Pumpkin Spice Roll Cookies

Enjoy cinnamon roll cookies with plenty of pumpkin spice in this fall-inspired icebox/slice-and-bake-style cookie recipe. These pumpkin spice roll cookies start with a 1 bowl pumpkin sugar cookie dough that you’ll roll out and top with brown sugar and plenty of pumpkin pie spice. After rolling up into logs, chill the cookie dough before slicing and baking. Choose cream cheese icing or maple icing as the final finishing touch before serving.

pumpkin cinnamon roll cookies with maple icing on top

These are just like cinnamon roll cookies, but with a pumpkin spice makeover. Taste testers raved about their distinctive cinnamon and spice flavors and we couldn’t choose which icing was better, so you have two options below!


Pumpkin Spice Roll Cookies: What to Expect

  • Flavor: The pumpkin flavor is light, but the spice flavor is strong especially on day 2. One of my recipe testers said “the pumpkin flavor comes through and it’s just the right amount of pumpkin spice.” They’re like pumpkin cinnamon rolls in cookie form and you can choose a cream cheese or maple icing. If all of that sounds tasty to you, you’ll most definitely love these fall cookies!
  • Texture: Each cookie is soft in the center with buttery brown sugar spice swirls and deliciously crisp edges. They take on a slightly crunchier texture on day 2, similar to dense shortbread.
  • Ease: Once you get going, the recipe is pretty simple. However, since they aren’t typical drop cookies and require precise measurements, I consider these an intermediate baking recipe— definitely a fun project for a fall afternoon.
  • Time: Set aside enough time to chill this cookie dough after you roll and assemble it into logs. Without chilling, it’s impossible to neatly slice the cookies and if you manage to slice a few decent cookies, they’ll lose shape and over-spread in the oven. Don’t waste your ingredients and efforts– chill this dough. After all the prep, chilling, baking, and a few minutes of cooling, this recipe typically takes a little over 3 hours.

pumpkin cinnamon spice roll cookies with cream cheese icing on top

The Trick to Working Pumpkin Into Cookie Dough

These pumpkin spice roll cookies start with a pumpkin spice sugar cookie dough. Pumpkin puree takes the place of an egg, so these cookies are egg-free like my other naturally egg-free baking recipes. Pumpkin is quite wet and can ruin the texture of cookie dough, especially a dough that requires specific shaping. As you might remember from these brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies and my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, the trick to working pumpkin into cookie dough without it changing the cookie’s texture is to rid its excess moisture.

Here’s what you’ll do: Start the recipe by blotting 6 Tablespoons of pumpkin puree with a clean kitchen tea towel or paper towels. The amount of liquid could surprise you! After drawing out some moisture, you should have about 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree.

  • Why Is This Important? It might seem like a silly and pointless step, but it’s crucial to the success of this pumpkin sugar cookie dough. Without doing this, the dough will be a sloppy mess that’s impossible to roll and shape.
  • Do You Always Do This with Pumpkin Cookies? No, it’s not always necessary. You can skip this step when making my soft pumpkin cookies because we want the extra moisture from the pumpkin to produce soft and cakey cookies. Think about your end result and if you want chewy, dense cookies or cookie dough that can you can easily handle and shape, it’s likely best to remove some moisture from the pumpkin.

pumpkin and other cookie ingredients in bowls

Step-by-Step Photos & Details

After you ditch some of the pumpkin puree’s moisture, it’s time to start preparing the cookie dough. Like many cookie recipes, this recipe starts with creamed butter and sugar. Remember that room temperature butter is cool to the touch– not overly soft– and you can read more about how this affects your baking’s success on my Room Temperature Butter page. Beat the pumpkin and vanilla into the creamed butter and sugar until combined and don’t worry if the mixture appears curdled because it will all come together when you add the dry ingredients.

This is a 1 bowl cookie dough– add the dry ingredients one by one right into the wet ingredients.

side-by-side photos showing the wet ingredients and the final dough

The rest of the process is like my regular cinnamon roll cookies. Divide the dough in half, and then roll out each half into 10×8 inch rectangles (which is slightly larger that the regular version). The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Now you can top with melted butter and cover the butter with a brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon mixture.

pumpkin sugar cookie dough on marble counter

rolled out pumpkin sugar cookie dough with butter and cinnamon sugar topping

Using your fingertips, carefully roll each up into a log. If your cookie dough is cracking, I have troubleshooting tips to help you listed below. Wrap up the logs and chill them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. After that, slice and bake your pumpkin spice roll cookies. It’s not too difficult, especially if you understand the process before you get started.

