Perfect Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

I adore this recipe.

When I went vegan a little over five years ago, I had a minor panic attack when I realized I’d never eat another Cinnabon again. I remember I used to ask my dad to bring them home from the airport for me when I was little, whenever he had a business trip. The fluffy swirls of dough, the sugary syrup, the cream cheese frosting… I needed to recreate them perfectly, vegan style. And let me tell you, these are a dead ringer for our mall and airport favorites.

Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese FrostingBut it comes at a price. If you’re looking for a healthy, low-fat, calorie conscious treat, I can’t help you today. If you’re looking for a recipe that is guaranteed to win over any vegan doubter, guaranteed to please any Cinnabon lover, guaranteed to send any child into a permanent sugar high; these buns are for you.

There is a lot of sugar and Earth Balance margarine in these. But hey, the recipe makes a ton of rolls, and it takes four hours to make, so they’re really special occasion buns. Embrace the cups (and cups) of sugar and fat, and you will definitely be rewarded with the most perfect cinnamon bun you’ve ever had. Isn’t it worth it, at least once?

I think so.

For those of you who haven’t yet overcome your apprehension about yeast breads, I encourage you to give these a try. I’ve included tons of photos and a video to clarify the process and give you an idea how the dough is supposed to look at every step. They might seem intimidating, but they’re easier than you think!

I think these would be an amazing way to wake up Mom on Sunday, paired with a nice hot cup of coffee. You can make these ahead of time, refrigerating over night before the second rise and popping them in the oven in the morning, or you can freeze them for later. More info on that at the end of the recipe.

Perfect Cinnamon Buns
Makes 12 Large Buns

Yeast Mixture
4 tsp Active Dry Yeast (a little less than 2 packets)
1 tsp Sugar
1 Cup Water, 110º F

1 Cup Soymilk
2/3 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Earth Balance Margarine
2 tsp Salt
2 Ener-g Egg Replacer Eggs, prepared, optional
Yeast Mixture, from above
6 Cups All Purpose Flour, more for kneading

Dough Filling
1/2 Cup Earth Balance Margarine, melted
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
3 Tbs Cinnamon

Pan Sauce
1/2 Cup Earth Balance Margarine, melted
1/3 Cup Sugar

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 Cup Earth Balance
1/3 Cup Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Powdered Sugar

Combine yeast mixture and set aside to proof.

From the dough ingredients, combine the soymilk, sugar, earth balance, salt, and ener-g eggs in a small sauce pan. Heat until earth balance is melted and all the ingredients are well combined, but do not let the mixture get too hot. You should be able to put a finger in it without burning yourself.

The yeast should now be nice and foamy (proofed). Combine it with the warmed liquid you just made; make sure it’s not too hot, or you will kill your yeast.

Proofed Yeast and Liquid Ingredients

Place 4 cups of all purpose flour in a large bowl. Add the warmed wet ingredients.

Mixing the Dough

Beat the batter well with a wooden spoon. The dough will be very wet and liquid, much more like a batter than a dough.

Mixing the Dough

Add 2 more cups of flour and mix in partially. It’ll look like a wreck. That’s fine! Turn out the dough onto a large table/kneading surface, scraping out everything in the bowl.


Begin kneading, gently at first. It’s going to take about 8 minutes to get the dough where it needs to be. Add more flour only if the dough starts sticking to the table and there is no more dry flour to be worked into the dough. You want the dough to end up smooth and elastic, and slightly tacky, but not sticky. You should be able to knead it on a bare table without it sticking.

Here is a video of the kneading and cutting process, so you can see the stages the dough goes through.

Cinnamon Buns

Once the dough is ready, place it in an oiled bowl, covered with oiled plastic wrap, to rise for 90 minutes in a warm spot. If you’re lacking a warm spot, turn your oven on low for 1 minute, then turn it off and place the dough in the oven to rise with the door closed. Remember to turn the oven off after one minute, and remember the dough is in there — no preheating for other things! (I’ve made that mistake more than once, it’s never good.)

Once the dough has risen completely, it’ll leave a little dent when you poke it. If it springs back, it needs more time.

Risen Dough

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and press it down (this is part is in the video above). You want it press or roll it out into a 15 x 20 inch rectangle. You can use a roller if you want, but it’s not necessary.

Pour the 1/2 cup of melted earth balance on the dough. Brush it so the dough is covered completely. It’s okay if it pools in some locations.

Mix together the cinnamon and sugar from the dough filling above. Sprinkle it evenly over the dough.

