These Overnight Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls are loaded with sweet apple flavor and topped with a velvety maple glaze and toasted pecans. Plus this recipe is completely dairy-free and egg-free!
There's nothing like the first few days of September to put you in the mood for cinnamon apple flavors. Whether it's a hot bowl of Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal before the first day of school or Vegan Baked Cinnamon Caramel Apples after dinner on a cool fall night, you can't go wrong with these classic flavors.
And this cinnamon roll recipe unites them in a totally over-the-top delicious way. It's hard to believe these fluffy, sweet pastries are dairy-free and egg-free!
How to Make Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Start by making the cinnamon roll dough. It needs to rise overnight in the fridge. The next day, make the filling and assemble and bake your rolls. Finally, add the maple glaze and dig in!
Vegan Cinnamon Roll Dough
Here's what you need for the dairy-free and egg-free dough:
Yeast. After combining the yeast with sugar and warm water, it needs about10 minutes to fully activate. It will be bubbly and frothy when it's ready. If your yeast doesn't activate, it may be too old.
Sugar. This feeds the yeast. Use organic sugar to make sure it's vegan.
Vegan butter. I use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks.
Milk. You can use any dairy-free milk you like.
Flour. I use a combination of all-purpose and bread flour from King Arthur.
Brownsugar. For the classic caramel flavor.
Cinnamon and nutmeg. Must-have cinnamon roll spices.
Apple Filling for Cinnamon Rolls
While the dough rises, you can make the delicious cinnamon-apple filling with these three simple ingredients:
Apples. I use Gala apples, but any firm apple will work!
Glaze and Garnish
I like to glaze the apple cinnamon rolls with a simple vegan maple icing. Just make sure the rolls are cool before glazing, as it can melt easily.
For crunch on top, sprinkle some toasted pecans!
Tips for Making The Best Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
I've made plenty of cinnamon roll recipes before, and these are my top tips to make sure your rolls come out perfectly:
Don't overheat the milk
This one is imperative. Make sure your milk is warm to the touch, but not hot. If you heat it a bit too much, let the milk cool until it feels warm. This ensures that you don’t kill the yeast and your dough rises well.
Use room temperature butter
This is the ultimate secret to tender cinnamon rolls. Much like with other cakes and doughs, room temperature butter creates a supple, soft and smooth texture.
Mix the dough well
Unlike some baking recipes like muffins and cakes, you actually want to mix (or knead) your cinnamon roll dough well. This activates the gluten so the dough becomes extremely elastic. The gluten then creates structure in your dough so it holds its fluffy shape well after rising.
Overnight cinnamon rolls are best
Rising your dough overnight in the refrigerator is the way to get the best flavor and texture. This slow rise allows the yeast to completely ferment the sugar for great flavor and a lot more fluffiness.
Use bread flour
One of my latest discoveries was the use of bread flour in my cinnamon rolls. Before, I would use only all-purpose flour. However, after a little experimenting, I’ve learned that bread flour creates a beautiful texture—tender, thick, and even more fluffy, almost ‘brioche’ like. Bread flour has a higher gluten, or protein, content.
Roll the cinnamon rolls tight
Rolling your dough into a tight spiral creates a nice structure. It also allows you to cut the dough more evenly, which helps things bake evenly. When rolling, always start the initial first roll really tight to keep the same momentum throughout.
There you have it. My tried and true hacks for amazing cinnamon rolls!
These Overnight Vegan Apple Maple Cinnamon Rolls are not your traditional cinnamon rolls at all. These rolls come loaded with deep apple flavor and topped with a velvety maple glaze and sprinkles of toasted pecans. Every bite will have you feeling like you're eating a warm slice of Grandma's apple pie.
1 ¼cupAlmond milk, room temp.(You can use your fave plant-based milk!)
¼cupWARM water(See Notes!)
6Tbspsvegan butter (Make sure that it's WARM, not hot!)
