These. Are. Pure. Gold! Actually fluffy, gooey, and ultra delicious… these gluten free, paleo and keto cinnamon rolls (with yeast!) are nothing short of spectacular!
Note: this recipe was first published in June 2018, and has since been updated to provide more deets ‘n tricks!
Paleo & Keto Cinnamon Rolls
Properly Fluffy (‘N Gooey!)
In my humble opinion, these keto cinnamon rolls easily make the top 5 best bread recipes on the site (of all time!). Up along the likes of our famous keto tortillas and soft ‘n fluffy sandwich bread! And if anything, I found these guys are even truer to the original (i.e. gluten version).
They’re actually fluffy with ultra gooey centers, and have that awesome (and incomparable!) yeast kick.
Fact is, they get a beautiful rise with the yeast by actually doubling in size (!!). And they’re surprisingly easy to whip up too, just be sure to watch the recipe video for deets!
Oh, and if looking for a lazy and fairly instant version, do check out our 30 minute cinnamon roll knots!
As mentioned, making these paleo and keto cinnamon rolls is incredibly simple really. But, like with any yeast bread, it does require you take care of a few details to ensure the best possible outcome.
And the one thing to keep in mind is that your rolls will likely fall slightly post bake. Blame it on the lack of starch (keto flours are notoriously heavy and moist) and certain missing proteins (think gluten). Just keep in mind that I’m baking at ridiculously high altitude here, so if mine doubled in size- odds are yours will be even better!
You just must ensure your rolls do almost double in size while proofing. And this dough requires a little extra warmth. For instance, I place my tray on top of my oven as I heat it up (so my tray gets slightly warm and they rise beautifully).
But you must ensure you don’t overheat them or you’ll kill the yeast. Think a warm and humid day at the beach, that’s the ideal temperature.
Before ‘n after rise
The Tips ‘N Tricks 🔍
The yeast in this low carb and keto bread ensures a wonderful texture and taste. Now, how much your bread will rise (and fall!) post-bake depends quite a bit on your altitude. But note that you still won’t get that gummy and wet texture here of most low carb breads. Plus, as mentioned, I’m baking at over 7,000 feet (Mexico City here!!), so if we can make them work so can you.*
*Note, I’ve since made them in LA (i.e. at sea level!) and can indeed confirm that the rise is muuuuuch easier (and they brown much less too lol!).
Weigh your ingredients. This will forever be a staple recommendation for any sort of gluten free baking here at gnom-gnom. As aside from leading to less dirty dishes, it will ensure consistent results time and time again. Remember that gluten free (and particularly keto) baking is notoriously finicky, and measuring by cups is anything but accurate. And if you don’t own a baking scale, measure with cups by dropping the ingredients onto them rather than scooping them out (which often leads to overpacking).
Ingredients at room temperature. Self explanatory really, but incredibly important (particularly for the eggs). If you add cold eggs to the mix your bread simply won’t rise much (if at all).
Proof the yeast. This involves mixing dry active yeast with water that’s just warm to touch (between 105-110°F to be precise) and inulin or an actual sugar (think maple syrup) for 7 minutes until foamy. And before you scream sugar (!!) remember that the yeast will feed on such sugar to emit carbon dioxide, so it doesn’t affect the carb count. And yes, this is a scientific fact.
Avoid abrupt temperature changes and air drafts. Like with any yeast bread, you need to cuddle your dough. Make sure it’s able to rest undisturbed in a warm space.
Baking at high altitude? Yup, so am I (Paola here!!). No changes need to be done here!
The Ingredients & Possible Subs
These cinnamon rolls do have quite a few ingredients, but you’ll find that most are staple paleo and keto pantry ingredients. In the list below you’ll find details on several ingredients and possible subs. But if possible, please do try and make this recipe without any subs.
Also do note that a dairy free and paleo version is totally doable with these guys! And while my heart will forever be with butter, I’ve made this dough with ghee and coconut oil and they’re both delicious on their own right.
Almond flour. You truly need a super finely ground almond flour here, as if you use meal your rolls will turn out dense and oily. Super fine almond flour brands include Anthony’s , WellBees and Bob’s.
