Add a festive spin to a breakfast favorite with this crowd-friendly recipe for pillowy Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting.

A white baking pan with red velvet cinnamon rolls and cream cheese frosting being slathered on top

Are you ready to take breakfast to a whole new level? Behold, the ultimate red velvet cinnamon rolls slathered with tangy cream cheese frosting!

These beauties may require a bit of time and patience, but the end result is more than worth it. Just check out those chocolatey-cinnamony swirls…

A close-up shot of red velvet cinnamon rolls

A true red velvet recipe (whether for brownies or cakes) doesn’t just add red food coloring and call it a day. It must have cocoa powder, and that works majorly in our favor in this 100% made-from-scratch cinnamon roll recipe.

A dough hook in a glass bowl of a stand mixer

There are a whole lot of red velvet cinnamon roll recipes out there that are made with cake mix, but my thought is, if you’re going to do it, let’s do it right! A yeasted dough made with cocoa powder is proofed then buttered, filled and cut into rolls.

A hand sprinkling cinnamon-sugar on dough

After a second proof, these bright red beauties are baked until they’re pillowy and soft. And before you get worried that this is going to be sugar overload, allow me to calm your fears with the reassurance that this isn’t your ordinary cloyingly sweet frosting.

A white baking dish filled with unbaked cinnamon rolls

This cream cheese frosting includes buttermilk for an added touch of tangy. The result is a silky-smooth frosting that’s the quintessential pairing for red velvet everything.

A clear stand mixer bowl filled with cream cheese frosting

Put it all together and we have a show-stopping breakfast or brunch item that looks just as great as it tastes.

Not a red velvet fan? Don’t miss my recipes for Apple Cinnamon Roll Bake and short-cut Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls!

A white baking dish with red velvet cinnamon rolls and a spatula slathering cream cheese frosting on top

And if you’re short on yeast or on time, check out the recipes below!

Easy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Without Yeast: Get the Recipe

A white baking dish with cinnamon rolls and a bowl of frosting

Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting: Get the Recipe

Top down view of Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Breakfast

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Add a festive spin to a breakfast favorite with this crowd-friendly recipe for pillowy Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting.
4.58 from 7 votes
A white baking pan with red velvet cinnamon rolls and cream cheese frosting being slathered on top
Prep Time 3 hrs
Cook Time 22 mins
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients 

For the dough:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1 (3/4-oz.) package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 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 ground 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, sifted

Instructions 

Make the dough:

  • In a small sauce pot set over low heat, combine the milk and butter and cook until the butter has melted and the mixture is warmed to just below 110°F.
  • Stir in 1 tablespoon sugar and the yeast then 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 ½ 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.

Make the 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.
  • Spread the frosting atop the cinnamon rolls and serve.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!

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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.


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Nutrition

Calories: 481kcal, Carbohydrates: 72g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 75mg, Sodium: 271mg, Potassium: 116mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 39g, Vitamin A: 604IU, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 2mg

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    It is really good and I will probably never go to the store and buy there’s I will probably always make these ones

  2. 5 stars
    Loved these rolls! They’re extra fluffy with just a subtle chocolate flavor. And the cream cheese frosting is my new favorite!

  3. Just a quick, maybe obvious, question.
    Do you knead these like a regular cinnamon roll recipe? It’s not written in the instructions, so I assume it’s after mixing before the first rise.

    1. Hi DeAnna! Using the dough hook attachment serves as the “kneading” so there’s no need to knead it beyond what the recipe states. Enjoy!

  4. Good afternoon,

    I am a little confused about your measurement for the active dry yeast. I says 1 (3/4-oz.) package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast, but each package is .25 oz. and they come in a set of 3 and each pack equals 2 1/4 tsps. My question is am I using 3/4 oz. of yeast (all 3 packs) or 2 1/2 tsps.?

  5. Hi do you think this recipe would taste good if I fill the dough with nutella chocolate instead of the cinnamon mix?
    Thanks

  6. Can you freeze these after baking, and then reheat in the oven Christmas morning? **frosting would be made morning ofme

    1. Hi Merrissa – I haven’t tried freezing these cinnamon rolls, but it *should* work! Let me know if you give it a shot!

  7. hey, i am planning on making these for christmas morning for my family. would the recipe work if i let it to rest overnight instead of two hours? i was planning on making it the night before. :)))))

    1. Absolutely, Allie! You can make them up to the point when you slice the rolls and arrange them in the baking pan. Rather than let them proof a second time, cover them securely with plastic wrap then refrigerate them. The next morning, remove them from the fridge and let them come to room temp before continuing with the recipe as directed :)

  8. 5 stars
    Hey, I was hoping you could help a color blind guy out!! I know this won’t be completely accurate, drop size probably differs, but can you give me a guess of how many drops of food coloring work for you when you make this?? I’ve always used a cake mix for these, but I’m really excited to try this recipe from scratch!!

    1. Hi John! I use a gel-based food coloring, which is usually about 3 drops because it’s very concentrated. Hope that helps!

    1. Hi there! I’ve tried making other recipes with instant yeast but the reaction is different and I’ve never really been able to nail down the ratios for substituting one for the other. So I’d recommend sticking with active dry yeast for this recipe, just because that’s what I tested the recipe with and that’s what I know works for certain :)

    1. I’m so sorry you had this experience. Oven temperatures (as well as baking dishes) can cause great variances in the bake time. Do you have an oven thermometer to ensure your oven is running at the correct temperature? And is the rack in the center of the oven?

  9. 5 stars
    So delicious! I usually make the cinnamon rolls without yeast because of the yeast shortage, but I was able to make these again since yeast has been back! Thank you very much for all of your delicious recipes!

  10. Hi there, I made these rolls over the weekend. They were good, but dense. I was hoping for more of a softer roll. I noticed you didn’t list baking powder, was that an oversight or it’s not needed for this recipe?

    1. Hi Tracy! The recipe is correct as written. :) Here’s a tip that might help in the future: Your dough should be tacky to the touch, but not sticky. If you don’t have enough flour the dough won’t have enough structure to rise and eventually result in dense rolls. Hope that helps!

    1. Yes! You can make them up to the point when you slice the rolls and arrange them in the baking pan. Rather than let them proof a second time, cover them securely with plastic wrap then refrigerate them. The next morning, remove them from the fridge and let them come to room temp before continuing with the recipe as directed :)

  11. Hello- I really want to try this recipe. Could you use Rapid Rise instead of Active Dry Yeast?

    1. Hi Celeste! I’ve tried making other recipes with instant yeast but the reaction is different and I’ve never really been able to nail down the ratios for substituting one for the other. So I’d recommend sticking with active dry yeast for this recipe, just because that’s what I tested the recipe with and that’s what I know works for certain :)

    1. Hi Ken – I’ve never tried making this recipe without a stand mixer, but I think you could do it by hand. It should work out without any issues (although the texture might be slightly different), you’ll just want to make sure the ingredients are well incorporated.

      1. 5 stars
        Hey kelly, just so you know that the recipe turned out a blast at my home. Its soft and everyone just loved it. My cinnamon rolls always dry out but this is just the best. I tried the dough with 1 cup of buttermilk instead of milk, and its too good that way too. And topped it with white chocolate ganache, and the combo tasted heavenly! Thankyou so much.