2 pumpkin roll cookie dough logs before chilling

pumpkin spice roll cookies before baking

close up photo of pumpkin swirl cookies with maple icing on top

pumpkin cinnamon swirl cookies with cream cheese icing


Maple Icing or Cream Cheese Icing?

The cookies don’t necessarily need a finishing touch, but if there’s an opportunity for glaze, let’s seize it. Now which should you choose? Taste tasters LOVED the cream cheese icing, but it covers up the pretty swirl. Maple icing was another favorite and you’ll appreciate that it eventually sets, so the iced cookies can easily be stacked, stored, and/or transported. Both the maple icing and cream cheese icing recipes are included below.

You might even like these with salted caramel or the brown butter glaze from these brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies. Lots of choices!


Can I Use This Dough for Pumpkin Cookie Cutter Cookies?

Yes, but I find this dough a little difficult to work with when using cookie cutters. Instead, I strongly recommend just using my sugar cookies and adding 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon when adding the flour.

If you decide to use this dough, make sure your work surface and cookie cutters are lightly floured and take your time re-rolling any scraps of dough. For specific instructions, it would be best to follow my printable sugar cookie recipe instructions (steps 4-9) using this pumpkin cookie dough.


Troubleshooting the Dough

  • Dough is Too Soft to Roll: If your butter was too soft or if you didn’t blot enough moisture out of the pumpkin puree, your cookie dough may be too soft to roll out in step 3. Add 1 Tablespoon of flour to the dough and beat on low speed until combined.
  • Dough is Too Crumbly to Roll: A few times I tested this recipe, the weather was quite dry and I noticed that my dough was dry, too. This also could have been because I blotted *too much* moisture out of the pumpkin. If your cookie dough is too crumbly to roll out in step 3, add 2-3 teaspoons of pumpkin puree (not blotted) to the dough and beat on low speed until combined.
  • Dough Log is Tearing/Cracking: First, roll the dough out thin enough– about 1/4 inch thick. Second, make sure your work surface is floured well because otherwise the dough will stick to the counter and create cracks and tears as pictured below. If the dough is still cracking/tearing as you’re rolling it, flour your hands and try to pat the tears back together. If you notice the dough is cracking because it’s too dry, moisten your fingertips with a little water to help mold the cracks back together.

Let’s avoid this! ↓↓

rolled up pumpkin dough that has cracked and fallen apart

Print
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pumpkin cinnamon roll cookies with maple icing on top

Pumpkin Spice Roll Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes (includes chilling)
  • Cook Time: 14 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 50 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These pumpkin spice roll cookies are icebox cookies that combine a pumpkin sugar cookie dough with a brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice filling. Overall, the pumpkin flavor is faint but the spices are strong. Choose cream cheese icing or maple icing as the final finishing touch before serving. Review recipe notes and watch the video before starting.


Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (170gunsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150ggranulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (86gpumpkin puree (moisture blotted, see note)*
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (281gall-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 and 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 3 Tablespoons (43g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2/3 cup (135g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 and 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Icing (Or Use Maple Icing in Notes)

