Red Velvet Cinnamon Roll on a plate broken with a fork

I know, red velvet is oh so original for Valentine’s Day. Though, its not as if we need a holiday in order to justify red velvet goodies! These Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls are totally out of control – so rich and dreamy! Also, can we all appreciate that from overhead, they look like a bouquet of roses? See? They are truly perfect for all of your Valentines!

Overhead shot of unfrosted red velvet cinnamon rolls

Of course, they are topped with fluffy cream cheese frosting. Although most cinnamon rolls tend to have a thinner icing on top, a slightly thicker layer just seemed like the right move for these!

These cinnamon rolls are actually really simple. I adapted them from these 1-Hour Cinnamon Rolls. I noticed a lot of red velvet cinnamon roll recipes tend to use red velvet cake mix, which I’m sure makes them quite delicious, but I wanted to take a more homemade approach.These have your typical red velvet ingredients including cocoa powder and some distilled vinegar.

The best part about these is that you can prep them the night before. I always make them this way. Prep them at night and then I like to take them out of the fridge for about an hour or so before I plan to start baking them. As you look at the instructions, it may seem like a lot, but I promise these are not at all difficult to make!

cream cheese icing on top of red velvet cinnamon rolls

Recipe Tips and Suggestions:

  • I like to use rapid rise yeast for these as it speeds up the rising process. One thing to always check before using a packet of yeast is that it is not past its expiration date (or very close to it), otherwise the rolls may not rise.
  • The amount of red dye you use in the recipe can be customized. I use a good amount to achieve the color shown in the photos, but you can certainly use less if you don’t mind the rolls being a different shade of red! I also recommend using gel food coloring as it doesn’t add extra liquid to the dough and you can achieve darker colors with less dye!
  • If you are prepping them the night before, be sure to take them out of the fridge before you plan to bake them. I also mix up the frosting the night before and cover and place in the fridge overnight. I let the unbaked rolls come to room temperature for about an hour before I want to bake them.

Red velvet cinnamon roll on a plate

Red Velvet Cinnamon Roll on a plate broken with a fork
Yield: about 12 rolls

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls - 1-hour homemade Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls topped with fluffy cream cheese icing! No cake mix required!


For the cinnamon rolls:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon distilled vinegar
  • red gel food coloring (see note)
  • 1 large egg

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • milk or half and half to thin


  1. Add the milk to a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat until just heated. Add the butter and stir until melted. Remove the mixture from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool down so that it is still warm, but not hot.
  2. While the milk cools, add 3 cups of the flour, cocoa powder, sugars, and the salt together in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Once the milk has cooled, add the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Add the yeast to the lukewarm milk and stir by hand.
  4. Add the flour mixture and the vinegar, food coloring (to your desired color, I add about 1 tablespoon), and egg to the yeast and milk and beat on medium low speed until well-combined (about 5 minutes). If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, add some of the remaining 1/4 cup of flour flour. The dough should form a ball and pull away from the bowl. When done, cover with a damp cloth and let sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Prepare the filling, stir together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and the cinnamon. Set aside.
  6. Grease a pie dish or a 9×13 baking dish. When the dough is ready, turn out onto a floured surface. Roll out to a 9×14 rectangle. Take the softened butter for the filling, and spread onto the entire surface of the dough. Then evenly sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar filling on top of the butter.  Starting with the 14-inch side, tightly roll up the dough. Pinch the seam to seal together. To slice, take a knife and gently mark where you want to cut each roll (11-12 rolls total). Then use a knife or plain dental floss to slice. (Note: I highly recommend using floss. To cut with the floss, break off a piece of floss about 12 inches long. Then gently slide the middle of the floss under the dough to the place where you want to “cut”. Pull the ends of the floss up and cross over the top of the dough. Then give a quick tug to cut through.) Place the sliced rolls into the pie dish or baking dish. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm place (I preheat my oven and just place the dish on top). Let rise for 25 minutes. If prepping the night before: cover tightly with foil and chill overnight. Remove the fridge and remove foil about 1 hour before baking the morning of.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Let cool for 3 minutes before icing.
  8. In a mixing bowl, beat together the softened butter and cream cheese until combined. Then add in the vanilla, followed by 1 cup of the powdered sugar. If you want a thinner icing, add some milk, 1 tablespoon at at time. To thicken, add some extra powdered sugar. Icing can be prepped the night before if desired (just cover and chill overnight and let sit out for about 30 minutes before icing the next morning).

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 roll

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 468Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 269mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 2gSugar: 37gProtein: 6g

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls