Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Made with pumpkin in the dough and filled with a gooey pumpkin spice cinnamon swirl, these pumpkin cinnamon rolls hit the spot on chilly fall mornings. They’re topped with maple cinnamon cream cheese icing and you can choose other frosting options if desired! (See right above the recipe for details.) If you’d like to get started ahead of time, use our overnight or freezing instructions below.

spreading icing on warm pumpkin cinnamon rolls

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. Unraveling each soft and flaky pumpkin coil and tasting the melty pumpkin spices inside is the definition of fall breakfast bliss!

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 roll with maple cinnamon cream cheese icing

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Dough

This is a rich dough, which means that it’s prepared with fat like milk, butter, and an egg. 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. It’s also a very heavy ingredient which weighs down the dough, so we go light on the butter (which can also weigh down dough).
  4. Sugar: Sugar feeds the yeast, increases its activity, and tenderizes the dough. I used to make these rolls with brown sugar in the dough, but regular white sugar doesn’t weigh down the dough as much. (I find the rolls are a bit fluffier using white granulated sugar.) We still use brown sugar in the filling, though.
  5. Nutmeg: A pinch of ground nutmeg enhances the pumpkin flavor and adds a little something extra to these pumpkin cinnamon 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.

Notice That There is No Cinnamon IN the Dough

Did you know that cinnamon can inhibit yeast activity in dough? This spice can limit dough’s ability to rise, but you’d have to use quite a lot of cinnamon in order for that to happen. Still, with pumpkin being such a heavy ingredient that also weighs down the dough, we skip the cinnamon simply because we don’t want another ingredient holding down the dough’s rise. Nutmeg adds wonderful wonderful flavor to the dough and don’t worry, there’s PLENTY of cinnamon in the filling!

pumpkin dough in glass bowl

Overview: How to Make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Make & knead the dough. 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.
  2. 1st rise. Cover the dough and let it rise.
  3. Make the pumpkin spice filling. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and spices.
  4. Add the filling & slice into rolls. Roll the dough out into a 10×14 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter and sprinkle brown sugar filling evenly on top. Roll it up tightly and use a sharp knife to cut into 10-12 pieces. Arrange rolls into your greased pan.
  5. 2nd rise. Let the shaped rolls rise. This rise is shorter than the 1st.
  6. Bake. Cover them with aluminum foil after 15 minutes to prevent over-browning.
  7. Make the icing and spread onto warm cinnamon rolls.

By the way, if you love all of these flavors together, you’ll definitely enjoy sinking your teeth into this pumpkin French toast casserole. What a breakfast!

pumpkin dough with butter and cinnamon topping

shaped pumpkin cinnamon rolls before rising

pumpkin cinnamon rolls before and after baking

pumpkin cinnamon rolls in white baking dish

Toppings for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I love topping these cinnamon rolls with maple cinnamon cream cheese icing– just 5 ingredients: cream cheese, maple syrup, milk, sifted confectioners’ sugar, and cinnamon. So simple yet so good! Feel free to skip the cinnamon in the icing if desired. You could also try plain cream cheese icing from these regular cinnamon rolls, maple icing from my maple cinnamon rolls, caramel icing from my apple cinnamon rolls, or vanilla icing.

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spreading icing on warm pumpkin cinnamon rolls

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 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) whole milk*
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (115g) canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (7ginstant or active dry yeast (1 standard packet, see note)
  • 2 and 2/3 cups (335g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more as needed for hands and work surface

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 allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Maple Cream Cheese Icing

  • 4 oz (114g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoons (15ml) whole milk*
  • 2/3 cup (80g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • optional: 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

