Gluten Free Dinner Rolls & Glazed Cinnamon Cream Cheese Rolls

Back in June we did a book signing in Rexburg, Idaho.  When we were walking into the store I noticed a sign for another cook book by a local author, about gluten free cooking.  We were in Rexburg in the first place because we were invited to speak at the annual Business summit at BYU-I.  One of the attendees at our presentation (we talked about developing web-based business strategy, aka how-to-write-a-blog-that-doesn’t-suck) was Susan Bell, author of the cook book I had noticed, called Gluten Free Cooking Made Easy.  I told Susan that we get so many requests for gluten free recipes and it’s just not something we do much of because, well, Kate and I don’t really have a need to cook gluten free so we don’t.  At least not on purpose.  However I have a lot of friends who do and I know it’s in ongoing struggle to find good recipes that fit their dietary limitations and taste good.  So I thought it would be fun to browse through Susan’s book and see if anything caught my eye.

And I figured if I was going to do gluten free, I may as well go all out and try the one thing that people have the most trouble with- bread!  The one thing you absolutely cannot do with gluten free bread is compare it to normal wheat-flour based bread.  It’s just not the same, period.  Gluten free breads tend to be a little denser, with a slightly different texture and flavor, so you just have to keep that in mind if you’re experimenting in the GF world.  The one thing I hear the most complaints about is GF bread turning out grainy.  I picked this particular recipe because unlike a lot of GF bread recipes, it didn’t call for too many unusual ingredients.  In fact, I already had the two flours needed from other recipes I make.  I go through loads of tapioca flour (sometimes labeled tapioca starch) in my Brazilian Pao de Queijo and I used the brown rice flour when I made this multi grain artisan bread.  The only other sort-of-weird thing I needed was xanthan gum, which I grabbed from a friend who cooks gluten free for her daughter who has Celiac disease.  Gluten free baked goods often call for xanthan gum in small amounts and people sometimes leave it out thinking it won’t make much difference.  Xanthan gum is a natural carbohydrate that basically acts as the replacement for gluten in baked goods, so it adds volume and holds everything together.  It makes a big difference!  Buy a package now (if you haven’t noticed, I love Bob’s Red Mill brand of everything) and it will last you a long time since you only use a teaspoon or two in recipes.  Also, if you’re looking for specialty flours, check out health food stores like Whole Foods and also any grocery store with a good bulk bin supply.  If you have a WinCo near you, they carry just about every type of specialty flour (and even the xanthum gum) you can think of so you can buy just the amount you need for a specific recipe.

Enough blabbing, let’s cook!  We’ll start with the gluten free dinner rolls. Start by proofing your yeast by sprinkling it over warm water with some sugar.  Set it aside to get all foamy like the picture below.  Rule of yeast breads #1, if your yeast doesn’t bubble up like that don’t move on!  It’s much easier to re-proof some yeast then to ruin a whole batch of dough.  You’ll also heat up your milk in the microwave.  The recipe calls for heating up the buttermilk too, but mine curdled when it got hot, so I tried again and just heated the milk.  I also then added the butter to the hot milk to melt it.

Mix up your dry ingredients.  If you have a KitchenAid or similar mixer, use it!  But you can certainly make these without one.

Then you’ll basically add everything else into the dry ingredients and beat it all up.  The dough is much softer than a traditional roll dough.  It’s almost like a really thick muffin batter.  Just spoon it in a muffin tin.  I’m so glad that while making these, I turned to the next page and saw the variation for the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Rolls.  For those, it’s the same dough, but you fill the muffin tin half way with dough, then add a spoonful of cream-cheesy-cinnamony-brown-sugary goodness and put more dough on top.

I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to leave the dough mounded like that or flatten it out, but I didn’t want the tips of my rolls to get too done so I just got my finger wet with water and patted down the rolls a little so they were more even on top.  I left a few “rugged” looking as well just to test the difference.

These rolls don’t rise quite as much as a traditional roll, but they will certainly puff up.  Mine puffed to about the top of muffin wells.

They browned a bit on top and around the sides and I worried I might have overcooked them.

ALL of my gluten free friends had prepared me for disaster, since that was what they usually encountered when trying to make gluten free baked goods so I’ll be honest- I was totally nervous.  And skeptical.  But then I broke one open, and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw!  They were tender and soft and smelled delicious.  Definitely a different texture and flavor than a traditional roll, so be prepared for that, but pretty darn tasty- and not grainy.  I wondered if my kids would notice they were different than our standard rolls and they gobbled them right up!

