These vegan cinnamon rolls with apple pie filling will be your new fall baking obsession!
An autumnal riff on my eggless and dairy-free cinnamon roll recipe stuffed with flavorsome homemade apple curd filling. They're essentially apple sticky buns, but instead of being inverted after baking, they have a gooey filling and topping.
📖 Recipe Overview
- Incredibly Fluffy - Based on my tried and tested vegan cinnamon bun recipe, these apple rolls have a soft, plush, and bouncy dough.
- Perfect for Fall - The only thing better than freshly baked cinnamon rolls on a cozy fall morning is these buns with their autumnal twist.
- Customizable - If you're not a fan of apples you can swap out the filling for another vegan curd or even some spiced plum jam.
- Prep-Ahead Recipe - You can prep them the day or night before and refrigerate them until the morning. Then take them out for a second proof and bake - perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas morning.
🧾 Ingredients Needed
Here's everything you need to grab to make these homemade apple pie cinnamon rolls from scratch:
- Vegan Apple Curd - This buttery spread is packed with vanilla and warm apple pie spices. I recommend using Royal Gala apples to make it, but you could also use Golden Delicious or Pink Lady apples.
- Vegan Buttermilk - I swear by this in so many vegan baking recipes and cinnamon buns are no exception. Soy milk makes the best vegan buttermilk due to the high protein content, so try and grab some if you can!
- Vegan Butter - Make sure to use block-style butter, the spreadable kind from a tub or margarine is not recommended here.
- Instant Yeast - This apple bun recipe calls for instant dry yeast. If you are using active dry yeast, it must be activated first. Add the yeast to warm vegan buttermilk with a spoon of granulated sugar and mix to activate the yeast. Once the mixture begins bubbling and foaming (after about 5-10 minutes), it’s ready to go!
- Brown Sugar - I use light muscovado, but conventional light or dark brown sugar or grated jaggery can also be used. The brown sugar melts during baking and creates an almost caramel apple flavor.
- Ground Cinnamon - Feel free to add a touch of ground nutmeg and ground ginger for a spiced apple vibe.
- Powdered Sugar - Also known as “icing sugar" or "confectioner's sugar" this powdery white sweetener ensures your dairy-free cinnamon roll icing is perfectly luscious and smooth. If you’re fresh out, you can easily make your own using granulated sugar, cornstarch or potato starch, and a food processor.
🥣 How To Make Cinnamon Rolls With Apple Pie Filling
You can prepare the vegan apple curd up to 3 days ahead and keep it in the fridge until you're ready to fill the rolls. Here's how to make the dough and rolls from scratch:
Step 1: Mix together the dough ingredients into a shaggy dough. Knead it on a clean surface for 5-7 minutes until it forms a smooth ball. Don't be tempted to flour the surface.
Step 2: Clean and dry the bowl and lightly grease it with some oil. Place the dough ball into the bowl and cover the top of the bowl tightly with plastic wrap for the first proof.
Step 3: Place it in a warm part of your kitchen to proof for 1-2 hours until the dough has puffed up and doubled in size.
Step 4: Punch the air out of the proofed dough.
Step 5: Roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle (about 11” x 16”).
Step 6: Carefully spread the apple filling in a thin layer using a spatula - going all the way to the edges.
Step 7: Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the curd in an even layer.
Step 8: Carefully and tightly roll the dough into a log. Mark the log into 9 portions.
Step 9: Use unflavored toothfloss to cut them into sections, with slow and steady pressure. You can also use a very sharp knife - toothfloss works best!
Step 10: Place the rolls in a baking dish lined with parchment paper for their second proof (I use a 10.5"x 7.5" dish). Cover with plastic wrap or foil.
Step 11: Let them proof in a warm place for 1-2 hours until they rise and double in size. Bake for 20-24 minutes until the tops are light golden brown.
Step 12: Let the sticky apple buns cool slightly for 15 minutes and frost with apple cider glaze.
Tightly cover any leftover apple sweet rolls, or place them in a sealed container. They will keep at room temperature for about 2 days, but I highly recommend serving them on the first day as they are best served fresh.
You can also refrigerate them for up to 4 days. Take them out of the fridge an hour before serving to let them soften.
Yes, you can dice up 1-2 apples and use them in the filling. I recommend using either cooking apples or Granny Smiths and gently fry them off with some butter until slightly softened but not mushy. Then wait for them to cool to room temperature before adding them to the filling (on top of the apple curd).
🥧 More Fall Baking
Cinnamon Rolls With Apple Pie Filling
- Preparation: Make a batch of vegan buttermilk. Slowly melt the vegan butter (for the dough) in a saucepan over low heat or in the microwave. Be careful not to heat it, you just want to warm it enough to melt.
- Make the dough: Add the melted butter and vanilla extract to the vegan buttermilk and mix. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and use a spatula to bring the mixture together into a shaggy dough.
- Knead: (By hand) Turn the dough out onto a clean dry surface. Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes until it forms a smooth ball. DON'T be tempted to flour the surface, the dough will be very sticky at the start but it will come together once ready. If it gets too messy, you can wash and dry your hands halfway through the process. A dough scraper is also very useful to frequently scrape up any dough that sticks to the surface.
- 1st proof: Clean and dry the bowl and lightly grease it with some oil. Place the dough ball into the bowl and cover the top of the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm part of your kitchen to proof for 1-2 hours until the dough has puffed up and doubled in size. Meanwhile, take the apple curd out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature so it becomes more spreadable.
- Punch the air out of the dough + roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle (about 11”x16”).
- Fill the rolls: Carefully spread the apple curd in a thin layer using a spatula - going all the way to the edges. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the curd in an even layer.
- Carefully and tightly roll the dough into a log. Mark the log into 9 portions. Use unflavored toothfloss to cut them into sections, with slow and steady pressure. You can also use a very sharp knife - toothfloss works best!
- 2nd proof: Place the rolls in a baking dish (I use a 10.5"x 7.5" dish) lined with parchment paper + cover with plastic wrap or foil. Let them proof in a warm place for 1-2 hours until they rise and double in size. Alternatively, to make overnight cinnamon rolls you can place them in the fridge for up to 24 hours at this stage. Then take them out to sit at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until they double in size.
- Bake: Preheat the oven to 175°C(347°F). Bake for 20-24 minutes until the tops are light golden brown. Cool slightly for 15 minutes.
- Frosting: Whisk together the ingredients until smooth + swirl on top of the warm buns. Dust with a little more ground cinnamon if desired.
- Storage: Tightly cover any leftover rolls, or place them into an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for 1-2 days, or you can refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Take them out of the fridge an hour before serving to let them soften.
- I recommend measuring with a scale. If you must measure with cups make sure to measure your flour correctly.
- Yeast: This recipe calls for instant dry yeast, if you are using active yeast, it will need to be activated first. to activate, add the yeast to warm buttermilk with a spoonful of sugar and stir. Once the mixture begins bubbling and foaming (about 5-10 minutes), it’s ready.
- My apple curd recipe makes 500g, so you will need a half batch for this recipe. You can prepare the apple curd up to 3 days ahead and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.
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