On the hunt for some healthier desserts? These fluffy Vegan Ube Cinnamon Rolls are decadent yet refined-sugar-free! Filled with naturally sweet purple sweet potato, these rolls use less sugar and butter than their traditional counterpart.
Not to mention, the ube has healthy carbs, vitamins, and fiber. These vegan cinnamon rolls are all around good for your soul and your body!
What is Ube?
Ube is a yam rich with a purple color that originates from the Philippines. Also known as a purple yam, it has a mild nutty flavor and is perfectly sweet. It’s widely used in desserts and is known for its bold violet-purple color. You can find more info on Ube here! Although they’re not technically the same, you can interchange purple sweet potato instead of ube in this recipe! I found my purple sweet potato at Whole Foods.
how to make fluffy cinnamon rolls
Who doesn’t love fluffy cinnamon rolls? Want to know the secret? In my experience, the trick is to use enough fat (vegan butter) in the dough and make sure you knead the dough long enough!
Prepping the yeast
The first step to these cinnamon rolls is prepping the yeast. In order for yeast to rise, it needs to be ‘fed’. Yeast is activated by warming it and ‘feeding’ it with a little fructose. You’ll want to warm your almond milk in the microwave (or on the stovetop) until it’s warm to the touch but not scalding. If the milk is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
You’ll want to divide the milk and maple syrup in half and combine half of each into a small bowl. Once the maple syrup dissolves into the almond milk slightly, you can add in the yeast. It should bubble and froth up after a few minutes. If your yeast isn’t frothing up, then it’s likely not activated and it won’t rise the dough properly. Make sure to check the expiration date of the yeast if this is the case.
You’ll then add this yeast mixture, with the remaining wet ingredients, to the flour mixture. Then, stir them together until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms.
Kneading the Dough
Next, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it for 10 minutes until the exterior surface is smooth and no longer sticky. This part is super important! I’ve made cinnamon rolls where I don’t knead the dough as long, and the end result is not nearly as fluffy. This is a crucial step, so set a timer and put on some good music to knead for 10 minutes!
The dough will need to rise after being kneaded. You’ll want to oil a bowl (with a little melted vegan butter, or cooking spray), then place the dough ball into the bowl.
To keep the dough from drying out, cover the bowl with a damp (but not soaking wet), paper towel or tea towel. In order to rise, the dough needs to be placed in a warm place for about 1 hour. I like to place mine in my microwave (make sure not to run it!) or in my oven (turned off).
The dough is done rising when it’s doubled in size, and you can poke it with your finger and the indention stays in the dough.
Rolling out the dough
After the first rise, it’s time to roll out the dough! You can flour a surface or use some parchment paper to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter. I like to roll my dough into a rectangle 10” by 14” long, about 1/4″ thick. Then, spread the ube / purple sweet potato filling on the rolled out dough.
You’ll also want to make a cinnamon-sugar mixture to go inside the rolls! You can mix cinnamon and coconut sugar together and then sprinkle it on the sweet potato leaving a 1“ border along the edges. If you don’t have coconut sugar, this article lists tons of coconut sugar substitutes that you could use instead!
Next, roll the dough and filling up lengthwise, and cut it into 10 rolls, about 1 1/2 inch wide pieces.
The dough needs to rise a second time after rolling it up, so place the rolls into a greased baking pan. I used a cast-iron skillet in this recipe, but you could use a glass baking pan or even a round cake pan to bake the rolls. Make sure to cover the rolls with a damp towel and let them rise for another 30 minutes.
Since these ube cinnamon rolls are refined sugar-free, today I’m making a simple non-dairy cream cheese icing with maple syrup. For the icing, I prefer to use a neutral-tasting vegan cream cheese. My favorite brands are Trader Joe’s and Go Veggie. The flavor of both of these cream cheeses pairs really well with the sweetness of this roll.
I’ve tried these cinnamon rolls with stronger cultured vegan cream cheese like Miyoko’s Vegan Cream Cheese, but do not recommend it. While this cream cheese is great in savory applications since it has a much tangier flavor that doesn’t pair well with these sweet rolls.
These vegan Ube Cinnamon Rolls are so fluffy, sweet, yet lighter than traditional rolls. They have just the right amount of cinnamon inside with a slightly nutty flavor from the purple sweet potato! These rolls are perfect for a weekend breakfast or a lighter dessert.
Looking for some more yummy vegan desserts? Check out these recipes!Baked Grapefruit Donuts
Pomegranate Crumble Bars
35 Minute Cinnamon Rolls (Yeast-Free)
Did you make this recipe? I’d love to know! Leave a rating and comment below!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 cup almond milk, divided, warm but not hot
- 3 ½ tbsp vegan butter, melted (I prefer Earth Balance)
- ¼ cup maple syrup, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup roasted purple sweet potato or ube
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup of coconut sugar, see notes
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
Cream Cheese Drizzle
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 4 oz vegan cream cheese, I recommend Go Veggie brand or Trader Joe’s brand*
- 1 tsp vanilla paste, or extract
- 2 tsp almond milk
To make the dough:
- Mix the yeast in ½ cup of warm almond milk with 2 tbsp of the maple syrup (the almond milk should be about 115°F). Let sit for 10 minutes until frothy.
- While the yeast mixture is sitting, mix the remaining warm almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla together. Add this to the yeast mixture after it's frothy.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center and add the almond milk, yeast mixture, and the melted vegan butter. The dough should come together into a ball and might be slightly sticky to the touch.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes (this part is important!). Sprinkle an additional tablespoon of flour onto the dough at a time as you knead until the dough is soft and no longer sticky to the touch.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled in size.
To make the filling:
- While the dough rises, make the filling. In a food processor add the ube / purple sweet potato, almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pulse until smooth.
- Mix the cinnamon and coconut sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside.
To make the rolls:
- Once risen, punch the dough down and transfer to a floured surface.
- Roll out dough into a rectangle 10” by 14” long, about 1/4 “ thick. Spread the ube on the rolled out dough leaving a 1" border along the edges.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on the ube.
- Roll lengthwise and cut into 10 rolls.
- Place the rolls into a greased baking pan. Cover with a damp towel and rise for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F while the dough rises for a second time.
- Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden on top.
To make the icing:
- While the rolls bake, prepare the icing. Mix together the vegan cream cheese, vanilla extract, almond milk, and maple syrup until smooth. It may be lumpy at first but keep stirring and the mixture will smooth out.
- Let the rolls cool for 5-10 minutes before spreading the icing on top.
* I prefer vegan cream cheese with a more neutral taste. I recommend Trader Joe's brand or Go Veggie brand. I've tried these cinnamon rolls with Miyoko's Vegan Cream Cheese, but do not recommend it since it has a much tangier flavor that doesn't pair well with these sweet rolls.
* If you don't have coconut sugar, you can substitute one of the options listed in this article.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 338Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 171mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 3gSugar: 26gProtein: 6g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
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