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.
These aren’t just classic homemade 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! Pumpkin pie lovers, meet your new favorite breakfast.
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
- You can use homemade pumpkin pie spice in the filling
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, homemade cinnamon rolls, and cinnamon roll cake. Lean doughs, on the other hand, are made without much fat and produce crusty bread such as artisan bread, homemade bagels, and pizza dough.
You need 9 ingredients for pumpkin cinnamon roll dough:
- Milk: Liquid activates the yeast. Nondairy or low fat milks are fine, but whole milk produces phenomenal flavor and texture.
- Butter: Butter promises a flavorful dough.
- 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).
- 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.
- Nutmeg: A pinch of ground nutmeg enhances the pumpkin flavor and adds a little something extra to these pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
- Salt: You can’t make flavorful bread without salt!
- Egg: 1 egg provides structure and flavor.
- 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.
- 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!
Overview: How to Make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- 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.
- 1st rise. Cover the dough and let it rise.
- Make the pumpkin spice filling. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and spices.
- 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.
- 2nd rise. Let the shaped rolls rise. This rise is shorter than the 1st.
- Bake. Cover them with aluminum foil after 15 minutes to prevent over-browning.
- 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. And if you are craving cinnamon rolls right now, and just can’t wait for dough to rise, try these no yeast cinnamon rolls.
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 homemade cinnamon rolls, salted caramel frosting, the maple icing from maple cinnamon rolls, the caramel icing from apple cinnamon rolls, or this vanilla icing.Print
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- Prep Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
- Yield: 10-12 rolls
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Soft pumpkin cinnamon rolls filled with a gooey cinnamon swirl and topped with maple cream cheese icing.
- 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 (7g) instant 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
- 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 ounces (112g) full-fat block 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 2nd Rise: Cover the rolls tightly and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (Or use the overnight option below.)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spices in Filling: If needed, you can use 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade pumpkin pie spice in the filling. The pumpkin pie spice replaces the nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves.
Keywords: pumpkin cinnamon rolls
Reader Comments & Reviews
Can this be left in the fridge longer than 14 hours.
Say like 2-3 days? Thanks
Hi Judy, we do not recommend it — the rolls will rise too much during that amount of time. For further make ahead instructions, see freezing instructions in the recipe Notes.
These were delicious. My favorite flavor up to now was your orange cinnamon rolls, but these may have pushed ahead for first place. Flavors/spices were just right, dough was perfectly soft, and the icing was velvety smooth and took the recipe up a notch. My four kids loved them too! Will certainly make this recipe again and again.
My question is about blotting canned pumpkin purée. I’ve made hundreds of your pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to be served with the Jack Attack pumpkin ale at our local brewery, and blotting the pumpkin purée was an important part of that recipe. Do you recommend that procedure for this recipe if using canned pumpkin, or have you already taken that moisture into consideration?
Hi Kathleen, You do not need to blot the pumpkin before using in this recipe. Enjoy!
Hi Sally, Love your recipes. Do I have to let the dough sit in the refrigerator for the full 14 hours? Can I take it out sooner? Thanks.
Hi Nora, The first rise is about 2 hours and the second rise is about 1 hour. If you are following the overnight instructions in the recipe notes you can refrigerate the dough for up to 14 hours, but it can be shorter.
Sally, thank you so very much for your quick response. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your recipes and website. I have done more baking this fall season than ever before because of how delicious your recipes are. Thank you again so much!! I hope you get your own cooking show on Food Network soon!
Every time I make cream cheese icing there are little lumps in it. I just made these and of course there’s little lumps in the icing. I let it set out for an eternity so it was definitely room temp. Is there any tips on not having lumps in your icing?
Hi Erin, Did you sift the powdered sugar? Cream cheese fully warmed to room temperature will make it smoother and easier to incorporate into the rest of the frosting mixture. Trying a different brand of powdered sugar and cream cheese could also be helpful. Some simply give better results than others. Hope this helps!
I loved this recipe! The cinnamon rolls turned out perfect!
Great Recipe. I actually woke up thinking about making this recipe one morning. I was wondering can you freeze these before last proof, bring out of freezer, thaw and proof? I did read the recommendation of baking off first but did you try what I suggested? I also changed the recipe for the icing. I eliminated the maple syrup (too sweet for us added more 10x for more structure and a pinch of salt to balance flavor— try it !! I love trying new recipes and frequent your site for new recipes, just graduated from Pastry School in April and love to tweak at recipes!
Hi Suzanne, I haven’t tested freezing the pumpkin dough in that particular order/way before, but let me know if you try it!
They came out so soft and fluffy! Perfect!
I am addicted to all of your yeast bun recipes. Thank you! The pumpkin cinnamon rolls are a huge hit with all pumpkin lovers. What are your thoughts about freezing them with the icing already on? Next time I will make sure I only ice half of them.
Hi Gina, so glad you loved them! It’s best to freeze without the glaze.
I’m unclear when the yeast goes in. Does it go in the pan with the milk/butter egg?
Hi Mary, After you mix the pumpkin puree, sugar, nutmeg, and salt together, then you’ll whisk the yeast into the warmed milk/butter, egg until combined.
