AIP Rustic Apple Cinnamon Rolls (Paleo, Vegan, Sugar-Free)


I made this recipe awhile back for a guest post, and then I ended up doing another recipe and totally forgot about my cinnamon rolls! Hello!? That is an egregious  mistake to make in the AIP community. This recipe does have a few steps, but it takes me less than 30 minutes to throw together! They aren’t soft and chewy like normal cinnamon rolls since there’s no yeast or eggs, but they are very reminiscent of the taste, and I actually prefer the crunchy, chewy, and gooey texture of these to regular cinnamon rolls.


This recipe makes 6 rolls, but it can be easily doubled for a larger gathering. You can also change up the filling by adding different fruits, a combination of berries or stone fruit sounds delicious to me! Enjoy this long lost recipe… I tested it 4 times to get the right ratio of tapioca and coconut flour for the texture I was going for! Have a wonderful weekend, and go try something new. We are going for a new bike ride to check out a pie shop for my husband who has a demonic sweet tooth. I’ll just be admiring the architecture along the way. I will of course be forced to watch at least 2 football games (growl.)



My hands are the size of a 5-year-old’s but these rolls are a nice, hefty size! As they should be, darn it!



Rustic Apple-Cinnamon Rolls [AIP Friendly]

Makes 6 rolls | Prep 25 minutes | Cook 23 minutes

Time Saving Tip: while the sweet potatoes are steaming, make the filling!


2 cups peeled & diced white sweet potato*

2 T melted coconut oil

¼ c unsweetened applesauce

¼ cup coconut flour

1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch

1/2 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp fine sea salt

½ tsp baking soda

*The flesh should be white. The Japanese purple-skinned or California white-skinned varieties both work here.

  1. In a steamer basket set over a pot of boiling water, steam the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes, covered, until they easily break apart with a fork.
  2. Place sweet potatoes, applesauce and coconut oil in blender/food processor. Blend until smooth and no lumps remain. Alternatively, you can mash in a bowl until smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix coconut flour, tapioca, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Using your hands, mix sweet potato dough into dry ingredients, kneading to fully incorporate.
  4. Place dough on parchment-lined baking sheet. Using your hands, form dough into an even, compact rectangle, about ¼ inch thick.

Apple-Cinnamon Filling

1 cup finely diced Granny Smith apple

1 T coconut oil

5 large Medjool dates, pitted

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

Pinch sea salt

  1. In small saucepan, cook apple in coconut oil over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes until softened.
  2. While the apple is cooking, place dates in small bowl filled with ½ cup filtered water. Microwave for 1 minute. Reserve all of the liquid!
  3. Add dates, ¼ cup reserved liquid, cinnamon, and sea salt to the pan. Break dates and apples up with a wooden spoon as they cook down.  Once liquid has evaporated, add remaining ¼ cup reserved liquid and simmer, stirring, until a thick paste has formed, about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat immediately.

Apple-Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Spoon filling mixture on top of dough, covering entirely.
  2. Use the parchment paper to assist rolling the dough into a cylinder by starting with the short end of the rectangle and rolling away from your body. Ensure seam side is down.
  3. Using a sharp, serrated knife, slice roll into 6 even pieces. (Note: Place dough in refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to cut.)
  4. Gently re-shape the dough into circles and lay face up on parchment paper.
  5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 23-25 minutes until golden brown. Drizzle with melted coconut butter.

40 comments on “AIP Rustic Apple Cinnamon Rolls (Paleo, Vegan, Sugar-Free)

  • Delicious! Mine took a lot longer to bake. I think I used too much sweet potato (i measured steamed instead of fresh) and had to add more than double the amount of coconut and tapioca to get it not so sticky. The only problem was the little bits of dough that magically flew out of the bowl (and into my mouth) while mixing!

  • I love this recipe! And, it really doesn’t take too long to make. It completely satisfied my cinnamon roll longing. Thank you so much for creating it!