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. Whisk the pumpkin puree, sugar, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer. Whisk in the warmed milk/butter, egg, and yeast until combined. Using the dough hook or paddle attachment on low speed or mixing by hand using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix in 1 cup of flour. Mix for 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add 1 and 2/3 cups more flour and beat for 1 more minute.
  2. Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat on low speed for an additional 3 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 3 minutes.
  3. 1st Rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or use nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 2 hours or until double in size. (I always let it rise on the counter and it takes about 2 hours. For a tiny reduction in rise time, see my answer to Where Should Dough Rise? in my Baking with Yeast Guide.)
  4. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square or round baking dish, 9×13 inch baking dish, or 11×7 inch baking dish. This recipe yields 10-12 rolls and they can fit into any of those size pans.
  5. Roll out the dough: Punch down the dough to release the air. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 10×14 inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick. If the dough keeps shrinking as you roll it out, stop what you’re doing, cover it lightly, and let it rest for 10 minutes to relax the gluten. When you return to the dough, it should stretch out much easier.
  6. Add the filling: Spread softened butter evenly on top of the rolled-out dough. 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 10-12 even rolls. Arrange rolls in the prepared pan.
  7. 2nd Rise: Cover the rolls tightly and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (Or use the overnight option below.)
  8. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  9. Bake rolls for about 22-28 minutes or until they are lightly browned on top. After about 15 minutes, tent a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pan to prevent the tops from browning too quickly and baking unevenly. Remove pan from the oven and place pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes as you make the icing.
  10. 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 cinnamon, if using) and beat on medium speed until creamy. Spread on warm cinnamon rolls.
  11. Cover leftover frosted or unfrosted rolls tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. Overnight Instructions: Prepare the rolls through step 6. Instead of allowing the cut rolls to rise in a warm environment in step 7, place the pan in the refrigerator and allow the rolls to rest for up to 14 hours before baking. When it’s time to bake the next day, bring the rolls to room temperature and rise for 1 hour on the counter, or until almost doubled in size. Then bake as directed.
  2. Freezing Instructions: Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up before enjoying. You can also freeze the unbaked rolls and here’s how: bake the rolls in step 9 for only about 10 minutes. Cool completely, and then cover tightly and freeze. To serve, take the rolls out of the freezer and place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Once thawed, finish baking them for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Milk: For super soft rolls, I recommend whole milk. Nondairy or lower fat milks work too, but the rolls may not taste as rich and fluffy.
  4. Yeast: You can use active dry or instant yeast in this recipe. Follow all of the same instructions. If using active dry yeast, the rise times are usually *slightly* longer, but not much. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
  5. Spices in Filling: If needed, you can use 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice in the filling. The pumpkin pie spice replaces the nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves.

Keywords: pumpkin cinnamon rolls

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

107 Comments

  1. I can’t wait to make these! One question though. I need to use instant yeast, instead of regular active dry yeast?

    1. Hey Katherine! You may use regular active dry yeast. Your rise times may be a bit longer though. Hope you enjoy!

  2. Having never used yeast outside of my bread machine, I was terrified. But, they turned out amazing. I’m not a big maple fan, nor did I have any.. So I just did a little more cream cheese and some pumpkin pie spice.. yum. Although… I didn’t see the note at the bottom until the end.. Only keeps up to one day… hmmm.. I think we can handle that. 😉

  3. Sally, You are my “go-to-gal” now! I never comment online, but I HAD to write and say that you have made me into a cinnamon bun chef! I’m not exaggerating when I say that over the years of my marriage I have tried close to a dozen cinnamon bun recipes and I have always managed to make them flop! They are too hard, or yeasty, or just bland. I had honestly given up on making them, but then I saw your Caramel Apple Cinnamon Bun recipe and decided to try one more time! I can’t tell you the ooo’s and ahh’s I got from my husband! He doesn’t easily hand out those kinds of compliments, but he told me that was the best thing he had ever eaten – it was his new favorite! Now today (since it is Thanksgiving in Canada) I made these pumpkin cinnamon buns, and as my husband bit into one he closed his eyes and smiled a huge smile! Home run again! I hope I can encourage any other ladies out there who are hesitant to try making cinnamon buns, to boldly take the plunge! Sally’s recipes are so well laid out – and the pay-off is huge! Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful tips and secrets and mostly the amazing recipes!

