Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls

If you need anything to turn red, beets are your answer. In addition to their natural color, you get to enjoy all of the super food properties from the beets. Plus, much like cooking with pumpkin, zucchini or carrot, beets add moisture and a velvety texture. Their earthy taste pairs especially well with chocolate, too.


  • 1 large beet (reserve juice for icing)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1⁄4 cup warm water, about 105°F
  • 4 1⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1⁄4 cups plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. To roast your beet, wrap it in aluminum foil and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Turn off oven after removing. Once beet is cool to the touch, cut away skin and top with a sharp paring knife. Reserve any juice for the icing.
  • Add roasted beet and buttermilk to a blender and puree until smooth.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve 1 teaspoon granulated sugar in warm water and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand until yeast begins to foam, about 5 minutes. Add in the beet mixture, egg, ½ cup granulated sugar, melted butter and salt and mix together with paddle attachment.
  • Add about half of the flour along with 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and continue to mix with the paddle attachment. Switch to the dough hook attachment and add the rest of the flour. Knead until dough comes together and forms a ball, about 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover in a warm room. Let rise for 1½-2 hours until doubled in size.
  • In a small bowl, use a fork to mix together the remaining ¾ cup granulated sugar, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon cocoa powder for the filling.
  • Divide dough into two portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a rectangle about 13"x20". Spread half of the softened butter on each rectangle and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture, leaving a ½” border around the edges. Roll up dough lengthwise into tight logs and place the logs seam-side down. Gently cut each log into 12 pieces using a serrated edge knife. Place all 24 rolls on a large parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Lightly cover rolls and allow to rise again for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake for 14-18 minutes, until light golden. Do not over-bake.
  • While rolls are cooking, whisk together confectioners' sugar, milk and reserved beet juice in small bowl. Add just enough milk to produce your preferred consistency.
  • When rolls are done cooking, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before covering with icing.
  • Serve immediately and store leftovers in the freezer wrapped in foil. Reheat in the oven when ready to serve.