    • Alaena Haber says:

      Yes I would wrap them individually in parchment and then freeze in a ziploc or glass container for up to 3 months!

    • Alaena Haber says:

      You can! The color of course will be different and they’re not as starchy as white sweet potatoes, so the texture will be a bit different too. If the dough seems too wet, add 1 tsp extra coconut flour at a time.

  • I just made them, mine aren’t as solid. I don’t think I can pick it up without it falling apart. But they look delicious! And I love the idea of using Japanese potatoes!
    May I suggest to add pictures while you are making it, so I have more of an idea if I do it correct, especially the rolling.

    • Alaena Haber says:

      Hi Hetty – so glad you like them! You should be able to easily pick them up if the coconut flour to sweet potato ratio was correct. I’ll consider adding some photos for sure!

  • Wow! These are absolutely incredible! The rolls are surprisingly soft (just like a regular cinnamon roll) and the filling is spot-on and definitely fills the void of feeling like I couldn’t have any typical comfort food desserts. I’d describe them as the perfect hybrid between a cinnamon roll and apple pie. I guarantee you a non-AIP person would never know these were “special” and had no added sugars aside from the dates & apple. Thank you for this amazing recipe! This will definitely be making an appearance several times during the holiday season.

  • These taste really good! Any idea for what else this dough could be used for? I steamed way too many potatoes and got a huge batch of blended potatoes, coconut oil and applesauce. Have not added any flour yet, thinking if I could find some other uses for it besides cinnamon rolls which are really good but I don’t want to end up with 4 dozen of them 🙂

    • Hmmm I haven’t experienced with much else honestly – maybe try scones by adding more coconut flour? Muffins with some tigernut flour?

  • I’m not really sure what you mean as to a compact rectangle… I’ve never made cinnamon rolls from scratch so some dimensions or a picture would be helpful 🙂

  • These look fantastic, I can’t wait to give it a try! I haven’t had cinnamon rolls in forever. Also, may I ask, do you think you might ever consider providing your future recipes in weight (grams) measurements as well as volume (cups)? I find that measuring in grams and millilitres is the most reliable. 🙂

  • These are amazing. Totally worth the effort. I have been aip for 3.5 months and these are such a special treat!!! Thanks for the recipe!!!

  • Flora Michie says:

    These turned out so delicious. I used sweet potato because I couldn’t find any white one or the others suggested. I made these for a surprise coffee shop birthday for my husband. I can’t belief how incredible they turned out after reading some of the previous comments. I added a lot more coconut flour to keep the shape. I wish I could add a picture of the final product. Thanks!

    • Alaena Haber says:

      Happy Bday to your husband! Yes I think some of the previous comments dough was too wet which resulted in the unbaked texture but I know it’s worked for a ton of people – all sweet potatoes have different moisture levels so its hard to write recipes with real food ingredients sometimes!

    • Alaena Haber says:

      I haven’t tried the recipe with anything but you could possibly trying baked plantains. It may be better to find a sweet potato-free recipe for this one though.

  • Hi Alaena! I made these for my husband and my 1st year anniversary and he wanted them again for year 3 🙂
    Have you tried other floues with this besides tapioca? Do you think sprouted wheat would work? Trying to go lower glycemic

    • Alaena Haber says:

      I haven’t baked with wheat flour in a decade or I would help you out – I would imagine it would work – I would just ensure the texture is as close to original recipe as possible!

  • I was thinking of trying to make these for Christmas morning. Can I prep everything and leave them to chill raw in the fridge overnight and then bake in the morning?
    Thank you!

  • Snow White says:

    Hi Alaena! Love your recipes! Just wondering if you might know the weight of the sweet potatoes? I find I get much better results when sweet potatoes are measured by weight.

    • Alaena Haber says:

      Next time I bake them, I will be sure to measure their weight in grams and ounces and update the recipe here! Thank you for the suggestion!


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