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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
Prep Time 3 hrs
Cook Time 22 mins
Servings 12 servings


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 1/4 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


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 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.

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.
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