I realize Valentine’s week is not the optimal time to announce that breakfast in bed weirds me out…but it does. That is, unless Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls are on the menu, in which case I’ll devour the entire pan anywhere you are prepared to serve it to me.
Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting. Easy, overnight recipe—all you need to do in the morning is bake!  
Maybe it’s because I am a messy eater, but the thought of toast crumbs and buttery fingers in the intimate vicinity of my pillow seems odd. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of breakfast in bed is completely luxurious and romantic: gently waking to a lovely spread of flakey biscuits, orange marmalade, and piping hot coffee, all served on antique china set atop a lace doily, all delivered to my bedside? Swooooon. Heaven forbid I should exert myself with anything as strenuous as standing up or (gasp!) brushing my teeth. Breakfast in bed does look pretty fabulous on Downton Abbey—but then again, Lady Mary isn’t the one washing the sheets.

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls, however, are one breakfast I fully endorse eating in bed. They are of a special caliber of ethereal decadence that merits the occasion. I vote we embrace our inner aristocrats, and go for it—provided our inner aristocrats are permitted to lick the cream cheese frosting from our dainty fingers of course.

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls

Two red velvet cinnamon rolls on a white plateRed Velvet Cinnamon Rolls combine the fluffiest, most gloriously ooey-gooey cinnamon roll of your life with the classic flavor of red velvet cake. To qualify as real-deal red velvet, a recipe demands both buttermilk and cocoa powder, both of which are present in these Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls. Buttermilk is ideal for keeping the dough extra tender, and the cocoa adds a subtle chocolate flavor to both the dough and the cinnamon-sugar filling.

I’m not sure if cream cheese frosting is absolutely positively mandatory for red velvet cake, so I decided we should slather it on as a precautionary measure. Safety first.

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls
Inappropriate Valentine’s Week Confession #2: I’m not a huge fan of red velvet cake (a life-long struggle I divulged in full detail here), mostly because I typically spend my entire time eating a slice of red velvet cake wishing it were chocolate cake instead. Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls however, I adore. The subtle cocoa taste and moist buttermilk richness of red velvet cake is ideal for a pan of gooey cinnamon rolls, and the cream cheese frosting classic to red velvet is equally suited. Add the ruby red hue, and have a red velvet cake-cinnamon roll mash up fit for the breakfast hall of fame.

As I divulged on my FAQ page, sweet rolls with a special twist are my favorite recipes to make, and these sublime Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls are every reason why. What isn’t to love about fluffy, sky-high buttermilk rolls oozing with cinnamon and covered in drippy cream cheese glaze?

Answer: waking up at 4 am to make them.Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting. Fluffy overnight cinnamon rolls with the flavor of red velvet cake.

Homemade cinnamon rolls are not difficult to bake, but there is no shortcutting the hours the dough requires to rise. Rather than sitting around all morning and giving my dough the evil eye for not being ready when I was set to eat it (five minutes ago), I created this Red Velvet Cinnamon Roll recipe for overnight rising in the fridge. Make the dough and shape the rolls the day before, then in the morning simply pop your pretty red cinnamon spirals into the oven, and voila! Hot, homemade Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls in half an hour.

An important recipe note: You’ll notice I mention using no taste red food coloring for these rolls. Sit up and listen folks! This is a big one. Achieving the deep ruby shade signature to red velvet takes a decent amount of food coloring. More than a few drops of any shade of food coloring can cause a bitter taste in your final product, and red is the biggest color offender of them all. I used Wilton no-taste red with great success. If you decide to risk it with “normal” food coloring, just promise me that you’ll let the dough sit for several minutes after you add the coloring before you proceed. Giving the coloring time to absorb can lessen its bitter effect (though my recommendation is still to opt for a no-taste product.)

My other ingredient secret: Red Star Platinum Yeast, my bread-baking BFF. I bake bread once a week, and Red Star Platinum has yet to fail me. It’s reliable and creates the softest, fluffiest breads I’ve ever baked.
Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

With a bit of prep the night before, overnight Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls can be hot, fluffy, and on your plate in half an hour + the time it takes your oven to preheat. Roll out of bed, pop your handiwork into the oven, and soak in the magic smell of cinnamon and cocoa wafting through your kitchen as they bake.

