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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Healthy Cinnamon Rolls (Gooey, Moist and Flavorful!)

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If you’ve been on the hunt for Healthy Cinnamon Rolls, you have come to the right place. This is the best ever ooey-gooey cinnamon roll recipe! Made with a few healthy swaps, these cinnamon rolls are healthy and comforting, and you’ll want to use this recipe time and time again! 

healthy cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven in a baking pan

There is nothing more traditional or classic than a hot, freshly made batch of cinnamon rolls. The aroma of these sweet treats is hard to beat as it fills the air and makes your stomach rumble.

These rolls use a bunch of healthy swaps: whole wheat flour instead of refined flour, pumpkin puree to cut down on the amount of fat needed, and less sugar overall! While these are much healthier than the traditional version, they are fluffy, moist and super satisfying – and I guarantee your entire family will adore them.

They turned out insanely good, and I am thrilled to be sharing them with you. These cinnamon rolls are fabulous for all occasions too – breakfast or brunch, a holiday dessert, or just a sweet treat with your afternoon tea or coffee!

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need

Recipe Ingredient and Notes

  • Flour: To make these cinnamon rolls healthier, I used whole wheat pastry flour. It has a nice light consistency but is packed with whole grains. White whole wheat flour would work too!
  • Pumpkin Puree: The secret ingredient to keep these rolls moist and sweet without needing a ton of butter and sugar!
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice were my picks, but you can also use all spice, ground ginger, or even ground cardamom to change things up!
  • Sugar: Lower glycemic coconut sugar (and less sugar overall) keeps these rolls perfectly sweet but not so sugary they’ll give you that blood sugar spike & crash most treats will.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine the milk, oil, egg, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, sugar and yeast.

wet ingredients combined in a bowl

Step 2: Add the flour and stir until incorporated.

flour added to wet ingredients

Step 3: Knead for 3 minutes until you have an elastic and smooth dough. Cover with a cloth and let it rise for 45 minutes.

cinnamon roll dough combined in a bowl


Step 4: Gently punch the dough and transfer to a floured surface. With the help of a rolling pin, roll out the dough until you have a 16×12 inch rectangle. Spread the melted butter on top.

cinnamon roll dough rolled out on a cutting board

Step 5: Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin spice.

dough topped with cinnamon and brown sugar

Step 6: Roll the dough into a log.

dough rolled into a jelly roll on a cutting board

Step 7: Cut the log into 12 rolls using a sharp serrated knife. Transfer to a baking dish and cover again. Let them rise for 30 minutes.

cinnamon rolls ready to go into the oven

Step 8: Bake for 35 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the rolls seem firm. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

healthy cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven in a baking pan

What Makes These Cinnamon Rolls Healthy?

While these cinnamon rolls aren’t entirely healthy, they are MUCH healthier than classic recipes. They are made with ingredients that are okay to eat in moderation. Let’s talk about what makes them healthier.

  • Less Sugar: While regular cinnamon rolls are LOADED with tons of sugar in the rolls and icing, mine is much better. They do still have some sugar, but it’s not an overwhelming amount. Each roll has only 5 grams of added sugar! We also used coconut sugar for a lower glycemic sugar option.
  • Whole Grains: Instead of using regular all-purpose flour, we use whole wheat flour instead. Whole wheat flour has fiber, protein, folate, manganese, copper, and selenium in it. It’s also higher in heart healthy fiber and keeps you fuller longer.
  • Low Calorie and Low Fat: Each cinnamon roll only has 186 calories and 6 grams of fat! So you can indulge without feeling guilty for eating a high-calorie treat. 

Will Kids Enjoy These Cinnamon Rolls?

Of course, kids will DEVOUR these cinnamon rolls. I would much rather make these healthy cinnamon rolls for kids instead of getting them commercially prepared rolls. These are much better for them, and they will go wild for how good they taste. You can feel good about giving them a special breakfast without all that extra refined sugar. 

healthy cinnamon rolls, served on a wooden platter with a cup of tea

Recipe FAQs

How Do You Store Leftover Cinnamon Rolls?

For best results, you will need to let the cinnamon rolls cool down completely. Once they have cooled all the way, place them inside of an airtight container. They will be okay stored at room temperature for up to two days. You can also store them in the fridge if you prefer them cold. They will last up to 4 days in the fridge.
I recommend tossing these healthy cinnamon rolls in the microwave for 10-15 seconds before serving. They will be warm and gooey just like they were when they came out of the oven. 

