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Yep, you read that right. Vegan CHERRY cinnamon rolls. As if vegan cinnamon rolls weren’t enough, I went and added my favorite summer fruit to the filling and rolled it all up into a sweet breakfast treat. YES, PLEASE!
So how do you make vegan cinnamon rolls? Really, there’s isn’t much to change (outside of using almond milk) and guess what? Yeast dough isn’t scary! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, baking with yeast doesn’t have to be hard. I think one of the biggest fears around using yeast in bread is that something will go wrong. It won’t rise, it will rise for too long, what if I kill the yeast, or what if the water is too hot?!
I’m going to tell you a secret right now. In all my years of baking, I’ve never measured the temperature of my water when using yeast. Yep, that’s right…NEVER. I am too lazy and/or impatient to take the temperature of my water when I’m baking, so why would I expect you to? Honestly, as long as the water isn’t scalding hot and feels kind of like bathwater, you are 100% good to go for baking.
One of the other fears around baking with yeast is, what if it doesn’t work? I will tell you right now that this DOES happen. I just had a pizza crust not work out the other day because my yeast either wasn’t fresh or it just didn’t want to activate that day. I remade the recipe, tried again, and voila, it worked! Sometimes your yeast is going to be finicky and that’s ok. I know it’s super frustrating at the time, but 90% of the time, it’s going to work (especially if you are using the good stuff) and your recipe will turn out just fine.
The other part of the time, it might not work. Not telling you this to scare you away from yeast bread, but just so you know that it DOES happen sometimes, just not all the time! To avoid this from happening, just make sure your yeast is fresh (you don’t have run out and get new yeast, just make sure it isn’t REALLY old) and don’t get your water too hot. I promise that the few extra minutes it takes to deal with yeast will make these homemade vegan cherry cinnamon rolls are totally worth it.
This cherry version of vegan cinnamon rolls is a riff on my favorite desserts that we get when we go up to Door County, Wisconsin every year. Everything is cherry filled, stuffed, and topped and I LOVE it! While I haven’t seen cherry cinnamon rolls around, I think they are a welcome addition to my arsenal of cherry recipes for the summer. I encourage you to make more icing than you think you will need. I don’t know about you, but one of my BIGGEST dislikes is cinnamon rolls without enough frosting. Noooo thank you! I would prefer them swimming in powdered sugar icing vs. having just a dab of frosting on the top.
FAQs about these cherry cinnamon rolls
Do I really have to let yeast dough rise twice?
YES. I know it seems like it takes WAY too long, but it’s well worth the extra hour or so for the second rise. I’ve tried to make cinnamon rolls and sticky buns without the second rise and they just don’t turn out the same way. Prep these the night before if you are baking them in the morning and let them rise while you are making dinner, doing dishes, etc. One thing I don’t recommend doing is making these at 10am while you have a house full of hangry people who just want to eat. This is not the time for that.
Does a longer rise time mean a fluffier yeast dough?
No! In fact, if you let your dough rise for too long, it will become overly risen, end up falling, and you will end up with a deflated, weird mess that tastes way too strongly of yeast. Trust me, I’ve let dough rise too long too many times and learned the hard way. 45 minutes to an hour is the perfect rise time for yeast dough, not too much more. If you want a dough to rise slower, let it rise in the refrigerator and it will take much longer than in a warm place. If you’re letting it rise in a warm place, more time does not equal a better dough.
Can I change the filling?
Yes! Cinnamon roll filling can be swapped out for tons of different things, so feel free to improvise. I would advise against anything too liquid in your filling, as it will leak out and maybe cause soggy cinnamon rolls while they are baking. (If you love cinnamon rolls as much as I do, I have a pecan sticky bun version and a banana almond version too!)
Can I make and freeze cinnamon rolls?
Yes. Prepare the cinnamon rolls through the second rise time and then cover them tightly with plastic wrap and tinfoil before freezing. When you’re ready to bake the cinnamon rolls, remove them from the freezer and let thaw in the fridge overnight, or on the kitchen counter for a few hours. Bake and serve!
Previous vegan cinnamon rolls on Heart of a BakerPrint
These vegan cherry cinnamon rolls are ultra fluffy and feature a tart cherry filling. Bake until golden brown and top with an easy powered sugar frosting.
For the dough:
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 package of Red Star Platinum Yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) or instant dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 cup fresh/frozen cherries, pitted and chopped
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the frosting:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the non-dairy milk, active dry yeast, and granulated sugar. Allow mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, to allow to yeast to activate. After the 5 minutes have passed, stir in the maple syrup, salt, and flours. The mixture may seem too sticky, but at this point I started kneading the dough in the bowl to get all the flour into the dough. You can also use your mixer with the dough hook to knead the dough as well. Knead for a minute, just working the dough enough to make it pliable. If the dough seems really sticky at this point, add a couple tablespoons of flour to make it easy to handle.
- Cover the bowl with a towel and allow to rise in a warm spot for at least an hour.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the filling by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Grease a round cake pan and set aside.
- After the dough has risen, lightly flour a flat surface and roll the dough out into a rectangle that is 14 inches long by 12 inches. The measurement doesn’t have to be exact, just as long as it’s around that shape.
- Spread the filling mixture onto the rolled out dough, spreading to just shy of the edges.
- Roll the dough up lengthwise (starting with the long edge facing you) into a big log. Slice into 1 1/2 inch pieces and place cut side up (like a cinnamon roll) into the pan.
- Cover with a towel and allow to rise again for an hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees while rolls are rising.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Allow the rolls to cool for 10 minutes. While the rolls are cooling, whisk together the frosting ingredients until smooth.
- Pour the frosting over the rolls and serve immediately.
- You can make these as plain cinnamon rolls too! Just leave out the cherries and increase the amount of cinnamon in the filling.
- The rolls can be stored covered for up to 2 days at room temperature.
- If you want prep these the night before and bake the morning of, make them up until the second rise, then pop them in the fridge and bake them in the morning.
Keywords: cherry cinnamon rolls, cinnamon roll recipe, vegan cinnamon rolls