Like I said, not *exactly* healthy enough to eat daily, but definitely a healthy treat and oh-so-much better than the original.  I wanted a Cinnamon Roll to taste like a Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll, and be gluten free.  You know, the gooey-ness and sweet cream cheese icing. This recipe isn’t exactly the quickest as the dough needs to rise, but trust me, its worth the wait! Adapted from a recipe I found on  This recipe could also be made dairy-free if you replace the butter with Earth Balance (non-dairy margarine) and cream cheese with Tofutti (soy based cream cheese that tastes identical to cream cheese)


2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used Silk True Almond) *or use milk of choice
1 Tbsp yeast
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp raw sugar (like palm sugar, cane sugar or sucanat)
3 packets stevia
1 egg
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp cornstarch (could also use arrowroot powder)
3/4 cup oat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsps xanthan gum *see Note
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt


1/3 cup sucanat
1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter, softened

Cream Cheese Icing







1 Tbsp butter, softened
2 Tbsp low fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

* Note: Xanthan gum can be found at health food stores or the natural section of your grocery store.  It helps bind gluten-free dough, so I wouldn’t omit it.  I’m not sure how the dough would turn out if you didn’t use it.


1. Dissolve the yeast in a large mixing bowl with warmed milk. Let bubble for a few minutes

2. Add butter, sugar, stevia, applesauce and vanilla to yeast/milk mixture. Stir to combine. Add egg and whisk with fork.

3. Add together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl (corn starch, oat flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt. Mix to combine.

4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet, stirring until well combined.  The dough will appear sticky and wet, but if its too sticky to come together, add additional cornstarch (2 tsp to 1 Tbsp)

5. Remove dough from bowl and place in a greased bowl (sprayed with cooking spray or lightly brushed with butter). Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 45-50 minutes. It will still look sticky when done, this is normal.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

7. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick square shape between 2 pieces of well floured parchment paper (cornstarch works best).

8. Remove the top sheet of parchment and add filling. Spread softened butter on dough.  Combine sucanat and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough

9. Using the bottom of the parchment paper as a guide, roll the dough into a log.

10. Carefully cut the dough into 8 equal pieces using a serrated knife. Place rolls into a pie pan or other oven-proof dish sprayed with cooking spray. Leave a little bit of space between the rolls so they have room to expand.

11. Bake in the oven for 18-22 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the sugar has melted.

12. While the rolls are baking, whip together frosting ingredients until soft and creamy. I found an electric beater worked best. You will not need to add extra liquid that what’s listed, it just takes a bit for it to come together.

13. Frost the warm cinnamon rolls (best out of the oven), and smile at the fact how delicious and healthier they are than regular cinnamon rolls!

Nutrition (per cinnamon roll with icing)  Calories: 259   Fat: 9.5 g   Carbs: 42 g   Sugars: 23 g   Fiber: 2.5 g   Sodium: 244 mg   Protein: 2.5 g

Fresh out of the oven

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I'm Kristine Fretwell, busy mom of 2 little girls, author, blogger, and former pro fitness competitor. I love almost any kind of cookie, anything coconut or pumpkin flavored, and Thai food. A perfect day for me is enjoying my family, getting to the gym, and whipping up a new healthy recipe. I've got a collection of over 300 healthy recipes, and other tidbits like fitness and health tips. My recipes have been featured on websites such as Huffington Post, Savvy Mom, Shape and Skinny Scoop.
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  • Angela Christina

    made these yesterday !!!! mine sure didn’t look like the pic…I had major trouble with rolling out the dough (super sticky even though I used cornstarch) BUT they turned out DELICIOUS !!!! I found lactose free cream cheese and my husband LOVES cream cheese icing and he totally dug this recipe !!! Kristine, you rawk.

    • Kristine Fretwell

      Oh awesome! Glad you liked them! They can be a bit tricky to roll out with the stickiness. I may try an recipe re-do with those soon so they are a bit easier to work with. Glad you found them yummy though! Bonus points that hubby got his cream cheese icing! 🙂

  • Angela

    EXCELLENT! I made these this morning and was really impressed with the consistency of the roll. It is hard to believe that are made without flour. 🙂 Thank you for the recipe!

