Cinnamon Rolls

by nomeatbarefeet


I get cravings. Not often, but every once in awhile. Recently it was for cinnamon rolls. However, making dough from scratch has not been my strength. Yeast is finicky, but I really wanted cinnamon rolls. Katie and I tried this on a Sunday morning, and since it turned out so well my sister and mom decided to have us make them for Christmas. They turned out even better.

Completely. Worth. The effort.

This recipe comes from The Minimalist Baker (slightly adapted), so all credit to John and Dana for making this simple sweet breakfast treat.



  • 1 packet instant yeast (we used the “highly active” packet)
  • 1 C. unsweetened alt-milk
  • 1/2 C. Earth balance, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 C. all purpose flour (we used white whole wheat)
  • Lots of Cinnamon (I mean this. Use lots.)
  • 1/4-3/4 C. + 1 Tbsp sugar, divided


  • 1/8 C. of alt-milk
  • powdered sugar (added until the desired consistency is reached)

The How To

  1. In a large sauce pan heat the alt-milk and 3 Tbsp Earth Balance until warm and melted, making sure that it does not reach boiling. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let cool to 110 degrees, or the temperature of bath water. It should be warm but not too hot or it will kill the yeast.*
  2. Once the mixture has reached 110 degrees sprinkle on yeast. Let activate for 10 minutes, then add 1 Tbsp sugar and the salt and stir.*
  3. Next add in flour 1/2 C. at a time, stirring as you go. The dough will be sticky. When it is too thick to stir, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or so until it forms a loose ball. Rinse your mixing bowl out, coat it with oil, and add your dough ball back in. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until roughly doubled in size.**
  4. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a rectangle. Brush with 3 Tbsp melted Earth Balance and top with sugar and cinnamon until you think you have added too much…then add just a bit more. (Believe me: you don’t want to skimp here!)
  5. Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough and situate seam side down. Then with a serrated knife or a string of floss, cut the dough into 1.5 – 2 inch sections and position in a greased 8×8 square or comparable sized round pan (you should have about 10 rolls). Brush the tops of the rolls with remaining 2 Tbsp Earth Balance (melted) and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for the second rise, either over night or on top of the oven for while you preheat oven to 350 degrees.***
  6. Once the oven is hot, bake rolls for 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes and then serve immediately.
  7. Top with a simple alt-milk and powdered sugar frosting.
  8. Frosting: add about 1/8 C. of alt-milk to a small mixing bowl and then slowly whisk in powdered sugar until you reach the consistency you want. Start with more milk if you would like, you just don’t want it to be too thin.

*Be careful that when you transfer the alt-milk/Earth Balance mixture to the mixing bowl that the temperature does not drop too much. We learned this the hard way. To alleviate this worry we decided to simply let the mixture cool in the mixing bowl.

**Letting the dough rise is obviously key. You really want to let this first rise go for at least an hour, placing the dough in a warm spot (maybe atop the stove).

***We found the secret to the rolls getting big was making the rolls the night before and let the dough rise overnight in the pan you will cook them in. Obviously you might not have the time to do this, so at the very least give the rolls a decent amount of time for the second rise.

This recipe is very easy and super delicious. The first time we made them the rolls we didn’t give them long enough for the second rise. We fixed this for the batch we made on Christmas day, but we didn’t use nearly enough sugar and cinnamon. Oh well. Fiddle around and experiment to find the right ratio. No matter what you do these will be a crowd pleaser!