These Halloween Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect breakfast treat for spooky season! The bright orange rolls are filled with a chocolate cinnamon filling and topped with vanilla icing and sprinkles. Both kids and adults will love them!
I'll use any excuse to make cinnamon rolls. And to eat them. And don't get me wrong; I love a regular old-fashioned cinnamon bun. But for the holidays? I'm going all out.
These Halloween cinnamon rolls are packed with chocolate cinnamon filling, drizzled with vanilla icing, and topped with festive sprinkles.
Kids will enjoy the fun orange and black colors and everyone will love the tasty chocolate cinnamon bun flavor.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
Halloween is all about sweet treats... Yes, even for breakfast! If you're looking for a special Halloween breakfast your family will absolutely love, you need to make these cinnamon rolls.
Of course, cinnamon rolls aren't just for breakfast and you can serve these for dessert or as a snack or even bring them to a Halloween party.
Both kids and adults will love these treats!
If you've never made cinnamon rolls before, I'll take you through the process step by step and you'll see that they're really not hard to make!
There are a few different components to these cinnamon rolls, including the dough, the filling, and the icing. Here's what you need for each of them (be sure to view the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions):
- Whole milk
- Vegetable oil
- Granulated sugar
- Active dry yeast: you can buy the packets (you'll need one for this recipe) or a whole container of it.
- All-purpose flour
- Orange food coloring
- Halloween sprinkles: optional, but recommended!
Chocolate Cinnamon Filling:
- Unsalted butter
- Dark brown sugar: can substitute light if needed, but dark will look better.
- Black cocoa: though you can use standard cocoa powder in a pinch, black cocoa powder will be much more Halloween-y. I recommend King Arthur brand.
- Ground cinnamon
- Vanilla extract
- Dark chocolate chips: also optional, but recommended.
- Confectioners' sugar
- Vanilla extract
👻 How to make Halloween cinnamon rolls
Making cinnamon rolls from scratch is a little bit of a process, but it's actually pretty easy. And homemade is so much tastier than the ones you buy already made at the store or in a can!
To start, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it's hot, but not at the point of boiling.
If you have a thermometer, the mixture should be about 170-180 degrees.
Once heated, pour the milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment (if you don't have a stand mixer, you can do it by hand) and let rest for about 10-15 minutes to cool a bit (you want it at about 110 degrees).
Sprinkle yeast over the top of milk mixture. Let sit for 5 minutes. It shouold get a little frothy.
Add flour and salt to milk mixture and mix on low for 1 minute, until flour is incorporated. Switch to dough hook attachment and add orange food coloring to mixture.
Knead on medium speed until dough is comes together and is smooth, 6-8 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased mixing bowl, cover it with a towel, and place it in a warm location.
Let dough rise for about an hour, until it doubles in size.
To me, there's nothing more magical than watching dough rise!
While the dough is rising, you can make the chocolate cinnamon filling. It's easy!
Add all ingredients except chocolate chips (butter, dark brown sugar, black cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla) to a medium bowl and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine.
It's nice and black and all ready to be spread on the dough once you roll it out.
Once dough has risen, punch it down and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough out into a rectangle, about 12×16 inches.
Using a knife spread chocolate cinnamon filling over the entire dough rectangle. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top, if using.
The chocolate chips will make the filling a bit more ooey-gooey, but the rolls will still be delicious without them.
Roll the dough lengthwise into a tight log, and use a sharp knife or unflavored dental floss to cut the log into 12 equal slices (about 1 ¼" thick).
Arrange rolls in a pan 9x16 baking pan lightly sprayed with cooking oil or brushed with melted butter.
Now you'll need to let the rolls rise a little bit again. Cover the pan with a towel and place in a warm area to rise for about 45 minutes.
When they're almost done rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake rolls (uncovered) for 20-22 minutes, until cooked through.
You'll want to let them rest for about 5 minutes before drizzling with icing.
The icing is easy to make, too! Just whisk all the ingredients (confectioners' sugar, milk, vanilla) together in a bowl.
And drizzle it over the cinnamon rolls. This recipe makes a big batch of icing because I'm a big believer in the fact that the more icing on cinnamon rolls, the better!
Top with Halloween sprinkles, too. I get most of my festive sprinkles from Sweetapolita. I love the little bones and bats in this mix!
And you're ready to dig in and enjoy a seasonal Halloween cinnamon roll. I know the bright orange flavor may be jarring to some, but trust me, these are delicious!
