Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls - Vegan & Nut Free!

It seems like in the summer, bananas ripen faster.  Maybe my kids aren't eating as many of them, but every time I glance at the bowl of fruit on my counter, I have at least a few ripe bananas.  Sometimes I freeze them to use later in smoothies, and other times I mash them up for some yummy banana bread.  I even resort to throwing them away *gasp*.  Last night, I noticed 5 overly-ripe bananas and had a thought - has anyone managed to use bananas in cinnamon rolls?  Low and behold, after a quick Google search, I found a recipe online that I could easily make allergy-free.  Thanks to Anna at The Bashful Bao for figuring out the proportions.  All that was left for me to do was adapt it to be vegan!

I know, most of my recipes are gluten-free and vegan, but this summer we discovered, thanks to National Jewish Health in Denver, that my daughter can eat wheat.  As you can imagine, this opens up a whole lot of baking options!  If you need the recipe to be gluten-free, I'm sure you could substitute your favorite gluten-free flour mix for the all-purpose flour and add a little xanthan gum.  You may just have to let it rise a bit longer.

Cinnamon rolls can be quite a time commitment, but these bad boys were completed in 2 hours flat (including the time for rising)!

The first steps in making these rolls are to puree the bananas and mix your flax 'egg'.

After melting the Earth Balance in the milk, I poured it into a large bowl and let it cool until just warm to the touch.  Then, I added a teaspoon of sugar and the yeast and allowed it to proof:

After mixing the remaining roll ingredients, I allowed the dough to rest for 10 minutes.  I then turned it out onto a floured surface, kneaded it, and rolled it out into a rectangle:

After spreading the melted Earth Balance, I evenly sprinkled the brown sugar mixture over the top.  

I then rolled up the dough, divided it evenly into 12 slices and put them into a greased baking dish.  I covered the dish and let the dough rise until the rolls were about doubled in size.  Here at high altitude, it took only 40 minutes, but it could take longer depending on where you live.

The rolls were baked at 350 degrees for 25 minutes and then drizzled with the glaze:

If you're a fan of banana bread and cinnamon rolls, these will not disappoint!


Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls
(makes 12 rolls)

  • 3 medium over-ripe bananas
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 2/3 c dairy-free milk (I used coconut)
  • 3 T Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, cubed
  • 2 T vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)
  • 1 t sugar
  • 2 1/4 t active dry yeast
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 flax 'egg' (1 T ground flax + 3 T water)
  • 3 1/2 c all-purpose flour (you could use whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 3/4 c packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/8 t nutmeg
  • 2 T Earth Balance, melted
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 T coconut milk
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1 1/2 t Earth Balance, melted
  • pinch salt
  1. Puree the bananas in a food processor along with 1 tsp lemon juice until mixture is smooth and no chunks remain. Set aside.  In a small bowl, stir together the ground flax and water.
  2. Heat milk and the Earth Balance in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the Earth Balance has melted. Remove from heat and pour mixture into a large bowl. Whisk in the vegetable oil and let the mixture cool to 110 degrees, or until it’s just warm to the touch. Whisk in 1 teaspoon of sugar and the yeast, stirring until dissolved, and let the mixture rest until it is frothy and bubbly (about 5 minutes). 
  3. Stir in the sugar, salt, flax 'egg', 2 cups bread flour and pureed bananas. Add in another 1 1/2 cups bread flour, cornstarch, and baking powder and mix until a ragged dough forms. If the dough is not coming together, add more flour 1 T at a time until the ragged dough forms. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling: in a small bowl whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, set aside.
  5. Once the dough has rested, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for three minutes, adding flour only to keep it from sticking (adding too much will make tough buns). Roll dough out to a 16 x 20” rectangle. Using the back of a spoon, spread the 2 Tbsp melted Earth Balance evenly over the top of the dough. Sprinkle the top evenly with brown sugar mixture and spread into an even layer, coming within a 1/2 inch of all edges. Starting on a short side, snugly roll dough up to the opposite end.
  6. Cut the rolled dough into 12 equal pieces and arrange in a greased 13" x 9” baking dish Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees during the last 10 minutes of rising and bake for 22-25 minutes until golden.
  7. While the buns are baking, make the glaze. Whisk all the ingredients until smooth.  Pour over the warm rolls.  Let set.
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  1. This recipe very well may make me the BEST MUMMY IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD, this weekend.
    I can't wait to try them! Thank you!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Anna! Give them a try - they are very easy to make!

  3. Would this work with gluten free flour?

    1. I have not tried it with GF flour, but I think it would work pretty well. Keep in mind that GF flour doesn't rise quite the same as flour with gluten. I would probably use a combo of oat, sorghum, and tapioca flour (for lightness) and then include some xanthan gum. Good luck!

    2. I made a similar recipe taken from the amazing Elizabeth Gordon's book The Complete Allergy Free Comfort Food. As my daughter is highly allergic to coconut and a host of other allergies, the recipe suited us perfectly and the flour combination is amazing, it was easy to work with and had an excellent rise. My extremely picky daughter loved them even my gluten eating husband who loves his buttery Danish pastry and is very picky about gluten free products, also loved them. The high content of chickpea (garbanzo) flour in Gordon's recipe means that these stay soft and fluffy, even after two days kept at room temperature, Gordon suggests refrigerating the left overs but I didn't need to. It can be eaten hot or at room temperature but tastes better if leftovers are heated in the microwave for 30-40 seconds. It does not contain any bananas as in this recipe, but I can't see why you can't combine ideas from the two recipes, I am certainly going to do it.

  4. Combining it all now and it came out like cake batter after following everything perfectly. Any ideas what I can do with this blob on my counter now? :(

    1. What a bummer, I'm so sorry. I'm guessing you probably needed more flour. One ingredient in this recipe that's hard to be exact with is the bananas. Your bananas were probably a bit larger than the ones I used. Step #2 states, 'mix until a ragged dough forms'. If the ragged dough doesn't form, more flour would be needed. I'll add that to the directions. Hope you get a chance to try these again!