  • 4 ounces (about 1/2 cup or 112g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • optional: pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. First, make sure you have removed excess liquid from the pumpkin puree by blotting it as much as you can with a clean kitchen tea towel or paper towels. This dough will not turn out properly with the pumpkin’s excess moisture. After blotting excess liquid, you should have about 1/3 cup (75g) to use in the recipe. See recipe note.
  2. Make the dough: In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and vanilla extract, and then beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine. It’s ok if the mixture looks curdled. Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Beat on low speed until combined and a thick dough forms.
  3. Shape and fill: Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. If you want to be accurate and weigh the dough, each half should be around or a little more than 12 ounces each. On a floured work surface using floured hands, pat each into a small rectangle. Then, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each portion of dough out into a 10×8 inch rectangle. It should be about 1/4″ thick. As you’re rolling, use your hands to help keep the sides straight as you see me do in the video. Spread half of the melted butter onto each rectangle– doesn’t need to be exactly half, just eyeball it. It will be a thick layer of butter. Mix the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon together then sprinkle evenly over each. Using the back of a spoon, pat the brown sugar and spices down into the butter to help it stick.
  4. Working slowly using your fingertips, tightly roll up each rectangle into a 10-inch log. If the dough is cracking at all, use your fingers to smooth it out. (See troubleshooting above if needed.) Wrap the dough logs in plastic wrap, parchment paper, or aluminum foil. Chill the dough logs for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days in the refrigerator. (Or freeze for up to 3 months, see freezing instructions below.) The pictured cookie dough logs chilled in the refrigerator for 1 day.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  6. Remove dough logs from the refrigerator. Using a sharp knife, cut each into slices that are slightly less than 1/2 inch (between 1/4 and 1/2 inch is perfect). You’ll have around 24-26 cookies per log. Arrange sliced cookies onto baking sheets 1.5-2 inches apart. If the slices have lost their round shape, use your fingers to help mold them into perfect circles again. Not necessary of course, but you can see me do it in the video.
  7. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until very lightly browned around the bottoms. (As the cookies bake, you can make the icing in the next step.) Remove finished cookies from the oven, allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 full minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack.
  8. Make the cream cheese icing (or the maple icing listed in the recipe notes): In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the butter and beat until smooth and combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract, and then beat on medium speed until combined. Taste. Add a pinch of salt if desired.
  9. Spread cream cheese frosting (or drizzle maple icing) on warm or cooled cookies.
  10. Cover plain or iced cookies and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Baked cookies (with or without icing) freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. As noted in step 4, you can chill the rolled up cookie dough logs for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or freeze the logs for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen logs in the refrigerator, then continue with step 5. You can also freeze the cookie dough after step 2 (before rolling/shaping it) for up to 3 months. Prepare the dough through step 2, divide into two portions, flatten both halves into a disk as we do with pie crust, wrap each in plastic wrap, then freeze. Thaw completely at room temperature, and then continue with step 3.
  2. Pumpkin: Measure the pumpkin before blotting it. Blot as much of the moisture out of the pumpkin puree as you can before using in this dough. See photo in the post for a visual. Less moisture is a good thing here! After blotting excess liquid, you should have about 1/3 cup (75g) to use in the recipe. Use pure pumpkin (such as canned pure pumpkin), not “pumpkin pie filling.”
  3. Pumpkin Pie Spice: Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, use 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. You need this amount in both the dough AND the filling. This is in addition to the ground cinnamon already called for in the recipe.
  4. Maple Icing: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt 2 Tablespoons (30gunsalted butter with 1/3 cup (80ml) pure maple syrup, whisking occasionally. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup (112g) sifted confectioners’ sugar. Taste. Add a pinch of salt, if desired. Drizzle over warm or room temperature cookies. Icing will set after about 1 hour.
  5. Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand), Rolling Pin, Pastry Brush, Baking Sheets

Keywords: pumpkin spice roll cookies

How to Join the October Sally's Baking Challenge

Make the pumpkin spice roll cookies plain or with your desired icing/glaze. If you aren’t into this recipe, here is the alternate baking challenge recipe:

  1. any previous challenge recipe you haven’t made yet OR
  2. Mint Chocolate Checkerboard Cookies. Feel free to skip the mint flavoring for plain checkerboard cookies. You could even tint the vanilla cookie dough orange, which would look festive for Halloween.

After you make the pumpkin cookies or alternate recipe, email us your recipe photo. For a bonus entry, leave a review on the recipe below.

By emailing your recipe photo to us, you are automatically entered in the baking challenge. 1 winner receives a $250 Amazon Gift Card. The challenge is open to the whole world. Challenge ends on October 31st at 5pm eastern. The winner will be selected at random, emailed their prize, and posted in the November Baking Challenge blog post on November 1st 2021.

Visit the Sally’s Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions about Sally’s Baking Challenge. Sign up for Sally’s Baking Challenge emails so you’re alerted as soon as new challenge post is published!

