There is something special about the whiff of a freshly baked cinnamon roll topped with gooey white icing. This was a vision I only found in my dreams for many months after I became gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. I needed more cinnamon in my heart, and tummy.

Just the other day, my cinnamon dream came to life as I told myself I wouldn't gorge every last roll I’d just baked. Let's just say the day ended with a clean, scraped pan and a full belly.

I am not someone who went gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free by choice. I will happily admit bread is my favorite food and someday I plan to eat entire loaves of bread with cheese. But after months of feeling like crap and dealing with poor digestion, I decided it was time to see a specialist.

I took my results (via the VEGA test) as a challenge. Turns out you can make a lot of yummy foods while also meeting dietary restriction. I discovered that almond flour and maple syrup go a long way when mixed with a series of other ingredients. Also turns out I have a new found love for some foods I had detested in the past, like peanut butter and dates. These two are an amazing combo, and I used to loathe them both.

But of course there are still many foods I miss, and sometimes there is a social barrier based on where/what I’m eating. I've begun to feel like less of a pest when I order at restaurants asking to sub or change items. I am lucky to live in Bellingham, where food I can eat is easy to come by.

However, that dream kept reappearing in my head. Even as I write this now I can't stop my mouth from salivating. There ain’t nothing quite like a damn sticky cinnamon roll. So, my Google mission began. 

I shortly arrived at the website of Minimalist Baker, a true godsend. I made a few adjustments to their recipe for the rolls to fit my dietary needs. They may be a bit timely and a little difficult to perfect but they are so, so worth it. Enjoy your feast on these little spirals of love. Happy baking!

GF, Vegan, Refined-Sugar Free Cinnamon Rolls

  • Prep Time:45 mins
  • Cook Time:30 mins
  • Total Time:1 hr 15 mins
  • Servings:8
  • Medium


  • Wet:
  • 3/4 cup milk choice I used coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast 2 1/4 tsp
  • Dry:
  • 1 3/4 cup GF Flour with xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or almond meal
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp cold scoopable not melted coconut oil
  • Filling:
  • 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
Anna Rollins
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350° F and coat a baking dish with coconut oil. Set aside. In the microwave or on a stovetop, heat the milk until it reaches a temperature close to warm bath water - approximately 110° F. Make sure it’s not too hot as it could kill the yeast.

    Anna Rollins
  • Step 2

    To the milk, add 1 Tbsp coconut oil and stir until melted. Mix in yeast and coconut sugar just until combined. Then set the mixture aside for 10 minutes. It should get puffy.

    Anna Rollins
  • Step 3

    In another bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt until well combined. Add firmly scoopable coconut oil, cutting it into the mix until it resembles a sand like quality.

    Anna Rollins
  • Step 4

    To the dry ingredients, add the milk-yeast mixture and stir. It should form a dough (cookie dough quality).

    Anna Rollins
  • Step 5

    Cover a flat surface with plastic wrap and dust it with GF flour. Place dough in the center, another piece of plastic wrap over it and roll it out into a large, thin rectangle about 1/8th of an inch thick.

    Anna Rollins
  • Step 6

    Remove the top layer of plastic wrap. Brush the dough with 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil and sprinkle it with coconut sugar and cinnamon.

    Anna Rollins
  • Step 7

    Next, use the bottom layer of plastic wrap to tightly roll the dough lengthwise.

    Anna Rollins
  • Step 8

    Using a knife, cut the log into 8 even pieces and place in baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel, set on top of the warm oven, and let rise for 15-30 minutes or until the rolls have risen slightly and are almost touching.

    Anna Rollins
  • Step 9

    Place rolls in prepared dish on the center rack of your oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

    Anna Rollins
  • Step 10

    To make the frosting, simply combine the cream and syrup and spread on the rolls.

    Anna Rollins