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Easy Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls | “2 Ingredient” Dough

Easy Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls | “2 Ingredient” Dough

The “2 ingredient” bread dough made famous by Weight Watchers is a shortcut way to make easy gluten free cinnamon rolls that taste like the yeasted kind and make any morning special.

The tender inside of an easy gluten free cinnamon roll, plated.

Gluten free breakfast on the go

I have a long-abiding love for gluten free breakfast ideas, especially ones that you can grab and take on the go. But I’ve been stocking my freezer for busy mornings for so long that I had begun to take it for granted and not think it was anything special. Until recently…

This past holiday season, my family and I spent a beautiful week at an all-inclusive Caribbean resort. We knew ahead of time that they were able to accommodate my gluten free son’s diet, but we weren’t prepared for how limited his options would be—and how poor the quality would be.

I guess we should have just been grateful that they could feed him safely at all, but I had thought we were beyond that. He struggled quite a bit with watching everyone else eat at least a variety—including baked goods for every meal. 

I guess I was reminded all over again that our gluten free food should be at least as good as the conventional food, if not better. And variety is also really important, because it makes you feel cared for and nourished. I’m grateful to be able to do that for my son, and hopeful that the rest of the world will catch up so when he leaves the nest, he always feels “normal.”

How to shape easy gluten free cinnamon rolls into a log that is ready to be sliced into 6 pieces.

How to make these cinnamon rolls sugar-free

The dough for these 30-minute gluten free cinnamon rolls is based upon the “2 ingredient” Weight Watchers bread dough, the one we first used to make gluten free bagels. It’s referred to as “2 ingredient” dough because the original recipe is made with self-rising all purpose flour and plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt.

We’ve done enough variations on that dough that there’s even a “Weight Watchers-friendly” category on this blog. I use the concept for that dough every single week in my house, to make practically everything. The tang of the plain yogurt mimics the flavor of yeast development at a fraction of the bother and time of yeasted rolls.

But this recipe is not designed to be quite as WW-friendly, since it has added flour to make the dough stiffer, and, more importantly, a brown sugar and cinnamon filling. But you can most definitely make these cinnamon rolls with a sugar replacement.

My favorite granulated sugar replacement is Lankato monk fruit granulated sugar replacement, and I think it would work beautifully here. You don’t really need to bother with a brown sugar replacement, as the cinnamon is the dominant flavor here in the filling.

Raw, shaped easy gluten free cinnamon rolls on a baking tray, ready for the oven.

Use a light touch

When making this bread dough, as when making any gluten free bread dough at all, it’s best to have a light touch especially when adding additional flour for shaping. It is a rather forgiving dough, but this particular recipe already has more flour than usual.

Whenever you add extra flour, you lower the hydration ratio of the dough, which can lead to tougher bread. That’s especially true when you’re making a fat-free bread dough like this one. 

Since this dough works best when all of the ingredients, and therefore the dough, are quite cold, you should find that you don’t need a significant amount of additional flour to shape it. Try sprinkling a very small amount of additional flour sparingly but widely, rubbing it between your thumb and forefinger as you move your hand over the dough. 

Easy gluten free cinnamon rolls placed on baking tray, just out of the oven.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy: I haven’t tried this exact recipe with plain nondairy yogurt, such as So Delicious brand, but I have tried that substitution on our Weight Watchers Gluten Free bagel recipe and was successful. Please click through to that post for all the information I have about making these sort of recipes with nondairy (non-Greek-style) plain yogurt.

Eggs: The full egg in this recipe adds richness and tenderness to the dough. If you can’t have eggs, it can be replaced.

You can try replacing it with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). I would also replace 1 tablespoon of the Greek-style yogurt with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, though, to replace some of the richness of the egg white.

Corn: The cornstarch in the filling helps keep it from leaking out of the rolls during baking. You can easily replace it with an all purpose gluten free flour or any other sort of gluten free starch you can imagine. 

Shortening: The small amount of shortening that is spread in a thin layer over the top of the rectangle of dough is there to help the filling stick to the dough. The low moisture content of shortening helps prevent the filling from leaking out during baking. You can try replacing it with virgin coconut oil.

Sugar: Please see the full discussion above about the brown sugar in the filling of these easy gluten free cinnamon rolls.

Plated easy gluten free cinnamon rolls made without yeast but tasting just like they did.

