Autumnal flavours of sweet cinnamon and sticky caramelised apples are wrapped up in a soft and squishy dough with these Caramel Apple Cinnamon Buns. Enjoy these beauties for dessert slathered generously with our easy 2-ingredient vegan caramel sauce!
Cinnamon buns come in a wide variety of shapes, textures and sizes. For me, a decent cinnamon bun has got to be soft, squishy and messy. The type you eat with a spoon for dessert.
These glorious Caramel Apple Cinnamon Buns are just that – soft, squishy, sticky and delicious, celebrating the warming autumnal flavours of apple, cinnamon, brown sugar and caramel.
Why you’ll love these Caramel Apple Cinnamon Buns
A unique twist on the classic Cinnamon Roll. Cinnamon and apple are the perfect flavour pairing, making this unique twist on the cinnamon roll one you’re bound to enjoy. The apples are cooked gently in brown sugar until they’re sticky, adding a rich caramel flavour which is enhanced by the buttery, sweet caramel sauce topping.
They celebrate British produce. These non dairy cinnamon buns are inspired by the abundance of homegrown apples we enjoy in the British countryside each autumn. Apples are shared amongst family and friends, traded, gifted and cooked into everything you can imagine as autumn rolls around in the UK; these Caramel Apple Cinnamon Buns celebrate this wonderful tradition in a truly delicious way.
They’re super soft and squishy. The secret to squishy cinnamon buns is using bread flour to make the dough, and enriching it with melted vegan butter. It’s a simple process that results in PERFECT soft and fluffy rolls that are a joy to eat.
They’re egg and dairy free. These ‘no egg cinnamon rolls’ are also made completely dairy free (even the caramel sauce!). They’re such a lovely treat to share with friends and family who are vegan or who cannot eat dairy or eggs (or even those who can!).
How to make these Caramel Apple Cinnamon Buns
Make sure to head to the recipe card below for the full recipe and instructions!
You actually only need 7 simple ingredients to make these vegan cinnamon buns (plus salt, hot water and caramel sauce). The key to achieving perfectly soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls with a sticky, delicious filling is to follow the recipe as written (try not to deviate). Here’s how you make them:
Bread flour. You want to use strong white bread flour. We don’t recommend substituting for plain flour (all purpose), self raising flour, wholewheat flour or gluten free flour.
Yeast. Use dried instant yeast for this recipe, which is usually portioned up into 7g packets (so you’ll need one packet).
Sugar. We recommend soft light brown sugar for this recipe because it adds a rich, caramel flavour.
Dairy-free milk. We use almond milk in baking but you can also use soya milk.
Dairy-free margarine. Use the spreadable kind of vegan margarine, not solid block butter.
Apples. Opt for a sweet eating apple, such as Granny Smith or Gala. Alternatively, use whatever apple variety is growing on your apple trees at home. Don’t substitute for a cooking apple variety such as Bramley, it will be too tart for this recipe.
Cinnamon. Use dried ground cinnamon.
Caramel. For the caramel you can either buy this ready-made (Nature’s Charm do a lovely one) or make our easy vegan 2-ingredient caramel using dairy-free cream and brown sugar.
- a large bowl
- mixing spoons
- a saucepan
- rolling pin
- sharp knife
- a large baking dish (approx 20cm x 35cm / 8″x 14″).
You can use a stand mixer to make the dough if you have one.
Proof the yeast. We always recommend proofing yeast, just to make sure it’s active. To do this you mix the yeast with 1 tsp of sugar and 300ml warm milk and then set it aside for 10 minutes to go frothy.
Make the dough. Mix the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar and salt). Add the yeast mixture to the bowl along with the melted vegan margarine (cooled to room temperature). Stir everything together and then knead it on a smooth, well-floured surface for 7 minutes. To knead dough you basically just push it backwards and forwards on the worktop (you can be fairly rough!) – take a look at our instructional recipe video for an example. You can add a little more flour as necessary if the dough is too sticky. Set the dough aside to prove (rise) for 1-1.5 hours.
Make the filling. Add the apple chunks, sugar, cinnamon and a splash of water to a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat for around 20 minutes until it is thick and sticky. Set the filling aside to cool.
Create the cinnamon buns. Once your dough has doubled in size, it’s ready to use. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is a rectangle approximately 35cm x 45cm in size (14″ x 18″) and around 1/2 cm thick (1/4″). Spread dairy-free margarine around the outside edges to make a margarine border. Add the cold apple filling to the centre and spread it out until it’s touching the margarine border.
Roll it up! Starting from the long side of the rectangle of dough, roll it up into a log as tightly as you can without the filling squiggling out. Use a sharp knife to cut the log into 12 cinnamon rolls. If you’re struggling, you can pop the dough log into the fridge for 15 minutes to let it firm up a bit before trying to cut it.
