Learn how to make this delicious homemade cinnamon roll recipe without milk!
Yes, you totally CAN make delicious cinnamon rolls without milk!
My easy recipe is dairy free and vegan. But it doesn’t lack in the flavor and texture department!
So whether you’ve run out of milk and don’t want to run to the store, or you’re avoiding dairy, these cinnamon rolls are perfect for you!
They’re soft and light and scrumptious.
Perfect for your Sunday brunch, or even for dessert (heart eyes)!
How to Make Cinnamon Rolls Without Milk:
Okay, let me show you how to make my cinnamon roll recipe!
The process is really simple, promise!
First, here’s everything you’ll need for the dough:
- 1 ½ cups of warm water: Make sure your water is no more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit or 43 degrees Celsius. If you go over that temperature, you risk killing the yeast!
- ½ teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons of sugar: You’ll use part of the sugar to activate the yeast, and the rest in the dough. This isn’t a super sweet dough. Feel free to double the sugar if you like things on the sweet side. You can use coconut sugar, maple syrup, or honey if you prefer.
- 1 packet of active dry yeast: I like to use Red Star active dry yeast individual packets because they have the fewest ingredients. You can substitute instant yeast if you prefer, and then you don’t have to do the activating step.
- ¼ cup of olive oil: You can also use avocado oil or melted coconut oil if you prefer. I don’t have very much experience with vegan butter, but if you adore it, I’m sure it would work here as well. If you aren’t dairy free, feel free to use melted butter!
- 2 cups of all purpose flour: You know me: I like to use organic unbleached all-purpose flour.
- 1 ½ cups of bread flour: Now you can use 100% all purpose flour if that’s all you have. These will still be lovely, but they’ll be the most sublime if you use part bread flour.
- 2 teaspoons of salt: I like to use an unrefined sea salt like Redmond Real Salt.
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract: Make sure to use real vanilla extract (not imitation) please! Unless you like the flavor of imitation vanilla. Then by all means use it!
You’ll also need a few ingredients for the filling and icing, but we’ll get to that later!
Activating the Yeast:
Like I mentioned, since we’re using active dry yeast, we need to activate it first.
Place 1/2 cup of the warm water (no more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit or 43 degrees Celsius) in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Sprinkle the yeast and sugar on top of the water.
Set aside to activate for 5 minutes.
You should see some activity from the yeast. If you see no activity at all, that sadly means your yeast is dead and it won’t raise the rolls properly!
Mixing the Dough:
Add the remaining ingredients on top of the yeast mixture.
Place the mixer bowl onto the mixer base.
Now, I recommend that you use the dough hook. Mine bit the dust, so I used my paddle attachment. It gets the job done, but it’s not ideal!
Anyway, knead the dough on medium speed for 15 minutes. The dough will start out shaggy like in the photo above, but it will eventually become smooth and elastic (see the photo below) and clean the sides of the bowl.
If you absolutely must, you can add a bit more flour to achieve the right consistency.
Just wait until the dough has been kneaded for at least 5 minutes before adding more flour. This gives the gluten the change to develop.
The dough can look too wet to begin with, but it will become more cohesive as it’s kneaded. If you add too much flour, these could turn out too dense.
See how stretchy it is?! The bread flour helps the dough to achieve this level of elasticity.
Alternately, you could mix together the dough in a large mixing bowl, then transfer it to a greased or lightly floured counter and knead by hand.
Since the dough is really soft it can be a bit frustrating to mix by hand. But you should be able to achieve the proper texture with enough time and energy!
Transfer the kneaded dough to a greased large bowl. I like to use lidded bowls so I don’t have to waste plastic wrap! You could also use a clean damp towel to cover the dough.
Cover and let the dough rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled.
You can place the dough in a warm spot in your kitchen to speed up this step.
Making the Filling:
When the dough is almost done rising, mix together the filling.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Set aside.
Forming the Rolls:
Grease a 13×9-inch baking dish with coconut oil. If you aren’t dairy free, you could also use room temperature butter.
Grease your work surface as well. The dough is very soft, so you want to make sure it doesn’t stick to your counter!
Roll the dough out into a large rectangle that’s about 12×17-inches. You may find that it helps to grease your rolling pin as well since this dough can get sticky!
Drizzle 3 tablespoons of avocado, olive, or melted coconut oil over the dough rectangle.
Spread it out with a pastry brush, making sure to leave a 1 inch strip without oil on the far long end.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the dough and spread it out with your fingers.
Carefully roll up the dough, starting at 1 long end. I like to kind of tuck the dough in tighter as I roll instead of just blindly rolling it up. Since the dough is so soft, you have to ensure the roll stays tight otherwise the rolls will just fall apart. Watch the video at the end of this post to see what I mean!
