Don't let the appearance fool you. These decadent-looking Banana Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls are actually quite healthy! Made with mashed bananas, cocoa powder, yeast, sugar, salt, water, olive oil, vegan chocolate chips and topped with this Low Fat Chocolate PB Powder Frosting, these cinnamon rolls are not just good for your soul, they're good for your body, too.
The recipe below yields thick and hearty cinnamon rolls that almost has a cakey texture, thanks to the heaping addition of bananas. For a softer roll, you can also use all-purpose flour. Substitution notes are below, so check it out!
Here's why I love this recipe
- vegan - no eggs, milk or butter required
- healthy AND delicious
- easy to prepare if you have a stand mixer or bread machine
- satisfying and filling, thanks to the mashed bananas which are high in fiber and nutrients
Ingredients Used to Make Banana Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls
**I've linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the baking aisle, or the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Bread Flour - Bread flour is highly recommended for this recipe for the best texture and structure. I used King Arthur Bread Flour. Please read the note in the substitution section below if using other flours.
- Instant Yeast - you can find instant yeast in the baking section near the flours. My favorite is SAF Instant Premium Yeast, which works quickly and consistently produces great results. I recommend using instant yeast over active yeast for this recipe since active yeast (unlike instant yeast) needs to be activated in water, which we don't add until the very end.
- Sugar - I used raw cane sugar, but you can use regular granulated white sugar, or healthier alternatives like coconut, date, or maple sugars. Sugar free sugar-free substitutes such as monk fruit sweetener or stevia powder can be used in the frosting recipe, but for what goes inside the bread, I would NOT RECOMMEND using sugar-free substitutes since they can cause the bread to not rise properly.
- Salt - Pink Himalayan salt is what I have at home, so it’s what I use, but you can use any kind for this recipe.
- Bananas - we'll need to use mashed bananas in this recipe. For the best flavor, use the ripe ones. They have deep yellow skin with brown spots.
- Olive Oil - I like using light olive oil since it has a neutral flavor, but you can also any cooking oil of your choice like coconut oil, or avocado oil instead
- I used a KitchenAid Stand Mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough. You're also welcome to use a bread machine, or knead the dough by hand.
More Banana Recipes (HERE)
Step by Step Guide
How to Make Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls
Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar and salt) in the bowl of the stand mixer. NOTE: And don't forget the cocoa powder -it wasn't captured in these photos.
Add the mashed bananas. Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about a minute.
Add water gradually until all the dry ingredients are just combined. Note: More water or flour may be needed depending on the protein content of the flour, the water content in the bananas, as well as the humidity and temperature of the kitchen. If adding additional water or flour, be sure to add one tablespoon at a time, just until the dry ingredients are no longer visible.
Add the olive oil and continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will appear sticky, but will be less so as the flour becomes fully hydrated.
Let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes so that the flour has a chance to absorb the extra moisture.
Remove the finished dough from the mixer bowl and place in a lightly greased bowl.
Let rise until doubled, about 60-90 minutes.
Punch down the dough then remove the dough from bowl. Place on a generously floured surface and use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a rectangle, about 18 x 10 inches in size.
Spread the filling mixture over the dough. Starting from the end, roll the dough into a roll. Pinch the seams to seal.
Use a string or dental floss to cut the rolled up dough into individual rolls.
Place the individual rolls on a parchment-lined baking pan, swirl side up.
Let the rolls rise again for about 30 minutes until puffy. Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes until golden brown
Once cooled enough to handle, frost the rolls with a chocolate frosting of choice. I used this Chocolate Peanut Butter Powder Frosting recipe
How to Make these Cinnamon Rolls Healthier
- Make this Banana Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls even healthier by adding a handful of nuts, seeds and old-fashioned oats to add texture and nutrition. Here are some ideas
- Nuts - chopped walnuts, pecans, cashews
- Seeds - poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds or chiaseeds
- Dried Fruit - chopped apricot, raisins, cranberries, dried cherries, candied ginger, citrus zests, etc.
- Want to add more fiber? Substitute white whole wheat flour for up to half of the bread flour called for in this recipe. You'll need to add a few more tablespoons of water to adjust the hydration since whole wheat flour absorbs more water than white flour.
- For the chocolate frosting, I used this Chocolate Peanut Butter Powder Frosting recipe which is low fat and low sugar. But if using regular storebought chocolate frosting, it might be a good idea to not use so much frosting. In that case, just pipe a little on the rolls, like below!