  4. Hi Sally! Do you think I could use maple sugar (purchased from Trader Joe’s) in the icing instead of syrup? Just curious because I have some in the pantry and need to use it!

    1. Yep! That would be just fine. Enjoy!

  5. Sally, I made these tonight and oh my goodness!!!! You are such a talented baker! They were a huge success as is everything I make of yours! I loved the frosting *sigh* I can NOT thank you enough!

  6. Wow! Can I say delicious? These rolls were a delightful combination of pumkiny fall deliciousness and spices tasted like an October morning, yumm! I have to admit that before I put the dough to rise I seriously doubted this recipe but when I pulled out the fluffy dough and it had actually risen, I couldn’t believe it! I used al lpurpose flour and they turned out just fine, also i battled the second-day blues by 30 seconds in the microwave, they were warm, gooy and soft, so devine! What a yummy treat, can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  7. Hi Sally!
    i just made these rolls for Christmas yesterday (and got up at 4:30 to make sure they would be ready for my early-riser family 🙂 )But man, it was worth it! These cinnamon rolls were an absolute hit! They turned out perfectly and were soft, gooey, and oh so addicting! Thank you so much for this recipe-I think I’ve finally convinced everyone that homemade cinnamon rolls are so much better than the ones that come in a tube!
    Love your site!

  8. I’ve made these four times now. Each and every time they’ve come out amazing. I’ve had two people who are self-proclaimed “not a fan of pumpkin” try these and love them, which lets you know what the rest of those who’ve tried them think. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! I’ll be making them again and again and again!

  9. These cinnamon rolls are beyond awesome! Made these last night. Had to wait though for a couple of hours for the dough to rise before putting the filling. Did put them in a warmed oven. They came out so soft and fluffy. They’re so addictive, I could finish a whole batch. This is the first recipe of yours that I tried. Will definitely try your other recipes. Thanks heaps!

  10. Hi Sally,
    I can not find the packets of instant active yeast anywhere.  In my cabinet I have red star active dry yeast (not instant) and red star platinum premium instant yeast.  Which do you think would be best? And what should I expect in terms of change in rising time?  Thanks so much! 

    1. Platinum. No change is rise times.

  11. Baked these rolls this morning and I love the flavors. The dough is not too sweet and I’m a big fan of the cloves in the filling. The addition of maple syrup in the cream cheese icing was also a nice touch. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Can I substitute white whole wheat flour?

    1. Definitely! Same amount.

  13. How would you recommend mixing the dough if you don’t have a mixer with a paddle attachment? Just with a spoon or hands? I have a hand mixer with the little beaters too…would that work? Going to make these when my fiancé comes to visit me this weekend! He LOVES cinnamon rolls and pumpkin things, so this sounds like the perfect combination for fall!! 

    1. A hand mixer or a spoon would work. A spoon might be easiest. Hope you both enjoy!

    2. My son & I made these, they’re delicious!! The recipe was right on spot, easy to follow instructions, used my KitchenAid to mix dough & hand mixer to mix the maple cream cheese icing. We heated the oven then turned off to speed up the rising…worked perfectly!
      We are making another batch tonight.
      Thank you for this fabulous recipe, we love pumpkin it makes us feel like they’re a little bit healthy LOL
      How many calories are in one roll?

  14. Hi Sally,

    Do you think these could be made in the slow cooker? I’ve been wanting to try your other recipe for slow cooker cinnamon rolls, but love the idea of pumpkin ones!

    1. Shouldn’t be a problem to try in the slow cooker! 🙂

  15. I did the overnight rise and made these this morning, they are amazing! I also used homemade pumpkin purée rather than the canned. Came out lovely! 

  16. Hi Sally,

    I love all your recipes. Would love to try this recipe for a breakfast get together. Am I correct in stating that rolls should be baked then frozen? What is your recommendation on defrosting the frozen rolls?

    Thank you!
    Reshma

    1. Hi Reshma! I suggest freezing the baked rolls, yes. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter, then bake at 350°F (177°C) until warmed throughout, about 15 minutes.