2nd prove and then bake. Add the 12 cut cinnamon rolls to a lightly greased baking dish. Cover them with a tea towel and let them prove (rise) again for around 45 minutes. Once they’ve nearly doubled in size again it’s time to bake them at 180°C fan (200°C conventional / 400°F / gas mark 6) for 18 minutes until golden on top. Brush them in sugar glaze as soon as they’re out of the oven.
Proof the yeast first
‘Proofing’ the yeast is a way to test that it is active and going to rise the dough so that you don’t waste time and ingredients on bad yeast. Technically you don’t need to proof instant yeast but I still recommend it because it’s incredibly frustrating to get halfway through a recipe to find out the yeast isn’t working! Take a look at the recipe card for how to proof your yeast (it’s very straightforward).
Keep the liquids around 40°C (105°F)
Don’t overheat your liquids (the warm milk and melted margarine) before mixing it with the yeast and dry ingredients, otherwise it could kill the yeast. A thermometer is handy here but if you don’t have one then dip a clean finger into the warm liquid – 40°C/105°F is slightly warm to the touch (not hot).
Let the dough rise in a warm environment to double the size
The dough needs to rise to double in size in order for the buns to develop a soft and fluffy texture. If you rush this step and ‘under-prove’ your dough it could result in a dense dough. Pick a warm, draught-free place, cover the bowl of dough with a tea towel and set it aside for around 60-90 minutes until it has doubled. A warm airing cupboard is usually great for this!
Fully cool the filling
Once the cinnamon apple filling has been cooked, be sure to cool it fully before spreading it on the dough and rolling it up. If the filling is warm it will make cutting the cinnamon rolls more difficult as the filling will squidge out the sides! Similarly, use room-temperature margarine (not melted) to create the margarine border around your rolled-out dough.
Use a very sharp knife
When slicing the caramel apple cinnamon rolls into rounds before baking use the sharpest knife you own. If you’re struggling you can refrigerate the dough log for 15 minutes to firm it up a bit before slicing.
Use the correct size baking dish
This recipe makes 12 cinnamon buns to fit in a 20cm x 35cm (8” x 14”) baking dish. Use a dish that is as close to this size as possible. If you use a smaller dish the buns will be too crowded (or you’ll fit fewer in) and if you use a larger dish the buns will spread out too much. Alternatively, you can use a large, deep muffin tin and add one cinnamon bun per muffin hole.
Storing and enjoying
Cinnamon buns are best eaten the same day, preferably still warm for ultimate enjoyment! You can store them in an airtight container for 1-2 days at room temperature (without the caramel sauce). To reheat them, pop them in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.
Can I omit the apple?
If you’re looking for a vegan cinnamon roll recipe that doesn’t use apples – try this recipe instead.
Do I need an egg substitute for these cinnamon buns?
These ‘no egg cinnamon rolls’ don’t require any egg substitutes.
What dairy free milk should I use?
We tend to use almond milk in baking, which works well. You can also use soya milk in this recipe for non dairy cinnamon buns.
Can I use store-bought caramel?
Our Easy Vegan Caramel uses just 2 ingredients and is a breeze to make but if you prefer you can use your favourite store-bought caramel sauce instead.
Can I freeze these cinnamon rolls?
Cinnamon buns are always best enjoyed fresh but yes, you can freeze them. Place the baked buns (without the caramel sauce) in an airtight container/bag and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost them in the refrigerator overnight and then warm them up before enjoying them. I recommend serving them with warm vegan custard rather than caramel sauce if they’ve been frozen. A delicious winter dessert!
How long will the cinnamon buns last?
Cinnamon buns are always best enjoyed the same day as baking but they will last a couple of days stored in an airtight container.
Loved these vegan Caramel Apple Cinnamon Buns? Here are some more delicious vegan sweet treats to try
These vegan Cornish Saffron Buns are soft and squishy on the inside with a delicate sweetness and unique saffron flavour. Filled with juicy sultanas and brushed with a sticky glaze, this traditional Cornish treat is delicious served warm with melty vegan butter.
If you’re looking for a holiday take on cinnamon buns, try these Festive Cinnamon Buns with Orange, Cinnamon and Maple Icing – they’ve got a soft and squishy dough and are filled with sweet cinnamon and orange-infused sultanas.
Chock full of yummy ingredients including juicy sultanas, crunchy pecan pieces, desiccated coconut and zingy orange zest, these one-bowl Carrot Cake Baked Doughnuts are a good one to make with kids.
These Vegan Welsh Cakes are soft, sweet and moreish with a lightly crisp exterior, a tender interior flavoured delicately with cinnamon, and a sprinkling of sultanas throughout. Serve them warm from the pan with melty vegan butter or eat them cold as a snack.
This super simple 5 Ingredient Vegan Banana Bread is a breeze to make – taking just 5 minutes to prep and using 5 simple pantry ingredients.