Now if paleo, or in keto maintenance, you can lighten up the bread even more by substituting part of the almond flour (6 tablespoons) with arrowroot flour.
Golden flaxseed meal. You’ll want to use golden flaxseed meal (I use Bob’s), and regrind the flakes in your (very dry!) bullet or blender until finely powdered. Great way to avoid slimy bread. You can substitute the flaxseed meal with psyllium husk powder (NOW brand as it doesn’t turn bread purple), but do note you’ll get more whole wheat results (delicious though!).
Whey protein isolate. This one is an absolute must, as it will ensure your bread doesn’t collapse post-bake. Keep in mind that this ingredient varies tremendously from brand to brand, and I’ve only tried (and are super happy!) with Isopure’s Zero Carb Unflavored. Update: I’ve since tried this grass-fed whey protein isolate and it also works the charm (a bit pricier, but undoubtedly higher quality)!
Xanthan gum. Borrowed from molecular cooking, xanthan gum is the binding agent which makes your toothpaste jelly-like (and your cream cheese, well cream cheese-like). And it’s also the most common gluten-replacer in gluten free baking. And while we do prefer the results with it, you can sub it with psyllium husk.
Now, the powdered ginger helps to condition the dough to get an even nicer rise. Though note that you can skip it without too much detriment to the final results.
These sticky buns work best with allulose (my favorite keto ‘rare sugar’) and erythritol (think Lakanto).
(Important note!) I recently made the connection (while at the dentist!) that xylitol inhibits yeast and bacteria growth (which is why it’s the sweetener of choice for dental products). So don’t use xylitol!!
Oh, and ‘brown sugar’ subs (such as Lakanto’s golden) work great here too. Or you can make your own by adding a hint of blackstrap molasses!
And… the video story!
Paleo & Keto Cinnamon Rolls (with yeast!)
Oh, and if baking with cups rather than grams is your thing, just click on US Cups for an instant conversion. Though for best results we (highly!!) suggest you weight your ingredients here.
For the gluten free & keto cinnamon rolls
- 58 g sour cream or coconut cream + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons water lukewarm between 105-110°F
- 1 tablespoon inulin or maple sirup (to feed the yeast!)*
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- pinch ground ginger
- 216 g almond flour **
- 45 g golden flaxseed meal or 5 TBSP psyllium husk, finely ground***
- 35 g whey protein isolate
- 4-6 tablespoons allulose or erythritol, to taste
- 2 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum or 1 TBSP psyllium husk powder
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 21 g unsalted grass-fed butter or ghee/coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
For the cinnamon filling
- 42 g unsalted grass-fed butter softened
- 4-6 tablespoons allulose or erythritol, to taste
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the glaze (not paleo)
- 90 g cream cheese at room temperature
- 42 g unsalted grass-fed butter
- 3-6 tablespoons allulose or erythritol, powdered
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch kosher salt
- heavy cream or almond milk, as needed
For the paleo & keto cinnamon rolls
- See recipe video for guidance (VIP!), and check out the post for deets, tips and possible subs!
- Line with parchment paper the bottom of a 9x9 pan. Set aside. Prepare a work station for rolling your cinnamon rolls, by placing a 9x9-inch place of cling film (saran wrap) on the counter. Leave handy a small bowl with water (to wet your fingers) and a touch of oil to spread the dough (avocado works great here).
- Mix sour cream, water and maple syrup (to feed the yeast, see notes) in a small bowl. Heat up over a water bath to 105-110°F. And if you don't have a thermometer it should only feel lightly warm to touch.
- Add yeast and a dash of ginger to a large bowl. Pour lightly warm sour cream mixture over yeast, cover bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 7 minutes. The mixture should be bubbly, if it isn't start again (too cold water won't activate the yeast and too hot will kill it).
- Mix your flours while the yeast is proofing. Add almond flour, golden flaxseed meal, whey protein powder, sweetener, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
- Once your yeast is proofed, add in the eggs, lightly cooled melted butter (you don't want to scramble the eggs or kill the yeast!) and vinegar. Mix with an electric mixer for a a minute or so until fully mixed. Add the flour mixture in one go, mixing quickly until thoroughly incorporated. The dough will become very sticky, so you want to work quickly to get it mixed properly. Use a wet spatula to gather the dough into a ball.
