written by Lauren Curl-Ferrell on November 30, 2021
Gooey Protein Cinnamon Rolls Are Trending and We're Not Sitting This One Out
In a world filled with delicious cooler weather treats, these protein cinnamon rolls really elevate my winter weather treat status.
As soon as these were ready, my family gobbled these up instantly. Then, the next day, the requests came flying in again. My toddler was begging for "cinnman circles," and my son was salivating when I pulled my second batch out.
Cinnamon rolls have been notoriously known for being devilishly good. But I thought, well, how can I make these a little bit healthier? And that’s when this idea hit me.
A healthier version of cinnamon rolls that is still just as tasty as the bakery makes. After some trials, my baking assistant (aka my toddler) and I cracked the code. We did it, and I'm going to share our success with you.
High Protein Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
You can prepare this recipe and dough overnight if you'd like, or you can use a bit of quick rise yeast to help create this recipe in the same day.
This is a recipe that has simple and healthy ingredients that can be found at the grocers or online.
High Protein Cinnamon Rolls are perfect for the mornings when you want that protein boost, but also want to satisfy your sweet tooth.
When I first made these, I actually had to make a second attempt. Whole wheat recipes are hard to begin with but, adding protein powder makes it just harder! A pro-tip is that you need to have enough moisture and fat in the dough, as well as a different oven temperature.
Get it right though and it’s just magical!
Protein Roll Ingredients To Utilize and Tips
This recipe is made with all wonderfully healthy ingredients. It has no sugar, and is almost fat free (almost).
Vanilla Protein Powder - I'm a huge fan of using Earthy Andy x NB Pure's Tahitian Vanilla Plant Powered Protein. This is what provides all the wonderful protein and a bit of sweetness. The flavoring of this protein powder reminds me of birthday cake.
Egg - a baking essential.
Quick Rise or Rapid Rise or Active Yeast. Look for the blue packet from made from the brand Fleishmann's. Steer clear of the active dry.
Warm Almond Milk - or really any regular milk. The temperature should be as warm as warm bath water.
Sugar - The recipe is still sugar free, I just used a "sugar free" sugar.
Butter - This recipe requires a nice amount of butter. You can substitute light butter to cut down on the fat if you're doing that.
A mix of Gluten Free All Purpose Flour and Whole Wheat Pastry Flour - Feel free to use all purpose flour if you'd like.
Salt - for taste.
The Sugar Free Filling Recipe
Sugar free and low fat
Cinnamon - This is the obvious ingredient
1:1 Sugar Free Brown Sugar Replacement. You can substitute regular brown sugar or even coconut sugar.
The Icing Recipe
Sugar free and high in protein!
Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
Vanilla Protein Powder again - Absolutely love the flavoring the Tahitian Vanilla gives!
Almond Milk - or the milk of your choice.
To make this recipe a bit more vegan, replace the egg with 3 tablespoons of extra non-dairy milk.
As for the frosting, use a dairy free cream cheese.
How To Make High Protein Cinnamon Rolls
The most time consuming part of this recipe is letting the yeast dough rise. Everything else is pretty quick and user friendly!
Make The Low Calorie Dough
- Stir the sugar, yeast, and warm milk in a large bowl and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Make sure the mixture is frothy.
- Whisk the light butter and egg in another bowl, then add it to the milk-yeast mix.
- Now add in the dry ingredients: Whole wheat pastry and gluten free flours, unflavored and Tahitian Vanilla Protein Powder, and salt, and mix with a big spoon until it forms a rough ball.
- Sprinkle some flour on a work surface, transfer the flour and use your hands to knead it into a smooth dough. Only for about 2-3 minutes.
Don’t over-mix or the rolls will just be too tough.
Time To Rise
- Grease an extra large bowl with cooking spray or oil. Place the dough ball in.
- Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Let it sit for about an hour and a half. It should double in size.
Filling + Rolling
- Lightly flour your surface and roll out your dough to a large rectangle. It should be about 1/3" thick and 9"x13" in size. A friendly tip is to roll it so that the shorter end is facing you. Also making sure the surface is really floured and so is the rolling pin so that the dough does not stick to it.
Roll it such that the shorter end is facing you.
