Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls {Bread Machine}

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Make red velvet cinnamon rolls in your bread machine and bake them in the oven before frosting them with homemade cream cheese icing. This decadent brunch treat is great for Christmas morning or Valentine's Day.

A red velvet cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting is on a white plate with a fork.

We have a special love for all things red velvet here. My daughter is obsessed with my red velvet waffles with cream cheese drizzle so I just had to try out a homemade cinnamon rolls variation to match!

This red velvet cinnamon rolls recipe uses the same make ahead cream cheese icing as the waffles do which makes the entire recipe perfect for making ahead for Christmas morning or even a quick Valentine's Day breakfast.

Simply pop the pan in the oven to bake and top the warm breakfast rolls with the cream cheese icing that will melt right into a glorious glaze over the top!

Why This is the Best Recipe

As the author of The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook, I love using my bread maker for all kinds of fun recipes.

Specifically, I love making homemade cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning and I absolutely think this is the best red velvet cinnamon rolls recipe because:

  1. Bread Maker Dough: With just 5 minutes of prep, I can have perfect cinnamon roll dough from my bread machine ready to roll out and shape so easily.
  2. Gorgeous Red Color: The rolls have such a pretty festive color that is perfect for Christmas, Valentine's Day, or even as a special treat on 4th of July if you wanted to add blue sprinkles!
  3. Rich Chocolate Flavor: If you've never tried red velvet desserts before, it refers to a red-colored chocolate cake. There's cocoa powder mixed in the dough!
  4. Make Ahead-Friendly: Prep the rolls the day before or even freeze them in advance for easy baking during the holiday season.

Ingredients

The ingredients to make red velvet cinnamon rolls are on the counter.

To make the dough for these cinnamon rolls, all you need is:

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Sugar
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Milk: I used 2%. Whole milk would also be a great choice. I don't recommend using fat-free milk for this recipe.
  • Butter: I used salted butter.
  • Vanilla
  • Kosher Salt
  • Yeast: You do not need "bread machine yeast" specifically, just an instant yeast. I used SAF-instant yeast.
  • Red Food Coloring: I love to use food coloring gels. This basic set has the exact red I used for this recipe.

Make the Dough in the Bread Machine

As with all my bread machine recipes, you'll start by adding the liquid ingredients to the bread pan first.

Be sure your pan has the paddle attachment in place, you don't want to have to fish around to add it later.

Add the milk and vanilla. Then cut the butter into small pieces and sprinkle them into the pan. Add the red food coloring.

The milk, butter, and red food coloring are in the bread pan.

Then add the dry ingredients directly on top of the liquid ingredients.

I always measure my flour using a food scale. Place the flour right on top of the milk.

Then add the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt around the perimeter of the pan.

Use the back of a spoon to dig a small well in the center and add the yeast to the well.

The flour, cocoa powder, and yeast are in the bread pan.

Add the bread pan to the bread machine and select the DOUGH program. On my favorite bread maker, the dough program takes about an hour and a half to complete.

Watch the Mixing Phase

Keep an eye on the bread machine as it mixes together the dough.

You'll be checking for two things:

  1. The Red Color: If the dough isn't red enough, you can add more food coloring during this phase.
  2. The Texture: The dough should form a ball by the time it is done mixing. Be sure to check my troubleshooting tips below.

Troubleshooting Tips

By the end of the first mixing session, your red velvet dough should form a ball that looks roughly like this:

The dough ball has come together in the bread pan.

If after a few minutes, it appears that the dough is too dry and not shaping a ball, you can add a little more milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until it comes together. Be sure to let the machine mix and knead between additions, move slowly with adding more milk.

If after a few minutes it appears that the dough is too wet and it is sticking to the sides of the pan or is still slick along the bottom of the pan, you can add additional flour, just 1 teaspoon at a time, until it comes together. Be sure to let the machine mix and knead between additions, move slowly with adding more flour.

How to Shape Cinnamon Rolls

By the end of the DOUGH program, your red velvet cinnamon roll dough should look like this:

The dough has risen and is a gorgeous puffy texture.

Isn't that so gorgeous??

To shape the cinnamon rolls, transfer the dough to a lightly floured baking mat and remove the paddle attachment if it stuck in the dough.

Roll the dough out to a rectangle about 12 x 15 inches in shape. If the dough keeps shrinking back, let it rest for a minute and try again.

The step by step photo collage shows how to roll and fill the dough.

Melt the butter for the cinnamon filling in a small microwave-safe bowl. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and stir them together with a fork until well combined.

Spread the cinnamon filling evenly over the dough.

Roll the dough into a tight log starting at one wide end and rolling towards the other wide end. (Photo 1 below.)

Then use a pastry cutter or pizza wheel to cut the rolls into 12 equal pieces.

I got distracted and accidentally cut them into 8 giant rolls. They still turned out absolutely fantastic, but I prefer the 12-count size for serving company.

The step by step photos show how to cut and rise the rolls.

Rub 1 tablespoon of softened butter all around a 9x13-inch baking dish. Place the rolls cut side up inside the dish and cover with plastic wrap.

Second Rise

The cinnamon rolls need to rise once more after you've shaped them before you bake them.

It helps to place the plastic wrap-covered dish on the stovetop while the oven preheats.

The rolls should nearly double in size. (Photo 4 in the collage above.)

Baking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake the cinnamon rolls for 20 - 25 minutes or until the centers are no longer wet and shiny when you gently nudge that center of the pinwheel.

