New Orleans King Cake Recipe

Today, I invite you to join me as we unlock the secrets behind a cherished Mardi Gras tradition—the creation of a perfect New Orleans King Cake. This king cake is a masterpiece in itself, a symphony of flavors and textures that beckons not only to the taste buds but also to the soul.

New Orleans King Cake


  • Capture the Mardi Gras vibe with a homemade New Orleans King Cake, a festive and flavorful delight.
  • Make the dough and let it rise for a perfect, silky texture in every bite.
  • The filling, a mix of cinnamon, brown sugar, and nutmeg, brings a burst of deliciousness to your king cake.
  • Get creative with icing and colorful sugars, making your king cake as visually delightful as it is tasty.
  • Share the joy by making this cake for celebrations, creating delicious memories with loved ones.

We’ll unravel the steps, secrets, and moments of pure delight that come together. From the initial mixing of wet and dry ingredients to the rhythmic whirr of the stand mixer, every beat in the kitchen resonates with the promise of a delectable treat that goes beyond mere indulgence—it’s a celebration of tradition, culture, and the joy of sharing good food with loved ones.

New Orleans King Cake Recipe

To make a New Orleans King Cake, combine warm milk, melted butter, and dry ingredients; let the dough rise. Roll out, fill with cinnamon mixture, shape, and let rise again. Bake, ice, and decorate with Mardi Gras colors for a festive treat!

New Orleans King Cake recipe

New Orleans King Cake Recipe

So, tie your apron strings, preheat your ovens, and let's create more than just a cake.


Wet Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole milk 1/2 cup melted butter

Dry Ingredients

  • 390 grams (3 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar (66 grams)
  • 1 package instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Additional Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  • 150 grams (1 1/4 cups) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Purple, green, and gold sanding sugar


I'm excited to share this recipe with you, so let's dive in! 

Step 1: Making the Dough

  • Warm the milk and melt the butter in the microwave until it reaches 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Combine flour, sugar, instant yeast, kosher salt, and freshly grated nutmeg in a mixing bowl.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients and add the warm milk and melted butter.
  • Crack three eggs into the mixture and add vanilla extract.
  • Attach a dough hook to your stand mixer and mix on medium speed for about 15 minutes until the dough is tacky but not sticking to your fingers.

Step 2: First Rise

Scrape down the bowl and cover the dough. Let it rise in a warm place for approximately 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

Step 3: Rolling the Dough

Rolling the Dough

Flour a surface and roll the dough into a 10x20-inch rectangle, being gentle with the stretching process.

Step 4: Making the Filling

Making the Filling

  • Mix melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until it forms a spreadable paste.
  • Spread the filling evenly on the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on one long side.

Step 5: Shaping and Second Rise

Shaping and Second Rise

  • Roll the dough tightly from the long side with the filling to create a log.
  • Pinch the edge to seal and transfer the rolled dough onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Shape it into a wreath or torus shape and let it rise for 45 minutes to an hour.

Step 6: Preparing for Baking

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Snip the rolled dough every inch and a half to release pressure during baking.

Step 7: Baking


Bake the king cake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Step 8: Making the Icing

Making the Icing

Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until creamy.

Step 9: Decorating


  • Once the cake has cooled, spoon the icing over the top, letting it fall over the edges.
  • Add alternating stripes of purple, green, and gold sanding sugar on top of the icing.


Can I use a different type of milk in the recipe?

Yes, you can substitute whole milk with other varieties like skim milk or almond milk. However, using whole milk adds richness and flavor to the dough.

Can I make the dough without a stand mixer?

While a stand mixer is convenient, you can knead the dough by hand. It may require a bit more effort, but the result will be equally delicious.

What can I use instead of freshly grated nutmeg?

If you don’t have freshly grated nutmeg, pre-grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg can be used as a substitute. Adjust the quantity according to your taste preferences.

How do I store leftover King Cake?

Store any leftover King Cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2-3 days. To prolong its freshness, refrigerate the cake and warm slices before serving.

Can I use a different type of icing on the cake?

While we suggest a traditional vanilla icing, you can experiment with cream cheese frosting or other flavored glazes for a unique twist.

What if I don’t have purple, green, and gold sanding sugar for decoration?

Feel free to get creative with your decorations. You can use colored icing, sprinkles, or edible glitter to add a festive touch to your King Cake.

Can I make a gluten-free version of the King Cake?

Yes, you can try using a gluten-free flour blend to make the dough. Ensure that other ingredients, like the yeast and filling, are also gluten-free.

Is it necessary to add the trinket to the cake?

Adding a trinket or figurine is a fun tradition, but it’s not mandatory. If you have safety concerns or prefer not to include it, you can skip this step and still enjoy a delicious King Cake.


Congratulations! You’ve just created a stunning and delicious New Orleans King Cake. Whether you’re celebrating Mardi Gras or simply indulging in a delightful treat, this recipe is sure to be a hit. Gather your friends and family, and enjoy the festivities with this iconic and flavorful king cake.

Skip to Recipe