Dairy-Free Cinnamon Rolls

Dairy-free cinnamon rolls offer a delightful treat for those managing dietary restrictions, including individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Made without traditional dairy ingredients, these rolls incorporate alternatives like almond milk and plant-based butter, reducing the phosphorus and potassium levels typically found in dairy products, which are crucial for CKD diets to monitor.

yummy flaky cinnamon roll on a fork

The use of all-purpose flour, while common, can be substituted with lower-protein flours to further tailor the recipe to CKD nutritional needs. These cinnamon rolls provide a way to enjoy a sweet, comforting snack without compromising health guidelines, making them a perfect addition to a CKD-friendly diet.

This pairs well with this delicious strawberry baked oatmeal recipe. You can enjoy this as part of any special occasion like a Mother's Day Brunch. You also have a delicious cinnamon roll icing without milk that you can use on many recipes to keep the potassium and phosphorus low.

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Ingredients For Cinnamon Rolls No Milk

If you want to make Cinnamon Rolls with no milk, this is the perfect recipe as it includes the dairy free cinnamon roll icing as well as the cinnamon roll recipe.

ingredients for cinnamon rolls
  • Almond milk - Used as a dairy-free liquid base, it helps to activate the yeast and moisten the dough.
  • Active dry yeast - Essential for fermentation, it makes the dough rise by producing gas as it digests sugar.
  • Sugar - Adds sweetness to the dough and helps to feed the yeast, enhancing its activity.
  • Eggs - Provide structure and richness, helping to bind the dough together.
  • Country Crock Plant Butter with Olive Oil - Acts as a dairy-free fat source, adding moisture and flavor to the dough and filling.
  • Salt - Enhances flavor and regulates yeast activity to prevent over-rising.
  • All-purpose flour - The main structure-forming ingredient that provides gluten, necessary for the dough's elasticity and texture.
  • Brown sugar - Used in the filling for its deep, molasses-like sweetness and moisture.
  • Ground cinnamon - Provides the characteristic warm, spicy flavor in the filling.
  • Vanilla extract - Adds a sweet, aromatic flavor to both the filling and icing.
  • Powdered sugar - Creates a smooth and sweet base for the dairy-free icing.

See recipe card for quantities.

Instructions For Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

almond milk and yeast in bowl

1. Warm the almond milk gently to a temperature between 95-105'F. [I microwaved it for 40 seconds] Pour the warm almond milk into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast and just a dash of your measured sugar. Whisk gently and lt it sit for 5-10 minutes. It should become bubbly or foamy. If it doesn't then your yeast is not active and shouldn't be used.

mixed cinnamon roll dough in bowl.

2. Add the remaining sugar, eggs, plant butter, salt and 2 cups flour. Mix until combined. (You can use dough hooks on a mixer if you like). Add two more cups of flour and mix until combined.

after kneading the cinnamon roll dough

3. Bring the dough together with your hands, adding the rest of the flour as needed to create a dough that is a little bit sticky but still workable. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes.

dough in a bowl ready to rise.

4. Place the dough in a large bowl, lightly cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. Dough should double in size.

brown sugar, plant butter, cinnamon and vanilla in a microwave safe mixing bowl and mix with a spoon or fork until combined.

6. Place the brown sugar, plant butter, cinnamon and vanilla in a microwave safe mixing bowl and mix with a spoon or fork until combined. Set aside until dough is ready.

roll the dough out into roughly an 18-20 inch rectangle.

7. Once dough rises, punch the dough down and let it sit for 5 minutes. While it sits, grease a 9x13 inch pan and sprinkle a large, flat work surface with flour.

8. Put the dough onto your workspace, and roll the dough out into roughly an 18-20 inch rectangle. I start by pushing the dough into a rectangle with my hands then rolling it out with a rolling pin. You want the dough to be relatively thin.

Stir and spread evenly on your dough leaving about a 1 inch border on the far edge.

9. Heat the cinnamon filling in the microwave for about 10 second. Stir and spread evenly on your dough leaving about a 1 inch border on the far edge.

rolled dough with slight indents for cutting.
  1. Starting with the dough edge closest to you, roll the dough up as tightly as possible and press the end into the roll to seal it tightly.
  2. Press the ends of the log in a little bit to even out the rolls. With a butter knife, make s slight indent into the middle of the roll. Then do again on each side to make it into ¼ths and then divide each ¼ in half. This should yield 16 rolls that ar about 1 inch each. After making the indentations, slice the roll.
Pan of sliced cinnamon rolls ready for the oven

12. Place the rolls into the greased baking dish. Lightly cover and place the dish in a warm place. Let it rise for 45 minutes or until almost doubled again.

overhead shot of dairy free icing in mixing bowl

15. In a mixing bowl, combine the plant butter and vanilla until creamy. Add in the powdered sugar and blend in with mixer on low. Add almond milk and mix in on low, then once combined turn the mixer up and beat until lightly whipped and thick consistency.

