Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Wake up to pumpkin cinnamon rolls on chilly fall mornings. Made with pumpkin in the dough and filled with a gooey pumpkin spiced cinnamon swirl, they’re topped with a generous drizzle of maple cream cheese icing. This is a great make-ahead breakfast treat– see my overnight instructions in the full recipe below.

overhead image of pumpkin cinnamon rolls with maple cream cheese icing in a glass baking dish

These aren’t just classic cinnamon rolls with pumpkin spice in the filling. Rather, these are pumpkin cinnamon rolls with real pumpkin IN the dough. These ooey gooey cinnamon rolls might be my favorite breakfast indulgence– ever. Unraveling each doughy pumpkin coil and tasting the melty pumpkin spices inside is the definition of fall breakfast heaven.

pumpkin cinnamon rolls with maple cream cheese icing in a glass baking dish

Why You’ll Love These Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

  • Soft and fluffy
  • Real pumpkin in the yeasted dough
  • Filled with warm and cozy fall spices
  • Topped with maple cream cheese icing
  • Perfect for crisp fall mornings
  • Total comfort food

pumpkin cinnamon rolls in a glass baking dish before rising

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Dough

This is a rich dough, which means that it’s prepared with fat like milk, butter, and eggs. Rich doughs make soft breads such as monkey bread, regular cinnamon rolls, and cinnamon roll cake. Lean doughs, on the other hand, are made without much fat and produce crusty bread such as artisan breadbagels, and pizza dough.

You need 9 ingredients for pumpkin cinnamon roll dough:

  1. Milk: Liquid activates the yeast. Nondairy or low fat milks are fine, but whole milk produces phenomenal flavor and texture.
  2. Butter: Butter promises a flavorful dough.
  3. Pumpkin: Pumpkin puree adds real pumpkin flavor and lots of moisture for incredibly soft rolls.
  4. Sugar: We use brown sugar for deeper flavor. Sugar feeds the yeast, increases its activity, and tenderizes the dough.
  5. Nutmeg: A pinch of ground nutmeg enhances the pumpkin flavor and adds a little something extra to these rolls.
  6. Salt: You can’t make flavorful bread without salt!
  7. Egg: 1 egg provides structure and flavor.
  8. Yeast: You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast. I recommend Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast, which is an instant yeast blended with natural dough improvers.
  9. Flour: All-purpose flour is the structure of the dough.

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

pumpkin cinnamon rolls in a glass baking dish after rising

Overview: How to Make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Make the dough. Warm the milk and butter together until the butter is *just* melted. In another bowl, beat the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, and salt together. Add the warmed milk/butter and beat until combined, then add the egg and yeast. Add 1 cup of flour and mix for 1 minute. Add 1 and 1/4 cups more flour and beat for 1 more minute. The dough will be very soft. Place the dough into a greased bowl and turn the dough around in the bowl so all sides of the dough are coated. Cover the dough and let it rise.
  2. Knead the dough. Gently punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few times so it is smooth. Knead in a little more flour if it’s too sticky.
  3. Make the filling. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and spices.
  4. Add the filling & slice into rolls. Roll the dough out into a 18×10 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter and filling evenly on top. Roll it up tightly and use a sharp knife to cut into 11-12 pieces. Arrange rolls into a greased 9-inch or 11×7 inch pan.
  5. Let the rolls rise.
  6. Bake. These rolls take about 22-28 minutes to bake, or until golden brown. Cover them with aluminum foil after 15 minutes to prevent browning.
  7. Make & drizzle the icing. Beat the icing ingredients together. Drizzle onto warm cinnamon rolls.

pumpkin cinnamon rolls in a glass baking dish after baking

pumpkin cinnamon rolls in a glass baking dish

Toppings for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I love topping these cinnamon rolls with maple cream cheese icing– just 4 ingredients: cream cheese, maple syrup, milk, and some confectioners’ sugar. So simple yet so good!

You could also try plain cream cheese icing from my giant cinnamon rolls, maple icing from my maple cinnamon rolls, caramel icing from my apple cinnamon rolls, or vanilla icing.

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pumpkin cinnamon rolls in a glass baking dish

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
  • Yield: 11-12 rolls
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Soft pumpkin cinnamon rolls filled with a gooey cinnamon swirl and topped with maple cream cheese icing.


