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These Ube Cinnamon Rolls are filled with a sweet ube filling, baked until light and fluffy, then drizzled with an ube cream cheese frosting. Enjoy as an indulgent holiday breakfast, or as a sweet Filipino dessert.

ube purple cinnamon roll on white plate
baked ube cinnamon rolls with purple icing in white dish

Perfect Cinnamon Rolls with a Sweet Filipino Twist!

One of our favorite vegan breakfast recipes to make when entertaining friends and family is cinnamon rolls. They’re the perfect sweet treat that can easily feed a crowd and is so much easier to make from scratch than you’d think, especially with this 30-Minute Cinnamon Roll trick

After turning our classic Vegan Cinnamon Rolls into Pumpkin Cinnamon RollsGolden Milk Rolls, and savory Jalapeño Popper Rolls, we decided to try our favorite Cinnamon Rolls infused with one of our favorite sweet Filipino ingredients: ube! 

The result? Cinnamon Rolls that are just as soft and fluffy as Ube Pandesal (ube bread rolls) and as vibrant as Ube Champorado and Creamy Ube Pie. Finish them with our ube cream cheese frosting and get ready to dig in!

ingredients: Non-dairy milk, Sugar, Vegan butter, Ube, Active dry yeast, Flour, Baking powder, Cinnamon and cream cheese

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Non-dairy milk: Any plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk of choice will work. We typically use soy or almond milk in our homemade cinnamon roll recipes, but coconut milk would compliment the flavor of ube perfectly!
  • Sugar: You’ll need regular granulated sugar to make the yeast dough and powdered sugar to make the homemade icing. In the filling, you can use either brown sugar or white sugar, but we prefer the molasses-rich flavor in the brown sugar. 
  • Vegan butter: Any vegan butter sticks of choice will work well. We recommend the brands Country Crock Plant Butter, Earth Balance, and Miyoko’s Creamery. 
  • Ube: A combination of mashed ube and ube extract gives these cinnamon rolls their characteristic bright purple color. We typically purchase our ube at our local Asian supermarkets, but it can also be purchased online from Filipino grocers or on Amazon.
  • Active dry yeast:  Both active dry yeast and instant dry yeast will work in this cinnamon roll dough. The only difference is that active dry yeast needs to be hydrated with warm water before adding to the dough, whereas instant yeast does not. Regardless of what yeast you’re using, we do recommend “blooming” it first. Replacing the yeast with alternate ingredients like arrowroot or brewer’s yeast will not work and is not recommended. 
  • Flour: We have only tested these cinnamon rolls with regular all-purpose flour and can’t confirm a gluten-free flour swap would work. If you’d like to experiment, we’d recommend using a cup for cup gluten-free flour blend, but again, we can’t confirm you’ll have good results!
  • Baking powder: Using a leavening agent in addition to the yeast helps makes the dough extra light, fluffy, and absolutely perfect!
  • Cinnamon: Just like classic cinnamon rolls, we filled these sweet ube cinnamon rolls with a cinnamon and ube mixture. 
  • Vegan cream cheese: Needed to make the homemade ube icing, if using. We recommend Kite Hill, but if you prefer to make vegan cream cheese from scratch, try our homemade Vegan Cream Cheese recipe

Equipment Needed

How to Make Ube Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Activate the yeast. In a large bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk, white granulated sugar, and melted vegan butter. You want this mixture to be warm, but not hot or it will kill the yeast. Once well combined, sprinkle the dry active yeast over top, stir, and let it sit in a warm place for 10 minutes.
  2. Add in the flour. Add in 4 cups of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm place for a first rise, or until the dough has doubled in size. 
  3. Prepare the filling. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the brown sugar, mashed cube, vegan butter, ground cinnamon, and ube extract. Using a hand mixer or fork, mix together until smooth and set aside.
  4. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. After the dough has doubled, remove the plastic wrap or towel and add the remaining cup of flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir well until combined, then turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary, until it is no longer sticky. Once sufficiently kneaded, the dough should be soft (not sticky) and spring back when poked. 
  5. Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1/2″ thick large rectangle. Using a spatula, evenly spread this mixture onto the dough in an even layer. 
  6. Roll and cut the dough. Starting on the long side, roll the dough into a tight log, then place the seam-side down to prevent the log from unrolling. Then, using a sharp knife or dental floss, cut the log into 12 even pieces. Arrange them evenly in the greased baking pan. 
  7. Second dough rise for 1 hour. Cover the ube rolls with a clean kitchen towel or a piece of plastic wrap and place the baking dish in a warm area to rise for 1 hour. 
  8. Bake. Once the rolls have risen, bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Prepare the ube icing. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the softened vegan cream cheese, butter, and ube extract. Using a hand mixer, mix until well combined and smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar and whisk together again. Add the non-dairy milk as needed until your desired consistency is reached. 
  10. Drizzle with icing and serve. Once the vegan ube rolls are golden and fluffy, let them cool for about 15 minutes, then generously drizzle with the ube icing, as desired. Enjoy immediately while fresh!

