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  • Writer's pictureRita Winthrop

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

This has been a long time coming. I feel like for as long as I've been cooking (and healthier cooking) I've wanted to come up with a better version of a cinnamon roll. Not only do I love them, but Frank does too, and asks for them all.the.time. That being said, I knew I just had to come up with a few ideas to get the ball rollin' (see what I did there.. :D) I've done the cinnamon roll muffin before - which is a great quick alternative (also though, you could totally make that recipe into donuts). But after a long time of knowing I wanted to use sweet potatoes in a cinnamon roll recipe, and not using yeast, it clicked. I've made a sweet potato crust for years, and the dough is very similar to what I would need for a cinnamon roll - so why not tweak it? And so, that's exactly what I did.

Now you may be asking, why no yeast? Because its a pain in the ass, that's why. You've got to wait, and wait, and knead, and roll, and if you don't get your measurements just right the whole thing doesn't work. And I hate working with yeast. So, keeping in mind that simple things like baking soda, baking powder and lemon juice causes essentially the same chemical reaction as yeast does (air bubbles guys, that's all you need) plus some fizz from a secret ingredient we ended up with some fluffy cinnamon rolls without the fuss of yeast.

Oh, and that secret ingredient? SELTZER. You might be thinking that's crazy, but I have vivid memories of my dad putting seltzer into cake or pancake recipes because it brings in those air bubbles making things super fluffy. It also means that I'm omitting any dairy, or even nondairy milk, because this takes it place, making this recipe dairy free.

Start first by baking a sweet potato and letting it cool slightly - I pop mine in the microwave for about 5 minutes, let it cool for 15, and then peel the skin. I then throw it into a food processor and pulse it until all the large chunks are broken down. Then its time for all the dry ingredients. I used a mix of different ones here, and while these are not gluten free because I chose to use spelt flour, I imagine that replacing the spelt flour with all purpose gluten free flour should work wonders. So in goes the flours, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder. I pulse this for a few minutes to get it mostly combined - it should be kind of 'sandy.'

Then in a small bowl melt down your butter or ghee and then whisk in maple syrup, an egg, vanilla and lemon juice. Turn the food processor on, and slowly drizzle the mixture into the dry ingredients. It should start to ball up. Last, pour in the seltzer. You may even hear it fizz and bubble a little as it mixes in. Once the dough is forming a ball and separating from the sides, it is ready to be worked with. As a side note, you could also do this in a stand mixer if you don't have a food processor, just mash up your potato a little first.

I like to roll these out between two sheets of parchment - it makes clean up so much easier and rolling a little more of a smooth process. Flour the parchment and place the dough in the center and also flour the top slightly. This will help it from sticking to the parchment. Then place the parchment paper on top and using a rolling pin, roll out until its about 1/4 of an inch thick (or thinner if you can get it!) Be sure that its even and if you can get it into a more rectangle shape, your rolls will be easier to roll up.

Then its time for the cinnamon mixture in the middle. Mix together cinnamon, coconut sugar and your butter to make a paste, and then using your hands spread it evenly all across the dough - getting it as close to the edge as you can. I save a little to spread on top of the rolls also. Then very carefully tightly roll up the dough, careful to keep it even. The best way to cut any type of cinnamon roll is slowly with a serrated knife - and don't push down, it'll shmoosh them! I cut them to be about an inch thick. Then place them into a greased baking dish, starting in the middle and working your way out, so that they have a little room to grow out. If you saved some of the filling mixture, spread a little on top of each roll and place into an oven heated to 375 degrees for about 23-25 minutes. The cooked rolls will be golden and still soft to touch.

Allow to cool slightly before drizzling the glaze on top. There is some magic in this glaze because it tastes like cream cheese frosting but it isn't - don't ask me how it works, but it does. Whisk together powdered sugar, cashew butter and coconut yogurt. Drizzle away and eat these guys warm. They also, heat up really well in the microwave for your leftovers.

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls (DF)

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes

Cook Time: 23-25 minutes

Dough Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups mashed sweet potato (no skin)

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 2 cups spelt flour (or AP gluten free)

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter or ghee

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Filling Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar

  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter or ghee

"Cream Cheese" Frosting Ingredients


  1. Heat sweet potato in microwave for 5 minutes until soft. Allow to cool and peel skin.

  2. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

  3. Pulse sweet potato in food processor until there are no big chunks.

  4. Pulse in oats and flours and remaining dry ingredients until consistency is similar to sand.

  5. In a small bowl, melt down ghee or vegan butter and then whisk in egg, maple syrup, lemon juice and vanilla. Turn the food processor on, and drizzle into the dry mixture slowly. A ball of dough will slowly form. Then pour in the seltzer.

  6. Take ball of dough and place between two sheets of parchment with a little flour both under and on top of dough. Roll out evenly to about 1/4 of an inch.

  7. Then in a small bowl, mix together all filling ingredients until a paste forms. Using your hands, spread evenly all over dough - getting close to the edges.

  8. Very carefully roll up rolls removing from parchment as you go. Using a serrated knife, cut into 1 inch sections and place into a greased baking pan.

  9. Spread extra filling on top of each roll if you'd like.

  10. Bake at 375 for 23-25 minutes until sides are golden brown and middles are still soft.

  11. Remove from oven. In a small bowl whisk together 'cream cheese' frosting ingredients and drizzle all over the top. Serve warm!

Note: If you are gluten free, an all purpose gluten free flour can be subbed for the spelt flour. Additionally, this could be made in a stand mixer, just be sure to mash your potato a little first. Leftovers keep well, but warm up in the microwave!



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