Meet my apple pie cinnamon rolls. Yes, I just casually combined two of the greatest desserts on earth into one sweet, portable, glazed little bundle of delight. You’ll thank me later.
My Autumnal take on the classic cinnamon roll is made with a simple yeasted dough, filled with a sticky cinnamon filling and laced with chunks of grated apple. Oh yeah, and they’re completely vegan!
These are the perfect thing to bake on a cold Sunday this Autumn. If anything, do it for the smell of baked goods in the oven. Someone really ought to make that into a candle already.
How to make Apple Pie cinnamon rolls:
As always, you can find the full recipe and ingredients in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
1. make the dough:
My recipe for apple pie cinnamon rolls starts with a simple dough made from self raising flour, yeast, sugar, salt, oil and warm milk of choice. See below for some tips to handle your dough perfectly!
Before rolling our dough, we need to knead it, then prove for 1 hour until doubled in size. Proving is the act of leaving our dough in a warm, enclosed area which allows the yeast to respire making carbon dioxide. These bubbles of gas are what make our cinnamon rolls rise!
2. Prepare the apple filling:
Prepare the filling by mixing together vegan butter, brown sugar, grated apple, and lots of cinnamon. It’s important to remove as much water as possible from your grated apple to avoid soggy cinnamon rolls.
3. roll out the dough:
Roll out the cinnamon roll dough into a rectangle measuring 12″ x 16″ (30cm x 40cm).
4. Spread the filling:
Next, spread the apple filling evenly onto the dough. Make sure to leave a gap at the end of the dough so you can seal it!
5. Roll up the dough:
Working quickly and carefully, roll up the dough with the short side facing you. With each roll, gently ‘tuck’ the dough under itself to ensure a tight roll.
Once you get to the end, pinch the cinnamon roll dough together with your fingers to seal it.
6: cut the cinnamon rolls:
By now you should have a long log of dough. To turn this into cinnamon rolls, we simply need to slice it up! To make 9 cinnamon rolls, cut the log into thirds, then cut each third into thirds.
Shivani’s tip: Use a sharp, flat-edged knife to cut the cinnamon rolls!
Add the cinnamon rolls to a high-walled casserole dish or roasting tray, leaving a small gap between the rolls. I use a 29cm enamel roasting tray.
7. Prove (again):
The second prove is so important in this cinnamon roll recipe. It ensures the finished product is soft, fluffy, and not stodgy. Trust me, the wait is so worth it!
The pictures below show the difference between before and after proving. As you can see, the proved dough has filled out the dish and the rolls are beginning to join together.
8. Bake the cinnamon rolls:
Bake the cinnamon rolls for 20 mins at 180°C/ 350°F, rotating the tray halfway through cooking to ensure even browning.
9. Add some glaze (optional):
I like to top my apple pie cinnamon rolls with a simple glaze made from icing sugar and water.
Shivani’s tip: if you don’t have icing sugar, make your own by blending caster sugar in a high-speed blender until it forms a powder!
A more traditional option would be to make a cream cheese icing – Dana over at Minimalist Baker has a great vegan cream cheese frosting recipe that’s made with plant based ingredients!
Tips for handling Cinnamon Roll dough:
Are you a little bit scared of making bread dough? Believe me, I was too until I made this recipe. Here are a few tips to make sure your dough turns out perfect:
- A wet dough is better than a dry dough. It is much easier to add more flour to a dough than to add more liquid.
- Knead, knead, knead. It’s important to knead the dough well until it is elastic. The process of kneading develops the gluten in the flour, yielding a stretchy texture to your cinnamon rolls (as opposed to a tough and crumbly texture).
Shivani’s tip: to check if you have kneaded the dough enough, gently prod a finger into the dough. If it bounces back, you’re good to go!
- Prove the dough in a warm area (twice). In order to get a good rise to our cinnamon rolls, we need to prove it twice: once after kneading, and a second time after forming the cinnamon rolls. Each rise allows the yeast to respire producing carbon dioxide, which forms air bubbles in the dough.
Note that proving times will vary based on the age of your yeast, the temperature of your proving zone, and how wet your dough is. After the first prove, your dough should have doubled in size. After the second prove, the cinnamon rolls should have filled out the dish (see photos at step 7 above for comparison).
