My brother and I have always had a weakness for cinnamon buns, especially the ooey gooey kind. My mom would buy the Pillsbury cinnamon buns in a can on weekends or special occasions and we would have them for breakfast. We would fight over who would get the last one, they were so good!
As we grew up, my mom realized my brother and I had food allergies so we had to find dairy free alternatives for everything we loved. We ate a ton of Immaculate Baking Cinnamon Buns after that which are dairy and soy free. It’s a great brand for people with food allergies. But we all know homemade is always better.
A few months ago I decided to try and make cinnamon buns from scratch and after a few rounds of baking, I have perfected them! These ooey gooey cinnamon buns taste better than any store bought brands. They can rise overnight in the fridge so all you have to do is pop them in the oven in the morning.
Make the Dough & First Rise
Gather your ingredients for your dough!
- Granulated Sugar
- Active Dry Yeast
This is a yeasted dough, so the first thing you have to do is warm up your milk and butter in the microwave and mix in yeast and sugar. Then you have give the yeast some time to activate. If it looks foamy, you know you’re good.
Next step is to add the rest of the sugar, and vanilla to the stand mixer. Then add in the flour and salt and mix with a dough hook until the dough comes together. If it looks really sticky you can add a little bit more flour, a tablespoon or two should do it.
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands. This to me is the best part! I love moving the dough around and really working it with my hands. So have fun with it! You only have to knead it for about 5 minutes.
After the dough is kneaded you just have to place it in a lightly greased bowl and let it rise in a warm place (about 70-72°F) for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size. I grease the bowl with avocado oil and cover it with a damp kitchen towel.
Make the Filling and Form the Buns
While the dough is rising, make the cinnamon filling for the spiral part of the buns. It’s just butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. I soften the butter up just a bit so it’s more pliable. Then you just have to mix it all together until its this nice mushy, easily spreadable mixture.
Then it’s time to roll out that dough! Take it out of the bowl and plop onto a lightly floured surface and then roll it out to a 12″ x 24″ rectangle. This part is slightly annoying, but then you have to spread the cinnamon sugar butter mixture onto the dough. Leave about a 1/4″ border around the dough rectangle.
Next is rolling it into a long log shape and cutting into buns. Roll it long ways. As you roll, you can use a little brush to brush off any extra flour you see sticking to the dough. That’ll prevent dryness. Then cut into 12 equal buns.
Rest One More Time and Bake!
Once you have all your buns cut, place 6 each evenly spaced out into two 9″ x 13″ baking pans. You can use a cookie sheet or I use rectangle cake tins that I have. I cook them this way because I tried multiple times to place all 12 in one 9″ x 13″ tin and the middle buns always ended up being raw still when I pulled them out.
Placing 6 each in a tin allows them all enough space to cook evenly. They spread out just a little bit and look like the beautiful spiral cinnamon rolls they are, instead of being crammed against other rolls. Don’t worry, they’re still nice and ooey gooey in the middle!
Preheat your oven, and while the oven is preheating, the buns need to rest for a half hour. This is the final rising time before they cook. Then pop them in the oven!
Icing and Eat
While the buns are in the oven, make the icing. My icing is dairy-free so all I use is dairy-free butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. You’ll want to soften your butter again just slightly so it’s easy to beat.
Then beat the butter until it’s whipped. Add in the vanilla and beat in the sugar a half cup at a time so it doesn’t cloud up so much into the air.
Once the buns come out of the oven, lather the icing on top so it melts into all the nooks and crannies. Eat these ooey gooey cinnamon buns while they’re still warm!
Freezing and Rising Options
With the rising times, these buns do take around 2 to 2 1/2 hours to make. If you want to eat these fresh for breakfast, I’m sure you don’t want to get up early to do it.
Rising Overnight in the Fridge: Prepare the buns the night before. When the buns are in the 9″ x 13″ pans and are ready for the final resting period, put siran wrap over the pan and stick them in the fridge. The colder temperature slows down the rising process. The next morning, take the buns out of the fridge and preheat the oven. Then cook them as normal!
You also may want to freeze some of these buns instead of cooking them all, so there’s a couple of times where you can freeze them.
Freezing Buns Raw: After the buns are rolled up, right before the final resting period, place them on the pan and flash freeze them. Then you can wrap them airtight in siran wrap or place in an airtight container. When you want to eat one, just let it defrost and then rest for the half hour. Then it’s ready to bake. If you want to bake just one or two, I suggest checking it after around 12-14 minutes, it’s done when it is looks golden brown.
Freezing Buns Cooked: The other option is to freeze them after they’re cooked. Don’t frost them and let them cool. Once they’re cooled completely, flash freeze in the pan and then wrap individually in siran wrap or place in an airtight container. Then to reheat, just let it defrost at room temperature, then reheat in the microwave around 20-30 seconds and put icing on top.
The original recipe I used is from JoyFoodSunshine. I took some ingredients out, substituted others and changed the cooking method a little, so my adapted dairy and egg free version is below.
Note (12/18/20): I recently adapted this recipe to egg free and updated the post as well. The video below is not up to date, so if you don’t mind eggs, you can try the recipe in the video.
The only difference is I took out the eggs and added 1/4 cup more milk to compensate. I find that the rolls in the egg free version are actually lighter and fluffier, and even more delicious.
Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Buns
- 1¼ Cup Light Coconut Milk or Almond Milk
- ½ Cup Sugar
- 1 1/4oz Package Active Dry Yeast
- 6 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tsp Salt
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Cinnamon
- 6 Tbsp Dairy Free Butter, softened
- ½ Cup Dairy Free Butter, softened
- 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- Warm milk and butter in a cup in the microwave for 45 seconds. Mix in yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and let sit for 5-10 minutes until it looks foamy. When yeast is ready, pour into stand mixer and add in the rest of the sugar, and vanilla. Mix together.
- Using the dough hook, add in flour on slow speed. Mix with dough hook until the dough has formed. Add in a couple more tablespoons of flour if the dough looks really sticky and isn't forming into a ball.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it feels smooth. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise in a warm dry place for one hour.
- While dough is rising, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Then add softened butter and smush together using a spoon until it's smooth and incorporated.
- When the dough is ready, punch down and put back onto your floured surface. Roll out into a 12" x 24" rectangle. Spread cinnamon filling onto the dough, leaving a small untouched border around the edges. Roll on the long side tightly. Cut into 12 equal pieces. They should be about 2" wide.
- Place 6 buns each evenly spaced out into two 9" x 13" tins/pans. Set oven to preheat at 350°F. While the oven is preheating, let the buns rise one final time for a half hour. Bake about 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown.
- While the buns are baking, make the icing. Beat the butter until fluffy and beat in vanilla. Then beat in powdered sugar a half cup at a time. Place onto buns once they come out of the oven. Enjoy them hot!