Cinnamon Rolls (Whole Grain)

cinnamon roll

In a previous post I told you how I  improved a cinnamon roll recipe by replacing some of the starch with sorghum flour.  The result was fabulous.  The rolls tasted just a good as they did before and were still very worthy of Christmas morning.

Well, I just had to try increasing the the amount of sorghum.  I wanted something that was more like a whole grain cinnamon roll.   That’s why I’m submitting this post for Amy’s new blog carnival, Slightly Indulgent Mondays – fabulous food made a little bit healthier.  Be sure to stop by and check out the other ideas.

Interestingly, I just received an email from Jen, one of my readers.  She increased the sorghum slightly and entered them in a county fair.  Her 10 year old daughter won best of the show for food preparation and Jen received 2nd place in the open category.

Our verdict with the change I made was that they tasted very much like a whole grain roll.  The family liked them, but said they were better the other way (with sorghum, but not so much).  These were fine for now, but they’d rather have the others for Christmas.  I really liked the whole grain flavor, but I understood what they meant.  The texture was nice and soft and the dough handled about the same. Note:  I have written an update here with a modification that we liked better.  I have the change in parentheses in the ingredients list.

Since I already have  the recipe posted and I only changed the flour amounts, I’m going to give you the double recipe here.  A single recipe makes eight rolls which is just not enough for my family.  I always make a double recipe, and you might want to also.  If you’re using the single recipe use 3/4 c. each of sorghum and corn starch.

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls – Whole Grain Version
(double recipe)


  • 4 Tb. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/3 c. warm milk (reserve some)
  • 2 eggs cinnamon rolls in pan
  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c. sorghum flour (3/4 c. sorghum & 3/4 c. millet flour worked better)
  • 1 1/2 c. corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tb. instant yeast

Filling (enough for both rolls):

  • 1 – 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 Tb. cinnamon
  • 2/3 c. chopped nuts (optional)


  • 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • milk

Using a mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Mix well. Add the milk (hold back ~1/4 c.), egg, oil, and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the wet mixture. (If you don’t use instant yeast, you should add it to the milk.) Beat on high until well mixed with no lumps.  Add more milk if needed.  The dough should be soft but not like batter.  The first time I made these they were too wet and barely held together. They ended up not being distinct rolls in the dish, but they still tasted great.

Lay out two pieces of plastic wrap and sprinkle them with sugar. Put half the dough on each piece of plastic wrap.  Follow the remaining instructions for each half.  Cover the dough with another piece of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 13 1/2 inch square. Lift the top piece of plastic wrap often and reposition if necessary. You can spray the wrap with cooking spray if the dough is sticking.  It might take two piece of plastic wrap on the top and bottom to accommodate the size.

Combine the filling ingredients. I used 1 c. brown sugar (divided between the two halves).  Remove the top layer of plastic wrap. Spread the filling on the dough leaving a margin at one side. As you roll the dough, the filling with get shifted. The margin keeps it from being pushed all the way out at the end. Roll the dough by lifting up the plastic wrap. Once you get the roll started, it will roll on its own. Once rolled, smooth out the edge. If you want nice clean end pieces, cut a little off each end. I leave them as is. Cut the roll into 8 slices by cutting the roll in half, then cutting each half in half, then cutting the quarters in half. Use a sharp knife. I find it helps to spray it with cooking spray. Spray or grease  two glass pie dishes or  a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Place the rolls in the pan and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Combine the glaze ingredients. Add milk a teaspoon at a time until the glaze is the right consistency. You can adjust the amount of glaze to your taste. Drizzle the glaze over the warm rolls and serve!

View Printable Recipe

For more holiday breakfast recipes visit Ginger Lemon Girl, and for more cinnamon recipes visit Friday Foodie Fix at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.

About Linda Etherton

Linda has been gluten free since 2000 when I was diagnosed with celiac disease which propelled me into the world of gluten-free cooking and baking. I am convinced that gluten-free food can and should be delicious, and I never apologize for serving it.
Connect with Linda online: Facebook | Google+ | Twitter


  1. The cinnamon rolls look great. The last time I tried making some they weren't very good. I'll have to try your version.

  2. Diane-The Whole Gang says:

    I'm drooling. No really, I am. These look so good. I so miss cinnamon rolls. Ok for non-bakers like me what does a package of instant yeast say on it? Does it just say yeast or is it clear and say instant yeast? Also, if we were going to make lots of these to freeze and have on hand for breakfasts do think they would fare well? Have you done this? Of course that assumes I can get them away from hands to freeze them. :-)

  3. Diane, I don't think I've ever seen instant yeast in packets, but the bread machine yeast that comes in jars is the same as instant yeast. Maybe it comes in packets too. It should say instant, rapid rise, or bread machine yeast.

    I haven't tried freezing them yet, but I think it would work well. You can also prepare the rolls the day before, put the pan in the frig, and bake them in the morning.

  4. Heather @CeliacFamily says:

    I'm with Diane, these are making me drool. I have to try these! I love the idea of making these in advance, and baking in the morning.

