The best healthy cinnamon rolls with homemade Greek yogurt icing. These melt-in-your-mouth treats are made from white whole wheat flour and coconut sugar and are perfect for dessert, breakfast, or a snack!
Best homemade healthy cinnamon rolls with Greek yogurt icing
Thinking back to my childhood, there was simply nothing better than waking up to the smell of freshly made homemade cinnamon rolls. I could seriously make these cinnamon rolls every day! They’re doughy, sweet, and surprisingly easy to make with the right recipe. This is one of my oldest and most loved cinnamon roll recipes, next to these air fryer cinnamon rolls.
As you know, I love making classic recipes healthier without compromising taste. And these cinnamon rolls are my favorite. They are secretly healthier since they’re made of refined sugar, free of coconut sugar, and with whole grains from white wheat flour. Plus, the icing on top is made with Greek yogurt, which is high in protein.
We never want to compromise on the taste, so don’t you worry; these cinnamon buns are like the real dang thing. I would go as far as to say they are better than classic recipes because the ingredients we use make them light, airy, and extra doughy, next to my secretly healthy Lemon Pound Cake and Monkey Bread.
I cannot wait to hear what you think! My brother, who is NOT a healthy eater, is obsessed with these rolls. Everyone will LOVE this recipe and beg you to make them every weekend.
Why you’ll love this healthier recipe:
- Healthier Indulgence: Savor the guilt-free pleasure of cinnamon rolls without sacrificing taste.
- Wholesome Ingredients: Made with white whole wheat flour, maple syrup, Greek yogurt, and coconut sugar for a healthier twist.
- Protein Icing: Healthy, high-protein icing made from Greek yogurt and reduced-fat cream cheese
- Melt-in-Your-Mouth Goodness: Experience the delightful texture of these cinnamon rolls.
- Versatile: Cozy breakfast, snack or dessert
- Kid-Approved: Perfect for kids and adults!
- Overnight Option: You can prepare the dough and let it rise overnight to bake in the morning!
- Try these fun air fryer cinnamon rolls next!
Ingredients healthy cinnamon rolls
I still can’t believe how good these healthy cinnamon rolls are. One of my favorite things about this easy recipe is that the ingredients are so simple. Here is what you’ll need to make these doughy cinnamon buns:
- Yeast: Use instant yeast or dry yeast; just wait 15 minutes if using dry yeast to activate with warm milk and coconut sugar.
- Almond Milk: Opt for unsweetened almond milk for a healthier twist.
- Coconut Sugar: A refined sugar-free option that’s as sweet as regular sugar but better for you.
- Flour Blend: Combine all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour for a fluffy texture.
- White Whole Wheat Flour: A healthier choice for added nutrition.
- Salt: Add a dash for the best flavor.
- Eggs: Use 3 large eggs to bind the buns.
- Vanilla Extract: Enhance the flavor with a touch of vanilla.
- Butter: The secret to flaky, mouth-melting goodness in the dough and cinnamon rolls.
- Cinnamon: The star ingredient that makes these cinnamon rolls irresistibly delicious!
Protein Greek Yogurt Icing:
- Greek Yogurt: The creamy, protein-rich base for our healthy icing.
- Reduced-Fat Cream Cheese: Adds thickness and spreadability to the frosting.
- Maple Syrup: Naturally sweetens the icing with a touch of maple goodness.
- Vanilla Extract: Just 1 teaspoon enhances the flavor significantly!
Kitchen tools needed
I love easy recipes, and this whole wheat cinnamon roll recipe calls for simple ingredients and easy kitchen utensils! Here is a list of the kitchen tools you need to make this recipe:
How to make healthy cinnamon rolls from scratch:
Here is how to make the best homemade cinnamon rolls entirely from scratch. This recipe requires a few steps, but they are straightforward to follow.
Start by heating the almond milk to 110°F in a microwave-safe dish for 30 – 40 seconds. You can also heat the almond milk over the stove on low heat.
Once the milk is heated, stir in yeast and sugar. If using active dry yeast, allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes. If you are using instant yeast, there is no need to wait. Then, combine the flour and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Use the dough hook attachment to mix.
Next, add the yeasted almond milk, eggs, and vanilla extract into the dry ingredients in the stand mixing bowl and mix on low-medium speed for about 3 minutes or until a dough ball forms around the hook.
Keep the mixer on and add a few pieces of butter at a time, allowing them to fully incorporate into the dough before adding more. Once all the butter is mixed in, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed for 8 – 10 minutes.