Ingredients

Pumpkin Dough

  • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk*
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (120g) canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (1 standard package) instant yeast*
  • 2 and 2/3 cups (335g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)

Filling

  • 6 Tablespoons (86g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Maple Cream Cheese Icing

  • 4 oz (114g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk*
  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted 

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Warm the milk and butter together over the stove or in the microwave. Warm the two together until the butter is *just* melted. You want the mixture lukewarm (105°F (41°C)-115°F (46°C)), not scorching hot. Set aside. Using your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, and salt together on medium speed. Add the warmed milk/butter and beat until combined, then beat in the egg and yeast. With the mixer running on low speed, add 1 cup of flour. Mix for 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently. Add 1 and 2/3 cups more flour and beat for 1 more minute. Place dough into a greased bowl (a bit of olive oil or nonstick spray to grease works). Turn the dough around in the bowl so all sides of the dough are coated. *If you do not have a stand-mixer, mix the dough together in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.*
  2. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free environment until doubled in size. This will take about 1 – 1.5 hours. Here’s what I do: Rising at room temperature is usually fine, but on a particularly cold day, heat your oven to 150°F (66°C). Turn the oven off, place the dough inside, and keep the door slightly ajar. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, close the oven door to trap the air inside with the rising dough. When it’s doubled in size, remove from the oven.)
  3. Gently punch the dough down to deflate it and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few times so it is smooth. If it is too sticky, knead in a little more flour.
  4. Add the filling: Roll the dough out into a 18×10 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter evenly on top. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and spices into a small bowl. Sprinkle all over the top. Roll it up tightly. Using a very sharp knife, cut into 11-12 pieces, about 1.5 inches each. Arrange rolls into a greased 9-inch or 11×7 inch pan.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise again in a warm, draft-free environment until doubled in size. This takes about 1 hour (or use my overnight option, detailed below).
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  7. Bake the rolls for 22-28 minutes, covering with aluminum foil at the 15 minute mark to prevent heavy browning. Remove from oven and allow to slightly cool as you prepare the icing.
  8. Make the icing: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the softened cream cheese in a medium bowl on medium speed until smooth. Add the maple syrup and milk and beat on high until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on medium speed until creamy. Drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls. Rolls taste best served on the same day, though they remain fresh for one day covered tightly at room temperature. Unglazed rolls freeze well up to 2 months.

Notes

  1. Overnight Instructions: Prepare the rolls through step 4. Instead of allowing the cut rolls to rise in a warm environment in step 5, place the pan into the fridge and allow the rolls to rest for up to 14 hours before baking. When it’s time to bake the next day, allow the rolls to come up to room temperature and rise for 1 hour on the counter, or until almost doubled in size. Then bake as directed.
  2. Milk: For softest rolls and richest icing, I suggest a milk with fat in it, such as 2% or whole milk.
  3. Yeast: If using active dry yeast, not an instant, your rise times may be a little longer.
  4. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.

Keywords: pumpkin cinnamon rolls

pumpkin cinnamon rolls with maple cream cheese icing on a white plate

254 Comments

  1. any reason why you can’t use non-dairy milk? this lactose-intolerant lady wants to eat these 🙁

    1. Hi Julie! I did not have luck using almond milk for these rolls and my easy cinnamon rolls (from which this dough was adapted). I always urge readers with a lactose intolerance to search for a vegan or soy milk based yeast dough recipe to achieve the best results (fluffy, soft texture).

      1. thanks so much! so, if i bake the rolls with a vegan based yeast dough and follow your directions, they should turn out?

      2. No, you should follow that dough’s instructions.

    2. I’ve had fairly good results baking with coconut milk. Just make sure it’s neither too thin nor too thick.

      1. Thanks so much for chimin in Julia, I’ll have to try coconut milk sometime!

  2. You are absolutely adorable.

  3. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your recipes for rolls.. I have tried two so far and they turned out amazing.. Now I have a cinnamon roll recipe my husband loves! Anyways… I have seen you use what I assume is a pastry mat on several of these recipes to roll out your dough. I was wondering where I could find one similar to yours?

    1. Hi Sarah! Yes, I use a pastry mat. I just linked to where I purchased mine in the post: Bed Bath & Beyond.

  4. Averie @ Averie Cooks says:

    Sally they’re gorgeous! I tested and retested pumpkin cinn roll recipes when I was writing my book and finally settled on one I loved – I can’t remember what I did….need to go re-read my manuscript 🙂 Yours are gorgeous!

    What you said ‘Because of pumpkin’s dense nature, the rolls aren’t as pillowy..” Yes, I found this to be true of any yeast dough I made with pumpkin. Your pretzel recipe recently where you didnt actually put puree into the dough but relied on the spices/praline instead is a smart move for a truly lighter dough. I just couldn’t fully overcome it either. And boy, did I try!

    Pinned!

