These mochi cinnamon rolls are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and very addictive! They are really easy to make and are the perfect treat to enjoy with a hot cuppa tea or coffee. They're also gluten-free, but you'd never know it! Enjoy one for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or dessert!
Ever feeling like having cinnamon rolls, but don't want to deal with yeast and rising time?
My mochi cinnamon rolls are here to the rescue! AND they're gluten-free!
They are not exactly like regular wheat cinnamon buns, but they are soooo good in their own right.
They're crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and loaded with that cinnamon sugar flavor we love, but it's also not over-the-top sweet either!
How To Make Mochi Cinnamon Rolls
What is glutinous rice flour?
So what makes these cinnamon rolls gluten-free? It's the use of glutinous rice flour, also known as sweet rice flour, or Mochiko flour (a popular Japanese brand). Despite the names, sweet or glutinous rice flour is neither sweet nor does it contain gluten. It is made from short-grain rice and "glutinous" describes the the sticky, chewy, "glue"-like texture the flour takes on when cooked.
Making the Dough
To make the dough, start by heating milk and butter over low-medium heat just until the butter is melted. You don't want the mixture to boil. Pour it into a mixing bowl containing the glutinous rice flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
Mix everything well with a spoon until the fine rice flour has been absorbed. The mixture will be dry, coarse, and pebble-like. Add in a beaten egg and mix again until a cohesive dough forms.
The dough will look shaggy in the bowl, but it will all come together nicely into a smoother dough after you transfer it to a lightly dusted parchment paper and shape it with your hands. (Alternatively, you can work the dough on a clean work surface/countertop or cutting board.)
What if I'm dairy-free? No problem! Substitute the butter in the recipe with oil, and substitute the milk with a non-dairy milk or water.
Making the Rolls
Dust your hands with glutinous rice flour and shape the dough into a rectangular block. Dust a rolling pin and roll out the dough to a rectangle, approximately 10" x 6" (25cm x 15cm).
Brush the surface of the dough with melted butter, reserving the remaining butter for greasing the muffin cups. Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough, making sure to go to the edges and to use the entire amount of cinnamon sugar. This is no time to skimp!
Starting from a short end (6"), roll the dough into a jelly roll. Your finished roll at the end should be about 6" long. Using a dusted sharp knife or thread, cut the roll into 6 equal pieces (about 1" inch each). Do not worry if they flatten a bit.
Brush 6 muffin cups with all the remaining melted butter (there will be a pool of butter at the bottom of each cup). Place a roll into each of the muffin cups, making sure that they touch the bottom.
Bake the rolls for 25 minutes and voila!
When they first come out of the oven, there will be butter bubbling up around them, but don't worry! That butter will get quickly absorbed back into the rolls and besides helping with non-sticking, the butter is what helps with browning, crispness, and flavor!
You will also notice that the middle of the rolls will sink slightly as they cool, and that the outer layers may separate a little bit from each other. That's all totally okay, too, so you don't have to worry that you might have done something wrong. It is a characteristic from using only glutinous flour in baking and the fact that this is in layers...but it's all good!
How To Serve
The cinnamon rolls are totally yummy as they are when they come out of the oven, but an extra drizzle of sweetness definitely takes these rolls up a notch!
While I'm not a fan of cream cheese icing on traditional cinnamon rolls, I don't mind a very simple icing sugar glaze which so crazy easy to make. All you do to make it is whisk together icing sugar with a very small amount of milk or water or lemon juice until you have a thick drizzle consistency!
One bite and you will be in mochi cinnamon roll heaven. And again...all gluten-free!
Enjoy the mochi cinnamon rolls or any of these treats with a hot cup of coffee or tea, or for a change, try making my Soothing Ginger Honey Tea, English Tea Latte, Coffee Milk Tea, or Ginger Milk Tea Latte.
They are best eaten soon after baking, but if they last until the following day, warm them in the toaster oven or microwave. They won't be as crisp as when they're first baked, but they will still be soft and delicious!
These have become a huge hit in my house, especially with my teenage son who isn't even gluten-free! He loves having one for breakfast or for an afternoon snack...or even for dessert! And after having baked several batches for testing and photographs, he still hasn't tired of them. What better endorsement is that? 🙂
Mochi Cinnamon Rolls
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
Basic Icing Sugar Glaze (optional):
- ¼ cup icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon milk or water
- Preheat oven 375F/190C.
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Set aside.
Making the dough:
- In a small pot or saucepan, combine the milk and butter and heat over low-medium heat. Once butter has just melted, remove from heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the glutinous rice flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the hot milk-butter mixture to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix until the fine glutinous rice flour has been incorporated. Texture will be coarse and pebble-like.
- Add the beaten egg to the bowl and mix well until mixture comes together into a dough.
Making the rolls:
- Lay a sheet of parchment paper on your countertop and lightly dust it with glutinous rice flour. (See Recipe Notes below.)
- Transfer the mochi dough to the floured parchment and use your hands to press the dough into a cohesive mass. Shape the dough into a brick-like block.
- Dust a rolling pin with glutinous rice flour and roll the dough out into a rectangle, roughly 10" x 6".
- Brush the dough with the melted butter on the dough (you will not use most of the melted butter).
- Divide the remaining melted butter among 6 muffin cups of your muffin tin, brushing the melted butter up the sides of each cup.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the buttered surface of the dough, making sure to go to the edges and to use the entire sugar cinnamon mixture.
- From the short side of the dough, start to roll the dough. You will end up with a fat roll at the end that is about 6" in length.
- Using knife dusted with glutinous rice flour, or a thread, cut the dough into 6 even pieces.
- Transfer each roll to a greased muffin cup, gently pressing down to make sure it is touching the bottom.
- Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown around the edges and surface is crackled.
- Remove pan from oven and let the rolls sit for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Basic Icing Sugar Glaze (optional):
- In a bowl, whisk together the icing sugar and milk (or water) so no lumps appear. Adjust the amount of icing sugar or milk until you get a syrupy consistency similar to maple syrup.
- Drizzle glaze over mochi cinnamon rolls.
- Mochi cinnamon rolls are best eaten the same day.
- Glutinous rice flour = sweet rice flour = Mochiko rice flour.
- Do not use regular rice flour for this recipe because it does not have the chewy, sticky quality for mochi.
- Unit Conversions:
- ½ cup milk/water = 125mL = 125 grams
- ¼ cup butter = 56 grams
- 1 tablespoon butter = 14 grams
- For a dairy-free version, substitute the milk with water or a non-dairy milk, and substitute the butter with oil.
- Instead of using a sheet of parchment paper for rolling out your dough, you can also use a clean counter worksurface or cutting board.
- The rolls will sink slightly in the middle after coming out of the oven, but this is totally okay!
- Present the rolls right side up or upside down on your plate!
- Best eaten soon after baking, but they can be warmed in the microwave or toaster oven briefly if necessary.
- If warming in the microwave, heat for 10-20 seconds. The rolls will lose their crispness, but will soften nicely and still be delicious!
- If using the icing sugar glaze, drizzle it on the rolls before serving.