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Healthy Cinnamon Rolls

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Delightfully soft and fluffy healthy cinnamon rolls with a flavourful cinnamon swirl and topped with a wicked maple cream cheese glaze! Perfect for a lazy Sunday brunch, these refined sugar free cinnamon rolls taste just like ones from the bakery. This recipe requires just 10 simple ingredients and is easy to make – perfect for beginner yeast bakers.

a tray of warm healthy cinnamon rolls have been placed on a wooden table surrounded by a bowl of maple cream cheese glaze, recipe pages, cinnamon sticks and a glass of black espresso

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Fluffy healthy cinnamon rolls with no sugar

This is it. The one you’ve been waiting for. This right here is the only healthy cinnamon roll recipe you will EVER need. Period.

Anyone who knows me will say that cinnamon rolls are my kryptonite. Chris makes them for my birthday breakfast every year and my colleagues once bought a platter of them for me as a birthday cake.

One of my favourite places to go with my mom when I visit home is this little cafe called Adrienne’s. They make these size-of-your-head cinnamon rolls topped with a gooey cream cheese frosting that drips more down your hand and arm than actually makes it to your mouth. But they are GLORIOUS.

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for months, because I wanted to be sure it was absolute perfection. And I’m pleased to say that that is exactly what it is. Fluffy, sweet, cinnamony, perfection. To say I’m addicted to them would be an understatement.

three cinnamon rolls are being served on cream coloured plates on a wooden table

What makes these cinnamon rolls healthier?

While no cinnamon roll is completely healthy (it’s a treat, after all, and should be enjoyed in moderation!), this recipe does feature a few little swaps to make them better for you, while retaining the texture and flavour you expect from a normal bakery-style roll.

  • They’re refined sugar free. The biggest change we’re making is swapping out the refined white and brown sugars for natural sweeteners. We’re using honey to sweeten the dough, coconut sugar for a slightly caramelly flavour in the filling, and maple syrup in the luscious maple cream cheese glaze!
  • No weird ingredients. Every ingredient in this recipe is unprocessed, additive-free, and completely natural. There’s nothing here that you wouldn’t already have on hand in your own kitchen.
  • They use full-fat dairy. I know, this might sound counter-intuitive, but by using unsalted butter instead of a spread and full-fat cream cheese, you’re ensuring that no sneaky sugars or other weirdo ingredients are getting into your rolls.
a healthy cinnamon roll sits on a cream coloured plate with a silver fork next to it and a glass of espresso in the corner

Main ingredients in healthier cinnamon rolls

Never made homemade rolls before? You’ll be pleased to know that these healthy cinnamon rolls only contain 10 ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Milk: Lukewarm milk helps to activate the yeast and the extra fat lends a lovely texture. You can use plant milk for this; however, I find the extra fat in cow’s milk gives the rolls a softer, fluffier texture.
  • Unsalted butter: Butter helps keep the rolls moist and makes the dough extra soft and slightly crisp on top.
  • Honey: A little sugar is needed to feed the yeast in the dough, so we’re using a couple of tablespoons of honey to keep it happy.
  • Yeast: Our leavening agent for this dough! Don’t be nervous – it’s very easy to use.
  • Bread flour: If you want the fluffiest, softest healthy cinnamon rolls, you need to be using bread flour. They will work with all-purpose, but they won’t be as fluffy.
  • Sea salt: Essential for seasoning the dough.
  • Coconut sugar: For the filling, we’re using coconut sugar instead of brown sugar to keep the same flavour profile we know and love.
  • Ground cinnamon: Kind of obvious, but we’re going to need some cinnamon to make cinnamon rolls! Ensure your ground cinnamon is fresh for the best flavour.
  • Cream cheese: For the delicious glaze, we’re using full-fat cream cheese as the base.
  • Maple syrup: The flavour of maple syrup mixed with cream cheese in the glaze is just chef’s kiss perfection. If you don’t have maple syrup, you can use honey.
a batch of healthy cinnamon rolls are sitting on a circular wire cooling rack in the corner of the image and a single roll sits on a cream coloured plate next to a glass of black espresso

How to make healthy cinnamon rolls

Don’t be intimidated by making yeasted bakes – they’re actually simple to do! This healthy cinnamon roll recipe is a great place to start if you’re a beginner because it’s very easy:

  1. Make the dough by stirring together the warm wet ingredients and then adding the yeast and letting it bubble for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients and then add the liquid ingredients. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes on a lightly floured surface until smooth and no longer sticky. Pop the dough ball back into a lightly greased bowl, cover, and place in a warm spot to prove until doubled in size.
  4. Make the filling by adding the filling ingredients to a small bowl and mixing together to form a smooth paste.
  5. Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it onto a work surface and then roll the dough out into a 27 x 15 cm rectangle. Smear the cinnamon filling evenly all over the top of the dough.
  6. Tightly roll up the dough and then cut the log into 9 equal pieces. Flip each piece over so the spiral faces up and place them in a greased tin evenly spaced apart. Cover the rolls and allow to rest until doubled in size.
  7. Make the glaze by adding the glaze ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk together until smooth.
  8. Once the rolls have doubled, uncover, and bake for 20-23 minutes at 180°C until golden brown on top. Allow the rolls to cool slightly before drizzling over the glaze and serving warm.

Full details are in the recipe card at the end of this post.

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FAQ’s

Why are my cinnamon rolls not fluffy?

There are a few reasons why your cinnamon rolls might have turned out hard, tough, or crumbly instead of fluffy:

  • You used too much flour. If you add too much flour to your dough, the yeast can really struggle to lift the dough and you’ll end up with dense, tough buns. For this healthy cinnamon roll recipe, I recommend starting out with 200 grams of flour and only adding more if you really need it. Use minimal flour on your work surface as well or you can even use an oil spray on the counter to keep it from sticking instead.
  • You kneaded the dough too much. Over-kneading can over-activate the gluten strands in the flour, which results in crumbly, dry buns. Only knead until the dough is soft, pliable, and no longer sticky, then stop!
  • You over-proofed your dough. Over-proofing means there are too many air bubbles in your dough and the dough has nowhere to expand once it’s in the oven. Oftentimes, this will result in your rolls collapsing. Keep an eye on it and only proof until the dough has doubled in size. I usually start checking my dough at the 75-minute mark.
a tray of warm healthy cinnamon rolls have been placed on a wooden table surrounded by a bowl of maple cream cheese glaze, recipe pages, cinnamon sticks and a glass of black espresso

Can I make these cinnamon rolls the night before?

You can! Make the recipe as stated up until Step 8. Once they’re rolled and placed in the pan, cover them tightly with foil or clingfilm and pop them in the fridge. In the morning, continue the recipe with the rising process. Since they’ll be cold, it might take closer to 1 hour for them to rise.

How do I store these healthy cinnamon rolls?

To keep these cinnamon rolls from getting hard, you want to keep them at room temperature. Storing them in the fridge will make them hard and crumbly. Leave any uneaten rolls in the pan, cover them tightly with a layer of foil, and store the pan on the counter. They should keep relatively well for about 2-3 days.

For healthy safety reasons, only glaze the rolls you’re going to eat and store the rest unglazed.

Can I freeze these cinnamon rolls?

Yes. To freeze, you want to pop any unglazed rolls into an airtight, freezer-safe container and tightly secure the lid. They’ll keep for up to 1 month.

Delightfully soft and fluffy healthy cinnamon rolls with a flavourful cinnamon swirl and topped with a wicked maple cream cheese glaze! Perfect for a lazy Sunday brunch, these refined sugar free cinnamon rolls taste just like ones from the bakery. This recipe requires just 10 simple ingredients and is easy to make – perfect for beginner yeast bakers.

