Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls – Using Chocolate Cake Mix

I’m thrilled that so many of you enjoyed the Cake Mix Cinnamon Rolls that I posted last week.  While they are still traditional cinnamon rolls (yeast, rising dough, all that good stuff), I find them to be pretty simple to make and the results are outstanding.   When I was making them, all I could think was “hmm, what would these be like with a chocolate cake mix?”.   A reader posed the same question and that was all the motivation I needed to make some and find out.

Yeah, pretty darn delicious.  The only changes I made to previous recipe were using chocolate cake mix in place of white or vanilla, I added in 2/3 cup cocoa (I went with dark cocoa) and I cut back the flour to 4 1/2 cups instead of 5 cups.   Aside from that the directions are identical.   I went with a straight vanilla frosting on these, but it would be fun to try other flavors out as well.

Chocolate.  It’s what’s for breakfast.

If you are a bit hesitant to try and make cinnamon rolls (as I was for MANY years – I’d see the word “yeast” in a recipe and run the other way), I really encourage you to try these – in the regular or chocolate version.  For a true cinnamon roll these are as simple as I have found.   Simple enough that I won’t mind making them myself on Mother’s Day.

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls


    Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix (standard size box that makes an 8" layer cake)
  • 2 packages of dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups of warm water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup cocoa (I like Hershey's Special Dark)
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • Filling
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • 1/2-1 cup butter, softened
  • Frosting
  • 1 can vanilla frosting (or your favorite vanilla frosting recipe)
  • Chocolate syrup for drizzle



1. Mix yeast and warm water until dissolved.

2. Combine cake mix, salt, cocoa and flour in a large bowl.

3. Add warm water/yeast mixture and vanilla to cake mix, salt and flour mixture. Mix well. This may require kneading with your hands a bit to completely combine ingredients.

4. Cover tightly. Let rise for one hour. Punch down and let rise again for another 30-60 minutes.

5. On a floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle shape, approx 1/4? thick.

6. Once dough is rolled out, brush with softened butter. I found that one stick was adequate for this recipe, but you could use more (or less) if desired.

7. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Sprinkle with cinnamon – use as little or as much as you like.

8. Starting at end opposite from you, roll the dough towards you until all dough is rolled into one long piece.

9. Slice dough into 24 equal sized pieces.

10. Place rolls in two greased 9×13 pans. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. I usually sit my rolls on my stovetop while my oven preheats to 350 degrees. This allows them time to rise and provides a bit of warmth from the oven warming.

11. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes or until golden brown. My rolls took approx 22 minutes. This will depend on your stove and your preference for how brown you like your cinnamon rolls.

12. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

13. Prepare your frosting. If you prefer your frosting to melt into your rolls, frost after rolls have cooled for 10-15 minutes. If you prefer your frosting to stay on top of your rolls, wait until rolls have cooled until frosting. Drizzle with chocolate sauce just prior to serving. If desired garnish with chocolate chips or shavings.

14. Enjoy!

What are you making or hoping to have made for you this Mother’s Day?   My husband is a big waffle maker, and I’m thinking we may need to try the cake mix waffles in a chocolate version.  Oh my heck that sounds good.   Yum yum yum.


  1. Sarah says

    Since you don’t like cinnamon and chocolate, what about using Nutella or something like that instead of the cinnamon mixture? Add a little sprinkle of instant cappuccino mix and you could have a hazelnut mocha cappuccino roll. Oooor a chocolate peanut butter one if you used peanut butter!

  2. Natasha says

    I agree, cinnamon and chocolate is not my favorite flavor combination. How about trying something like raspberry jam, or peanut butter chips for the filling instead?

  3. Suzanne Singer says

    The chocolate ones sound delish! I was thinking raspberry preserves or caramel sauce as an alternative for the cinnamon. I’m with you, not a lover of chocolate and cinnamon together.

  4. says

    Chocolate and cinnamon are one of my favored combos. Love this recipe. Bookmarked!

    Chanced upon your blog today. You have a wonderful blog. I seem to want to try almost every recipe I see here. :)

  5. Kirsty says

    Best recipe EVER! I tried Pioneer Woman’s rolls, and (sacrilege!) I wasn’t impressed. Made these and they were delicious! I made the chocolate dough, and used nutella instead of the cinnamon-sugar mix. Definitely my new go-to recipe for scrolls. Can’t wait to try some different flavour combos. I’m thinking a carrot cake mix with cream cheese frosting…!

    • says

      Beth, you know, I honestly don’t know. I’m thinking not. Maybe a sprinkling of sugar (I always like that bit of crunch that sugar gets in cinnamon roll filing). If you try it will you please let me know! I would love to make it, but cinnamon rolls being my daughter’s most favorite things + her nut allergy means it’s one of those things I pass up – most things she doesn’t mind, but if I make a “favorite” she can’t have, that I hear about! :)


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