Or better yet, stay under the covers and have your roommate/boyfriend/husband/impressively-trained retriever pop the Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls into the oven, then bring them to you in bed. The antique china and paper doily are optional, but encouraged.

Three red velvet cinnamon rolls on a white plate with icing

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls {Overnight Cinnamon Roll Recipe}

4.5 from 2 votes
Tender, fluffy, and ooey-gooey buttermilk cinnamon rolls with the classic flavor of red velvet cake, topped off with cream cheese frosting.This overnight cinnamon roll recipe is prepped entirely the day before, so you can enjoy all the benefits of homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast without the wait. This recipe is truly a must for all red velvet lovers!

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 9 hrs 15 mins

Servings: 12 rolls


For the Red Velvet Dough:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons no taste red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon  pure vanilla extract
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 package Red Star Platinum Instant Yeast (1/4 ounce, or scant 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Cream Cheese Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup light cream cheese, softened (about 2 1/2 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar sifted


  • Begin the night before. If mixing by machine: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, butter, food dye, and vanilla extract. Add 2 cups flour, cocoa powder, yeast, and salt. Place buttermilk in a microwave safe measuring cup and microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, until it reaches the temperature required for the yeast. (Refer to the package directions for the specific temperature—Red Star Platinum is 120 to 130 degrees F). If the buttermilk curdles when heated, simply whisk it back together. Pour the heated buttermilk into the mixing bowl and stir by hand or with the mixer’s paddle attachment until the ingredients are evenly moistened. Switch to the dough hook, then add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour. Knead dough on low speed for 6 minutes. The dough should be soft, moist, and tacky, but not excessively sticky. If dough is too wet, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, until the correct texture is reached. Lightly spray a large, clean bowl with cooking spray, then transfer dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  • If mixing by hand: Stir the ingredients together in the order above with a wooden spoon for several minutes, until the dough forms a wet, shaggy mass. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be very sticky and cling to the counter, but use as little flour as possible to prevent the dough from becoming tough. Once kneaded, scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise.
  • Prepare the filling: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. Melt butter and set aside.
  • Shape the rolls: Butter a 9x13-inch ceramic or glass baking dish. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 18-inch by 12-inch rectangle, with the longest side closest to you. Brush the dough with melted butter, then sprinkle with the brown sugar-cocoa powder mixture. Starting with the long edge, roll the dough tightly into an 18-inch log. With a a sharp, serrated knife, gently saw the log into 12, 1 1/2-inch wide pieces. Arrange the buns in the prepared baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  • Bake the rolls: The next day 30 minutes prior to baking, remove rolls from refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Place rack in the center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Bake rolls until they are puffed and darken slightly and the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F, about 30 minutes. Check the rolls 20 minutes into baking—if they appear to be browning too quickly, cover the pan with aluminum foil, return the rolls to the oven, and continue baking until complete. Remove the pan from oven, uncover if necessary, and place the pan on a wire rack to cool slightly.
  • Make the glaze: In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the milk and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Slowly mix in the sifted powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle over warm rolls and serve immediately.


Rolls are best enjoyed the day they are baked but will last up to 4 days well wrapped in foil at room temperature. Reheat in the microwave before serving. Alternatively, you can tightly wrap and freeze the rolls for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then reheat in the microwave immediately prior to serving.

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Looking for more bread baking tips? Check out Red Star Yeast’s helpful videos and baking tips, along with everything you need to know about yeast. For recipe ideas and inspiration, follow Red Star Yeast on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

More breakfast-in-bed worthy recipes:

Red Star Yeast compensated me for my time to create this recipe and post, but all opinions are my own.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Sweet rolls are one of my favorite treats ever! And I’m not the biggest fan of red velvet either, but darn, girl, you made these babies look real good!
    And yeah breakfast in bed = no cool. Crumbs everywhere… it’s like sleeping on a bed of sand eewww.

