Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

A big thank you to Red Star Yeast for sponsoring this post.
YOU GUYS. I did it! I finally perfected gluten-free cinnamon rolls after weeks of trying. Virtual high fives and fist bumps for everyone! Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls are something that’s been alluding me. I just could not get it right. I realized what my problem was and once I corrected it, I was on my way to cinnamon roll heaven.

This is another recipe Red Star Yeast asked me to develop for them. I shared my recipe for Cheddar and Sage Rolls a few days ago. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed working with yeast!

It’s so hard to make homemade bread and rolls from wheat flour and smell them rising and baking, then to pass them off to everyone else. Now I can quit my whining. The best part is that everyone (even my picky husband) really enjoyed these gluten free cinnamon rolls. That tells me this is a winner on all accounts.

I toyed around with the amount of sugar and butter in the filling too. I think that’s an important, if not the most important part of cinnamon rolls, right? They have plenty of cinnamon. I left out raisins because I live with a houseful of people who prefer their raisins on the side and not in their cinnamon rolls. We also decided these are great with or without a glaze. So that part is up to you. I included a simple vanilla butter glaze recipe, but we all know the best glaze for cinnamon rolls is made with cream cheese. So feel free to add that to the glaze as well. Always looking to add nuts to everything, I sprinkled mine with chopped pecans. My mom always topped her cinnamon rolls with sliced almonds, so I’m just carrying on that tradition. :)

The biggest problem I had with these rolls was making the dough too firm. It really needs to stay sticky so the rolls will rise and be soft. Otherwise they just crumbled. Check out the step-by-step instructions for rolling below the recipe because I learned a few tricks in that regard as well.

For more gluten-free yeast bread recipes, tips and other helpful hints, visit You can find gluten-free tips here. Follow Red Star Yeast on Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google +

Update 12.08.2013. The original recipe had a typo in it. The flour was listed as 4 1/2 cups, which was not correct. The mix makes 4 cups. Only about 3 3/4 cups are used in the dough. 

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Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

Soft, tender gluten-free dough swirled with cinnamon and topped with a sweet glaze.

  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 mins
  • Yield: 12 1x


Units Scale
  • 4 teaspoons Red Star Active Dry Yeast
  • 6 Tablespoons warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 Tablespoons shortening (or butter)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 cups gluten free flour mix (listed below)
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup softened butter plus 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional: vanilla glaze, for serving (recipe below)


  1. Dissolve yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand for 5-10 minutes or until foamy.
  2. Place milk, shortening, 1/3 cup sugar and salt in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until very hot and sugar and salt are dissolved and shortening has melted. Let cool to 140 degrees F.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, lightly beat the eggs. With the mixer running on low, add the hot milk mixture in a slow stream.
  4. Whisk 3 cups of the gluten free flour mix with the xanthan gum. Add all at once to the mixer and turn on low. Turn off the mixer and add the yeast. Turn mixer back on to low speed. Add the remaining gluten free flour mix a little at a time until the dough is still a little sticky, but not stiff. (You should only need about 3 3/4 cups. Reserve the remaining for rolling out the dough.)
  5. Beat the dough on medium speed for 4-5 minutes. Turn off the motor, remove the paddle attachment and let dough stand for a few minutes. The dough will firm up a bit as it stands, so don’t skip this step.
  6. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with butter. Set aside.
  7. Lay a large rectangle of parchment paper out on a clean, flat surface. Sift a few tablespoons of the remaining flour in an even layer over the parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto the parchment paper and sift a little more flour mix over the top. Use your hands to flatten the dough into a large rectangle, about 16- by 20-inches and 1/2-inch thick. Trim and patch the edges as needed so they are as straight as possible.
  8. Carefully spread the softened butter over the entire surface of the dough. Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar together and sprinkle evenly over the butter.
  9. Start on the long edge and use the parchment paper to help you roll the dough over itself. When you get to the edge, dab a little water along the length of the dough to help seal it. Press the dough, if needed, so the roll is even through the middle.
  10. Using a sharp serrated knife, carefully cut the roll into quarters and then cut each quarter into thirds. Transfer each roll to the buttered baking dish. Press down gently on each roll so it touches the one next to it. Brush the tops of the rolls with the 2 Tablespoons melted butter. Cover baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and place somewhere warm to rise for 30-45 minutes depending on the temperature of the room. The rolls will raise up, but not double in size.
  11. While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.