You can also knead by hand over a lightly floured surface for 8 – 10 minutes. To check if the dough is ready, tear off a small piece, carefully spread it out, and hold it up to the light to see if you can see the light through it without any tears. If it tears, mix the dough for another 1 minute and check again.
Transfer the finished dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and allow to proof in a warm environment for 1 hour or until doubled size. Alternatively, you can proof the dough overnight and bake in the morning. (Check for directions below)
Before you’re ready to shape the cinnamon rolls, make the filling by combining the melted butter, cinnamon, and coconut sugar in a small mixing bowl. Please set it to the side until the dough is ready.
Now, on a lightly floured surface, roll the finished dough out into a rough rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Do not overwork the dough. Once it is rolled out, spread the filling evenly all over the dough and use your hands to rub it in gently.
Roll the prepared dough up from the long (hot-dog style) end and gently seal the edge. Using a sharp serrated knife or floss, carefully cut 12 individual 2-inch rolls. Place each cut cinnamon roll in a 10.5×7.5 or 9×13 inch dish and allow them to rise at room temperature for another 45 minutes – 1 hour. This step is essential!
Towards the end of the proof time, preheat your oven to 350°F. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and the filling bubbly. Enjoy these warm cinnamon rolls with maple-sweetened Greek yogurt icing, fresh fruit, or whipped cream!
Finally, grab a medium bowl while your whole wheat cinnamon rolls are baking, and beat the cold cream cheese and plain Greek yogurt with an electric mixer until smooth. Add in the maple syrup and vanilla and mix it until it is thoroughly combined.
Spread across the warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy! You’ll never be able to tell that the frosting is sweetened with maple syrup! It is that good.
Here is a list of the best ingredient substitutions for this healthy cinnamon roll recipe. I only recommend swapping 1 – 2 ingredients, so the original recipe doesn’t completely change.
- Almond Milk: Substitute with lukewarm milk of your choice – I like oat milk.
- Coconut Sugar: Replace with light or dark brown sugar.
- Butter: Substitute with a vegan butter alternative for a dairy-free version.
- Light Cream Cheese: Use regular cream cheese or choose a dairy-free cream cheese.
- Greek Yogurt: Opt for a vanilla yogurt or a dairy-free yogurt alternative, if necessary.
- Maple Syrup: Substitute with agave syrup or honey.
What makes these cinnamon rolls healthy?
While cinnamon rolls might not have the best reputation for being healthy, this recipe uses many simple ingredients that are good for you.
- Whole Grains: This homemade cinnamon roll recipe uses whole grains since we combine regular and whole wheat flour.
- No Refined Sugar: There are no refined sugars since we use coconut sugar.
- Low-Fat + High-Protein Frosting: Third, we use Greek yogurt and fat-free cream cheese for the frosting, adding 8 grams of protein per roll.
- Maple Syrup + Coconut Sugar: We use maple syrup and coconut sugar to sweeten the icing and rolls.
- Dairy-Free Option: You can use dairy-free substitutes for all the ingredients to make these cinnamon rolls 100% dairy-free!
- White Whole Wheat Flour: You can substitute the white whole wheat flour with regular whole wheat flour 1:1. It will just have a stronger whole wheat flavor.
Expert baking tips:
- Don’t overheat your milk: Avoid overheating milk; use intervals when microwaving to prevent a burnt taste.
- Use room-temperature eggs and butter: This will ensure the healthy cinnamon rolls are perfectly baked. Using cold butter and eggs can affect the proof and bake time.
- Let the dough rise in a warm spot: This helps speed up the process. I recommend the inside of your microwave.
- Dough Kneading: Use a dough hook in an electric stand mixer for efficient kneading; hand-kneading is an option but requires more effort.
- Flour Measurement: Measure flour in grams for precision; if using cups, spoon the flour in without packing for perfect results.
- Microwave Tip: Heat milk in intervals to avoid overheating, ensuring a pleasant taste in the cinnamon rolls.
- Kneading Shortcut: Utilize an electric stand mixer with a dough hook for efficient kneading, or opt for hand-kneading.
- Customization: Feel free to add nuts, raisins, or other favorite ingredients to the filling for a personal touch.
- Overnight Option: Prep for these healthy cinnamon rolls ahead by refrigerating the dough in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap, overnight. The next day, allow it to reach room temperature for about an hour before assembling and baking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make these overnight?
Certainly! Prepare the dough for these healthy cinnamon rolls the night before by placing it in a greased bowl, covering it with plastic wrap, and refrigerating. The next day, let it come to room temperature for about an hour before assembling and baking. Enjoy freshly baked cinnamon rolls with minimal effort!