    1. Pumpkin is just so finicky to work with, especially when yeast is involved as you know. I made two batches of these rolls, altering the pumpkin and milk and butter slightly and this recipe was the true winner. 3/4 cup was just the right amount of pumpkin. I bet your rolls are incredible. Thank you so much for pinning!

  5. ashley - baker by nature says:

    Sally…!!! These are perfect! I totally want to make these right now. And then eat them all by myself!

    1. Ashley!! You are too kind my friend. Hope you’re having a great week!

  6. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen says:

    Gorgeous pumpkin cinnamon rolls, girl! I’m working on a pumpkin roll recipe, too. But, it’s totally different. Pumpkin can definitely be a challenge…either from the dense pulp or with the moisture content (as is the case with cookies). So happy you nailed it! Thanks for sharing, Sally. Will be pinning everywhere! xo

    1. Stacy, I agree. Pumpkin is SO challenging to work with sometimes. Especially with baked goods like cookies and yeasted dough recipes. Much easier and more forgiving with muffins, quick breads, and such. Thank for pinning!

  7. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking says:

    These are the kind of cinnamon rolls I see in my DREAMS, Sally! They look sooo soft, fluffy and perfect for a fall or winter breakfast. Love these and can’t wait to try them soon!

    1. Haha! Thanks so much Georgia! Hope you have a great weekend. =)

  8. Consuelo @ Honey & Figs says:

    Girl, you’re making my mouth water! I’d totally have one (or three) of these for dinner tonight… they look scrumptious!! I definitely have to start baking with pumpkin soon, because I have never tried ((it’s not popular where I live)) and you make it look awesome ;D

    1. These pumpkin cinnamon rolls make an EXCELLENT dinner, I can speak from experience! I hope you try a few baked pumpkin recipes, Consuelo!

  9. Faith @ PixieDustKitchen says:

    I have to work Thanksgiving night; these might just be in order for breakfast that morning! They look so soft and scrumptious! I love that the pumpkin is actually in the dough, not just spread out on top of the dough like most pumpkin cinnamon rolls. (Although that’s always wonderful too!)

    1. I agree! This is actually my first time working with pumpkin in a yeasted dough. Well, I had to make a couple batches to experiment. I’m certainly glad it was a success!

  10. Cate @ Chez CateyLou says:

    I do want to reach right through the screen!! I can’t get over how amazing these look!! You can see how soft they are, and I love how much filling is in there! Also I love your dinner of salad and cinnamon rolls – I had a green juice and a brownie for lunch yesterday! Sometimes you just need to do that…

    1. Haha I am obsessed with yesterday’s lunch Cate. Sounds like one of my lunch favorites. 😉 Totally balanced in my opinion!!

  11. Thank you Colleen, my friend!

  12. Sally- they look amazing! I think you outdo yourself eachtime.

    1. Too kind, Iram. Thank you. The leftovers were a huge hit with my friends!

  13. Sally, I love you for loving pumpkin even more than I do. 😀 Every time I read you saying it is pumpkin season all year round I regret living in Germany – where there is no canned pumpkin to be bought. Absolutely none! I’ll go back to making pumpkin puree and freezing it now.

    1. Haha Obsti! Yes, I have a strong, strong love for pumpkin. And I’m so sorry you don’t have easy access to it! I usually bake with the canned stuff, but homemade is certainly tasty.

  14. Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry says:

    I want to bake and eat a huge batch of rolls all by myself.

  15. Shelby S http://bellabakesdotnet.wordpress.com/ says:

    Wow! Do these look amazing! What a great idea to put the pumpkin into the dough good thinking Sally. 🙂

    1. Thank you Shelby!

  16. Sally, these look AMAZING!!! I def want to reach through the screen and grab one 🙂 Just wanted to share a tip I learned from some other smart blogger–I’ve tried that trick of preheating my oven, turning it off and putting a bowl of dough inside to rise. But I’ve also made the mistake (twice) of later preheating the oven and forgetting the bowl + dough were inside! My two favorite bowls = melted. Ugh. This other blogger mentioned putting her bowl of dough inside the microwave with another bowl of hot water, which helps create warmth inside the space. Works like a charm and no fear of melting bowls! 🙂

    1. Erika, I have almost done that before! Luckily my oven light had been on so I saw the bowl of dough still in there. But that idea for the microwave and hot water – excellent! So helpful! Thank you. 🙂

      1. What also works for me is boiling water in the microwave, removing the boiled water then placing the bowl with the dough in. Once the door is closed it remains warm enough.

