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Overnight Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls

September 9, 2021
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

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Wake up to the delightful aroma of Overnight Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls, blending the sweetness of apple with fragrant cinnamon, all wrapped up in pillowy dough. These rolls, prepped the night before, promise a hassle-free morning indulgence!

Overnight Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Get ready to dive into these heavenly Overnight Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls! They're a perfect blend of sweet apple goodness and that cozy cinnamon warmth, all wrapped up in the softest, fluffiest dough you can imagine. And let's not forget that silky maple glaze on top! And the best part? You prep them overnight, so when morning comes around, you're met with the most amazing aroma and the easiest, hassle-free baking--- Pure, freshly baked perfection! Completely Dairy-free + Egg-free. Gluten-free + Air-frying option!

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Roll on a small plate with a fork

If you're a loyal reader of Orchids + Sweet Tea, you're probably aware of my undying love for making Cinnamon Rolls. There's something about the process that's always fascinated me. I mean, rolling up just about anything in that fluffy, homemade dough turns it into pure deliciousness. That's why you'll find so many varieties of cinnamon rolls on my site! From the festive notes of my Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls to the unique twist of my Southern-Style Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls, and not forgetting these Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls that truly taste like a warm, sweet hug.

I have tried so many creative flavor combos, but they all came from my LOVE of the classic cinnamon roll recipe! 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 + egg-free!

After some trial and error, I have perfected the Overnight Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls. It turns out you don't have to be a professional baker to make sticky, gooey, frosted homemade pastries---All you need is this homemade cinnamon roll recipe. The results are incredibly light, airy, + fluffy, with a sticky-sweet maple glaze that's smeared on top for sweetness in every bite.

Since this dough is so soft and squishy, little hands are perfect for kneading and rolling. Your kids can also help with the maple frosting, which is super simple. You never know; you might have a future baker on your hands!

Jump to:
Uncooked Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls in a baking dish

Sweet Rolls or Cinnamon Buns?

No matter what you prefer to call them—cinnamon buns, cinnamon rolls, sweet rolls, or sticky buns—these irresistible treats have a special place in everyone's heart. It's hard to find someone who doesn't adore them! A cinnamon bun or sweet roll is a soft and sweet bread dough, often filled with a delightful cinnamon-based mixture. These delectable delights are commonly enjoyed during the holiday season. When baked, the filling creates a tantalizing swirl of pure deliciousness. If you're looking for an easy pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe, you've come to the right place!

Baking dish of Overnight Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls next to apples

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!

Ingredients

There are quite a few ingredients in these rolls, so check all of these items off of your grocery list!

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. To enrich the dough. (be sure that it's WARM, not hot!) I love using the brand Earth Balance
  • Milk. You can use any dairy-free milk you like I like to use Almond milk.
  • Flour. I use a combination of all-purpose and artesian bread flour from King Arthur.
  • Brown sugar. For the classic caramel flavor.
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg. Must-have cinnamon roll spices.

Apple Filling

While the dough rises, you can make the delicious cinnamon-apple filling with these three simple ingredients:

  • Vegan butter. Softened.
  • Cinnamon. Adds a warm and cozy vibe!
  • Brown sugar. For sweetness.
  • Apples. I use Gala apples, but any firm apple will work!

MAPLE GLAZE

  • Powdered sugar. Organic + sifted.
  • Vegan butter. Softened at room temp.
  • Maple syrup. Be sure to use pure maple syrup!
  • Vanilla extract.
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon.
  • Almond milk. (You can use your fave plant-based milk!)

SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR BAKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THESE CINNAMON ROLLS!

Here, I’ve curated a list of baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods, especially with these cinnamon rolls. Everything from my fave loaf pan, wooden spoons, parchment paper, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Baking pan of Overnight Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls next to apples and a spatula of maple glaze

Why You'll Love This Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls

OK, so if you’re still not entirely sold on these homemade apple sweet rolls, then let me tell you what’s so great about them.

  • They are SOFT, FLUFFY, + BRIOCHE-LIKE in texture
  • phenomenal make-ahead breakfast
  • Fun to eat! Pillow-y spirals of buttery dough filled with hypnotic swirls!
  • Mouthwatering, fluffy cinnamon + apple spiced goodness.
  • Freezes beautifully for convenience.
  • Perfect kid-friendly + lunchbox-friendly treat!
  • Warm, gooey, and utterly delightful.
Spatula stirring a bowl of maple glaze

Tips For Making The Perfect Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

Due to many delicious attempts at perfecting this vegan sweet rolls recipe, I have come across some very helpful tips that will ensure a perfectly baked cinnamon roll.

NEVER OVERHEAT THE MILK!