Why are my cinnamon rolls tough?
Cinnamon rolls might become tough if the dough is over-kneaded or if they are baked for too long. To keep them soft, avoid excessive kneading and monitor the baking time.
Are cinnamon rolls a breakfast food?
Absolutely! These cinnamon rolls are an ideal breakfast choice. They make for a wholesome morning treat with no artificial sweeteners, no refined sugars, and the addition of whole grains. Each bun also provides almost 8 grams of protein!
Can I knead cinnamon roll dough by hand?
Yes! If you do not have a stand mixer, you can also roll out the dough by hand. This will take a little more work and time.
Can I freeze cinnamon roll dough before baking?
Absolutely! Freeze your cinnamon rolls after proofing and rising in the pan. Cover the pan with foil and freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to bake, thaw the dough in the fridge overnight, then let it come to room temperature for about 45 minutes before baking according to the recipe card.
Can I freeze baked cinnamon rolls?
Absolutely! To freeze already baked cinnamon rolls, store them in a freezer-safe bag for up to 2 months. Avoid freezing them with frosting. To reheat, either let the rolls thaw in the fridge overnight or microwave them for 30-45 seconds. Enjoy your frozen treats!
How to store and reheat cinnamon rolls
To Store: Cover the dish with aluminum foil for leftover cinnamon rolls and store at room temperature for 3-4 days. Alternatively, use an airtight plastic container and refrigerate.
To Reheat: To enjoy again, reheat in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes for optimal taste and texture. If pressed for time, microwave for 30-45 seconds.
If you love this recipe, try these next!
- Air Fryer Cinnamon Rolls
- Vegan Monkey Bread
- Blueberry Pop Tarts
- Oat Flour Banana Bread Recipe
- Lemon Poppy Seed Crumb Cake
- Healthy Lemon Pound Cake
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Healthy Cinnamon Rolls with Icing
For the dough:
- 2 ¼ tsp yeast, 1 packet (I recommend instant yeast)
- ¾ cup (172g) almond milk , lukewarm
- 3 Tbsp 30g coconut sugar
- 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cup (210g) white whole wheat flour,
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 eggs, room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 9 tbsp (1 stick + 1 tbsp butter; 127g) unsalted butter, room temp
For the filling:
- ½ cup (1 stick; 113g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 ½ tsp (10g) cinnamon
- 2/3 cup (100g) coconut sugar
For the frosting:
- ½ cup (4oz; 113g) cream cheese, cold
- ¼ cup (56g) plain greek yogurt, cold
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
For the dough:
- Heat the almond milk to 110°F by microwaving for 30 – 40 seconds in a microwave-safe dish. You can also heat it over the stove on low heat. Stir in yeast and coconut sugar. If using active dry yeast, allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes. If using instant yeast, go to the next step.
- Combine the flours and salt together in the bowl of your stand mixer. Use the dough hook attachment.
- Add the yeasted almond milk, eggs, and vanilla extract into the dry ingredients and mix on low-medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until a dough ball forms around the hook.
- Keep the mixer on and add a few pieces of butter at a time, allowing them to fully incorporate before adding more. Once all of the butter is mixed in, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed for 8 – 10 minutes. You can also knead by hand over a lightly floured surface for 8 – 10 minutes. To check if the dough is ready, tear off a small piece and carefully spread it out, and hold it up to the light to see if you can see the light through it without any tears. If it tears, mix the dough for another 1 minute and check again. Repeat until ready.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to proof in a warm environment for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Alternatively, you can proof the dough overnight in the fridge and bake in the morning. Check notes for specific instructions.
For the filling:
- Just before you’re ready to shape the cinnamon rolls, make the filling by combining the melted butter, cinnamon, and coconut sugar in a bowl. Set to the side.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a rough rectangle, about 1/4 inch in thickness. Do not overwork the dough.
- Spread the filling evenly all over the dough and use your hands to gently rub it in.
- Roll the dough up from the long end (hot-dog style) and seal the edge gently. Using a sharp serrated knife or piece of floss carefully cut 12 individual 2-inch rolls.
- Place each cinnamon roll in a 9×13 inch dish or 10.5×7.5 dish and allow them to rise at room temperature for another 45 minutes – 1 hour. This is important!
- Near the end of the proof time, preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
For the frosting:
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the cold cream cheese and plain Greek yogurt with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Add in the maple syrup and vanilla and mix until fully combined.
- Spread across the warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy!
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