed coconut milk, life saver!!
I was so excited about these, but my dough was a crumbly mess. I couldn’t even roll it up. What did I do wrong?
That happened to me when I chilled the dough too long! Coconut flour is so finicky. I’d try letting it sit out on the counter to let it warm up a little bit, so it would be easier to roll.
Love your recipes! Do you think flax eggs could work here?
Followed the recipe to a T. The dough would not firm up, and I left it in the fridge for more than 20 mins.
I tried these today and they turned out nothing like the pics. They flattened in to one. Followed the recipe exactly, only thing different was that the dough was left in fridge for longer than 20min and I used tapioca flour which should be okay?
That happened to me too. And it turned out gummy. I don’t think tapioca flour works.
Best paleo cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had!!