Paleo Cinnamon Buns

April 9, 2013 in Categories: , by

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Paleo Cinnamon Buns | The Paleo MomWhen I was a teenager, my Uncle Bill taught me how to make real cinnamon buns.  You know, the kind with yeast-based bread?  It was a revelation and became one of my favorite treats to make.  One batch would make a whole delicious pan, full of thousands of gluten-filled calories.  And last about an hour.  To this day the smell of cinnamon reminds me of family vacations (which often ended up being adventures) to visit my uncle.

My oldest daughter especially loves cinnamon, so I was inspired to try and modify my yeast-based paleo bread recipes to create a paleo adaptation of my once famous cinnamon buns.  It actually took some fairly major modifications to the bread recipes to make a dough elastic and solid enough to roll.  Compared to the regular cinnamon buns that I used to make, these are not quite as fluffy nor as elastic (and capturing that texture wasn’t worth using a gut irritating ingredient like xanthum gum or psyllium husk, since they are pretty awesome as is).  But, I was able to capture the flavor and a nice bready texture.  My kids are in love.

I’ve made these twice now, once more generously filled with sugar and cinnamon and once more stingy.   I think they work better when you’re more generous, but they do work if you want to cut the cinnamon filling in half and makes these a little less sweet.  The photos are actually from the stingier batch, but the recipe reflects the more generous filling.

These roll fairly easily.  They are a little tricky to cut though.  If you want perfect looking cinnamon buns, I would suggests  rolling out each one individually instead of making the usual big long role and slicing off individual rolls.  But, as you can see from the pan, they still look yummy, and they still pull apart enticingly well.

Paleo Cinnamon Buns

Ingredients (filling):

  1. Combine sugar and spices in a bowl or spice shaker.

Ingredients (bread):

  1. Bring ingredients to room temperature (this is most important with ground nuts, almond flour, eggs and butter).
  2. Proof the yeast (which means wake it up and get it growing).  To do this, combine yeast, honey and warm water (should be luke warm, not too hot).  In about 10 minutes, it should be foaming.
  3. While waiting for the yeast to proof, combine the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer (you could also use a Bread Machine to warm and mix your ingredients).
  4. Add the yeast and then mix on low speed for at least 5 minutes (up to about 10 if you get distracted).
  5. While you’re waiting, grease a 9″x13″ pan (you could also use a rimmed baking sheet or a muffin pan).
  6. If you have a silicone rolling mat, use that.  Otherwise, line your counter with parchment (probably two sheets overlapping).  In either case, grease the mat or the parchment with butter, lard or palm shortening.
  7. Pour out your sticky bread dough onto your prepared surface.  Grease your hands and flatten the dough into a big rectangle about 1/2″ thick by hand.
  8. Spread butter over the surface of your rectangle.  Sprinkle the entire surface with the sugar and spice mix.
  9. Now roll the dough into a log.
  10. Using a sharp knife, but 1-2″ thick slices of your dough log and transfer to your prepared pan.  It helps to clean any dough off your knife in between each cut.   Space at least 1″ apart in the pan.  You can cut as man cinnamon buns as you want.  This makes 12 quite large cinnamon buns or 18 smaller ones (I did a baker’s dozen).  Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect swirls.  As you can see from my picture, some are perfect some aren’t.  They all taste good.  If you have a reason why these need to look perfect, roll them out individually instead of the log method.
  11. Let rise in a warm corner of your kitchen for 45 minutes (I let mine rise in the oven with the light on and the door a crack open, and then take out to rise the last ten minutes on the stovetop while the oven is preheating).  It’s normal for them to not rise very much but they will then puff up much more while baking.
  12. Preheat oven to 375F with oven rack in the top third of your oven.
  13. Bake for 25-30 minutes (closer to 20 minutes if you made them smaller).
  14. Enjoy!

Paleo Cinnamon Buns | The Paleo Mom





My mouth is watering just looking at them. I’m gonna ask my hubby to make them for a special occasion. They look so yummy!

Thank you PaleoMom! I miss cinnamon rolls! My favorite way to cut cinnamon rolls out of a log is with floss! Just slide the floss under the roll however thick you want the slices, wrap around, pull strings across each other until they pull through the log. There you have it, cleanly sliced rolls every time! 🙂

Yum! Thanks for sharing! Cinnamon rolls used to be our birthday morning breakfast. We changed our eating habits in January and I’ve been trying to figure out what special breakfast I can make for my son’s 7th birthday in May…I just found the answer! 🙂 Out of curiosity, have you ever tried making the dough ahead of time and freezing or refrigerating until time to bake? Just wondering if I need to do it all the morning of or if any steps can be prepped ahead of time. Also, I don’t have a stand mixer, but I do have a bread machine. If I used my bread machine to mix the dough, would you still proof the yeast prior to adding or would I layer the wet/dry/yeast in the machine as with other bread? Sorry for all the questions — I’m new to bread making and using yeast. 🙂 Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge on this amazing site!

I would make the whole thing ahead of time and then reheat the cinnamon buns in the morning if you want them warm. If you use your bread machine, you can just throw all the ingredients in there (no proofing required).

