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red velvet cinnamon rolls with icing in black baking dish

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls

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


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!



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


  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!


  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