Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

Moist and tender gluten free cinnamon roll cupcakes are like the best cinnamon bun you’ve ever tasted—but made quick and easy in a muffin tin.

Moist and tender gluten free cinnamon roll muffins are like the best cinnamon bun you've ever tasted—but made quick and easy in a cupcake tin.

Sometimes, a picture says a thousand words (not always, by the way). And yet, I feel the need to mess it up with words anyway. Here’s what you can tell about these gluten free cinnamon roll cupcakes just by looking at them: they’re gorgeous.

But there are a few things you can’t tell, just by looking. The top is almost a little crunchy from the cinnamon-sugar filling, and the cake is tender and buttery and not-too-sweet.

They’re up there with my gluten free carrot cake cupcakes, which I thought were my favorite cupcake in the whole world. Now, I’ve got some soul-searching to do.

Moist and tender gluten free cinnamon roll muffins are like the best cinnamon bun you've ever tasted—but made quick and easy in a cupcake tin.

You know how some people are chocolate people, and others are vanilla people? (I’m an everything person, myself – I don’t discriminate among baked goods, not really.)

Well, cinnamon rolls are for everyone. I mean, who doesn’t like cinnamon rolls?

Moist and tender gluten free cinnamon roll muffins are like the best cinnamon bun you've ever tasted—but made quick and easy in a cupcake tin.

The topping is just a simple vanilla sugar glaze. You can leave it out. Or you could even use the cream cheese frosting recipe from those carrot cake cupcakes.

Moist and tender gluten free cinnamon roll muffins are like the best cinnamon bun you've ever tasted—but made quick and easy in a cupcake tin.

Fill the muffin tins halfway full, and then just swirl in the cinnamon-sugar filling. That’s the hardest thing you’ll have to do.

Moist and tender gluten free cinnamon roll muffins are like the best cinnamon bun you've ever tasted—but made quick and easy in a cupcake tin.

And they bake up so perfectly. For me, it was 19 minutes flat in a 350°F oven. It might be a bit different for you.

Every oven is different, even when you’re using that most important of kitchen tools, an oven thermometer.

Moist and tender gluten free cinnamon roll muffins are like the best cinnamon bun you've ever tasted—but made quick and easy in a cupcake tin.

When I make this recipe, I only glaze the cupcakes I plan to serve right away. If you don’t plan to serve them all right away, and and even plan to freeze a few, freeze them unglazed. Defrost the cupcakes at room temperature, make the glaze fresh and serve.

Moist and tender gluten free cinnamon roll muffins are like the best cinnamon bun you've ever tasted—but made quick and easy in a cupcake tin.

Lightly sweet, filled with cinnamon roll goodness. They’re so moist and tender, and the cinnamon is so fragrant, that you’ll have to enjoy at least one right away.

Ingredients and substitutions


There is dairy in these cupcakes in the forms of butter and buttermilk. The butter in the muffin batter can be replaced with your favorite vegan butter replacement. My favorite is Melt brand vegan butter. Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening would like work, too. 

In place of buttermilk, I don’t recommend adding an acid like lemon juice to nondairy milk, since that produces a thin, slightly acidic milk. True buttermilk is not only sour but also thicker than milk. 

In place of dairy buttermilk, you can use half non-dairy plain yogurt (I like So Delicious brand) and half unsweetened nondairy milk (my favorite is unsweetened almond milk). 


There are 3 whole eggs in this recipe. For that reason, I don’t believe that my usual suggestion of a “chia egg” for each egg would work. For reference, a “chia egg” is one tablespoon ground white chia seeds mixed with one tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel.

If you are willing to create a boiled flax egg (by boiling ground flax seeds with water until a viscous liquid is produced, then straining out the seeds), that might work. 

Moist and tender gluten free cinnamon roll muffins are like the best cinnamon bun you've ever tasted—but made quick and easy in a cupcake tin.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 12 cupcakes


For the swirl/filling
4 tablespoons (48 g) vegetable shortening, melted and cooled

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

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cucakcupcakes
2 cups (280 g) basic gum-free gluten free flour blend (185 grams superfine white rice flour + 61 grams potato starch + 34 grams tapioca starch)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (this must be added – the point is to use a much lower amount of xanthan gum than is in an all purpose gluten free flour blend)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

3 eggs (180 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup (158 ml) low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature

3/4 cup (86 g) confectioners’ sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted

1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons milk (any kind)


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin, and set it aside.