 

The "2 ingredient" bread dough made famous by Weight Watchers is a shortcut way to make easy gluten free cinnamon rolls that taste like the yeasted kind and make any morning special.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 6 rolls

Ingredients

For the rolls
1 1/4 cups (175 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter), plus more for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (245 g) nonfat Greek-stye plain yogurt, chilled

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell), beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, beaten)

For the filling
1 tablespoon (12 g) nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening

1/4 cup (55 g) packed light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon (9 g) cornstarch

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • To make the dough for the rolls, in a large mixing bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine. Add the yogurt, egg, and vanilla, and mix until the dough begins to hold together. Knead the dough with clean hands to bring together fully. A shortcut way to do this is in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, but it’s not essential.

  • Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead it with clean hands until it’s a bit smoother. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10-inch square, sprinkling lightly with flour as necessary, and moving the dough frequently to prevent it from sticking on either side.

  • Add the filling. Using a small offset spatula or butter knife, spread the shortening in an even layer thinly over the top of the dough, leaving 1/2-inch clean all around the perimeter of the square. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch, and sprinkle evenly on top of the shortening, also leaving the same clean border.

  • Starting at a one side of the square, roll the dough tightly into a coil, pressing it gently as you go. Using a piece of unwaxed dental floss or thread or a very sharp knife, cut the coil by cross-section into 6 equal pieces. Place each piece on the prepared baking sheet, about 1-inch apart. With well-floured fingers, apply even pressure to the top of each roll to compress each coil about 1/3 of the way down. Brush the tops and sides with the egg wash. If you’ve worked quickly, the rolls should still be cold to the touch. If not, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes or until cold to the touch.

  • Remove the baking sheet with the rolls from the refrigerator and place in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the rolls are lightly golden brown on the edges and have swelled in size. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool briefly before serving. Any leftover rolls can be cooled completely, frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet, and stored in the freezer. Refresh briefly in a microwave oven.

Love,
Nicole

Comments are closed.

  • Christine
    January 22, 2020 at 4:29 PM

    Hi nicole you say that you dont recommend Bob’s red mill flour would you recommend Doves farm flour ?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 22, 2020 at 5:48 PM

      Hi, Christine, I’m afraid I’ve never tried Dove’s, since it’s not available in the U.S., but I know that their “plain” gluten free flour is very commonly used in the U.K. and readers seem to like it. Since I haven’t tried it myself, I can’t attest to whether or not it will work in all my recipes. If you don’t have any of my recommended blends available to you for purchase, you can always build one of the “mock” blends. I created those blends for people who can’t find my recommended brands for purchase.

  • Heather
    January 21, 2020 at 8:37 AM

    I made these and was surprised that I wasn’t a huge fan of them as I am of all your other recipes. However, they were better than others I’ve had, just not as awesome as I was expecting. I used very little flour when rolling out, was careful not to over knead the dough and weight measured all my ingredients yet they seemed tough and chewy. Heating in the microwave helped. I’m in FL and our weather often affects pastry baking, so I’ll try again and see what happens.

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 21, 2020 at 9:11 AM

      That’s strange, Heather. I’m sorry you didn’t have a great experience. I wouldn’t describe these as tough at all, although they’re not exactly like yeasted rolls, as nothing but yeasted bread will have that same texture. Perhaps you’d prefer those? Here’s a link.

  • Renee
    January 15, 2020 at 7:54 PM

    I think I just found this weeks project!!

  • Simon Sporseen
    January 15, 2020 at 11:47 AM

    I didn’t use fat-free yogurt and substituted with whole Greek yogurt they came out really runny. Could that have been the reason?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 15, 2020 at 1:48 PM

      Whole yogurt would definitely change the consistency yes, but I doubt it would make it truly “runny.” Make sure you’re not making other substitutions, measuring by weight not volume, and only using one of my recommended flour blends.

  • Edit
    January 14, 2020 at 2:18 PM

    Hi someting is wrong as the wet ingredients nearly double of the dry ingredients it came out a butter insted of dough

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 14, 2020 at 4:50 PM

      There’s nothing wrong with the recipe as written. I’d look first to whether you made any substitutions, including using a flour blend that isn’t one of my recommended blends, and whether you measured by weight or by volume.

  • Teresa Lucas
    January 13, 2020 at 8:40 PM

    Can I use rice malt syrup in place of sugar as I have diabetes as I’m trying to keep my sugars down do you think it will work.
    Thanks
    Teresa

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 14, 2020 at 7:59 AM

      I’m afraid you can’t use a liquid sugar in place of a granulated one, Teresa. I discuss making the rolls with a sugar alternative in the post, though. Please see that discussion.

  • Julie L
    January 13, 2020 at 6:21 PM

    Hi Nicole,
    The McCormick butter flavor is one I remembered you recommending in the past, so that’s the one I picked up. I’ll have to keep an eye out for the birthday cake flavor!
    Also, I often use ghee in place of butter but haven’t tried it for this purpose. I’ll try it this week 😋
    Thank you!