  5. Amy Green (Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free) says:

    I love the idea of making them more like a whole grain – I'm with you, I'd prefer them that way. Joe would rather have them be more traditional. This is a great addition to Slightly Indulgent Mondays! Thanks so much for participating.

  6. deesgirl says:

    Your cinnamon rolls look wonderful! Have you ever tried Red Ape Cinnamon? Its all I use! Its pure ground cinnamon from Sumatra! It gives a more intense cinnamon taste! Try it you will love it, I promise! I get mine from the internet

  7. deesgirl – No I haven't tried Red Ape cinnamon. It sounds good. Thanks for the tip.

  8. trishtator says:

    These look great. I've tried cinnamon rolls before with another recipe and fought hard with that dough. You make it seem so easy! I think I'll be trying these soon.

  9. Linda, quick question… with these, do you have to use a dough hook with the mixer? Just wondering. These look so good I am thinking of making these for Christmas morning myself! I'll have to take a look at your other Cinnamon Roll recipe too.

  10. Yadi – The dough is quite soft and only needs the paddle to be mixed. In fact, I never use the dough hook for any recipe.

  11. Linda- I finally made these. They are fabulous! We loved them. I will be making them again this week!

  12. Tasty Eats At Home says:

    Yum! I love the idea of making them more whole grain. As much as gluten-free cinnamon rolls would be a treat, I still would rather have two, knowing I'm not TOTALLY filling up on junk food! Might need to make these for the kids soon.

  13. jas389 says:

    I have a diary allergy as well as a wheat allergy – has anyone tried replacing the milk with soy milk or a different type milk?

    I really miss cinnamon rolls but its hard to find a gf and dairy – free recipe


  14. I haven't tried a milk substitute, but I think it would work. Let me know if you try it.

  15. firebear says:

    I made theese this morning….I admit I changed a couple of things, but not much…..these rock! I am so glad I found you site….thank you thank you thankyou

  16. Paula Holt says:

    These were great – this is the third gf cinnamon roll recipe we've tried and we'll be sticking with these. We substituted almond milk and used egg replacer and they turned out amazing. I had to bake them for 30 minutes though. Thanks!

  17. Stephanie says:

    I was happy to find a recipe with sorghum flour. I have lots! Mine are in the oven as I type this… my house smells awesome. Thanks!

  18. Carrie says:

    Linda, your recipes are always amazing! You're so good at recreating old comfort foods like cinnamon rolls! Thank you SO Much for sharing this on my roundup this week! YUM!

  19. BParrish says:

    Making homemade cinnamon rolls is a family tradition that I thought was a thing of the past since discovering my sensitivity to wheat. I can not wait to try this recipe!

  20. Anonymous says:

    you do know that Sorghum flour is wheat flour right?

  21. Anonymous ~ Sorry, but you're mistaken there. Sorghum flour has been used by those on a gluten-free diet for years. You will find it in many gluten-free cook books and recommended by doctors and specialists. Take a look at this article.

  22. I used 1 cup of Coconut Flour and I/2 cup of Brown Rice Flour and didn’t use the xanthan gum. I ended up needing a little more flour to make the dough stick together and added 4 Tbs of coconut flour and 2 Tbs of brown rice flour. I also used only a little over 1/2 cup of brown sugar in the filling. They came out AWESOME. The morning will tell if the kids like them but this is by far the best gluten free recipe I have found.

    Thank you!!!

    • I love it when people experiment with recipes and let me know. Are you saying you used the coconut/brown rice flour combination instead of the sorghum/millet flour, but you still used corn starch?

  23. I’m glad everyone else enjoyed these, but I have to say we did not. I had made some changes, like arrowroot instead of cornstarch and coconut oil instead of veg. oil, but these shouldn’t have drastically changed the outcome. We’re used to eatting less sugar and fat, and these were too much like the ‘store’ version. Also, without putting some type of fat in with the cinnamon sugar mix (in the past using melted butter brushed over the dough first), it was dry and unpleasant. I realize now that I don’t usually make recipes with that much fat and sugar in them as this recipe had, so it may be something to keep in mind if you’re eatting patterns are more like ours. Even the next day, I found them to be too sweet and rich for them to be ‘good’. But like with every ‘beta’ test in the kitchen, I learned things for future endeavours!

    • Thanks for you input. That’s why I always prefer that people try recipes prior to “the big event” such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or having company. I know I usually try recipes first. These cinnamon rolls are definitely a treat for us. I recently watched a friend make a similar sized recipe of wheat based cinnamon rolls and she used 1 1/2 lbs. of butter! I haven’t found the cinnamon sugar mix to be too dry, but it’s something to consider. I think the problem is that the softness of the dough makes it difficult to spread even soft butter over it. I was thinking of using coconut oil in our rolls this Christmas, but I find that it can change the texture of baked goods, so I’m not sure what I will do. Thanks again for your comment.

  24. I made mine in the slow cooker. I make bread in there, so I thought it might work. I used regular yeast, and in the slow cooker, they rise as they cook. I cooked them for just over 1 1/2 hours on high. I used quinoa flour instead of millet, and they have turned out wonderful.

If you have a question about a recipe (especially substitutions and nutritional information), please read my FAQ page before asking the question in a comment.

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