  • First, place the swirl/filling ingredients in a small bowl, and mix to combine well. Set the bowl aside.

  • Make the cupcake batter. In a medium-size bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine well. Set the dry ingredients aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer), beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, and then the eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until well-combined. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk, in 3 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. The batter will be thick but light and fluffy.

  • Place half of the cupcake batter in the prepared wells of the muffin tin, and top with half the filling. Swirl the filling around gently in the batter with the end of a long spoon or a toothpick or skewer. Top with the remaining cupcake batter, and then the remaining filling, and swirl again. Shake the tin back and forth until the batter is in an even layer in each muffin well.

  • Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not over-bake. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • While the cupcakes are cooling, make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and 1/4 teaspoon of the milk, and mix to combine well. You should have a smooth, but very thick paste. Add more milk by the 1/4 teaspoon and mix well until you have a thick, but slowly pourable, glaze. Pour a bit of glaze over each cooled cupcake. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days, and then wrap tightly and freeze.


Comments are closed.

  • Ryan
    January 21, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    I made these with cream cheese frosting this morning and received rave reviews from everyone.

    Future Changes:
    The next time I make these I will either double the swirl filling, as I had problems getting equal proportions into each cupcake (ran out 3 cupcakes short), or just swirl the filling into the cupcake batter before pouring it into the cupcake molds. I will also cook them for 17 minutes as at 18 minutes they turned out a bit on the dry side (I live at sea level). I’m also going to try adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to the cupcake mix next time as 1 teaspoon for 12 cupcakes seems on the stingy side when it comes to cinnamon rolls.

    Instead of using butter milk (no one makes a lactose-free buttermilk and even if they did I wouldn’t pay the money when I can do this:), I mixed 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and let the mix set while I made up the flour blend (BTW this is a great trick for making buttermilk pancakes as well). I also used salted butter as I didn’t have any unsalted butter on hand..

    Thanks for the recipe Nicole!

    • January 21, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      Ryan, if you add more of the filling, you run the risk of weighing down the cupcakes and having them not keep their shape properly as they cool. And if you mix it into the batter, your cupcakes will look very different. Good luck!

  • January 21, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    Oh. My. Goodness. I’m making these asap! They look FAB.

  • Diana Draper
    January 21, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    These were wonderful. I made them for breakfast with scrambled eggs. Hubby who is not GF really loved them. Thanks so much for sharing your talent.

  • Michele
    January 20, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    We had these for dessert tonight, following pancetta meatball soup from your 2nd book. Thank you for tonight’s dinner!

    • January 21, 2014 at 7:38 PM

      That’s awesome, Michele! I love that soup. Thanks for letting me know – that makes me smile pret-ty big. :)

  • sandy coleman
    January 20, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    These sound amazing as usual with your posts!! I read your emails first!
    These will just make our night here..
    Thank you!!

  • Rach@twolicious
    January 20, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    How is it possible? You totally read my mind, well the part where I was thinking I need a cupcake to send off with my mum for her birthday…something different, something that will travel well on the plane… Open my emails and here you are blessing me with doing my thinking for me!

    Total champ- yeah that’s you… Oh and I’m making a a double batch btw (some for the kiddos too!) twice is nice.

    Also just thought I’d let you know I used your confetti cupcakes (doubled) to make a 12 in round cake (for a donut cake, of course), it worked an absolute charm.
    So thank you again :)

    Oh and I will be up in your Pinterest board, putting in my 2 cents worth-awesome!