    • Kristine Fretwell

      Oh yay! Glad you liked them! I was surprised myself! Pretty close to the real thing! (I think that’s why I was so excited about them!) lol.

  • Anonymous

    These were SO amazing. I have been craving cinnamon rolls for a while, but all of my recipes are made with AP flour and lots of sugar, both of which make me feel terrible. I’ve tried a few recipes that were far too healthy, to the point of losing that doughy texture. Yours were the perfect balance of doughy and delicious, yet healthier than the original, and they weren’t too sweet! The only thing I switched up was making a protein ‘frosting’ from cream cheese and protein powder because I have this protein powder in the cupboard that’s far too sweet for smoothies, but perfect to replace icing sugar! Thank you for the recipe!

    • Kristine Fretwell

      Yay! I’m so happy to hear you loved them too! I’m totally with you, I’m a fan of the REAL thing, so I didn’t want them to taste too healthy and ruin the effect. But these are a great balance! Your protein frosting sounds great too!! Next time I make them, I want to try rising them for less time to see if that speeds up the process a bit and doesn’t affect the taste.

  • Valeria

    Hi. I want to make these cinnamon rolls but I’ve had a few trouble finding some of the ingredients in my home country (Ecuador, South America). ¿Is it OK if I replace almond milk with regular milk? ¿Do you know a recipe for applesauce? (It’s difficult to find it here) ¿Can I use wholegrain wheat flour instead of oat flour? Finally, ¿is it necessary to use yeast, baking powder and baking soda or can I use just one of them? Thanks.

    • Kristine Fretwell

      Yes, you could replace almond milk with regular. Applesauce is just boiled apples with water and mashed into a sauce (I keep the skins on and put through a strainer after). Yes, you’ll need the baking soda, baking powder and yeast. I’m surprised that would be hard to find, as they are basic baking ingredients. You could try with wheat flour, but it will affect the texture. Try with less flour (1/4 cup less), and adjust if necessary. Hope it works out!

  • CheeseGirlPA

    Is the nutrition based on 8, as shown in the picture? Thanks!

    • Kristine Fretwell

      Yes, its based on 8. 🙂

      • CheeseGirlPA

        Thank you! Making right now!! For dessert, after the sloppy joes! (;

        • Kristine Fretwell

          Sounds fantastic! I’d love if you came back and let me know how you liked it all! 🙂

          • CheeseGirlPA

            Both are keeper recipes! I was impressed that hubby liked the cinnamon rolls so much. I’m used to eating my modified foods, but he’s still more picky and doesn’t always care for my healthified desserts (:

          • Kristine Fretwell

            Awesome!!! I totally agree, my hubby is generally the same. The definitely don’t “taste” healthy, so I think that’s the trick 😉

  • Anna @ The Guiltless Life

    Oh I am so excited about this recipe, thank you Kristine! A healthy, low-sugar and naturally sweet cinnamon roll? Heaven! I loved Cinnabons growing up but they always left me feeling SO gross. Thank you!

    • Kristine Fretwell

      These aren’t exactly low sugar, but if you came up with your own icing, or omitted it, it certainly would be. But in my opinion, the icing sure makes it!! 🙂 Kristine Fretwell, Busy But Healthy,

  • Kristin Jobin

    making these asap. thanks for all the great recipes!

    • Kristine Fretwell

      You’re very welcome Kristin! Let me know how you like them!!

  • Angela

    Mmmm… for a cinnamon-a-holic like me, these are making my mouth water right now!! Great photos Kristine!

    • Kristine Fretwell

      Angela….you NEED to make these…they are sooo good! I actually have to resist making them every week! haha. They were actually very tough to photograph, especially once they had all the icing on them, so thanks! After about 20 pics, I got one I was pretty satisfied with!

      • justice

        I have these in the oven as we speak and my house smells amazing~ I have a question though. As you said a couple times the dough is suppose to be sticky but mine was really sticky even after adding cornstarch. It even stuck to my parchment but I managed to roll it up and put it into the oven. My rolls don’t look as big as yours though 🙁 It made 8.

        • Kristine Fretwell

          They should still work, even if they are sticky. Hope you like them! Let me know how they turn out!

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