Sweet Potato and Pecan Cinnamon Buns with Maple Glaze Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Sweet Potato and Pecan Cinnamon Buns with Maple Glaze

This recipe makes 12 medium cinnamon buns. If you prefer jumbo bakery-style buns, slice the dough into nine pieces and bake in a 9-inch square pan.


Ingredient Set Name: 

Sweet Potato Dough


Ingredient Line: 
1 0.25-oz. pkg. active dry yeast
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3 ⅓ cups bread flour, plus more for rolling dough
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2 Tbs. sugar
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1 ½ tsp. salt
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⅔ cup mashed cooked sweet potato
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3 Tbs. vegetable oil, plus more for oiling bowl

Ingredient Set Name: 

Cinnamon-Pecan Filling


Ingredient Line: 
⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
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1 ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
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2 Tbs. very soft vegan margarine, plus more for greasing pan
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¾ cup chopped toasted pecans, divided

Ingredient Set Name: 

Maple Glaze


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3 Tbs. vegan cream cheese
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½ tsp. natural maple flavor
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1 pinch salt
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1 cup confectioners' sugar


1. To make Sweet Potato Dough: Stir yeast into 1/3 cup warm (105°–115°F) water until dissolved. Let stand 10 minutes.

2. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor, stand mixer, or regular bowl. (Reserve 1/3 cup flour if kneading by hand.)

3. Stir sweet potato and oil into 1/3 cup warm water. Stir yeast mixture and sweet potato mixture into flour mixture. 
(If using food processor, add liquids through feeding tube with processor running. If using stand mixer with dough hook, add liquids in steady stream with mixer on low speed.) Follow kneading instructions below.

4. Place dough in oiled bowl; cover. Let rise 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.

5. To make Cinnamon-Pecan Filling: Stir together brown sugar and cinnamon in bowl. Grease 13- x 9-inch baking sheet with margarine.

6. Roll dough into 14- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread with margarine. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over dough; top with half of chopped pecans. Starting at long edge, roll up dough. Slice 1 inch off each end; discard. Cut roll crosswise into 12 1-inch-thick 
pieces, and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover, and let rise in warm place 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

7. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake buns 
18 to 20 minutes, or until golden.

8. To make Maple Glaze: Combine cream cheese, maple flavor, and salt in small bowl. Stir in confectioners’ sugar. Spread glaze over warm buns; top with remaining pecans.

3 ways to knead

By Hand Best for cooks who want to “feel” when dough is ready and desire more control.

1. Combine all but 1/3 cup of flour (reserve this for kneading) with dry ingredients in bowl. Stir in yeast and liquids until a shaggy dough forms. Turn dough onto work surface dusted with reserved flour. Gather the edges of dough into center to make a tight ball, and press with heel of hand several times to remove air from dough. Let dough rest 4 to 5 minutes so it will be less sticky when you knead.
2. Flatten dough ball by pushing down and away from you with the heel of your hand (dough will be an oval-shaped blob). Pull and fold far edge back over dough. Turn dough a quarter turn. Repeat. Kneading can take 2 to 10 minutes. Fully kneaded dough will be smooth and won’t stick to your hands.

Stand Mixer (with hook attachment) Best for traditionalists who don’t like to get their hands sticky. This method comes closest to hand kneading without the effort.
Place dry ingredients in mixer bowl, and fit mixer with dough hook. Mix on low speed 1 minute to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add yeast and liquids by pouring them down the inside of the bowl. Increase speed to medium-low, and mix 2 minutes. Let dough rest 5 minutes. Mix at medium-low speed 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Increase speed to medium, and mix 2 minutes. Kneading is done when dough makes a slapping sound as it hits the side of the bowl. Dough temperature should be close to 90°F.

Food Processor (with regular or dough blade) Best for bakers in a hurry. The blade kneads dough in under 90 seconds.
Pulse dry ingredients in food processor fitted with dough blade to combine. With processor running, add yeast and liquids through feed tube. Stop once liquids have been added. Pulse on and off 8 to 10 times until dough comes together in a ball and no dry ingredients remain. Dough temperature will be about 90°F.

Nutrition Information: 

6 g
Total Fat: 
11 g
Saturated Fat: 
2 g
52 g
0 mg
342 mg
2 g
19 g
Makes 12 buns

Comments on this Recipe

I am so excited about this recipe, but need something cleared up in the directions. If using the electric mixer, when adding the dry ingredients with the wet, are you still adding the yeast to 1/3 cup warm water? In the directions, it says add yeast and liquids (I'm assuming that's the sweet potato, oil, and 1/3 C water), not add yeast mixture and liquids. Anyway, I ended up dissolving the yeast in the water and added both to the dry. When mixing, the dough never came together like it should. It stayed a little too moist, but I made them anyway. They ended up not rising very much (which I expected but wasn't going to throw them away) and were obviously dense. We ate them anyway, and they were yummy. I would like to make them again, but the right way. Please help! Thanks!

To Brenda: Yes, you must add the dry active yeast to warm water to "proof" the yeast. (Note: there are other types of yeast that are added directly to the dry ingredients, but this type must be mixed with warm water.) You have two "wet" mixtures - the yeast/water and the sweet potato/oil/water mixture. My hunch is that the yeast/water mixture may not have been at the correct temperature making the yeast less active. When you describe the rolls not rising much, it usually means that the yeast mixture wasn't active enough. Don't give up. Home baking is worth the effort to master the yeast proofing step. (Warm water means dropping a few drops on the inside of the wrist that feel warm, not hot, not cold.)