It is so important that your milk is warm but NOT hot! It should be warm to the touch. If you find that your milk has overheated, allow it to cool before adding the yeast. Milk that is too hot will kill the yeast, and you won't get the big, fluffy rise in the dough. We want these rolls super fluffy, and that's only possible when the yeast is bloomed properly.

USE VERY SOFT BUTTER AT ROOM TEMPERATURE

Like in most baking, room temperature ingredients mix better than cold ingredients. Beat in your butter while it is completely room temperature for a seamless, tender texture.

DO NOT WORRY ABOUT OVER-MIXING

I know it sounds weird, but hear me out. With cakes and cookies, you never want to overwork a dough because working develops the gluten in the flour. Gluten development leads to a chewy, unpleasant texture in cakes and cookies, making them dense and heavy. Because cinnamon rolls use a yeast dough, it is required to develop the gluten in the dough. The yeast brings elasticity that lightens and fluffs the dough, much like bread dough. When making these rolls, keep on mixing even after you think you've mixed enough!

RISE THE DOUGH OVERNIGHT

While I developed this recipe as a quick-bake cinnamon roll, more flavor develops in the dough if you allow it to rise overnight. The dough has more time to rise, leading to a more developed, yeast-bread flavor. This yeast flavor is a perfect pairing with the sweet filling and frosting.

USE A BREAD FLOUR MIX

After much trial and tribulation, I have found that a mix of bread flour and all-purpose flour is the perfect combination for cinnamon rolls. The bread flour gives a tender, thick, brioche-like texture that I think is perfect for this dish.

ROLL THEM UP TIGHT!

A loose roll will fall apart upon slicing and bake unevenly. Instead, begin with a very tight roll and keep that momentum throughout the roll. The dough is sturdy and can handle being rolled tightly due to its elasticity.

Butter knife of a baking dish of Overnight Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls

What Is The Best Way To Cut Cinnamon Rolls?

Ready to ditch the traditional knife and embrace a quirky method for cutting cinnamon rolls? It's time to bring out the dental floss. Yes, you read that right! Unflavored dental floss is the secret weapon for perfectly sliced cinnamon rolls.

Why? Because it slices from the inside out, avoiding any squishing mishaps that can happen with a regular knife. Simply run it along the bottom of the rolls, and cross the two ends over each other. Give it a pull, and voila! Your perfectly sliced cinnamon rolls are ready to bake. But if you're using a knife, remember to channel your inner lumberjack and saw gently back and forth without squishing the rolls.

Overnight Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls in a baking dish

How to Make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Overnight?

If you don’t want to make your Apple Cinnamon Rolls on the same day, you can simply follow all steps (including the initial 1+ hour rise) and after cutting rolls and placing them into your baking pan, just cover them tightly (using foil paper of plastic wrap) and refrigerate them overnight or for 8-12 hours instead. The following day, remove from refrigerator and keeping them covered, let cinnamon rolls rise at room temp 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Can I Make These Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls Without a Long Rise?

Absolutely! When it comes to this vegan sweet rolls recipe or any for that matter, you always have the option of making them the traditional way which requires a 1-2 hours initial rise and then another 20-25 minute rise before baking OR an overnight option.

However, if you're in a rush to make these or don't want to deal with a long rise time, you can simply create your dough and do a quick rise (20-25 minutes) and place them straight in the oven to bake. Either way, cinnamon rolls are AMAZING and worth whatever wait time you choose!

Why Add Organic Artisan Bread Flour?

As I've mentioned previously, I love adding Bob's Red Mill Organic Bread Flour to my cinnamon rolls as a secret ingredient because it creates such fluffy rolls.

This bread flour is made with premium high-protein flour milled from America's highest quality wheat. While using all-purpose flour can achieve soft cinnamon rolls, there's just something special about the rolls when this type of flour mixes in. I don't know how to explain it, but mixing in this bread type allows for the rolls to be thicker, airy, fluffy, soft, and just GOOD!

In general, this bread flour is perfect for baguettes, pizza crust, dinner rolls, no-knead breads, and more. However, I think that we can add cinnamon rolls to the list. Haha.

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Roll on two small, stacked plates

Can I Knead By Hand Instead Of Using A Mixer?

Absolutely! Usually, I make my cinnamon roll dough via my electric stand-mixer which has the appropriate attachments for the kneading process, however, with these cinnamon rolls, I have had the pleasure of doing this all by hand and it wasn't difficult. 
It just requires a bit more arm work, that's all! Plus, there’s nothing that a light drizzle of flour can’t help, right?! You'll basically follow all steps for making the dough in a large bowl and once it begins to come together and can form a ball, then you'll begin working the dough in a front-to-back and folding motion a few times until you begin to feel the dough "soften" and become elastic-like. It took me about 5-6 minutes or so total. Not bad!