I hope you LOVE this recipe for Caramel Apple Cinnamon Buns! Share this recipe with someone you think will enjoy it and don’t forget to tag @aveganvisit on social media when you try out the recipe. I absolutely love seeing your re-creations! Enjoy 🙂 x
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The Video Recipe:
The Caramel Apple Cinnamon Buns Recipe:
Sticky Caramel Apple Cinnamon Buns (No Egg & Non Dairy!)
For the dough:
- 300 ml dairy free milk (warm)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 7 g dried yeast
- 500 g strong white bread flour
- 50 g soft light brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 100 g of dairy free margarine (melted)
For the filling:
- 6 medium eating apples (cored and cut into small chunks (approx 660g)*)
- 200 g soft light brown sugar
- 20 g ground cinnamon
- 3 tbsp dairy free margarine + extra for greasing
For the sugar glaze:
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp hot water
For the caramel topping:
- 130 g vegan caramel or 1 batch of our 2 ingredient Easy Vegan Caramel Sauce
Make the dough:
- Melt the margarine and set it aside to allow it to cool to room temperature (or at least below 40°C).100 g of dairy free margarine
- In a jug or bowl, mix together the warm milk (at approximately 40°C), 1 tsp of sugar and yeast and set it aside for 10 minutes until it is frothy**.300 ml dairy free milk, 1 tsp sugar, 7 g dried yeast
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, 50g of sugar and tsp of salt, making sure there are no clumps in the sugar.500 g strong white bread flour, 50 g soft light brown sugar, 1 tsp salt
- Add the yeast mixture and cooled melted margarine to the flour and mix it together into a dough. Make sure your margarine isn’t too hot when you add it, it should be 40°C or below.
- Knead the dough for 7 minutes on a smooth, well floured surface. To ‘knead’ push the ball of dough across the surface with the heel of your hand and repeat this process for 7 minutes; it can be quite therapeutic!
- If the dough is too sticky to knead then add a sprinkling of flour as needed - don’t use too much, just enough to make the dough manageable.
- Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and set it aside somewhere warm (but not hot) to prove for 60 to 90 minutes.
- Note: The proving time will depend on how warm your kitchen is but you’re aiming for your dough to have doubled in size - if you have a warm kitchen it will likely be 60 minutes, for a slightly cooler kitchen expect it to take 90 or so minutes.
Make the filling:
- Whilst the dough is proving, make the apple filling.
- Add the apple chunks to a saucepan along with the brown sugar, cinnamon and a splash of water to stir everything together.6 medium eating apples, 200 g soft light brown sugar, 20 g ground cinnamon
- Set the saucepan over a medium heat and simmer gently for around 20 minutes until the mixture is thick and sticky and all of the liquid has been absorbed/evaporated. Keep stirring to ensure the mixture is not sticking to the pan.
- Note: The time it takes for the apples to reach a thick, sticky consistency will vary depending on the water-content of your apple. If your apples have a higher water content it may take 25 minutes, if your apples have a lower water content it could take as little as 10-15 minutes, so keep an eye on the mixture and stir frequently.
- Once the apples are ready, set them aside to cool fully before use.
Create the cinnamon buns:
- Once the dough has been proving for 60-90 minutes and has doubled in size, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle approximately 35 cm x 45 cm (14” x 18”) and around 1/2 cm (1/4”) thick.
- Spread dairy free margarine around the outside edges of the rectangle to make a 2.5cm / 1” border.3 tbsp dairy free margarine + extra for greasing
- Add the cold apple mixture*** into the centre of the dough and spread it out to (but not overlapping) the margarine border.
- Starting from the long side of the rectangle, roll the dough up into a log as tightly as you can without the filling squidging out!
- Use a sharp knife to cut off the uneven ends and then cut the log into 12 cinnamon rolls (please see the recipe video for an example).
- Grease a large baking dish (approx 20 cm x 35 cm / 8” x 14”) with dairy free margarine.
- Place the cinnamon buns, with the swirly side up, in the baking dish so that they are just touching each other.
- Cover the dish with a tea towel and set aside to prove for 45 minutes - 1 hour until they have nearly doubled in size again and are filling the baking dish.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (200°C conventional / 400°F / gas mark 6) and then bake the buns for 18 minutes until golden on top. Prepare the sugar glaze whilst the buns are baking.
Glaze the buns:
- Add the sugar and hot water to a small dish and stir until the sugar has dissolved.2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp hot water
- Brush the sugar glaze over the buns as soon as you take them out of the oven. Discard any excess sugar glaze.
- Set aside the baking dish allowing the buns to cool in the dish.
- Serve the cinnamon buns warm drizzled with vegan caramel sauce. You’ll likely want to use a fork to enjoy them!130 g vegan caramel or 1 batch of our 2 ingredient Easy Vegan Caramel Sauce