Hint: Ensure the almond milk is warmed to the right temperature, between 95-105°F, before adding the yeast. This temperature range is optimal for activating the yeast without killing it, ensuring the dough rises properly for fluffy and soft rolls.

Pan of Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls overhead shot

Variations on Cinnamon Roll Recipe Without Milk


Here are three variations you can make to the dairy-free cinnamon rolls recipe while keeping it kidney-friendly:

  1. Apple Cinnamon Filling: Add finely chopped or grated apple to the cinnamon filling for a fruit-infused twist. Apples are low in potassium and phosphorus, making them suitable for a kidney-friendly diet. They also add natural sweetness, allowing you to reduce the added sugar.
  2. Pumpkin Spice Rolls: Incorporate pumpkin puree and a blend of pumpkin pie spices (like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger) into the dough and filling. Pumpkin is low in potassium and provides a seasonal flavor variation without impacting kidney health.
  3. Lemon Glazed Rolls: Instead of the vanilla icing, make a lemon glaze using lemon juice, powdered sugar, and a bit of almond milk. Lemon adds a fresh, tangy flavor and is low in potassium, making it an excellent choice for a kidney-friendly icing alternative.

These variations add delightful flavors and textures to the cinnamon rolls, offering enjoyable options without straying from dietary guidelines crucial for individuals managing kidney health.

Storage For Cinnamon Roll Dairy Free

For storing the dairy-free cinnamon rolls, here are some recommendations to maintain their freshness and quality:

  1. Cool Completely: Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool completely after baking before storing. This prevents condensation inside the container, which could make the rolls soggy.
  2. Room Temperature Storage: If you plan to eat the cinnamon rolls within a day or two, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Keep them in a cool, dry place to prevent spoilage.
  3. Refrigerating: For longer storage, place the cinnamon rolls in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to a week. This helps preserve their freshness and prevents the growth of mold.
  4. Freezing: For the longest storage option, wrap each cinnamon roll individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a zip-top freezer bag or an airtight container. Freeze the cinnamon rolls for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the microwave when ready to eat.
  5. Reheating: To recapture the just-baked warmth and texture, reheat refrigerated or thawed cinnamon rolls in the microwave for a few seconds or in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes.

Remember, if you've already iced the rolls, storing them at room temperature or reheating may affect the texture and stability of the dairy free icing for cinnamon rolls, so it's often best to apply icing just before serving if you anticipate needing storage.

Top tip

Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free environment to ensure optimal yeast activity and dough expansion. A good method is to turn your oven on to a low setting for a few minutes, then turn it off and place the bowl with the dough inside the slightly warmed oven. This creates a cozy, stable environment that can help the dough rise more consistently, resulting in fluffier, softer cinnamon rolls. Just make sure the oven is not too hot, as excessive heat can kill the yeast and hinder the rising process.

close up of flaky cinnamon rolls in a pan with icing.

FAQ about Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Why are my cinnamon rolls not light and fluffy?

If your cinnamon rolls aren't turning out light and fluffy, there could be several reasons related to the dough preparation, yeast activity, or baking process. Here are some common issues and how to address them:
Yeast Viability: If the yeast is old or improperly stored, it may not be active enough to cause the dough to rise properly. Ensure your yeast is fresh and has not expired. Also, make sure the liquid used to activate the yeast (like almond milk in your recipe) is warm but not too hot; temperatures above 120°F (49°C) can kill the yeast.
Dough Mixing: Undermixing can result in insufficient gluten development, which is necessary for trapping the gases produced by the yeast. Make sure to knead the dough thoroughly until it's smooth and elastic.
Proper Rising Time: Rushing the rising process or not allowing the dough to fully double in size during the first rise can affect the texture. Ensure the dough is placed in a warm, draft-free area and given enough time to rise properly.
Ingredient Measurements: Incorrect measurements of flour or liquid can throw off the dough's consistency. Too much flour can make the dough too stiff to rise well, while too little can result in a dough that can't hold its structure. Be precise with your measurements.
Overworking the Dough: Over-kneading or handling the dough too much after it has risen can cause the gas bubbles to deflate, leading to denser rolls.
Oven Temperature: Baking at the wrong temperature can affect how the rolls rise and set. If the oven is too hot, the outside may set before the inside has fully expanded, creating denser rolls. Conversely, if it's too low, the rolls might not expand sufficiently before setting.
By addressing these potential issues, you can help ensure your cinnamon rolls turn out light and fluffy every time.