Can You Freeze Cinnamon Rolls?

Yes, freezing these healthy cinnamon rolls is a lovely idea, so you have them on hand whenever you want an easy breakfast on the go. Let the rolls cool completely. Then wrap each one in plastic wrap and put them in a freezer-safe bag or container. They will last up to 2 months in the freezer. Thaw before serving. You can also heat them in the microwave if you want them warm.

Recipe Variations

  • Add about 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice to the glaze. It will give you a zesty orange flavor that is amazing.
  • Feel free to add in any mix-ins you like! You can use raisins, chopped nuts, dried cherries, cranberries, or any other dried fruits. 
  • Sprinkle some cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or nutmeg in the icing. It will give you a delicious spicy option that’s especially good in the fall. Just add ¼ teaspoon or a dusting on top. Yum! 
  • Try adding a spread of pumpkin or apple butter to the filling before sprinkling the dough with cinnamon (so spread the butter, then pumpkin or apple butter, then the cinnamon) and then roll.
healthy cinnamon rolls, served on a wooden platter with a cup of tea

Top Tips For Making Healthy Cinnamon Rolls

  • Don’t overheat the milk mixture. Once it’s lukewarm, that is sufficient; otherwise if it’s too hot, it’s not going to react well with the yeast. 
  • Make sure to spoon and level your flour into your measuring cup (versus scooping out the flour with your measuring cup) and don’t forget to sift it! Doing these two things will ensure you have a light and fluffy roll vs. a dense roll. Be sure not to add too much flour to the cinnamon rolls. If you add too much, they are going to be denser and not as fluffy. 
  • When making cinnamon rolls, it’s important not to overwork the dough. Once all the ingredients are incorporated, you don’t need to over-knead it. Overworking the dough leads to a stiff, hard roll that’s not too appealing. 
  • To seal the rolled up dough before cutting them into individual rolls, pinch the free end – and if you need to, you can brush the edge with water before pinching to seal.
  • If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice you can use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove for a similar result.
  • You can freeze these rolls before baking them! Then once you are ready to have freshly baked rolls just take it straight from the freezer to the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  • For a vegan version, substitute your favorite non-dairy milk for the regular milk, use a flax egg or a vegan egg substitute, and use vegan butter or coconut oil for the butter.
healthy cinnamon rolls, served on a wooden platter with a cup of tea

Check Out These Other Healthy Breakfast Recipes!

If you have tried this Healthy Cinnamon Roll Recipe or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

healthy cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven in a baking pan
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Healthy Cinnamon Rolls

If you’ve been on the hunt for Healthy Cinnamon Rolls, you have come to the right place. This is the best ever ooey-gooey cinnamon roll recipe! Made with a few healthy swaps, these cinnamon rolls are healthy and comforting, and you’ll want to use this recipe time and time again! 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Rising Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 cinnamon rolls
Calories: 186kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

For The Cinnamon Rolls

For The Topping

  • 1/8 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar, unpacked
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp raisins, dried cherries or dried cranberries optional

Glaze (Optional)

  • 3 tbsp lowfat milk
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar

Instructions

  • In a bowl combine the milk, oil, egg, pumpkin puree, vanilla, spices, sugar and yeast. Add the flour and stir until incorporated.
  • Knead for 3 minutes until you have an elastic and smooth dough. Cover with a cloth and let it rise for 45 minutes.
  • Gently punch the dough and transfer to a floured surface. With the help of a rolling pin, roll out the dough until you have a 16×12 inch rectangle.
  • Spread the melted butter on top and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin spice. Roll the dough into a log and with a knife cut out 12 rolls.
  • Transfer to a baking dish and cover again. Let them rise for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take the rolls to the oven and bake for 35 minutes.

Video

https://youtu.be/sgcfex4-WIs

Notes

Top Tips For Making Healthy Cinnamon Rolls
  • Don’t overheat the milk mixture. Once it’s lukewarm, that is sufficient; otherwise if it’s too hot, it’s not going to react well with the yeast. 
  • Make sure to spoon and level your flour into your measuring cup (versus scooping out the flour with your measuring cup) and don’t forget to sift it! Doing these two things will ensure you have a light and fluffy roll vs. a dense roll. Be sure not to add too much flour to the cinnamon rolls. If you add too much, they are going to be denser and not as fluffy. 
  • When making cinnamon rolls, it’s important not to overwork the dough. Once all the ingredients are incorporated, you don’t need to over-knead it. Overworking the dough leads to a stiff, hard roll that’s not too appealing. 
  • To seal the rolled up dough before cutting them into individual rolls, pinch the free end – and if you need to, you can brush the edge with water before pinching to seal.
  • If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice you can use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove for a similar result.
  • You can freeze these rolls before baking them! Then once you are ready to have freshly baked rolls just take it straight from the freezer to the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  • For a vegan version, substitute your favorite non-dairy milk for the regular milk, use a flax egg or a vegan egg substitute, and use vegan butter or coconut oil for the butter.
Nutritional info doesn’t include optional ingredient add-ins (glaze or dried fruit)

Nutrition

Serving: 1cinnamon roll | Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 30.2g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6.4g | Saturated Fat: 1.9g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 24.7mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 4.4g | Sugar: 5.1g

Posted In…

Breakfast ·

Whether it’s a quick smoothie or indulgent (but guilt-free) pancakes, my breakfast recipes have everything you need to start your day off right.

66 responses to “Healthy Cinnamon Rolls (Gooey, Moist and Flavorful!)”

  1. I make this recepie the dough is hard at the end of the mixing it process.. the kneeding part was hard. I did for 3 min and the dough didn’t turnelastic .
    Ilet it raises not too much changes . What I can do to make the dough manegable… More oil?

    • Hi Gloria! Hmm that is strange! Typically, if the dough contains too much flour, or if the dough has been overmixed, the result will be a dry, tough dough that’s hard to work with. So you could try adding less flour, or mixing it for less time. You want the dough to be tacky, but not sticky, to the touch. Hope that helps!

  2. Yum! Gooey cinnamon rolls are the best (really the only way they should be)! And chili season is coming up, yes chili and cinnamon rolls if you have never tried the two together you should!5 stars

  3. I love the smell of fresh cinnamon rolls and I love the idea of adding pumpkin to these rolls! Can’t wait to make these delicious cinnamon rolls.5 stars

  4. We are never tried of cinnamon rolls, and your new recipe is worth trying! 🙂 I love your detailed explanations, and I hope to succeed with baking this weekend.5 stars

  5. Hi anjali! Is the oil necessary? As i am trying to keep it low fat as possbible, I was wondering if maybe apple sauce or greek yogurt would work as a substitute? and The carb count is impressively low…How in the world?!

    • Hi Shweta! You could try replacing the oil with applesauce, but honestly the amount of fat in this recipe is already super low (1.5g) and I’m worried that with zero fat it will lose some of it’s yummy texture and flavor. I’d say go ahead and give it a try, but if it doesn’t turn out well – then make another batch with the oil and it will taste a lot better. Hope that helps! Good luck!

  6. Hi Anjali,

    theses cinnamon buns looks so welcoming and divine. I did try these out over the week , the kitchen smelt heavenly with the spicy aroma, buns were soft and gooey (maybe too gooey), tasted really nice expect it was it went abit hard (not too sure what went wrong) could it be me being too generous with the maple syrup that could have caused them to get hard….so I tried them again following your recipe to point and the same thing happened. 🙁

    • Hi Charm! So sorry to hear these didn’t turn out perfectly for you! I’m confused though, you said the buns were soft & gooey but then you also said they were hard? One thing to try is to try baking them for a little less time – it’s possible your oven gets hotter than mine and so it overbaked the rolls. Hope that helps!

      • hi Anjali,

        thank you for the feedback ,sorry bout the confusing , when i took them out the oven the buns were still very warm and soft but after cooling off completely there turned out abit hard ,well more stiff and dry ( hope this makes sense)

        you might b right it could be my oven settings and I could have rolled out the dough too thin. I did take a pic of the final product and looked at it again , mine are much browner compared to yours in the pic . Well I am gonna try these again .

      • Ah I see, that makes sense. Yes I’d recommend less baking time and maybe not rolling the dough out so much. Let me know how they turn out the next time!

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