Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls

I love making homemade cinnamon rolls, whether it’s just to have in my house for a special breakfast treat, or to bring for a brunch gathering with my friends. They can seem intimidating but I swear making homemade cinnamon rolls are extremely easy and taste 10X better than store bought (sorry Pillsbury).

I decided to take a creative spin on my normal cinnamon roll recipe and make them red velvet because who doesn’t love red velvet!? And no, I don’t just add red food coloring haha cocoa powder is the signature ingredient in this recipe.

Let’s get started...


For the dough:

-1 cup whole milk 1/2 cup 

-(1 stick) unsalted butter 

-1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar divided 

-2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast 

-4 cups all-purpose flour + more for rolling out dough 

-3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 

-1 teaspoon kosher salt 

-2 large eggs, at room temperature 

-Red food coloring 

-Cooking spray

For the filling: 

-2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted 

-1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 

-1/4 cup sugar 

-1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the frosting:

-1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, at room temp 

-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp 

-2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

-2 Tablespoons buttermilk 

-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

-1 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar


To make the dough: 

Combine the milk and butter, microwave until the butter has melted and the mixture is warmed 45-60 seconds. 

Stir in 1 tablespoon sugar and the yeast, set the mixture aside for 5 minutes. 

In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. 

Add the yeast mixture and eggs to the stand mixer and beat for 2 minutes. Add red food coloring until the dough reaches your desired color then continue beating for 6 minutes until the dough is combined. (It will be tacky. If it's too tacky, or you're in a humid environment, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.) 

Grease a large bowl with cooking spray. Transfer the dough into the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. 

Store the dough in a warm, dark place until it doubles in size, about 2 hours. 

Grease a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Lightly flour your work surface then roll the dough into a rectangle that's 1/4-inch thick and measures about 12x18 inches.

For filling:

Brush the dough all over with the melted butter. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon. 

Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly atop the butter. 

Beginning at the long end, tightly roll the dough up into a log. Slice off the ends then slice the log into 12 rolls. 

Arrange the rolls in the greased baking dish then cover them with plastic wrap. Set the rolls aside in a warm, dark place until they double in size, about 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the rolls and bake them for 18 to 22 minutes or until they are no longer doughy. Set the rolls aside to cool.

Make the frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter. 

Add the vanilla extract, buttermilk, salt and confectioners' sugar and beat until combined. Do NOT chill the frosting. Keep it at room temperature until the cinnamon rolls are baked.

Spread the frosting atop the cinnamon rolls and serve.

These cinnamon rolls are delicious and super easy to make! They can be prepared the day prior and left to rise in the refrigerator overnight. ENJOY!



*recipe adapted from Just A Taste