The rolls are fresh from the oven.

Make the Cream Cheese Icing

While the red velvet cinnamon rolls are baking, you can prepare the cream cheese icing for the top.

This is such a handy recipe to have that I wrote a separate post with step by step instructions for those that need more visual assistance. You can see how to make the cream cheese icing here.

But don't worry, I also included the ingredients and the instructions in the red velvet cinnamon rolls recipe card at the bottom so you have everything in one spot.

A pan of red velvet cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing has one bun missing.

Make Ahead and Freezer Tips

Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite holiday breakfasts because you can prep them in advance and just bake them in the morning.

I love to assemble the rolls the day before and store them in the fridge right after the assembly and before the second rise.

By morning they've risen enough overnight I can just pop them in the oven.

You could also assemble the rolls and freeze the pan before the second rise. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight before baking them in the morning. You may need to allow for a little more rising time on the counter while the oven preheats.

You can also prep the cream cheese icing the day before and store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Then you have a cinnamon roll breakfast kit ready to grab and go!

Serving Suggestions

A singled cinnamon roll is on a white plate with a fork next to the baking pan filled with rolls.

These ooey-gooey red velvet cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting are a decadent addition to a Christmas brunch or a sweet Valentine's Day breakfast for your family.

You could also serve them as a fun 4th of July party treat if you wanted to add red, white, and blue sprinkles or silver star sprinkles on top.

Hosting a brunch or need a dessert for the Kentucky Derby? Red velvet is such a classic southern recipe and it would be a fun way to tie in the theme of the red roses!

But honestly, you don't need a reason to make this sweet breakfast treat. Any day is a great time to treat yourself!

More Easy Cinnamon Breads

If you love making homemade breakfast treats with your bread machine, you won't want to miss these other delicious recipes:

📖 Recipe

A red velvet cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting is on a white plate with a fork.

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls

5 from 1 vote
Make the dough for these red velvet cinnamon rolls in a bread machine and bake them in the oven for a special breakfast on Valentine's Day or Christmas. That gorgeous red velvet dough is a festive addition to the holiday brunch, especially if you add some themed sprinkles over the cream cheese icing.
TOTAL TIME 55 minutes
PREP TIME 5 minutes
RISING TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME 20 minutes
YIELD 12 rolls

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/4 cups (300 g) milk
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons (42 g) butter softened
  • 3 - 4 drops Red food coloring
  • 3 cups (411 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons (22 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons (37 g) sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (8 g) kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons (6 g) yeast

For the Filling

  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the Cream Cheese Drizzle

  • 1 (8 oz) brick of cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

Prepare the Dough in a Bread Machine:

  • Add the ingredients to the bread machine pan fitted with the paddle attachment in the order they are listed. Start with the liquid ingredients first: milk, vanilla, butter, and the red food coloring. Add the dry ingredients on top: the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Use the back of a spoon to dig a small well in the center of the flour and add the yeast there.
  • Transfer the bread pan to the bread maker and select the DOUGH program. Keep an eye on the dough as it mixes. You can add additional red food coloring if the dough does not appear red enough as it comes together.
  • The dough will look a little shaggy as it beings to mix but should come together as a nice dough ball. See photos in post above for visual reference and troubleshooting tips. The dough program usually takes about an hour and a half to complete.

Shape the Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls:

  • Transfer the finished red velvet dough to a lightly floured baking mat. Roll the dough out to a rectangle shape about 12 x 15 inches.
  • Melt the butter for the filling in a small microwave-safe bowl. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon with a fork until well combined. Spread the cinnamon mixture evenly over the surface of the rolled dough.
  • Roll the cinnamon roll dough into a tight log from wide edge towards wide edge. Slice into 12 equal pieces with a pastry cutter or pizza wheel.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon softened butter all around a 9x13-inch baking dish. Place the cinnamon rolls cut side up in the dish and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Let the red velvet cinnamon rolls rise for 30 minutes or until they have nearly doubled in size.

Baking Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the rolls for 20 - 25 minutes or until the center of the rolls no longer looks wet when you gently wiggle the center of the pinwheel.

Make the Cream Cheese Icing:

  • While the cinnamon rolls are baking, you can prepare the cream cheese icing. Add the cream cheese and powdered sugar to a large mixing bowl. Beat them together with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  • Add the milk and vanilla and beat them in. Continue to beat for 2 minutes until the icing is lightened and smooth.
  • Spread the cream cheese icing over the cinnamon rolls while they are still warm so it melts into a thick glaze over each bun. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Make Ahead Tips:

You can prepare the red velvet cinnamon rolls in advance for easy baking on a holiday in two ways:
  1. Assemble the Rolls the Day Before: Assemble the rolls as directed, cover in plastic wrap, and immediately store in the fridge before that second rise. You can pull them from the fridge in the morning and let them finish rising while the oven preheats. 
  2. Assemble the Rolls and Freeze: Assemble the rolls as directed, cover them in plastic wrap, and then wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze them immediately and up to 6 months. To use the frozen rolls, unwrap the aluminum foil but leave the plastic wrap in place. Put the pan in the fridge to thaw overnight. Let them rise on the counter until doubled in size before baking in the morning.
COURSEBreakfast
CUISINEAmerican

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The photo collage shows a single red velvet cinnamon roll next to the baking pan of rolls fresh from the oven.

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