These vegan funfetti cinnamon rolls are festive enough for a celebratory birthday brunch and yet easy enough to make for "regular" occasions, too. Fluffy spirals of dough are stuffed with cinnamon-sugar and rainbow sprinkles, baked to gooey perfection, and topped with the most divine buttercream icing. You'll want to make these every weekend!
Dan and I just returned from a week-long trip to the French Riviera. We were there for our friends' wedding and added a couple days on either side of the nuptials to spend time with several other couples who had made the trip across the globe.
It was a gorgeous wedding and an incredibly fun trip.
Plus, the timing worked out super well because it overlapped with Dan's 36th birthday.
Which was actually the occasion that inspired these cinnamon rolls.
Truth be told, I'd originally planned to share the recipe before his birthday, but c'est la vie.
Albeit a bit delayed, I'm thrilled to be sharing this recipe with you now.
Cinnamon rolls are Dan's absolute favorite, so I figured I'd treat him to a birthday-themed, vegan rendition of the pillowy breakfast delights.
They did not disappoint and are currently rivaling another favorite of his—i.e., these pumpkin pecan cinnamon rolls.
Can we take a brief moment to appreciate all the fluffy, gooey, iced yumminess up there? 👆
After 9 years of blogging, I'm essentially immune to the drool-inducing effects of food photos, but these are an exception.
As with most cinnamon roll recipes, this one is straightforward. The only barrier is, of course, the rise time. But if you can get past that and find something else to keep you occupied, you'll be handsomely rewarded.
Plus, they can be (mostly) prepared ahead of time and baked the following morning, so you can divide the time commitment up into parts if necessary.
To make these fluffy cinnamon rolls, you'll start by preparing the dough.
This particular cinnamon roll dough is what the baking world refers to as "enriched", because it contains a bit of fat (in the form of vegan butter).
Enriched doughs require a slightly longer rise, but this one isn't terribly time-consuming.
You're looking at two rise times: one hour to start and then another 45 minutes.
To make the dough, you'll whisk together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let the mixture stand for five minutes, or until a foam develops across the surface.
It's important to make sure the water is warm enough but not hot.
I use a thermometer to measure the temperature—it should be between 105F and 115F. Too cool and the yeast won't activate, too hot and it'll kill it.
While the yeast activates, flour a clean work surface and gather two mixing bowls—one for mixing and one for rising.
Add all-purpose flour and salt to one of the bowls and whisk together.
Then, melt a bit of vegan butter in a sauce pan. Once it's melted, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in plant-based milk, a bit of sugar, and a generous splash of vanilla.
Pour the butter mixture into the bowl with the flour and then add the activated yeast mixture.
Use a wooden spoon to mix until the flour has been incorporated. Then, turn the dough out onto the floured work surface and knead for several minutes, or until smooth, elastic, and springy.
Alternatively, if you have a mixer with a dough hook, you can begin to mix and knead the dough using that and then finish it with a few minutes of hand kneading.
Shape the kneaded dough into a ball and place it in the greased bowl. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm and cozy spot for one hour, or until doubled in size.
Keep yourself busy during the first rise, or cozy up with a book. Obviously, your choice!
When the dough has just a few minutes left to rise, lightly grease a rectangular baking dish, melt the remaining butter, and whisk together the cinnamon-sugar filling.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle that's approximately 12 inches by 24 inches.
Brush the top with the melted butter. Then, sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles followed by the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Carefully roll the dough away from you, capturing all of that yummy filling inside.
Slice into 12 two-inch-thick rolls and transfer them to the greased pan.
Cover the pan and place it in a warm and cozy spot for 45 minutes, or until the rolls have doubled in size.
Bake the cinnamon rolls at 350F for 22 to 26 minutes, or until just barely turning golden and the tops feel firm to the touch.
Dan prefers gooey cinnamon rolls, so I lean towards the lower end of that baking range. If you prefer less gooey rolls, lean towards the upper end.
While the rolls bake, prepare the vegan buttercream glaze.
The process of making this glaze starts off similar to how you would make buttercream frosting...
Beat vegan butter until fluffy. Then, slowly add in powdered sugar and continue to beat until the desired texture and sweetness is reached.
However, to take this buttercream from frosting to glaze, you'll add a splash of vanilla and a few tablespoons of plant-based milk. Continue to beat the mixture until the liquids are incorporated.
The buttercream should be soft, creamy, and just barely hold its shape.
You can frost the entire pan of warm vegan funfetti cinnamon rolls or slather each individual roll with glaze as you serve them. Your choice.
Dan prefers less icing than Sloane and me, so I frost everyone's individually.
Once the rolls are frosted, garnish them with more rainbow sprinkles.
Have yourself a long look at this warm, just-frosted, cinnamon beauty...
And yes, that's 👆 the level of icing that makes me happy. Too much for Dan, just right pour moi.
Once the cinnamon rolls are frosted, divvy them up and dig in.
If you make this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #blissfulbasil on Instagram.
Vegan Funfetti Cinnamon Rolls
Funfetti Cinnamon Rolls
- ¾ cup warm water (105F–115F)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
- ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar, divided
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour, plus plenty more for kneading and dusting
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 8 tablespoons vegan butter, divided
- ½ cup unsweetened plant-based milk
- 1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup vegan rainbow sprinkles, plus plenty more for topping
Vegan Buttercream Glaze
- ½ cup (1 stick) vegan butter, at room temperature
- 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1–3 tablespoons plant-based milk (as needed to thin)
For the Funfetti Cinnamon Rolls
- In a small bowl, gently whisk together the warm water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until a foams develops on the surface.
- Meanwhile, generously flour a clean work surface. Gather two large glass mixing bowls (one for mixing and one for rising). Lightly grease one bowl.
- Add the flour and salt to the un-greased mixing bowl. Whisk together and then create a well in the center and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt 5 tablespoons of the butter. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, ¼ cup of the sugar, and the vanilla. The mixture should be warm but not hot. If it's hot, let it cool off before moving on to the next step.
- Then, pour the mixture into the bowl with the flour. Add the yeast mixture and use a large wooden spoon to stir and mix until all of the flour has been incorporated.
- Turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, springy, and elastic, adding more flour as needed. You'll know it's ready when it begins to hold its shape and springs back when pressed.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it in the greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- When the dough has just a few minutes left to rise, lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish with oil. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ cup sugar and cinnamon. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a pan or in the microwave. Set aside.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean, generously floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 12 x 24 inches in size.
- Lightly brush the top of the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle with the sprinkles first, then the sugar-cinnamon mixture, leaving a ½-inch perimeter around the edge of the dough.
- Starting at the front of the long edge of the rectangle, carefully roll the dough away from you until you have a tightly wound roll. Use your fingers to pinch the seam closed. Use a sharp serrated knife to slice the roll into 12 2-inch-thick rolls.
- Gently transfer the rolls to the greased baking pan, swirled-side up, leaving ½ an inch of space between each. Loosely cover the pan with parchment paper and let the rolls rise in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.
- Bake for 22 to 26 minutes, or until the rolls are just barely turning golden and the tops feel firm to the touch.
For the Buttercream Glaze
- While the cinnamon rolls bake, prepare the buttercream.
- Beat the butter using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer fitted with the beater attachment) until light and fluffy. About two minutes.
- Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating until a fluffy buttercream consistency is reached. Add the vanilla and beat again. Add 1 tablespoon of the milk and beat again, continuing to add 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired soft, creamy buttercream texture is reached. It should hold its shape but just barely.
- This buttercream should be light and easy to spread.
- Frost the warm rolls with the buttercream. Top with sprinkles. Serve warm and enjoy!