Can I Air-Fry Cinnamon Rolls?

YES! Basically, you would preheat your air fryer as you would your oven---somewhere around 360 degrees or so. Prepare your air fryer basket with non-stick oil spray and then doing all of the steps in making the cinnamon rolls. Once rolls are created, you'll add each roll to the prepared basket, leaving a bit of space in between and cook them in the air fryer for 8 minutes to start. They should be full cooked through, but you can add additional minutes for an outside crisp of the rolls. Remove them and then frost them warm! Enjoy!

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Roll on two small, stacked plates

Vegan Apple Maple Cinnamon Rolls Q + A's

How to store vegan cinnamon rolls?

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.

Can I make these sweet rolls gluten-free?

Absolutely! 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. 

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.

WHY ARE MY CINNAMON ROLLS NOT FLUFFY?

The consistency of the dough is affected by a variety of factors, including the weather and humidity. The most common reason cinnamon rolls don't turn out fluffy is that the dough didn't have enough time to rise. You want a pan of puffy-looking buns even before baking

WHY ARE MY CINNAMON ROLLS RISING UNEVENLY WHEN I BAKE THEM?

During baking, the centers of the cinnamon rolls may appear whack-a-mole-style. This can happen if you roll them too tightly or if the pan is too small/crowded. It's happened to me several times don't worry it's fixable. Remove the pan from the oven and gently push the highly raised areas down with the back of a spoon it is an easy fix

WHY ARE MY CINNAMON ROLLS HARD?

Unfortunately, when cinnamon rolls come out too hard and/or dense, it means that the yeast wasn't activated properly, and the dough didn't rise like it should have. If the dough doesn't double in size before being rolled out, then this is an indication that the dough didn't rise adequately.

More Must-Try Fluffy Cinnamon Roll Recipes

If sweet treats are your weakness, you absolutely have to give these fluffy sweet rolls a try next!

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried this Overnight Vegan Apple Maple Cinnamon Rolls recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. And don't forget to tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram  and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea! I love hearing from you!

Butter knife of a baking dish of Overnight Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Overnight Vegan Apple Maple Cinnamon Rolls

September 9, 2021
5 from 6 votes
Get ready to dive into these heavenly Overnight Vegan Apple Cinnamon Rolls! They're a perfect blend of sweet apple goodness and that cozy cinnamon warmth, all wrapped up in the softest, fluffiest dough you can imagine. And let's not forget that silky maple glaze on top! And the best part? You prep them overnight, so when morning comes around, you're met with the most amazing aroma and the easiest, hassle-free baking--- Pure, freshly baked perfection! Completely Dairy-free + Egg-free. Gluten-free + Air-frying option!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 1 hour
Serves: 12 servings

Ingredients

DOUGH:

  • 3 cups organic All-purpose flour (See Notes!)
  • 2 cups Artisan Bread flour
  • 1 packet Rapid Rise Yeast (That's 2 ¼ tsps!)
  • ½ cup organic brown sugar + 1 Tbsp
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • teaspoon ground cloves
  • teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 ¼ cup Almond milk, room temp. (You can use your fave plant-based milk!)
  • ¼ cup WARM water (See Notes!)
  • 6 Tbsps vegan butter  (Make sure that it's WARM, not hot!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

APPLE FILLING:

  • 2 medium Gala apples, peeled + diced
  • ½ cup organic brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsps vegan butter, melted 
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

MAPLE GLAZE:

  • 4-5 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup vegan butter, softened at room temp.
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Almond milk (You can use your fave plant-based milk!)

Instructions

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).

BAKE TIME:

  • 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.
  • Bon Appetit!

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. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 109g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 2g | Sodium: 335mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 2mg

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    • Hi Sheila! Thanks so much! Absolutely----if you don't have an electric mixer, then you would need to mix and knead your dough by hand. This method would require that you knead with great strength and speed, but it's definitely possible! When adding in the flour initially, I recommend adding in about half to start while working in the wet ingredients. Then gradually add in the remaining flour until the ingredients come together in a dough. 🙂

  1. THESE!! I made them from my family and no one knew they were vegan! Incredibly delicious and fun to make too! Thank you!

  2. This was absolutely delicious and such a hit here! I made this for our dessert last night and everyone just loved it! I’ll definitely be making this lovely treat again!

  3. Love everything about this recipe! Delicious vegan cinnamon rolls with apple filling. Doesn't get any better than this. Will be perfect for the holidays. YUM!

    • Thanks so much, Karly! They really are amazing! The apple and streusel on top makes it SO MUCH BETTER! 🙂

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