Vegan Cinnamon Rolls Good Enough to Pay People With

January 17, 2017


We decided against getting trash pick up service when me moved in June; we live pretty close to a transfer station now and figured it would be convenient, and also we that it would be a good way to commit to a lower waste lifestyle. The latter has proved to be true, we don’t make a lot of trash. We do however keep missing the odd hours of the transfer station, and as of today we hadn’t gone in over a month. In a stroke of genius, I texted a nearby friend with a giant pick up truck and a contracting business, asking if he would be willing to barter a loaf of fresh bread or a pan of cinnamon rolls for trash pick up. I got an enthusiastic yes, and started working on the dough for the rolls.

I have been making variations of these for a few months, and they are not as difficult to make as you might think cinnamon rolls would be. These rolls can be vegan or not, but the vegan option is no less delicious, and the more budget friendly option if you’re using high quality ingredients.


I use my Instant Pot on the Yogurt setting to rise or “proof” the dough in because it’s a nice steady 90F degrees, but you could use a dehydrator set to 90 or turn your oven to 350F for five minutes and then shut it off, and in either case cover your bowl of dough with a damp cloth while it rises. The oven method may take slightly longer, just be sure the dough doubles in size. This recipe fills two 8″ round pans (this is the best option, pan for you and a pan for someone else!), or one 9×11″ pan.

  • 3 cups unbleached white flour

  • 1 cup dairy, almond, or coconut milk (the drinking kind not the one from the can)

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbls flax meal soaked in 3 tbls water) or one egg

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

  • 1.5 tablespoons instant yeast, I really like Saf brand yeast

Mix all these ingredients together, and knead by hand for 10 minutes, or use a stand mixer if you’re fancy like that. The dough should be springy and cohesive and if you poke it the poke spot should bounce back easily. Let the dough rise using one of the methods above for 90 minutes, or until it at least doubles in size. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface, or, as I prefer for less mess, a non stick baking sheet, and gently flatten as if you were making a rectangular pizza.  Then mix together:

  • 3 tbls molasses

  • 1 tbls cinnamon

  • 2 tbls granulated sugar

  • 2 tbls melted coconut oil

Spread this mixture evenly across the surface of the dough. If you like raisins, sprinkle some over the whole thing. You could even add some small walnut or pecan pieces if you wanted to get fancy. Now slowly roll the dough lengthwise to create a long log. Then you are going to cut the log into rolls. You’re going to use dental floss. Stay with me here. Here’s a really great video on how to do this.  This is the secret to perfect looking rolls! Thanks internet. Place each roll in your pan, leaving room for them to each double in size again. Let your oven preheat to 350F for two minutes and then turn it off. It obviously won’t get to 350F in that time, but it will get warm enough for the dough to rise a second time. Cover the pan with a damp cloth, and set the rolls in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the rolls are plumply filling the pan. Take the rolls out of the oven, place on top of the stove to keep them a little warm, and preheat your oven to 350F for real this time. Remove the damp cloth if you haven’t already, and bake the rolls for about 15 minutes, or until golden on top. Serve warm! You can warm them back up with a damp cloth over the top in the oven for 5 minutes or so.


I hope you love these as much as I do, and that so you your friends so that you can pay them in cinnamon rolls too. If you try any variations I would love to hear them, especially gluten free or with less sugar.




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Hey, I'm Jillian, and I'm creating an extraordinary life on an ordinary budget. 

I'm just an actual person, trying to make sh*t work. I'm doing pretty okay at it.  About Me.

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Hey Jillian features articles on self-care and mental health, budget beauty, parenting, recipes and meal planning, DIY home improvement projects, and product reviews relevant to people who are interested in those things. xoxo Jillian
Jillian Kirby | Burlington, Vermont | Email me at