Gluten Free Cinnamon Sticky Rolls Recipe (Oven or Crock Pot)

Gluten Free Cinnamon Sticky Rolls Recipe (Oven or Crock Pot)

My grandma made the most amazing cinnamon sticky rolls, but her recipe was not only made with traditional wheat flour, it was also lost somewhere along the way. Or perhaps it was just always one she remembered how to make by feel and by look, without even using a recipe. Either way, when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I knew I had to re-create her recipe, as gluten free cinnamon sticky rolls, so the memory of those treats wouldn’t also be lost.

cinnamon sticky buns on platter

Note: This post is unusually long because it is part of the Home for the Holidays blogger event. To jump straight to the recipe, click: Cinnamon Sticky Rolls.

If you’re searching for a pull-apart gluten free cinnamon bun recipe, click here!

gluten free cinnamon bun

Pull-apart cinnamon buns.


If Cinna-bon type Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls are what you’re craving, click here!

gluten free cinnamon rollsMindy’s Cinna-bon style gluten free cinnamon rolls.

For years (ok, decades) I thought that there was NO way I could ever replicate my Grandma’s cinnamon sticky rolls. No way. And thank goodness I didn’t have to! Christmas came and went every year, and Grandma’s rolls were something we could all count on.

I remember as a young girl lingering in Grandma’s kitchen, but I had already missed the true excitement: the kneading of the dough, the hours of rising and covering and baking. Nothing to see here … move along.

All I distinctly remember from those Christmas mornings was that I and my younger cousins were relegated to being served the “hard” parts of Grandma’s rolls — the crispy outsides. The coveted insides (the yummy soft rolls) were fought over by the older generations, and there were certainly none left for us young-uns! Not that we complained (much), since the outer (crunchy) rolls were still awesome, it’s just that in comparison to the supreme deliciousness of those inner rolls …. (ok, I apologize … I am seriously digressing into family issues/rolls.).

To hear my radio interview with Shirley (GlutenFreeEasily) about gluten-free holiday baking & more on my Grandma’s Cinnamon Sticky Rolls, click here for the podcast!

gluten free cinnamon sticky rolls - gfJules


Back to the point: to me these rolls were up there with every other Christmas tradition. Of course we would always have Grandma’s rolls! It was unthinkable to contemplate the possibility that Christmas could occur without them!

… I know, I understand. This sounds really bad. Christmas isn’t about rolls!!?! What were we thinking!?? Agreed. But you know what? Looking back at my Christmas memories (what Shirley’s “Home for the Holidays, gluten-free style” is all about!), my Grandma’s cinnamon sticky rolls were IT!

I was with my extended family (which only happened once or twice a year), and we all congregated Christmas morning to share the ritual pecking order of who got the soft, gooey insides of Grandma’s cinnamon sticky rolls. That was our tradition.

gluten free cinnamon sticky buns with spatula

Grandma's Cinnamon Sticky Rolls ... Made Gluten Free! Our Christmas morning tradition, but melt-in-your-mouth delicious any time of year. Bake in the oven OR the crockpot!

So when Shirley asked each of us GF bloggers to think of what recipe meant the holidays to us — of course this recipe was my choice.

Christmas couldn’t really be Christmas without Grandma’s rolls.

Except that Christmas somehow happened without those rolls when Grandma got sick, and after she passed away. But Christmas took on a totally different taste to us all since Grandma didn’t leave a recipe for her famous rolls, and no one in the family had a clue how to start over. So we all made due on memories, which frankly, didn’t cut it.

gluten free cinnamon sticky buns side

About that same time, I was diagnosed with celiac disease, so I was obviously out of the “how to recreate Grandma’s rolls” loop. It was just another in my long line of emotion-laden foods that I could expect to never enjoy again. It was also another reason for my multi-year food depression which marked my first several years post-CD-diagnosis.