I have Celiac Disease and can’t eat wheat, and am trying Paleo foods and loving them. The only problem (only! HA!) is that I can’t eat nuts either because they trigger three-day migraines that don’t respond to medication.

So that means I’m left with grinding up my own sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds into a meal/flour. Which works well in many recipes like muffins, and other baked goods that I don’t have to shape by hand.

Do you have any idea whether it would work in a recipe like this where I would have to roll out the dough. The kind of protein flour (nuts versus seeds) wouldn’t make a difference would it?

I would just go for it and try it but since it would take me six cups I don’t want to experiment unless I have a good inkling that it will work. Anybody know?

I do think it would work with this recipe. I actually made a version with pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts and pecans and it worked well (I still used almond flour).

Same thing happened to me! My dough turned out fluid and impossible to roll. I managed to absorb some of the liquid with one extra cup of tapioca flour and 1/2 cup of coconut flour, but that seemed excessive. Spreading the butter and rolling up the dough was still quite difficult – I used greased wax paper and a technique akin to rolling up sushi, peeling the wax paper as I went.

The buns taste all right, are not too sweet, and have a crumbly biscuit-like texture from the ground nuts. But given the amount of work and flour this required, I won’t be making these again. Perhaps that’s just as well – I certainly don’t actually need to eat these 😉

I’m not sure why this didn’t work for me – perhaps my yeast was too watery or you really do need a stand mixer as opposed to a hand-held mixer?

When you say ” tapioca” is that tapioca starch or is there some other kind of tapioca I don’t know about? I also am new to paleo baking and some of the ingredients are very unfamiliar.

Do you think coconut flour would work in place of almond flour? I dont have access to very fine almond flour – the only almond ‘flours’ I’ve been able to get my hands on have always been the texture of ground almonds (from your food processor).

I would love to make this recipe but can’t eat yeast or tapioca…are there any substitutes? I made your monkey bars yesterday and they were amazing!

I do not believe Sarah has prepared this recipe without tapioca or yeast. You can refer to her articles about Paleo baking for more information on substitutions: Sarah has many baked goods recipes that do not call for yeast or tapioca, you can view all baked good recipes here: You may also want to join our new The Paleo Approach Community group on Facebook and ask for support there. The group has over 4,000 members, you can request to join here: — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

These look amazing. Sadly, I have nut allergies. While I haven’t had eaten walnuts, pecans or cashews in years, I don’t plan on testing the waters. I can eat almonds so we’ve been using Pamela’s brand almond-based baking flour. So many Paleo recipes call for cashews and other nuts. I’m wondering if I can make these with the spice mix and Pamela’s flour and skip the nuts. Maybe use sunflower seeds instead? Or sunflower butter? Almond butter?

The best way to cut soft pastry dough is to slip a long piece of dental floss under the dough and draw it upward, crossing the pieces over themselves, pulling tight – it slices right through dough! The way the filling isn’t squished out by the knife.
Just thought you should know.

I put these ingredients together and tried to mix them, all I got was pea size crumbles, I had to add a lot of water, did I miss something in the recipe, I re-read it several times. Thanks

Have been searching for someplace yeast was used, thank you. My buns were like the other persons and were too sticky. Too much liquid, not sure if my eggs were too large, nut flours not absorbing enough, hmmm. I tried to add another handful of almond flour but was afraid I would ruin the batch. I was able to spread out with hands and spread on filling mixture. Hubby watched as I attempted to roll up lifting the parchment and scraping it off to force the roll up. He thought it was a serious fail but we both were laughing and sometimes we discover a truly amazing find so we go for it. Slicing into rounds was not an option, so I sort of scooped them onto a baking sheet and some into a greased muffin tin. They are now in the process of raising – love that yeast fragrance in the air. Hope they do indeed work out, we’re going to definitely try to enjoy these, what they look like doesn’t matter at all. Any ideas about the stickiness, perhaps reducing the water or using a measured amount of eggs? Also would appreciate a little note as to what to add to save this should it turn out too moist. Thanks ever so much for all you do.

Update: The ones in the muffin tin came out like hockey pucks – my bad – should have cooked them less. The ones on the cookie sheet came out like individual coffee cakes. I did make up a cream cheese/butter/vanilla/powdered sugar substitute for a drizzle. They are just Devine! Their little overcooked counterparts will not go to waste. I’m grinding them up and using them as a crunchy topping for fruit desserts or yogurt or ??? Thanks again!

I tried these and I’m an experienced paleo baker, but the dough was soooo soft and way too wet. I added more tapioca and even a little coconut flour and still the dough was so soft. Sometimes, however, this can be a good thing with paleo baking, but it wasn’t with these. I was able to spread the butter on the dough when rolled out, but everything turned into a gloppy mess when cutting them into cinnamon buns. Very very sad – with a lot of work and very expensive ingredients. My ‘blobs’ are currently raising, and I’m going to cook them anyway. I’ve re-read the instructions and the recipe many times and I can’t see anything I’ve done wrong.

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