No Yeast Whole-Grain Lemon Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

No Yeast Whole-Grain Cinnamon Rolls

Round about 7th grade I earned the nickname “hate to wait Kate” by my tribe of pre-teen girlfriends. Apparently I wasn’t particularly patient, something I’ve gotten better about over time (parenting will do that to a girl). When it comes to waiting in the kitchen, though, patience is still not my strong suit. So as much as I love a traditional yeast-risen cinnamon roll, the hours of waiting for the dough to do its thing isn’t for me. Enter these No Yeast Whole-Grain Cinnamon Rolls, which can be oven-ready in minutes rather than hours.

A Family Tradition

The idea for making a no yeast cinnamon roll sprang from tradition. Since my girls were tiny, we’ve made cinnamon rolls for Easter breakfast. Historically, we’ve done it the traditional way using the Overnight Cinnamon Roll recipe from Maria Sinskey’s terrific Family Meals cookbook. But the last few years I didn’t have it in me and we either skipped the tradition or used ones that come in a cardboard tube (Annie’s and Immaculate Baking both make a decent one).

A Few Ingredient Swaps

Since I’m a firm believer that home baked is tastier than store bought (and more satisfying), I set to creating a recipe that would be easier (and a touch more wholesome) than standard cinnamon rolls. The method is pretty straightforward, though they bake in a muffin tin rather than a baking pan. The recipe uses mostly whole-wheat and almond flour rather than 100 percent white flour, which adds a pleasing flavor and a bit more density to the rolls. And while I shave off some of the sugar and butter from classic recipes, these are still deliciously decadent. This is a special occasion treat and should taste accordingly.

A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’ve never made cinnamon rolls before, I snapped a few photos along the way that may prove helpful:After mixing the dough, roll it out into a large rectangle.

1.After mixing the dough, pat or roll it out into a large rectangle.

2. Next up, brush with butter and scatter on brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Then, roll it up into a long cylinder.

3. Cut the roll of dough into rounds and tuck them into lightly greased muffin tins before getting them into the oven to bake.

No Yeast Whole-Grain Cinnamon Rolls

4. Once baked, pop them out of the muffin tin and slather with a lemony glaze. Enjoy while still warm from the oven.

Whole-Grain Lemon Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

These whole-grain cinnamon rolls rely on baking powder to rise rather than yeast, which means  no waiting around for the dough to do its magic. Almond flour, lemon zest, and chopped pecans add interest and flavor. A swipe of tangy confectioners’ sugar glaze makes a pretty finish.

Course Breakfast
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 9 rolls
Calories 370 kcal
Author Katie Morford


For the dough

  • 1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 ¼ cups cold buttermilk

For the filling

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/2 firmly packed cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

For the glaze

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 9 cups of a standard muffin tin.

  2. Put all the ingredients for the dough except the buttermilk into the bowl of stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment. Run the mixer until the batter forms a coarse meal. If a few bigger lumps of butter remain, press them between your thumb and fingers and mix again. (Note: If you don’t have this type of mixer, you can pulse the butter with the dry ingredients in a food processor, transfer to a bowl, and stir in the buttermilk by hand). 

  3. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the buttermilk and mix just until the dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead it a time or two to incorporate any remaining bits of flour. Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

  4. On a floured work surface, pat the dough (or use a rolling pin) into a 10×13-inch rectangle. Brush the surface of the dough with the tablespoon of melted butter. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon and scatter over the dough followed by the pecans. Roll the dough up into a cylinder along the longer edge, tucking the brown sugar and pecans inside as you go. Use a sharp or serrated edge knife to cut into 9 rounds. Transfer to 9 muffin cups. 

  5. Bake until lightly browned across the top and no longer doughy inside, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Use a little knife to wedge the cinnamon rolls out to cool further.
  6. While the rolls cool for few minutes, make the glaze. In a small bowl blend the butter, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon juice with a fork. Spread over the top of the cinnamon rolls. Enjoy while still warm. 


04.18.2019 at7:17 AM #

Kathleen Valdez

These look delicious. I love the helpful photos. Can’t wait to try them!

04.18.2019 at7:17 AM #

Katie Morford

They are Pam Rupright approved 🙂

04.18.2019 at2:30 PM #


Egg free! Hooray! Thank you!

04.18.2019 at2:30 PM #

Katie Morford

Yup! Hope you enjoy the cinnamon rolls.

04.08.2020 at10:43 AM #


Can I substitute non-dairy milk (we use Ripple) for the buttermilk? My husband has a dairy allergy. Also, I don’t have almond flour on hand, and being 60+ grocery shopping is a no-go for me. Not to mention the baking shelves in our store have been pretty bare for 3 weeks now. Can I sub all purpose flour? Thanks!

04.08.2020 at10:43 AM #

Katie Morford

Hi Carol,

Great questions. It’s always tricky to know if and how substitutions will work before trying them. That said, if you want to make this, here’s what I’d suggest. You can effectively “make” buttermilk by mixing 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar into every cup (minus 1 tablespoon) plant milk. So for the amount in this recipe, you’d measure 1 1/4 cups Ripple, spoon out about 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon and then add 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then use. For the almond flour, I’d just use the same amount of all-purpose flour instead. OR, if you have almonds, you can blend or food process them into flour.

04.11.2020 at5:44 PM #

Heather Hardy

Does it work to make the dough & put in the muffin tin the night before and cook in the morning?

04.11.2020 at5:44 PM #

Katie Morford

I think that would work. Just pull it out 30 minutes before baking in the morning.

04.25.2020 at9:54 AM #

Cindy Gayle

Can you freeze these cinnamon rolls after baking and cooling?

04.25.2020 at9:54 AM #

Katie Morford

I’ve never tried it before. I almost think they’d be better to freeze before baking. Then defrost for several hours at room temp, then bake. Sort of like store-bought refrigerator rolls. I can’t attest to how well that would work, but that’s probably how I’d go about it.

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