These homemade vegan apple cinnamon rolls are a yummy fall or winter breakfast idea for the whole family. An easy homemade dough is filled with sautéed cinnamon apples and topped with delicious icing to make for a warm and cozy treat. Ready in only 90 minutes!
Eating seasonally can be a great way to reduce your impact on the environment, shop (more) locally, and save money. As fall approaches, I’m looking ahead to some of my favorite autumnal recipes.
By far one of my favorites is these mouthwatering vegan apple cinnamon rolls. It’s like if apple pie and cinnamon rolls had a baby!
This recipe is a perfect fall or winter breakfast idea for the whole family. An easy homemade dough is filled with sautéed cinnamon apples and topped with delicious icing to make for a warm and cozy treat. And despite being made from scratch, they’re ready to go in only 90 minutes thanks to RapidRise Instant Yeast!
Ingredients You'll Need for Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
You might already have many of these ingredients ready to go in your pantry!
- Plant milk – I usually use almond milk, but you can use whatever you have on hand or whatever you prefer for baking! Just bear in mind the sweetness factor—if you use a particularly sweet or flavored plant milk (like vanilla, for example), you may want to tone down the sugar or vanilla extract.
- Vegan butter – As with the plant milk, it doesn’t necessarily make a big difference what you use. Miyoko’s Cultured European butter is great for baking but can be harder to find than something like Earth Balance or another plant-based margarine.
- White and brown sugar – You can substitute other types of sugar, but these work well. Just be aware that many white and brown sugars (at least in the U.S.) are not vegan-friendly. This is due to bone char. Luckily, you can find vegan-friendly white and brown sugar online if not in your preferred grocery stores.
- All-purpose flour – Any kind of all-purpose flour should do the trick just fine. If you want to experiment with other types, I can’t vouch for them! Please do let me know though how it turns out in the comments 🙂
- RapidRise Instant Yeast – Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast is widely available, but if you can’t find it, look for “instant” or “highly active” yeast. This is key because it only requires one rise, which will save major time!
- Salt – It can be tempting to skip the salt, especially if you’re health-conscious like me, but a little salt really helps bring out the other flavors.
- Vanilla extract – While not the end of the world if you don’t include it, vanilla extract definitely helps take this recipe to the next level!
- Cinnamon and nutmeg – These are the spices that really bring home that wonderful fall/winter taste!
- Powdered sugar – Powdered sugar is actually a combination of finely ground sugar and cornstarch (which helps prevent caking). As long as the original sugar is vegan-friendly, then you’re good to go. You can also make your own powdered sugar if you have finely ground sugar and cornstarch (which is always vegan-friendly as far as I know) on hand.
The Different Types of Yeast
When it comes to baking, it’s important to know your yeast! Here’s a quick rundown of the different types you may encounter:
- Rapid-rise / instant yeast – This is the kind that this recipe calls for. It’s popular for bread baking because it’s widely available and works with bread machines. It also usually means that your recipe only requires one rise (as with these vegan apple cinnamon rolls!).
- Active dry yeast – Many DIY bread recipes call for active dry yeast. This yeast has a long shelf life and requires warm water for activation. Once activated (also called “proofed”), you add it to the rest of your bread recipe.
- Osmotolerant yeast – This yeast can come in handy when you’re baking a sweet dough—e.g. danishes, brioche, or even cinnamon rolls like this recipe. It is a specialty yeast, however, so it can be hard to find. You may find it branded as SAF Gold Instant Yeast.
- Fresh yeast – Fresh yeast is also harder to find than instant or active dry yeast. It’s sometimes sold in the dairy sections of grocers. It has a much shorter life than its shelf-stable cousins. Typically, you need to use it within a couple of weeks.
How to Make Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Melt the butter and warm the almond milk together in a large mixing bowl in the microwave. It should be warm like bathwater, but not too hot that it kills the yeast (between 100°-110°).
- Stir in the sugar, then sprinkle the yeast over top of the mixture. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes or until it's foamy and smells "yeasty."
- Add the salt and ½ cup of flour at a time to the mixture. Stir until the dough starts to come together, and when it becomes too hard to stir, turn it out on a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is fairly smooth and less sticky.
- Form the dough into a ball and place it into a greased bowl. Cover a leave to proof in a warm place for an hour. The dough ball should double in size.
- While the dough rests, make the apple filling. Add all the filling ingredients (saving 1 tablespoon of butter for the dough) to a nonstick pan over medium heat. Sauté the apples for 15 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until the water has evaporated and the apples are fork-tender.
- Heat your oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13 pan. Set aside.
- Turn the risen dough out onto your floured surface, and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough, so it's about 16"x24". Brush 1 tablespoon of melted butter over the dough, coating it evenly. Sprinkle some extra cinnamon over top of the butter, then evenly spread the apples across the dough.
- Working from the long edge, roll the dough into a log as tightly as possible. Then, use floss or a very sharp knife to cut the dough into 10 equal cinnamon buns.
- Place the buns into your baking dish, and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the tops of the cinnamon rolls are golden brown. If they start to get too brown, cover with foil for the remainder of the baking process.
- While the cinnamon buns are baking, make the icing. Add the powdered sugar and milk to a bowl and stir to combine. If the mixture is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more milk.
- When the cinnamon rolls are ready, drizzle the icing evenly over top and serve them warm!
Which apples are best for baking?
This is a good question! There are so many varieties of apple that it can be tough to know which will work best for baking. Some tried and true favorites for baking include Braeburn, Cortland, Empire, Fuji, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Honeycrisp, and Pink Lady (or Cripps Pink).
Can you make these cinnamon rolls ahead of time?
Yes! Simply stop after step #8 and then store the sliced cinnamon rolls in your fridge for up to five days!
What are good toppings for cinnamon rolls?
Honestly, whatever sounds good to you! You can add your favorite kind of nuts (walnuts work well), chocolate, fresh fruit—anything you like! I think the date caramel from my vegan millionaire shortbread bars would be delicious drizzled over the cinnamon rolls.
Could I try different fruit with this recipe?
Definitely! You could try sliced peaches or nectarines, for example. Let me know how it goes!
How well do these keep?
These cinnamon rolls will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days. But, if you want these cinnamon rolls waiting and ready for you whenever a craving hits you can either freeze them before or after baking them. If freezing them before, stop after step #8 in the recipe. Place them in a freezer-safe container and store them for up to two months. The night before you want to eat them, place them in the refrigerator to thaw and continue with step #9 of the recipe! If freezing after baking, place the rolls in an airtight container for up to two months. When you're ready to eat one, heat it up in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
This recipe has always been a big hit with anyone I’ve made them for because they're:
- Easy to make
Let me know if you try out these vegan apple cinnamon rolls, and if you do, I would love it if you left a rating and review below! Make sure you are also following along on Instagram and Pinterest for more food inspiration.
More Yummy Vegan Recipes:
- Baked Apple Oatmeal
- Apple Pancakes
- Sugar-Free Apple Crisp
- Baked Matcha Glazed Donuts
- Millionaire Shortbread Bars
- Coffee Banana Smoothie Bowl
- Overnight Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
- Strawberry Rosemary Scones
- French Toast with Just Egg
- Breakfast Hash in a Skillet
Pin the below image so you can make this fall favorite again!