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.

On another note: are they called cinnamon sticky rolls, pecan rolls, or sticky buns? I’ve heard them called so many things — all of which sound good and oh-so-descriptively perfect to me!

cinnamon sticky buns on platter

Spoiler alert: I’ve successfully recreated my grandma’s cinnamon sticky buns … pecan rolls … heaven on a plate … whatever you call them, and am happily sharing the recipe with you now with MANY options: made in a crockpot; made in an oven; risen overnight to bake the next morning; with or without nuts; no karo syrup (karo-free, if you will) … SO many choices!

Which is why this is a longer than ordinary post. Fee free to jump straight to the recipe: Cinnamon Sticky Rolls.

Or if you’re looking for another kind of gluten free cinnamon roll altogether, perhaps aCinna-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.

If you’d love gluten free cinnamon rolls in under 1 hour (yeast-free and vegan, too!), my 52 minute gluten free cinnamon rolls are just the thing!

gluten free cinnamon buns with without yeast in pan with server

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

gluten free cinnamon bun

Pull-apart cinnamon buns.


Gluten Free Cinnamon Sticky Buns Family History

For years (ok, decades) I thought that there was NO way I could ever replicate my Grandma’s cinnamon sticky buns/pecan 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.

gluten free cinnamon sticky buns before flipping | gfJules

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 sticky buns 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 sticky buns/pecan 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

I think it’s because these gluten free cinnamon 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.

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!”


Here’s Taylor O’s Christmas morning success. And here’s to wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays, or any day you decide to make these amazing gluten free cinnamon sticky rolls.

And now, without further ado, onto these Cinnamon Sticky Rolls!

How to make Gluten Free Cinnamon Sticky Rolls

Steps 1/2: Make the dough according to my directions in the recipe below.

gluten free cinnamon sticky-buns-4

gluten free cinnamon sticky-buns-3Steps 3/4: Pat or roll out the dough onto a surface dusted with lots of gfJules Flour to keep it from sticking; it should be a rectangle no thicker than 1/4 inch.

Step 5: Spread with melted butter or vegan butter then sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top.

(optional, but even better in my opinion is to do 3/4/5 steps twice! Spread/sprinkle, then fold over the dough like an envelope and then do it all again so that the dough has TWO layers of yummy butter, sugar and cinnamon rolled up inside itself. See photos below these notes but just above the recipe card for the “double rolled” look of these rolls!)

gluten free cinnamon sticky-buns-5-8

Steps 6/7/8: Cut down the middle of the dough so you’re dividing the dough in half and it’s easier to roll up into two separate logs. Each log then rolls into two which are then cut into approximately 4 rolls each. Lay each roll into prepared pan, cover, rise then bake, flip and enjoy!

Overnight Rise Option

One more time saver for you, since we’re all looking for ways to enjoy these without having to get up quite so early in the morning. You can make these gluten free cinnamon sticky rolls the night before, allow them to rise for an hour or more, then cover them tightly and put them in the refrigerator overnight.

Get them out and allow them to come closer to room temperature before baking. This is what they should look like when they come out of the refrigerator:

gluten free free cinnamon sticky buns rising overnight

Gluten free free cinnamon sticky buns after rising for an hour, covered, then covered in the refrigerator overnight.


It will take a bit longer to bake them since the dough will be cold, but since they’ll have risen already, that’s ok! After baking:

gluten free cinnamon sticky buns 2020 after baking

Then flip the pan and enjoy!!!

gluten free cinnamon sticky buns 2020 on plate

Gluten Free Cinnamon Sticky Rolls using the “double rolling” method described above.


gluten free cinnamon sticky buns 2020 on plate

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

Yield: 8-12 rolls, depending on size
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Heaven on a plate? That's a great name for these melt-in-your-mouth gluten free cinnamon sticky buns / pecan rolls. You'll wonder what took you so long to make them and when you'll be making them again!


Dough Ingredients:

Crumble Ingredients:

Topping Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. melted butter or Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup OR agave nectar (light rolls pictured with agave) OR dark karo syup
  • 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 an 8x8 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 (off) oven for 25 minutes to rise.

