Let’s get into these red velvet cinnamon rolls, y’all. No special holiday or occasion needed to devour these extra tender, festive, and delicious rolls. You’ll love that these cinnamon rolls are scratch-made with not a boxed cake mix in sight. A creamy, tangy, and sultry vanilla bean cream cheese icing is the sweet finale here!

red velvet cinnamon rolls with icing in black baking dish

Ahhh yet another cinnamon roll recipe coming at ya, peeps! If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you already know just how much I love me some cinnie rolls. I’ve been wanting to develop a new recipe and am so delighted with how these red velvet cinnamon rolls turned out. Extra reminiscent of a Southerners favorite, traditional red velvet cake! Real talk, you’re gonna love everything about these festive and unique cinnamon rolls, let’s dive right on in!

Best-Ever Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls ♥️

Have you ever had a slice of red velvet cake before? It typically has a rich, deep chocolatey note that is sweet but not too sweet. With red food coloring, it completes this signature dessert by lending a hand in giving baked goods a vibrant red color. You can “red velvet” cakes to cookies to cinnamon rolls, delish.

These red velvet cinnamon rolls are soft and tender, have so much flavor, and are a super fun treat to make for any occasion! They’ll be the cutest bake to whip up for Valentine’s Day or any romantic/love-centered celebration, too!

BBR must-make rolls: lemon sweet rolls, classic cinnamon rolls, extra fun peach cobbler cinnamon rolls, def these sticky buns, berry good strawberry rolls, savory garlic butter parmesan rolls, & my fave sweet potato cinnies.

black hand spreading frosting over red velvet cinnamon rolls

What You’ll Need For This Recipe

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • dough: yeast, sugar, milk, butter, eggs, flour, cocoa powder, nonfat milk powder, salt, and red food coloring- to your desired preference in color.
  • filling: butter, dark brown sugar, and salt.
  • icing: butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean paste.

*Listen, these red velvet cinnamon rolls may look intimidating, but I promise you that they are sooo easy to make. No worries at all, friends!

Let’s Talk About Yeast For These Rolls

⇢ There are two types of yeast: active dry and instant/rapid-rise yeast.

ACTIVE DRY YEAST: When using this type of yeast, it needs to be dissolved in warm liquid to bloom aka activate. This is the process in which you’ll see the mixture get bubbly/foamy and give off a fragrant smell prior to adding in the rest of the ingredients for the dough. This one is BBR preferred- I use it often. It’s said to have a richer, artisanal yeast flavor, too.

INSTANT YEAST: This one is also known as rapid/quick rise yeast. It’s a yeast that does not need to be “activated.” Thus, it can be added along with the dough ingredients with no need to wait for the activation process. It cuts down on the rise time and it’s perfect for those who like quicker rolls/breads.

The good news ⇢ Use either one of them for this recipe! 👍🏾

How To Make Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. STEP ONE. Let’s make dat dough. Use a stand mixer to bring the dough to life. Then place it into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap/kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm environment until it doubles in size.
  2. STEP TWO. Roll it out and fill. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a rectangle. Slather on the softened butter and sprinkle on the brown sugar/cinnamon. Roll up the dough into a nice & tight log.
  3. STEP THREE. You need to cut it. Use a sharp knife or unscented dental floss to cut the log crosswise into 12 total pieces >> I like to trim off a bit of the ends as they sometimes are not as full as the other sections.
  4. STEP FOUR. Put the cut rolls into a baking pan and place it in a warm environment for the rolls to get nice and puffy once more before baking.
  5. STEP FIVE. Bake, bake! Ahh sookie sookie, we’ve reached the climax, peeps. Place the dish into the oven to bake them off, woot woot.
  6. STEP SIX. While the rolls bake, prep the icing. Beat all the icing ingredients together until super smooth. Then ice the rolls and enjoy!

Milk Powder…Say Whaaat?

I know some of you are wondering about this one. So, I first learned of milk powder being added to recipes, specifically desserts, via Christina Tosi. As the chef and owner of Milk Bar, a very popular bakery that serves up some unique treats, Christina has tooted the proverbial milk powder horn. It’s described to give recipes an added richness, creamier consistency, and a umami flavor.

What is milk powder? It’s the process of evaporating liquid milk until it dries, a way to preserve milk for a longer shelf life. Milk powder adds tenderness and a nice depth of flavor to ice cream, cookies, cakes, brownies, and so much more.

For these red velvet cinnamon rolls, it elevates the taste, texture, and compliments the brown sugar by giving an extra razzle dazzle in every bite.

red velvet cinnamon roll on small white plate

Tips + Tricks For Recipe Success

⇢ Here are some additional notes for the perfect red velvet cinnamon rolls 🤩

  • Room temperature ingredients: The eggs, butter, and cream cheese need to be room temperature. For the egg, this helps the dough to blend seamlessly. An egg that is cold straight from the fridge may cause coagulation. >> I like to set these out on the counter about an hour ahead of time and, in a pinch, submerge a cold egg in warm water for a bit to speed things up. And the butter/cream cheese is softened so that they spread/blend well.
  • Use fresh yeast! Our cult fave, Ina Garten, says it: fresh is best!
  • Working with yeast: When making the dough, make sure that your milk is warmed to the appropriate temperature, noted below. If your milk is too hot, it can kill the yeast and your dough will be no good.
  • Follow rise times: For proper yeast effectiveness, allow the dough to rise until it doubles in size (first rise) and the cut rolls are puffy (second rise) before baking. This will make sure that the yeast organism in the dough is alive.
  • Use a lightly floured work surface: Make sure that your work area is *lightly* floured along with your rolling pin to prevent any sticking.
  • Cutting rolls: As illustrated in the earlier image, I use unscented dental floss for getting clean, perfectly cut rolls. Use a sharp knife, if needed.
  • Refrigeration time: Do not refrigerate the unbaked rolls for longer than 10 hours. Too long and the rolls run the risk of drying out.

