These Vegan Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls are truly the best Fall treat. Whether you eat them for breakfast, dessert, or alongside Thanksgiving leftovers, there is no denying these sweet potato rolls topped with a maple spice glaze are SO fluffy, perfectly sweet, and absolutely delicious.
Steps to make sweet potato cinnamon rolls
I know vegan cinnamon rolls can seem complicated, which is why I'm including process shots and a video to help you make this recipe!
First, make the sweet potato dough
Once you have all the ingredients ready, mix the active dried yeast & almond milk together and let sit 3-5 minutes. This step is only necessary if using active dried yeast, so if you have instant yeast just skip this step and add the yeast directly to the flour.
Once the yeast is activated mix in the other wet ingredients including the sweet potato, sugar, melted vegan butter, and vanilla.
Gradually add flour & salt
Next, gradually add the flour and salt and mix into a rough dough.
At this point, you can either knead the dough by hand or switch to a dough hook to knead in a standing mixer.
Knead the sweet potato dough
As you can see, I chose to knead the dough by hand! I love kneading in my KitchenAid Standing mixer, but every once in a while it's nice to knead by hand to really see what the dough should feel like!
A well-kneaded dough should be tacky, not sticky, and should be able to be stretched easily without tearing. It will also not be too lumpy and will be smooth. This tends to take anywhere from 5-8 minutes in a standing mixer or 8-10 minutes by hand.
Add to bowl and let rest 30 minutes- 1 hour until doubled in size
Then, add the dough to a well-oiled bowl (I use olive oil) and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel to let sit until doubled in size.
You will know the dough is dough with the first rise when it can be indented with a finger and springs back slowly, not quickly.
Roll & fill the cinnamon rolls
Roll into a rectangle
At this point, lightly flour your surface and get the rolling pin ready to go. I like rolling my dough out on a marble pastry board because it keeps the dough cold. Then, roll the dough into a large rectangle about 1 inch thick.
Make the cinnamon sugar filling:
In a separate bowl cream the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Then, use a spatula to spread the filling onto the dough and top with crushed pecans.
Roll into a log:
After adding the filling, roll the dough into a log. Once you reach the end it's important to pinch the dough end together to seal it. Then, flip the dough log over so the pinched side is facing down.
Add to pan and let rest 30 minutes before baking
At this point, you can either let the rolls rest another 30 minutes in a warm place before baking or you can cover them and add them to the fridge to rise overnight. Either way works and both are delicious, though the yeast flavor of cinnamon rolls becomes more prominent in rolls left to rest overnight.
Bake & cover in maple spice glaze
After letting the rolls rest, Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes until cooked through and browned on top. The filling may ooze out a bit, but honestly, it makes for the most delicious crispy sugar bits on top! Better that than not enough filling- right?!
The last step is to cover the rolls with the maple spice glaze.
This is totally optional, but it is a mix of maple syrup, almond milk, cinnamon, and powdered sugar. You could also swap this for a vegan cream cheese frosting or even coconut whipped cream. Basically, any topping works. Once the glaze is on, dig in!
FAQ & Substitutions:
Yes! Making vegan cinnamon rolls refined sugar-free is actually pretty easy! Just sub the sugar in the dough and in the filling with coconut sugar or maple sugar. It's really important to use granulated sugar for the right texture here.
Unfortunately, not with this recipe. Gluten formation is super important for this recipe.
You could try making them with a gluten-free flour mix, but I will be totally honest that they will not rise and proof as they are intended to.
For this recipe, I do not recommend baking in a smaller pan. Otherwise, your cinnamon rolls will likely pop out as they will be too smushed in the pan.
However, you could definitely bake these in a larger 9* 13-inch baking dish. In that case, you will want to cut the cinnamon rolls into thinner slices to fill the pan and they will cook faster (likely 20-28 minutes).
Luckily, cinnamon rolls store great as leftovers! It is best to store cinnamon rolls unglazed, but even if the glaze is already on they will store well in a closed container at room temperature for 24 hours, in the fridge 3-5 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
I always store mine in the freezer as I find the fridge tends to dry out bread quickly!
To reheat just microwave or heat in the oven at a low temperature such as 200F until warmed throughout.
