Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls to turn Breakfast Upside Down


There is nothing like waking up on a holiday or weekend morning to freshly baked cinnamon rolls. And these dairy-free caramel pecan cinnamon rolls are extra special. They’re filled with pecans, and optionally cranberries, and have a sweet, gooey, nutty topping that’s baked right on. Just flip, pull a tender roll apart, and watch the caramel ooze into every bite.

Dairy-Free Upside Down Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls Recipe (with Cranberry Option)

Dairy-Free Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls to turn Brunch Upside Down

This recipe is actually made just like regular cinnamon rolls, but before they are baked, the bottom of the pan is filled with a caramel-pecan sauce. When ready, the cinnamon rolls are turned upside down, so the caramel-pecan sauce becomes a gooey, baked-on topping. It creates a wonderful balance of soft, gooey, and crunchy textures.

The original recipe uses dried cranberries in the filling. I’m not a fan of the cranberries in this recipe, so I’ve moved them to an option.

Make Ahead Tips

Go Dairy Free - The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance and Casein-Free LivingThese cinnamon rolls will keep for a few days, so you don’t have to rise at 5am to make them. But if you want to enjoy a roll fresh from the oven in the morning hours, you can prepare this recipe the night be before.

Once the rolls are sliced and in the pans, place the covered pans in your refrigerator. Let them chill overnight. In the morning, right when you wake up, remove the pans from the refrigerator. Let them warm up to room temperature. Usually, they have fully risen overnight, but if they haven’t, give them a little extra rising time. Preheat your oven, and then bake as directed.

Dairy-Free Upside Down Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls Recipe (with Cranberry Option)This caramel pecan cinnamon rolls recipe is adapted from

Special Diet Notes: Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, and vegetarian.

For egg-free and vegan caramel pecan cinnamon rolls, see my egg substitute guide. We haven’t tested this recipe egg-free yet, but cinnamon rolls like these do turn out fairly well with egg substitutes.

2.0 from 1 reviews
Upside Down Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Please note that the Prep time is hands-on time only. Allow up to 2 hours for rising.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24 cinnamon rolls
Dairy-Free Cinnamon Roll Dough
  • 2 cups plain or unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup dairy-free buttery spread
  • ⅓ cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • 2 packages (4½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
Caramel Pecan Topping
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup dairy-free buttery spread
  • ½ cup unsweetened dairy-free milk beverage
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Pecan Filling
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup dairy-free buttery spread
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Dairy-Free Cinnamon Roll Dough
  1. Put the milk beverage, water, buttery spread, cornmeal, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool to 120°F to 130°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour and yeast. Add the cooled cornmeal mixture and beat with a mixer on low until smooth. Add the eggs and 1 cup flour, and mix for 1 minute. Stir in the remaining flour, as needed, to form soft dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm, dry place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Caramel Pecan Topping
  1. Put the brown sugar, buttery spread, and milk beverage in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  2. Pour the mixture into 2 greased 9x13-inch baking pans, evenly sprinkle with the pecans, and let cool.
Prepare the Filling, Assemble, and Bake
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Punch the dough down, and divide it in half.
  4. Roll one dough half into a rectangle. Evenly spread half of the buttery spread onto the dough. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture, cranberries, and pecans. Tightly roll the dough starting from one long side. Pinch the seam and turn the ends under. Cut the roll into 12 slices, and place them cut side down in one of the sticky baking pans. They should be evenly spaced with room to rise. Repeat this step with the remaining dough half.
  5. Cover the rolls and let rise in a warm, dry place until nearly doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for about 1 minute, and then carefully invert the cinnamon rolls onto a serving platter.
Cranberry-Pecan Option: For a festive touch, sprinkle 1 cup dried cranberries onto the dough with the pecans before rolling.

More Dairy-Free Cinnamon Roll Recipes

Vegan Double-the-Cinnamon Rolls

Dairy-Free Double the Cinnamon Rolls Recipe (also vegan, nut-free, and soy-free!) - easy, delicious, homemade pastries that everyone loves.

Cinnamon Honey Buns

Cinnamon Honey Buns

Birthday Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Vegan Birthday Cake Cinnamon Rolls Recipe - Dairy-Free and Egg-Free Kids Can Cook Treat for Mother's Day or any special day.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. I found that the caramel sauce addition to the batter before the first rise realllllly dried out the dough. I ended up adding 1/3 cup water to the dough to make it come together.

    I probably won’t make this recipe again; at least not the dough portion. It didn’t rise well. The caramel sauce with the pecans is worth keeping though.

    • Glad you liked the filling and topping Claire! I’m a little confused on your process – you added the caramel sauce to the dough? When making the dough, be sure to add the flour only as needed. Depending on your climate, ingredients, etc, the full amount might be too much and might make the dough dry. Just add 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough forms.

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