I have made these so many times this fall that I have lost count! I make half of the dough into cinnamon rolls and half into dinner rolls since there are only two of us.
So good with cheese and apple slices. Thanks again!!
Greetings! Do you think one could use an extra amount of butter to make up for the small amount of milk fat that’s lacking in 2% milk?
Hi Evvy, we haven’t tried adding extra butter. The cinnamon rolls will work with 2% milk!
Perfect. Sort and pillowy. The pumpkin flavor really comes through. I added some vanilla paste to the dough. I also warmed 1/2 c of cream and poured it over them before they went into the oven. Tossed some toasted some pecans over the top of the cream cheese and enjoy!!!
Hi, New to your wonderful site. Can I use Half & Half instead of whole milk. We usually have 1%milk in house and half & half ( for coffe & other cooking).
Hi Carolyn! Shouldn’t be a problem – or you could mix your 1% with some half and half for something closet to whole milk. Hope you love these pumpkin cinnamon rolls!
I did not have whole milk either, I used heavy cream which made them extra scrumptious!!
I made these rolls today in my bread maker❣️ I rolled them out and let rise 2 hours. They are delicious. I will make again. Thank you
This recipe turned out so amazing!!! I subbed butternut squash purée for the pumpkin (because that’s what I had) and it was delish! Thanks for a solid recipe and easy to follow directions.
We loved these rolls so much! The spices in the filling were wonderful and the kitchen smelled so good after the baking was done ❤️
Good dough however the spices are unbelievably strong. Tasted and smelled like candles. My instincts were telling me the mixture was going to be too strong once I made it up however I convinced myself that it would mellow out once baked…big mistake.
So so so delicious! Made the recipe as written except I used 4 T butter (instead of 6) for the filling, because …. Butter $$, and I used a mix of all-purpose, whole wheat, and bread flour for the dough. There are 2 left and I’m already wondering if I can make them again tomorrow. 🙂 Thanks Sally!!
I will start off by saying the dough recipe was easy to follow. My issue with this recipe were the flavors in the filling were off. I am not sure what flavor it was but it was strong and undesirable. I wanted to like it because I Love all the other recipes you have. I have never had an issue but I just needed to adjust those spices.
Hi sally! If I were to double or triple the recipe, would I also want to double or triple the amount of yeast?
Hi Levi! For best results we recommend making separate batches 🙂
Hi Sally! Can I use buttermilk in these? Thanks!
Shouldn’t be a problem!
I love this recipe! Would I be able to add extra yeast to this to make giant cinnamon rolls like the other recipe you have?
Hi Rebecca, no need to add extra yeast or change the dough. You can simply cut the log of dough into fewer, but larger/wider rolls.
Would this recipe work with freshly puréed pumpkin? How would you alter the recipe to accommodate for the extra liquid that is in fresh pumpkin?
Hi Elizabeth, you can use homemade pumpkin puree in this recipe if desired. If it is particularly wet/watery, you may want to blot it before using to rid of some excess moisture. Let us know how it goes!
will taking out the egg from this recipe change it at all?
Hi Isabella! Yes, the egg is an important ingredient and we don’t recommend leaving it out. If you test any substitutes let us know!
Hi Sally, Can I make the dough in my bread machine? If so, do I need to do anything special??
Hi Colleen, we haven’t tested this dough in a bread machine but please let us know how it goes if you do!
Ok. Thanks, Trina. I will see if I can figure it out and let you know.
Is there a way to make these into smaller, mini cinnamon rolls? These look perfect to make for a brunch party, but I want to make more small one! Any suggestions?
Hi Paige, We haven’t tried making these into mini rolls but might start by shaping the dough into two 6×18 inch rectangles and try rolling them that way. You won’t get as much of the filling in each roll though!
These were great! I made them as mini rolls following the suggestion of two 6x18in rectangles and it worked well.
The cream cheese icing texture was off. It was way too runny even after I added extra powdered sugar. Not sure what went wrong there because I followed instructions exactly as written.
I have a question. I did everything clear up till the last step where it said bake for 10 minutes and freeze after cooling off to bake after thawing for the future. When mine came out of the oven and fully cooked off before freezing, the rolls became flat. Is that normal?
They will slightly deflate after pre-cooking for 10 minutes, yes. But should spring back up when you bake them again after thawing.
Hi Sally! This recipe looks heavenly and perfect for fall. I’m planning to make these for thanksgiving and I wanted to do a tester batch beforehand. If I wanted to make 2-4 rolls instead of 10-12, how would I change the measurements and pan size? Hope you can help!
Hi Isabella, it would be difficult to scale this recipe down to such a small amount. You could make a test batch and freeze the extras for later – see recipe notes for details.
I love the dough! Very tasty and fall inspired. I didn’t love the icing– it’s great by itself, but I thought the cream cheese flavor kinda fought with the pumpkin spice a bit. That said, my husband really liked the “hot and cold” of the contrast
Store bought Pumpkin pie spice already has cinnamon in it.
It’s a cinnamon roll – it needs extra cinnamon than what is in pumpkin pie spice obviously.