Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

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  • Pumpkin cinnamon rolls are a perfect fall version of your favorite homemade cinnamon rolls. Made with real pumpkin in the dough, filled with a gooey pumpkin spice cinnamon filling, and topped with a maple cream cheese frosting, these definitely hit the spot on a chilly fall day.

    spatula taking out a cinnamon roll

    These irresistible soft and fluffy pumpkin flavored cinnamon rolls are easy to make and are a great treat to enjoy. Homemade cinnamon rolls are always a special treat, but extra fun seasonal ones are even more fun! Slightly spiced, and full flavored, your family will adore these!

    frosted cinnamon rolls in a baking dish

    Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Ingredients

    The ingredients for these rolls are pretty straight forward and simple. However, I do have a few notes that makes these the best cinnamon rolls ever, so it’s worth reading!

    • Milk – when mixed with yeast, warmed milk helps the yeast to bloom. It also makes for extra moist cinnamon rolls.
    • Granulated sugar – this is also called white sugar, but we need it to add that element of sweet to our pumpkin cinnamon roll dough.
    • Yeast – Yeast is what gives these cinnamon rolls the perfect rise.
    • Pumpkin puree – without the pumpkin, these would just be regular cinnamon rolls. Make sure you’re using pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling!
    • Unsalted butter – I always use unsalted butter when baking because I like to control exactly how much salt goes into my recipes.
    • Egg – we need one egg to help bind everything together.
    • Bread flour – You can use all purpose flour, but bread flour has a higher protein content, which helps to develop more gluten in the dough. This lightens the cinnamon roll texture and results in soft and fluffy rolls! It’s worth it, trust me!
    • Salt – and now the salt comes in. We just need a bit, but it really helps to make the flavors stand out.
    • Dark brown sugar – I like the robust flavor of dark brown sugar, but if all you have is light, that will work too. We use this in our filling.
    • Pumpkin pie spice – this adds just a little more pumpkin flavor to our cinnamon rolls. It blends to well with the brown sugar to make the best filling ever.
    • Cream cheese – I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a cream cheese frosting! Especially when it comes to cinnamon rolls.
    • Powdered sugar – mixed with the cream cheese, powdered sugar gives the perfect balance of sweet to our frosting.
    • Maple syrup – If you love warm fall flavors as much as I do, try adding in a bit of maple syrup to your frosting. It makes all the difference!
    spatula holding a pumpkin cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting

    How to make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

    These pumpkin cinnamon rolls are no different to make than regular homemade cinnamon rolls, except for the addition of the pumpkin puree. For the full set of directions, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below:

    Make the Dough

    This is a rich dough made with milk, butter and eggs. The result is a soft, fluffy, and tender dough.

    1. Start by heating the milk until it reaches about 110 degrees F. The temperature is important because you don’t want it to be too hot or it could kill the yeast.
    2. Combine the warmed milk, sugar, and yeast in a bowl and allow it to sit for 5 minutes or until frothy. You should be able to smell the yeast.
    3. Stir in the pumpkin puree, egg, and melted butter until smooth and creamy.
    4. Next stir in the bread flour and salt until a rough dough begins to form.
    5. Mix on low speed with a dough hook until a ball of dough forms. It should be slightly tacky to the touch but not really stick to your fingers. Don’t overmix or your rolls will turn out tough.
    6. Move the pumpkin cinnamon rolls dough to a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to sit in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled.
    bread dough in a bowl

    Mix the Filling

    This filling is extra special because it uses pumpkin pie spice instead of just plain cinnamon. Dark brown sugar also adds to the deep flavor profile.

    1. Simply mix the brown sugar and the spices until combined and set aside for later.

    Assemble the Rolls

    These pumpkin cinnamon rolls assemble just like regular cinnamon rolls. A lot of recipes use melted butter on the dough, but I like to use softened butter because it helps the filling not to ooze out of the rolls so much.

