Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls

Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls // Feast + West

Coffee is what gives me energy in the morning. I’m totally addicted. I love it for afternoon pick-me-ups too. But I’m also a tea person. I grew up on tea, in fact.

With a South African mom who makes herself a cup of tea every few hours, it’s hard not to like both beverages. (She does, too!) I like tea of all kinds.

Darjeeling and rooibos are probably my favorites to drink at home, but I am becoming a huge fan of chai too. I love chai in everything from this Chai Old-Fashioned Cocktail to these Chai Spice Streusel Muffins.

Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls // Feast + West

Chai tea is an Indian flavored tea that’s made by brewing black tea with aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and black peppercorns. 

The chai latte is a popular coffee shop beverage made with chai tea and steamed milk.

And then there’s the dirty chai latte, which has an added shot of espresso. I know what you’re thinking: coffee and tea together? Yes. It’s possible, and delicious. A good friend of mine swears by her afternoon dirty chai.

Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls // Feast + West

I’m totally mind-reading today, because I know what you’re thinking again. Coffee and tea in cinnamon rolls?

Yes, that’s exactly what is happening here, and I’m not sorry for bringing it to your attention. I have been dying to try these Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls ever since I dreamed them up.

Filled with chai spices and coffee, a dollop of Bee Raw’s Colorado Sweet Yellow Clover Honey and topped with a creamy, spiced glaze, these rolls are everything I wanted and more.

Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls // Feast + West

I believe that anyone can tackle any recipe, regardless of their cooking skill level. If you can read, you can make anything. But cinnamon rolls require time and attention.

They aren’t something you can whip up in an hour or two. You make them the night before you plan to eat them, and then let them sit all night long.

In other words, good things come to those who wait. Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls are one of those things.

Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls // Feast + West

Next time you’re planning a big family brunch or a special breakfast for overnight guests, take some time to make something that requires a little more effort.

Your guests will recognize your labor of love. Plus, you can easily please the coffee people and the tea people. Win, win.

February is Hot Breakfast Month. // Feast + West
February is Hot Breakfast Month. // Feast + West

Be sure to check out my Hot Breakfast Month partners and their amazing recipes. We’ll be using the hashtag #hotforbreakfast on social media.

Jess at 104 Homestead // Jami at An Oregon Cottage // Chris at Joybilee Farm
Kathie at Homespun Seasonal Living // Tessa at Homestead Lady
Sheila at Life, Love, and Good Food // Lynda at Me & My Pink Mixer
Annie at Montana Homesteader // Angi at Schneiderpeeps

Also, the following companies generously sponsored many of the Hot For Breakfast recipes. This project is in no small part thanks to them and their incredible contributions:

Bee Raw // Bob’s Red Mill // Made in Nature // Maple Valley Syrup Cooperative
Now Foods // Pacific Foods // Woodstock

Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls // Feast + West
Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls // Feast + West

Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Sugar and spice and everything nice — that’s what these cinnamon rolls are made of.
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For the cinnamon rolls

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package instant yeast
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg

For the filling

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1-2 teaspoons of instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey

For the Spiced Glaze

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar sifted
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch cardamom
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk


Make the dough.

  • Separate ½ cup of flour and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining flour, the sugar, salt and yeast together until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
  • In a heatproof bowl, heat the water, half-and-half and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch. Stir to combine, then slowly pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and only enough of the reserved ½ cup flour to make a soft dough. (I only needed ¼ cup.) Dough will be ready when it has an elastic, stretchy consistency and it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl.
  • On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3 to 4 minutes. Grease a bowl with non-stick spray and place the dough in the bowl. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  • After 10 minutes, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a 14 x 8-inch rectangle.

Make the filling.

  • In a clean bowl, mix together the sugars, candied ginger, spices, salt, pepper, cloves and coffee. Stir in the honey to create a sticky mixture.
  • Spread melted butter over top of the dough. Sprinkle evenly with sugar and spice mixture. Tightly roll up the dough. (Cinnamon may spill out the edges.) Cut the roll into 12 even pieces and place in a lightly greased 9-inch round pan.
  • Turn off the oven. Loosely cover the rolls with a sheet of aluminum foil. Allow them to rise in the warm oven for 60-90 minutes or overnight, up to 8 hours.
  • After the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Covered with aluminum foil after 15 minutes to avoid heavy browning.

Make the glaze.

  • While the rolls are cooking, make the glaze. In a large, clean bowl, combine confectioner’s sugar and spices. Add melted butter and 2 tablespoons milk and stir until smooth. (If glaze is too thick, add more milk. If it is too runny, stir in a teaspoon of confectioner’s sugar.)
  • Use immediately to top cinnamon rolls with glaze.

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nutrition information

Yield: 12

amount per serving:

Serving: 1roll Calories: 345kcal Carbohydrates: 57g Protein: 4g Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 7g Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 44mg Sodium: 280mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 34g
did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #feastandwestrecipes!

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  1. Chrissie says

    These sound incredible and I will have to make them soon!

    I also am a big fan of a dirty chai. I think Central Coffee has the best one in Charlotte!

  2. Sheila @Life, Love, and Good Food says

    Oh, Susannah! These look absolutely luscious! Wish I could stop over for a coffee break with you 🙂

  3. Amy | Club Narwhal says

    Oh my, Susannah, these look mouth wateringly delicious! I love your chai spin on them too. Mmm, now I want so many cinnamon rolls 🙂

  4. Angie says

    These sound wonderful! In the description you mentioned the combination of the coffee and tea in the rolls, but the recipe seems to be missing the coffee element. Does it go in the glaze?

    • Susannah says

      Hey Angie! Thank you so much for your comment. You’re right, it is missing the coffee/espresso part! It should include 1-2 teaspoons of instant coffee or espresso powder in the filling. I’ll update the recipe to include that, and thanks for the catch! I shouldn’t be typing up recipes so late at night. 😉

        • Susannah says

          Hi Art! Thanks for your comment! I do not use black tea in this recipe. Since these are ‘dirty chai’ (which is chai tea with espresso) cinnamon rolls, I use coffee/espresso with chai spices instead. That said, you could certainly bring in tea if you wanted. You could infuse the milk with tea bags for the frosting and/or the dough. I’d keep it weak, and you could use chai tea or black tea. Hope that helps!

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