We loved this recipe. I made the dough in my bread machine and it worked out fine! Great way to use leftover sweet potatoes!

Best cinnamon bun recipe ever! Easy to make in the stand mixer.

These rolls are easy to make and mouthwatering to eat. I've already made them twice for family and friends. Would like to know the best way to prepare for freezing. Do I complete entire process (except baking) then freeze? Or should I freeze right after assembling the rolls but before the second rising? Thanks for any help!

A trick to cutting cinnamon rolls: Instead of using a knife to cut the rolls (it smashes them a bit) take a piece of dental floss and place it below the roll where you want to cut it. Then bring the two ends together at the top of the roll, cross them and pull tight. The rolls will be cut quickly and neatly. My family loved these rolls. They were easy to make and looked beautiful too.

Holy cow...these are AWESOME!!!! We used the stand mixer method and sliced the dough with a bread knife and it worked out perfectly.

These were amazing! Very light, fluffy, and rich. I actually froze them after baking and glazing. When ready to eat, I just let them sit at room temp to thaw and then popped them in the toaster oven for a few minutes to warm through. Not sure if this is the best way to do it, but they're still very good.

These were SO GOOD! I made them for Thanksgiving morning to replace the Pillsbury rolls that were our tradition after deciding to take a stand against transfat. I made the rolls the night before and put them in the fridge over night for the second rising. In the morning, I preheated the oven and baked them like normal and we had fresh, delicious rolls in twenty minutes. This recipe is a keeper and I plan to make them on Christmas morning.

These rolls were so delicious and moist. I've made them twice in 3 days. I love the glaze as well!

To Brenda: Yes, you must add the dry active yeast to warm water to "proof" the yeast. (Note: there are other types of yeast that are added directly to the dry ingredients, but this type must be mixed with warm water.) You have two "wet" mixtures - the yeast/water and the sweet potato/oil/water mixture. My hunch is that the yeast/water mixture may not have been at the correct temperature making the yeast less active. When you describe the rolls not rising much, it usually means that the yeast mixture wasn't active enough. Don't give up. Home baking is worth the effort to master the yeast proofing step.

Thank you so much Carole. These were so delicious even with my screw up. I'll try them again sometime this week.

Melaina here from Rudi's Organic Bakery! These cinnamon buns looks scrumptious! I can't think of a better treat for the weekend!

Re: Sweet Potato and pecan cinnamon buns. Has anyone made these and if so, could you decipher the ingredients for me? I have no idea the amounts they are requesting you to use.. I am in the USA and that might be the reason. I would love to try them, but have no clue how much flour or mashed potatoes to use, or brown sugar in the glaze.. Thanks for your help.. Carol

Carol - Are you having trouble reading the fractions? It's 3 & 1/3 cups flour, 2/3 cup sweet potato, 1/3 cup brown sugar in the filling (no brown sugar in the glaze).

I make these buns as often as possible. Everyone loves them, even people who are anti healthy food. Thanks for the recipe!

I have made these over and over again but instead of sweet potato, I use pure canned pumpkin. I bought a bunch around October and needed a way to use it up. These are wonderful. I always recommend a slight microwave on day #2 because they can get hard, but hot out of the oven they are wonderful!

when I made these I tried substituting butter for margarine and added 2 eggs - delicious!

Tried these but I'm a little bit confused 1/3 cup of Water for yeast and again 1/3 c of water for sweet potato mix? I think I messed up. Sigh... Still got time for The dough to grow...

not good for diabetecs i would prefer no fat - oils - sugars date sugar or natural sugar would be preferred. Way too much salt used in this receipe

These sound amazing! This might be a goofy question, but when you say natural maple flavor, is that just maple syrup? Thanks!

*****These are great. I've made them twice. LIght and delish. I did use vanilla for the icing vs. maple flavoring and also added fresh orange zest,a little water for it to drip so I could pour it over in spoon swirls. The other trick I came up with for the second batch is to place the rolls in cupcake papers to rise and bake on a cookie sheet. This way the gooey frosting and individual servings are much easier to share with friends, family, co-workers. Also agree with Laurie's comment, these are best right out of the oven so the individual cupcake serving can be slipped into sandwich baggies and it keeps them moist for day two, if there are any left.

Has anyone attempted a gluten free version of these? They look terrific and I'll experiment regardless but thought I'd check in case anyone had a flour brand or blend that worked especially well for this - thanks.

I want to make these rolls, but wonder how I would proof. Can someone help?

These are so good, I requested them as my birthday "cake" last year!!! LOVE them! I make the rolls the night before, refrigerate, rise a bit the next morning and bake. Delish!

these look so wonderful! \o/ please note that most commercial vegetable oils are likely made with GMO ingredients... i think i will try using coconut oil when i make them. =)

I switched the Sweet Potato with Pumpkin and WOW!! They were amazing!!

can't wait to try these rolls they sound wonderful

These turned out splendidly now twice for a morning after Thanksgiving breakfast. Using sweet potato makes making the dough so simple to make. It seems dry at first, but comes together perfectly as the sweet potato mixture is worked in. No one would believe these are vegan by tasting them!