Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls

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Inspired by two favorite winter recipes, these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls feature chocolate rolls drizzled with a marshmallow glaze.  They’re perfect for cold winter days!

Inspired by two favorite winter recipes, these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls feature chocolaty rolls drizzled with a marshmallow glaze.  They're perfect for cold winter days!If only rolling pins could talk. I have 3 different rolling pins (you know, just in case), but the rolling pin that was passed down to me from my grandparents is most definitely my favorite. I grew up spending most of the major holidays at my grandparents house in upstate South Carolina. It was just a 4-hour drive from Charleston, so not too bad of a trip. Of course, my sister and I still managed to fight over who was taking up more space in the backseat.  However, once we arrived at our grandparents’ house, all was forgiven, and we played for the entire time!

Inspired by two favorite winter recipes, these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls feature chocolaty rolls drizzled with a marshmallow glaze.  They're perfect for cold winter days!Each and every morning, my grandpa would get up and make biscuits for us.  Every good Southern baker needs a biscuit recipe, and I can still remember the taste of grandpa’s homemade buttermilk biscuits.  Yum!  And then in the evenings, my grandma would take over and whip up some sort of tasty dessert – often using the fresh blackberries or peaches that we picked that day.  Needless to say, that rolling pin was used quite a bit in that house.

And now that rolling pin is in my kitchen.  And I can say that it comes out of the cupboard on a regular basis.  Take these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls for instance.  That rolling pin was put to good use here!  Cinnamon rolls are quite possibly my favorite breakfast food, and I often make a batch of cinnamon rolls for holiday breakfasts.  It’s really hard to beat a good tender cinnamon roll and a mug of strong coffee.

Inspired by two favorite winter recipes, these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls feature chocolaty rolls drizzled with a marshmallow glaze.  They're perfect for cold winter days!Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls

Brrr…it’s getting cold out there!  Old Man Winter arrived early in upstate New York this year, and it looks like he’s here to stay.  Close your eyes and picture a really cold morning.  Like the kind of morning where the windows fog up just from frost.  Now imagine opening your eyes and seeing a tray of freshly baked cinnamon rolls sitting on the kitchen counter.

Now close your eyes and picture a really cold winter afternoon.  Like the kinda of afternoon where the snow is coming down, and you just can’t seem to shake the chill out of your bones.  Now imagine opening your eyes and seeing a mug of hot cocoa sitting there on the kitchen counter.

Inspired by two favorite winter recipes, these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls feature chocolaty rolls drizzled with a marshmallow glaze.  They're perfect for cold winter days!Those two thoughts were the inspiration behind these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls.  Start with a classic cinnamon roll recipe, but add some cocoa powder into the dough.  And then add some melted marshmallows into the glaze that gets drizzled on top of those rolls.  Now we’re talking about a mighty fine breakfast (or snack…or dessert) for a cold winter day!

For these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls, I used Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Yeast.  Now I know yeast might seem like a scary thing, but truthfully yeast is your friend.  After all, it does all the work for you!  All you have to do is mix it into the dough, put that dough in a nice warm place and then sit back and let the yeast do its job.  I consider yeast to be my sidekick helper in the kitchen.  I often have an actual sidekick helper named Robbie in the kitchen.  This time, Robbie chose to watch cartoons instead, but you better believe he showed up when it was time to eat these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls!

Inspired by two favorite winter recipes, these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls feature chocolaty rolls drizzled with a marshmallow glaze.  They're perfect for cold winter days!Nothing tastes better than home-baked treats.  Nothing.  Whenever I’m making yeasted doughs, I always turn to Fleischmann’s® Yeast.  As a company, they’ve been around for 150 years, so they kinda know a thing or two about baking.  Over the years, I’ve heard a number of folks say they won’t touch recipes that call for yeast.  I get it.  Yeast can sound scary, but it truthfully isn’t scary at all!  Plus, Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Yeast makes baking with yeast a cinch.

Inspired by two favorite winter recipes, these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls feature chocolaty rolls drizzled with a marshmallow glaze.  They're perfect for cold winter days!Tips for Baking with Yeast

One of the first tips about baking with yeast is to make sure your yeast isn’t expired.  Take a look at the date on the package.  Make sure that date is still in the future.  Another key tip for baking with yeast?  Make sure the water (or other liquid) you use is warm, not hot.  The water should be around 120°F-130°F.  Anything hotter could kill the yeast.  (A kitchen thermometer is the best way to gauge the temperature.)