They were extra good slathered in butter and strawberry jam.  I only wish I had some honey butter all whipped up!

Gluten free dinner rolls from Our Best Bites.And what about those Cinnamon Cream Cheese Rolls?  These stole my heart.  If you’re ever in doubt about gluten free bread, just fill it with brown sugar and cinnamon and cover it in frosting.  I could have eaten the entire pan of these in one sitting.

I tried them a few different ways to see which form worked best.  You can sort of hide the filling inside and pat down the tops like this:

Gluten free rolls

But I liked the more rustic version with the filling spilling out a little and slightly bumpy tops:

Gluten free cinnamon rolls

Either way, you can’t beat biting into that:

If you’re not gluten-free, you could try this out with a regular roll like our favorite dinner rolls.  I should note that I’m not positive if the glaze consistency is supposed to look like that- I just eyeballed the amounts until it looked glaze-y to me 🙂

Luckily I had people to share these with.  My good friend has a sweet little 3 year old with celiac so I went right over with a plate of warm rolls.  She sent me a picture of that little cutie gobbling one of these up and said they were a hit!  So if you or someone you know follows a gluten free diet, copy this link and send these their way!  And be sure to check out Susan’s book, Gluten Free Cooking Made Easy.  I see it’s on Amazon, and also at Deseret Book, where our cook book is sold.   I wanted to note that one of the biggest complaints I hear about GF cook books is that they are catered toward adult gourmet tastes,  and many people I know are just wanting good, simple, all-around family friendly (and especially kid friendly) food.  This is definitely a good family-friendly book with lots of recipes that even people on non-gluten free diets would enjoy.  It also has great information on stocking your pantry, eating out, and things like that.

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Gluten Free “Favorite Rolls”

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Tender, soft, and delicious; who says the gluten-free crowd can’t have it all?


  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or in place of milk + buttermilk use 1 1/4 C soy or almond milk)
  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup dried potato flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or shortening (I used oil)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees, or “warm” setting.
  2. Place warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar onto it. Set aside.
  3. Microwave milk for about 1 minute, until hot. Add butter and stir to melt. Add shortening if using as well. (Susan’s recipe doesn’t call for melting the butter but I though it was easier that way)
  4. Combine flours, 2 tablespoons sugar, xanthun gum, potato flakes, and salt in a large bowl (use your mixer bowl if you’re using a kitchenaid or similar mixer.)
  5. Add yeast mixture, warm milk mixture, oil (if using), buttermilk, and eggs into dry ingredients. Beat at high speed for 3 minutes.
  6. Spray a muffin tin pan with cooking spray (I rubbed mine with butter). Spoon dough into muffin tins, around 3/4 full. (I then used my buttered fingers to pat down the tops of the rolls)
  7. Set muffin tray on open oven door to rise (or turn oven off and place rolls inside with door closed like I did). Let rise for approximately 20 minutes for rapid-rise yeast, and 30 minutes for regular yeast. (I used rapid rise and it took about 30 for them to look plumped up, it’s always better to go by what breads look like rather than time noted in a recipe since all oven/house/weather conditions are different).
  8. Turn heat up to 375 and bake for 20-24 minutes. (I took my pan out of the oven while I preheated it and they were done right at 20 minutes) Yields: 16-18 rolls (I halved the recipe and got 6 regular and 6 cream cheese rolls)
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Cinnamon Cream Cheese Rolls

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Restrain yourself; you may want to eat the entire pan in one sitting!


For the rolls

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

For the glaze

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter extract


  1. Make the dough for the “Favorite Rolls” and fill greased muffin tins about half full with dough.
  2. Mix cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Place mixture into ziplock bag.
  3. Cut a 1/2 inch diagonal opening in one corner of the bag. Holding bag upright, squeeze cream cheese mixture onto roll dough. Add roll dough to cover the cream cheese mixture and fill the muffin tins to around 3/4 full.
  4. Gently press down the dough to even it out if needed.
  5. Continue with rising and baking instructions as described in the above recipe.
  6. After baking, mix glaze ingredients and pour over hot rolls.


Annnnd, because I am a mind-reader…

Awesome!  So are you going to start posting gluten free recipes all the time now? As I said in the post, it’s not something Kate and I need to do for our families so it’s not really on our minds and therefore not a huge focus on this blog.  However we do know that  many of our recipes are either naturally GF or easily adapted to be.  If you’ve tested out a GF adaptation of any of our recipes, please leave a comment on that particular recipe because it’s very helpful to others.  Many times when we see those comments we are able to mention the GF adaptation in the post so others can enjoy it too.  We can also start labeling things as GF if we know people have tested them out that way.