Overnight Option

Making these ube cinnamon rolls for special occasions like Christmas morning? Prep them the night before, then simply bring to room temperature and pop in the oven in the morning! 

Follow the recipe as written through placing the cut ube cinnamon rolls in a greased baking pan. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, then place the cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator to slowly rise overnight. 

The following morning, place the cinnamon rolls on the kitchen counter to come to room temperature, about 2 to 3 hours. Then, bake until golden and fluffy and serve as usual. 

Serving Suggestions 

Ube infused cinnamon rolls are the perfect sweet breakfast treat to serve for holidays and special occasions. Pair them with a cup of coffee or tea, and a few of your other breakfast favorites for a hearty and satisfying meal. Here are a few of our favorite breakfast recipes:

Lastly, try sprinkling them with our Toasted Coconut Milk Curds (Latik) for the perfect extra sweet, filipino touch! 

close up of side of fluffy ube cinnamon roll

Recipe FAQs

I can’t find mashed ube. What else can I use?

We haven’t tested it, but mashed purple sweet potatoes (Okinawan sweet potato) will add a similar color and texture to the ube filling. The flavor won’t be the same, but it’s a good option when in a pinch! Alternatively, ube jam (ube halaya jam) can also work, but we’d reduce the brown sugar to 1/4-1/3 cup, as jam contains added sugars. 

Are these cinnamon rolls freezer friendly?

Raw and baked ube cinnamon rolls can be frozen.

To freeze before baking, follow the recipe through placing the cut ube cinnamon rolls in a greased baking pan (when freezing, we recommend using a disposable freezer container such as an aluminum pan). Tightly cover the pan with a sheet of parchment paper followed by a layer of aluminum foil, then freeze for up to 2 months. Then, when ready to bake, thaw the cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, let come to room temperature on the kitchen counter, then bake as usual. 

Baked cinnamon rolls can be frozen for up to 1 month (without icing). Place the cooled rolls in a freezer-safe container, such as a disposable aluminum pan covered with parchment paper, then a layer of aluminum foil to seal. Thaw completely in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature or reheat until warmed through. 

Can I knead the dough in my stand mixer?

If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, absolutely. Instead of making the dough in a regular mixing bowl, make the dough in the stand mixing bowl, then knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and springs back when poked. 

Storage Instructions

Cinnamon rolls are best served fresh, but can be stored for up to 3 days at room temperature. When reheating, we microwave for about 15 seconds, to soften them up and make them fluffy again. 

close up of baked ube cinnamon rolls with purple icing in white dish

More Filipino Ube Recipes You May Enjoy:

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ube purple cinnamon roll on white plate

Ube Cinnamon Rolls Recipe


  • Author: Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 2 hours 37 minutes
  • Yield: about 12 rolls
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

These Ube Cinnamon Rolls are filled with a sweet ube filling, baked until light and fluffy, then drizzled with an ube cream cheese frosting. Enjoy as an indulgent holiday breakfast, or as a sweet Filipino dessert.


Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy, warm to the touch
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1 packet (2¼) teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 6 cups (720g) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 3/4 cup (155g) brown sugar
  • 1 cup cooked and mashed ube
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ube extract

Icing

  • ¾ cup (90g) powdered sugar
  • 2 ounces vegan cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ tablespoons melted vegan butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ube extract
  • Non-dairy milk, as needed to thin

Instructions

  1. Activate the yeast. In a large bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk, granulated sugar, and melted vegan butter. You want this mixture to be warm, but not hot or it will kill the yeast. Once well combined, sprinkle the dry active yeast over top, stir, and let it sit in a warm place for 10 minutes.
  2. Add in the flour. Add in 4 cups of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm place for a first rise, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Prepare the filling. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the brown sugar, mashed cube, vegan butter, ground cinnamon, and ube extract. Using a hand mixer or fork, mix until smooth and set aside.
  4. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. After the dough has doubled, uncover and add the remaining cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir well until combined, then turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary, until it is no longer sticky. Once sufficiently kneaded, the dough should be soft (not sticky) and spring back when poked.
  5. Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Generously grease a 9×13” (or similar-sized) baking dish and set aside. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1/2″ thick large rectangle. Using a spatula, evenly spread this mixture onto the dough in an even layer.
  6. Roll and cut the dough. Starting on the long side, roll the dough into a tight log, then place the seam-side down to prevent the log from unrolling. Then, using a sharp knife or thread, cut the log into 12 even pieces. Arrange them evenly in the greased baking pan.
  7. Rise for 1 hour. Cover the rolls with a clean kitchen towel or a piece of plastic wrap and place the baking dish in a warm area to rise for 1 hour.
  8. Bake. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Once the rolls have risen, bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Prepare the ube icing. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the softened vegan cream cheese, butter, and ube extract. Using a hand mixer or immersion blender, mix until well combined and smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar and whisk together again. Add the non-dairy milk as needed until your desired consistency is reached.
  10. Drizzle with icing and serve. Once the vegan ube rolls are golden and fluffy, let them cool for about 15 minutes, then generously drizzle with the ube icing, as desired. Enjoy immediately while fresh!

Notes

  • Ube: If using frozen ube, defrost and add to a kitchen towel and squeeze the excess liquid out. We haven’t tested it, but mashed purple sweet potatoes (Okinawan sweet potato) will add a similar color and texture to the ube filling. The flavor won’t be the same, but it’s a good option when in a pinch! Alternatively, ube jam (ube halaya jam) can also work, but we’d reduce the brown sugar to 1/4-1/3 cup, as jam contains added sugars.
  • Rising: If you need a warm space for the dough to rise, you can place it into an oven with the oven light on.
  • Storage: Cinnamon rolls are best served fresh, but can be stored for up to 3 days at room temperature. When reheating, we microwave for about 15 seconds, to soften them up and make them fluffy again.
  • Freezing raw ube cinnamon rolls: To freeze before baking, follow the recipe through placing the cut ube cinnamon rolls in a greased baking pan (when freezing, we recommend using a disposable freezer container such as an aluminum pan). Tightly cover the pan with a sheet of parchment paper followed by a layer of aluminum foil, then freeze for up to 2 months. Then, when ready to bake, thaw the cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, let come to room temperature on the kitchen counter, then bake as usual.
  • Freezing baked cinnamon rolls: Baked rolls can be frozen for up to 1 month (without icing). Place the cooled rolls in a freezer-safe container, such as a disposable aluminum pan covered with parchment paper, then a layer of aluminum foil to seal. Thaw completely in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature or reheat until warmed through
  • Baking Dish: If you do not have a large baking dish, a large baking sheet will work. Just be sure to line it with parchment paper or a silicone mat and keep in mind that the rolls expand.
  • Overnight Option: The cinnamon roll dough can be made up to 24 hours in advance. After placing the cinnamon rolls in the baking dish, instead of setting them in a warm place to rise, cover the cinnamon rolls with a lightly greased plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator, for up to 24 hours. The next day, remove the dish from the refrigerator and allow the cinnamon rolls to come to room temperature, which will take about 2-3 hours depending on the temperature of your home. Lastly, bake them for the amount of time called for in the recipe.
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 27 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven

Keywords: filipino, ube, yam, dessert, breakfast

Meet The Bloggers

hey there! we’re jasmine & chris.

Hi, we’re Jasmine and Chris! We share fresh and fun recipes to show you that vegan cooking is easy, approachable and delicious. When we’re not blogging, you will probably find us enjoying live music, tending to our backyard garden or playing with our dogs Berry and Louie

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2 Comments

  1. The ingredients list calls for 6 cups of flour, but it seems like the directions only call for 4 cups + 1 cup mixed in – which is correct? Excited to make these!

    1. hi, sorry about that, it should say add the remaining “cups” of flour not cup. I just adjusted the directions to fix the error. We hope you love the recipe!