Light and Fluffy Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Take cinnamon rolls up a notch with these pumpkin cinnamon rolls. So fluffy and delicious with a 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.
How to make these pumpkin rolls ahead of time
This post on making cinnamon rolls ahead of time applies perfectly to any sweet roll…like these pumpkin rolls!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- ¾ cup buttermilk or milk, 2% or whole, warmed (to about 110 degrees F)
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) salted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- ⅔ cup (151 g) pumpkin puree, homemade or canned (see note)
- ¼ cup (53 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 to 5 cups (568 to 710 g) all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) salted butter, softened
- ¾ cup (159 g) brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 ounces (57 g) cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons milk or cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon maple extract, optional
- 1 ½ cups (171 g) 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.
Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (adapted from a favorite Buttermilk Cinnamon Roll recipe)
78 Comments on “Light and Fluffy Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls”
This dough was so fabulous to work with. Is there something else that a person could sub for the pumpkin during the year so they would be appropriate for other holidays like Easter and Christmas?
The recipe would require different adjustments depending on what is subbed, so I don’t have a general recommendation. Sorry!
Can you use pumpkin pie spice in the dough instead of cinnamon, cloves etc.? If so, what would the measurement be?
Probably about a teaspoon…
Just made these and they are delicious!!
Thank you so much for sharing your recipes. Yours are almost always my go to recipes
Thank you so much, Maria!
These rolls are absolutely off the chain. I have yet to make any recipe of yours that isn’t delicious and your site is my go to for everything. That being said, I thought your small batch cinnamon roll recipe couldn’t be topped. Well, these exceed even that. The pumpkin flavor is subtle but the addition of the puree give the dough that soft, pillowy texture..the holy grail for a cinnamon roll. I baked these, gave some to neighbors and now I’m a celebrity on our community FB page. LOL. The only thing I changed, and I do this for every batch of cinnamon rolls I bake, is I pour a little half and half or heavy cream around rolls in pan right as they go in the oven. The milk baked in and makes them super moist but not soggy.
These were amazing. The dough is so silky smooth and they taste amazing. Great recipe.
I’m not a fan of cream cheese frosting. Is there a regular glaze mix I could put on top instead? Thank you for always sharing your amazing recipes! Your site is the go-to for my sisters and I! 🙂
Sure, you could use just a powdered sugar/butter/milk cinnamon roll frosting. I’m not sure I have an actual recipe on my site for that because I usually prefer cream cheese in the cinn roll frosting, but a quick google search should be able to help you out!
Mel…I made these rolls. Great recipe. Here’s a few observations: This is 12 rolls, but VERY large rolls. I stuck with your recipe and they fit fine in the regular size pan, but I think people making them could make 20 rolls and get a better serving size. I made the dough yesterday, rolled them up, put them in a pan, then got them out, let them rise this morning and baked them. Worked great. I liked your suggestion to not bake too much. I baked to 190 degrees, which was longer than the time prescribed. To me they still didn’t look done, but they were. Baking longer would have made them dry. I added quite a bit more powdered sugar to the glaze to get the consistency I wanted. I wanted a more pumpkin pie flavor, so I added nutmeg and ginger to the cinnamon/butter mixture. And I included chopped pecans. I got that idea from the Pioneer Woman’s recipe and I liked the way it turned out. Thanks for a SUPERB recipe. You’re the best.
I have made these a few times and they are a favorite around here! Not sure why, but I always have to bake mine a lot longer than the prescribed 22-25 minutes to get the middle rolls to bake all the way through. I have to check for doneness with my thermometer, it’s just not worth it to dig into the pan of cooled rolls only to find dough in the middle! If anyone else struggles with this, most bread baking sources say that enriched doughs (like this one) should reach 185-F 190F internal temp. Hope this helps! Thanks for yet another stellar recipe, Mel! 🙂
I need to make these the day before and put them in the oven the next morning? Can I and what steps do I do for that?
Sure…just shape the rolls and put them on the baking sheet. Cover with greased plastic wrap and pop in the fridge. Take them out in the morning in enough time for them to come to room temperature and rise before baking. If you don’t have time for the rising on the morning of, you can try taking them straight from the fridge and putting them in the oven while it preheats. I’ve done that a time or two.
I made these this past weekend for a conference treat and they were so delicious! My husband loves pumpkin and these made all his pumpkin dreams come true. Also, this dough is incredibly forgiving. I let the dough rest in a warm place for a couple hours and then checked on it to move on with the recipe and realized I forgot the yeast. Good grief, how do you forget yeast?! Rather than throwing the dough away and starting over, I mixed the yeast with a tablespoon or two of warm water, then kneaded it into the dough with my hands. I didn’t have high hopes of it working, but it was totally fine! Seriously, they still ended up soft, fluffy, and so yummy.
