Goodful—Buzzfeed Tasty's healthier cousin—just released a 'healthy' cinnamon roll recipe claiming to be as good as "store bought rolls". As the viral video played on my screen I was skeptical. Then I was curious, and hungry, because those videos always make me hungry. 

I decided to make the recipe myself with a few simple modifications to make it gluten and dairy free. I'm allergic to both, and like any good scientist wished to experience the results of my experiment first hand.

To have an unbiased third party evaluate the final product, I enlisted my younger brother, a die-hard Cinnabon fan. He agreed to taste them and rate them on a scale of 1 to 10. One being this roll is absolute garbage please feed it to the dog and 10 being as good as his beloved Cinnabons. 

A day later, and many fragrant cinnamon rolls baked, we tasted them and gave our verdicts. I, who have been gluten free for years, would rate the buns an 8 feeling they could have been sweeter, gooier, and more cinnamon-y. My younger brother gave them a 7, on a good day 7.5 on a sh*t one 6.5. His biggest complaint was that he expects a cinnamon roll to be super sweet and these we're not the get your heart racing decadent delights he loves. He also would prefer fluffier dough exactly like that of Cinnabon. That standard aside, he claims the texture was "really good".  

Alegria Ruseler-Smith

After our evaluations I increased the cinnamon and sugar content of the filling slightly. The sugar content is still low enough that your morning OJ packs in more sugar than one (or two) of these rolls. 

These cinnamon rolls are gluten free, vegan and way healthier than your store bought variety. They are also slightly less sweet and fluffy. All in all, I couldn't believe what I was eating was remotely healthy. 

Why make these and not go to the store?

Because a healthier cinnamon roll means you can eat more off them for the same amount of guilt. Now that’s something I can get behind.

Don’t believe me or my taste tester that they’re actually good? Make them yourself and let me know what you think.  


*Adapted from Buzzfeed Goodful Recipe.


For Dough

· 10 grams active yeast

· ¼ cup white sugar

· 2 cups almond or cashew milk

· ½ cup coconut oil melted

· 2 cups whole grain rice flour

· 2 cups chickpea flour

· 1 cup tapioca flour or potato starch

· Extra cup or ½ cup whole grain rice flour

· 1 tsp baking powder

· 2 tsp salt 

For Filling

· 2 cups unsweetened apple sauce

· 1/3 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar

· 4-5 tbsp ground cinnamon 

For Icing

· 200 grams plain unsweetened coconut yogurt

· 2 tbsp almond or cashew milk

· 1 tsp vanilla extract

· 3 tbsp maple syrup

· 1 tbsp honey of choice (more maple syrup if strictly vegan)  

Alegria Ruseler-Smith


1. In a large bowl warm the almond/cashew milk until it’s warm to the touch.

2. Add in the coconut oil and sugar. Combine. 

3. Sprinkle the yeast evenly on top and let sit for 5 minutes.

4. Add in the three flours (not extra flour).

5. Cover the dough in a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough will roughly double in size. 

6. Add in the extra rice flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until combined.

7. Allow the dough to cool for 3 hours or up to overnight in the fridge so it’s easier to work with.

8. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).

9. Flour a clean flat surface and knead the dough lightly until it forms a ball. 

10. Roll out the dough into a large even rectangle.

11. In a medium bowl combine the apple sauce, sugar and cinnamon for the filling.

12. With a knife spread the filling all over the rectangle of dough to cover it evenly.

Alegria Ruseler-Smith

13. Roll the dough from the shorter side (from left in picture above) until you have a well form tube of dough. 

14. Slice into even rolls. 

15. Place the rolls flat in a round baking dish, leaving enough room for them to rise slightly. 

16. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until they are golden brown and smell amazing

17. Remove from oven and allow to cool 15 minutes.

Alegria Ruseler-Smith

18. While buns are cooling combine the ingredients for the icing in a medium bowl.

19. When the buns have cooled drizzle a generous amount of icing on them and enjoy your healthy (but not healthy tasting) cinnamon buns. 

Alegria Ruseler-Smith