These chocolate cinnamon rolls are gooey cinnamon rolls and combine a regular cinnamon roll with chocolate. It has a regular dough, chocolate cinnamon filling with chopped chocolate, and a chocolate cream cheese icing. It is the perfect breakfast for chocolate lovers.
These chocolate cinnamon rolls are a chocolate twist on classic cinnamon rolls. They have the same soft and gooey bread, but there is a chocolate cinnamon filling and chocolate chunks inside and it is topped with a delicious chocolate glaze. They are a delicious recipe for any special occasion.
Why This Recipe Works
- Chocolate flavor- Everything is better with chocolate! This chocolate cinnamon roll recipe makes breakfast even better!
- Homemade cinnamon rolls- Nothing can compare to fresh baked cinnamon rolls right out of the oven. They will are warm and gooey in the best way!
- Prep ahead- You can start these homemade chocolate cinnamon rolls the night before you want to eat them and finish the bake the next day! Just follow the overnight instructions for the dough rise.
Here are some notes on the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Unsalted butter- Pull the butter out 2 hours before using so it is softened butter.
- Milk- Use any milk and warm it to 110F. If too hot, it will kill the yeast, if too cool then it will dramatically slow the yeast down.
- Active dry yeast- I used 1 packet of yeast. This is the same thing as instant yeast. Do not use fast rise yeast.
- Eggs- Pull the eggs out 2 hours before baking. They also need to be lightly beaten before adding to the flour.
- Brown sugar- I used light brown sugar, but dark is fine.
- Cream cheese- Pull this out 2 hours before baking to get to room temperature.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder- I recommend using a dutch process cocoa powder for a more rich chocolate flavor.
Step By Step Instructions - Dough
Here is how to make the chocolate cinnamon roll dough.
STEP 1: Activate yeast. First, heat the milk in a microwave safe bowl for about 1 minute until it is 110°F. Then, sprinkle the yeast over the milk and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the eggs into a bowl and lightly beat them.
STEP 2: Dry ingredients. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl of a stand mixer. Add the cubed butter in and use a pastry kneader or your hands to knead the butter into the flour. The butter clumps should be about the size of a pea.
STEP 3: Wet ingredients. Add the milk and yeast mixture and the eggs.
STEP 4: Knead dough. Use a stand mixer with a dough hook to mix it on low until a dough forms. Then, turn it to medium speed and knead it for 5 minutes.
Note: If you are kneading by hand see the by hand instructions in the recipe notes.
STEP 5: First rise. Take the dough out of the bowl and spray it with a nonstick spray before putting it back in.
For a faster rise preheat the oven to 200°F and place a kitchen towel over the bowl. Then, place the bowl in the oven and turn it off, leaving the door cracked open. Let it rise like that for 1 hour.
For an overnight rise place plastic wrap over the bowl and let it sit in the fridge overnight up to 18 hours.
Step By Step Instructions - Chocolate Cinnamon Filling and Baking
Here is how to make the chocolate cinnamon filling and bake the rolls.
STEP 1: Beat butter and sugar. Use a small bowl and hand mixer to beat the butter until it is smooth. Then, add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. Mix it in on high speed until it is a smooth and thick paste.
STEP 2: Roll dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll it out to a rectangle ¼ inch thick.
STEP 3: Spread filling. Spread the chocolate filling over the dough using and offset spatula. Be sure to get up the the edges. Then, sprinkle the chopped chocolate over top and press it slightly into the dough with your hands.
STEP 4: Roll log. Start on the short side and begin rolling it into a tight log. Use a serrated knife to cut off uneven edges on the ends. Then, cut the log into 12 equal pieces. Make sure to gently saw when cutting so the rolls are not squished.
STEP 5: Second rise. Spray a 9X13 baking pan with nonstick spray and place the rolls inside. Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 20 minutes.
STEP 6: Bake. While the rolls rise preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the towel and bake the rolls for 23-25 minutes. They are done when the tops are golden brown and the insides reach 160°F.
Begin the chocolate cream cheese icing while they bake so it is ready when they are done.
Step By Step Instructions - Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing
Here is how to make the chocolate cream cheese icing.
STEP 1: Beat butter and cream cheese. Use a small bowl and a hand mixer to beat the butter and cream cheese together on high speed until smooth.
STEP 2: Add powdered sugar and cocoa. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and mix them in on low speed until combined. Then, switch to high speed and mix until it is smooth again.
STEP 3: Add vanilla and milk. Add the vanilla extract and milk and mix them in on low speed.