What is kneading?

Kneading is a fundamental process in baking, especially when making breads and dough-based recipes like cinnamon rolls. It involves working the dough with your hands to develop the gluten, which are proteins in the flour. This development is crucial because it gives the dough its elastic and stretchy texture, which in turn helps it to rise and maintain its shape.
Here’s how you typically knead dough:
Press and Stretch: After mixing your dough ingredients, you turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using the heels of your hands, press down and forward, stretching the dough away from you.
Fold and Turn: Fold the stretched part of the dough back toward you, then give it a quarter turn.
Repeat: Continue this process of pressing, stretching, folding, and turning. As you knead, the dough should become less sticky and more smooth and elastic.
Kneading usually takes about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the recipe. This technique is essential for the dough to properly rise and for achieving the desired texture in the finished product.

Looking for other recipes like our dairy-free cinnamon rolls? Try these:

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Recipe

Dairy-Free Cinnamon Rolls

Pan of Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls overhead shot

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Explore our recipe for dairy-free cinnamon rolls, perfect for CKD diets with plant-based ingredients and easy steps.

  • Author: Mathea Ford, MBA, RDN, LD
  • Prep Time: 2 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Low Salt

Ingredients

Units Scale

Rolls

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • cup country crock plant butter with olive oil, softened
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 ¼ cups all purpose flour

 

Cinnamon Filling

  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup country crock plant butter with olive oil, softened
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

 

Dairy Free Icing

  • ½ cup country crock plant butter with olive oil, softened
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar

Instructions

1. Warm the almond milk gently to a temperature between 95-105'F.  [I microwaved it for 40 seconds] Pour the warm almond milk into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle in the yeast and just a dash of your measured sugar.  Whisk gently and lt it sit for 5-10 minutes.  It should become bubbly or foamy.  If it doesn't then your yeast is not active and shouldn't be used.

2. Add the remaining sugar, eggs, plant butter, salt and 2 cups flour.  Mix until combined.  (You can use dough hooks on a mixer if you like).  Add two more cups of flour and mix until combined.  

3. Bring the dough together with your hands, adding the rest of the flour as needed to create a dough that is a little bit sticky but still workable.  Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. 

4. Place the dough in a large bowl, lightly cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.  Dough should double in size.

5. While the dough is rising, make the cinnamon filling.

6. Place the brown sugar, plant butter, cinnamon and vanilla in a microwave safe mixing bowl and mix with a spoon or fork until combined.  Set aside until dough is ready.

7. Once dough rises, punch the dough down and let it sit for 5 minutes.  While it sits, grease a 9x13 inch pan and sprinkle a large, flat work surface with flour.

8.  Put the dough onto your workspace, and roll the dough out into roughly an 18-20 inch rectangle.  I start by pushing the dough into a rectangle with my hands then rolling it out with a rolling pin.  You want the dough to be relatively thin.  

9. Heat the cinnamon filling in the microwave for about 10 second.  Stir and spread evenly on your dough leaving about a 1 inch border on the far edge.

10.  Starting with the dough edge closest to you, roll the dough up as tightly as possible and press the end into the roll to seal it tightly.

11.  Press the ends of the log in a little bit to even out the rolls.  With a butter knife, make s slight indent into the middle of the roll.  Then do again on each side to make it into ¼ths and then divide each ¼ in half.  This should yield 12 rolls that are about 1 inch each.  After making the indentations, slice the roll.

12. Place the rolls into the greased baking dish.  Lightly cover and place the dish in a warm place.  Let it rise for 45 minutes or until almost doubled again.  

13.  Preheat oven to 350'F, and once heated, bake the rolls for 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center roll reaches about 180'F.  

14.  While the rolls bake, make the dairy free icing.

15.  In a mixing bowl, combine the plant butter and vanilla until creamy.  Add in the powdered sugar and blend in with mixer on low.  Add almond milk and mix in on low, then once combined turn the mixer up and beat until lightly whipped and thick consistency.

16.  Once you have removed the cinnamon rolls from the over, let them cool for 10 minutes.  Slather the entire pan of rolls with the icing while still warm.  If you want to store leftovers, keep the icing separate and spread when serving.

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