Gluten-Free Sunflower Sticky Bun Recipe

Prep time: 1 hr 0 min
Cook time: 20 mins
Calories: 336

Makes 24 gluten-free buns.

Toasted sunflower seeds deliver nutty flavor and crunch without nuts in these easy-to-make buns. They’re best enjoyed hot from the oven or the same day you bake them. The next day, warm them 20 seconds in the microwave to restore their moisture. This recipe can be made with egg replacement; see instructions.

gluten free sticky bun recipe

Diane Kittle



4½ cups Light Flour Blend (below)
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1/3 cup dry milk powder of choice
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
½ cup butter, dairy-free margarine or organic non-hydrogenated shortening
2 tablespoons gluten-free instant potato flakes
2 cups warm water or milk of choice (105°F-115°F)

Sticky Topping

1 cup butter or dairy-free alternative
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
1½ cups toasted sunflower seeds*


1. Very lightly grease 2 muffin tins or a 24-count roll pan.

2. In a medium bowl, place flour blend, xanthan gum, dry milk powder, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, yeast and cinnamon. Whisk well to blend.

3. In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place eggs, vinegar, butter and instant potato flakes. Mix on medium speed to combine, about 1 minute.

4. Add flour mixture and warm water or milk to egg mixture and mix on low speed until blended, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with a rubber spatula. Mix on high speed 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of the bowl again. Dough will be similar to a thick cake batter.

5. To make Sticky Topping, place butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small saucepan. Heat on medium heat to melt ingredients, stirring to blend. Remove from heat.

6. Place 1 tablespoon Sticky Topping and 1 tablespoon toasted sunflower seeds in the bottom of each roll or muffin tin.

7. With a medium (¼ cup) ice cream scoop, scoop dough into prepared muffin tins.

8. Place dough in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes. Rolls will nearly double in size and will continue rising while baking.

9. Preheat oven to 400°F.

10. Place rolls in preheated oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until rolls reach an internal temperature of 205°F to 210°F when tested with an instant thermometer.

11. Remove rolls from oven and let cool 5 to 10 minutes in the pan. Place a cookie sheet on top of the muffin tin and invert to release the rolls. If any Sticky Topping stays in the pan, spoon it over the rolls.

Each bun contains 336 calories, 18g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 68mg cholesterol, 154mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 15g sugars, 4g protein, 25Est GL.

For Egg-Free Sunflower Sticky Buns, omit 4 eggs. Combine ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce with 4 teaspoons baking powder. Add mixture to wet ingredients in step 3 to replace 4 eggs.

*TIP: To toast sunflower seeds, heat raw seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir every few minutes until seeds begin to brown and emit a nutty aroma.

TIP: To save time on a holiday morning, prepare this dough the night before. Cover filled muffin tins with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, place buns in a warm spot to rise: Pour boiling water into a pan placed on the lower rack of your oven to warm the oven. Place muffin tins on the upper rack and let dough rise 20 minutes. (Don’t forget to remove muffin tins and pan of water before preheating the oven! While oven preheats, let rolls continue to rise on the counter.)

Light Flour Blend

Makes 4¾ cups.

This blend is ideal for all-purpose baking. Use it to make Cranberry Orange Holiday Bread and Sunflower Sticky Buns.

1½ cups white or brown rice flour
1½ cups tapioca starch
1½ cups potato starch
4 tablespoons potato flour (not potato starch)

Place ingredients in a bowl and whisk well to blend.

Each cup contains 522 calories, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 55mg sodium, 125g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 0g sugars, 4g protein, 73Est GL.

Professional baker Diane Kittle owns Dee’s One Smart Cookie, a gluten-free, allergy-friendly bakery in Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Yields 24 buns
1 bun contains 336 calories, 18g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 68mg cholesterol, 154mg sodium, 42g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 15g sugars, 4g protein.