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. Super fun to make and even more fun to eat! Thanks for another great recipe.

  2. Wife and I loved the recipe. Used maple syrup icing instead of cream cheese icing and it was perfect. Think this will become a fall standard from now on.

  3. I love the combination and texture of these cookies. They are crisp around the edges and chewy inside. The spices are a perfect compliment to the cream cheese frosting.

    Thanks for a great challenge Sally!

  4. Patricia C Brennan says:

    Fun to make!
    Taste wonderful!
    The spices make the cookie!

  5. What a fun and tasty recipe!! These were easier to make than the traditional pumpkin roll and perfectly spiced, bite-sized treats. Thank you for the wonderful recipe to kick off the fall season!

  6. These were so fun to make! I’ve had a difficult time with pinwheel type cookies in the past, so I was a bit nervous when these were announced as the October baking challenge. But, I should have known Sally would come through. The dough was easy to work with and they kept a nice shape in the oven (I’ve had issues in the past with roll cookies being too sticky to roll up or spreading in the oven, but neither happened with these). I made the maple icing which was very easy to throw together and looks great.

    My one complaint is that I do find these quite sweet- if I were to make them again, I would probably add more salt (this is really just my personal preference though as I tend to like a bit more salt in my deserts than what is usually called for). I added a good few pinches of salt to the icing to help temper the sweetness which did help.

    Thanks for another great challenge Sally!

  7. These are so good. The dough was a little tricky to roll, but I reread Sally’s instructions, and was able to get it a very nice swirl in my cookies. But my favorite part is the amount of filling. It seems like a lot, but it’s actually the perfect amount. I know I’ll be making these again!

  8. Another great baking challenge. These were a big hit with my family, especially the ones with Maple butter glaze. Very nice recipe, thank you!

  9. My husband usually comments on new bakes with an “Mmmm, good…” but then only proceeds to eat one or two of said item. Not this time. He loved these, and we proceeded to have a “date night” chowing down on the first couple dozen of these cookies. The flavor and texture are soooooo good. Perfectly balanced cookies.

  10. These cookies were very popular with my friends. The spices are definitely stronger the second day and beyond. On the first day they weren’t strong enough to stand against cream cheese frosting, but the second day they were perfectly matched.

  11. This cookies are awesome and surprisingly easy to make. I’ve had trouble in the past with cookies you need to roll up or be able to slice so i was nervous about these but everything worked out perfectly! My dough was a little on the dry side at first but then i added more pumpkin as recommended and it came together perfectly! Thank you!

  12. These were extremely tasty and not too tricky to make. I enjoyed the crispness of the filling, in particular. Also, any egg-free recipe is ok in my book, as a mouthful or two of cookie dough may have been consumed during the making of these cookies.

  13. Ashley Nowak says:

    I’m not a huge pumpkin person, but I did enjoy these!The smell of my kitchen was very fall like while baking them. I found that rolling the second half was more difficult to roll after adding the filling as it was not as chilled, so I would definitely put the second half in the fridge until it was time to roll it if I make these again.

  14. Joan Hunter Mayer says:

    Enjoyable to make – a bit challenging at times, but fun to tackle a different type of cookie baking technique. I think these would be great for any winter holiday get-together, host/hostess gift, bagged up and given as party favors too – or, just because!

    With the regular recipe, some of the sliced pieces of dough kept falling apart. Instead of trying to put them back together, I mashed them briefly, rolled them into a ball, pressed slighting with my fingers, and baked them with the others. They turned out great!

    I made a batch as the recipe was written, but then experimented with vegan-friendly ingredients for a second batch. I have to say, with the vegan version, the rolling was a huge problem when using vegan “butter.” So, instead of rolling it, I pressed it into an 8×8 pan and made sandwich bars out of the dough and filling, plus I added some toasted pine nuts between the layers as well, along with some flake salt on top. Everyone liked them.