Inspired by two favorite winter recipes, these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls feature chocolaty rolls drizzled with a marshmallow glaze.  They're perfect for cold winter days!Finally, another tip for baking recipes with yeast is how long to let the dough rise.  In the case of these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls, the dough only needs to rest for 10 minutes on the first rise.  At this point, the dough should spring back when you lightly press two fingers into it.  From there, you simply roll and slice the rolls before letting them rise a second time.  The second rise is a bit longer – about an hour – but it’s done in the baking pan itself.  This is the stage where the yeast does all the work while you clean the kitchen…or sit back and sip on a mug of hot cocoa!

Inspired by two favorite winter recipes, these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls feature chocolaty rolls drizzled with a marshmallow glaze.  They're perfect for cold winter days!As you can tell, I love baking with yeast.  Nothing beats the smell of homemade breads and other treats when they’re fresh out of the oven.  These Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect example!  The house smelled absolutely amazing.  If you’re looking for a fun twist on the classic cinnamon roll, then give this version a shot.  They taste even better after playing outside in the snow…or playing a late-night curling game.  (I speak from experience here.)  I hope you enjoy these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls as much as we did!  Happy baking!

Did you bake a batch of these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls at home?  Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).  I’d love to see your version!

Inspired by two favorite winter recipes, these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls feature chocolaty rolls drizzled with a marshmallow glaze.  They're perfect for cold winter days!

Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls

Inspired by two favorite winter recipes, these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls feature chocolaty rolls drizzled with a marshmallow glaze.  They're perfect for cold winter days!
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Rising Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 12 rolls
Calories: 448kcal


For the Cinnamon Rolls

  • 4½-5 cups all-purpose flour divided
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 packets Fleischmann's® RapidRise® Yeast 4½ tsp total
  • 1 tsp salt
  • cups water
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg

For the Filling

  • cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter softened

For the Glaze

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows or ~20 large marshmallows
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • cups powdered sugar


For the Cinnamon Rolls

  • Using a large bowl, add 2 cups flour, cocoa powder, sugar, yeast and salt; stir until well combined. Set bowl aside.
  • Using a microwave-safe bowl, add water and butter. Microwave in 15-seconds intervals until very warm but not hot to the touch. (The target temperature is 120°F-130°F. The butter will not melt completely.)
  • Add water and butter mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Add egg.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until smooth. (Don’t forget to scrape sides and bottom of bowl occasionally.)
  • Add 2 more cups of flour; beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
  • Add just enough of the remaining flour for dough to come together and form a ball when mixed on medium speed. (Note: I used ¾ cup of flour at this stage.)
  • Transfer dough to a lightly-floured work surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. (Note: Dough should spring back when lightly pressed with two fingers.)
  • Cover dough with a towel; let rest for 10 minutes.

For the Filling

  • Using a medium mixing bowl, add sugar, cinnamon and chocolate chips; stir until well combined. Set bowl aside.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a 10”x15” rectangle.
  • Spread softened butter evenly over dough, leaving ½” border on each of the longer sides. Sprinkle filling mixture evenly on top of butter.
  • Beginning with a long side of the rectangle, roll dough up tightly. Pinch seams together to seal.
  • Using a sharp knife, slice dough into 12 equal pieces. (Tip: A piece of unflavored dental floss is a great way to slice cinnamon rolls. Simply slide floss under the rolls, bring both ends up and cross over to cut dough.)
  • Place pieces cut-side down into a greased 9”x13” baking pan.
  • Cover pan with towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until tops of rolls are golden brown. Let pan cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

For the Glaze

  • Using a medium saucepan, add butter and place over medium heat.
  • Once butter has melted, add marshmallows, milk and vanilla extract. Continue to cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes, or until marshmallows have melted and mixture is smooth.
  • Remove from heat and add powdered sugar; stir until well combined. (If necessary, add a bit more milk to make glaze easier to drizzle onto cinnamon rolls.)
  • Using a piping bag with a small round tip (or a sandwich bag with one corner snipped off), drizzle glaze on top of cooled rolls.

