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Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Stuffed Raspberry Cinnamon Rolls: they have less than HALF the calories of Cinnabon!

Currently without heat, hot water, and electricity (we caught Texas’s ice storm… thanks, Texas), these raspberry homemade cinnamon rolls sound seriously amazing to me right now.

The recipe comes from an incredibly-talented photographer and writer standing in while I wait for the internet to come back and remind myself never again to take hot showers for granted.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

Whole Grain Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Healthy Cinnamon Rolls

Please welcome Katie, of the blog Veggie and the Beast:

Perhaps it’s just me, but the change in seasons always gives me this wave of excitement and empowerment. I start thinking about the possibilities of what could happen, and what the next chapter of the year might bring. The beginning of last summer brought with it an intense, hard-hitting craving for life change. I wanted a challenge. I wanted to shake things up.

I debated getting a puppy, but the reality of living on the 14th floor of a building with no nearby park made me come to my senses. Then I thought perhaps I should move, buy a house, take on those adult milestones that really affirm you are indeed all grown up. After assessing my ridiculously cushy and laughably-affordable living situation, I had to go back to the brainstorming board.
The result of that brainstorming, oddly enough, was to adopt a vegan diet for one month. As someone who’s eaten a vegetarian diet for over 20 years, and cooks and bakes vegan food regularly, I didn’t expect that taking the vegan plunge would be that difficult. I looked forward to challenging myself to put a vegan spin to my favorite foods.

As is the case with most challenges, this mini life change wasn’t entirely smooth. There were instances when I wanted cheese, white chocolate, and baked goods made with butter and eggs, but the morning when I baked these raspberry homemade cinnamon rolls made me forget all those lacto-ovo cravings. These rolls were the high point of my vegan challenge….and perhaps the best breakfast I’ve had all year.

The whole wheat pastry flour in the dough gives these homemade cinnamon rolls a boost in fiber and health, without the heavy texture of regular whole wheat flour. Since pastry flour has a fine consistency, the dough is very soft, and slightly more difficult to roll than regular sweet roll dough. Fortunately, the dough is also very forgiving in its shape, so you can easily reshape any rolls that get a little funky in the rolling/cutting process.

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

The resulting homemade cinnamon rolls are flaky, buttery (tasting), and perfectly sweet with a touch of tart raspberry and warm brown sugar and cinnamon. They’re the kind of rolls you can bring to a get together and no one will suspect that they’re vegan. They’re also the kind of rolls you may not want to bring to a get together, because you want to save them all for yourself.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Sweet Roll Dough

  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp full-fat buttery spread (such as Earth Balance)
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) package Rapid Rise or Instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water

Raspberry Cinnamon Filling

  • 10 ounces frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch


  • 2-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar or Sugar-Free Powdered Sugar (depending on desired consistency)
  • 3-4 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract


  1. Heat the almond milk in a small saucepan over medium heat just until it starts to bubble on top. Remove from heat and whisk in ¼ cup of the buttery spread until melted (it will melt quicker if you cut it into chunks). Set aside and let cool to a lukewarm temperature while you get the dry ingredients together
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, yeast, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder. Beat in the vanilla, flax egg, and the lukewarm milk/buttery spread mixture.
  3. Add the all-purpose flour in two waves, stirring well with a wooden spoon after each addition. Once you have a loose dough, either use a knead hook in your mixer for about 3 minutes, or knead on a lightly-floured surface until smooth (about 5 minutes). This sounds gross, but you want the the dough to feel just a bit softer than your ear lobe when you pinch it (I know, what?).
  4. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest for 25-30 minutes, until it holds its shape when poked.
  5. While the dough is resting, heat the raspberry, brown sugar, water and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and stir for 6-7 minutes (It will thicken in this time). Set aside to cool*.
  6. Use a rolling pin to create a 16×12 inch rectangle with the dough. Lightly brush the dough with the remaining melted buttery spread, then spoon the raspberry mixture evenly over the entire dough. Carefully roll up the dough. Some of the raspberry mixture will be squeezed out, but that’s okay. Pinch the seam to seal. Cut off the end pieces, as it seems unfair that someone would get stuck with the runt of the bunch. Cut the remaining dough into 8-9 rolls (depending on how big you want them). I used a cheese knife to cut mine, as the dough is quite soft**. Place cut-side-up in a greased 9-inch cake or pie pan, cover with a damp towel, and let rise for another 30-minutes. Set the oven to preheat to 375.
  7. After the dough has risen, put the rolls in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown on top.
  8. While the rolls are baking, mix almond milk and vanilla into the powdered sugar. You can adjust the levels to get the consistency you want.
  9. Drizzle the icing on top of the warm rolls. Best served warm! If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, check out the other recipes on Katie’s site.

Notes:  I did not strain the raspberry sauce, because I knew the seeds wouldn’t bother me. I honestly barely noticed them, but if you think they will bother you go ahead and strain the sauce.
Don’t be afraid that the dough is soft; Some of the rolls may feel like they’re falling apart as you’re cutting and transferring them to the pan, but you can easily shape them back into a circle if they get a little misshapen. I had to do that, and mine still ended up pretty.

View Nutrition Facts

Raspberry Cinnamon Rolls

Question of the Day:

What would be your dream cinnamon roll flavor?