STEP 4: Ice rolls. When you take the rolls out of the oven ice the cinnamon rolls right away.
Expert Baking Tips
- Properly measure your flour- Make sure the flour is spooned and leveled. If you stick the measuring cup directly into the flour, it will compact the flour giving you too much flour.
- Make sure your yeast is fresh. If you use expired yeast or if you put it in too hot or too cold milk it will not activate properly preventing a proper rise.
- If you choose to roll your rolls immediately you can still chill them overnight. You then bake them in the morning the next morning.
The rolls rise fastest in a warm place. If your oven is busy, you can let the dough rise at room temperature as long as you don't have a cold house. Try to find a warmer area for best results. The preheated oven is simply a safe and consistent choice. Of course, rising overnight in the fridge also works best if possible.
If you are eating just one, then reheat the roll on a plate in the microwave for 15-25 seconds until warm (the amount of time will vary with your microwave). If you are reheating a whole tray, then preheat the oven to 350, and let the baking dish of rolls sit in the oven for 5 minutes or until hot. Then, enjoy your warm rolls!
Yes you can! Follow the instructions, but bake for only 10 minutes and chill. Then, you can continue the rest of the bake time (8-10 minutes) in the morning until hot.
Storing and Freezing
Store these chocolate cinnamon rolls in an airtight container in the fridge. Store up to 5 days. They are best when heated in the microwave until warm.
These chocolate cinnamon rolls can be frozen in 2 ways.
- Freeze the rolled rolls. Freeze these up to 30 days. Let them thaw before baking. They won't rise as much, but will still work.
- Freeze the already baked rolls. Freeze these up to 30 days. Thaw for 1 hour before eating.
Other Cinnamon Roll Recipes To Try
Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup Milk warmed to 110℉
- 2 ¼ teaspoon Active dry yeast 1 packet
- 2 Large eggs room temperature
- 4 ½ cups All-purpose flour
- ¼ cup White granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 10 tablespoon Unsalted butter room temperature cubed
Chocolate Cinnamon Filling
- ½ cup Unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup Brown sugar packed light or dark
- 1 tablespoon Ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon Unsweetened cocoa powder I use dutch process
- 8 oz Chocolate bar chopped. I use Lindt 70%
Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing
- 2 oz Cream cheese room temperature
- 2 tablespoon Unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup Powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoon Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon Milk
- Heat the milk in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave for 1 minutes. Warm to 110℉. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Pour the eggs into a bowl and mix so they are lightly beaten.1 cup Milk, 2 ¼ teaspoon Active dry yeast, 2 Large eggs
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Add in the cubed butter. Use a pastry kneader or your hands to knead the butter into the flour. It will be about the size of a pea.4 ½ cups All-purpose flour, ¼ cup White granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon Salt, 10 tablespoon Unsalted butter
- Add in the milk/yeast mixture and the eggs.
- Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix on low speed until a dough starts to form. Then, turn to medium speed and knead for 5 minutes. * For by hand instructions see notes.
- Rising:`1. Preheat the oven to 200℉. Place a kitchen towel over the bowl. Place the bowl in the oven, turn off the oven, and crack open the door. Let it rise for 1 hour.2. Place plastic wrap over the bowl. Place in the fridge overnight. (max of 18 hours).
Chocolate Cinnamon Filling
- In a small bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Then, add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. Mix on high speed until smooth. It will be like a thick paste.½ cup Unsalted butter, ¾ cup Brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoon Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Place the risen dough on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll into a large rectangle. It will be about ¼ inch thick.
- Spread the chocolate filling over the dough using an offset icing spatula. Make sure to get the edges. Then, sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the filling. Use your hands to press the chocolate into the dough slightly.8 oz Chocolate bar
- Starting on the short side, roll the dough into a log. Make sure it is rolled tightly. Use a serrated knife to cut the uneven ends off. Use light sawing motions to cut 12 rolls.
- Spray a 9X13-inch pan with baking nonstick spray. Place the rolls into the pan. cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 20 minutes.
- While rising, preheat the oven to 350℉. Bake for 23-25 minutes until the top of the rolls are lightly golden. The insides will reach over 160℉.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing
- In a small bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese on high speed until smooth.2 oz Cream cheese, 2 tablespoon Unsalted butter
- Add in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and mix on low until combined. Then, switch to high speed and mix until smooth.½ cup Powdered sugar, 2 tablespoon Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Add in the vanilla and milk and mix on low speed.1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract, 2 tablespoon Milk
- Right when the rolls are done baking, use a spoon to ice the cinnamon rolls.