208 Comments

  1. I’m wondering if they’d be good, or if it would work to add some toasted, chopped pecans to the filling. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Nicole, I haven’t tested that. If you try it, make sure the toasted pecans are chopped very, very fine. Otherwise the dough will have too much on it and rolling into a log will be difficult.

  2. These look wonderful. I love anything pumpkin. Thanks for another great idea!

  3. These look great! But I’m wondering… if we’re too lazy to troubleshoot that swirl could we just fold over a layer of cookie dough? (Also where I live its very dry so I dont have much hope on getting it right lol) Kind of like a sandwich?

    1. Hi Jenna, I’m not sure what you’re asking in terms of shaping it. If it’s quite dry where you are, use my troubleshooting tip for adding a couple extra teaspoons of pumpkin after the dough comes together.

  4. I’ve got a family member who is dairy free. Do you think these could be made with a dairy free butter substitute, like the Country Crock Plant Butter sticks?

    1. Hi Eliza, we haven’t tested it but let us know if you do. I have readers who have had luck making my regular sugar cookies with “butter” sticks made by the brand Earth Balance. And that recipe is the base for this pumpkin variation. I haven’t personally tested it though.

      1. Great! I’ll update you if we give it a try. Thanks!

    2. Eliza- my husband is dairy free and I use Country Crock plant butter sticks for baking. They have worked great in lots of different recipes so I’m sure they would be fine here!

  5. Jennifer Tyler says:

    wow I have to try this it will be my first challenge and I love baking let you know after my boys taste it

    1. Eli Valentin says:

      It’s a pretty finicky recipe, but the payoff is delicious! One thing I would have appreciated is an instruction about how best to drizzle the maple glaze.

  6. Emily Conrad says:

    Do you recommend canned pumpkin or fresh baked pumpkin for this recipe?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Canned is best!

  7. Natalie N Steiner says:

    Do you think I could make these without any sort of mixer, just hand mixing everything?

    1. Hi Natalie, it will take a bit of arm muscle, but you can certainly cream the butter and sugar together by hand. You may be tempted to start with extra soft butter to make creaming by hand easier, but that won’t do the cookie dough any favors. Make sure the butter isn’t too soft and see my room temperature butter page if needed.

  8. Baked these this afternoon. Super recipe, easy to follow, and tastes fabulous. My eleven year old daughter proclaims “they taste just like Fall. Warm and cozy!”

  9. Can’t wait to try these! Can they be frozen with the icing or is it best to leave that off when freezing? Thank you!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katie! You can freeze them with or without icing.

  10. Good, not enough spice or pumpkin taste. Cream cheese icing was ok. Nothing is oversweet which is good. Just not amazed. Was fun to make though.

  11. Living in the desert, I have been CRAVING fall lately. When I saw this recipe posted this morning I didn’t waste any time! The recipe was easy to follow and the tips were super helpful. My two-year-old helped me with the first step (through rolling into logs and placing in refrigerator) and I finished during her nap time. My house smelled like fall while they were baking and I don’t imagine they will last long. 🙂

    *Also would like to note that I was prepared to use the troubleshoot suggestion for dry climates, but didn’t need to!

  12. Oh my pumpkin spice God!!! These are even better than I imagined they were going to be! Get in my belly NOW! A hint of pumpkin and just the right amount of spice like the challenge says! Thank you Sally for putting Fall into October first and foremost! I will definitely be making another couple batches so I can share some!

  13. I made these this evening!! I used browned butter and they came out deeeeelicious and so pretty. My logs tried to split apart a bit as I was rolling them, but pinching the dough back together with my fingers then wrapping them super quickly in plastic wrap did the trick.

  14. So delicious! I love the chewy texture and perfectly spiced flavor of these cookies. And my two year old daughter appreciates that they’re just her size! I so far have only baked and tasted one log, and opted for the cream cheese icing. The maple icing sounds fantastic too, and I plan on using that for my next log tomorrow. I’m eager to try that combination. Thanks for another recipe for the books, Sally!

  15. Jennifer Tyler says:

    this is good my boys dont like any topping because they eat it with ice cream

  16. Michelle Rodenberg says:

    These cookies were excellent! So soft and flavorful, perfect for fall! The cream cheese frosting was a great touch. Thank you for the recipe!

