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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.

Latest Recipe Video!

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 6 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

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These recipes are healthy, filling, and easy to make!

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

  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! 🙂

  5. I didn’t read all the comments but almond milk might be a good lower calorie sub for the fat free milk 🙂

    • 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!

      • Thanks!
        I subbed the brown sugar + powdered sugar with splenda, and the maple syrup with sugar free maple syrup!
        They turned out to be 106 calories, yum! 🙂

      • I’m going to be brave and try coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. I’ll let you know if it is still a success.
        Chanel

  6. Yessss. I’ve been looking for a lightened up cinnamon roll recipe for the longest time. I will definitely be trying these soon!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!!

  9. The cinnamon rolls look incredible and at the same time low fat which makes it guilt free breakfast. Good one!!!

  10. Wow. I would have never guessed that those were reduced fat rolls in any way. They look absolutely delicious.

  11. Wow, I really love your secret swaps – that’s soooo brilliant! I’m not really into cinnamon, but your recipe has changed my taste. 😀

    • 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!

  12. These looks absolutely fantastic. I have been making cinnamon rolls in my head since so long. Never made them out of it, though. But this looks like a perfect opportunity to try them for real once. Bookmarked! 🙂

    • 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!

  13. 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! (:

    • Thanks so much Danielle! I’m sure you will love these healthified cinnamon rolls when you try them! 🙂

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