2mediumGala apples, peeled + diced
½cuporganic brown sugar
3Tbspsvegan butter, melted
4-5cupsorganic powdered sugar, sifted
¼cupvegan butter, softened at room temp.
¼cuppure maple syrup
Pinch ofground cinnamon
1tablespoonAlmond milk(You can use your fave plant-based milk!)
FOR THE DOUGH:
Combine yeast and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and slowly pour in warm water while stirring frequently. Allow 10 minutes for the mixture to sit and for the yeast to activate.
Add in the room temperature milk and warm butter to the yeast mixture and whisk until well combined. Add in the vanilla and whisk to incorporate.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, bread flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cardamom, and sea salt and add them to the wet ingredients and mix on low-speed until well combined and everything begins to form into a dough-like consistency, about 2-3 minutes.
Change “Mixer head” to kneading accessory and knead dough for 5-10 minutes on high speed until dough ball becomes smooth and elastic and dough springs back when lightly pressed together with 2 fingers. NOTE: If dough is still too sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until texture is achieved!
Lightly grease a large bowl with a small amount of olive oil and place the dough ball in the bowl, tossing it around until coated. Cover with plastic wrap (or a towel) and let sit for 1 hour, allowing the dough to rise and double in size.
In the meantime, you can work on the filling!
FOR THE APPLE FILLING:
Melt the butter in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the cinnamon and brown sugar, mixing them together. In a separate bowl, add the diced apples. Set aside.
Once the dough has risen fully, line a large 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang from the sides.
Add a bit of flour to a surface and place the dough onto it, lightly adding a bit of flour to the top. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough into a rectangular shape (approximately 9″x14 and ½-inch thick), trimming the edges if needed. NOTE: Try not to make the dough too thin or else rolling it up will be hard to do!
Then, generously brush melted butter (leaving aside 1 Tbsp) atop dough, followed by the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture, ensuring that the top is coated evenly. NOTE: I also use a 'pastry brush' to sweep sugar mixture evenly across the dough to ensure that every bite is sweet!
Add the diced apples atop the dough evenly.
Tightly roll dough (long-ways) and using a pastry cutter, cut dough into 1.5" rolls, placing each roll (cut side down) into a large baking dish (lined with parchment paper!).
Then place plastic wrap (and foil for security) over the baking dish with rolls and place your prepped rolls in the refrigerator to chill overnight (minimum of 8 hours).
Once they've been chilled overnight, remove rolls from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature + rise for 1-2 hours. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and brush the tops of the rolls with a little more of the apple butter-melted butter mixture and then bake them for approximately 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven.
While all the baking magic is happening, make the Maple Glaze.
FOR MAPLE GLAZE:
In a large bowl, beat (using a hand-mixer) the softened vegan butter until creamy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk, beating everything together until the glaze becomes smooth and velvety. NOTE: Add additional milk (1 tablespoon at a time) if the glaze is too thick or powdered sugar (1 tablespoon at a time) if too thin.
Remove the rolls from oven and wait 25-30 minutes or until it completely cools, before spreading the frosting/glaze atop the rolls using a rubber spatula evenly until fully covered.
To serve, cut out each roll desired and enjoy.
Tips & Tricks
TO STORE: Cinnamon Rolls can be kept fresh at room temperature when tightly wrapped or sealed for up to 3 days. Fresh for up to 1 week in the Refrigerator. Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2 months.
RAPID (INSTANT) RISE YEAST VS. ACTIVE DRY YEAST: If you’re not using the Rapid Rise Yeast for this recipe, please know that the rise time will be twice as long (about 3 hours) since regular Active Yeast doesn’t work as quickly.
FLOUR: If you don’t have bread flour, you can always just use all-purpose flour entirely instead.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: If you're looking to make these GF, I recommend substituting both flours with Bob's 1:1 Baking flour and slightly reducing the amount by 1 cup, slowing adding more if the dough is too sticky.