  2. LOVE Red Star Platinum yeast!!! These are so fun and festive! I’m not a huge red velvet fan, but I’m pretty sure you just made me intrigued enough to want these!!!

    1. Aimee, the funny thing is I’m not a big red velvet fan either. But in cinnamon rolls, the subtle cocoa and buttermilk flavors really work! Plus, I mean, cream cheese glaze. :-)

    1. Breakfast in bed is so good in theory, but so messy in execution, right? Thanks for your nice words about the rolls! They were fun to make and even more fun to eat. :-)

  3. Hi, I found this- I was wondering if i could make my husband a red velvet cinnamon roll cake- kind of like sally’s addiction cinnamon cake but with red velvet. Is there anything I need to modify or i still can do that?

    1. Hi Catherine, I’m not familiar with a cinnamon roll cake, but if it is something that you do starting with a basic cinnamon roll recipe of a similar yield and bake time to this one, then I am sure that would be just fine. Again, I’ve never tried it myself, but please feel free to experiment. Sounds delicious :-)

  4. One question? I normally use my breadmaker to make my dough.  Could I edit the recipe to make the dough red velvet? Would you recommend it?

    1. Great question, but I’m afraid I don’t know if I can help you—I’ve never used a bread machine, so my sweet roll recipes are just not designed that way. I think your best bet would be to find a buttermilk dough that has a flavor and consistency similar to a sweet roll (maybe brioche though it is not exactly the same), and see if you can tweak it by adding cocoa powder and red color if you like. I wish I could advise you more closely, but unfortunately it’s just not an area I’m familiar with.

  5. Correct me if I am wrong but when using Instant yeast you usually do not have to wait 2.5 hours for the bread to rise. In my experience with it I usually don’t have to wait more than a half hour. Maybe its just me? Or are you allowing the rolls to rise completely in the fridge?

    1. Rachel, as far as I know “instant” yeast refers to how the yeast is activated (you put it in with the dry ingredients vs. activating it separately in the water). Whenever I’ve used it, I’ve needed the amount of time specified (2 1/2 hours in this case) for the first rise. “Quick rise” yeast will be shorter. That said, your kitchen or the brand you use may be different than mine. The first rise is at room temperature, and when it doubles, it’s good to go!

    1. How odd Rachel! I admittedly haven’t bought it for a few months (I still have bunches in my pantry), so I’m not sure. As far as I know, it’s still available, but if you can’t find it, swap a different instant yeast and just be sure to activate it following the manufacturer’s directions on the package. (I think most brands don’t need the water to be as hot as Platinum.)

  6. Love your Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls! We can’t wait try these Rolls!
    You have used kitchenaid stand mixer to mix eggs, egg yolks, sugar, butter, food dye, and vanilla extract.
    I live in Indonesia and want to purchase kitchenaid stand mixer. Please tell me, what is Official kitchen aid website in Indonesia?

    1. Hi Robert! I’m not sure since I don’t have access to the Internet in Indonesia, but here the website is KitchenAid.com. I would try that and see if you are redirected. You can also purchase stand mixers at other online retailers such as Walmart.com, Amazon.com, and Target.com.

      1. Thanks, but Walmart& Amazon don’t have their website in Indonesia. I want to pay in Indonesian currency not in USD.

  7. Hi! Love this recipe! I was about to give this a try but I only have Hershey’s Special Dark dutch cocoa in my pantry. Will this work for this recipe?5 stars

  8. I thought the rolls were great. I couldn’t particularly taste that they were “red velvet” but my hubby said he could tell. The whole family loved them and the recipe was easy to follow, though I did need to end up adding quite a bit of flour to get the dough to come together. I found it very helpful that she gave the internal temp to check for doneness, it is so hard to tell that they are finished otherwise. I rated 4 instead of 5 stars only because I felt like there was a flavor depth missing, maybe I would have enjoyed a little more salt? Other wise, the texture and flavor were good.4 stars

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