- Once it's rolled out, spread the softened (not melted) butter on the dough.
- Mix the cinnamon and sugar free brown sugar in a small or medium sized bowl and sprinkle it over the dough. Sprinkle it about 1/4" away from the edges.
Now rub and pat the mixture into the dough so it gets in.
- Roll up the dough (tightly) from one short end (your side) to the other.
Squish it in from both the open ends so they flatten a bit.
- Cut the log using a sharp knife into rolls, each about 1” wide.
Rising Dough Once More
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I like to use my 8x8 baking pan!
- Place the rolls in the pan or sheet, cover with plastic wrap and warm towel again, and let rise for another 30-45 minutes.
Time To Bake
- Preheat your oven to 325ºF and bake for 25 minutes until the edges of the rolls are golden. Lower temperatures prevent the rolls from burning because of the added protein powder.
- Cool for 10 minutes and then spread on your icing. If you ice too soon it'll melt the icing.
This part of the recipe is easy. All you need to do is whisk together your softened cream cheese, almond milk, and Tahitian Vanilla protein powder. Then apply it to the lightly cooled protein cinnamon rolls.
These treats work well for a make ahead breakfast, dessert, or snack for the week. They're also very freezer friendly for up to 6 months.
You can refrigerate them for a week in an airtight container or a sealed zipper bag.
Just microwave for about 20 - 30 seconds when you're ready to eat! Or pop in the oven for 6 mins at 350º.
When freezing, freeze the cinnamon rolls in a set. So about 2-3 rolls in one set.
Thaw it in the microwave for about 4 minutes or outside at room-temperate and then reheat in the microwave for the same 30 seconds or oven for 6 minutes.
The Recipe Breakdown
Cinnamon Rolls Dough
- ¾ cup Warm Almond Milk, or other.
- 2¼ teaspoons Quick/Rapid Rise or Active Yeast, a 7g or ¼ ounce package
- 1 Tbsp Sugar, or other normal sweetener
- 1 Egg
- 2 Tbsp Melted Butter, Light butter recommended
- 1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
- 1 cup Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour, 120-160g depending on flour, or regular AP
- 1 cup NB Pure x Earthy Andy Tahitian Vanilla Protein Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
Cinnamon Roll Filling
- 1½ Tbsp Softened Butter, Light butter recommended
- ¼ cup 1:1 Brown Sugar Substitute, or regular Brown/Coconut Sugar
- 1½ Tbsp Cinnamon
Cinnamon Roll Glaze
- 2 oz Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
- 2 Tbsp Almond Milk, or other
- 2 Tbsp NB Pure x Earthy Andy Tahitian Vanilla Protein Powder
In a large bowl, warm the milk in the microwave for about 40-45 seconds to about 110°F – it should be like warm bath water, not hot to touch. Warm milk is needed for the yeast to rise.
Stir in yeast and sugar, until dissolved and let rest for 10 minutes until frothy.
In a small bowl whisk egg and melted butter.
Add egg-butter mixture, whole wheat pasty flour, gluten free flour, 2/3 cup of your protein powder, vanilla protein power and salt to milk-yeast mixture and mix with a large spoon to form a shaggy dough.
Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and use hands to knead into a ball of dough, about 3-4 minutes. Use slightly wet hands to prevent sticking.
Grease a large bowl and place ball of dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel and let rest 1-1½ hours until doubled in size.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface, use fingers to spread, and then roll (flour the rolling pin) into a large rectangle about 9”x 13” size and ⅓” thick.
Spread softened butter over dough. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle mixture evenly over butter.
Use fingers to rub mixture into dough.
Gently but tightly roll up dough from the short 9” end until it meets the other end.
Cut log into 9 pieces (about 1” thick each) using a sharp knife.
Line an 8”x8” baking pan with parchment paper and place each roll (cut side up) in pan.
Cover pan with plastic wrap and warm towel, and let rolls rise another 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Bake for 25 minutes until edges puff up and are lightly browned.
Let cool for about 10 minutes.
For frosting: In a small bowl whisk together softened cream cheese, almond milk and protein powder until smooth. Or use a hand mixer.
Spread over cinnamon rolls and serve!