Recipe: Becky Excell’s Soft, Sticky And Completely Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

By Rick Stephens
26th Sep 2022

If you’ve at all dipped your fingers into the world of gluten-free cooking, you’ll likely be aware of Becky Excell. The best-selling author can practically make anything gluten-free, and there’s so much confidence in her claim that it basically doubles as the title of her latest recipe book.

How To Bake Anything Gluten-Free gives you the know-how to do exactly that, traversing the savoury to the sweet without a smidge of gluten in sight. Just a glance at these glorious gluten-free treats should do all the talking, but those still not convinced should apron up and follow on for what is no doubt one of Excell’s magnum opus, the gluten-free cinnamon roll.


The Dough

  • 350ml (1½ cups minus 2 tsp) warm milk
  • 10g (⅓oz) dried active yeast (ensure gluten-free)
  • 170g (¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar, plus 15g (½oz)
  • 360g (2¾ cups) gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 80g (½ cup) tapioca starch (ensure gluten-free), plus extra for dusting
  • 50g (1¾oz) skimmed milk powder
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 15g (½oz) psyllium husk powder (ensure gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 165g (scant ¾ cup) butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing

The Filling

  • 70g (⅓ cup) butter, very softened
  • 90g (½ cup minus 2 tsp) light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

For A Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 30g (2 tbsp) butter, softened
  • 115g (½ cup) full-fat cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g (1½ cups) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp milk

Or, For A Simple Glaze

  • 200g (1½ cups) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2–4 tbsp milk or water


  1. In a jug (pitcher), stir together your warm milk, yeast and 15g (½oz) of sugar. Allow to stand for 10 minutes until frothy.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together your flour, tapioca starch, milk powder, xanthan gum, baking powder, psyllium husk powder and remaining sugar until well combined. Add the vinegar, egg, melted butter and yeast mixture.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a beater attachment, or using an electric hand whisk, mix on a high speed for 3–5 minutes until well combined.
  4. It should look thick and sticky. Place in a clean bowl, cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours (or overnight) to completely chill (or chill in the freezer for 2–3 hours). After chilling, I check the dough’s internal temperature using a digital food thermometer – it usually gets down to about 8°C–13°C / 45°F–55°F. This will ensure the dough is workable and no longer sticky.
  5. Lightly grease a baking tin (pan), about 28 x 18cm (11 x 7in), or two 20cm (8in) round cake tins. 
  6. Place your chilled dough on a surface well dusted with tapioca starch. Knead until smooth then roll out to a rectangle 40 x 25cm (16 x 10in) and 5mm (¼in) thick. Spread the softened butter all over your dough. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle this over the butter. With a long side closest to you, cut the dough into 8 strips (for large rolls), or 16 (for small rolls). Roll each into a tight swirl and place in the tin(s), with a little room between each. If they won’t all fit, pop any extra in another tin. Cover and leave to prove in a warm spot (not too warm or the butter will melt) for 1–2 hours until doubled in size. 
  7. Preheat your oven to 160°C fan / 180°C / 350°F. Bake for 35 minutes until golden. Halfway through baking, cover with foil (shiny-side up) if they’re getting too dark. While baking, prepare the frosting or glaze. 
  8. For cream cheese frosting, beat together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the icing sugar and mix well. Add enough milk to achieve a spreadable consistency.
  9. To make a simple glaze, mix the icing sugar and vanilla together, then add enough milk or water so that it is smooth but thick and spreadable. 
  10. While the rolls are warm, spoon and spread the frosting on or drizzle over the glaze. Enjoy fresh and warm on the day that they’re baked or refresh in the microwave.

This is an edited extract from How To Bake Anything Gluten-Free by Becky Excell published by Quadrille.

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