I truly hope you love these fluffy & eggless Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls! They are the perfect Thanksgiving treat, great for a brunch with family & friends, and happen to store great as leftovers too. Enjoy!
More vegan sweet roll recipes you will love:
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Vegan Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
Sweet Potato Rolls:
- ½ cup butter room temperature; NOT melted but soft
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
Maple Spice Glaze:
- 1 ½ Tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon almond milk
- ½ cup sifted powdered sugar
Making the Sweet Potato Dough:
- Begin by adding your warmed almond milk and yeast to a large mixing bowl. Let sit for 3-5 minutes to make sure the yeast is activated. You will be able to tell if it's bubbling. If using instant yeast, you can skip this step and add the yeast directly to the mix with the flour and salt.
- Next, add the sweet potato purée, sugar, melted vegan butter, and vanilla to the large mixing bowl and whisk together to combine.
- Once mixed, gradually begin adding in your flour about ½-1 cup at a time. Also, add in the 1 tsp of salt at this time.
- Once all the flour has been added in, knead the dough. If using a standing mixer, switch the attachment to the bread hook and knead for 5-10 minutes until elastic. If you are kneading by hand, knead on a lightly floured surface for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is elastic and significantly less sticky. (Since the dough has sweet potato in it, it will be stickier than normal bun dough, but should firm up a lot during kneading). The dough is done being kneaded once it can be stretched without easily tearing, is smooth, and tacky but not sticky.
- Once the bread is ready, add it to a well oiled bowl for the first rise. I prefer to coat my bowl in olive oil, but any oil works here. The dough will be sticky so you may want to lightly oil your hands before grabbing the dough.
- Then, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel, place in a warm place, and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size. I like to test my dough by "poking" it with a finger. If it doesn't bounce back and stays indented, it is ready. It is also important to not “overproof” the dough as it can turn sour from the yeast turning the sugar into alcohol, so do not let the dough sit too long.
Adding the Filling:
- In a separate bowl, mash together the brown sugar, softened room temperature vegan butter, and cinnamon until a thick paste forms. This can also be done in a blender, food processor, or by hand with a fork. Then, set aside and turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Roll the dough into a 1" thick rectangle that is around 9*14 inches in width and length. You don't want the dough to be too thin or you will have a hard time rolling it up once the filling is inside!
- After the dough is rolled out, use a spatula to spread the cinnamon sugar filling evenly across the dough. Make sure to leave a ¼ inch border around the edges of the dough without filling. Then, sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of the cinnamon sugar filling.
- Beginning with the longer side of the rectangle, tightly roll up the dough into a log. Lightly flour the dough as you go to help if it gets a bit sticky. Make sure to seal the roll by pinching the edges together. Then, flip the dough over so the pinched seal is facing down.
- Once the dough is rolled into a log, trim the ends and discard. Cut the remaining dough into 10 evenly sized rolls using a very sharp knife. Place the rolls into a large ceramic pan (I used a 14.5” oval pan), cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and let rest for another 30 minutes at room temperature while you preheat the oven. (You can also let the dough rise overnight covered in the fridge for 6-8 hours and bake in the morning).
Baking The Rolls:
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Once the oven is preheated, remove the plastic wrap or towel from the pan of rolls and add the pan to the oven. Bake the rolls for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through. Then, remove the rolls from the oven and let cool slightly. While the rolls are cooling, make the maple spice glaze!
Making the Maple Spice Glaze:
- Add maple syrup, almond milk, and cinnamon to a small bowl and whisk together. Then, gradually add in the powdered sugar until a thick glaze forms. If needed, add in a little more milk for a thinner glaze or more powdered sugar for a thicker glaze. Overall, the glaze should be very thick.
- Pour the glaze over the warm sweet potato rolls and serve immediately. Enjoy!
- This recipe can be made refined sugar-free by subbing coconut sugar or maple sugar for the granulated and brown sugar, though the result will be slightly less sweet.
- I like using my Kitchenaid Standing Mixer to knead the bread dough
- If cutting the rolls smaller and baking in a larger pan (like a 9*13 inch pan with 12-15 rolls) decrease the baking time to 20-28 minutes.