  17. Can I use fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned pumpkin?

    1. Sure can! Same amount.

  18. Could I bake these in a glass pan if I turned the oven temperature down 25 degrees? If I split one batch into two 8 x 8″ glass pans, do I need to adjust the baking time? (I need to take 2 pans of rolls to church this coming Sunday)

    1. Hi Nancy! I bake these pumpkin cinnamon rolls in glass pans at the instructed oven temperature. The bake time will be similar, if not exactly the same, if you split the recipe in 2 pans.

  19. can i use oat flour to make this gluten free? and if yes how much?

    1. I haven’t tested this with oat flour but let me know if you try it!

  20. This sounds delicious! I don’t have any allspice. Can I substitute with a different spice or use pumpkin pie spice instead of the spices listed in the recipe for the filling?

    1. Hi Jessica! I’m happy to help. You can skip the nutmeg, cloves, and allspice and use 1 and 1/4 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice instead.

  21. Just took them out of the oven, all house smells soo good, they are so fluffy and delicious, thanks for recipes!!!

  22. After baking & cooling these, would they keep fresh for more than 1 day if put in an airtight container l.p. & then put in the refrigerator?

    1. Hi Mary, These rolls taste best served on the same day, though they remain fresh for one day covered tightly at room temperature.

  23. Last year for my birthday I made your apple cinnamon rolls, and this year I made these pumpkin cinnamon rolls and oh my! They are absolutely delicious! I forgot to buy cream cheese for the icing, but I just mixed maple syrup, powdered sugar and milk and it still was fantastic! A really great recipe! My problem for next year’s birthday breakfast: these pumpkin cinnamon rolls or your apple cinnamon rolls?

  24. Jennifer Kurth says:

    I made these today. Let me start off by saying my nickname is yeast killer lol. So I tend to shy away from any thing involving yeast. But since I’ve had great success with making your homemade pizza dough I decided to give these a whirl and was successful with these as well, so many thanks! I did bake mine for 22 minutes and found a recipe elsewhere for a maple glaze because I didn’t have cream cheese. The end result is these are fluffy and moist and most importantly absolutely AWESOME! Everyone loved them.

  25. I had issues getting these to rise. Was I supposed to bloom the yeast in the warm milk? They didn’t rise at all the second time. They tasted ok, but were smaller and denser.

    1. Hi Marie! Are you letting the rolls rise in a warmer environment? Also, the yeast may have lost its strength. Was it near expiration? Or perhaps there was too much flour in the dough? Just trying to think of reasons why the shaped rolls wouldn’t expand. You may find this post helpful too: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/baking-with-yeast/

  26. I made a double batch of these for a women’s breakfast. They were an instant hit! From the extras, I froze a few and reheated some others for breakfast and drizzled with the icing. They are delicious. The only change in the recipe I made was to reduce the cloves. I did have some issues with the icing. It was lumpy and did not come together well, but that may have been my technique. I had to put it through a sieve. That was a pain, but it tasted great! This recipe is a keeper. I wonder if you could do 1/2 wheat-1/2 white to make it a little more healthy.

  27. The girls loved it. Recipe has been requested (and shared).
    I just used butter frosting and added maple flavoring.

  28. These are delicious!! Wonderful pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, my son , husband & myself loved them, even our dog enjoyed a taste. We are going to make again tomorrow morning & double the recipe so we can share them at our family Christmas gathering. Thank you for these amazing cinnamon rolls!!

  29. These are delicious! After step 3 I threw them in the fridge to bake off in the morning, as per Sally’s instructions. What a great Friday morning treat 🙂 The dough was really sticky so I had to add a bit more flour to roll them out. I also added extra cinnamon/sugar to the filling. I didn’t have cream cheese to make the suggested frosting so I went with Sally’s frosting in her Easy Cinnamon Rolles recipe using coffee. I’d eat these any season of the year.

  30. Can this be made with gluten free flour?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour, but some readers report success using 1:1 gluten free flour substitutes in our recipes (like Cup4Cup). If you try anything let us know how it goes!

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