- Divide the dough in 3 so you work in batches, important if you've never worked with this dough (you can roll it all in one go after you get some practice!). Lightly oil the piece of cling film and place dough on top, spreading it with your wet fingertips onto a roughly 7.5x9-inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar to taste, leaving a 1 inch at the top untouched. Using the cling film as an aid, roll the dough as tightly as you can and sealing the edge with your wet fingertips. Carefully wet the blade of a sharp knife and cut into three if you divided the dough in thirds. Turn the rolls and lightly press them down with your palm.
- Transfer cinnamon rolls to prepared pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm draft-free space for 50-60 minutes until the dough has almost doubled in size. How long it takes depends on your altitude, temperature and humidity- so keep an eye out for it every 15 minutes or so.
- Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C while the dough is proofing.
- Make the glaze while the rolls are proofing by creaming together with your mixer the cream cheese, butter and powdered sweetener until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract, salt, and adjust texture to taste with a teaspoon of milk at a time. Set aside.
- Place the pan over a baking tray and transfer gently into the oven. Bake for 17-25 minutes until deep golden, covering with a lose foil dome at minute 8 (they brown very quickly!). Just be sure that the foil isn't resting directly on them. You can do less baking time for gooey-er rolls and longer for more bready ones.
- Spread glaze on top right out of the oven (though skip the glaze for the ones you're not planning on eating on the same day!). Also keep in mind that some slight deflating is normal, don't sweat it!
- Keep stored in an airtight container (or tightly wrapped in cling film) at room temperature for 2-3 days, warming them up before serving.
Loved these! What a treat for the while family, keto or not. Well worth the effort xx
Brilliant. My keto sceptic family loved the texture and taste. Definitely a bit of work but soo worth it (might pre mix some of the flours in future to make it easier). Nb I think that sieving tge flours helps…
Absolutely FABULOUS ! Thank you sooo much for such a realistic ‘bread / roll’ recipe. I subbed the 6 Tbs arrow root flour and used the higher amounts of allulose. My husband and I shared the ‘extra’ one (so we’d have an even number left 😂) and found it delicious even cold and unfrosted!
They are good. A bit salty. The dough is very wet and sticky, so I did my best to roll it and cut it, but I mostly just plopped the mess into the pan. It proofed and baked fine and the icing is the best part. I’ll probably make the icing again! These rolls are filling and really do mimic a yeasty traditional cinnamon roll (not the pillsbury canned ones). I’m glad I tried the recipe out. I don’t think I’ll make it again. But the icing — when I need a good icing — I’ll use this recipe.
Did you use salted butter?
These were a decadent treat. Absolutely amazing recipe. Just as good as cinnabon, and much healthier. Thank you for a great recipe.
I followed the recipe UNTIL it was time to roll out the dough. Because it was quite wet AND I suffer no delusions that I am a good baker, I decided to use my electric cake pop Maker. They came out great. I made a “dipping” sauce of sweetener and cinnamon. Gnom. Gnom!
Great recipe!! Tried it with sunflower seed flour and it was fantastic, just didnt Rise as much though..do you think it was because of the flour?
Hi! If I sub the Inulin to sugar, is it still 1:1 ratio? Can I use honey? If so, by how much?
HI! I have made this delicious recipe many times! and although super yummy I don’t seem to be getting the fluffy texture that I see in the video or in the fotos. In wonder why? any ideas? Thank you!!
This is my favorite recipe! It’s well worth the time and effort ( there was a good amount )! It’s so amazingly similar to any gourmet coffee shop varieties, but healthier and you can feel good about that fact alone!
Anyone try it without the whey isolate? I have all the other ingredients!
I tried this recipe today and had issues with a dense and non rising bake. Tasted great, but baked poorly. I went through the comments and saw that golden flax bakes better than regular flax. I unfortunately used regular. The rolls came out very similar to the texture of cornbread. Where it’s sort of crumbly and not bready like in the photos. Would the Golden flax alone allow this to bake more bread like than what happened to mine? I plan on baking this again later this weekend but with golden flax meal. Oh, and I also used stevia. Any concerns there?