Inspired by two favorite winter recipes, these Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls feature chocolaty rolls drizzled with a marshmallow glaze.  They're perfect for cold winter days!

Looking for more tasty cinnamon roll recipes?  Check out these other favorites, too:

These Maple Glazed Cinnamon Rolls are light, fluffy and filled with cinnamon and Vermont maple syrup!Maple Glazed Cinnamon Rolls

Welcome in Autumn mornings with a batch of these Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls!  They're loaded with cinnamon, spice and everything nice!Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls

These Overnight Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are filled with comforting spices...and perfect for serving during the holidays!Overnight Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

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    1. I’m with ya right there, Kathy! Hot chocolate on a cold winter day is amazing. Cinnamon rolls on a cold winter day are amazing. Together? Well now we’ve got something magical going! 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend!

      1. 5 stars
        Excellent recipe! It turned out perfectly for a start to the weekend for me and the kids. Thank you! Definitely saving this one.

        1. Awesome! I’m so glad these turned out well for you, Jennifer. And I really appreciate you stopping back by to leave a comment, too. Enjoy those hot cocoa cinnamon rolls this weekend! 🙂

  1. 5 stars
    I love things like that, passed down. So precious! What a brilliant idea here, David with hot cocoa cinnamon rolls. I mean, seriously. How good would these be first thing Christmas morning with a cuppa hot chocolate? Talk about over the top good! Pinned! Hope you have a great week ahead, my friend 🙂

    1. That rolling pin really has seen it’s fair share of work over the years. It means a lot to me that I get to carry on the family tradition with it now! 🙂 Also, these hot cocoa cinnamon rolls are downright delicious. That might have been the first time the rolling pin made hot cocoa cinnamon rolls, but I can assure it that it won’t be the last! Thanks, Dawn!

  2. 5 stars
    When it comes to rolling pins, I think they’re like golf clubs, one should never ask how many one has.
    Yummo looking chocolate yeast rolls you got there David. They even look good with that delicious looking marshmellow glaze.

    1. Hah! Fair comparison there between rolling pins and golf clubs, Ron. I like it! Also, that marshmallow glaze really takes these rolls to the next level. Just liking drinking a cup of hot cocoa! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Winter hasn’t really arrived in our area. The air now smells like winter (If you know, what I am talking about); however, the temperature is mild (No complains!), and we’ve got the real snow only once (And it melted away quickly). It’s kind of grey and sad outside, so I hope we’ve got some real winter soon (Just till the holidays are over!)

    And these cinnamon rolls tell me that’s the season has arrived. I don’t eat (I don’t even think about) cinnamon rolls throughout the year, but the there’s something warm and comforting about them that perfectly defines the winter holidays. Love these bad guys with a delightful fudgy chocolate filling!

    P.S. Dear Santa, please bake and send a batch of these cinnamon rolls… 🙂

    1. I totally know what you mean about the smell of winter, Ben. However, winter has fully arrived here. We just got 20-24″ of snow in the past 2 days…and I’m over it! There is so much darned snow outside now. If you want some snow, we’ve got extra. I’ll mail it to you. 🙂

      As far as these cinnamon rolls, they are totally comforting! If you ask me, these are perfect for a cold winter day when all you want to do is curl up on the couch and watch Christmas movies. Yum!

  4. 5 stars
    What is more comforting that a warm cinnamon roll and a cup of hot cocoa? And, really, why not put them together! This is such a fun and creative idea, David! Perfect for holiday breakfasts!

    1. I’m totally with ya, Marissa! I’m all about hot cocoa on a cold day. And I’m all about cinnamon rolls on a cold…wait…everyday. So combining these two together was awesome! Perfect for the holidays! 🙂

    1. Yes! A touch of cinnamon in a mug of hot cocoa is a magical thing. These cinnamon rolls totally channel that vibe, and I’ve gotta say that they’re perfect for the holidays! 🙂 Thanks, Dawn!

    1. Did y’all get hammered with the recent snowstorm, Nicole? We got 22-24″ at the end of the holiday weekend. Talk about the perfect weather to stay inside and bake! 🙂

      1. You guys get so much snow up there! We’ve only had maybe 2 inches so far… Question for you! I’m thinking of making these for Christmas morning, but I’m going to be traveling… Think I could prep the dough beforehand – it would have to be on the 23rd – and bake it the morning of? Not sure how yeast would react to sitting for that long, but I feel like if I bake it 2 days before they won’t be all that fresh. Thoughts?