After rising, remove the parchment paper and cover the pan with oiled aluminum foil.

Turn oven up to 350º F (static) or 325º F (convection). OR cover tightly and place in refrigerator overnight then bring to room temperature the next morning then follow bake instructions.

When oven has come to temperature, bake for approximately 30-35 minutes - longer if refrigerated overnight (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.


For a dairy-free milk powder alternative, an easy solution is vanilla pudding mix! Sounds silly, but it works! Most are gluten-free, but check packaging.

So … would you choose nuts or no nuts?

cinnamon sticky buns on platter

Be sure to bookmark this recipe!

And pin for later!

Gluten Free Cinnamon Sticky Buns | gfJules Gluten Free Cinnamon Sticky Buns / pecan rolls ... aka heaven on a plate. These Karo-free buns are just like Grandma used to make, only gluten-free. Can be made in a crockpot or oven, can be risen overnight and baked the next day or made and baked and ready in a couple hours. Melt-in-your-mouth good! | gfJules #glutenfree #dairyfree #cinnamonstickybuns

gluten free dairy free Cinnamon Sticky Rolls - gfJules


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

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

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

  1. Ok maybe I just suck at cooking, but this dough wasn’t just ‘wet’ , it was so wet Cardi B wrote a song about it. Thanks for the pudding recipe.

    • Hmmmm, that definitely sounds like something went wrong, but I give you props for the comedy! Let’s begin at the beginning. Did you use any ingredient substitutions? Like, did you use my gfJules Flour? Did you use egg subs? Beyond that, how do you measure your flour: using a scale or scooping into cups? Because assuming you were using all the same ingredients listed in the recipe and you didn’t overlook any (which happens to the best of us sometimes!), something was way off if you had pudding for dough, there was a measurement issue. Check out this article for tips on how to measure your flour and liquid ingredients to make sure you’re doing it accurately. If you still think that none of those covers what might have gone wrong, please email us at Support at gfJules dot com and we’ll be happy to walk through the recipe in more detail so we can help you get it right!

    • Hi Janet, we DO ship to other countries if you select international shipping at checkout, but the shipping prices are pricier, of course. The first 10lbs are more expensive, apparently, and then the cost goes down markedly, so our customers find that ordering a lot all at once makes the most sense. Some combine orders with friends or family, as well.
      Otherwise, check out this article for information on gluten free flour blends and search for one that is closest in features or make your own following the guidelines I provide. Best of luck and happy baking!

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  3. I’m just curious if this recipe would work with Spectrum All Vegetable shortening versus the Palm Oil type? If you feel it would affect the taste, then I’ll purchase the Palm Oil one. Love your recipes; have been gluten free for longer than I can remember, and your products have been a lifesaver in replicating many of the treasured recipes I have. Thanks!

    • Hi Michelle, I’m so happy to hear that you’re loving my recipes and gfJules products! That’s why I do it – I just want fellow gluten free folks to bake happy and not be deprived!
      About the Spectrum products, I don’t think the all vegetable shortening will change the taste at all, so if that’s what you have, I say go for it!
      I can’t wait to hear how you love these rolls!!!

  4. Jules, Merry Christmas Eve! I doubt you will see this because you will also be cooking! But just in case…I was wondering if I could prepare these today and leave them in the crockpot, in the fridge, for half of today and also overnight.

    What is the longest you have left these in the fridge before taking them out to rise?

    Thanks to you for ALL YOU DO! You make celiac disease tolerable!

    • Merry Christmas to you, Traci!! And you’re right, I have been in the kitchen baking! Glad you saw Bambi’s note below – I hope you go with those directions and enjoy delicious fresh-baked cinnamon rolls tomorrow morning!!!
      Blessings for a sweet Christmas!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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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  9. 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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  11. 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!

  12. Pingback: Mother's Day Gluten Free Recipe Roundup! - Gluten free recipes - gfJules - with the #1 Flour & Mixes

  13. 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!

  14. 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!!!!

  15. 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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  18. 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!