Highlights For Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Soft & fluffy. I love how tender these cinnamon rolls are! The milk, eggs, and milk powder ensure an extra soft texture here.
  2. Anytime enjoyment. Look, there are no rules or side-eye judgment. Do ya thang and bake up these rolls for breakfast, brunch, after dinner, a late-night munchie’s situation, or a specially made treat for #bae/your peeps.
  3. What a showstopper 😍. You’ll be the center of attention when you drop these red velvet cinnamon rolls on the table for your next get together, ha!
  4. So delicious! I love the hint of chocolate strewn about in these rolls, as well as the subtly rich taste. Plus, that icing tho…sheesh.
vanilla bean cream cheese frosting in small glass bowl with icing spatula

The Dreamiest Cream Cheese Icing 😛

While I could go on and on about these red velvet cinnamon rolls, let’s discuss the vanilla bean cream cheese icing! If anything at all that pairs splendidly with red velvet bakes it is cream cheese frosting/icing. It’s creamy, tangy, and loaded with vanilla bean paste (those lil flecks, swoon!). I adore the robustly flavorful yet subtle taste of this icing, it’s a perfect blend of sharp-flavored and sweet.

Make Ahead Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls

Friends, I highly suggest making these rolls ahead of time. Matter of fact, I rarely make cinnamon rolls all in one day lol. It makes the process super easier and allows for less steps to be done in a single day. On day one >> you’ll make the dough, let it rise (if using active dry yeast), and then fill/cut the rolls.

Afterwards, place them into a baking dish, cover, and let rest in the fridge overnight. On the second day, take them out, let them come to room temperature and then bake away. You can even make the icing in advance, too! Keep it stored in the fridge up to one day ahead, just be sure to let it sit at room temperature before using. It makes the whole experience less daunting.

red velvet cinnamon rolls with icing in black baking dish

Gahhh, these Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls are a household favorite! I know y’all are gonna dig them just the same! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe remakes, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

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red velvet cinnamon rolls with icing in black baking dish

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 2 hrs
  • Cook Time: 30m
  • Total Time: 2 hrs 30m
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Southern

Description

Let’s get into these red velvet cinnamon rolls, y’all. No special holiday or occasion needed to devour these extra tender, festive, and delicious rolls. You’ll love that these cinnamon rolls are scratch-made with not a boxed cake mix in sight. A creamy, tangy, and sultry vanilla bean cream cheese icing is the sweet finale here!


Ingredients

Scale

For the dough:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 23 teaspoons red food coloring

For the filling:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the vanilla bean cream cheese icing:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 ounces block-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Instructions

  1. For the dough: Make sure the milk is warmed up to around 110°F. I like to do this by placing my milk in a microwave safe vessel and microwaving it for 45-50 seconds (it should be warm as if you are giving it to a baby and not scalding). In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the yeast, sugar, and warmed milk. Let sit for 7-10 minutes for the yeast to activate- the mixture will be bubbly and fragrant.
  2. Next, add in the melted butter, eggs, flour, cocoa/milk powder, salt, and 2 teaspoons red food coloring. Secure dough hook attachment to mixer and knead on medium speed until the dough begins to come together, about 6-8 minutes. Look for the dough to be smooth and elastic. As you knead the dough, use the additional teaspoon of red food coloring to achieve a deeper color, if desired. Alternatively, if you are not using a stand mixer- you can knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly greased large bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and a clean towel/linen- let the dough rise in a warm environment until it doubles in size, about 1 1/2 hours or longer depending on the temperature of your environment.
  4. Once the dough has risen, punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface work area. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 15×10 inches, now let’s prepare the filling.
  5. For the filling: Spread the softened butter over the dough, leaving a slight margin around the edges. I like to use my hands (fitted with disposable gloves, if desired) to do this. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the butter and use your hands to rub it in, leaving a slight margin around the edges. Lastly, evenly sprinkle the cinnamon/salt over the top and use your hand to gently pat it into the mixture.
  6. Rolling the dough: Roll up the dough into a tight log starting from the longest side with the seam side down. Pinch the seam to seal in the edges as much as you can. I like to cut off a bit of the ends of the dough because they are not as full in size as the other sections.
  7. Cutting the dough: Use a large sharp knife/unscented dental floss to cut the log crosswise into 12 pieces. Pro-tip: for precise, neat cuts >> score/measure the cut markings on the dough beforehand.
  8. Resting the rolls: Line a 13×9 inch baking dish with a piece of parchment paper (this helps just in case any of the filling leaks out). Add the rolls into the baking dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Transfer the dish into the refrigerator to rest overnight, 8-10 hours. >>> Alternatively, to make rolls on the same day, allow the rolls to rise again in a warm environment for another 1-2 hours until puffy. Then bake the cinnamon rolls as directed in the step below.
  9. Baking the rolls: Remove the rolls from the fridge and let the rolls sit out to come back up to room temperature until puffy, about 1-2 hours. Towards the end of their rise time, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the rolls until lightly golden brown, about 30 minutes. While the rolls bake, prepare the icing.
  10. For the icing: Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or electric hand mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar and continue beating. Then add in the vanilla bean paste and continue mixing until everything is fully combined and smooth.
  11. Once the rolls are done baking, let the rolls cool for 5 minutes.
  12. Then use an offset spatula to ice the rolls. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.
  2. Use 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract as a substitute for vanilla bean paste.

Keywords: red velvet, red velvet cinnamon rolls, cinnamon rolls, red velvet desserts