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  • Writer's pictureTracie

It's a Christmas Miracle! The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls... Dairy & Gluten-Free!

Everyone sit down. Seriously, this is one of the biggest food allergy wins of my almost decade-long journey in this world of ours. And, I can hardly believe that THIS recipe... the one that wowed me many moons ago when dairy allergies, in particular, weren't even on my radar... is just as delicious when made with dairy and wheat substitutions. I'm telling you, this recipe is the Pioneer Woman at her best, and it's a game changer. I love these cinnamon rolls so much that they've become my family's Christmas morning tradition. I also love to give them away as gifts, which has consequently won me friends for life (not exaggerating). But, most importantly, this is a recipe that I absolutely could not imagine the holidays without - it's that special.

Quick disclaimer: the process for making these cinnamon rolls is very time consuming. Yes, it requires patience... and yeast. Please hear me when I say "that's OKAY!" I know that baking with yeast worries a lot of people, but if you follow this recipe closely, you are going to be just fine. And, the good news is that after you've done it once, it's not nearly as intimidating of a process and goes much more quickly because you know what to expect. But, the best part is that this recipe makes a TON of rolls! So, all that effort has a huge pay-off. Whether you give your extras away or save them for later, you'll love having so many.

Finally, one note about using gluten-free flour in this recipe. I've always heard stories about how challenging it is to get gluten-free flour to behave in the same way as traditional flour when using yeast, so I've been skeptical - for years - about whether or not this would work. While a little more delicate to work with, I'm so happy to report that the dough rose great when using g-free flour! Just be careful when rollling and cutting, but the end product is truly fantastic (this is by no means a paid endorsement, but I want to tell you that King Arthur gluten-free all-purpose baking mix is my go-to with gluten-free cooking and worked extremely well in this recipe).

Dairy, Egg, Nut and Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls


4 cups dairy-free milk (I use hemp for the dough, but have also used soy with great success)

1 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar

2 packages of active dry yeast, which equal 4 1/2 teaspoons (I use Fleishman's brand, which is gluten-free)

8 cups of gluten-free flour, plus 1 cup extra reserved (I use King Arthur gluten-free multi-purpose flour)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspooon baking soda

1 tablespoon salt

1-1 1/2 cup of melted dairy-free butter, separated (I use Earth Balance, soy-free)

2 cups sugar, separated

Generous sprinkling of cinnamon

Maple Frosting

1, 16 oz. bag of powdered sugar

2 teaspoons maple flavoring

1/2 dairy-free milk (*do NOT use hemp milk in the frosting - it's too strong; I use soy, but you could also use rice or Ripple milk)

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup strong brewed coffee

1/8 teaspoon salt

For the dough, heat the milk, canola oil, and sugar in a Dutch oven or large pot to just below a boil. Set aside and let cool until warm to touch. Sprinkle yeast on top and let it sit on the milk mixture for approximately one minute.

Add 8 cups of flour to the milk mixture and mix thoroughly. Cover with kitchen towel and set in aside in a warm area of your kitchen for approximately an hour (the dough should rise significantly). After an hour, remove towel and add remaining cup of flour, baking power, baking soda and salt; stir thoroughly to combine. At this point, you may use the dough right away or *store in the refrigerator for up to three days (*chilled dough may be easier to work with).

When ready to assemble the rolls, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove half of the dough from your pot and roll it out into a large rectangle shape, very thin, on a floured surface. Melt 1/2-3/4 cups of butter and pour over the dough. Sprinkle dough with 1 cup of sugar and a generous amount of cinnamon.

To roll the dough, start at the end farthest from you and roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Don't worry if the filling oozes out; just make sure to keep rolling tightly. Turn the roll seam down when you are done rolling, and then cut dough into 1/2 inch slices. Place slices into foil cake pan that is greased with non-stick cooking spray (you should be able to fit 6-7 rolls per pan; one entire log will make approximately 20-25 rolls total). Continue this process with the second half of the dough. When rolls are in the pans, cover each pan with a kitchen towel and set aside, letting the rolls continue to rise for at least 20 minutes. Then, remove towels and bake for approximately 15-18 minutes, or until rolls are golden.

When the rolls are baking, prepare icing. In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, dairy-free milk and butter, coffee and salt. Add the maple flavoring and continue to whisk until smooth. The icing should be thick, but pourable; feel free to alter ingredient amounts until the icing reaches the desired sweetness and consistency.

While rolls are done, remove from oven and immediately pour icing on top. Be generous with icing, making sure to get all around the edges and on top. When done, you can serve immediately, store in the refrigerator or even freeze. ENJOY!

*When re-heating from the refrigerator or freezer, cover the rolls with foil and heat at 325 degrees until warm throughout; you may uncover the rolls for the last 5 minutes or so.

To see the Pioneer Woman's original post for her cinnamon rolls, click here!