  • Alene
    January 13, 2020 at 12:54 PM

    Nicole, I am not getting your emails. I have been signed up for years, I have checked all my spam and junk folders. This is so frustrating! I miss your columns. Do you have any idea why this is happening? Help!

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 14, 2020 at 8:04 AM

      Hi, Alene,
      I looked up your email address in my email service provider, and it indicates that your email was listed as “bounced” which means that it was undeliverable, which unsubscribes you automatically. I’m afraid I can’t do anything about that on my end, as it’s an issue with the ability to deliver emails to you. So sorry!

  • Nancy E. Sutton
    January 13, 2020 at 2:07 AM

    Hmmm…. I’m wonder if ghee would work, as a ‘butter shortening’, as it seems to have the ‘solids’, and likely the moisture, removed. Must try it ! Everything is better with butter …

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 13, 2020 at 8:06 AM

      That’s a good idea to try, Nancy. I’ve used nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening many, many (many) times on here, but I think this recipe reached beyond my “regular” audience so there’s a big reaction to a small amount of shortening. It’s not Crisco I use, but even 1 tablespoon of Crisco really would be fine!

  • Michael Mildon
    January 12, 2020 at 2:19 PM

    Has anyone tried using King Arthur measure for measure ?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 2:42 PM

      I’m afraid I don’t recommend that flour for use in my recipes, Michael. I tried really hard to like it, since it’s so widely available, but it is just too starchy and the rice flour is too grainy.

  • Beth C
    January 12, 2020 at 1:03 PM

    Hi NIcole,
    I am looking forward to trying this recipe. I have all of the other Weight Watchers style recipe so practically memorized. I wanted to share my personal tweak. I had some leftover buttermilk from making one of your quick bread recipes. I decided to use it to replace the yogurt in the pizza crust recipe. ALL i can say is Wow! The flavor and texture was fantastic. THE amount need was reduced but i think the flavor is a new level of delicious. THAnk you for the awesome recipes.

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 3:08 PM

      I’m really glad you are enjoying the WW-style recipes, Beth. Replacing the yogurt with buttermilk would make for a very, very different moisture content, which would make the dough a lot more difficult to handle and the baking time would be different, etc. I just want to mention that in case anyone decides to follow suit!

  • Karen
    January 12, 2020 at 1:02 PM

    I am not good in the kitchen (people say I’m allergic to the kitchen so its appropriate I have food allergies) but I tried this recipe today and while it did not turn out that good I will try again as I can see the end result could be soo yummy. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to GF eating.

  • Stu B.
    January 12, 2020 at 12:39 PM

    I was looking for an answer if butter is an acceptable alternative for the filling with the brown sugar?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 3:02 PM

      Hi, Stu, please see the ingredients and substitutions section for a replacement for the shortening. I do not recommend butter because of its water content and it leaks much more in baking.

  • June Whitney
    January 12, 2020 at 11:36 AM

    I do not use yogurt because of both the dairy and histamine. Do you have a sub idea?
    June

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 2:58 PM

      Please see the ingredients and substitutions section, June. If you have a histamine reaction to dairy, you should be able to use the nondairy instructions without a problem.

  • dana
    January 12, 2020 at 11:31 AM

    Sound awesome – except we can’t have eggs. Any suggestions for an egg-free version? Cheers!

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 2:57 PM

      Hi, Dana, please see the ingredients and substitutions section.

  • Am
    January 12, 2020 at 11:24 AM

    How do you think full fat organic sour cream would do instead of Greek yogurt?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 2:57 PM

      I’m honestly not sure, Am. But if you can use Greek yogurt, I’d at least make the recipe once with that so you know what the dough is meant to be like. I’d always recommend following a recipe before you modify it if it’s not out of necessity.

  • Teresa
    January 12, 2020 at 11:18 AM

    Can the yogurt be replaced with sour cream?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 2:43 PM

      I haven’t tried that, Teresa, and I’m honestly not sure!

  • Pam
    January 12, 2020 at 11:10 AM

    Hi, so no topping/glaze?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 2:56 PM

      Hi, Pam, I didn’t include a glaze for these, since they’re made to be quick and simple. You could always use the glaze from any of my other cinnamon roll recipes. Just use the search function!

  • Wendy
    January 12, 2020 at 11:02 AM

    That looks delicious! Do you happen to have a list of staples for the pantry in any of your cookbooks? I read this every week and always seem to be missing one or two ingredients. :(

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 2:55 PM

      Hi, Wendy, Actually I have created a list like that to go along with other virtual products I’ve created over the years! I haven’t ever shared it on the blog, though, but it’s a good idea. I’m having some trouble locating that document right now, though, but if I find it I’ll share a link to download it!

