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Moderation Maven

Dishing Up the Best Ingredients for a Healthy Lifestyle

Recipe Rescue: Cinnamon Rolls

It's tough to resist the siren sound of freshly baked cinnamon rolls crowned with gooey vanilla glaze. But knowing that they can pack nearly 900 calories and 40 grams of fat, all before breakfast? It can be worth it to walk away. That is, walk to your kitchen, where you can make your own! Cinnamon rolls made from scratch offer more satisfaction and better nutrition, while filling your home with the sweet aroma of warm cinnamon and sugar rolled into buttery raised yeast dough. 

Nutrition Facts Face-Off!

The differences are shocking when compared to an oversized bakery cinnamon roll. Notice that despite our homemade roll's more petite portion, we retain the fiber (thanks to our whole grain flour). Meanwhile, the calories, fat, carbs, and surprisingly, sodium are drastically decreased.

The keys to enjoying a cinnamon roll as part of a healthy diet:
  • Smaller portion
  • More whole grain flour in the dough (I promise, you won't even notice) for added fiber and nutrients
  • Count the cinnamon roll as the grain portion of your breakfast
  • Include a serving of fruit and lean protein (e.g., eggs, nuts, cheese, yogurt, milk)

Sinless Cinnamon Rolls (Printable PDF Version)

Makes about 24 rolls


  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packets rapid-acting dry yeast
  • 1 cup low-fat milk, warmed to 120°F
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ - 2 cups all-purpose flour


  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup butter, softened


  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons low-fat milk


1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together white whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, and yeast until evenly distributed. Add warm milk, ¼ cup butter, and egg. Beat with an electric mixer on low until combined, then increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute. Scrape batter from sides of bowl as needed. With a wooden spoon, stir in all-purpose flour, ½ cup at a time, until dough is slightly sticky but easy to handle.

2. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes, sprinkling with additional all-purpose flour if dough starts to stick. When dough is smooth and springy, transfer to a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours, or until dough has doubled in size.

3. When dough has finished rising, punch down to release excess air. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 15x10" rectangle. Spread ¼ cup of butter over dough. In a small bowl, mix ½ cup sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough.

4. Roll up dough tightly, and pinch the edges to seal. Stretch and shape roll until even and approximately 15" long. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut into 24 slices (each about 5/8" thick).

5. Place rolls in two greased 13x9" pans (12 rolls in each). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

6. Remove plastic wrap and bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Transfer rolls to a cooling rack.

7. While rolls cool slightly, mix together powdered sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and milk to make glaze. Spread evenly over rolls and serve.

Nutrition Facts (1 roll): Calories 160, Total Fat 5g (Saturated 3g), Cholesterol 21mg, Sodium 105mg, Total Carbohydrate 27g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 3% DV, Vitamin C 0% DV, Calcium 2% DV, Iron 6% DV

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