At some point (a story for a different day), I parted the curtain of my despair and determined to recreate the most important of my family’s recipes. Of course, Grandma’s rolls were a major challenge, considering that none of us even had a glutenous recipe starting point–just the vivid memory of the taste of those amazing rolls, as you closed your eyes and slowly savored the unmistakable flavors of Christmas….

gltuen free cinnamon sticky bun with fork

This is where my mother stepped in again, as the amazing inspiration she has always been for me. She was also a cinnamon roll addict (weren’t we all?!) and she challenged me to figure out how to replicate Grandma’s rolls, but to do it gluten-free. So we worked and worked (the taste-tests were brutal!) until we achieved sweet success!

gluten free cinnamon sticky buns baked

Just look at these baked beauties before they’re flipped! So fluffy and yummy!


Impossible to resist, aren’t they?

gluten free cinnamon rolls in pan

Taylor O's gluten free cinnamon sticky rolls

Taylor O: “Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. Even my family members who do not eat gluten free loved these for Christmas breakfast!”


I think it’s because these rolls mean so much to me, sentimentally, that I am so touched whenever readers share their photos of this recipe and their reports of widespread happiness with whomever they share.

Here’s Taylor O’s Christmas morning success. And here’s to wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays.

And now, without further ado, onto my most delicious holiday memory: Cinnamon Sticky Rolls!


Gluten Free Cinnamon Sticky Rolls Recipe (Oven or Crock Pot)

Gluten Free Cinnamon Sticky Rolls baked in a crockpot means every roll is melt-in-your-mouth soft.
  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 1/2 hours with rise time
  • Yield: 8-12 rolls, depending on size


Dough Ingredients:

Crumble Ingredients:

Topping Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. melted butter or Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks
  • 1/2 cup dark karo syrup (or pure maple syrup or agave nectar – light rolls pictured with agave)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)


1- In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, except yeast.  Cut the shortening into small pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a dough paddle attachment on an electric mixer or a pastry cutter by hand.

2- In a smaller bowl, stir together the liquid ingredients until combined.  Slowly add liquid mixture to the dry ingredient bowl and mix with the paddle attachment.  Add in the yeast, mixing on medium-high until smooth.  The dough will be very wet.

If baking in the oven, lightly oil then line with parchment and 8×8 or 9-inch round pan.

Prepare the topping ingredients and distribute in the bottom of the prepared pan OR in the bottom of a large crock pot.


If using oven method, preheat oven to 200º F, then turn off.

3- Liberally dust a clean counter or pastry mat and your hands with gfJules™ Flour.  Turn the dough out onto the well-floured surface.

4- Gently pat into a rectangle shape, about 1/4 inch thick.

5- Melt the butter and mix with remaining crumble ingredients. Spread on top of the dough.

6- Cut the dough in half, leaving two approximately equal squares of dough. Slowly roll the dough from one end to the other so that the crumble mixture is spiraled inside itself. Repeat for the other half of the dough, so that you have two long logs of rolled dough. Slice each log with a knife to form approximately 8-12 rolls in total.

7- Lay each roll onto the topping-lined pan, spiral-side down. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper and place inside the warmed oven for 25 minutes to rise.

After rising, remove the parchment paper and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Turn oven up to 350º F (static) or 325º F (convection).

When oven has come to temperature, bake for approximately 30-35 minutes (remove the foil after 20 minutes). The rolls will be light brown and have risen nicely; a toothpick inserted into the center of the rolls should come out fairly dry — if it’s wet with dough, keep baking with foil on top.

When done, turn the oven off and open the oven door to let the rolls cool slowly for about 5 minutes.

8- Remove from the oven to cool for 5 minutes, then pull up on the parchment and turn upside-down on a plate for another 5 minutes. The rolls will drop onto the plate and the pan can be removed. Scrape any toppings out from the parchment and onto the rolls if they don’t come out with the rolls.


