These Halloween cinnamon rolls are orange colored dough with a black cocoa cinnamon filling baked in heavy cream. They are topped in cream cheese icing. They are the perfect way to start your day this Halloween season.
These Halloween cinnamon rolls are delicious homemade chocolate cinnamon rolls with a fun black and orange Halloween theme. This is one of my favorite Halloween recipes. They taste better and look better than any store-bought cinnamon rolls, and making cinnamon roll dough the day before is one of my favorite pre-made shortcuts, so they don't take much extra work while you prepare for your yearly Halloween party!
- Why This Adorable Halloween Cinnamon Rolls Recipe Works
- Ingredient Notes for Easy Halloween Cinnamon Rolls
- Ingredient Substitutions
- Step By Step Instructions - Orange Dough
- Step By Step Instructions - Black Cinnamon Filling
- Step By Step Instructions - Black Cream Cheese Frosting
- Expert Baking Tips
- Recipe Variations
- Special Tools
- Storing and Freezing
- 📖 Recipe
Why This Adorable Halloween Cinnamon Rolls Recipe Works
- Festive treat- These sweet treats are the most delicious way to start your day this spooky season. Start your breakfast Halloween morning in the right mood! Make Halloween your favorite holiday!
- Chocolate flavor- This delicious Halloween breakfast is chocolate flavored! The cocoa powder gives these sweet rolls a dark color and great flavor at the same time!
- Prep ahead- The best part is, you can start these homemade 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. Its is a good mom hack for busy holiday mornings!
Ingredient Notes for Easy Halloween Cinnamon Rolls
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.
- Powdered sugar- Sift this before use to avoid gritty icing.
- Food coloring- Use a high quality gel food coloring as it requires less dye than cheaper liquid food coloring and won't affect the taste.
- Cocoa powder- You can substitute regular cocoa powder instead of black cocoa powder, but you will need to add more black food dye to get the perfect color. I do recommend you buy dutch processed cocoa powders for a richer chocolate flavor.
- Dairy free- You can use your favorite dairy free options for this recipe!
- Gluten free- I haven't tested this gluten free. Let me know if you do.
Step By Step Instructions - Orange Dough
Here is how to make the orange cinnamon roll dough for the Halloween cinnamon rolls.
STEP 1: Activate yeast. Heat milk in a microwave-safe bowl about 1 minute until 110°F. Then, sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit for 10 minutes.
STEP 2: Knead butter. Sift the all purpose flour into a large bowl with the sugar and salt. Add the cubed butter and knead it into the flour with a pastry cutter or your hands until the butter lumps are the size of a pea.
STEP 3: Form dough. Add the milk and yeast mixture, lightly beaten eggs, and orange food dye. Use a stand mixer with dough hook attachment to mix it on low until a dough forms. For kneading by hand see the recipe notes for full instructions.
STEP 4: First rise. If you are making this dough overnight, cover the bowl in aluminum foil and place it in the fridge and let the dough rise overnight.
If you are making this dough for the same day, then preheat the oven to 200°F. Then, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place it in the oven. Turn the oven off and leave the door cracked open. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
Step By Step Instructions - Black Cinnamon Filling
Here is how to make the cinnamon filling for the Halloween cinnamon rolls.
STEP 1: Beat butter. Use a hand mixer and a small bowl to beat the butter on high speed until smooth.
STEP 2: Mix filling. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and black cocoa powder to the butter. Beat it on high speed until smooth. Then, add black food dye until it reaches the desired color.
STEP 3: Roll dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Next, use a rolling pin to roll it out to a ¼ inch thick rectangle.
STEP 4: Spread filling. Spread the cinnamon filling over the dough with an offset spatula. Make sure to spread out to the edges.
STEP 5: Roll and cut log. Roll the dough into a log starting from the short side of the rectangle. Use a serrated knife to lightly saw off the uneven ends of the roll, then cut the roll into 9 equal pieces.
STEP 6: Second rise. Spray a 9X13 baking pan and place the rolls evenly spread in it. Cover it with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise for 20 minutes.
STEP 7: Prep. Preheat the oven to 375°F while the dough rises. When the rolls are done rising pour the heavy cream between them in the pan. If some gets on top of the rolls it is okay.
STEP 8: Bake rolls. Bake the tray of rolls for 25-30 minutes. They are done when the tops are lightly golden brown.
Start the frosting while they bake.
Step By Step Instructions - Black Cream Cheese Frosting
Here is how to make the homemade cream cheese icing for the Halloween rolls.
STEP 1: Beat cream cheese and butter. Use a hand mixer and small bowl to beat the cream cheese and butter on high speed for 2 minutes.