I’ve been searching for a gluten free version of [enter any type of recipe you can’t seem to find here] do you have one? Magic 8 balls says, “unlikely”.  But feel free to ask 🙂

I see you added a gluten free label to your post, will you have a whole section of GF food now? umm…sort of but not really maybe?  I labeled this recipe and the Brazilian rolls.  If we remember, I’d like to label things from here on out as GF, especially those that are unusually gluten free (like baked goods) but we probably won’t go back and re-label posts already on the blog.  I mean, have you seen how long it’s taking us to get our old posts formatted for printing?  Long time folks, long time.  But if you guys who have tested out GF adaptations of our recipes will leave comments on them explaining your modifications, we’d love to add those recipes to a GF section so we can start building a good GF reference section on OBB.

I have a question about Celiac, GF cooking, [insert anything else related to being gluten intolerant] Okay, we’ll have to stop you right there; we’re not experts.  But do feel free to post your question or comment below and I’m sure there are plenty of readers who would be happy to pipe in!

Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I have Celiac disease too, and I just wanted to jump onboard with the others and thank you for the gluten free recipe! I love your site, and the recipes are amazing. Ever since I found your site I have been modifying recipes for my dietary needs, so I was so excited to see this post! Thanks again!

  2. My daughter is celiac and I have to say the the breads are the toughest things to make for them. Through my experience in making any recipe gluten free, when it comes to baking, a 75 to 25 split ratio I use. 75% rice flour to 25% tapioca flour on a normal recipe. So if the recipe happens to call for for 1 3/4C flour I would exchange it for 1.5C rice flour and 1/4C of tapioca flour. Then I would follow the recipe exactly as is after that. Oh yeah as for the xanthum gum you need to add that as well or guar gum,, they both do the same (guar gum is cheaper) and that is it. You can pretty much redo any recipe (baking wise) with this in mind. Hope that helps others from my experience and now I am off to try this new bread recipe. Pray for me LOL

  3. Yay! Thank you so much for considering us GF folk – it really can be hard finding good gluten free recipes. One question, I only have instant yeast, do you think I can just dump everything in?

    Also, I’m having visions of filling these rolls with all kinds of good things – a dab of cream cheese and a dab of raspberry jam, chicken salad?, CHOCOLATE, etc! Can’t wait to make these!

  4. This was such an informative post for a non gluten-free baker such as myself, and those cinnamon cream cheese rolls look truly fabulous!

  5. Can I just use regular flour for these recipes, if i’m not GF? And just our of curiosity, does tapioca flour taste like tapioca pudding (eewww)?

    1. I’m assuming you could make this with AP flour. And tapioca flour doesn’t really taste like anything. Tapioca is a natural thickener, much like cornstarch.

  6. I love you! This is perfect, thank you so much 🙂 I’ve been looking for the perfect gluten free cinnamon bun and dinner roll bread! I’m going to try this RIGHT NOW!

  7. Love, love, love it! I didn’t have potato flakes so I subbed in potato flour (1/2 cup flakes = 3 cups flour)…I also made one bath of the dough and made 1/2 into a loaf of bread instead of rolls and the other half into the cream cheese rolls. So, so yummy. My daughter (celiac) was thrilled over bread products that she could actually have= and tasted good! I was in a funk about GF cooking today and clicked on your link this morning thinking about how i shouldn’t look since my daughter can’t have it- imagine my elation to find that she could!!

  8. Thank you thank you thank you for the gluten free recipie! 🙂 It always helps to find new ones!

  9. This looks yummy. My son is on a strict diet (due to a medical condition he has), he can’t eat wheat, milk, eggs, soy, corn (which is in EVERYTHING), fish, tree nuts, peanuts, watermelon,oranges, peas, and sweet potatoes. Needless to say cooking for him is tough. I wish so desperatly to find a good bread recipe for him, but it’s hard with his restrictions. If he ever gets down to being able to have some dairy, I’ll have to try this out. ps. I LOVE your cookbook, I have convinced half my ward to buy it, and it constantly sits on my counter so I can look through it and salivate! I haven’t tried everthing, but I’m working on it! 🙂


    1. have you tried using Rice Milk for him? might be able to sub it in this recipe. I have used it before with good results. Just a thought…

    2. Not sure if this could work for you — my son can’t do regular dairy, but we’ve recently switched to goat’s milk, and he now has none of the problems he usually encounters with dairy. It also cooks well in all recipes. The rest of my family can’t tell the difference when I use it 🙂

  10. Thanks for the info.. I have gluten intolerance and cook everything GF for my family..It was tricky at first but it’s a piece of cake now. So many brands out there are now putting GF on their boxes/labels… I am excited.. I am defintely going to have to look up that cookbook you mentioned here in the post.. Thanks for the info again.. You gals are great cooks and I love to cook myself..

