Overnight Double-the-Cinnamon Rolls

Posted by on April 4, 2009 | 31 Comments

Thank you all for your great simple food ideas! I have already started enjoying some. Feel free to add in your favorites if you haven’t already.

So, last week my husband bought a small tray of cinnamon buns from the grocery store … that I couldn’t eat. No, he wasn’t being mean. In fact, since I was sick and I usually prepare him some breakfast in the morning (otherwise he will forget and get grumpy), he was being thoughtful (thoughtful I said, not healthy) by getting an easy  breakfast treat for himself. But darn it, those looked good. I wanted some … but they were riddled with dairy [if you are new, quick update: I was born with  a milk allergy that I did not outgrow, and thus live dairy-free – in fact, I wrote the book on it].

Well, my cold finally showed signs of letting up yesterday. Though still a bit sniffly and with the occasional coughing fit, the spring in my step returned, the dizziness subsided, and my taste buds came roaring back … and they were still craving those darn cinnamon buns.

So, what do you do on a Friday night? Well, I bake cinnamon buns … half way. You see, all of those recipes that require you to make cinnamon buns from scratch in the morning seem ridiculous. I am hungry in the morning! I don’t want to wait for dough prep and two whole rising times before I can sink my teeth into those babies. No, a little forethought is in order.

Vegan Overnight Double-the-Cinnamon Buns

As luck would have it, I was out of eggs. So these cinnamon rolls are vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), but don’t let that fool you, they are incredibly tender and delicious. You won’t know the difference between these and those fluffy store-bought cinnamon rolls. In fact, my husband swore that these were much better. As verified by the quantity he ate before I could even take a picture …

Vegan Overnight Double-the-Cinnamon Buns

Plus, I suppose these could even be called “pantry cinnamon rolls” for their use of basic everyday ingredients that require no refrigeration … how cool is that?! Did I mention I found another way to use up overripe bananas?

Overnight Double-the-Cinnamon Rolls

(Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, can be Soy-Free) – Inspired by a recipe on Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk


  • 1 Package Active Dry Yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Milk (or other milk alternative), heated to lukewarm
  • 3 Cups Bread Flour or All-Purpose Flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Mashed Ripe Banana*
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil or Margarine, melted (I used coconut oil; can sub other oil if needed)
  • 1 Tablespoon White Sugar or Evaporated Cane Juice


  • 1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons Margarine or Coconut Oil (I used margarine)


  • 3/4 Cup Sifted Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Water as needed (1 to 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Maple Syrup (optional)
  • Margarine or Coconut Oil (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast and the warm milk alternative, and let it rest for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, and salt, and set aside. Returning to the yeast, mix in the banana, melted oil or margarine (I used coconut oil), and sugar. Add half of the flour mixture to your mixing bowl and stir to combine. Slowly mix in the rest of the flour until a nice dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead it for 10 minutes or so, adding more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed to keep it from sticking to your hands. You should end up with a fairly soft dough that is just slightly sticky. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and allow it to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size. Tip: I actually mix the dough by hand in a round pyrex baking dish with a glass lid. When done making the dough, the bowl is still lightly floured/greased (I cheat and even knead the dough in the bowl), and I just pop the lid on and set it aside to rise.

Punch the dough down; cover and let rest for 5 minutes. While that is resting, combine the filling ingredients. If using chilled margarine, you should end up with coarse crumbles. If you are like me and use softened margarine, you will get big soft globs of sugar. Oil or shortening should work okay, but I do like margarine for the filling.

Roll the dough into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture (it won’t fully cover, just evenly spread it out in small pieces as much as possible). Roll up the rectangle tightly, from the long side, pinch the seam to seal, dabbing it with a bit of water if needed. Cut the roll into 12 even slices. Place the slices in a greased 9-inch square or round baking pan**, cut sides down. Give them a little bit of space, as they will rise. Cover with plastic wrap, and pop them in the fridge to rise overnight.

In the morning, pull the cinnamon rolls from the fridge and place them on top of the stove while you preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake them for 20-25 minutes, or until they are a light golden brown (I like them on the less browned side).

Let those piping hot cinnamon buns cool while you whisk together the glaze. Really all you need to do is whisk the powdered sugar with the vanilla extract and start with just a tablespoon of hot water, adding more only as needed. I also added some pure maple syrup, which I thought mellowed out the powdered sugar and added nice flavor, and I also added about a teaspoon or so of coconut oil to help round it out. Do what you like best, taste-testing as you go of course!

Serve up the cinnamon buns and drizzle with as much glaze as you like, or for less of a sugar rush, enjoy them as is.

Yields 12 cinnamony buns

Notes / Options:

* No Banana? – Like the recipe from Don’t Eat of the Sidewalk, you can use pumpkin puree or sweet potato puree in equal amounts to substitute for the banana. Heck, you may even be able to use applesauce … or some dairy-free yogurt!

** Pan Size – I actually didn’t have any 9 x 9 pans, so I used an 8-inch cake pan, fit nine cinnamon rolls in it (giving them each a wee bit of room to expand) and popped the other three, cut sides down in three muffin tins. The ones in the muffin tins cooked up just a few minutes faster. Feel free to wedge these babies into whatever size pans you have available. Give them just a bit of room, but not too much; you want them to rise, but also to be smooshed together once they rise and bake for that tender, pull-apart affect.

