How to Make a Cinnamon Roll That’s Actually Good for You
Our healthy cinnamon roll recipe is free of both grains and refined sugar, and you cook it in the microwave, so it's super-quick.
Post by Beth Lipton
An ooey-gooey cinnamon roll—with its drippy frosting and spicy aroma—is truly one of the most luscious and indulgent treats we can think of. It's no accident that you can smell one of those cinnamon-roll stands at the mall or airport from all the way down the hall. It's tough to resist a cinnamon roll. Did we mention the drippy frosting and spicy aroma??
Sadly, once you've licked the last of that frosting off your fingers, the inevitable sugar crash happens, and you end up feeling not so energetic, and a little bit icky.
Not to worry, though: Now you can have your cinnamon roll and eat it, too. We created a version that is free of both grains and refined sugar, and you make it in the microwave, so it's super-quick. Stir the ingredients together in a mug, zap it for a minute, and you're good to go. Plus, this recipe serves one, so no need to share (we won't tell).
One caveat: Our version hits the flavor notes of a cinnamon roll (it's deliciously cinnamony, and it has a luscious vanilla frosting on top), but it isn't a Cinnabon. It has a lighter, moresoufflé-like texture. And while it's sweet, it's far less so than that airport cinnamon roll. Of course, when you're done with it, you'll feel good and have the energy to tackle your day, so we think it's a great trade-off.
Our cinnamon roll is perfect as an indulgent snack or even for breakfast (yay, frosting for breakfast!). The cake will puff up a lot in the microwave and then fall when it comes out (no worries, this is normal). And if you like raisins or chopped nuts in your cinnamon roll, feel free to add a little bit of either (or both) to the cake before cooking.
Grain-Free Cinnamon Roll for One
3 Tbsp. blanched almond flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg, optional
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. coconut oil
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1½ Tbsp. unsweetened almond or coconut milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. coconut butter (such as Artisana)
1 tsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. hot water
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
- Make cake: In a large microwave-safe mug, combine almond flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and nutmeg, if desired. Stir or whisk to combine and remove any lumps. In a separate bowl, whisk coconut oil, maple syrup and milk. Microwave for 10 seconds, just to melt oil enough to combine with maple syrup and milk. Add maple mixture to mug with almond mixture; stir well. Whisk vanilla and egg until well combined; whisk into almond mixture until well combined. Make frosting: Combine all ingredients in a small cup. Microwave for 10 seconds, until coconut butter can be easily combined with other ingredients. Mix with a fork until smooth.
- Microwave cake on high until cooked, 1 to 2 minutes (times will vary based on mug and microwave; begin checking after 1 minute). When cake is ready, spread frosting over and enjoy.