  17. These are so cute! Definitely want to give these a try. Just curious, if you browned the butter, do you think it would work to not blot the pumpkin puree? Sort of like using the moisture from the pumpkin puree to replace the lost moisture from the browned butter.

    1. Hi Joanna, I haven’t tested this recipe with browned butter. You’ll have to solidify the browned butter in the refrigerator so you’re able to cream it with the sugar. Let me know if you try anything!

      1. To Sally and Sarah — Just got a chance to try the recipe with browned butter! I browned the butter the day before to give it a chance to solidify in the fridge and then go back to room temp. I didn’t blot the pumpkin at all, and the dough consistency did seem a little more moist than in the pictures and Sally’s video. However, it rolled out fine, and the cookies baked up perfectly.

    2. I made these with browned butter! (Let it harden in the fridge then come back to room temp on the counter before creaming.) I still blotted the pumpkin puree. The batter was a tiny bit dry after mixing and I had to add 2 teaspoons of non-blotted pumpkin puree to get it to the right consistency. So not very much at all. I think if I hadn’t blotted most of the pumpkin, the batter would have been much too sticky. Hope this helps!

  18. I just saw pumpkin ice cream at Trader joes… I think a beautiful T-giving dessert would be a scoop of that with one of these cookies on the side.

  19. Danielle Marinakis says:

    Perfect for fall

  20. Monica Prudencio says:

    These came out great! They were so easy and have such a fall flavor. I don’t have pumpkin pie spice so I used the mixture of spices suggested and it worked great. I don’t like making glazes so I skipped that step and while I am sure a glaze/drizzle would be nice, it’s definitely not essential. My biggest problem was slicing the rolled dough – some of the outer edges broke off. However, when I smushed them back together, they baked nicely and you can barely tell if you don’t know!

  21. Using home grown winter squash in place of canned pumpkin, blotting it as instructed, the dough came out very dry. It cracked as in the photo no matter what we did. Cracked more after being chilled. We ended up munching dough into mini logs. Baking first cookie sheet now.
    They don’t spread. Hopefully they will turn out okay.

    1. Hi Anne, let us know how they turn out with winter squash. Since the dough was dry, did you add more puree as instructed in the troubleshooting section?

  22. Made this with the cream cheese frosting and it came out great! Definitely don’t leave them in for much longer than the recipe says. Hard to tell when the bottoms are getting brown but I’m glad I pulled them when I did. Thanks!

  23. Super fun cookies to make! Its very easy to eat the whole batch in one afternoon….

  24. Yum! Have maybe had three of these already… Opted for cream cheese frosting but warmed it and drizzled it for appearance! I don’t seem to get a ton of pumpkin flavor (yet) but they are still delicious!

  25. Linda Sturtevant says:

    Definitely need to be a more seasoned baker. Had to add more flour to my dough as it was much too sticky. Rolled out very well after. Used a spoon to spread out the butter. Rolls are now in the refrigerator where they will stay at least a day in hopes that cutting them will be easier.

    1. So delicious and fun to make! Not super simple, but I love the challenge. I used parchment during the rolling part and had no issues. I made both glaze recipes and drizzled them over the cookies. I couldn’t decide which one I liked better. They both pair wonderfully with the cookie. It also tastes great without the glaze. The great part about this recipe is that it makes two logs, one for now and one for the freezer.

  26. So excited for this challenge and because I’m a Cookie Monster I made these on day 2. A record for me!

    Easy to follow directions make for a delicious little Fall cookie. Because I’m baking for two I sliced off a few cookies to bake and left off the glaze options. Yummy!

  27. Yum! I added a tiny bit of flaked sea salt after the maple drizzle and it was super yummy!

  28. Megan Sprague says:

    Just made these and they are sooo yummy! I made them with the maple glaze and it really set them off. Would make again!

  29. These are the perfect fall cookies!
    I had some trouble with rolling the dough as it cracked just a little bit, but it was really easy to fix! They baked so nicely, super fun to make and tastes delicious! We enjoyed them plain! Thanks for the recipe! I’m obsessed

  30. Nancy's Boucher says:

    Made these today with the maple icing. Recipe was easy to follow and the cookies are delicious!

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