Let the aroma of these Vegan Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls fill your home as they bake and you’ll be in heaven. Fluffy cinnamon rolls with a chocolate-y, ooey-gooey filling and topped with a chocolate glaze.
We LOVE cinnamon rolls, evident from the growing number of cinnamon roll recipes appearing on here. If you haven’t already, check out our recipes for Classic Cinnamon Rolls, Funfetti Cinnamon Rolls and Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls. But first, let’s dive face first into a tray of these ooey-gooey, chocolate-y vegan cinnamon rolls. We could go on and on about how good these rolls are, but honestly we think the photos do them justice enough. We wanted to dedicate this blog post to a little bit more about troubleshooting common errors in cinnamon buns and sharing a little bit about what can be substituted in this recipe.
Cinnamon Roll Troubleshooting
So you’re making cinnamon rolls and they aren’t coming out like you expected them to? Cinnamon rolls are tricky business so we thought we’d share our advice on common cinnamon roll baking questions. If you have more questions, please feel free to reach out!
Should I use the gram or cup measurements?
If you’re asking us, we will also say to use metric measurements like grams! Ultimately it’s up to baker preference (that’s why we have both), but gram measurements allow for a more precise bake. When we switched over to measuring with a scale all of our bakes became significantly more consistent. When you use cup measurements, you never know if you’re accidentally adding more flour than needed, which will significantly change the end result – especially texture. Switching over to metric is as easy as buying an inexpensive kitchen scale (affiliate link)!
What if my yeast isn’t getting foamy?
Yeast can be a tricky ingredient to work with. There are a couple different things that could be preventing your yeast from activating.
Firstly, double check that your yeast isn’t expired! Yes, yeast has an expiry date and it can prevent your cinnamon rolls from getting nice and fluffy. If the yeast is expired we recommend re-doing with a new batch of yeast.
Secondly, you could have killed the yeast with liquid that’s too hot. To activate yeast you need warm liquid, but it should not be hot. You should be able to stick your finger in the liquid without it hurting. Generally we keep our heated liquid between 40-50C to avoid killing the yeast. If you think the liquid was too hot, then you’ll have to start again with new yeast.
Finally, it could also be that your liquid is too cold. The temperature of the liquid should be over 40F or else it won’t proof the yeast quick enough.
What if my dough didn’t double in size?
There are a couple things that could be happening here. You could have used expired yeast or killed your yeast preventing it from activating (see previous question for more information) – in this case you’d need to start over again because the cinnamon rolls will not rise and you will end up with a very dense dough.
You could also be proofing your dough in temperature that’s a bit too cold. If you’re seeing growth, but not doubling growth it could just mean that the temp is lower than its needed and its growing slower than in our recipe. If this is the case you’ll just have to wait a little longer for your cinnamon rolls (we promise it’s worth it!). Alternatively you could also move it to a warmer section of your home OR place it in the oven (turned off) with the interior light on to help create a warmer, more humid environment for it. Better yet, if your oven has a proofing function, like Kat’s does, you can use that setting to speed up the proof.
My rolls didn’t bake all the way through, what happened?
Oven temperature is important, you’ll hear Kat rant on and on about it a lot. Every oven is different which is why we recommend getting 1 or 2 oven thermometers (affiliate link) to place in your oven to ensure that it is truly the temperature it needs to be. This way you can ensure you baking at the right temp and everything is cooking through. This could also be a problem of the pan you’re using. Different material and colours cooks differently. If you’re using glass, you may find you need to add a little bit of cook time versus the black enamel pan we used.
What can be substituted?
Certain ingredients are hard to come by right now, so don’t worry if you don’t have everything. See below for the a list of substitutions that should be okay for this recipe. Please keep in mind that this recipe was only tested the way its been posted so we cannot guarantee that the flavour and texture of your chocolate cinnamon rolls will be exactly the same.
- Non-Dairy Milk – If you don’t have any non-dairy milk on hand you can use water instead, but we really recommend non-dairy milk if you can find some. We use soy milk, but any non-dairy milk will do. You could even make your own non-dairy milk at home if you’d like, to use in this recipe.
- Vegan Butter (in the dough) – We love using vegan butter for the flavour it brings to baked goods, but it can be difficult to find at times if you don’t live in a city. If you need to swap out the butter in the dough, you can do so with a little bit of coconut oil instead.
- All-Purpose Flour – We pretty mush exclusively bake with unbleached all-purpose flour. But if you prefer a whole wheat option, you can substitute for whole wheat flour. We would recommend however, adding it a little bit at a time as you may need less whole wheat flour to get the desired consistency and texture.
- Filling – Instead of this chocolate-y cinnamon butter, you can use a hazelnut chocolate spread or any other chocolate spread.
- Chocolate Glaze – Instead of this chocolate glaze you could opt for a simple store-bought chocolate sauce or spreadable chocolate icing.
Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
- 120 mL (1/2 cup) non-dairy milk
- 1/2 tbsp quick rise yeast
- 2 tbsp (25g) white sugar
- 17 g (2.5 tbsp) vegan butter
- 1 flax egg, 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp cold water
- pinch salt
- 240 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 35 g (5 tbsp) vegan butter
- 12 g (2 tbsp) cacao powder
- 50 g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 62 g (1/2 cup) icing sugar
- 6 g (1 tbsp) cacao powder
- 15 mL (1 tbsp) non-dairy milk
- For the dough: Heat the non-dairy milk until it is just warm to the touch, between 40-50C.
- To your warmed milk add the yeast and white sugar and whisk until incorporated. Set aside for about 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes it does not start to foam (or bubble), your yeast is either dead or expired and you should start over with new yeast.
- Add butter to a stand mixer with the flax egg and beat until butter has softened. Add flour, salt, and yeast mixture to the stand mixer and using the dough hook, beat until the dough just comes together. It is okay if it is a little crumbly.
- Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and kneed until it comes together into a smooth dough.
- Add dough to a lightly greased mixing bowl and place clear wrap over top. Place in OFF oven to proof for at least 1 hour or until it has doubled in size. Do not turn on or preheat oven while your dough is rising. Optionally you can also leave to rise in a warm spot in your home or using the proofing setting on your oven.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, place on a lightly flour surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough and rolling pin and roll into a long rectangle until the dough is about 1/4" thick.
- To make the filling combine vegan butter and cacao powder until smooth and the butter has softened. Spread the chocolate-y butter evenly across the rolled out dough. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Start tightly rolling the dough into a pinwheel, starting from the long side. Using a sharp knife cut cinnamon rolls into 1 inch rolls. You should get 6 cinnamon rolls.
- Place cinnamon buns in 9x9 baking pan or pie dish, evenly spaced apart. Cover with clear wrap and a kitchen towel to proof once more. This rise will take about 30 minutes. You can rise it in dark humid place or in your oven that is OFF. Optionally you can place the dish on your stove while you preheat the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Once the rolls have risen and the oven is preheated bake rolls in over for 27-30 minutes or until golden.
- To make the chocolate glaze: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth. If too thick add a splash more non-dairy milk.
- While the rolls are still warm, drizzle with chocolate glaze and serve.