Troubleshooting your cinnamon rolls:
Q: I’ve proved my dough for 1 hour and it hasn’t increased in size! What should I do?
A: If you have proved your dough for an hour and it has hardly increased in size, your yeast may be out of date. Buy some fresh yeast and try this recipe again. You may have also heated your milk too much – if the temperature is too hot, the enzymes in yeast will denature meaning the yeast can no longer respire. You want the milk to be lukewarm – around 45°C/ 110°F. If in doubt, leave the milk to cool a little longer.
Q: My cinnamon rolls are super dense. What’s wrong with them?
A: Dense cinnamon rolls could be due to a number of factors. You may have overworked (over kneaded) the dough, which makes it tough. You may have needed to prove your dough for longer. Remember that after the first prove your dough should have doubled in size. Use the photographs above as reference for what your dough should look like after the second prove.
Q: My cinnamon rolls unravelled whilst baking. How can I solve this?
A: Make sure to roll the dough tightly when rolling it up, and pinch the ends well to prevent the cinnamon rolls unravelling. When adding the cinnamon rolls to your baking dish, place the sealed ends next to each other to further prevent unravelling.
If you have any other issues with your cinnamon rolls, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP. Alternatively, check out this dough troubleshooting guide from Red Star Yeast!
As always, if you make this recipe or any of the recipes on Shivani Loves Food, let me know by leaving a rating/comment below. You can also keep up with me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook for more vegan recipes!
Bye for now, friends!
Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
For the dough
- 2 cups/ 340 grams Self Rising Flour you may need an extra 1/4 cup
- 1/2 tbsp Instant Dried Yeast aka easy bake yeast
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Sunflower Oil
- 3/4 cup/ 225 ml Milk if using dairy-free, make sure to use soy as it has the highest protein content
For the apple cinnamon filling:
- 2 tbsp Vegan Butter/Margarine
- 3 tbsp Soft Light Brown Sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 Apple medium sized
For the glaze (optional)
- 3 tbsp Icing Sugar
- 1 tbsp Cold Water
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the self rising flour, instant dried yeast, sugar, and salt. (make sure to place the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl as salt slows down the activity of the yeast)
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk of choice until lukewarm – about 45°C/ 110°F. Alternatively you can do this in the microwave.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the warm milk and oil. Mix together with a spatula.
- Once a dough begins to form, tip out the contents of the bowl onto a floured work surface. Using your hands, bring together the dough, adding up to an extra 1/4 cup of flour as necessary to bring the dough together. You want the dough to be slightly sticky, but knead-able.
- To avoid adding extra flour, add some oil to the work surface. Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes with your hands, pushing the dough backwards and folding it over itself, rotating the dough 90 degrees clockwise and then repeating this motion. To test if the dough is ready, poke a finger into the dough. If the dough springs back, you're good to go!
- Grease a clean bowl with a little oil and add the dough ball. Cover the bowl loosely with clingfilm and leave in a warm area to prove for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, prepare the apple cinnamon filling by mixing together the vegan butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Peel and grate the apple, squeeze out as much juice as possible using a muslin cloth, and then stir the grated apple into the cinnamon mixture. Set aside.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, roll it out into a rectangle measuring approximately 12" x 16" (30cm x 40cm) on a floured work surface.
- Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1 inch gap around the edges. Tightly roll up the dough with the shortest side facing you, tucking the dough under itself to ensure a tight roll. Pinch the end of the dough using your fingers to seal it.
- Using a sharp, flat-edged knife, slice the log into thirds, then slice each third into thirds. Place the apple pie cinnamon rolls into a baking dish leaving a small gap between each roll.
- Cover the dish loosely with clingfilm and leave in a warm area to prove for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F.
- Bake the apple pie cinnamon rolls for 20 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through cooking to ensure even browning. Leave to cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the simple glaze by gradually mixing the water into the icing sugar until you have reached your desired consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cinnamon rolls. Enjoy!
- Prepared cinnamon rolls will store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. You can reheat them in the microwave for 30 seconds to resoften them.
NutritionServing size: 1 cinnamon roll Calories: 225 kcal | Fat: 6.3g | Saturated Fat: 2.1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 290mg | Carbohydrates: 38.5g | Fiber: 1.8g | Sugar: 13g | Protein: 4g