Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

It’s fall now, I’m all about the pumpkin recipes, and these Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls are absolutely sinful. Forget just eating one. Say goodbye to your diet and hello to indulgence. This is my new favorite breakfast treat. And I can’t wait to make these delicious Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls again, but I knew I better share the recipe with you first.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls are like a fall version of the Meyer Lemon Sticky Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting. But what actually inspired the creation of this recipe was my recipe for Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal.

That recipe has been hands down over time THE most popular recipe on the blog. I knew there had to be other fun ways to make recipes that tasted like pumpkin pie that were a little bit different from usual. And I’m pretty confident that is what I’ve achieved here with these Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Some of you have requested some “kitchen basics” instruction. If you have a specific technique or skill in mind that you’d like to know more about, I’d love to hear from you.

Baking with yeast is definitely something that many people struggle with. (What is your biggest kitchen/cooking/baking FEAR?) So I thought I’d share my top 5 tips for yeast bread baking:

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls


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Doubled in Bulk

I don’t stick to the rising times as listed in the recipe. Instead, I consider them to be guidelines. My main concern: has the dough doubled in bulk. That is how you know the rise is complete.

Finger Test

Now you’re probably wondering: How do I know that my dough had doubled in bulk? The simplest method that I have learned over the years is to dust my fingers in flour and plunge them into the dough as the “guideline” recipe rising time nears. The hole that you make will quickly collapse if it is not ready. Give it another 10 minutes and try again. If the dough is ready the indentations will remain.

Fresh Yeast

I always make sure to check the expiration date on my yeast. If I don’t remember purchasing it then it could have been in the pantry for months (or longer). Old yeast doesn’t yield reliable rising results. If you don’t think you’ll be baking regularly, buy packets rather than jars of yeast to eliminate waste. Additionally, you can lengthen the life of yeast by storing it in the refrigerator, but make sure you let it come to room temperature before using.


You don’t need fancy equipment to bake bread. Yes, a bread machine, a stand mixer, and a food processor are all nice to have. And they do make the process easier, but your own two hands work just as well. If you have a stand mixer, by all means: USE IT. But don’t let the lack fancy equipment keep you from making bread. With a little elbow grease, you’ll find that kneading bread is actually quite satisfying.

Try, try again

We all have our flops. Rolls that don’t rise enough and taste like yeasty rocks. Dry bread. But I’ve learned that you can’t let failure keep you from giving it another go. Practice makes perfect!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

roll dough adapted from King Arthur Flour
makes approximately 15-16 rolls


Roll Dough:
1/4 cup warm water (not hot, about 110 degrees)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm milk
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup pumpkin puree, either fresh or canned
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups (approximately) All-Purpose Flour
1 1 /4 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 stick butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each of allspice and ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
2-3 cups powdered sugar


Stir yeast into water to soften in a large bowl. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before stirring to combine. Stir in the milk, eggs, pumpkin, butter, 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom to yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Slowly add the rest of the flour (all purpose), a bit at a time, until the dough is stiff enough to knead. Begin with 1 1/2 cups of flour and increase if necessary. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

Place the dough into a greased bowl. Turn the dough in the bowl to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and rise until doubled, approximately 1 hour.

Combine the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a another bowl, set aside. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat or roll it into a 16" x 12" rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough and then sprinkle with the sugar mixture.

Roll the dough into a log the long way; it'll stretch to about 20" long as you roll. Using a very sharp knife, slice the log into 15 slices. In order to cut down on drag, it helps to rinse the blade in hot water, and wipe it off, between slices. Place slices in a greased 9x13 inch baking pan (or in two 8 or 9 inch round cake or pie pans). Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 375ยฐF oven. Bake the rolls till they're brown around the edges and beginning to turn golden brown across the center, about 20-30 minutes.

While rolls bake, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and lemon juice to a small food processor. Blend until smooth and combined. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, blending in between, until well mixed and desired consistency is reached. (I used 2 cups powdered sugar)

Frost warm rolls with the cream cheese frosting and serve immediately.

For night before prep: Prepare the rolls up to the point where you roll and place in the pan. Then, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, remove the pan from the fridge and proceed with the instructions where you left off. Rising time may be slightly longer than noted in the recipe due to the dough being cold vs room temp.