Optional: Top rolls with vanilla glaze.
1/4 cup softened butter, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, water or milk for thinning. Whisk together until smooth. (Can also add 2 Tablespoons cream cheese and a little more powdered sugar.)

Gluten Free Flour Mix: (based on this recipe)
1 cup (165 grams) white rice flour
3/4 cup (105 grams) sorghum flour (can also sub brown rice flour)
3/4 cup (120 grams) sticky rice flour (also called mochi flour)
3/4 cup (120 grams) tapioca starch
3/4 cup (160 grams) potato starch

  • Author: Lindsey Johnson
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients – gluten-free flour blend, shortening, milk (mixed with the sugar), salt, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon.

This dough should stay fairly sticky. Don’t be tempted to add too much flour. It will feel like really sticky cookie dough.

Sprinkle a large piece of parchment paper with light dusting of gluten-free flour. Turn the dough out onto the paper and sprinkle the top with more flour.
Use your hands to pat the dough into a large rectangle. Try to get the edges as straight as you can.

Carefully spread the dough with softened butter. Do this as gently as possible so you don’t tear the dough. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Use your flattened palm to spread the sugar in an even layer.

Use the edge of the parchment paper to help you roll the dough. Apply even pressure on the paper as you roll it so the dough rolls tightly. If you need to, brush the excess flour off the dough. Before you get to the end of the roll, brush the edge of the dough with water to act as glue. Gently press the edge together to seal it.

Use your hands to even out the thickness of the dough along its length by squeezing it in the thicker parts. Cut the dough into 12 thick rounds. I do this by cutting the dough in half, then quarters and then in thirds.

Place the rolls in a well-greased baking dish. I gently press down on the rolls so they are touching. They will rise up a bit, but not as high as wheat rolls. Brush the rolls with melted butter and cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for about 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and bake the risen rolls for 20-25 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Whisk the glaze ingredients together and serve on top, if desired.


Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Red Star Yeast. All opinions expressed are 100% mine. I only recommend products I use in my own kitchen and love. :)

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  1. Good job! Those are beautiful!! Ironically enough, I had completely forgotten that I used to put sliced almonds on top. I now put pecan pieces. Glad you like nuts!

  2. Thank you for this recipe! We are going through our first gluten free holidays and my husband (who is very sentimental about his traditional food) was feeling let down about missing out on our Christmas morning cinnamon rolls. These look great and I’m excited to try them.

    One question. Have you tried freezing them? I’m wondering if I could bake half of the recipe and freeze the other half.

    Thanks again for the recipe.

  3. JLJ – I haven’t tried that yet, but I plan to for our Christmas morning breakfast. I do think if you want to freeze them, do it before baking if you can. And don’t let the rolls rise first. Just roll them up, cut them and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Then get them out the night before and put them in a buttered pan and place in the fridge. A few hours before you want to bake them, let them sit somewhere warm to rise. (That’s my plan anyway.) If I get time this week, I’ll try it out and let you know how it goes!

  4. Sweet mercy, friend! These look amazing. I’ve been hankering after the recipe since your IG post about them. You’ve made Christmas morning a lot brighter this year! Absolutely gorgeous photos, as always.

    p.s. I read your latest post on DesignMom and had somehow missed that your son is on the spectrum before now. Can I email you sometime about it? I’d love some perspective from a little further down that path. Have a happy day!

  5. Wow – these look perfect! That dough looks so soft and springy, I just want to grab it and give it a squeeze. Thank you so much for developing and sharing this recipe, Lindsey – I’m all over it.

  6. Can you substitute another flour for the “sticky flour”? It is so expensive to keep buying different flours for different recipes and hard finding them too!

    1. Hi Lori,

      I totally get that! It is a big pain, isn’t it? I’m not 100% sure what I’d recommend as a good substitute. I guess if it were me, I would use half white rice flour and half tapioca starch for the amount of sticky rice flour. I will tell you that I can easily find the mochi flour (sticky rice) for a good price at many Asian markets. So that might be a good place to check. I also find regular white rice flour, tapioca and potato starch there as well. You might even try just using all white rice flour and see how it goes. Wish I could offer more help. I’ll have to try it out and see which way works best. I appreciate the comment!

  7. I use this recipe for monkey bread(balls of dough in a tube pan) and a giant cinnamon roll baked in a cast iron pan. Works great!

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