  • Janet T
    January 12, 2020 at 10:36 AM

    This answers a question I’ve had about the bagels, which are now closed to comments. I’ve always wondered if the hole in the middle is necessary for correct baking. It’s just me. Can I split the recipe, or how would you suggest storing them?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 2:44 PM

      These can easily be cooled, frozen, and stored in the freezer in a proper container. I defrost in the microwave and then refresh in the toaster oven, Janet.

  • Kathy Sue Glow
    January 12, 2020 at 8:59 AM

    Did you use the real Better Batter or your “Mock Better Batter”? I am noticing you’re not using the word “mock” in some recipes lately. Are you still using your flour blends?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 9:16 AM

      Hi, there, Kathy Sue, I rarely blend my own flour when it’s just an all purpose gluten free flour. I do so much baking, between recipe testing, photography and videography, that I simply don’t have the time to budget for blending my own all purpose gluten free flour—and I actually don’t consider it generally cost-effective. Those blends are something I made available so that these blends were available to everyone, even if you can’t or don’t want to buy them. I do make my own specialty flours, like the gum-free blend, because I can’t buy them. If I did blend my own all purpose flour, it would be Better Than Cup4Cup, since I believe that is the very best all purpose. If someone made it, I’d buy it in an instant!

  • Teri
    January 11, 2020 at 6:28 PM

    I made these yesterday, and they were awesome. Used Better than cup4 cup, recipe from this site, no xanthum gum as in the mix already. Added half tsp dough conditioner and made 8. Dough was pretty easy to work with. Also decreased greek yogurt by 1 T and add 1 T vegan “butter.” My husband, who is not gluten free loved them, as they are chewy, which he really likes. Thanks for the great recipe. Alot less fat and sugar then most recipes but sweet enough for us. :)

  • Kelly Snider
    January 11, 2020 at 4:36 PM

    These were a hit with my husband who went gluten free 3 years ago. It’s nice to have an easy recipe for those of
    us who are not great bakers. We will definetly be making these again! Thank you Nicole!
    Kelly

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 8:31 AM

      I don’t believe anyone isn’t a “great baker,” Kelly. You just need the right ingredients, the right way to measure, and the right recipe! Well done. :)

  • Linda BEAVERS
    January 11, 2020 at 12:24 PM

    I found this amazing page this morning, I am totaly taken aback at the simplicity easy to understand put your page on my home screen. Im new to all this and being 75 no time for complications Thank You

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 12, 2020 at 8:31 AM

      I’m so glad to hear you don’t find it overwhelming, Linda. Welcome!

  • Chelsea
    January 10, 2020 at 5:55 PM

    Hi Nicole, made these for breakfast today and they were delicious! Quick question that occurred to me as I was eating them, do you think this WW style dough would cope with steaming as opposed to baking? I just kept thinking how it seemed like it would make a nice Chinese steamed duck egg custard bun!

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 11, 2020 at 9:38 AM

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them Chelsea! I’ve made steamed Chinese buns before, but they’re yeasted (although they also have baking powder). I’m honestly not sure, but it’s worth a shot if you’re willing to risk it!

  • Julie L
    January 10, 2020 at 1:07 PM

    Oh my goodness! I tried my hand at these just one week ago, modifying your Pizza Pinwheels recipe by simply using a cinnamon-sugar filling instead of pizza filling. They were tasty enough, but I’m very excited to try your improvements. These look beautiful! I picked up some butter extract to flavor the dough a bit richer, so I’ll try that too. Here’s to cinnamon rolls every week! Thank you Nicole!

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 10, 2020 at 1:38 PM

      I really love McCormick butter extract, Julie. Have you ever tried their cake batter flavoring? It’s also really good. I imagine many people would scoff at that, but I love the instant richness those flavorings and extracts add.

  • Marion
    January 10, 2020 at 11:01 AM

    I am interested in how to adjust this recipe to high altitude baking (5280 ft).
    I am just learning to bake out of necessity.

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 10, 2020 at 11:33 AM

      I’m afraid I don’t know, Marion. There’s nothing special about baking gluten free at high altitude beyond baking conventional things at high altitude, but I don’t know the adjustments. Sorry!

  • Amber
    January 10, 2020 at 10:45 AM

    What if you don’t have shortening, or coconut oil, could you use butter?

    • Nicole Hunn
      January 10, 2020 at 11:32 AM

      I really recommend using something with less moisture, Amber.

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