Return to top
featured in… The Huffington Post Cooking Light Reader's Digest Women's Health BuzzFeed Glamour Whole Foods Oprah Winfrey Network CNN Food Network

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

Light and Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
Share This:

Light and Gooey Cinnamon Rolls - easy healthy recipes, tasty healthy recipes, delicious healthy recipes, vegetarian healthy recipes, quick and easy recipes for picky eaters #healthyfood #food

I have a confession to make.

While I do try to eat healthy most of the time, I’ve got quite a sweet tooth. It’s one of the rare food preferences the husband and I have 100% in common!

I crave all sweet treats: cookies, cakes, pastries, chocolate, candy, ice cream — they call to me like long lost friends whom I love and adore.

I also eat dessert every day.

But I do it in The Picky Eater way: in moderation, just a bit of indulgence, so it’s relatively guilt-free.

A while back, I received a request on my Facebook Page for a lighter version of Cinnamon Buns or Cinnamon Rolls. I love, love, love Cinnamon Buns. I remember when Cinnabon opened in our local mall when I was in junior high — it was all the rage and I definitely had my fair share of their ooey, gooey, decadent, calorie-laden treats.

So in a quest to recreate that Cinnabon experience, but with The Picky Eater twist, I scoured the web and finally found this amazing recipe for a health(ier) version of Cinnamon Buns!

What are the secret swaps in this recipe?

  • Whole wheat flour for 1/2 the all purpose flour
  • Nonfat milk
  • A bit less sugar than the traditional recipe
  • Fat free icing, and less of it per bun
  • Smaller buns (it’s somewhat obvious, but if you make the buns slightly smaller, you end up with fewer calories!)
  • Raisins instead of nuts for the filling
The Ingredients
Adapted from Food.com

Makes 12 buns

  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon yeast, about 1 package
  • 1.25 cups whole wheat flour, sifted, divided
  • 1.25 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, divided
  • 1/4 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, grated
  • 1/4 cup raisins or 1/4 cup dried cherries or 1/4 cup cranberries
  • Optional icing ingredients: 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 Tbsp low fat milk, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

The Directions

  1. Stir together milk, vegetable oil, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Heat to lukewarm.
  2. Pour yeast over 2 tablespoons lukewarm water and let sit 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the yeast/water mixture into the milk mixture.
  4. Transfer milk mixture to a large mixing bowl and beat in half the flour by hand or with an electric mixer.
  5. Mix in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough (you may need a little less than 2.5 cups total)
  6. Let rest 10 minutes; knead well on a floured board or with an electric mixer and dough hook; let rest 10 minutes.
  7. Spray a large, clean bowl with cooking spray, add dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  8. Lightly coat a 9-inch round baking pan with cooking spray.
  9. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle.
  10. Spray the rolled out dough with cooking spray.
  11. Stir together brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest; brush over dough.
  12. Sprinkle with raisins.
  13. Roll up tightly, like a jelly roll.
  14. Cut into 12 pieces.
  15. Place buns cut-side up in baking pan.
  16. Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  17. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  18. Bake buns until firm and nicely browned on top, 30 minutes.
  19. Cool completely before serving.
Your finished buns will look like this:
.
Now, if you want to add a bit of icing, all you have to do is stir together the icing ingredients (powdered sugar, milk, vanilla) until smooth. Drizzle about 1 Tbsp over each of the buns.
.

Light and Gooey Cinnamon Rolls - easy healthy recipes, tasty healthy recipes, delicious healthy recipes, vegetarian healthy recipes, quick and easy recipes for picky eaters #healthyfood #food

Each cinnamon roll / cinnamon bun has about 160 calories, 10g sugar, and 1.5g fat. Not bad for a guilt-free version of the original!

Print Recipe
0 from 0 votes

Light and Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

Simple swaps like whole wheat flour and fat-free icing make these cinnamon rolls a very happy indulgence!
Prep Time1 hr 20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 buns
Calories: 166.4kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon yeast about 1 package
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour sifted, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour sifted, divided
  • 1/4 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest grated
  • 1/4 cup raisins or 1/4 cup dried cherries or 1/4 cup cranberries

Optional icing ingredients:

Instructions

  • Stir together milk, vegetable oil, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Heat to lukewarm.
  • Pour yeast over 2 tablespoons lukewarm water and let sit 5 minutes.
  • Stir the yeast/water mixture into the milk mixture.
  • Transfer milk mixture to a large mixing bowl and beat in half the flour by hand or with an electric mixer.
  • Mix in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough (you may need a little less than 2.5 cups total)
  • Let rest 10 minutes; knead well on a floured board or with an electric mixer and dough hook; let rest 10 minutes.
  • Spray a large, clean bowl with cooking spray, add dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Lightly coat a 9-inch round baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle.
  • Spray the rolled out dough with cooking spray.
  • Stir together brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest; brush over dough.
  • Sprinkle with raisins.
  • Roll up tightly, like a jelly roll.
  • Cut into 12 pieces.
  • Place buns cut-side up in baking pan.
  • Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Bake buns until firm and nicely browned on top, 30 minutes.
  • Cool completely before serving.

