vegan overnight cinnamon buns

We traveled to Chicago in June to visit our daughter Erin (new PhD graduate from the University of Chicago!) who took us to the Chicago Diner for breakfast.  We had way too many choices….one choice we made was their vegan cinnamon rolls..huge…sweet, cinnamon-y, and soy-filled.

I am allergic to soy- it gives me hives – but I really wanted to try these buns…so.. I itched….

Returning home I absorbed recipe books, playing with a combination of ideas. They had to be able to “cool-rise” overnight because I am not getting up at 4 am to make cinnamon buns no matter how good they are.  They needed some sort of icing or drizzle, but it needed to be soy-free and corn-free. Finally, they need to taste just like their “butter-full” counterparts – preferably better.  The resulting  recipe fits the bill!

Are they healthy?  They do contain vegan butter but otherwise are whole foods….and we oly have have them every other month or so….

My next experiment with this will be to create a gluten-free version. Stay tuned!

Vegan overnight cinnamon buns (with a pecan glaze and cashew drizzle)


  • 1 packet instant or rapid rise yeast (2 ¼ tsp) can use regular yeast but will need to adjust rising time)
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup vegan butter (divided) I use Buttery Sticks
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 TBL sugar
  • 3 cups all purpose unbleached flour


  • ¼  cup brown sugar
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)
  • ⅓ cup raisins (more if you like)
  • ⅓ cup pecan pieces (more if you like)

Raisin Pecan Glaze:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 TBL pecan pieces
  • 2 TBL raisins
  • 2 TBL vegan butter
  • ¼ cup almond milk

Cashew Maple Drizzle:

  • ½ cup raw cashews.soaked
  • 1 TBL maple syrup
  • 1 TBL melted  coconut oil
  • ¼ cup confectioners sugar *
  • 2-4 tsp of almond milk (may need more depending on consistency of drizzle you desire)

Cinnamon Buns

  1. In a small sauce pan, heat the almond milk and 3 TBL butter until warm, and the butter has melted.  Do not allow this mixture to boil! Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool to 110 degrees (think about warm bath water to the touch).  If it is too warm it will kill the yeast.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, then sprinkle the yeast across the top of the mixture. Let it sit to activate for 10 minutes.  Then, add 1 TBL sugar and ¼ tsp salt and stir.
  3. Gently stir in the flour, ½ cup at a time. You may need more or less. The dough will be very sticky, and when it is too thick to stir, then transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead it a few minutes or so, being careful not to overmix.  Rinse out the mixing bowl, then oil the clean bowl with sunflower or safflower oil.  Add the dough, cover with plastic wrap, then set to rise n a warm, draft-free place. (I use the inside of my gas oven and leave the oven light on.  I have no idea if it helps, but it give me the illusion that it does….and it’s how my mother used to do her bread). This should take about an hour to double in size, but rising time may vary.
  4. Once the dough has doubled,turn it out onto that lightly floured surface and roll out into a thin rectangle. Brush lightly with 3 TBL of melted vegan butter, then evenly spread with the filling ingredients…..more or less to make this personal…Starting from the longest edge closest to you,roll the dough up tightly with the seam side down, use a serrated knife or non flavored dental floss to cut the dough into 9 pieces approximately 1 ½ – 2 inches in diameter. Position pieces,cut side up,into a well vegan buttered 8×8 inch pan. Brush the tops with the remaining melted 2 TBL of vegan butter and cover with plastic wrap. Place the pan  in the refrigerator for anywhere from 4 hours to overnight.
  5. Take the rolls out of the refrigerator allowing them to return to room temperature while preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Once the oven has preheated, bake the buns until slightly golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Take out of the oven and place on cooling rack while you make the glaze.

Raisin Pecan Glaze

While the buns are cooling, it’s time to make the glaze. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, and cook 5-10 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently. The raisins become nice and plump 🙂 Pour immediately over the warm buns, filling all cracks and crevices and poking pecan bits and and raisins into the crevices too. Return the pan to the cooling rack while you make the drizzle.

Cashew Maple Drizzle

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.   If you do not like the drizzle consistency, then add more almond milk until it is just the way you like.

NOTE: Our daughter Erin and I both have a corn allergy and cannot use confectioner’s sugar because it contains cornstarch. Instead I make my own confectioner’s sugar without cornstarch.

Enjoy! Finish these up within a day or two or freeze the leftovers. We did not have any to freeze…Save






Author: mduggan10

I have lived in a Victorian-era house, spent several years living on a boat, and now live at the top of a mountain. Throughout his all, I have been a coffee snob, a whole foods snob, and an instructional designer.

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