7- Lay each roll on top of the toppings in the crock pot, spiral-side down. Cover with the lid and let the rolls rise on the low setting for 30 minutes or cover and set in the fridge overnight, remove to come to room temperature then rise before baking.

After rising, turn to high setting and bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted into the rolls comes out clean. Crockpots vary significantly — one I used took 2 hours; another took 6! If your crockpot high temperature is in the 212° F range, it will take more like 6 hours to cook through. (Although it’s a long wait, the good news is that it smells amazing and it is hard to overcook them inside the crock pot!)

8- Once cooked, turn crock pot bowl upside-down on a plate; the rolls will drop onto the plate and the bowl can be removed.

(This method is particularly helpful if you make the rolls and let the crock pot do the work for you so that they are ready after church or a last minute holiday shopping trip!)

Serve warm, but be sure to grab a roll for yourself before they’re all gone!

Yields 8-12 rolls, depending on how small you cut them.

Would you choose nuts or no nuts?

cinnamon sticky buns on platter

Be sure to bookmark this recipe!

And pin for later!

gluten free dairy free Cinnamon Sticky Rolls - gfJules


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526 thoughts on “Gluten Free Cinnamon Sticky Rolls Recipe (Oven or Crock Pot)

  1. I see in the ingredients to use milk powder OR almond meal. I have both almond meal and almond flour. Which should I use? I’m newly celiac diagnosed and hope this recipe works for me. I keep trying recipes and sadly have tossed most outcomes in the trash. I need a successful recovery.

    • Hi Wendy, I feel your pain! It’s so hard trying recipe after recipe only to encounter repeated failures. I think it’s even harder when you’ve successfully baked WITH gluten and then feel lost in a gluten-free world. I find the milk powder works best in this recipe (usually the best choice is featured first when there are ingredient options) but the real key is using my gfJules Flour. If you try this with a gluten free flour blend that is rice-based or bean-based or grain-free, it will not turn out well. The gluten free flour blend must be fine and light and have no odd tastes or grit in order to turn out a truly melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon sticky bun! I toiled for years to get this blend just right — check out the reviews if you haven’t yet; you’ll see that so many people felt exactly the same way you do with other gluten free flours and recipes until they tried mine! There is hope!
      I know you’ll love this recipe, Wendy!

  2. I’m only 18 and I’ve never made dough, so how are you working with the yeast? Do I just activate it with water, and then add to the dough at the end?

    • Hi Olivia, I love that you’re wanting to make this recipe! On its face, it can look kindof daunting, but it’s not a hard recipe if you just follow the steps. Using the quick rise yeast, there’s no need to activate the yeast for this recipe, simply add it where the recipe indicates (I believe it’s step 2). Let me know how you like it!

  3. Super excited to try these, it I’m not familiar with milk powder. I do have Meyenberg goat milk powder, will that work?

    • Hi Lisa, any dry milk powder should work – just be sure to NOT reconstitute it. You’re adding it as powder for structure in the recipe. Enjoy!

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  5. Made your Cinn Sticky Buns. This was the 3rd GF recipe I tested. 1st one dough was not soft, sweetness was good. 2nd one dough was soft but not as sweet. Your recipe is fantastic! The dough is soft and the gooey sweetness is so good. I also liked being able to work the dough, didn’t knead it but to shape it was a nice memory to come back

    • Hi Linda, thanks so much for letting me know! I worked long and hard to get this recipe just right and I’m thrilled whenever I hear other folks are enjoying it too. Such fond memories of my grandmother making these at holidays, but now we can make them any time we crave!

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  7. I just tried your cinnamon sticky rolls and they are delicious – I have never tried sticky buns before. They are a great way to start New Year’s. It took over 2 hours, and I placed them in a 9 inch square pan. Truly a feast for the eyes and the taste buds! Thank you!
    If there are any left (I could eat the whole pan today, along with my non-gluten -free husband, but my clothes would not fit tomorrow!), is there a way to freeze or otherwise store them for a couple of days? I would like to share them with a gluten-free friend I will see in 2 days.
    I always seek out your recipes first, and am happy with the results!