    1. Once your dough has doubled, transfer it to a well floured counter and roll out to a rectangle shape.
    2. Use your hands to gently spread the softened butter over the dough.
    3. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the softened butter, and use your hands to gently press/rub the spice mixture into the butter. 
    4. Then roll the dough up into a tight spiral, starting with the longest edge and continuing until the entire dough is rolled up in a tube. 
    5. Press the seam gently to help seal it, and then place it seam side down.
    6. Gently cut off the very ends of the roll on either side (where there might not be as much filling and the dough is uneven).
    7. Now cut the roll into 12 equal pieces.
    8. Place each roll onto the prepared baking dish.
    9. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for 30 minutes in a warm spot on the counter. 
    cinnamon roll dough cut into slices

    *Optional: You can place the pumpkin cinnamon rolls in the fridge overnight to bake the next day instead of doing the second rise. Place the rolls in the prepared dish, cover with plastic wrap, and immediately place in the fridge. The next day, allow the rolls to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes while you preheat the oven.

    Baking

    Make sure not to overbake your pumpkin cinnamon rolls to ensure they are soft and fluffy. If they start to brown too fast, cover them with aluminum foil after 15 minutes.

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
    2. Remove the towel and plastic wrap from the baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the rolls are cooked through and golden brown on top.
    3. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before frosting.
    cinnamon rolls rising in baking dish

    Frosting

    If you want a really pronounced maple flavor in your frosting, add ¼ teaspoon of maple extract in addition.

    1. Blend together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup and salt until it is smooth and blended.
    2. When the rolls are mostly cool, evenly coat with the frosting.
    3. Enjoy!
    frosted cinnamon rolls

    Storage and Reheating

    In my opinion, these pumpkin cinnamon rolls are best warm and fresh, but they will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

    If you have some leftover and need to reheat them, you can reheat them in the microwave for about 5 to 10 seconds to reheat and soften as desired.

    maple cream cheese frosted cinnamon rolls

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    close up of a pumpkin cinnamon roll

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    pumpkin cinnamon rolls with frosting in a baking dish
    Print Recipe
    5 from 5 votes

    Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

    Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls are pillowly made with real pumpkin and gooey filling, and topped with a maple cream cheese frosting!
    Prep Time12 hrs
    Cook Time25 mins
    Total Time2 hrs 25 mins
    Course: Breakfast
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: homemade cinnamon rolls, pumpkin cinnamon rolls
    Servings: 12
    Calories: 396kcal
    Author: Jenni Ward

    Ingredients

    Dough

    Filling

    Frosting

    Instructions

    Make the dough

    • In a microwave safe bowl, heat the milk for 45 seconds, until about 110°F.
    • Add the warmed milk, sugar, and yeast to the bowl of the electric mixer and stir gently to combine. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until frothy and you can smell the yeast.
    • Add in the pumpkin puree, egg, and melted butter to the yeast mixture and stir until it is smooth and creamy.
    • Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the bread flour and salt until a rough dough begins to form.
    • Place the dough hook on the electric mixer and mix on low speed for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough forms a ball around the hook. It should be slightly tacky to the touch but not really stick to your fingers.
    • Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to sit in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

    Mix the filling

    • In a small mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar and the spices until combined. Set aside.

    Assemble the rolls

    • Grease a 9×13 sized baking pan and set aside.
    • Transfer the dough to a well floured counter and roll out to a rectangle about 14”x 16”, with the longest section running parallel to the counter.
    • Use your hands to gently spread the softened butter over the dough, leaving about ¼” of the edge. You want the dough evenly coated, but be gentle not to smash the dough.
    • Sprinkle the filling mixture evenly over the softened butter, and use your hands to gently press/rub the spice mixture into the butter.
    • Tightly roll the dough up into a spiral, starting with the longest edge closest to you and continuing until the entire dough is rolled up in a tube.
    • Gently press the seam to help seal it, and then place it seam side down on the counter.
    • Use a serrated knife to gently cut off the very ends of the roll on either side (where there might not be as much filling and the dough is uneven). You don’t need to cut off much, just to even the roll up.
    • Use a serrated knife to cleanly cut each piece. Use a sharp, serrated knife and gently slice each piece in one fluid motion so you don’t squash your rolls. I like to pre-measure by making indents before I actually slice.
    • Place each roll into the prepared baking dish.
    • Cover the dish with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for 30 minutes in a warm spot on the counter.

    Baking

    • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    • Remove the towel and plastic wrap from the baking dish.
    • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the rolls are cooked through and golden brown on top.
    • Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before frosting.

    Frosting

    • In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to blend together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup and salt until it is smooth and blended.
    • When the rolls are mostly cool, evenly coat with the frosting.
    • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!

    Nutrition

    Calories: 396kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 196mg | Potassium: 172mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 2881IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 1mg

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