Tips for making this recipe perfectly

  • Make sure your milk is lukewarm. It should be warm to the touch, but not boiling hot (ideally between 48–54°C). If you have a thermometer, make sure it doesn’t exceed 60ºC (140ºF) or it will kill the yeast.
  • Only knead the dough until it’s no longer sticky. Over-kneading the dough can result in very tough, crumbly buns, so use as little flour as possible on your work surface and only knead until it’s soft and no longer sticking to your fingers or the counter.
  • I love the flavour of maple in the cream cheese glaze, but if you don’t have maple syrup, honey is also delicious. (Similarly, you can use maple syrup in the dough if you don’t have honey!)
  • If you aren’t going to eat all of these healthy cinnamon rolls in one sitting, only glaze the ones you will eat. The rolls should be stored at room temperature and the glaze should be refrigerated.

More refined sugar free brunch recipes:

Pesto Chicken Rolls
Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Easy Hot Cross Buns
Blueberry Scones with Cardamom Glaze
Pecan Pumpkin Rolls
Chai Spiced French Toast Bake
Pesto Breakfast Hash with Prosciutto & Bocconcini
Maple Bacon Twists

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If you make this recipe, let me know by snapping a picture and tagging me on Instagram @naturallysweet_kitchen. I love seeing your creations and sharing them in my Stories. Or let me know you love this Healthy Cinnamon Rolls by leaving a comment and rating below!

Healthy Cinnamon Rolls Recipe (Refined Sugar Free, Easy)

Delightfully soft and fluffy healthy cinnamon rolls with a flavourful cinnamon swirl and topped with a wicked maple cream cheese glaze! Perfect for a lazy Sunday brunch, these refined sugar free cinnamon rolls taste just like ones from the bakery. This recipe requires just 10 simple ingredients and is easy to make – perfect for beginner yeast bakers.

Category Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine American, British, Canadian
Keyword cinnamon rolls, healthy cinnamon rolls
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Proofing Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Serves 9 rolls
Author Amanda | Naturally Sweet Kitchen

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 125 ml warm milk see notes
  • 40 g melted butter
  • 2 tbsp unpasteurised honey
  • 2 ¼ tsp fast-action yeast
  • 200 g bread flour
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt

Filling:

  • 55 g soft unsalted butter
  • 55 g coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Glaze:

  • 180 g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • Small pinch fine sea salt

Method

  1. To make the dough, pour the milk, butter, and honey into a glass measuring cup or small bowl and stir together. Ensure the temperature of the mixture falls between 48–54°C (120–130°F) and then stir in the yeast. Set aside and allow the yeast to activate for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt well. Once the yeast is foamy, add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms. If it’s way too sticky, continue adding flour a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. You can add up to 25g extra flour without any issue.

  3. Lightly flour a work surface and tip the dough out. Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes until it’s smooth, pliable, and no longer sticky. Lightly grease the mixing bowl with a bit of oil and then pop the dough ball back into the bowl. Cover loosely with a tea towel and place in a warm spot to prove for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling by adding the butter, coconut sugar, and cinnamon to a small bowl. Mix the ingredients together until it forms a smooth paste. Set aside.
  5. Lightly grease a 20cm (8 inch) square baking tin with oil. Set aside.
  6. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it to deflate any air and then tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rough 27 x 15 cm (10 x 6 inch) rectangle. Smear the cinnamon filling evenly all over the top of the dough.
  7. Tightly roll up the dough, starting from the long side, and pinch together the seams. Place the roll seam side down and cut the log into 9 pieces, about 3 cm (1.1 inch) each. Flip each piece over so the spiral faces up and place them in the greased tin evenly spaced apart.
  8. Cover the rolls with the tea towel and place in a warm area to rest for 30-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  9. Meanwhile, make the glaze by adding the cream cheese, maple syrup, and salt to a small bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until smooth and no lumps remain. Set aside.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Once the rolls have doubled, remove the towel. Bake the rolls for 20-23 minutes until golden brown on top. If they start to brown too quickly, tent them with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  11. Allow the rolls to cool for 10 minutes before drizzling over the glaze and serving warm.

Notes

  • The temperature of the milk should not exceed 60ºC (140ºF) or it will kill the yeast.
  • These rolls are best eaten the day they are made. Leftovers will keep sealed in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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