STEP 2: Combine. Add the sifted powdered sugar and black cocoa powder. Mix them in on low speed. Switch to high speed to beat until smooth. Next, add the vanilla extract, milk, and black food dye. Mix them in on low speed until combined.
STEP 3: Decorate rolls. When the rolls are done baking, immediately spoon the icing over the top of the cooked cinnamon rolls. Place the Halloween sprinkles on top.
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 cinnamon 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 (13-17 minutes) in the morning.
- White frosting- If you prefer not to have black frosting you can skip the black food dye and leave it as a regular white cream cheese frosting.
- Nuts on top- If you do not prefer Halloween sprinkles to top your rolls you can instead place chopped pecans or your favorite nut. You can even add plastic spiders as a fun way to keep the Halloween theme!
- Baking spray: I use the nonstick spray that has flour in it.
- Offset spatula: I use this to easily spread the frosting or fillings.
- 9X13 pan- I love using a casserole pan instead of a normal baking pan.
- Rolling pin- You can use any rolling pin you have!
Storing and Freezing
Store these Halloween 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 Halloween 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 Fun Halloween Recipes To Try
Try these fall recipes too!
- Reese's Cup Peanut Butter Cookies
- Pumpkin Caramel Cookies
- Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
- Sticky Buns
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Halloween Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup Milk warmed to 110℉
- 2 packets Active dry yeast 5 teaspoon or 14 grams
- 2 Large eggs room temperature and lightly beaten
- 4 ½ cups All-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¼ cup White granualated sugar
- 10 tablespoon Unsalted butter cubed and room temperature
- Orange gel food dye 5-8 drops to color the dough
Black Cinnamon Filling
- ½ cup Unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup Brown sugar packed light or dark
- 1 tablespoon Ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon Black cocoa powder or dutch process cocoa powder
- Black food dye 1-3 drops
- ½ cup Heavy cream
Black Cream Cheese Icing
- 4 oz Cream cheese room temperature
- 4 tablespoon Unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup Powdered sugar sifted
- ¼ cup Milk
- 2 tablespoon Black cocoa powder or dutch process cocoa powder
- Black food dye 1 drop
- Halloween sprinkles optional
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat the milk for one minute, or until warmed to 110℉. Sprinkle all the yeast over the milk. Let it sit for 10 minutes.1 cup Milk, 2 packets Active dry yeast
- In a large bowl, sift the flour. Add the sugar and salt. Add in the cubed butter and use a pastry kneader or your hands to knead the butter into the flour. Do this until the butter is the size of a pea.4 ½ cups All-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon Salt, ¼ cup White granualated sugar, 10 tablespoon Unsalted butter
- Add in the milk/yeast, lightly beaten eggs, and orange food dye. Use a stand mixer with a dough hook (make by hand instructions in recipe notes).2 Large eggs, Orange gel food dye
- Mix on low speed until a dough starts to form. Switch to medium speed to knead for 5 minutes. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Place the dough inside the bowl.
- For making right away: Preheat the oven to 200℉. Cover bowl with kitchen towel. Turn off the oven, place the bowl in the oven, and crack open the door. Let rise for 1 hour. For overnight: Cover bowl with foil or plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to rise overnight.
Black Cinnamon Filling
- In a small bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter on high speed until smooth. Add in brown sugar, cinnamon, and black cocoa powder. Beat on high until smooth. Add the black food dye until desired color.½ cup Unsalted butter, ¾ cup Brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon Black cocoa powder, Black food dye
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough using a rolling pin until ¼ inch thick.
- Spread the cinnamon filling over the dough using an offset icing spatula. Make sure to spread it to the edges.
- Start on the short side and roll up the dough into a log. Use a serrated knife with lightly sawing motions. Cut off the uneven ends, then cut into 9 equal rolls.
- Spray a 9X13-inch pan with baking nonstick spray. Place the rolls evenly into the pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375℉. Once the rolls are done rising, pour the heavy cream into the holes in the pan. It is okay if some heavy cream gets on top of the rolls.½ cup Heavy cream
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Bake until the top of the rolls are lightly golden brown.
Black Cream Cheese Frosting
- Start this while the rolls are in the oven. In a small bowl using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on high speed for 2 minutes.4 oz Cream cheese, 4 tablespoon Unsalted butter
- Add in the sifted powdered sugar and black cocoa powder and mix on low until combined. Switch to high speed and beat until smooth. Add in the vanilla, milk, and black food dye. Mix until combined.1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract, 1 cup Powdered sugar, ¼ cup Milk, Black food dye, 2 tablespoon Black cocoa powder
- As as the rolls are out of the oven, use a spoon to spread the icing over the rolls. Top with Halloween sprinkles.Halloween sprinkles