Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

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This homemade cinnamon rolls recipe is the perfect alternative to store-bought!

I have to tell you, I didn’t think I could do this. The truth is, I try a lot of things for the first time in the interest of bringing you all a new recipe. As a result, I have plenty of “experiments” that end up in the trash (Good thing I don’t blog about those, it’s not pretty!)

Clean Eating Cinnamon Rolls shown up close on a white platter. You can see the glaze of honey over the buns and pieces of pecans are sprinkled over the top.

So when I set out to try this Clean Eating Cinnamon Rolls recipe for the first time, you guessed it, most of it went in the trash. I have never before in my life made cinnamon rolls and I just couldn’t fathom trying to bake and eat the disaster that lay before me on the counter.

But being the brave soul that I am, I cut off a small portion and put it in the oven just to see how it would turn out, and you’ll never guess what happened. The timer went off, I opened the oven, and I had a very small batch of nearly perfect clean eating cinnamon rolls before me (Yes, I cursed myself for throwing out so much of the recipe).

So taking note of a few things that I thought should change, I decided I’d give it another shot.

Well, little changes can make a HUGE difference in baking. And while I still had an absolute mess in my kitchen by the time I was done, I ended up with the most fabulous clean eating cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had!

So if you decide to try this recipe, I’m not saying it will be the tidiest experience you’ve ever had in the kitchen, but I am saying it will definitely be worth it!

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Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe Card

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Clean Eating Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

Note: This recipe will require 3 hours of total rising time. So plan accordingly.
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Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 48 minutes
Servings: 15 rolls, approximate
Calories: 272kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry



  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp. honey
  • cup warm water (100-115 degrees F)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (regular milk works too)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil + extra on reserve
  • 1 large egg
  • cups whole wheat pastry flour (affiliate link)


  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp. molasses
  • ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour (affiliate link)
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon


  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • (This will all be done in one large mixing bowl)
  • Pour the yeast into the bowl and mix in the warm water and the ½ teaspoon honey. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Now, add the almond milk, ¼ cup honey, salt olive oil, and eggs to the yeast mixture. Whisk gently until combined.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour. When it’s partially mixed and too thick to mix with the spoon any longer, begin kneading by hand. This will be very sticky at first, but you’ll find that the more you knead, the more the gluten starts to pull everything together. In the end, you’ll have a fairly firm ball of dough. So keep kneading (about 10-15 minutes).
  • Coat the ball of dough in a thin layer of olive oil and set back in the bowl. Cover with a towel and let stand for 1 hour to rise.
  • Punch down the dough, and cover again. Let it sit for another hour.
  • Punch down the dough one last time, cover and let sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the filling.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, blend all your filling ingredients together. You should have a nice, thick, molasses-like filling when you are done mixing.
  • On a generously floured surface, roll out your dough. Again, be generous with the flour. If you are not, the dough will stick to your counter making the rolling process a real chore. Roll the dough into a rectangle. Cut with a knife if necessary and place the cut offs in the center of the dough to be rolled back in with the rolling pin (no wasting good dough here!) In fact, if you look closely at the photo above, you can see the lines in the dough where I rolled my cut-offs back in.
  • Pour the honey mixture onto the middle of your rolled dough.
  • Smear on your filling. Make sure it only touches 3 of the four sides of your rectangle.
  • Roll the dough, starting with the side that has the honey mixture up to the edge.
  • When you get it rolled almost all the way, use your fingers to “paint” some water onto the edge of the dough that does not have any honey mixture on it. Give the dough one final roll so the dough will be “glued shut” by the water.
  • Note: If you get to this point and feel like you should just throw the whole thing in the trash, you’re probably doing it right. Did I mention this recipe is messy?
  • Cut the roll into approximately 1 inch strips, and place each strip in an oiled baking pan or casserole dish. You want the dish to be too big for all your rolls as they will still need room for rising and baking. But don’t go overboard, or your filling will seep out during baking. Better to have them fit snuggly after they have risen than still have too much room. Gauge accordingly.
  • Cover the dish with a towel and let the dough rise, one last time, for 1 hour.
  • Preheat your oven to 375° F.
  • If using the pecans, sprinkle them on now. Place rolls in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes.
  • Allow to cool and squeeze some honey over the top of the rolls.


Please note that the nutrition data is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1roll | Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 60mg | Potassium: 185mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1.7mg
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  1. Do you think I could use soy milk or skim milk instead of almond milk? My boyfriend is a cinnamon roll lover but he is allergic to all tree nuts! 🙁

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Abby – Definitely!

  2. Being of Pennsylvania Deutch heritage I have eaten my share of cinnamon buns (aka sticky buns). I’d suggest using the white whole wheat flour-more gluten (wheat protein) than pastry flour, which you want with a yeast dough to trap the gasses as the dough rises. Also the pecans and/or raisins are usually sprinkled on the filling before you roll them up and into the pan along with the honey, etc. When they are finished you invert the pan onto a platter or baking sheet and the caramelized honey (ok, it usually was brown sugar). The gooey stuff then runs down the outside of the buns. Mmmmm. They are wonderful warm.
    My mother uses the same dough recipe she uses for stollen at Christmas time. I used to use a recipe from a PA Dutch cookbook that starts the night before and gets finished in the morning. It has water from boiling potatoes in it-an old fashioned preservative that helps them keep longer. It is really a fastnacht recipe, but I used it for sticky buns, too. It makes a ton! I guess big farm families had big appetites.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jodi – Thanks! Great insight! I’ll try that the next time I make them.