    This recipe is versatile when it comes to the spices. You could experiment with the spice mixture if you wanted to, depending on the taste profile you wanted to highlight.

    1. really appreciate your feedback on the vegan attempt. my good friend is vegan and I was thinking I might make these for dessert next time she’s over. Always looking for a recipe that is easy to convert. Can I ask which brand of vegan butter you used? She uses Earth Balance (I think that’s the name). Her baking is always amazing. I was using Myokos with ok results but plan to change it up once I’m out of it.

  15. These are delicious! They do take time to prep, but definitely worth the effort!

  16. Fun recipe thanks! They smell great! Love the pumpkin spice and maple drizzle.

  17. My family loved these cookies!! They are the perfect texture and so delicious!

  18. I didn’t think I would love these so much, but I CAN’T STOP EATING THEM. I chose the cream cheese frosting and used Heilala spiced vanilla. Mmmmm

  19. Loved these! It’s as if pumpkin spice cookies and pumpkin cinnamon rolls got together and had a love baby. Question: I’d love to make these for my aunt, but she can’t have dairy. Does anyone know if you can make these with a high-quality vegan butter?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michelle, we haven’t tested it but let us know if you do. We 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. Let us know if you give it a try!

  20. Heather Boynton says:

    These were a bit of a challenge (for me!) to make but the taste makes up for it. And they look so impressive! Thanks for another winner recipe, Sally! This is my first time making a baking challenge recipe during the actual baking challenge time.

  21. These were so fun to make! The smell and taste of these are out of this world, my son and I couldn’t stop eating them! I used the maple syrup recipe and it was awesome!!

  22. My family members typically don’t enjoy pumpkin spice, but these cookies were definitely winners! Followed recipe as written and the outcome was just as pretty as it was yummy!

  23. Natalie Munroe says:

    I’ve made your original (non-pumpkin) version of these for Christmas and they were not only delish but also visually pleasing with their fun swirl. Thus, I was excited to try these. They did not disappoint! Out of the oven, the texture is perfectly chewy with a mild crunch and the pumpkin spice flavor is right on— not too overpowering but distinctly there. I couldn’t decide which of the two icing/frosting options sounded better, so I made half recipes of each and tried both. Honestly, I still can’t quite decide (and I gave it a fair sampling to the point where I ate way too many cookies trying yo decide. Haha) but I think I slightly prefer the maple. Though the cream cheese is pretty yum, too. You know what? I’d better go back and taste again.
    Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      So glad you loved them, Natalie – it is certainly hard to choose a favorite icing!

  24. this is so good that my son is baking and tripled thank you for an awesome recipe

  25. These are delicious. Great texture, I feel like I could eat all of them in one sitting. I used the maple glaze instead of the cream cheese frosting so I could keep the look of the swirl and it tastes great together. I used a Claire Saffitz trick for getting the dough in a rectangle and rolling it which I think worked a lot better than just rolling it up by hand, but other than that, I just followed the recipe. Splitting the dough in half made exactly two 12oz blobs.

  26. What a great first fall bake! The house smelled amazing and the cookies are beautiful! Will be making these again this fall, thanks for another great recipe.

  27. Brittney Harbin says:

    This was my first attempt at a baking challenge recipe. I liked these cookies but I wouldn’t say that I LOVED them. I have several all time favorites from Sally’s website that I bake again and again, but I don’t think these are an all time fall favorite. However, they were tasty and my house smelled great while they were baking. They were more challenging to make than most cookies, which I enjoyed.

  28. These were so easy to make and so tasty! I love a good cookie you can make and chill overnight.

  29. These cookies were quick to put together and so tasty! Love the shortbread texture. Made the maple icing–wow!!! Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  30. These are even more wonderful than Sally’s cinnamon roll cookies! I worried there would be too much spice, but it’s right on! They were easy and fun to make, and pair perfectly with a cup of coffee on a cool Fall day. I sliced and baked one log and put the second log in the freezer for company!

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