A bit late to answer, but regular flaxseed bakes *very!* differently than golden xo!
Okay, so my previous comment was from before I proofed the rolls. They didn’t want to rise after two hours so I heated up the oven intending to have flat rolls. They actually rose nicely in the first 10 minutes! The texture is good, even with adding 1 cup extra almond flour. They look like the photos, so my only question is why I had to add so much flour to get the correct dough consistency. I measured everything with a kitchen scale that I use professionally, so I’m confident that it works. Any ideas? And, yum! I’m enjoying a roll right now!
I don’t know if I should have done this, but while mixing, the “dough” was more like loose batter. While the mixer was running, I kept adding almond flour until it looked more like it was described. It rolled out just fine, but I must have added at least another cup or more to get it right. It was still very mushy and not dry in the least. I’ll let you know after they’re proofed and baked. I’m encouraged, though!
Hi Cindy, I don’t think it’s meant to roll out. Just be (just) of a texture that can be patted into a rectangle with wetted fingers (otherwise very sticky)…
Love the recipe, everything turned out well EXCEPT for the “dough” rolling. As I padded out the dough on cling film, it was far to sticky and did not roll. It was also runny and kept separating so it couldn’t retain it’s shape. I’ll give it another go to see if the second time works out. Any tips or tricks to get it to not stick to the cling film and hold its shape?
Today I made this recipe. My dough was also runny and even though I added 2 spoons of almond flour, it was still runny as hell. There was no way to form anything. Instead of throwing out the mixture, I filled half of cupcake, smeared butter and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and then added second leyer of dough. They baked well and smell was heavenly. However when I tasted it I couldn;t believe the taste – it was SALTY as hell!!! And what’s more weird is that I’ve added less then in recipe, not 1,5 teaspoon but 1 flat.
I use common salt, from mine salt. Is your kosher salt less salty than normal salt?
I live in Europe and I metric variant. Maybe something was wrong with the automatic calculator here and the measures we wrong?
Are you saying you only put in two spoonfuls of almond flour? The recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups of almond flour. The amount your saying would only be 2 tablespoons which could explain why your dough was runny & salty, you didn’t use enough flour lol
I rolled between two sheets of press & seal that I had sprayed with oil. Rolled like a dream and no sticking. Made it much easier. I think next time I will also refrigerate the dough a little while to firm up the dough. I can’t wait to bake them.
Excited to make these for my mom today! Has anyone tried using tapioca flour in place of the arrowroot option? I know tapioca can make things denser and chewier but idk if it would have such an effect in a small quantity here. Thanks!
This looks fantastic! Is there a dairy free replacement for whey protein isolate? I really want to try these.
I actually just made them with collagen powder instead of whey and they were amazing!
Danielle Rogers: Thank you for this ideas. I made them with vegan Vega proteins & greens & they weren’t great. I too can’t have dairy & never thought of Collagen which I have on hand. Appreciate the tip.
I watched the video, and I have baked for a long time. The dough was absolutely impossible to rolle and it just was a gooey mess. I did everything exactly as shown in the video and recipe. What could have gone wrong? I hated throwing all of it out, but I could NOT get it to roll off the film and into a log no matter what. I went back afterwards to rewatch to see if I did anything wrong, and it was exactly as shown.
I made these exactly as described except with soy protein powder. I know some people don’t like soy products, but these turned out fantastic. I actually ended up eating three on my own! They were that delicious 😋! Thank you so much for this recipe. I don’t think I ever truly enjoyed a cinnamon roll before. All that “guilt”pretty much killed the joy.
I had the same problem, the dough was so wet!! I had to add a lot more almond flour so it could even hold together.
Whey isolate isn’t Paleo, what can I sub for that ? Also I only have instant yeast? I subbed a plant protein and I didn’t grind my ground flax seed a second time and I accidentally tried to proof the instant yeast… I didn’t notice until after (I get distracted easily). So my dough was a little different and didn’t double before baking. I decided not to start over, They did rise a bit and browned nicely. I also added more cream cheese to the frosting since my hubs likes that more. Still came out doughy and good
I want to make these for myself for mothers day. But I want to make ahead, and do as little as possible Sunday morning. Do you think I could bake them to completion and put in the fridge. Warm in the oven. And frost on Sunday morning?