Slice the roll into 15 individual rolls. I like to use a serrated sharp knife to do this. I’ve never tried the floss cutting method, but I’ve heard good things about it!
Place the rolls in a 3×5 pattern in the prepared baking dish.
Cover, place in a warm place, and allow to rise a second time for about 1-2 hours, or until the rolls are quite puffy.
Baking Time and Temperature:
When the rolls are almost done rising, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F or 191 degrees C.
Bake the risen rolls for 20-30 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the bready part of a center roll registers 200 degrees F or 93 degrees C.
Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before frosting.
Making the Icing/Frosting:
Meanwhile, it’s time to make the icing!
But you can still make a lovely icing for these cinnamon rolls without milk!
Simply mix together powdered sugar and the liquid of your choice.
I really like to use either coffee or orange juice + orange zest for the liquid since those add extra flavor.
You could also use a dairy-free milk such as coconut or oat milk. I haven’t been super impressed with almond milk, and I don’t think I’ve every drunk soy milk, so I can’t really speak about those!
Some other flavor ideas would cocoa powder, matcha powder, or cinnamon! I also like to add a pinch of salt to round out the flavors.
Okay, place 3/4 cup of powdered sugar in a small bowl. Add the liquid of your choice, vanilla extract, and salt, and whisk until smooth.
You can add more liquid or powdered sugar to achieve the proper consistency. You want it thin enough that you can drizzle it over the cinnamon rolls, but not so thin that it will just run right through them.
Drizzle the icing all over the cooled cinnamon rolls.
If you’re a frosting fanatic, feel free to double the icing recipe!
Serve while they’re still warm for best results. You know me: I like to have mine with salty grass-fed butter.
Can’t your just imagine these for Easter brunch or Christmas morning?!
By the way, do you call them cinnamon rolls or cinnamon buns?
Here’s a video tutorial in case you learn better that way!
More Sweet Roll Recipes:
More Breakfast Recipes:
- Savory Waffles
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Waffles
- Roasted Vegetable Breakfast Bowls
- Sausage, Mushroom, and Bell Pepper Hash
Cinnamon Roll Recipe without Milk
A soft, dairy free cinnamon roll recipe perfect for brunch or dessert!
For the Dough:
- 1½ cups warm water (no more than 110° F)
- 1 packet active dry yeast (2¼ tsp)
- ½ tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup oil (such as olive, avocado, or melted coconut oil)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1½ cups bread flour (or more all purpose flour in a pinch)
- 2 tsp unrefined real salt
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
For the Filling:
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp oil (such as olive, avocado, or melted coconut oil)
For the Icing:
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tbsp liquid of choice (see note)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
For the Dough:
Place ½ cup of the warm water, ½ teaspoon sugar, and the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set aside for 5 minutes. You should see some activity from the yeast after 5-10 minutes. If you don't see any, it means your yeast isn't active and won't raise the rolls!
Add the remaining dough ingredients on top of the yeast mixture. Place on the stand mixer base with the hook attachment. Knead on medium speed for 15 minutes, until nice and elastic. You can add up to ½ cup of extra flour if the dough is really really sticky, but don't add it until the dough has been kneaded for 5 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and allow to rise or 1½ to 2 hours, or until doubled.
For the Filling:
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
Grease a 13x9-inch pan with coconut oil and set aside. Grease your work surface as well.
Transfer the risen dough to your work surface. Roll out into a large rectangle that's about 12x17 inches.
Drizzle the oil over the dough and use a pastry brush to brush it all over the dough, leaving a 1 inch strip of ungreased dough along the far long edge.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the dough. Carefully roll up the dough, keeping the roll tight. Slice the roll into 15 individual buns. Place in the prepared pan in a 3x5 pattern.
Cover and allow to rise for 1-2 more hours, or until quite puffy. When the rolls are almost done rising, preheat your oven to 375°F (191°F). Bake the risen rolls for 20-30 minutes, or until they're golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted into the bready part of a center roll registers 200°F (93°C).
Remove from oven and allow the rolls to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes before icing.
For the Icing:
In a small bowl, whisk together all of the icing ingredients really well. You can add more liquid or powdered sugar to achieve the proper consistency. You want the icing to be thin enough to drizzle over the rolls, but not so thin that it will drip right through them.
Drizzle over the rolls and serve immediately.
You can use several different kinds of liquid for the icing. Coffee or orange juice + orange zest are nice since they add extra flavor. But you could use water or a non-dairy milk if you prefer. You could also add other flavor enhancers such as cocoa powder, cinnamon, matcha powder, etc.