Mocha Morning Rolls
Yield: 12 rolls
Total time: 2 hr. 40 min.

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Happy weekend, everyone! Can you ever go wrong with an espresso and chocolate combo? I sure don’t think so! These mocha morning rolls are made with a super soft & fluffy dough, filled with a cocoa-espresso buttery mixture, and topped with an espresso glaze. Perfect to prepare for breakfast, and you can even make the dough at night to bake them off in the morning.

A couple of things to note:

1. Measuring the ingredients. It is important that you weigh the ingredients so that the recipe turns out correctly. When you use a kitchen scale, you can ensure that your baked goods turns out as closely to the written recipe as possible. Here is my favorite kitchen scale, and here’s an article about why I use a kitchen scale, and why you should too!

2. Room temperature ingredients. It is important that the eggs and butter are at room temperature so that they incorporate properly into the batter. Take the eggs and butter out at least 30 minutes before starting the mocha morning rolls. A quick way to get the egg to room temperature is to place it in a bowl of warm water for a couple of minutes. The butter will also come to room temperature must faster if you slice it up!

3. Let the dough rise in a warm environment. Yeast doughs like warm environments, it’s where they thrive! Most often you will be able to get away with letting the dough rise at room temperature. However, on particularly cold days, I like to turn my oven on to the lowest temperature it can go, and let the dough rise on top of the stove near the back where it gets warm.

4. Heating the milk. Heating the milk is important for bringing the yeast to an optimal temperature for rising. The milk should be heated to ~100°F / 38°C but it does not have to be exact. As long as the milk is between 95°F – 110°F, it is good to be used. If the temperature exceeds 110°F, wait for it to cool down before using so that you do not kill the yeast!

To make mocha morning rolls, you will need:

For the dough:

All purpose flour: provides structure and chewiness to the rolls

Instant yeast: makes the dough rise! Active dry yeast will work as well, you will just need to make a few minor adjustments (listed later in the post)

Salt: helps balance the yeast so the dough does not over-proof

Granulated sugar: sweetens the dough, helps the yeast in making the dough rise

Unsalted butter: tenderizes the rolls

Egg: adds richness, moisture, and binds the dough together

Milk: hydrates the dough

For the filling:

Unsalted butter

Cocoa powder: I highly recommend using dutch process cocoa powder as it has a deeper, more chocolate-y flavor, but regular cocoa powder will also work in a pinch!

Espresso: I use a machine for this, but you can mix instant espresso with hot water and it will also work perfectly!

Light brown sugar: sweetens the filling

Mini chocolate chips: regular-sized chocolate chips will work, but mini chocolate chips don’t alter the shape of the dough as much!

For the glaze:

Powdered sugar

Espresso: you can use instant mixed with water, or freshly brewed espresso

Can I use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast?

Yes! You will need to make a few minor adjustments to the process.

  1. In the beginning, mix together the warmed milk, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until the mixture begins to foam. Once it foams, that means your yeast has been activated, is alive, and is ready to be added to the dough.
  2. The dough will take longer to rise on the first proof. It may take up to 1.5 hours to double in size.
  3. The dough will take longer to rise on the second proof. It may take up to 1.5 hours to double in size again. All you are really looking for on both proofs if for the dough to double from its original size, so if it is ready before that long, it is good to go!

Can I make these mocha morning rolls ahead of time?

Yes! There are two ways you could go about this.

  1. Make the dough the night before. My favorite way to handle this dough and most yeast doughs is to use this method. Simply knead the dough together, cover it in the mixing bowl, and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, the dough will have completed its’ first rise and be much easier to handle.
  2. Assemble the rolls the night before. After assembling the rolls, cover them in your prepared baking dish and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, take out the rolls and let them come to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.

How to get perfect cinnamon roll cuts:

If you want perfectly sliced cinnamon rolls, use floss! Get a long strand of floss and slide it under the dough log. To slice, bring both ends of the floss upwards and cross over each other onto the dough. You should be left with a perfectly sliced cinnamon roll. But don’t worry, they will be delicious no matter how they are cut! Here’s a quick little video on how to do so:

Tools and ingredients helpful for making this recipe:

Kitchen scale
9×13″ baking dish
Parchment paper
For more product recommendations, check out this page here

I hope you enjoy these mocha morning rolls, happy baking! x

Mocha Morning Rolls

Print Recipe
Soft and fluffy dough filled with a chocolate espresso filling, topped with an espresso glaze!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rising Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 12 rolls


Morning Roll Dough

  • 400 g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
  • 35 g granulated sugar
  • 113 g unsalted butter room temperature, cut into chunks
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 180 mL whole milk

Chocolate Espresso Filling

  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. dutch process cocoa powder
  • 30 mL espresso
  • 170 g light brown sugar
  • 115 g mini chocolate chips

Espresso Glaze

  • 320 g powdered sugar
  • 60 mL freshly brewed espresso


Morning Roll Dough

  • In the microwave, warm the milk to ~100°F / 38°C. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add all of the dough ingredients.
  • Start mixing the dough on low speed for 1 minute, until all of the ingredients start to come together. Increase the speed to medium and knead for an additional 12 minutes or until the dough cleans the sides of the bowls and is no longer sticking to the bottom.
  • Form the dough into a ball, place it back into the bowl, and cover the bowl. Leave to rise until doubled in size, ~35 minutes.
  • Butter and line a 9×13" pan with parchment paper.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, place it onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to a 14" x 20" rectangle.

Chocolate Espresso Filling

  • In the microwave or in a saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the espresso and cocoa powder, whisking until no lumps remain.
  • Spread the butter mixture evenly over the dough. Top it with the brown sugar, rubbing the sugar into the butter mixture. Top with mini chocolate chips.
  • Begin rolling up the dough from the shorter side. Cut the dough into 12 pieces and place the rolls evenly spaced apart in the prepared baking dish.
  • Cover the pan lightly with plastic wrap or a towel, and leave to rise until doubled in size, ~1 hr.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are golden brown.

Espresso Glaze

  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the espresso and powdered sugar. Pour evenly over the cinnamon rolls once they have slightly cooled down. Serve, and enjoy!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Looks so delicious! If we don’t have a stand mixer, do you know how long we should knead by hand before the first rise? Any signs to look for?

    1. Thank you so much! I have not tried kneading this dough by hand but you should knead it until it passes the windowpane test. Take a small piece of the dough and stretch it with your fingers. If you are able to stretch it enough to where you can see light passing through it without it ripping, you are good to go! Keep in mind the dough will be quite sticky to work with but as long as you weighed the ingredients you should be fine – maybe just use floured hands to work with it. I’d love to know how they turn out if you do try them! 🙂