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. Wondering if I could use bread flour instead of the all purpose flour.

    1. I can’t see why not! Same amount.

  2. Can I use dry active yeast if I activate it first?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Alexa, We use a dry instant yeast here. If using active dry yeast, not an instant, you don’t need to make any changes to your recipe but your rise times may be a little longer.

  3. Stephanie Weyrauch says:

    Will the dough turn out if I don’t have a stand or electric mixer? Can I mix by hand?

    1. Hi Stephanie, yes! If you do not have a stand-mixer, mix the dough together in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

  4. Stephanie Bernabei says:

    I’m so excited to try these! Is it possible to freeze the constructed rolls to bake at another time?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Stephanie, You also freeze the unbaked rolls and here’s how: bake the rolls in step 7 for only about 10 minutes. Cool completely, then cover tightly and freeze. When ready, take the rolls out of the freezer and put into the refrigerator a few hours. Then, finish baking them.

  5. Hello! Could I use this recipe but make it in the method outlined for your giant cinnamon roll cake?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Sure can!

  6. Excited to try these!! Can I put these(after slicing) in a muffin tin, for rising and baking?

    1. Definitely! I’m unsure of the best bake time though. Same oven temperature.

  7. I’m so excited to try this recipe! Would it be possible to sub the pumpkin purée with pumpkin pie filling (that’s just what I have on hand)? Would that be too sweet and could I balance that by leaving out some sugar? Thanks!

    1. Hi Alyson, I strongly recommend using pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. I haven’t tested this recipe with the filling and an adjustment to the sugar and spices would be needed. (Perhaps the liquid, too.) Let me know if you try anything!

  8. WOW. Sally’s recipes never disappoint. We’re in love. Just make them. 🙂

  9. Hi! What about if I let the cut rolls rise for two hours instead of one before baking? Is that too long? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Isabella, You want the rolls to double in size. We use instant yeast which takes about an hour, if you use active yeast instead your rise time may be longer. I don’t suggest letting them sit for two hours if they double in size faster than that – over proofed dough will quickly collapse when it’s baked.

  10. I made these yesterday with homemade pumpkin purée. These are simply amazing! Thank you for all the amazing recipes.

  11. Is it okay to 1.5x this recipe?

    1. Hi Grace, that shouldn’t be a problem.

  12. Joanne Bennett says:

    I am a big fan of pumpkin so this recipe was good for me. All my friends really enjoyed this recipe! I am interested however to make the salted caramel icing. Where do I find salted caramel? Is it a liquid? Or is it actual caramels you have to melt?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Joanne, for the salted caramel icing, we recommend following the icing from our Apple Cinnamon Rolls. That recipe uses 2 tablespoons of our Homemade Salted Caramel!

  13. Hi ! Can you clarify the amount of flour needed ? Towards the top of the page it says 2 and 1/4 cups but in the written instructions it says 2 and 2/3 cups. I did 2 and 2/3 but I’m having some issues getting them to rise ( and I just made bread so I know the yeast is okay) so I’m wondering if the flour amount is incorrect. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sara, the written printable recipe is correct, but the 1/4 was a typo in the headnotes. (Post was recently updated.) Thank you for catching that! This is a soft dough. Did you find your dough was still too soft after using 2 and 2/3 cups of flour? I always find that these pumpkin cinnamon rolls do not puff up as much as regular cinnamon rolls because pumpkin is a heavier ingredient.

  14. Craving a taste of Fall, I made these (overnight version) for this morning and they are absolutely divine! Delicious in every way. My husband said they were some of the best cinnamon rolls he’s had. Thanks for another winning recipe!

  15. They turned out absolutely delicious! Thank you for the recipe – super easy, understandable and with a lot of advice. 🙂

  16. Can you use pumpkin pie spice instead in this recipe.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Diana, sure can. Keep the cinnamon and replace the nutmeg, cloves, and allspice with the same amount of pumpkin pie spice.

  17. Would I be able to use this recipe to construct your giant cinnamon roll cake??

    1. Hi Stephanie, I can’t see why not! Giant Cinnamon Roll Cake

  18. How do you get a stronger Pumpkin Flavor? I love pumpkin overload. The recipe is delicious.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lisa, you can increase the spices in the filling for an even stronger pumpkin flavor. So glad to hear you enjoyed these cinnamon rolls!

  19. Could I use brown butter? and if I make it fresh would I have to wait for it to cool a bit before using it?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Natalie, we don’t see why that would be an issue. We would let it cool before using. Let us know how they go!

  20. These cinnamon buns are so very delish!! Have made them several times…such great dough!

  21. Do these cinnamon rolls need to be refrigerated after baking? Thanks.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lisa, 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.

  22. Made these last week and did the overnight process.. Served them warm on Saturday morning, my family absolutely loved them!! So moist and delicious!

  23. Is it ok to use homemade pumpkin puree?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Sure can! Same amount.

  24. Thank you so much for the recipe! The rolls were a big hit with my family. I used the overnight method, they turned out perfect!

  25. I love making your cinnamon rolls so these will be amazing for sure. Has anyone tried making your cinnamon rolls with GF flour with success?

  26. The butter to spice ratio was off for me. The filling was dry and I feel like all the spices absorbed the butter. I also found the dough not quite sweet enough and I couldn’t really taste the pumpkin. This one was a bit of a fail for me :/

  27. Made these with the overnight step. They came out perfectly! Everyone loved the spice blend in the filling – it’s a lot, but it wasn’t overpowering, and a nice change from plain cinnamon. The pumpkin in the dough had a nice, soft texture. Will definitely make again!

  28. Ramona Golden says:

    I made them today. All I can say is Oh My Goodness!!! The pumpkin dough is so full of love and flavor. The filling is full of flavor. And the frosting, I can not get enough of it. I added pecans and cranberries to the filling. Wow!!! I have wanted to make rolls for some time. I am so happy that my first experience was a bullseye!!! Thank you Sally for this amazing recipe. I most definitely will make these again and again.

  29. I will be making these rolls into a giant cinnamon roll cake(which that recipe was amazing and delicious btw)
    My question is should I allow the dough to rise and double in size as the recipe reads or should I follow the rise time for the cake recipe ( about 30 min?)

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katrina, Sounds delicious! We would still do 2 rises for this dough– 1 after making the dough, then another after shaping it into the giant cinnamon roll. In other words, follow these dough instructions but shape as the giant cinnamon roll. Hope this helps!

  30. These rolls are delicious! They’re so soft, fluffy and when you’re eating them, it feels like a warm hug. The spices are just perfect, not overpowering at all. I added pecans in the filling for a crunch. I can honestly say, that I prefer these over regular cinnamon rolls any day! I made 12 rolls and my family only left 4, which were eaten the next day.

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