They taste just like a fabulous homemade cinnamon roll, but with an incredibly tasty chocolate flavor thanks to the filling. They're perfectly sweet with the ideal touch of cinnamon.
💡Tips and Tricks
If you want to make some adjustments to these cinnamon rolls or are having trouble getting the perfect roll, here are some tips and tricks.
- If you don't like the idea of using chocolate in the cinnamon buns, you can simply make the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon filling without cocoa powder. If you still want the black color, stir in some black food coloring instead.
- If you don't like using food coloring in your baked goods, there are ways to obtain a natural orange color (though perhaps not as bright and vibrant!). This carrot powder is one option for a natural orange coloring.
- If you tend to have trouble getting dough to rise, your house may be too chilly. I like to place my bowl on the back of my stovetop with the oven turned on low.
- Once I've rolled my dough into a log, I like to measure out where I'm going to make each slice so I can ensure I get 12 basically equally-sized rolls.
⏲ How to make in advance
If you want to make part of these cinnamon rolls in advance (especially if you want to wake up Halloween morning and have breakfast ready to go!), you have a couple different options!
Option 1: After the dough rises (step 4 in the recipe card), cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in fridge for up to three days and finish rolling dough and forming rolls when ready.
Option 2: After you arrange the rolls in the pan (step 7), you can cover the pan in plastic wrap and place them in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for longer. Simply bring to room temperature and bake when ready.
🦇 More Halloween treats
These Halloween cinnamon rolls are the perfect holiday breakfast, but I have lots of other Halloween treat recipes that both kids and adults will like. Here are some of my favorites:
- Halloween Party Popcorn
- Halloween Trail Mix
- Candy Corn Ice Cream
- Halloween Cakesicles
- Candy Corn Simple Syrup
- Pumpkin Cookie Dough Bars
- Candy Corn Toffee
- Chocolate Monster Halloween Cookies (from Sugar Salt Magic)
I hope you and your family love these Halloween cinnamon rolls and have fun incorporating them into your spooky season!
If you're looking for another season cinnamon roll recipe, try my pumpkin cinnamon rolls, too.
Halloween Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 6 Tbsp (¼ cup + 2 Tbsp) granulated sugar
- 2 ¼ tsp yeast (1 packet)
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- Orange food coloring
- Halloween sprinkles, optional
Chocolate Cinnamon Filling
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp black cocoa
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips* (optional)
- 1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
- 3 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Heat milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it's hot, but not at the point of boiling. It should be about 170-180 degrees.
- Pour milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment (if you don't have a stand mixer, you can do it by hand- see notes below) and let rest for about 10 minutes to cool a bit (you want it at about 110 degrees). Sprinkle yeast over the top of milk mixture. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Add flour and salt to milk mixture and mix on low for 1 minute, until flour is incorporated. Switch to dough hook attachment and add orange food coloring to mixture. Knead on medium speed until dough is comes together and is smooth, 6-8 minutes.
- Transfer dough to a lightly greased mixing bowl, cover with a towel, and place in a warm location. Let dough rise for about an hour, until it doubles in size.
- Once dough has risen, punch it down and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough out into a rectangle, about 12×16 inches.
- Using a knife spread chocolate cinnamon filling over the entire dough rectangle, all the way to the edges. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top, if using.
- Roll the dough lengthwise into a tight log, and use a sharp knife or unflavored dental floss to cut the log into 12 equal slices (about 1 ¼" thick). Arrange rolls in a pan 9x16 baking pan lightly sprayed with cooking oil or brushed with melted butter.
- Cover pan with a towel and place in a warm area to rise for about 45 minutes.
- When rolls are almost done rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake rolls for about 20-22 minutes, until cooked through and no longer doughy.
- Let cinnamon rolls rest for about 5 minutes before drizzling with vanilla icing and adding sprinkles, if desired.
Chocolate Cinnamon Filling
- Add all ingredients except chocolate chips to a medium bowl and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine.
- Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- If you don't have a stand mixer, put milk mixture in a large bowl and use a wooden spoon to combine, salt, and orange food coloring. Once dough comes together, place on a lightly floured surface and use your hands to knead dough for about 10 minutes.
- If you don't have dark chocolate chips, you can use semisweet.
- I like King Arthur's Black Cocoa Powder.
- See post body for tips on making portions of this recipe in advance.