Surprisingly easy, these chocolate cinnamon rolls are the best of both worlds! Sweet cinnamon rolls filled with chocolate chunks, perfect for fall baking.
If you’ve never had chocolate cinnamon rolls, you’re in for a treat! It really is the perfect combination – two of the world’s very best foods rolled into one.
Cinnamon rolls are genuinely easy to make, even if you’re not familiar with bread making, and might be even easier than regular bread. You just need a bit of patience and the most skilled bit is rolling the dough up into a log.
You can add loads of other fillings to these, especially nice around the holidays, so see the tips section below for some ideas on that. These make a lovely Christmas treat and are a very good reason to break any New Year diet kind of resolutions.
These are well, well worth the time needed to make them, especially at this time of year! They are a very comforting treat – both to make and to eat – and so delicious.
Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top of the post, or scroll to the bottom of the post, to see the full recipe card with ingredient measurements and instructions.
- Cane sugar
- All-purpose (white) flour
- Sea salt
- Brown sugar
- Dark chocolate
- Powdered sugar
- An orange (both zest and juice)
Heat the milk and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, until gently simmering, whisking frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the heated milk into a large mixing bowl, whisk in the butter, and check the temperature. It should be just warm to the touch but not hot. Sprinkle the yeast overtop.
Let the yeast sit for about 10 minutes. It should look foamy and increase in volume (bloom). Add the flour and salt to a the bowl, then add the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon into a loose dough (or use a standing mixer).
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until a soft, smooth ball forms. This will take at least ten minutes but you can also knead in a standing mixer if you have one. Place the dough into a large, greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Set aside to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle roughly 12×18 inches (30x45cm) in size. Spread the remaining butter over the surface of the dough, then top with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate chunks.
Roll the dough from the long edge to make a log shape. Cut this into nine relatively equally sized rolls and place the pieces into a greased baking dish. Cover with a tea towel and set aside to rise again in a warm place for about an hour.
Once the rolls have risen a second time, they’re ready to bake. Preheat the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops and edges are a light golden brown.
Let the rolls cool for at least 15 minutes. While they’re cooling, mix the glaze in another dish. Top the cooled cinnamon rolls and serve fresh.
Tips and Notes
The original recipe here called for fresh figs, which are delicious, but we wanted a year-round chocolate cinnamon roll recipe. You could add dried figs or other dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, raisins) or go for chopped nuts instead.
You could certainly do an overnight roll here – after placing the individual rolls into the baking tin, cover them tightly and place in the refrigerator to rise overnight. Set them on the counter for about an hour in the morning to come back to room temperature, and then bake as instructed.
It doesn’t matter if you use instant or traditional yeast. The step of blooming the yeast in the warm milk will activate traditional and won’t hurt instant, so either is good – the dough might just rise a bit faster with instant.
If you prefer, make a batch of cream cheese frosting to top the rolls in place of the glaze. That being said, the orange in the glaze alongside the cinnamon and chocolate is great.
Light spelt flour can be used in place of the all-purpose if you prefer, but we don’t recommend using a whole wheat flour.
To make these vegan, use a good vegan butter and plant-based milk, like oat milk, for the dough and filling. There’s no difference in the amounts used and they taste the same either way.
This is an excellent gluten-free cinnamon roll recipe if you need a GF version.
More Sweet Breads and Rolls
Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
- ¾ cup (180 ml) milk
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ tsp dry yeast
- 2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- ½ cup (100 g) brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup (100 g) chopped dark chocolate
orange vanilla glaze
- 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar
- Zest of an orange
- 1–2 tbsp orange juice
- ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste OR vanilla powder
- Add the milk and sugar to a small saucepan. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently until the sugar is dissolved.
- Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and whisk 2 tablespoons of butter into it. Check the temperature. It should be just warm to the touch. If it's still hot, let it cool until warm.
- Sprinkle the yeast overtop the milk mixture and set it aside to bloom for about 10 minutes. The yeast should be visibly expanded and foamy looking.
- Add the flour and salt to the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon (or the paddle attachment) until a loose dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until a soft, smooth ball of dough forms. You can also use the kneading attachment on your mixer for this.
- Grease a large bowl and set the kneaded dough into it. Cover with a tea towel and set it in a warm, draft free spot to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out to a rectangle about 12x18 inches (30x45cm) in size.
- For the filling, spread the butter over evenly the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate over it.
- Roll the dough into a log from the long end, then cut into 9 approximately equal rolls.
- Grease a baking tin (about 8 inches / 20cm) and set the individual rolls into it. Cover this with a tea towel and set aside to rise again for about an hour. They won't quite double in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) while the rolls are rising.
- Bake the cinnamon rolls for 18-22 minutes, or until the tops and sides are lightly golden. Cool for at least 10 minutes before topping with the glaze and serving.
- For the glaze, in a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla until a smooth mixture forms. Spread it evenly over the cinnamon buns and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 345Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 188mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 3gSugar: 34gProtein: 5g
This is an approximation of the nutrition offered in this recipe, and is created using a nutrition calculator.
This post was originally published in September 2014. The original recipe from Laura Wright has been slightly adapted, and the post has been updated with new photos and text as of October 2020.