  11. THANK YOU!! I can’t wait to try these for my hubby – GF sweet bread can be very frustrating to make and remake until they’re decent but these look pretty easy.

  12. SO EXCITED! I’m learning to cook GF quite well these days, but the one area I fail time and again is bread. My last attempt at adapting cinnamon rolls turned out rock hard. Can’t wait to try this!

  13. So, I don’t have a problem with gluten but would love to try this recipe. I just don’t want to go out and buy a lot of ingredients I wouldn’t normally use. Do you have a good roll recipe I could try for the cinnamon cream cheese rolls?

  14. Just wanted to let you know that I found xanthem gum in bulk at the Winco on Fairview! It was much cheaper to buy that way since I only needed a little bit. Going to try these. My son’s girlfriend eats gluten free. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the reminder Elaine, I was going to mention that in my post. That’s where I buy most of my specialty flour because you can buy just the amount you need!

      1. I used Pamelas Bread mix and flour blend. It does really well cup for cue as an all purpose flour.

  15. Looks so yummy! (Love your site by the way) But what is the nutitional value on this recipie?

  16. I’m so excited to try this recipe! I’m GF too and few things actually look and taste good, and I think this is going to be one of them! Thank you so much for posting it!!

  17. Thank you thank you thank you!!! You are a ROCK STAR. I’m GF and finding good recipes is hard and not fun. I love your blog and cook book. Can’t wait to try this recipe, please keep them coming!!!!

  18. oh man now you’ve done it. I have a husband with celiac disease and i really haven’t stepped up and made anything like this. Now that I see your recipe I am going to have to step and make them. My husband will thank you.

  19. I am so excited to try these. My Mother in Law has Celiac (just recently diagnosed) and she makes the best rolls and cinnamon buns on the planet so she has been sad about not eating them anymore. I can’t wait to make these for her very soon 🙂

  20. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. We are recently gluten and dairy free due to some food sensitivities in our family. I cannot wait to try these rolls!

  21. thank you SO much for not only posting this recipe, but testing it out first! I am so hesitant to buy any gluten free recipe book because often times the recipes haven’t been tried and tested by non-gluten free eaters and GF eaters alike. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made something from a “great gluten free cookbook!” (says the cookbook’s publisher on the back of the book) and had it turn out TERRIBLE! I will be making these bad boys very soon, and probably very often. Thanks again!!!

  22. These look really good, especially for your first gluten free baked good. The world of gluten free baking is so different. I have quite a few gluten free cookbooks and I have never heard of this one. I am going to have to check it because it looks really good. And thanks again for posting about gluten free baking.

  23. Both of my kids have celiac so GF cooking is my thing. these look great! And actually I found your site bc a friend sent me the Brazillian cheese roll recipe. Lots of regular recipes will convert to GF is you use a high quality flour blend. Your blueberry muffins are divine GF with a few modifications!

  24. Thank you so much for posting a gluten free recipe that looks yummy! So many of your recipes I can make GF through substitutions, but bread products are always hard to recreate. Thanks so much! Any GF recipe you ever decide to post is much appreciated.

  25. Thanks so much for these recipes and the book recommendation! Your work is the only non-GF blog I follow because even if your recipe isn’t GF, it usually provides inspiration for me to create a GF version. (Your canning posts were particularly inspiring.) Thought you might like to know your work already translates across gastro-intestinal-challenge lines. 🙂

    1. Awe thanks Melie- that’s a huge compliment! Do let us know if you have any great GF versions of our recipes and we’ll help let others know as well.

    2. @Melie, This is the only non-GF blog I follow too!! I think its still so worth it, enough of the recipes are naturally gf or soo delicious I try to adapt them! I bought the cookbook referenced in the article too, I definately want a book FULL of things like this! Thanks best bites!!: )

  26. We stay up too late in the Smith family…

    Nice post sis, I’ll have to send it to the in-laws