        1. Well, to be fair, that 22-24″ was WAY out of the ordinary for this time of the year…or anytime of the year. Usually we get a couple 9-10″ each season.

          So I agree with you about not baking these too early. Baking and then holding these for 2 days wouldn’t be ideal. Likewise, I’m not entirely sure what would happen if you try to hold the dough for 2 days. My gut feeling is it would over-rise…even if you keep the dough refrigerated.

          Is there any chance of making (and baking) these for the family to enjoy on Christmas Eve? This is a fairly easy recipe as the dough only has one rise – once it’s all sliced and in the pan. So maybe you could sneak away for a bit in the afternoon and make the recipe? I’m thinking it’s gonna be hard to make this in advance like that. Either way, I hope you and the family have a wonderful first Christmas with the little one! Cheers! 🙂

  5. Winter has arrived here in Phoenix and I don’t love it–I could go for one of these with my coffee right now! Adding chocolate is probably the only way to improve upon a cinnamon roll 🙂

    1. Wait. Winter in Phoenix? Is there even such a thing!? 🙂 Seriously, though, cinnamon roll plus chocolate is definitely worth doing. And don’t skip the marshmallow frosting, either! Thanks, Kelsie…and stay warm out there!

  6. 5 stars
    Ohhhhh my gosh! What a fabulous combo of two of my favorite things: cinnamon rolls and cocoa. These are simply PERFECTION, and could brighten any day! You are a genius. And I absolutely love the rolling pin backstory, that is so neat! I always love recipes that have a history, how cool that you have a much loved kitchen tool with such a beautiful history. Can’t wait to make these rolls!

    1. Hey Shannon! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I do love baking cinnamon rolls, and this hot cocoa version was a fun twist on the classic. Definitely put these on the ‘to-bake’ list…they’re perfect for the holidays! (I suspect they’ll also be perfect for cold winter days in January and February, too…)

  7. 5 stars
    Yes! I want to open my eyes and find these wonderful rolls on my kitchen counter! They look so amazing with the chocolatey filling and the marshmallow glaze! There’s nothing like the smell of yeasted treats baking in the oven.

    I had to giggle when you mentioned how you and your sister would fight over space in the back seat. Same here! My brother and I would draw an invisible line down the middle of seat and “tell” when the other crossed it 🙂

    I also have my grandmother’s rolling pin that my grandfather’s father carved out of a tree branch for her. Truly a prized possession. Now my father makes them on his lathe out of fancy woods. Can never have too many!

    1. Haha! Wouldn’t that be awesome if you could just close your eyes and will delicious baked goods to appear on your countertop? I love cinnamon rolls, and I’m pretty I’d wish for those every.single.time!

      Oh my gosh, the invisible line in the backseat? I still remember it!

      Wait. Your grandfather carved a rolling pin out of a tree branch!? That is insanely awesome! And your father makes them? You should do a post about this! I’d love to see his work!

  8. 5 stars
    Hot chocolate + cinnamon rolls = a recipe made in heaven! And one perfect for cold winter’s days! Love how you’ve got 3 rolling pins, and one thats been passed down. I’ve got a soup pot that my Gran used to use. I still use it. It’s good that we’re still using all these old pieces of equipments isn’t it? Means less wear and tear on the planet. Love the marshmallow glaze on these! Yum!

    1. That’s so cool that you still use your Gram’s soup pot! Things like that really make cooking fun. 🙂 I love using my Grandpa’s rolling pin. And these hot cocoa cinnamon rolls were a great way to use that pin, too! Perfect for cold weather days!

  9. How long can I refrigerate before baking or how should I reheat it? I want to get as much done the night before as I can

    1. Hey Meara! So glad you stopped by – these are delicious cinnamon rolls! 🙂 I haven’t tried making them the night before, so I can’t say for certain how well it will work. However, I would guess that you could cover and refrigerate the dough after Step 6 in the Filling section (i.e. before you let the dough rise the 2nd time). Then the next morning, pull the dough out and let it come to room temperature (~1 hour) before baking. I’ve had success doing this with other cinnamon rolls, but I just haven’t tried it with these. Let me know how it works out?

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