Soft and fluffy Chocolate Rolls are made with a simple yeast-raised sweet dough, filled with rich chocolate, and drizzled with a silky chocolate icing. This recipe includes a how-to video to show you step-by-step how to make these rolls!
Chocolate Sweet Rolls
My love language is chocolate ❤️
Anyone else? With Valentine’s Day coming up this week, I thought I’d share something richly chocolatey for you to make for your sweetheart (or, better yet, have your sweetheart make for you… that’s a hint, Zach). While a batch of Valentine cookies would also make a sweet gift, chocolate lava cake, chocolate covered strawberries, and these chocolate rolls are all on my wish list this Valentine’s Day.
For those of you who are a little yeast-shy, I’ve included a how-to video just below the recipe to show you exactly how to make these chocolate sweet rolls in your own kitchen. I’ve also included make-ahead tips so that you can make these anywhere from a day to a month in advance!
What You Need
Perfect Chocolate Rolls
This recipe was slightly modified from my classic cinnamon rolls, adjusted to use active dry instead of instant yeast. As with that recipe, I used my favorite secret ingredient (cornstarch!) here. This gives us soft and fluffy rolls that nearly melt in your mouth.
For the centers, I opted for two types of chocolate (cocoa powder and a finely chopped chocolate bar) for decadent swirled centers that are bold, buttery, ever so slightly gooey, and yet also simple to make. I also sprinkled just a pinch of ground cinnamon into the filling. It’s optional, but adds a nice depth of flavor and is a sweet nod to the traditional recipe that these are modeled after.
For the chocolate glaze, I borrowed from my triple chocolate scones to top everything off with even more chocolate (because remember, that’s our love language here ❤️), though these would still be delicious with a simple vanilla glaze or cream cheese frosting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Simply follow the sweet roll base that I use in my one hour cinnamon rolls and then use the filling and icing for this recipe.
You can use either Dutch processed or Natural cocoa powder for chocolate rolls. I think that the Dutch processed has a slightly better taste here, but it’s a matter of personal preference (or even just a matter of which one you happen to have in your pantry).
Yes, please see my detailed notes below.
As with most yeast recipes (like my easy pizza dough), the exact amount of flour that you will need will vary. You’ll have to go based off of the texture of your dough (it should be smooth and elastic, pulling away from the sides of the bowl and clinging to itself) rather than sticking strictly to what the recipe says (this was hard for me to learn when I first started baking with yeast!). If you’ve never made a dough like this before, watching the video below the recipe will probably be helpful to you.
How to Make Chocolate Rolls In Advance
These chocolate sweet rolls can be made in their entirety a day or two in advance, stored in an airtight container at room temperature, and then reheated. However, if you wish to enjoy them hot-out-of-the-oven then you can do most of the heavy lifting a day or even a month in advance. You have several make-ahead options:
- Prepare the sweet roll dough a day in advance: Prepare the dough according to recipe instructions, then after placing it in a bowl and covering tightly, let it rise in the fridge overnight (do not leave it at room temperature). When you are ready to bake the next day, gently deflate the dough and proceed with the recipe as indicated.
- Prepare the rolls in advance so you only have to bake and drizzle with glaze the next day: Prepare according to recipe instructions and assemble in pie plate according to instructions. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge. The next morning, remove the plastic wrap, cover loosely with a clean towel, and allow to come to room temperature. Bake according to recipe instructions.
- Freeze: Prepare cinnamon rolls according to recipe instructions up until you have thechocolate sweet rolls assembled in a pie plate, but have not risen them for a second time yet. Cover very well with plastic wrap so the dish is airtight. Rolls can be frozen for up to 1 month. When ready to bake, remove from freezer and allow to come to room temperature overnight. Bake according to recipe instructions.
Note: I don’t recommend making the chocolate glaze in advance as it hardens rather quickly. You should wait until the chocolate rolls are at least in the oven before making the icing.
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Let’s bake together! Make sure to check out the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card!
- ¾ cup whole milk (175ml), heated to 105-110F (40-45C)
- 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (50g) + 1 tsp
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 large egg lightly beaten (room temperature preferred)
- 1 large egg yolk lightly beaten (room temperature preferred)
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (345g) plus additional as needed
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 5 ½ Tablespoons unsalted butter softened, divided
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Dutch processed cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate bar finely chopped or ⅔ cup mini chocolate chips (115g)
- ¾ cup powdered sugar (95g)
- 3 Tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder (20g)
- 2-3 Tablespoons whole milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pour milk into the bowl of a stand mixer¹ that’s been fitted with a dough hook. Add yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar and stir. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until yeast is foamy.
- Add remaining ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar, melted butter, egg and egg yolk and stir until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 ¾ cups (345g) all purpose flour, cornstarch, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture (my dough hook has trouble reaching the sides of the bowl, so usually I’ll have to stir by hand with a spoon to get the flour incorporated until I’ve added about half of the flour, then the dough hook functions well).
- Continue to stir on low speed until the dough clings to itself to form a ball that pulls away from the side of the bowl. It should be smooth, elastic, and slightly tacky (but not sticky) to the touch. Add additional flour as needed until this dough consistency is reached.
- Once proper dough consistency is reached, transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled in size (about 2 hours).
- When dough has risen, prepare your pie plate and filling.
FILLING & ASSEMBLY
- Melt 1 ½ Tablespoons of the butter and place in a 10” pie plate. Set aside.
- Combine remaining 4 tablespoons butter, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon, if using. Stir together until completely combined. Set aside, you’ll need this momentarily.
- Take risen dough and gently punch down/deflate the dough and transfer to a clean surface. Use a rolling pin to roll into a 15×9” rectangle.
- Spread prepared chocolate filling over the surface of the dough, leaving about ½” perimeter around the edges. Sprinkle finely chopped chocolate or chocolate chips over the filling.
- Working with one 15” side, tightly roll the dough into a log. Cut into 9 even slices. Transfer to prepared pie plate and cover with a clean towel (or plastic wrap or foil). Place in a warm, dry place and allow to rise until puffy and almost doubled in size (about 30-60 minutes). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F (175C).
- Once rolls have finished their second rise and oven is preheated, remove towel (or foil or plastic wrap) and transfer to oven. Bake 20-24 minutes or until rolls are cooked through and lightly golden brown.
- Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before covering with chocolate icing.
- Whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons whole milk, and vanilla extract. Add additional milk, as needed, until desired consistency is reached.
- Drizzle icing over rolls. Enjoy!
Make in advance or freeze: See notes in post (blue box) for how to make dough in advance or freeze.