The aroma of these homemade chocolate rolls, while they are baking, is heavenly! You only need 30 minutes of prep time! If you are still craving rolls after you try this recipe, check out my delicious cinnamon buns and air fryer cinnamon rolls.
Start by making the dough. Use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Add in the milk, sugar, and yeast. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes until it starts to bubble and become foamy.
Whisk the eggs, butter, and salt to the yeast mixture.
Put the dough hook on the mixer then add 3 ½ cups of flour. Mix on medium-low speed until the dough comes together. You will notice that it's still sticky to the touch, but it shouldn't stick to the bowl.
Note: If the dough remains super sticky, slowly add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time and continue to mix at low speed. Repeat until it doesn't stick to the bowl anymore, making sure not to add too much flour. The chocolate rolls will become dry otherwise. Don't use more than 4 cups total of flour. Knead the dough at medium speed for 5 minutes.
Place the ball of dough into a lightly greased bowl. To grease the bowl, use a non-stick spray or a few drops of oil. Put a little bit of grease on top of the dough and cover loosely with a dry towel. Allow the dough ball to rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Mix together the brown sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon for the filling and set it aside. Then roll out the dough, so it forms into a rectangle that is 20x18 inches (50x45 cm) and spread butter all over the dough except for 1-inch around the edges.
Add the sugar and cocoa mixture and top with chocolate evenly.
Roll the dough into a log, starting with the long side. Roll it tightly, then cut 12 equal-sized cinnamon rolls.
Place the rolls onto a baking sheet that's been prepared. You don't need to cover the rolls. Place the pan in the oven after you have turned it off and allow them to rise for 30 minutes. They should double in size and leave the door (or wicket) slightly open.
After the chocolate rolls have doubled in size, remove them from the oven and preheat it to 375°F (190°C).
Bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes. They will be a light golden brown color when done. To prevent over-browning, after the cinnamon rolls have baked for 10-15 minutes, add a piece of parchment paper on top.
Prepare the frosting by beating the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. You can also use a handheld mixer if you prefer. Once the cream cheese is creamy, add in powdered sugar.
Then add in the cocoa and combine well.
Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until it's the consistency you would like. I added 2 tablespoon of milk to my frosting.
After the homemade cinnamon rolls are done baking, allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes then add frosting. You want the cinnamon rolls to be warm when you frost. Eat the chocolate cinnamon rolls warm for the best results.
Expert tips for success
- If your dough isn't rising, it could be due to expired yeast. You can try putting the dough in a warmer environment and see if it just takes longer to rise. If it doesn't rise at all, it's better to start over with fresh yeast.
- Different flours can absorb water differently in different climates and environments. This means you may need to hydrate your dough more or less depending on the flour, humidity, temperature, and altitude. Please watch the video and step-by-step photos to see what the dough should look and feel like.
- Use as little flour as possible when rolling out the dough. The more flour you use, the more flour will be incorporated into the dough and makes your yeast rolls dry.
- Don't roll the dough out too thinly, or you'll end up with dense rolls.
- Let the shaped rolls rise until they have doubled in size. If you bake them under-proofed, your rolls won't rise properly. Also, don't overproof them, or they could collapse or shrink after baking.
If you want to make the dough the night before to bake the rolls fresh in the morning, just make it and let it rise in the fridge overnight. It should be at least double or even triple in size. Before rolling, filling, and cutting, take the dough out of the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow it to come to room temperature. After cutting, let rise until doubled in size. Since the dough is still cool, this will take a little longer than stated in the recipe.
Storing and reheating
Store the frosted chocolate rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat leftover rolls in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds before serving. You can also reheat them in the oven or air fryer if preferred.
- Freezing before baking - Make the rolls as described, place on parchment paper, and freeze for 1 hour. Then place them in freezer bags and freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, remove them from the bags, place them in the prepared baking pan, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Then proceed as described.
- Freezing after baking - You can freeze the baked cinnamon rolls with the glaze by flash freezing them for 1 hour. Then transfer to freezer bags and freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, place them for 1-2 hours on the counter or in the fridge overnight.
More breakfast recipes to try
- Banana Bread
- Cinnamon Apple Bread
- Air Fryer Donuts
- Baked Cake Donuts
- Chocolate Banana Muffins
- Blueberry Muffins
The Best Homemade Chocolate Rolls Recipe
- ⅛ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (28g)
- ¼ cup cream cheese, softened (56g)
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted (120g)
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled (21g)
- 1-2 tablespoon milk
- Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine milk, sugar, and yeast and stir to combine. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until it starts to get foamy on the surface.
- Add eggs, butter, and salt and whisk to combine.
- Replace whisk attachment and attach a dough hook. Add 3 ½ cups flour and stir on medium-low speed until the dough comes together. The dough should be a bit sticky to touch but shouldn't stick to the bowl anymore. If it does stick to the sides of the bowl after a few minutes of kneading, add 1 tablespoon of flour at the time (up to 4 cups in total) and mix on low speed until you reach this point. But don't add too much flour or your Chocolate Rolls will be dry.
- NOTE: How much flour you need depends on the humidity and temperature where you live, as well as the size of the cups (not every cup is equal and as accurate as a kitchen scale). Make sure that you stay at around 4 cups maximum.
- Then turn on medium speed and knead for about 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl (brush a few drops of oil in a bowl or use a non-stick spray) and lightly grease the top of the dough. Cover loosely with a dry towel and let rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
- Make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 200°F (100°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Roll dough into a 20x18 inch (50x45cm) rectangle. Spread the butter all over it, leaving a 1-inch (2,5cm) border at the long side where you end up rolling. Sprinkle sugar mixture and chocolate on top of the butter evenly. Roll-up long side tightly, cut into 12 equal-sized pieces and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Don't cover rolls. Turn off preheated oven and place rolls in the oven to rise for about 30 minutes, until doubled in size. Leave the wicket ajar.
- Remove rolls from the oven, store at room temperature and preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake for about 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. After 10-15 minutes of baking, place parchment paper on top of the rolls to prevent them from heavy browning.
- Make the frosting: In a medium mixing bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment beat butter and cream cheese until creamy. Add powdered sugar and stir to combine. Stir in cocoa until well combined. Stir in 1 tablespoon milk at the time until you reach the desired consistency. I added 2 tbsp.
- Remove rolls from the oven, let cool for 5-10 minutes and spoon frosting on top of the rolls when they are still warm. I recommend eating the rolls warm. They will stay fresh and soft in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat leftover rolls in the microwave for about 20 seconds before serving.
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