Camping Recipe: Kelly’s Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls


May 3, 2011

Emerging from my sleeping bag on a chilly morning I can think of no better breakfast than a piping hot concoction of butter, four, and sugar.

There’s just one problem: I don’t like gluten and it doesn’t like me back. Gluten intolerance can be tricky, especially in the backcountry.

What’s more, my cook group cringes at the very mention of garbanzo bean flour or xanthan gum. The solution? A delicious decoy I like to call “gluten free cinnamon rolls,” in which I avoid the gluten gauntlet yet treat my backcountry buddies to a meal that’s genuinely delicious.




Kelly’s Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls in a fry-bake
Photo by Charlotte Klein.

Ingredients (makes 16 rolls):


  • 3/4 cup milk or 3/4 cup water + 2 Tbsp powdered milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 4 1/2 tsp (2 packets) yeast
  • 3 eggs (or 2 Tbsp powdered egg)
  • 5 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum


  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cinnamon


  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk or 2 Tbsp water + 1 tsp powdered milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Heat milk until bubbles form at edges of pot; remove from heat; stir in sugar, butter, salt; set aside.
  2. In a separate container, combine warm water and yeast; let stand until the mixture bubbles actively.
  3. Combine yeast mixture, lukewarm milk mixture and eggs; add flour and xanthan gum; mix well and form dough into a ball, adding more flour if needed to make it only a little tacky.
  4. Shape dough to form a flat rectangle.
  5. Brush dough with melted butter; sprinkle on brown sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Starting long side, roll dough into tube; slice into 16 sections (dental floss works great for this).
  7. Place rolls in greased skillet, cover with lid and set in warm, draft-free location to rise for at least 1 hour.
  8. Bake rolls using a baking hood or twiggy fire (or bake at 350 degrees in a frontcountry oven) for 25–30 minutes.
  9. For glaze: Mix together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla; drizzle over rolls.

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Find more recipes in the NOLS Cookery

[Editor's note: Post updated 8/17/2018]

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