Kaitlin’s Cinnamon Rolls

May 13, 2020

This recipe was submitted by Kaitlin Labatte, IDU Outreach Worker at The AIDS Network as a part of our A Taste at Home campaign.

This is one of my favourite recipes to make when gathering with friends and family. Cinnamon rolls are a great treat for you or for a special, physically distant, drop-off to someone we care about. While you can make these rolls all in one day, I always prefer to prep them in the evening and bake them in the morning for an ooey-gooey, decadent treat to start the day. This recipe is really flexible based on what ingredients you’ve got on hand and can be made vegan (I’ve included a few substitution options). Happy baking!


For the dough:
1/2 cup (125 mL) warm water (between 100° and 110°F)

½  teaspoon (2.5 g) sugar (optional)

2 ¼ teaspoons (8 g) active dry yeast

1 ¾ cups plus 3 tablespoons (301 g) bread flour OR all-purpose white flour, plus more for kneading

¾ cup whole wheat flour (129 g)*

1/3 cup (73 g) light brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon (6 g) fine sea salt

1/3 cup (67 g) butter**

1/2 cup (125 mL) milk of your choice

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cinnamon sugar filling:

1/3 cup (73 g) light brown sugar

2  tablespoons cinnamon

1/4 cup (50 g) butter, melted**

For the pan sauce and frosting:

1/4 cup (50 g) butter, melted**

2 1/2 tablespoons (25 g) unpacked brown sugar or cane sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Frosting of your choice – cream cheese, icing sugar, etc.

*If you don’t have whole wheat flour, feel free to substitute it with regular all-purpose flour

**If you don’t have butter, you can substitute a blend of coconut oil and canola oil


  1. Locate and set aside a 9’ by 13’ inch casserole dish.
  2. In a small bowl or stand mixer, gently mix the warm water and yeast together. If you’re unsure of the quality of your yeast, feel free to add in ½ teaspoon of sugar to encourage activation. Set aside for a few minutes until you start to see foam forming (I usually place in the oven with the light on for a warm, draft free environment).
  3. In a large bowl, mix together both flours, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate small bowl, mix together the melted butter, milk and vanilla extract.
  4. Once the yeast is foamy and activated combine together with the butter/milk mixture and pour over the flour mixture. Mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon until all of the flour is incorporated. If using a stand mixer, add everything to the bowl with the yeast mixture and use the dough hook to mix things together for 1 minute.

If kneading by hand – lightly oil your hands and knead the mixture into a shaggy, sticky dough. Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for another 3 to 4 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic and passes the windowpane test https://www.thekitchn.com/bakers-techniques-how-to-do-th-70784. You may need to add some flour as you go if it’s continuing to stick heavily to your hands or your work surface. Shape the dough into a ball.
If kneading with a stand mixer – mix with dough hook on medium speed for 3 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and mix for another 3 minutes. If the dough passes the windowpane test, shape the dough into a ball, if not, continue mixing in one minute intervals until test is achieved.

  1. Wipe out the mixing bowl, making sure the bowl is dry. Lightly oil the bowl (olive, canola – doesn’t matter much) and place the ball of dough in it, moving it around to make sure it’s coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and place in a warm, draft-free area to rise for an hour (once again, I use my oven with the light on).
  2. While the dough is rising, we need to do two things – make the cinnamon sugar filling and the pan sauce. For the filling, just mix together ½ cup sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and melt ¼ cup butter in another small bowl. For the pan sauce, melt ¼ cup butter with 2 ½ tablespoons of brown sugar and then spread on the bottom of your casserole dish.
  3. Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a large rectangle (20 by 14 inches approximately). Spread the melted butter across the dough and top with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  4. Roll the dough as tightly as possible along the long edge of the rectangle. Slice the dough into 1 ½ inch thick rolls either by using floss or a serrated knife. Place the cut rolls into the casserole dish leaving a bit of a gap between each roll.
  5. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap or a dish towel. If you want to cook the cinnamon rolls as soon as possible, let covered rolls rise for 60 minutes. If you want to bake the next day, place covered rolls (ideally with plastic wrap) into the fridge for no more than 24 hours.
  6. With 15 minutes left in the rise time, preheat oven to 350°. When oven is heated, remove plastic wrap and bake the rolls for about 23 minutes or until golden on the top. Once baked, let rolls cool for 10 minutes and then frost with frosting of your choice.
    If you placed the rolls into the fridge before the second rise, when you want to bake them, put the covered rolls in a warm spot for about 20 minutes (oven with light on is ideal). After this time, remove dish from oven and preheat to 350°. When oven is heated remove plastic wrap and bake rolls for 23 minutes or until golden on top, as mentioned above.
  7. Enjoy!!



This recipe was adapted from: https://ohsheglows.com/2017/05/09/vegan-cinnamon-rolls-with-make-ahead-option/.


While we may not be able to come together for an evening of great food and supporting our cause, great food can still bring us together, and so we are sharing with you the favourite recipes of our team, volunteers and community partners! Over the next few weeks we will be adding to this virtual cookbook to help inspire you in your own kitchen, and we hope our A Taste at Home campaign bring you the comfort these recipes bring our contributors. While we may be physically distant, we can still come together in a spirit of sharing and giving.

If you are enjoying our recipes and you are able at this time, please consider making a donation to The AIDS Network. Fundraising is a crucial component in our ability to provide programs and services to our most vulnerable clients. Food security programs are especially necessary in this difficult time, and are wholly supported by fundraising dollars. You can make a donation through our Canada Helps page. To find out more about the campaign and to see other recipes, visit www.aidsnetwork.ca/a-taste-at-home