  • kclark
    January 20, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    I am working at home today because I have a stupid cold and don’t want to infect everyone at the office. So guess what I am going to do while I work? Make these little beauties. I don’t have superfine rice flour yet…it is on the way so I am going to use regular ole rice flour and will report back. I bet they will be a touch grainy and a little more dense but I can’t wait. I have no patience. I can smell these through the screen even though I can’t breathe at all! Thanks for this Nik. My daughter doesn’t like fruit in her muffins (gasp), so these could do the trick and I will freeze some and give a few to my Celiac neighbor. Honestly, you read my mind so much it scares me. She just asked me for a muffin that didn’t have fruit! Thanks again!

    • kclark
      January 22, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      I am checking back in. These are amazing! Kid approved! I brought them to work and my co-workers ate them and had no idea GF. They are so light and fluffy and not too sweet. Thank you again!

  • Mare Masterson
    January 20, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    Oh yes! Tonight tonight I’ll bake these up tonight for eating in the cold morning sun (sung to Tonight Tonight from Westside Story). Yes I am really sitting in my office singing this in my head! I know what you’re thinking…I am a dork. Yes I am–I embrace my dorkiness! I cannot wait to embrace these cupcakes!

  • Mare Masterson
    January 20, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Oh yes! Tonight, tonight, I’ll bake these treats tonight for eating in the cold morning sun (sung to Tonight tonight from West Side Story). Yes I am really singing this in my head while I am in my office! (I know what you are thinking, I am a dork and I embrace my dorkiness!)

  • Jennifer S.
    January 20, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    Yum! Of course I’m partial to buttercream ….on like everything! I’m going to try a vanilla cinnamon version on these….sounds soooooo good and perfect for a brunch. Thanks for another fab recipe!

    • January 20, 2014 at 2:52 PM

      Sounds fab, Jennifer!

  • Jen
    January 20, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    I don’t have a premixed gluten free blend. Can you tell me how many cups you used of the rice flour, potato starch. and tapioca starch you used? Cups instead of grams? :-)

  • Christina
    January 20, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    Was so excited to see this post. YUM! Already made them this morning for breakfast. They tasted GREAT. All four of my kids gave them a thumbs up and loved them. Thank you for the recipe and all your hard work! Thank you also for giving the weights (it helps).

    • January 20, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      That’s awesome, Christina! So glad you jumped right in. :)

    • January 20, 2014 at 1:47 PM

      That’s awesome that you already jumped in, Christina! Thanks for reporting back.

  • Joei
    January 20, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    The flour blends really confuse me. I love looking at your recipes and the couple I have made turned out good, but I would like to just use one flour blend for everything. The better than cup 4 cup won’t work on this?

    • January 20, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      Joei, please see this post on how to use all my flour blends. It should answer your flour questions in general. When my first cookbook came out, I was one of the first to use a single all purpose gluten free flour blend in most of my recipes (which I still do). I was vilified for it (truly). Now, that is the way most gluten free recipes are developed and written. In this particular recipe, I made it with one of my all purpose blends, and it was gummy. Feel free to experiment, though!

      • Jennifer S.
        January 20, 2014 at 1:14 PM

        Never in my eyes friend- never!!!

        • January 20, 2014 at 2:52 PM

          Thanks, Jennifer! :)

      • MaryAnn
        January 20, 2014 at 2:31 PM

        I’m surprised people didn’t like that – that’s actually the reason I ought your books and follow you – because it’s easier to just use an all purpose mix and I know I will never be one to mi my own blend – never gonna happen! Love your recipes :)

        • January 20, 2014 at 2:51 PM

          It’s because I was the first one to do it, MaryAnn. And change, even for the better, is always always met with resistance. Not from everyone, but from many. Just take a look at the amazon reviews on my bread book and you’ll see just what I mean! You know how, when you’re really hard-working so you get more work and no one says thank you? It’s like that. :) Not that you guys never say thank you! I just mean that’s the analogy to an office environment.

  • Nicole DeLaney
    January 20, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    Hi Nicole! Excited for this recipe! Was curious though if you had any alternatives to the shortening?

    • January 20, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      I haven’t tested this recipe with any substitutions. Feel free to experiment!

  • Leigh
    January 20, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    Is there a dairy-free alternative to the buttermilk?

    • January 20, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      Try souring a dairy-free milk with an acid, like lemon or white vinegar, Leigh.

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