No, Pillsbury cinnamon rolls are not dairy-free. They contain milk ingredients like dry milk solids and whey. Those with milk allergies or on a vegan diet should avoid Pillsbury cinnamon rolls.
Ingredients in Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls
Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, including the classic Pillsbury Grands, contain several milk-derived ingredients:
- Dry milk solids – obtained by removing water from pasteurized skim milk
- Whey – the watery part of milk that separates from the curds during cheese production
- Butter – contains milk fat
These ingredients are highlighted in bold in the following list of ingredients for Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls:
Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, brown sugar, palm oil, yeast, soybean oil, salt, dry milk solids, sodium stearoyl lactylate, whey, calcium sulfate, egg, butter (cream, salt), cinnamon, mono- and diglycerides, natural and artificial flavors, modified cornstarch, potassium iodate, citric acid.
As you can see, dry milk solids, whey, and butter are all milk-derived ingredients. This makes Pillsbury cinnamon rolls unsuitable for those following a dairy-free or vegan diet.
Why Are Milk Ingredients Added?
Milk ingredients like dry milk solids and whey are added to Pillsbury cinnamon rolls for the following reasons:
- Improve texture – Milk proteins help give the dough a softer, lighter texture.
- Enhance flavor – Lactose in the milk adds a slightly sweet flavor.
- Promote browning – Milk proteins undergo Maillard reactions during baking for a golden brown crust.
- Act as emulsifiers – Milk proteins like sodium stearoyl lactylate help bind ingredients together.
- Improve nutrition – Milk adds calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Butter is added for its distinctive rich flavor and ability to keep the interior of the rolls tender.
So removing the milk ingredients would significantly impact the taste, texture, appearance, and nutritional value of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls.
Are There Any Dairy-Free Pillsbury Products?
While regular Pillsbury cinnamon rolls contain milk ingredients, Pillsbury does offer some dairy-free products:
- Pillsbury Crescents – The plain crescents are dairy-free, but flavors like garlic and herb contain milk.
- Pillsbury Pie Crusts – The regular and deep dish pie crusts are dairy-free.
- Pillsbury Biscuits – The classic buttermilk and southern-style biscuits are dairy-free.
Always carefully read the ingredients list to confirm a Pillsbury product is dairy-free before consuming. Some recipes vary regionally or have been reformulated over time.
Can You Make Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls Dairy-Free?
It is possible to modify the Pillsbury cinnamon roll recipe to be dairy-free, but it requires some substitutions:
- Use dairy-free milk like almond, soy or oat milk instead of cow’s milk.
- Replace butter with dairy-free margarine or coconut oil.
- Use dairy-free yogurt or sour cream instead of regular dairy yogurt or sour cream.
- Swap the dry milk solids for non-dairy milk powder or omit entirely.
- Replace the whey with water, aquafaba, or flax eggs.
Additionally, you would need to use dairy-free versions of any cream cheese or cream-based frostings.
The texture and flavor will be different without the milk ingredients. But you can still achieve decent results with some trial and error.
Popular Brands of Dairy-Free Cinnamon Rolls
Here are some recommended brands for purchasing pre-made dairy-free cinnamon rolls:
|Where to Buy
|Come frozen to bake at home
|Immaculate Baking Co.
|Fresh bakery brand, no dairy
|Katz Gluten Free
|Online, specialty stores
|Also gluten-free and egg-free
Be sure to always read the ingredients rather than relying on front labels like “dairy-free.” Some brands use milk derivatives like casein or whey.
Dairy-Free Cinnamon Roll Recipe
Here is a recipe for cinnamon rolls made without any dairy ingredients:
- 1 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk
- 1⁄4 cup aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas) or flax eggs
- 1⁄4 cup coconut oil or dairy-free margarine, melted
- 21⁄4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 cup dairy-free cream cheese, softened
- 1⁄4 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons dairy-free milk
- Heat the milk until lukewarm. Add the yeast and 1 tbsp sugar and let sit for 5 minutes until frothy.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center.
- Add the yeast mixture, aquafaba/flax eggs, coconut oil, and remaining sugar to the well. Mix to form a shaggy dough.
- On a floured surface, knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl and let rise 1 hour.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle. Spread with softened dairy-free cream cheese.
- Mix cinnamon and brown sugar and sprinkle evenly over the cream cheese.
- Tightly roll up the dough lengthwise. Cut into 12 rolls and place in a greased baking dish.
- Cover and let rise another 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes.
- Mix powdered sugar with dairy-free milk to make a glaze. Drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls before serving.
Be flexible with the dough consistency, adding more flour or milk as needed. Enjoy these dairy-free cinnamon rolls for breakfast or dessert!
Finding Dairy-Free Cinnamon Rolls When Dining Out
Ordering dairy-free cinnamon rolls at restaurants and bakeries takes some extra care:
- Ask about ingredients – Don’t rely on menu labels. Many places add milk without listing it.
- Check for cross-contamination – Even if dairy-free, rolls may touch dairy products during prep.
- Choose dedicated bakeries – Vegan and gluten-free bakeries take extra care with allergies.
- Customize if possible – Some coffee shops allow you to build your own roll.
- Look for coconut or almond milk – These are signs the bakery uses dairy substitutes.
With an attentive kitchen staff knowledgeable about ingredients, dining out dairy-free is possible.
Cinnamon Roll Alternatives Without Dairy
If you can’t find dairy-free cinnamon rolls, these substitutes may satisfy your craving:
- Snickerdoodle muffins – Swap cinnamon-sugar for cinnamon rolls at breakfast.
- Monkey bread – Pull-apart dough balls baked with cinnamon.
- Cinnamon raisin bread – Toast and add dairy-free cream cheese.
- Apple pie – Warm with dairy-free ice cream instead.
- Cinnamon oatmeal – Make oats creamy with dairy-free milk and butter.
There are lots of ways to get your cinnamon fix without the dairy. Bread pudding, coffee cake, and churro bowls also work well.
The Bottom Line
Pillsbury cinnamon rolls contain milk-derived ingredients like dry milk solids, whey, and butter. This makes them unsuitable for people with dairy allergies, intolerances, or following a vegan diet.
While Pillsbury does make some dairy-free products, their classic cinnamon rolls are off-limits for the dairy-free. You can attempt to modify the recipe or purchase pre-made dairy-free cinnamon rolls instead. Just be sure to carefully read labels since many brands unexpectedly contain hidden milk ingredients.
With some adjustments, it’s possible to enjoy the delicious taste and smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls, even without the dairy.