There are no words that can describe the taste and texture of these cottage cheese cinnamon rolls. They're just that good! My favorite part about this recipe is its pillowy center. It has an ultra soft and fluffy texture that just melts in your mouth. It's also slightly underbaked because of the brown sugar and cinnamon that's soaked into the center. Served with powdered sugar, or with fresh fruit and light whipped cream for extra decadence, these cottage cheese cinnamon rolls are probably my personal best recipe I've ever made. And it doesn't hurt that cottage cheese is low in fat and high in protein. No joke, this recipe is one you’ll want to save for your kids.
The recipe below yields thick and hearty cinnamon rolls with a moist crumb and the subtlest maple syrup sweetness. If that weren’t enough, I encourage you to top these cuties with my vegan yogurt frosting. Bakes are all about their flavor and texture, but looks matter, too! And these rolls are as pretty as they’re tasty.
Here's why I love this recipe
- Simple to make, and needs only just a couple of ingredients. No eggs, milk or butter are required.
- Soft, fluffy, but with the right amount of chew and heartiness.
- Easy to prepare if you have a stand mixer or bread machine
- High in protein, thanks to the cottage cheese
- Low fat!
Ingredients Used to Make Low Fat Cottage Cheese 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 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.
- Low Fat Cottage Cheese - the plain (unflavored) kind. You can also use full fat or fat free cottage cheese for this recipe. Just be sure to use the small curd kind.
- 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.
Step by Step Guide
How to Make Low Fat Cottage Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
Add the cottage cheese, and start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about a minute.
Add the water a few tablespoons at a time until the dry ingredients are no longer visible. Continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes.
When the kneading is done, the cottage cheese curds should have almost all been incorporated into the dough, with no large curds visible.
Remove the finished dough from the mixer bowl and place it in a lightly greased bowl.
Let rise until doubled, about 60-90 minutes. It's best if the bowl is put in a warm place, for example, inside a microwave oven with a bowl of hot water set next to the bowl.
Punch down the dough then remove from the 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 SHORT end, shape 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.
Note: For wider, dome-shaped rolls like the ones in the photos, cut log 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, divide into 12 rolls and use a 9" x 12" rectangular pan or a quarter sheet pan, and space them half-inch apart so that they're almost touching.
Place the individual rolls on a parchment-lined baking pan, swirl side up, and about ¾ inches apart
Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes until golden brown
Sprinkle powdered sugar over the rolls. Serve warm
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
I made this cinnamon roll recipe as basic as possible so that people can customize it to fit their own tastes. Here are some awesome ways you can make this bread your own 🙂
- Add more flavor! Add a pinch of ground cloves and nutmeg along with the cinnamon powder when you make the filling. Also, you can add 1 tsp of vanilla extract to the glaze ingredients to enhance the sweet flavor.
- Add more texture! Adding chopped nuts, seeds, or dried fruits or oats is a fantastic way to increase the nutrition and flavor of breads. If you're feeling indulgent, you can also add chocolate chips.
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
How to Make these Low Fat Cottage Cheese Cinnamon Rolls Healthier
- Make these 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.
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 they will yield softer rolls with less chew/ bite.
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 Low Fat Cottage Cheese 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.
The Best Ever Cottage Cheese Cinnamon Rolls Recipe (So Fluffy!)
Powdered Sugar Topping
- ½ cup powdered sugar of choice
- Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
- Add the cottage cheese and water
- Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2), and add water. Note: More water or flour may be needed depending on the protein content of the flour, the water content in the cottage cheese, 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.
- Continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a slightly sticky, but still a stretchy-supple dough.
- 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 filling ingredients. Set aside.
- When 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, shape 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. Note: For wider, dome-shaped rolls like the ones in the photos, cut log 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, divide into 12 rolls and use a 9" x 12" rectangular pan or a quarter sheet pan, and space them half-inch apart so that they're almost touching.
- Line the baking pan with parchment paper.
- Place the individual rolls on a parchment-lined baking pan, swirl side up, and about ¾ inches apart
- 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
- Sift powdered sugar on top once the rolls have cooled to room temperature.
- Note: You can store these rolls, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer storage, you can place them in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container and freeze up to 3 months, then defrost them at room temperature or microwave before eating.