Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

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Who can resist chocolate cinnamon rolls? Fluffy chocolate dough is filled with cinnamon sugar and chocolate, then topped with a simple icing. Weekend brunch, won!

I’m not sure how cinnamon rolls got to be the quintessential holiday breakfast, but I’m not one to complain about it.

Growing up there weren’t many Christmas mornings, Mother’s Day brunches, or Thanksgiving pre-feast breakfasts without a plate of ooey, gooey cinnamon rolls.

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls are indulgent perfection for breakfast.

I still try to keep up this tradition, but instead of canned rolls I love to make cinnamon rolls from scratch.

These chocolate cinnamon rolls are wonderful, not just because they are chocolate, but because you can make the dough ahead of time and let it rise in the fridge, which means you can bake them up whenever you’re ready.

Sure, they’re a little extra, like my chocolate waffles with whiskey butter sauce or bacon and egg risotto, but that’s what makes them so great!

Chocolate cinnamon rolls are perfect for any special occasion breakfast, so go ahead and make your guests swoon!

Ingredients for chocolate cinnamon rolls

You’ll need:

Flour – I use all-purpose flour when making cinnamon rolls. You can also use bread flour, which has a slightly higher protein content and will help keep the rolls soft and fluffy.

Cocoa powder – Use unsweetened cocoa powder. I tend to use Dutch-process cocoa powder, but any variety will work.

Milk – You’ll need milk for both the dough and the icing. I use 2% milk. 

If you use nondairy milk, make sure it is unflavored and unsweetened.

Eggs – Standard size large eggs.

Sugars – You’ll need granulated sugar, brown sugar, and powdered sugar. If you like, you can swap the brown sugar in the filling for more granulated sugar.

Yeast – This recipe uses active dry yeast, which needs to be dissolved in warm liquid before using.

If you are using instant yeast, it can be swapped in with the same amount. It does not need to be dissolved and can be added with the dry ingredients.

Butter – I recommend unsalted butter. Make sure it is softened to room temperature!

Salt – For flavoring the dough.

Cinnamon – What’s a cinnamon roll without cinnamon? The filling uses a whole tablespoon of ground cinnamon.

Chocolate chips – Mini chocolate chips are perfect in these chocolate cinnamon rolls. The smaller size ensures they cover the dough evenly, giving you a bit of melty goodness in each bite.

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls are an indulgent breakfast, but easier to make than you might think!

How to make chocolate cinnamon rolls

Homemade cinnamon rolls are one of those things that impresses the socks off of anyone you serve them to. But after the first time you make them, you’ll have the hang of the process and want to make them all the time.

The dough I use for chocolate cinnamon rolls is easy enough that you can mix it together in a bowl with a wooden spoon, though a stand mixer makes it even easier.

First, warm your milk gently on the stove or in the microwave.

The key is to make sure your milk is warm but not hot. We’re shooting for between 105° and 110° here. In the microwave this will take 30-45 seconds.

Pour the warmed milk into large bowl and sprinkle over the yeast. Whisk to dissolve and let stand a few minutes, until it’s foamy.

Beat the eggs lightly in a separate bowl. 

To the large bowl, stir in the granulated sugar, the beaten eggs, 6 tablespoons of the softened butter, and the salt. 

Mix together 3 cups of the flour and the cocoa powder, then stir into the large bowl. Add more flour as needed, a little at a time, until you have a soft dough.

When the dough is mixed together, get your hands in there and knead it until it is smooth. This usually takes me around 6 minutes or so. Cover the dough and let it rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. (I like to use shower caps to cover since they fit around bowls perfectly!)

Once the dough has risen, place on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Spread cinnamon sugar filling evenly over the dough, leaving a ½ inch border all the way around. Sprinkle on the mini chocolate chips.

Tightly roll up the dough from the long side and cut it into 12 equal pieces. I use a knife for this but have seen people use dental floss as well! Just make sure to use the unflavored kind.

Place the rolls in a greased 9×13-inch baking pan. If you are preparing the cinnamon rolls the night before, this is where you would cover them and place them in the refrigerator overnight.

If baking the same day, cover the pan and let the rolls rise until puffy, about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F while the rolls are rising.

Once risen, uncover the pan and place in the oven. Bake the rolls for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool while you make the icing.

The icing is the same as my sweet biscuit icing. Simply whisk together powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Add more milk for a thinner glaze, or more sugar for a thicker one.

Pour over the chocolate cinnamon rolls and serve!

Chocolate cinnamon roll close up

Recipe suggestions

Chocolate cinnamon rolls rolls are sweet, to be sure, so you can make them smaller if you like by rolling the dough out longer and then cutting more rolls.

With chocolate in both the dough and the filling, you won’t find need for it on top unless you have a serious sweet tooth! You can even skip the chocolate chips inside if you like, for a more subtle chocolate flavor.

To make a chocolate icing, swap some of the powdered sugar for sifted cocoa powder, to taste.  

You can also swap the mini chocolate chips for your favorite flavor of chip. Go for dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate! 

During the holidays I sometimes mix it up with those special chocolate-mint chips, too.

You can also add nuts to the filling. Finely chopped walnuts or pecans are especially good. Or, add them to the topping along with the icing!

Storage and reheating

Chocolate cinnamon rolls are best served while still warm from the oven and right after drizzling with glaze, but they do reheat well.

Simply cover any uneaten rolls with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. When ready to eat, slice off as much as you wish and pop into the microwave for 30 seconds, or until heated through.

More non-traditional cinnamon roll recipes

I don’t know about you, but I love non-traditional cinnamon rolls recipes like these chocolate cinnamon rolls.

If you’re looking for more recipes like this, check out raspberry honey buns, frosted orange rolls, dirty chai cinnamon rolls, eggnog cinnamon rolls or bourbon bacon cinnamon rolls.

Your whole family will love this extra-special breakfast treat!

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It means so much when you enjoy my recipes, so let me know how it goes and leave a comment if you have any questions.

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Chocolate cinnamon rolls are indulgent perfection for breakfast.
Author : Megan Myers
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Recipe Review
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rise Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 455 kcal


For the Dough

  • 1 cup milk, warmed to 105-110°F
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the Topping

  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk


  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Stir in granulated sugar, eggs, 6 tablespoons softened butter, and salt.
  • Mix in cocoa powder and 3 cups of the flour, mixing and adding more flour as needed until mixture forms a soft dough.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, about 6 minutes. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Mix together 2 tablespoons softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  • When dough has risen turn onto floured surface and roll out to a large rectangle. Sprinkle sugar mixture over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Top sugar mixture with mini chocolate chips.
  • Roll up, starting with a long side, and pinch seams together to seal. Cut into 12 slices. (Keep a towel handy to clean knife after cuts, if needed.) Place rolls in a greased 13×9-inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
  • As the rolls cool, whisk together powdered sugar and milk to create icing. Add more milk or sugar to get the consistency you prefer. Pour over the tops of the cinnamon rolls and serve.


  • You can mix these up the night before and pop them into the fridge after their first rise. When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the fridge, preheat the oven, and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Nutrition

    Serving: 1 rollCalories: 455 kcalCarbohydrates: 78 gProtein: 9 gFat: 13 gSaturated Fat: 7 gCholesterol: 84 mgSodium: 279 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 41 g

    Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.

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    About Megan

    I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…

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