Notes

Adapted from Food.com

Nutrition

Calories: 166.4kcal | Carbohydrates: 34.9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1.5g | Sodium: 215.6mg | Fiber: 1.3g | Sugar: 10g

Light and Gooey Cinnamon Rolls - easy healthy recipes, tasty healthy recipes, delicious healthy recipes, vegetarian healthy recipes, quick and easy recipes for picky eaters #healthyfood #food

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.

Also posted in Recipes · Dessert · Entrees · Holiday Recipes · Snacks · Vegetarian

56 responses to “Light and Gooey Cinnamon Rolls”

  1. I subsituted almond flour for whole wheat flour, coconut oil for the veg oil no lemon zest and slivered almonds for the fruit. They are about to go in the oven, hopefully I didnt ruin your recipe 🙂

    • Those are really interesting substitutions Amber! How did they turn out? I’m sure you didn’t ruin the recipe 🙂 Let me know!

      • pretty good thank you, my kids and husband loved them. my only problem, when I put them in the 9inch round pan the 12 cinammon rolls didnt have room to expand like your pictures.

      • Oh great! I’m glad they tasted good 🙂 That’s too bad about the pan — maybe the differences in the dough made them thicker so they needed more room? Maybe a slightly bigger pan will work next time!

  2. Hello I have a question? Would they be as delicious if I didn’t use maple syrup?? Thanks,
    Baking Gramma

    • Hi Georgia! So regarding the maple syrup – it’s one of the key ingredients in making the filling stick to the dough. Without it, I’m not sure the brown sugar mixture will stick to the dough very well and it will probably be a little dry. I hope that helps – I wouldn’t recommend omitting the syrup!

  3. I was really excited about these rolls, but mine, once rolled out, came apart in the pan and the filling oozed out leaving the buns flat and dense. What did i do wrong? Any ideas or tips? I really want to get these right…

    • Hi Shradha! Aww man – I’m so sorry to hear that! The only thing I can think of is that for whatever reason, your dough mixture ended up being too thin. When you rolled out out the dough, put in the filling, and then rolled it back up again, was it able to stand up (cut side up) in the baking pan? If it didn’t stand “upright,” your dough could have been rolled out too thin. One other option is that you can use large muffin tins to hold the rolls — that way they won’t fall apart in the oven while they’re baking because the muffin tin rounds will keep them together. I hope this helps, let me know if you try it again and whether it works!

  4. Great recipe, but for me the orange zest made it taste bitter. Might have been something about the orange I used. Next time I’ll omit the zest. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

    • Hi Larry! Aw I’m sorry to hear that. It might have been the orange you used, or – if you end up zesting too much of the rind, the part that is close to the white part of the orange ends up being really bitter. So you could try zesting the orange differently, or yes, omitting it is totally fine too. Glad the rest of the recipe turned out well! 🙂

    • It’s definitely worth a try! I’m just not sure how the almond milk will react with the yeast in the dough — but if anyone ends up trying it definitely let me know how it is!

  5. this was actually great for a lightened up version, it was soft and not at all dry. for the icing i mixed powdered sugar with orange juice instead and was great. thanks.

    • Oh awesome!! So glad you liked it – and I love the idea of mixing powdered sugar with orange juice for the icing!

  6. I just made these tonight using cherries as the dried fruit, and they were awesome! I love the idea of maple syrup in the filling instead of butter or corn syrup. Great recipe!

    • Hooray!! I’m so happy you liked the recipe Beth 🙂 I usually make mine with raisins, but I’m sure the cherries tasted great!!

    • Aw thank you so much Linda! And I promise, you won’t even be able to tell the difference with these swaps 🙂 I’m so glad you’re getting more into cinnamon!! It’s one of my favorite spices – I add it to everything: oatmeal, hot chocolate, tea, sometimes it’s even fun to sprinkle on peanut butter and banana on toast – it tastes great! Can’t wait to hear how you like this recipe!

    • Haha! Making cinnamon rolls in your head – I love it 🙂 I often bake in my head as well – especially when I’m sitting in traffic or bored hehe. Hope you like this recipe when you try it at home!

  7. i love cinnamon rolls but as you said they are high in calories and not the healthiest! this looks like a great substituted option! I will have to pin it to remember in the future! thanks! (:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *






Subscribe to newsletter

Copyright 2020 The Picky Eater. All rights reserved.