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What Are Vegan Cinnamon Rolls?

By E. Starr
Updated May 17, 2024
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Vegan cinnamon rolls are cinnamon rolls that do not contain any dairy or animal products. Cinnamon rolls are a sweet pastry that is usually eaten for breakfast or as a dessert. Vegan cinnamon rolls are simply a version of the pastry that conforms to a vegan diet; a diet that consists of only vegetarian foods with no animal products, and non-dairy foods with no animal byproducts.

A traditional cinnamon roll is made from a sheet of dough that contains yeast. Once the sheet of dough has been rolled out, a mixture of cinnamon spice, butter, and usually brown sugar are spread onto the dough. The dough is then rolled into a log shape, cut into slices around 1 inch (2.54 centimeters), and then baked until golden brown.

There are several ingredients that prevent most cinnamon rolls from being vegan cinnamon rolls. The dough itself often contains eggs, milk, and butter. Also, the cinnamon mixture added to the center usually contains butter. Additionally, cinnamon rolls are often topped with an icing or glaze that may contain butter or even cream cheese.

Recipes for vegan cinnamon rolls must use replacements for the dairy ingredients. A common egg replacement that can be used in the dough is flaxseed mixed with water. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with about three tablespoons of water usually replaces one egg. Flaxseed is a popular egg substitute among vegans because of its nutritional value. Other alternative egg replacers include one banana per egg, a quarter cup of applesauce per egg, or vegan egg powders, which can be purchased commercially.

The butter in the dough and in the cinnamon filling can easily be replaced by margarine or one of the many commercially available vegan butter substitutes. Depending on the final consistency of the rolls that is desired, vegetable oil can also be substituted in the dough. Usually vegetable oil is substituted at a ratio of three-quarters of a cup of vegetable oil for one cup of butter.

Any milk in the recipe can be substituted with a non-dairy milk product. Soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, or coconut milk are a few of the available options. Vegan milk powders are also available and can provide a slightly different final texture to the rolls. If a cream cheese frosting is desired, there are commercially available vegan cream cheese substitutes. Most vegan cheese substitutes are made of soy, usually tofu.

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Discussion Comments

By Rotergirl — On Nov 12, 2014

I wasn't aware that mixing flaxseed with water could substitute for an egg. Live and learn, I guess.

Do vegans eat anything with yeast, since technically, yeast is living? That could really complicate matters if you're making angel biscuits, which are yeast risen. I suppose you'd have to ask someone who is vegan.

I can see going at least part time vegetarian, but vegan is just too much of a commitment for me. I can't imagine giving up all animal protein. I know they say they don't miss it, but I think I would after a while.

By Pippinwhite — On Nov 11, 2014

If you use a biscuit dough, just substitute margarine and almond milk for butter and cow's milk in the recipe. That's easy. Sugar and cinnamon are vegan, and you can spread margarine over the dough, too.

Biscuit dough mostly takes flour, baking powder, butter and milk, so subbing almond milk and margarine are really easy, and they won't change either the consistency or the flavor of the finished product. It's nice to have one easy vegan recipe available if you have vegan friends, as I do. Makes it much easier to do a dinner and dessert when you know how to make vegan biscuits.

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