I used to buy and make frozen cinnamon rolls for myself. So it’s become a tradition.
Best keto dessert roll ever. And I even forgot the sweetener for the dough part. BTW I used golden flax & had no xanthan so used psyllium. Texture was great! I think I got an even better rise than shown in pics.
I had high hopes for this recipe, as I dearly love cinnamon rolls. A lot of thought went into the recipe and it works well. It also is a great recipe for those on a gluten free diet! However, I was disappointed in the texture and miss Grandma’s soft bread rolls.
The flavor is spot on. These have a great texture, not mealy at all. I wanted to stress the difference between whey protein powder and whey isolate. The first time I made these with whey protein powder and no ginger. This batch came out of the oven looking like I had just cut them. Flat with no rise. After re-reading the recipe, I realized my error. I got the whey isolate and located my ginger. Big difference! There was a rise in the pan, and more after baking. Next time I’ll make sure my edges are more square as the tops were to pinched together and the bottoms ballooned out. Lol. All in all, very yummy and filling!
Can I use whole ground flaxseed meal instead of golden?
My first time making any kind of homemade cinnamon rolls and these were very good! Even adult son had to ask if this was keto because he said it didn’t have that distinct flavor. I did have to do some research on instant yeast, which is all I could get anywhere. I went ahead and treated is as regular dry active yeast. Although you say the dough is very sticky, I had to watch the video to see how yours looked because mine was extremely gooey. Once I rolled and sliced, it became mush trying to transfer it to the pan. They looked like messy globs. I went ahead and treated it like it was fine and proofed then baked and slathered on the icing. the icing covered them up so they looked fine. So so yummy. I did more research on whey protein isolate vs concentrate (which is what I had) and the isolate has more drying power. I will be ordering isolate and trying again, even though it came out great. Thank you for the recipe.
If I have instant yeast can I just add that to my dry mixture instead ?
Ok so this is hysterical. The kids stayed up for me to make these. It’s been a while and it took forever and my 5 year old wanted to help. I finally get to rising time and realize they are supposed to rise an hour. 😂😂🤣 no way the kids can stay up another 1.5 hrs to rise bake then however long it takes to eat them. Can I stick them in the fridge after they rise and make them in the morning. I realize there’s virtually zero chance you were reading this but I’m going to post just in case 🙂 The very least it will be a really good memory as everybody had been making fun of how long they were taking to get to the rule out phase in the first place then when I called them about the rising we all laughed so hard we were crying. Btw LOVE your site and it has made being housebound survivalable!!! I bought your 2 cookbooks do you have one with the faves from online?
I have been pinning your recipes to my pinterest for years. I have bought every one of your e books. Ironically I rarely have the time to dive into new recipes and haven’t tried many of them. I just completely respect your approach, willingness to share and dedication to providing top notch tested and improved recipes.
With the stay at home order and the industry I work in at a stand still I have had plentiful time these days. So being a low carb adult onset Type 1 Diabetic I had a craving for cinnamon rolls. Easter really lights up my sweet tooth 😉
I have to say these are just silly good, my wife and kids all agree. They wouldn’t know they were keto, grain free or one of my “crazy diabetes foods.” Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do. You are an inspiration, and if I lived in Mexico City I’d be stopping by to hug you once we are allowed to
Awwww Kevin what a sweetheart (and thank you for your support!!). I’m so happy to hear that the family really enjoyed them too, and thank you for taking the time to leave such a lovely message (you guys make it all worth while!) xo!
I have made them and they’re now proofing and ready to go into the oven. As I read below, I subbed the whey isolate with collagen powder and rolled them all in one go instead of batches which turned out fine as per instructions! Looking forward to tasting them! Thank you for the recipe.
Can I use coconut flour instead of almond flour?
Will it work?
Can I use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?
I’m pretty sure I did something wrong. My dough didn’t turn out much like dough and somehow, it tasted like banana bread. Not that that was a bad thing though! Will be trying again.
Hi Paola! Could I use rapid rise yeast instead of active dry yeast? Stores are all out 🙁