Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I have been looking for canned pumpkin for about a week, finally I found some today at my local Trader Joe’s. I went to different supermarkets in my area and they don’t have any left and they might not have more until next month they said. Is finding canned pumpkin as hard as getting toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic? What’s going on? Anyway, I’m very happy that I got some cans and that I’m good for the month.

Rolls might sound hard to make but really they are not. You do not have to be an experienced baker to use yeast. Follow step by step the directions and you’ll achieve the best pumpkin rolls ever.

I always bake my cinnamon rolls with all-purpose flour but because my husband is making sourdough and he has bread flour in the pantry, I decided to use bread flour instead. The result was as I expected, they were softer and they grew more. But, if you want/prefer to use all-purpose flour that’s totally fine.

Video of how I made these rolls is posted on my Instagram @pastry_tales

Let’s start with the recipe.

Yield 12 medium size pumpkin rolls

(Use a 9 by 13 rectangular baking dish)


For the rolls dough

3/4 cup milk (you can use whole, lactose-free, 2% or even almond milk)

1/4 cup white granulated sugar

2 and 1/4 teaspoons quick rise yeast

3/4 cup pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling

1/4 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg at room temperature

4 cups of flour (all-purpose flour or bread flour)

2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

3/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

1 and 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, soft at room temperature

For the icing

4 ounces full fat cream cheese, at room temperature

3 tablespoons of butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

4 tablespoons maple syrup or 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


1.- In a bowl mix flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Mix well and set aside until ready to use.

2.- Warm your milk in a heat-proof bowl and place it in the microwave. I found out that 50 seconds or max 1 minute the milk will reach 110 F which is the temperature we are looking for. If the milk is too hot it will kill the yeast and if it’s too cool the yeast won’t activate. I know that I’m using quick/rapid rise yeast and people don’t usually activate it first BUT this is how I prefer to do it, always activate first.

3.- Add sugar and milk to the warm milk and give it a little mix. Place this bowl into your microwave (without heating it up again) and wait for about 5-8 minutes so your yeast activates. After 5-8 minutes you will see foam on the top, that means your yeast is good and activated.

4.- Pour this mixture into a bigger bowl. Add pumpkin puree, egg and melted butter. Mix until well combined.

5.- Change the attachment of your mixer to a hook or if you don’t have that, just use your hands. Add in dry ingredients and mix in low speed (or your hands) for about 8 minutes until everything is well mixed and your dough forms a ball. It can be a bit sticky so use a spatula to help you form a nice ball at the end. Place this dough into a bowl that you will grease with cooking spray or butter. Cover this bowl with plastic wrap and a towel. Then, place this bowl in a warm area of your kitchen.

6.- After 1 hour and 15 minutes your dough should double in size but if it’s not ready wait for 30 more minutes. The growth of your dough depends a lot of the area/humidity of where you live.

7.- Place dough on the top of a floured surface and roll it out. Make a rectangle about 14×16 inches. Spread soft butter with a kitchen brush or a spoon but leave a 1/4 inch margin on each side.

8.- In a bowl mix dark brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mix on the top of the butter and press down slowly.

9.-Roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 12 even rolls and arrange in your lightly greased pan ( 9 x 13) seam up. Also, I usually cut both ends because they are small and don’t have a lot of filling.

10.- Cover with plastic wrap and towel again and let them have their second rise for about 35-40 minutes).

11.- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Take off the plastic wrap and towel and place the pan into the oven. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the center is cooked and the top is golden brown. If you think it needs 5 more minutes, that’s fine, all ovens work different so be sure they are not raw inside.

12.- Make the icing:

In a bowl mix butter, cream cheese frosting for about 2 minutes. Then, add powdered sugar and mix for 1 minute. Add maple syrup and mix for 2 minutes.

13.- Pour this icing on the top of your warm rolls.

14.- Serve