Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls

Ooey, gooey, chocolatey goodness.

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Photo: Photographer: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Christine Kelly; Food Stylist: Ali Ramee
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
12 rolls

If the craving for red velvet cake has ever hit you around breakfast time, then this recipe is for you. We've taken a beloved Southern cake recipe and reimagined it in the form of fluffy cinnamon rolls. These cinnamon rolls would be a stunning addition to your Christmas breakfast spread or Valentine's Day dessert table, but we're not here to dictate when you should make them. This red velvet cinnamon rolls recipe checks all the boxes: chocolatey red velvet dough, tangy cream cheese icing, and a delicious cinnamon filling. The tang of the cream cheese icing is enhanced by the addition of buttermilk to the dough—our Southern spin on the recipe.

When it comes time to work with your dough, note that it will be a tad sticky but working quickly and handling the dough as little as possible should keep the right consistency. Try whipping the butter, cinnamon, and sugar altogether in a stand mixer to ensure everything is evenly incorporated before spreading it on the dough. Be sure to brush off excess flour after you roll the dough so the rolls aren't coated in flour when you pull them from the oven. You can achieve straight cuts on your rolls by using dental floss after the dough has been rolled. For an even more decadent breakfast treat, you could replace the cinnamon-sugar filling with a hazelnut spread. This recipe for red velvet cinnamon rolls is guaranteed to impress your friends and solidify your winning slot at the school bake sale.



  • 1 cup whole buttermilk, warmed to 100°F

  • 1 (¼ ounce) envelope active dry yeast

  • 7 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

  • 4 ¼ cups (about 18 ⅛ ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 teaspoons red food coloring gel

  • 2 large eggs

  • cooking spray


  • ½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) powdered sugar

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, plus more if needed

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Prepare the Dough: Combine buttermilk, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a medium bowl; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl, and set aside.

  3. Place butter and remaining ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the red food coloring, eggs, and yeast mixture; mix on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. With mixer running on low, add flour mixture in two additions, beating until flour is incorporated. Switch to a dough hook, and beat on medium speed until dough is cohesive and smooth, 6 to 8 minutes. (Dough will be somewhat sticky and will not pull away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.)

  4. Lightly coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, and turn to coat all sides. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  5. Prepare the Filling: Beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy and combined, about 1 minute. Set aside until ready to use.

  6. Lightly grease a 13- x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; gently punch dough down. Lightly sprinkle dough with flour. Roll into a 12- x 16-inch rectangle. Gently spread filling over dough. Starting at one long side, roll dough into a tight log, and use a serrated knife or dental floss to cut the log into 12 equal pieces (about 1 ½-inches thick). Arrange in prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  7. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake rolls in preheated oven until cooked through and golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes.

  8. Prepare the Icing: Beat powdered sugar, cream cheese, heavy cream, and vanilla in a medium bowl on low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Spread over warm rolls.

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