Different Icing and Frosting Options for Cinnamon Rolls
If you want to enjoy cinnamon rolls with a variety of glazes, icings and frostings, there are many fun and delicious options to choose from. For starters, try drizzling cinnamon rolls with chocolate, topping them with whipped cream, or adding some coffee to the glaze. For more ideas, check out this post for 10+ Easy Homemade Cinnamon Roll Icing & Frosting Recipes
Note on Substitutions
- Unfortunately, gluten-free flours cannot be substituted for bread flour in this recipe.
- If you don't have bread flour, you can also use All Purpose Flour instead. AP flour has less protein than bread flour, so it will yield softer rolls with less chew/ bite.
- The almond flour can be subbed with other nut flour like pecan, cashew and walnut flour.
How to Store
- You can store these Cinnamon Rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.
- For longer storage, you can place them in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 7 days, or freeze up to 3 months. To reheat, cover with foil and warm them up in the oven or air fryer
Final Tips for Banana Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls
- Weigh your flour for the best results. 1 cup of bread flour = 120 grams / 4.23 oz. This is recommended since scooping the flour directly from the bag can can pack the flour into the measuring cup, and this means you'll end up with more flour than what's called for in the recipe. If you don't have a kitchen scale, you can measure the flour by spooning pre-sifted flour into the measuring cup, then using the straight end of the spoon to level the flour across the top to sweep off the excess.
- Baking time (as well as serving size) will vary based on the size of your baking pan, the material (silicone vs metal) of the pan. If you're not sure whether the bread is ready, you can insert a quick read thermometer into the bread - a finished bread will register 190 F (or 88 C).
- To make this recipe in the bread machine: add all the dry ingredients into the machine, stir briefly before adding the wet ingredients. The machine can be set for basic. Check the dough for consistency and adjust by adding additional water (or flour) before the end of the first kneading cycle. If you want to add additional nuts or dried fruits, leave them aside, and only them 3 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle.
Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
- 4 cups bread flour (480 g) sifted and leveled*
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cocoa powder , to add color. Can leave out if desired
- 1 ⅓ cup mashed ripe bananas (320g) , or about 3 medium bananas
- ½ cup water , or milk of choice such as almond milk
- 2 Tbsp light olive oil , melted coconut oil or avocado oil
- 1 recipe chocolate frosting of choice , such as this chocolate powdered pb frosting recipe
- Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, cocoa powder, salt) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
- Add the mashed bananas.
- Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2), and add water. *For this recipe, I used ½ cup water, but more or less water (or flour) may be needed depending on the protein content of the flour, the water content in the bananas, as well as the humidity and temperature of the kitchen. Be sure to add one tablespoon at a time, just until the dry ingredients are no longer visible.
- Add the olive oil and continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will appear sticky, but will be less so as the flour becomes fully hydrated.
- Let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes so that the flour has a chance to absorb the extra moisture.
- Remove the finished dough from the mixer bowl and place in a lightly greased bowl.
- Let rise until doubled, about 60-90 minutes**
- While the dough rises, prepare the filling by mixing the sugar, cinnamon, and mini chocolate chips. Set aside.
- If the dough is ready, punch down the dough then remove from bowl. Place on a generously floured surface and use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a rectangle, about 18 x 10 inches in size.
- Spray, brush or sprinkle water or almond milk onto the surface of the dough. Note: the surface just needs to be wet enough for the sugar mixture to stick.
- Spread the filling mixture over the dough
- Starting from the end, roll the dough into a roll. Pinch the seams to seal.
- Use a string or dental floss to cut the rolled up dough into individual rolls. For wider, dome-shaped rolls like the ones in the photos, cut into 16 rolls and arrange them 1 inch apart, on a half-sized (8"x13") sheet pan. For regular tall cinnamon rolls with straight sides, cut into 12 rolls and use a 9" x 12" rectangular pan, or a quarter sheet pan, half an inch apart.
- Line a baking pan of choice with parchment paper.
- Place the individual rolls on a parchment-lined baking pan, swirl side up.
- Let the rolls rise again for about 30 minutes until puffy. Toward the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 350F / 180C
- Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes until golden brown
- Once cooled enough to handle, frost the rolls with a chocolate frosting of choice. I used this Chocolate Peanut Butter Powder Frosting recipe