Monday, February 24, 2014

low fat whole wheat cinnamon rolls (no yeast required!)

I like to think I have pretty good self control. I don't buy shoes just because they're on sale. I make myself coffee at home every day instead of splurging at Starbucks. I avoid eye contact with the Reese's peanut butter cups as I'm checking out of the grocery store. 

But, we all have our weaknesses, and when it comes to the smell of warm, pillowy, cinnamon sugar goodness, I'm a goner. (Seriously, when I'm alone in an airport, I feel like I have to strategically plot my course to avoid any and all Cinnabons.)

In an effort to satisfy these cravings, and not end up missing a flight just to be found under a pile of empty Cinnabon containers, I had to find an easy, healthy, and quick recipe for cinnamon rolls that I could feel good about. These babies don't need any yeast, take about thirty minutes to whip up, and reheat like a dream. Basically, perfection. My self control thanks me. 

I will admit, things start out a little weird, but trust me on this one. Applesauce is cut into the flour mixture to get the dough started. You can use a pastry cutter for this, but I prefer to use two forks - the last thing I need is another kitchen gadget! Then, the almost-dough gets chilled for ten minutes.

This is a very handy time to get your cinnamon-sugar mixture together and get your butter melted for the filling. (Wouldn't be a cinnamon roll without it!)

With the addition of milk and vinegar, the dough comes together easily. I did 80% of the work in the bowl and finished the kneading off with my hands on the counter. Feel free to add a little more flour if your dough is too tacky. 

Once you get your dough rolled out to about a 1/2 inch thick, things started to get a little messy. At this point, you want to brush on the melted butter, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly, and roll the dough into a log. Once it's rolled up, you can even out any bulges - I find my middle to always get a little thicker than the rest. Then, slice your log into twelve even sections.

Okay, okay. You caught me. I totally said twelve, but only have ten. It was early and I was feeling generous! Either way, you want to make sure you space your rolls out so they have room to grow and bake all the way through.

When they come out of the oven twenty minutes later they will look so good even your kitten will want one. But, if you let them cool for a few minutes while you make a quick icing, they will be taken from "so good" to "life changer". 

And they totally are.

Healthy Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls (No Yeast Required!)
Yields 12 servings


1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour 
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce (I used one small container)
1/2 cup skim milk (can substitute almond)
1 teaspoon white vinegar 
1 tablespoon butter, melted
4 tablespoons sugar 
2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 tablespoons powdered sugar 
1-2 tablespoons skim milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, and salt. Add applesauce and combine until shaggy. Chill in refrigerator for ten minutes.
3. Combine 3 tablespoons sugar with cinnamon and mix.
4. Melt butter and let cool.
5. Remove dough from refrigerator and add milk, vinegar, and remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Combine until dough comes together into a tacky ball. Remove from bowl and knead, adding extra flour if necessary. 
6. Roll dough into an oval shape, about 1/2 inch in thickness.
7. Brush on melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture, and roll into a log. With a sharp knife, cut into 12 even sections.
8. Grease a pie pan and place rolled sections cut side down. Space evenly for even cooking.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
10. While rolls cool, combine powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Pour over rolls and enjoy!

Note: These reheat fantastically in the microwave! 
Vegan Option: Substitute Earth Balance for butter and almond milk for skim.


Calories: 111, Fat: 1g, Carbs: 25g, Protein: 3g

Happy baking!



  1. I was very excited to try making these but I was surprised that I had to add about another half cup of flour before I could knead it. They are cooling right now.... hoping the extra flour didn't kill them!

    1. Hi Anna! Thanks for your comment! I had to tinker with the flour a little bit myself, so I adjusted the recipe to a 1/2 cup of skim milk, which should help. Let me know how your batch came out!

  2. Looks incredibly delicious! Cheers!

  3. I also had the same situation as Anna. I had to add more than 1/2 cup of flour extra in order to be able to knead the dough and keep it together (I used all whole wheat except 1/2 cup so that could have also factored in some because whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid) and I only used 1/2 cup of almond milk. But I just took mine out of the oven and they are still extremely delicious and very soft and fluffy on the inside. I also used plain yogurt instead of applesauce because i didn't have any. :) Thanks for the quick satisfaction of cinnamon rolls!

  4. I finally made your cinnamon buns thanksgiving morning…they were absolutely amazing

  5. Just took them out of the oven. They're delicious! I had the same kneading issue but I think i made conversion errors to metric. Thank you for sharing!

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  8. Oh no! What did I do wrong?? My batch came out hard as rocks :-(

    1. (Two years later) Mine too. :( Maybe my oven is hotter, and I should have baked them less.


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