  17. Nora (Buttercream Fanatic) says:

    Oh these are just beautiful! When I got to the part where you mentioned adding maple (!!) to the glaze, I just completely swooned. There is nothing that is more perfect for this time of year than the taste of maple and pumpkin together.

    1. YES~ You and I alike, Nora. Love the two together!

  18. These look fantastic, Sally! I can’t wait to try these — especially topped with the maple cream cheese glaze. Maple and pumpkin just go so perfectly together! I’m a little sad we used the last of our pumpkin last night for dinner (made a savory pumpkin bread pudding) or else I’d totally be making these right now!

    1. Sounds like you need to go grab some more pumpkin Jamie! I bet that bread pudding was delicious. I love cooking/baking savory items with pumpkin.

  19. These look like a dream come true. I have a Marathon next weekend …. pumpkin cinnamon rolls ought to be a great recovery fuel!

    1. Knowing these are at the finish line might have you run quicker. 😉

  20. Jess @ On Sugar Mountain says:

    Pumpkin madness? Sounds delicious heehee. 😉 And so do these cinnamon rolls! I bet the morning of thanksgiving these would be out-of-this-world (you know, so I can start the binge-eating early).

    1. Haha good point! Begin the binge eating early. 😉

  21. Sally, your cinnamon-roll recipes are always some of my favorites! All your recipes are beautiful and look delicious, but I absolutely love your spiral pictures whenever you do rolls! 😀 They are so gorgeous, and I am so amazed by the photographs capturing the cinnamon on the inside of the roll when you peel (or whatever 😉 ) them. Thanks for all the process shots! You do such great work. 🙂

    1. Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite things to shoot, Caley! But boy these bright orange rolls were tough – they looked SO bright in photos, but not in real life – so I had to tone them down. I’m happy that you appreciate my little in-process photos every now and then. I’m working on that! Thanks for the sweet comments. 😉

  22. Sally! What is step four?! If I need to make these overnight? I am a little confused!
    I ADORE you and your recipes and can’t wait to get the book(:

    1. Yep! That is step 4. Cover the sliced rolls tightly and allow them to rise at room temperature overnight, then bake in the morning. Enjoy, Caitlin! Happy you’re excited about my book!

  23. You just combined my absolute favorite things all in one: pumpkin, cinnamon rolls, and maple. Those pictures made my mouth water…I will be making them very soon!

    1. Thank you Kristen! I hope you enjoy them. 🙂

  24. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious says:

    Goodness – is there anything better, Sally?! Cinnamon rolls have been on my bucket list for years but I’ve never even though to do a pumpkin version – definitely need to get on this!

    1. Chung-ah you would just love these pumpkin cinnamon rolls. You need to try a homemade version soon!

  25. Sally, if I was not knee deep in my own recipe development I would SO be making these tomorrow! Unfortunately, I am behind a bit do to some photos issues, my light is being so weird, I just cant figure it out! UGH! So it has been crazy in the kitchen the last week, but these are on my list! The glaze, the rolls, the spices? LOVE them all! Gorgeous!

    1. Oh dear! I hope things get a little easier for you Tieghan. I know how stressful photo shoots can be. They take the most time for me. I am so particular about the photos and I know you must be too. Hopefully it will pass!

  26. I knew these were coming! I’ve been on a cinnamon roll kick lately and my office has been asking when the next round of rolls will be coming! They’ll be happy to test these out Monday morning!

  27. I’ve been wanting to try pumpkin cinnamon rolls and yours look perfect! I love fall baking!

  28. Yum, these look even better than on instagram! 😉 I have a feeling these are amaziiiing. Definitely on my list to make for people. Thanksgiving morning? Perfect. Have a great weekend, Sally!

    1. Enjoy your weekend too Erin!

  29. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie says:

    Mmm what a great cinnamon roll. I enjoy your new ZipList recipe layout too.

    1. Thank you Erin!

  30. Sally I am TERRIFIED of any recipe requiring yeast. Is this a good first try recipe?

    1. Hi Jann! I was terrified of yeast at one point as well. But it’s surprisingly easy to manage! If I were you, I’d try out my Easy Cinnamon Roll recipe first. They are quicker than these rolls because they only require 1 rise. I give a ton of easy-to-follow instructions as well: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/05/08/easy-cinnamon-rolls-from-scratch/

      Good luck! You can do it.

      1. Ok Sally, you’ve convinced me. I actually bought yeast the other day. Will let you know how things go. Keep the pumpkin recipes coming. There is no such thing as too much pumpkin!

      2. Amen to that! I can’t get enough pumpkin right now. 🙂 Let me know how you like these, Jann.

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