I’ve made plain cinnamon rolls and Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, but next up I’m hoping to create a recipe for Tiramisu Cinnamon Rolls: coffee-based rolls that are stuffed with cream cheese filling.

Published on December 10, 2013

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
featured on The 
Today Show, CNN, 
Fox, The 
Huffington Post, and 
ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

Learn more about Katie

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  1. Mari M says

    If I were to make these gluten free, how would I go about that, any suggestions?

    LOVE your website, keep the wonderful recipes coming.. cant wait to be home for Christmas break and make everything!

  2. becauseHeloves! says

    Yum! And yes to the tiramisu recipe! That’d be amazing for Christmas morning.
    Hope you get electricity and power and heat again!

  3. Lisa says

    Wow these look amazing!
    I’m always so intimidated by cinnamon rolls, but these do look quite delicious I may need to try them out.

  4. Pipsa says

    I almost fell off my chair – do Cinnabons really have 1700 calories each??? I’m European so never tasted them, but nothing can taste worth almost the whole day allowance of calories… Just shocking.

    However, these look yummy! So beautiful and love the pink color… Thanks for introducing a new interesting blog!

  5. 58Teresa says

    I found an online recipe for cranberry/orange cinnamon rolls with an orange drizzle icing – they had put some of the grated peel in the dough and some in with the finely chopped cranberries for the filling – just mmmm for the holidays. (and the apartment smelled of Christmas too!)

  6. Bethy says

    I love the photos! makes me want one…. right……NOW!
    I have a recipe challenge for you: flour less chocolate cake. You know, that super rich chocolate cake that tastes amazing but has like 300 something calories per tiny slice? I’m sure you could healthify it (they have to add that word to the dictionary)! Just an idea. Let me know what you think!

  7. megan says

    my son and i are so excited for these!! we used to love raspberry cinnamon rolls that a local bakery used to make but now does not so we are so excited to try these!!

  8. Nicole says

    Hi Katie!
    I’m a big fan of your healthy desserts! 🙂 in fact I’m just looking for some ice cream recipes with almond milk – awesome because I’m lactose intolerant. Anyway, I just wanted to make a request – my absolute favourite dessert/sweet food is Hedgehog slice… Have you ever had this? It’s choclatey/biscuity heaven, I’ve been trying to come up with a healthier version a la ‘Katie style” 🙂 but haven’t had much success 🙁 would loooove to see you do a version on here.

    I can’t wait to buy your cookbook next year 😀 have a great Christmas and New Years

  9. Lucy says

    I need to make these! For my birthday my mum made the best raspberry cake ever and i think that these would certainly be better.
    Just wanted to say that I absolutely what you are doing. I am only a teenager but recently gave up meat at the age of 12 and since then have been feeling so much healthier. I started to read your blog around that time and have been dying to try these recipes! I am absolutely admirable for vegans; I still eat gelatin and fish so am a way off. ♥

  10. Rachel says

    I made these today, and they were very tasty! The next time I make them, however, I’ll probably make a few changes:
    1. The raspberry filling was pretty loose, even after cooling completely before spreading on the dough. I will probably add another teaspoon of cornstarch or just reduce the water. A lot of filling fell out during the rolling process, which meant bites without much filling are pretty bland. I ended up spooning some of it on top of some of the rolls before baking.
    2. Bump up the cinnamon to two teaspoons. Could barely taste it. Reduce sugar in filling to 2-3 tablespoons. The dough is plenty sweet, as is the icing.
    3. I cut them (by scooching a piece of thread under the roll and “tieing”) into eight pieces. I will probably do closer to 10 because they rose a lot in the oven.

  11. Laura says

    These look amazing! Your recipes always work out perfectly for me. I’m curious though, would it work if I made the dough the day before and let it rise overnight, then filled and baked them in the morning? I’d love to make them for Christmas but it seems like a lot of steps to wait for breakfast! I can’t interfere with the ‘turkey process’ either. Any info would be helpful 🙂

  12. Megan @ Monroe Makeshift says

    Made this for breakfast this morning – it was awesome! We substituted cranberries for raspberries to make it a little more festive. 🙂 I probably could have eaten them all they were so good! I’d like to make these every Christmas morning, but they’re a little time consuming. Is there any way to premake them and bake them the day of?

  13. Alice Steele says

    I made these for Christmas – delicious! I used real butter – we’re not vegan – and I used regular whole wheat flour instead of pastry flour – a little denser dough but still tasty. The sauce was a bit thin so I think I’ll reduce the amount of water and/or add some more cornstarch and probably some more cinnamon next time!

    A few people have asked about night before – I rolled up the rolls, let them rise, covered and refrigerated over night, then brought them to room temp and cooked them the next morning and they were delicious!

  14. Jacquie says

    These look delicious, but I get horrible migraines when I eat gluten. Has anyone had success making these without gluten? Any tips? I haven’t had a cinnamon roll in over 2 years!!

    • AnnaBananaBelle says

      I did see someone had success with a gluten-free all purpose flour in the pumpkin cinnamon rolls. If u wanted to try gluten free that’s what I would do. I am going to try them soon so I will report back.

  15. AnnaBananaBelle says

    I really want to try this but i would need to substitute some things. Do u think I could use coconut oil instead of butter? I was thinking of doing gluten-free all-purpose flour also but i’m not sure what to do for the cornstarch. Would arrowroot work? Suggestions much appreciated!

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