  3. They aren’t pretty, but they sure do look SUPER YUMMY! I will be trying this for our Thanksgiving breakfast, for sure. Thank you for working so hard on this recipe!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Mandie – Cinnamon rolls are ALWAYS pretty, no matter how ugly they are. lol

  4. Tami@nutmegnotebook says:

    Isn’t funny how sometimes what we think is a mistake turns out to be awesome! Those really did turn out looking good but oh what a mess it made!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for you kind words! I will be back. I have many of your recipes selected to try!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tami – Fantastic! Let me know which ones you like best! And yes, I LOVE it when a mistake turns out to be yummy! lol

  5. Making these right now and I have to say that making them gives a whole new meaning to “sticky” buns!! Can’t wait to bake ’em and eat ’em!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Shawna – LOL. Yes, they are a bit sticky. But well worth the mess!

  6. Wowzers!!!! These were delicious! I can’t believe how easy, clean and delicious they are.. I did sub soy for Almond milk, and used whole wheat flour- No complaints. Definately a must keep recipe. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jenny – Yay!!! I’m so excited you enjoyed them! I ended up making two batches, and both were gone before I could blink. They really are tasty! So glad you found a ‘must keep’!

  7. Yum, yum, yum! I think this has “Thanksgiving morning” written all over it.:) My husband will be ecstatic!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sarah – You betcha!!

  8. Charlotte says:

    I just tried this and I used whole wheat flour instead of the pastry flour and they were very yummy. My kids ate 2 each and my husband is eating them and he usually does not eat my whole wheat creations.
    Thank you for the recipe

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Charlotte – You’re welcome! I just love it when husbands like my recipes! lol

  9. They look soooo good. I can’t wait to try this recipe! I’d love to do this on Thanksgiving morning, but I don’t think I’ll have the time or energy to do much more than pop them in the oven. Do you think it could be modified to be an overnight recipe, maybe by popping them in the fridge after step 13? I don’t know much about baking, so I’ll bow to your wisdom on this. 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      L – I’ve never tried. I imagine you could do everything (including letting them rise the last time in the baking dish) and then cover and put in fridge overnight. But I can’t guarantee the results. I have no idea if it would work. You could also just make these the night before and have them ready in the morning.

      If you try it, please let me know! I’d love to know that myself!

  10. I’m reporting back from the other side of Thanksgiving! I made the rolls up through step 13 on Wednesday night and put them in the fridge overnight. On Thursday morning, I took them out about an hour before baking (they had risen in the fridge) and picked up the baking instructions. My family and I thought they turned out great! It was my first time with the recipe, so I can’t guarantee they were exactly the same, but they were sooooo good.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      L – That’s fantastic! Thanks for letting me know! So happy you enjoyed them!

  11. These sound wonderful. Any nutritional information for them? Thanks! If you can post it, that would be great, if not, where should I look?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kat – Just added them.

  12. Made these for Christmas morning. They got an Awesome rating from the kids!!

    Also prepped them the night before like L did and they turned out just fine!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lynn – That’s so wonderful! I’m so happy you all enjoyed them! Happy New Year!

  13. trude wofford says:

    oh yummmmmm! with a cup of coffee for a sunday morning treat- thanks you so much Tiffany

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Trude – Oh yes! Definitely a cup o’ joe!

  14. Samantha Fitzenrider says:

    These came out great the first time I made them. I’m going for another go this time too.
    If you lay parchment paper down on your counter-top it helps keep the mess down & the dough comes up very easily.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Samantha – Fantastic! Good to know, thank you. I’m so happy you enjoyed them! In fact, I may have to make another batch here very soon…

  15. Made the rolls this morning. Can’t believe how great they are. I was worried because mine were not messy at all. Maybe because I used white whole wheat flour – could not find pastry flour. I didn’t have any molasses and added raisins. So Yummyyyyyy!!!!!
    Thank you!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Anna – Cooking/baking is all about adaptation! Great job!

  16. I finally made these today. I have to say when I got to the kneading part I never thought it would never get less sticky. But, sure enough after about 15 mins it did! I thought these were very tasty. I expected them to be more ooey, gooey once baked but they absorbed quite a bit of the filling. So, next time I might try doubling the filling. But overall…YUM!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jen – Fabulous!! I’m so happy you enjoyed them. Doubling the filling would be yummy for sure!

  17. Do you think you could put the ingredients into a bread machine and run the “dough” cycle and then continue the recipe?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Shel – I’m not sure, since I don’t have a bread machine. But if all it’s doing is kneading, then it should be okay, I would think.

      1. Navywife_carrie says:

        I did it and they came out perfect, I’m lazy!!!!

        1. Anonymous says:

          Navywife – Fabulous! Thanks for the input!

  18. Anonymous says:

    EliseMM – Yes! Floss works amazingly well!

  19. Talishacomer05 says:

    Can you make and freeze the extras for later?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Talisha – If you package them tightly in plastic and then in a ziplock bag with the air pressed out, yes.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Navywife – Thanks for the tips!

  21. graciouspantry says:

    Amanda – That sounds crazy good!!!

  22. MommyOf2Boys says:

    You are AMAZING!! Thank you for sharing all of your WONDERFUL recipes!!! 🙂

    1. graciouspantry says:

      MommyOf2Boys – You’re welcome! I hope you enjoy these!

  23. graciouspantry says:

    RhiAnnon – Any milk you normally use will be fine.

  24. graciouspantry says:

    Stacey – I’m sorry, but I know nothing about gluten free cooking/baking. Try Elana’s Pantry. She’s great with that kind of thing.

  25. graciouspantry says:

    Jessica – I highly recommend it. But WHITE whole wheat flour may work as well.

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