Vegan Overnight Double-the Cinnamon Buns

Comments (31)


  1. Hannah says:

    Yumm, what a nice treat to wake up to. 🙂

  2. I can’t believe you made these! They look absolutely amazing. If only I could work out a way to make mine look like with without the gluten or sugar. How I miss baking flour.

  3. Deb Schiff says:

    Wow, Alisa! These are gorgeous! Fantastic photo. Do they taste banana-y?

  4. Ricki says:

    Gorgeous! And I agree, it’s much more practical to start the day before!

  5. alisa says:

    Surprisingly, even with two bananas smashed inside, not a hint of banana flavor … which is why I decided not to call them banana cinnamon buns. But, the bananas do offer a pleasant sweetness to the dough. Most sweet doughs use quite a bit more sugar, but this one doesn’t need it.

  6. looks great!! i love the idea of using banana 🙂

  7. Vegetation says:

    I haven’t yet ventured into the art of making cinnamon rolls. I have wanted to, desperately, but the whole spending all day minding them thing wasn’t a goer for me. These however are just perfect! Yum!

  8. Diann says:

    These look fantastic! I love that you used banana and coconut oil (and no eggs!).

  9. RecipeGirl says:

    Wow, these are genius. YUMM!!! Yep, I pretty much hate those recipes that have you waiting for the cinnamon rolls to rise forever… it’s not like you want to eat them at Noon.

  10. Mihl says:

    These look wonderful!I wanna bite right into one. Making yeasted goods over night is always such a good idea.

  11. Sarah says:

    These look fantastic! They may make an appearance at my family’s Easter morning breakfast!

  12. Sarena says:

    These look so good! I have considered using over ripe bananas for cinnamon rolls before, but I think I would get busted for it. Can you taste the banana in them? I want to try pumpkin too, but again, I fear I would be the only one eating them!

  13. Alicia says:

    I’ll be making these this weekend when the in-laws come in town. Perfect breakfast for when you have guests. I have some bananas ripening right now.

  14. Maggie says:

    The bananas in these sound really interesting! I have to make them and not tell my son and husband and see if they notice anything.

  15. Wow, they look gorgeous! Sure, you don’t want to go gluten free, too, so you can be “testing” recipes for me? 😉 This recipe probably should be fairly easy to convert to gluten free though and I do have some “baking” bananas on the counter right now. 🙂

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog!

  16. Oh, forgot to say … awesome that you wrote a book on going dairy free. I just looked at it on Amazon. Such terrific reviews! Writing a book has to be such hard work so getting such feedback must be incredibly rewarding. 🙂


  17. Jodye says:

    Oh my, these look wayyy too good to resist. Cinnamon rolls, here I come!

  18. Ex Girlfiend says:

    Hey, cool tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a glass of beer to the man from that forum who told me to visit your site 🙂

  19. Kevin says:

    Those look so good! It would be great to wake up to those fro breakfast!

  20. Andrea says:

    I love that these are vegan! They look so good I can almost taste them. Now I want cinnamon buns.

  21. Xiaolu says:

    I just tried these and they’re great! I got 16 rolls. Unfortunately I tried to squeeze them into a smaller pan than they needed, so some didn’t rise as well. They’re still delicious though, especially with my substitution of leftover penuche frosting thinned out with milk (or non-dairy milk) as glaze. Thanks!

  22. Kirsten says:

    Have you tried this recipe “Gluten free”? with coconut/almond flour? or would you have any suggestions for that? Thanks!

  23. Erin says:

    Wowza, those are beaut.

    Are they for sale? LOL!

  24. Emilee says:

    Thanks for these! I made them with an egg and just 1/2 cup banana and they were fabulous! We ate one pan and froze the rest to take camping, and they were just as good the second time around.

  25. Emma says:

    Just thought I’d tell you that apple sauce works brilliantly as a substitute for the banana and gives an excellent sweetness to the dough.
    Thankyou so much for the recipe, I only discovered it last week and my third batch is proving now 🙂

  26. […] the oil in many baking recipes and can also be used instead of eggs.  One example is Alisa’s Cinnamon Roll Recipe on One Frugal Foodie.  Delicious!  Of course, frozen bananas can also be dipped in chocolate and eaten as a […]

  27. Shelly says:

    I popped these in the oven this morning and they turned out wonderfully fluffy and soft! I used apple sauce instead of the banana and rice milk (son also has a nut allergy). My technique was not as pretty as yours so I guess I’ll just have to make these over and over again until I get it right! Thanks for sharing.

  28. Deanna says:

    Making these to enjoy tomorrow (Easter) morning! Thanks for the recipe!

  29. Alisa says:

    (My name is also Alisa, what a thing). I’m in the middle of making this recipe. The rolls are rising in the pans presently. Just wanted to say that this must be the best dough recipe I’ve followed, to date. The portions were right on the mark. I didn’t have a wet dough that needed desperate additions of flour.
    I never even thought I could make something like this, but they’re looking awesome so far! Just the glaze to do a little later.

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