Cinnamon Sugar Filling

Prepare a large baking dish, like a lasagna dish, by pouring in the melted earth balance from the pan sauce ingredients above. Brush the sides of the pan so they are greased.

Melted Earth Balance

Add the sugar, spreading evenly over the bottom of pan. The pan is now ready for the buns.

The following steps are shown in detail in the video above: Roll the dough up gently, starting from one of the short sides. Let it rest on the seem once it’s rolled up completely. Cut 12 rolls with dental floss or sewing thread. Place the rolls in the pan. (Ignore the fact that they are practically floating in earth balance and sugar.)

Cinnamon Buns, pre-baked

Cover the buns and let rise for 45 minutes if you will be baking these immediately. If baking the next day, cover the buns and let rise in the refrigerator overnight. Bake in the morning with no need for more rising. If making the buns for a date in the future, cover the buns and freeze immediately. The day before you are ready to use them, defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then let warm up on the counter the next morning for an hour. In any case, when ready to bake, follow the directions below.

Preheat the oven to 350º F, remembering to remove the rising buns if they are in there!

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes.

Cinnamon Buns, baked

Stir together the frosting ingredients. It takes a bit of elbow grease to mix it together, but resist the urge to add liquid. It will come together, I promise. Whisk until there are no lumps.

Serve the buns warm with frosting. I like to microwave completely cooled buns for 45-60 seconds before eating.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting


  1. Jamie

    I made these for my mom, and they turned out perfectly. Thanks for posting this! I’ve never made stuff that needed kneading, and I was afraid to try it, but the pics and instructions really helped. Thanks!

  2. Brie

    I made these a few days ago and still can’t believe how perfect they turned out. Whenever I bake, something’s always just a LITTLE off, but I couldn’t find a single flaw.

  3. ballookey

    Woo hoo! I made these again today following your advice and let them rise just until it looked like enough and they came out perfect! They were a big hit with our vegan and non-vegan friends that came over to help eat them. Thanks for the help!

  4. Kip

    What an amazing and delicious treat we had after I made these! I’m in the UK so I had to use a different margarine (a sunflower oil based one) and I used fresh yeast instead of dried. Also a different brand of soya cream cheese.

    The best part? I halved the recipes and there’s still 4 more of these babies to go between just two people! Hey breakfast.

    Thanks :)

  5. Moleshiwe

    Made them without the Egg replacer and they turned out gr8. I neva thot I cud eva have these after I have become vegan.

    thank you

  6. tzyk

    i made those this Sunday for breakfast and my family told me they were better than the ones of the store hehe


  7. Sarena

    These look amazing! I just made a pan of cinnamon rolls the other morning and they were gone that evening! I will give these a try some time!

  8. Ruby's mom

    I too, as a vegan, craved cinnomon buns. Until now!!! I made these yesterday, and they are SO sweet, they make my teeth hurt. But ooohhhhhssssoooo good. Everyone deserves a treat. I killed my yeast, despite your warning, but they still came out ooey gooey and delicious. I got 16 buns out of the roll, so froze the 4 that would not fit in the pan to bake.

  9. molly

    I started these yesterday and cooked them today. soooo good! I feel like i need to go find a salad now to counter act the earth balance and sugar, but i’m too full to move :)

  10. Joe Snow

    I just made these and shared with a non vegan who LOVED them. thanks for making recipes that any vegan doubter would love.

  11. Kati

    I just have to tell you that I made these last weekend and they were incredible! Exceeded all of my expectations…and my expectations were high, so thank you! :D

  12. Seyda

    I made the cinnamon buns with instant fast rising yeast (it’s all I had in my fridge) and it worked. I just put 4 tsps of it into the dough and followed the recipe. To my surprise the texture was fine and the buns were delicious.

  13. rachey

    I made 2 batches of cinnamon rolls this week; one was betty crocker (veganized, natch) and the other was veganyumyum. No contest, these are the richest, most delicious, perfectly balanced cinnamon rolls of all time!!

    If you’re feeling scandalous, try subbing coconut oil for some of the earth balance. it’s about the tastiest thing you can do to an already mind-blowing recipe.

  14. Literate Vegan

    These look amazing!! I always look on enviously as my boyfriend scoffs cinnabon so I can’t wait to tryt his recipie and do some scoffing myself. Would the rolls, or even the dough, freeze well? If not there’s always the option of eating them all in one go….!

  15. lilizen

    Hello !
    discovering your universe : i love everything, so much talent you’ve got.
    Was a real pleasure to”surf” on your planet, will coming soon!

  16. Sabrina

    These look amazing! I’m salivating just looking at the picture! I cant wait to make these! and I can’t wait for your cook book to come out! I will definitely be purchasing it!

  17. Carrie

    I made these over the weekend and found them to be very easy… time consuming, but easy. However, I let my buns rise in the pan for 45 minutes at room temperature and the dough still came out very dense, and almost hard. Perhaps leaving them in the fridge overnight would alleviate that problem, so they have plenty of time to rise. They were perfect otherwise! Great icing too (could get enough of it)!

  18. Chrissy

    I tried this recipe today after salivating over it for a couple weeks. I was a bit intimidated because I’ve never baked with yeast before, but the results were AMAZING. They rose perfectly and ended up nice and fluffy. They are adorable, delicious, and the frosting was out of this world. Every bit as good as Cinnabon and totally cruelty-free! Thank you!!!

  19. Jessica

    I made these today and although they took a long time they were worth it. They are better than non vegan cinnabuns. My family loved them and they told me I should be a vegan baker haha. Funny thing is this is probably the biggest thing I have ever baked. I don’t cook normally i prepare.

  20. Allie

    Tomorrow is my dad’s birthday, so I decided to make these for him. They’re in the fridge right now, waiting to be baked tomorrow morning. I can’t wait! Thank you so much!

  21. Liz

    I made these today. They were absolutely amazing! Four vegans and three non-vegans ate them and we all loved them! Definitely worth the time and effort.

  22. Elle

    I’ve definitely been craving these since we went vegan. And it was only in April of this year, but we’re loving how great we feel!

    I have to make these, there’s no question in my mind!

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  24. Sasha

    So I just finished making these and…i thought they were kinda yucky (completely due to user error!! I am sure because I am an awful baker, I can make anything gross!!!). I used whole wheat flour and omitted the egg replacer and the cinnamon rolls came out crumbly and kinda sour. Despite those two deviations I followed the recipe exactly. Any suggestions? I am making these again in a few weeks and any help is much appreciated!!!

  25. Sara

    Sasha, I’m relatively sure it’s the whole wheat flour. It would ruin a recipe like this. Whole wheat pastry flour may be okay, though.

    I am just DYING to find an excuse to make these. Next time my family all comes ’round, these will be in the oven.

  26. Tate

    Long-time lurker, first-time commenter, but holy moly, these rolls are good!

    I brought them to a omnivorous potluck and several people said that they were the best cinnamon rolls that they’ve ever had. Once I told them that they were vegan, they were completely stunned.

    Like a Cinnabon, they are very decadent; unlike a Cinnabon, they’re not overly gooey, raw in the middle, filled with processed chemical sludge, and you don’t have to go next to a Claire’s Accessories to get one (this could be a plus or minus, depending on your feelings about hoop earrings). In other words, they really are perfect!

    One modification I made was to the filling. I cut the melted EB down to 1/4 cup and slathered some pumpkin butter across the dough. I also cut the cinnamon and added some ground ginger and nutmeg to make them more “autumnal”. I was a little suspicious of the pan sauce, but after seeing the results, I’m a believer!

    Thanks so much for this delicious recipe – I plan on making it any time I have 4 hours to kill.

  27. Helen

    O M G these are deeeelicious.
    mine look just like yours, perfect.
    I MADE 2 CHANGES; i used dark brown sugar in the filling, less sweet tasting, and I made my glaze with chobani vanille greek yogurt, butter and powdered sugar, nice and creamy too.
    thanks for the great recipe, pix and video

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  30. YukonVegan

    I made these recently, during a long-term stay at a hotel for work. We had a kitchenette, and a bulk food store nearby, so I thought heck, why not! I cannot express how AWESOME these were. Certainly a dieters nightmare, lol, but worth an extra couple hours at the gym, anyday. INCREDIBLE EDIBLE! I served them to coworkers that evening, and no one would accept that they were vegan, lol. What, are we supposed to eat raw lettuce? Hella no, we eat fatty-assed cinnamon buns too, biatches! lol
    Thanks so much; Im on your site every day.

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  32. Twinkle Ann S.

    Oh my GOODNESS! I found this recipe the night before Thanksgiving this year (2009) and woke the next morning with an overwhelming urge to try my hand at these… I’ve made cinnamon rolls/buns before but they never seemed to come out right… THIS recipe however, came out PERFECT! Moist, delicious and NEVER enough! :) Bravo! My new favorite recipe! :) Thinking of whipping up a batch or two with my Fiance’ right now! :) THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

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