That’s actually quite amazing! I’m glad they still worked out!
Can I make the dough in my bread machine? Using bread machine yeast? These look delicious!
I’ve never used a bread machine, but you could certainly experiment!
These changed my life. They exceeded my expectations and were so soft and amazing. My husband who is very picky and not easily impressed gave them a 10. Thank you!
If I use regular yeast instead of instant will it work or do I need to add more?
You’ll need to proof the yeast in a little bit of water/sugar before using in the recipe.
Made these today and….oh my. The hubs (who claims he doesn’t like anything with pumpkin) and 4 kids all agreed that they were better than anything from a bakery, and my 16 month-old kept saying, “Hummmm!” every time I fed him a bite. By the way, for anyone who’s wondering what to do with the leftover pumpkin from this recipe, it’s EXACTLY enough to make your amazing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I made both today!
I just did a triple batch in my Bosch. I have the Universal plus 800 watt. I think the bowl is slightly bigger than the Universal 700 watt that my Mom has. It handled it no problem whatsoever, and I could’ve quadrupled the recipe. But if you have the 700 watt with the smaller bowl, I would stick with the triple batch. It’s twelve cups of flour, so it should be able to handle it. I also did 3 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour.
I’ve made these twice. First time serious baker error – I forgot the yeast! At the 2 hour mark of the first rise, I realized … combined some with a bit of warm water and flour and worked it in. The rises were not as good as they should have been and the rolls were a bit dense from being overworked, but flavor is wonderful and they do well split, buttered and run under the broiler.
Second batch, I made per the recipe … with yeast!! – and they were perfect in texture and taste. I even used about 1/3 white whole wheat – still fluffy. That pumpkin really makes an easy to work with dough and an extra tender roll.
So happy to hear they worked out better the 2nd time around, Liz! 🙂
Great recipe! They turned out perfect.
These were so delicious and fluffy! I think this is my new favorite way to eat pumpkin and this recipe has the perfect amount of it. You’re right, even those who don’t love pumpkin will love these! Beautifully soft and easy dough. What a great new recipe to have. Thanks!
These were awesome Mel! Thanks for continuing to make me a rockstar in the kitchen!
Hi! Do you let the rolls rise before placing them in the fridge overnight? Or do you place them in the fridge before the second rise? If so, do you let them second rise before baking in the morning? Hope that makes sense, but this step always confuses me!
I refrigerate them before that second rise and then I let them go through the second rise before baking in the morning. Does that help?
At what point would you say is the best to freeze them? I want these for breakfast, but can’t stand the thought of waking up that early to let them rise!
These were yum! You’re right; I loved working with the soft, delicious dough! Love the maple flavor in the frosting. I kinda wished they had a slightly more pumpkiny flavor. Hubby and I loved these. But this is a keeper. Thank you!
THANK YOU!!!! I am so excited to make these. This is the perfect fall recipe. FYI- I took OnGuard beadlets last winter and I really think it helped me to get over sickness quicker/ stay healthier (may be all in my head, but I’ll take a placebo if it works!). I hope the blogger blahs get healed too- it’s so hard to find the right balance! Know that we (I will speak for all us virtual friends) understand and appreciate you tons!!!
Can hardly wait. The cinnamon rolls are rising on the counter and the timer is counting down to bake time. Just realized I don’t have maple extract. Can I use pure maple syrup or should I leave it out? Thanks Mel!
Eh, I’d just leave it out. I prefer these with the maple frosting but my husband actually far prefers them without the maple in there. 🙂
Hi Mel! I’m excited to try these out! I need to make a lot and was wondering if you know how much dough you can make in the Bosch? Doubled? Tripled? Thanks!
Definitely a double batch; I’d probably chance it and try a triple batch because I believe in my Bosch (but my disclaimer is I haven’t tried a triple batch in there yet).
I am sorry you’re feeling blogger blurgh. Thank you for posting this delicious recipe despite feeling unwell. I’m very excited to try these!
Mel, can’t wait to try these! Tonight for dinner we are eating your perfect pot roast with your whole grain honey bran muffins and your apple crisp. You are seriously famous at our house. My kids would faint dead away if we ever met in real life. :). Also, I’m cooking my way through your e-cookbook and the recipies are exceptional. Thanks so much! Sure hope you feel better soon.
Oh and eating your oatmeal butterscotch chocolate chip cookies for our after school snack! How could I forget those!! 🙂
So happy you are loving the recipes in that ebook, Jacqui!
These rolls look amazing! every year I always say I’m going to make pumpkin cinnamon rolls and never do, this year is my year!
I loved the Facebook Live (so did my four year daughter/cooking partner)! I loved the tip for spraying the counter and the one about convection baking. I have a convection oven but have been to timid to try it- but now I’m not! Can’t wait to try these. I like my cinnamon rolls with a granulated sugar and cinnamon filling– do you think that will be ok in these? Also, have you ever tried making a slurry (mixing the softened butter with the cinnamon and sugar and then spreading it on the dough) for the filling? It’s awesome!!! Thanks for all the great tips- I expect it will take my cinnamon rolls over the top! Sorry for the novel!!
The granulated sugar filling should be just fine! I’ve tried mixing the butter and sugar but it’s always a bit too hard to spread (I’m sure it’s just me) and tears the dough. I hope you like these! 🙂
These look scrumptious, but I will be adding chopped pecans to the filling for more scrumptiousness!
Oh I’m so excited to see this recipe! Thank you so much! Feel better soon and thanks for pushing through it, my whole family and extended family thanks you!
Thank you! Marshall was raving about these so I’ve been watching and waiting for the recipe!
Oh, YUM!!! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂
Also, in my opinion, mothers should just never be allowed to get sick…it just throws everything out of whack, and it should be against the laws of the universe or something! Or at least when we do get sick, a magic laundry and cleaning fairy should be sent to our home!
Seriously, though, I really hope that you have been able to take it easy, and that you are feeling much better. Please know how greatly you are appreciated!!!
Amen to that! Thankfully I’m feeling much better than when I typed up that post last night. Although, I still wouldn’t turn away a magic laundry and cleaning fairy…
Sorry about your sore throat. My son’s choir teacher recommended an herbal tea called Throat Coat when his throat was sore but he had to still sing. Worked like a charm. Got it from the local grocery store.
Is this recipe one where you can sub Kefir for the buttermilk?
Thanks for the recommendation, Melanie! I haven’t used kefir in this recipe but usually it subs quite well for buttermilk – and makes the dough even more tender (at least that’s what I’ve found for pancakes and such).
I second Throat Coat- the brand is Traditional Medicinals . It is my favorite herbal tea, and I love to drink it even when I’m not sick. It is delicious with honey and/or elderberry syrup.
I’m glad to know about this! I make our own elderberry syrup so it sounds like a good match.
I make elderberry syrup as well, and I swear by it! This is a good reminder that it’s about time for me to make another batch. 🙂
With such a soft dough, I find cutting them with a piece of thread works better than a knife.
I’ll be making these cinnamon rolls to share with my family this weekend. The crock pot roast was delicious! I was excited to see a new crock pot recipe. Thanks!
You mentioned this recipe was coming in another post and I have been anxiously waiting! I can’t wait to try these! Thanks!
I want to reach through my screen and grab one (or 12) right now!!!!!!
oh divine! making these today! Thank you!!!!
Good idea! the pumpkin will add some fiber/nutrition. I think I’ll also exchange 1 cup of flour for whole wheat flour to up the fiber/nutrition, and hope they are still fluffy 🙂
I think that’s a great idea!
I love all things pumpkin! I printed this and am ready to hand out to my home ec class. Thank you so much Mel, we are all blessed by your posts. Burn-out or not 😉
Wow, Mel, these look really amazing. I love how the recipe makes just 12. I am sorry to hear you are under the weather. I am just recovering from a bad sore throat/cough/cold. I have not been sick in years and years and I made up for it this time. Hope you feel better. Maybe another pumpkin cinnamon roll will help!
Oh my, I know what you mean! I hardly ever get sick, but when I do, it’s a doozy. I’m glad you are feeling better!
Can I make these up until the point of rising in the pan and refrigerate over night, then bake in the morning?
These look super delicious! How much sugar for the glaze?
1 1/2 cups – sorry that was missing. Just fixed it!
I cannot wait to make these! Years ago I was making cinnamon rolls weekly for my kids after school snack. It was their favorite. They are all grown now and I’m excited to make these for the grand kids and my grown kids!!
This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it! I think the recipe might be missing the powdered sugar for the glaze….how much do you add?
Sorry about that! 1 1/2 cups…just fixed the recipe.
I just recently made your pumpkin cinnamon bread (which was delicious!). As I was making that, I wondered how that dough would work for pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Would you say this dough is better?
That would probably also be super delicious! But I do have to say this dough is magical.
Well – how can I say no to magical! This just moved up the list! Thanks for the quick response!
Oh my gosh Mel! These look so good! I usually take the quick route and use a biscuit dough for cinnamon rolls because I don’t always plan ahead. But this dough looks so fluffy and amazing! (And I really need to use the big bag of instant yeast I bought this summer.) Your bread recipes never fail me. I just made your naan recipe again last week. I can’t wait to get this one in the oven 🙂
Can’t wait to try these!