If you are following a gluten-free diet you may have lost all hope that you’d ever taste the comforting flavor and chewy texture of a yeasted cinnamon bun. Butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar are an old-fashioned combination that just can’t be beaten! When they are all rolled up into a yeasty round of dough and baked to perfection, it makes the oohs and aahs come forth.
This recipe was created in my kitchen where my children pass in and out frequently in search of home-baked goodness. The day I made these, my son spied the warm-from-the-oven buns sitting on the plate, grabbed one and took his first bite. I said, “Did I mention those are gluten-free?” He said, “It doesn’t matter what they are! They are some of the best cinnamon buns I’ve ever tasted!” They do have a little secret in them…the addition of cinnamon baking chips. These give them a burst of cinnamon flavor in every bite. If you are not inclined to add them to the recipe or don’t have any in your pantry, you can still bake these. How about substituting raisins for the cinnamon chips? Then you will have a raisin in every bite!
This recipe is simple even for beginners in the kitchen and doesn’t require any special equipment to bake them. All you need is a mixing bowl, spoon, and an oven proof baking pan. Parchment baking paper is helpful, but not required.
From start to finish and ready to serve, the time required to make these is less than 2 hours that includes the time the buns are resting and rising. While the buns rise, the topping is prepared in a few minutes and then there is more time left over that you can cross other things off your to-do list for the day. Complete step-by-step instructions and ingredient list to follow.
Cinnamon Buns Ingredients
This recipe has only been tested using this brand of GF Flour. It is the brand I find mimics regular flour the best in baked goods. It also makes amazing Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits!
- Real butter
I am not asking that you churn your own butter, but please use real butter instead of the fake bright yellow spread that resembles liquid plastic.
- Brown sugar
Light or Dark can be used, it’s your preference. Would you like to make your own? Simply add 2 Tablespoons of Grandma’s Molasses to a cup of regular sugar and stir. Presto! You have a cup of light brown sugar.
- Organic ground cinnamon
The cinnamon doesn’t have to be organic but that is a standard in my pantry shelf of spices and seasonings. You can use whatever ground cinnamon you have on hand.
- Walnut pieces
These can be substituted for pecan pieces or eliminated from the recipe if you don’t like nuts. I am a nut lover so you won’t find my cinnamon buns without them!
- Dry instant yeast
If you are not sure that your yeast is fresh and viable, please test it first. Put a heavy pinch of the dry yeast into a 1/4 cup of very warm water along with a tsp. of sugar and a tsp. of flour. Stir it up to allow the yeast to combine into the mixture. If you don’t see bubbles on the surface within a few minutes, you need to buy some fresh yeast.
- Sea salt
Any type of table salt will work in this recipe.
- Organic cane sugar crystals
I prefer this sugar as it has not been bleached out to snow white through processing and is organic. Any table sugar will work in this recipe to achieve good results.
- Organic vegetable shortening (Spectrum brand)
This is the only type of vegetable shortening I will use as other brands labeled “vegetable shortening” in the grocery stores are oh so bad for your body! The brand by Spectrum is made from Organic Palm Oil. Even this I use in moderation only for certain recipes that are made for treats.
- Farm fresh egg
The egg in this recipe is not the star ingredient. But it gives me a thrill to bake goodies at home using the fresh eggs that came straight from my kitchen coop in the backyard. If you aren’t as lucky as me to have your own backyard chickens, any egg will do in this recipe, as long as it is fresh.
- Cinnamon baking chips
Think mini chocolate chips. But these are a beautiful pumpkin color and tastes like a burst of cinnamon! They give you a burst of cinnamon flavor in every bite!
Let’s get baking!
Place these ingredients into a medium-size mixing bowl (3 quart). That will give you plenty of room to stir and beat up the dough. You will need a large stiff spoon to beat the dough. No special equipment or large kitchen mixer is necessary or needed.
- 1 cup Arrowhead Mills organic all-purpose gluten–free flour
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 4 tsp. SAF instant yeast
Stir up briefly. Now stir in:
- 1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
Note: To activate the yeast, the water needs to be very warm but not too hot. Hot liquid will kill the yeast if it is too hot. If it is too cool, the yeast will be sluggish and take a very long time to rise. The best way for beginners to know, without using a thermometer, the correct temperature that yeast will be happy with is to get the faucet water running hot. You should be able to put your finger in it and think “Oh! That’s hot!” but not get burned. Most home hot water heaters are set to 110-120 degrees, so your hot tap water is usually just about right for your recipes that call for yeast.
After adding in the very warm water, stir vigorously until batter is smooth, about 1 minute.
The batter should now be smooth and be thick and sheet off the spoon.
Next, add in:
- 1/4 cup organic vegetable shortening
- 1 Farm fresh egg
Stir briefly. Then add in more GF Flour:
- 1 1/4 cups Arrowhead Mills organic all-purpose gluten–free flour
Stir with the stiff spoon about 2 minutes until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is stiff.
Next, add in:
- 1 cup mini cinnamon chips
Stir in the chips until combined.
Set the dough in the bowl aside momentarily and prepare the baking pan.
Line a baking pan (I used an 8×10 rectangle size) with parchment baking paper.
With clean hands, coat the bottom of the paper with soft butter.
Using buttered hands, pick up portions of the dough and rolls into 2 inch balls (golf-ball-size).
Drop formed dough balls into the parchment-lined and buttered pan.
Set pan in a cold oven (do not turn on or preheat at this point) so the dough can rest away from drafts. Allow it to rise and rest 45-55 minutes. Dough balls will rise and be puffy at the end of the rest time.
While the dough is rising prepare the simple topping mix.
In a small container that will hold approximately 2 cups, mix together with a fork:
- 2 T. Butter
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 t. cinnamon
- 3/4 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
After dough balls have risen, carefully sprinkle on the prepared topping evenly over puffy buns.
Turn on oven to 375 degrees. There is no need to preheat the oven. Make certain baking pan is on mid-lower rack and allow the cinnamon buns to bake for 30-40 minutes. When buns are golden brown remove from the oven. Allow to cool 20 minutes. Lift parchment baking paper carefully from pan and set rolls onto a tray. Pull apart the buns carefully with two forks to separate. Serve warm with fresh squeezed orange juice or ice cold milk. These can be made the day before and warmed to serve hot and fragrant. Simply wrap the buns in parchment baking paper and allow to warm in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes.