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Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls with Easy Caramel Glaze

These Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls are just as delicious, tasty and soft like their regular counterparts. You will love them because they are so delicate, flavorful and light. You can also check out my regular and other flavor variations like Orange Cinnamon Rolls with  Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Coffee Cinnamon Rolls.

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Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls with caramel glaze on a round pan.

Today’s post is brought to you by all the cinnamon rolls I have seen on Instagram. They make me weak in my knees, and they make me yearn for Cinnamon rolls every time I come across a photo. Perfect golden twirls of dough, dripping with glazes and totally enticing.

To think that I have only started to develop my love for Cinnamon rolls only about halfway into starting the blog, I am now so deep in fondness of these sweet and warm-flavored bread.

Cinnamon Rolls with caramel glaze freshly baked.

So today we make them, but we are making them with whole wheat flour. Maybe because it is more okay to devour one pan of them that way? Kidding!

A whole wheat cinnamon roll dough has more nutrients and more fiber. So I think it is a good practice to bake with whole wheat flour from time to time. And worry not, these Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls are equally delicious, if not better, than the regular ones.

Let me count the ways:

  • One, they are lighter and airy.
  • Two, they are far less sweet.
  • Three, instead of cream cheese icing , they are glazed minimally with a light caramel syrup. Just enough to give them a sweet edge.

So if you want to enjoy Cinnamon rolls, a lighter version of them, here is one for you!

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls Ingredients

  • Whole Wheat Flour. This cinnamon roll dough is made entirely with whole flour, but all-purpose flour is used to dust the surface and the bread dough to help with stickiness.
  • All-Purpose Flour. A half cup of flour is reserved for sitting and kneading as stated above.
  • Active Dry Yeast. This dissolved with warm water for proving. If you use instant yeast, I still recommend to prove it.
  • Brown Sugar. I used brown sugar for a richer color, and deeper flavor.
  • Milk. Makes a tastier, more tender dough.
  • Eggs. The eggs add flavor and richness to the dough.
  • Melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon make up the filling.
  • Brown sugar, hot watervanilla extract and butter make up the caramel glaze.
  • See the recipe card for the rest of the ingredients.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls with Easy Caramel Glaze: The Process

Make and Knead the Dough

Combine yeast and warm water in a large mixing bowl. Let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes, or when it is creamy. Add the eggs, oil, warm milk, salt and brown sugar. Stir them well.

Add 2 cups of whole wheat flour and stir until incorporated.

Tip: It is important that you use a large metal spoon for this because the whole wheat dough is very sticky.

Mixing the dough ingredients for the Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls.

Add the remaining 2 cups of whole wheat flour, this time one cup at a time and stir until all the flour is moistened. You will now have a sticky, shaggy dough.

Sprinkle about a tablespoon of all-purpose flour, once or twice over the dough and stir until the dough gathers in the center of the bowl.

The dough has gathered in the center of the bowl.

Generously flour a working board with some of the all-purpose flour and scrape the dough into the board. Dust your hands with the flour and begin to knead the dough. You will need to dust the board and your hands again minimally as needed to help with the stickiness. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you like to skip the kneading and you have a bread maker, try my Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls.

Tip

  • With this whole wheat dough, the stickiness does not totally go away unlike with all-purpose flour dough. So only dust with flour on the area where it sticks and do not be attempted to dump a lot of flour in your dough. 
  • Only dust until the dough is manageable enough to handle. You will not need more than the 1/2 cup of flour that is allowed in the recipe.
The dough for whole wheat cinnamon roll before and after kneading.

First Rise and Shaping

Shape the kneaded dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise for 1 and 1/2 hour or until the size is doubled.

Whole wheat cinnamon rolls dough after the first rise.

Then, lightly punch it down and roll it into a 12×16 inch rectangle. Spread melted butter over the dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the rectangular dough, starting on the short edge, to form a tight log.

Rolled out dough into a rectangle.

Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 1 inch thick round discs. You will be able to get 12-14 discs. Arrange the discs on two 9-inch round baking pans or a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Second Rise

  • Turn your oven to reach 200 F. Once the temperature is achieved, turn the oven off. Place the rolls inside and let them rise for 20-25 minutes. They will be doubled in size and puffy. Take them out of the oven.
  • Or you can set the pan in a warm place and let them rise for 1 hour or so, covered with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
The dough rolled into a log and cut into 1 inch rounds.
The shaped cinnamon rolls before and after the second rise.

Bake Time!

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake the rolls at 350 F for 15-18 minutes or until they are lightly golden. I love how these look out of the oven.

Aaaaaah, my cinnamon roll dream!

Freshly baked Whole wheat cinnamon rolls ready for the caramel glaze.

The Easy Caramel Glaze

  1. And we are not done yet. Let us glaze these with an easy caramel sauce. See, because these cinnamon rolls are not overly sweet, the finishing glaze is a must to add a note of indulgence to them.
  2. So heat up brown sugar and water together until the mixture is boiling and has thickened slightly. Add the butter and stir until melted. Then stir in the vanilla extract. Easy caramel glaze!
Whole wheat cinnamon rolls in a white pie pan.

And here is that part, dig in! Grab one roll, enjoy, lick your fingers and repeat. Add this to your list of sweet rolls recipe, okay? It totally deserves a spot in there.

Just perfect. Make this your take on lighter, less sweet cinnamon buns. If you want cream cheese frosting, you can make the frosting from my Cinnamon Rolls recipe (it has maple syrup for deeper flavor!)

Close up shot of whole wheat cinnamon rolls.

Make Ahead Tips

  • To make the dough a day ahead, place dough in the fridge after kneading. Cover it with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.  On the day of baking, let the dough sit at room temperature so it can continue its first rise.
  • Or make the recipe up to the shaping, and once the buns are all arranged in the baking pan, cover it with plastic film or kitchen towel and store in the fridge overnight. The next day,  allow the dough to continue its rise at room temperature,  then follow the rest of the instructions.

Freezing Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

  • You can freeze baked cinnamon buns but without any frosting or glaze. Wrap then well in plastic film, then in foil, or place them in freezer safe containers. Freeze for up to three weeks.
  • You can also freeze unbaked, shaped rolls. Freeze them in a single layer first, then transfer the pieces in a freezer safe container. To bake, allow to thaw and rise until doubled and puffy. Then follow baking instructions.

More Bread Recipes You Can Try:

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls with caramel glaze on a round pan.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls with Easy Caramel Glaze

These Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls are just as delicious, tasty and soft like their regular counterparts. You will love them because they are so delicate, flavorful and light.
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Whole wheat cinnamon rolls
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
rise times for the dough: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 53 minutes
Servings: 14
Calories: 292kcal
Author: sanna

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup warm water 105-115 F
  • 2 and 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • up to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the Filling

  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 3 tsp cinnamon

Easy Caramel Glaze

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp butter

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast and warm water. Let the mixture stand until it is foamy or creamy, about 5 minutes. Add milk, eggs. canola oil, brown sugar and salt. Stir everything well.
  • Add 2 cups of whole wheat flour and stir it in using a large metal spoon until the flour is incorporated. Add the remaining 2 cups of whole wheat flour, one cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. The mixture is now a sticky, shaggy mass.
  • Sprinkle just a little amount of the all-purpose flour ( about a tablespoon or so), once or twice over the dough, and stir until the dough has gathered in the center of the bowl.
  • Generously flour a working surface with the all-purpose flour. Scrape the dough from the bowl and into the board. Dust your hands with all-purpose flour. Knead for about ten minutes, until the dough is elastic and smooth. During kneading, you will need to dust your board around the area where it sticks, and your hands as well. However, only dust with flour as needed. With whole wheat dough, the stickiness does not totally go away so flour only just until the dough is manageable enough and don't attempt to dump the flour in there. It will dry up the dough. You may not need the entire amount of all-purpose flour.
  • A quick windowpane test will tell you if you have kneaded enough. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 1 and 1/2 hour, or until it is doubled in size.
  • Punch the dough down and roll it into a rectangle that is 12x16 inches. Trim the sides if you like. To fill the dough, spread 3 tbsp melted butter all over the rectangle. Combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it on the dough. 
  • Roll the dough into a tight log by starting on the short edge of the rectangle. Cut the log into 1 inch thick rounds. You will get about 12-14 discs. Arrange the rounds in 2 greased 9-inch round pans or a 9x13 baking pan. To let them rise, turn on the oven to 200 F. Once it has reached that temperature, turn the oven off. Place the rolls inside and let them rise for about 25 minutes. Take them out and preheat oven to 350 F.  Bake the rolls for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned. 

Make the Caramel Glaze

  • In a medium saucepan bring the brown sugar and water to boil. Let it simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has thickened slightly. Stir in butter until melted. Stir in the vanilla extract. Drizzle over the buns.

Notes

Make Ahead Tips

  • To make the dough a day ahead, place the dough in the fridge after kneading. Cover it with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.  On the day of baking, let the dough sit at room temperature so it can continue its first rise.
  • Or make the recipe up to the shaping, and once the buns are all arranged in the baking pan, cover it with plastic film or kitchen towel and store in the fridge overnight. The next day,  allow the dough to continue its rise at room temperature  then follow the rest of the instructions.

Freezing Tips

  • You can freeze baked cinnamon buns but without any frosting or glaze. Wrap then well in plastic film, then in foil, or place them in freezer safe containers. Freeze for up to three weeks.
  • You can also freeze unbaked, shaped rolls. Freeze them in a single layer first, then transfer the pieces in a freezer safe container. To bake, allow to thaw and rise until doubled and puffy. Then follow baking instructions.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 220mg | Potassium: 193mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1.8mg

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20 Comments

  1. Hi, can I omit the all purpose flour? I don’t have any but I would really like to make these today, they look so delicious.

  2. Thanks. We enjoyed it this morning with my family. I didn’t have to add any extra flour. Just left the risen dough overnight after rising in the fridge & worked on the rolls in the morning

  3. Love the way step by step guide…really help me to understand… Easy to get ingredients and the tempting pictures… Definitely going to try it for my family…thank you

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