    • Thanks so much, Beth! That makes me so happy to hear! If you have any cinnamon sticky buns left, you certainly have more will power than I! You could put them in a small microwaveable or oven-safe pan and cover with foil and freeze for your friend. Then gently reheat. ENJOY!

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  9. Every Good Friday it is a tradition to make cinnamon rolls and coffee cakes. This is a tradition passed down in our family from my Grandmother who was born and raised in Belgium. The intent is to share with friends and family to enjoy on Easter. I make my grandmother’s traditional recipe to make dozens that are sent out the door to everyone I know and love. Before making 6 dozen or more each year, I make your recipe for me. I can’t have gluten. I prefer sticky buns to traditional cinnamon rolls. So this makes me the happiest. These can be in the crock pot and ready for a coffee break while I am sharing the love with everyone else. This year I am trying a pan of your other cinnamon roll recipe to keep here at home so my kids can compare. They are starting to prefer many gluten free items I make over traditional recipes. They are learning how many treats have often better flavors with alternative flour blends. Thank you for this recipe yet again!

    • Hi Michelle – what a wonderful tradition of sharing at Easter. I am so happy to know that my flour and recipe are a part of it, and glad you are not left behind! I can’t wait to hear what they think of the new cinnamon roll recipe too – which everyone likes better!
      Thank you for sharing your story with me. Have a blessed Easter with your family!

  10. This recipe is SO wonderful! I made them on Christmas Eve in the afternoon, let them rise as the directions say, and then covered them with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and put them in the fridge. I let them sit on the counter for about 30 minutes before baking as directed. The baking time (to make sure the dough was cooked and no longer sticky) took a little bit longer – up to 20 minutes – but the result was pure deliciousness… a new Christmas favorite in my family, even among the gluten eaters!

    • Oh Bambi, that is so wonderful to hear! And thanks for adding the information about making the day before – I’m sure that will be super helpful for others. So happy to hear you have a new Christmas Day tradition for ALL in your family!!!!

  11. Each year for Christmas, I used to make sticky buns for Christmas morning. I took a basic cinnamon roll bread recipe and made what we called sticky buns in an angel food cake pan. We rolled the dough into balls, dipped them in melted butter, cinnamon/brown sugar/walnut mix and then dropped into the pan. We let it rise and then baked it. My question is, do you think your cinnamon roll recipe would work well to make my sticky buns gluten free? I would love to have them again this year as I have abstained for many years.

    • I braved it and made my pull apart sticky buns using this recipe. They turned out wonderful. I did make a few changes to accommodate using a bunt pan. I added an additional 1/4 cup of flour to make the dough less sticky as I wanted to roll one in balls. I floured my hands to roll the balls. I combined the crumb ingredients and the topping together. I spread part of the topping mixture in the bottom of the pan, added a layer of rolled dough balls, then another layer of topping continuing to layer and finishing with the topping. Since I wanted these fresh for Christmas morning, I let it rise in a warm oven and then placed it in the fridge overnight. Early the next morning, I placed the pan in a warm oven to rise again for an hour and then baked for 35 minutes. My family raved about them and I finally got to have sticky buns again.

      • WOW Sheri – your version sounds fantastic! Thanks so much for taking the time to describe how you made them in a bundt pan – they sound so yummy that way, too! I can’t wait to try your way next time! Congratulations on having sticky buns in your life again – it’s a sweet thing!!!

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  14. Question, is the milk powder in the recipe the instant milk powder (Carnation) or the milk powder I buy at the health food store??  thanks.  

    • Hi Linda, the milk powder I use is non-dairy, potato based called Vance’s Dari-Free. You could use Carnation or soy milk powder – the results will vary slightly with different varieties, just make sure you don’t reconstitute it before adding!