Light and Fluffy Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Take cinnamon rolls up a notch with these perfect-for-fall pumpkin cinnamon rolls. So fluffy and delicious with just the perfect hint of pumpkin spice!
Ever since I hopped on Facebook Live to talk about all things cinnamon rolls, I’ve been inundated with questions about when I am going to finally post the recipe for the pumpkin cinnamon rolls I was making in the video.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d even get them posted today what with life and feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus (dang sore throat). That, and maybe, possibly a tiny bit of blogger burnout. But I powered through. And this pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe can now be part of your life.
Fluffier than all of the millions of fluffy cinnamon rolls I’ve eaten in my lifetime, the pumpkin does magical things to cinnamon roll dough. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a softer, nicer, kinder-to-me dough in my life, and that makes me happy.
And you know how sometimes cinnamon rolls spread? Get annoying gaps after they bake? And you want to scream in your pillow and throw things and stomp your feet? (I actually address this issue in the FB Live if you are looking for a few solutions…)
Well, you can put the tantrum behaviors aside, because these pumpkin cinnamon rolls are a dream to work with. They’ve turned out perfectly every single time I’ve made them.
They are just really lovable. And your other cinnamon roll recipe (or five) might get a little jealous when they see how much you gush over the new pumpkin kid in town.
The pumpkin spice flavor is subtly delicious. The soft, fluffiness of these pumpkin cinnamon rolls might win over even the staunchest pumpkin hater. I’ve served them to everyone from cinnamon roll snobs to a hungry group of 12-year old scouts returning from a 22-mile bike ride.
Fanatical reception every time (no surprise with the scouts, I know).
Behold, the pumpkin cinnamon roll; this might be the sole reason to start hoarding cans of pumpkin.
Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (adapted from a favorite Buttermilk Cinnamon Roll recipe)
12 cinnamon rolls
3 hours 50 minutes
3/4 cup buttermilk or milk (2% or whole), warmed (to about 110 degrees F)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg
2/3 cup (6 ounces) pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
1/4 cup (about 1.75 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour (about 20 to 25 ounces)
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup (5.5 ounces) brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons milk or cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) powdered sugar
- For the dough, add the warmed buttermilk or milk and butter to a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or you can use a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon). With the mixer running, add the egg, pumpkin puree, sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and 1 cup of the flour.
- Continue adding flour, just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It should be very soft but not so sticky that it leaves a ton of residue on your fingers. Let it knead for just 1-2 minutes until it has come together in a soft, tacky ball. Because of the pumpkin, this dough is much softer and silkier than normal cinnamon roll dough.
- Place the dough in a large, lightly greased bowl and cover the top tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, around 2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen (you can speed up the rising by placing the covered bowl of dough in a very lightly warmed oven).
- Meanwhile, lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish or large, rimmed baking sheet (I usually line it with parchment).
- In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside.
- When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly greased counter and press it into a 16 by 12-inch rectangle. Gently spread the softened butter over the rectangle, using an offset spatula or rubber spatula or just your fingers.
- Sprinkle on the brown sugar mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the top and bottom edges. Lightly use the palms of your hands to press the brown sugar mixture into the butter, adhering it to the dough.
- Lift the longest edge closest to you and begin rolling the dough into a tight log. Pinch the seam closed and roll the log so it is seam side down. Gently pat the log so it has an even diameter the entire length.
- Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 12 evenly sized rolls (or more if you like your rolls thinner). Arrange the rolls cut side down on the prepared baking pan and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours; it's really important to let them rise well or else they won't be light and fluffy after they've baked.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes, until the rolls are very lightly golden on top and cooked through but not overly browned.
- While the rolls are baking, mix the softened cream cheese and milk or cream together until smooth (I usually use a blender to make this glaze). Add the vanilla (and maple, if using) and mix. Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar. Add additional milk or buttermilk one teaspoon at a time until desired glaze consistency is reached. It should be thick yet pourable. Drizzle the warm rolls with the glaze.
As with all yeast doughs, take care not to overflour the dough; it should come together and form a soft ball that clears the sides of the mixer without being really stiff.
If using homemade pumpkin puree, you'll probably need a bit more flour than if using canned.