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I know we all love this cinnamon roll recipe and this cinnamon roll recipe, but have you tried Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls? Soft, sweet and so addicting, this festive, new version of cinnamon rolls will have everyone swooning. Since Pumpkin Spice everything is all the rage, it makes perfect sense to add pumpkin to a huge batch of cinnamon rolls and slather them with maple frosting. Yum!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Basics
Just like with most from scratch baking, you’ll need a few pantry ingredients ( I’m looking at you flour, sugar, butter and salt) you probably already have to make these Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls! Here are some tips for a few ingredients used in this recipe. For specific measurements and directions, be sure to scroll down to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Active Dry Yeast– My favorite brand of active dry yeast is the Le Saf brand. I buy it from Costco in 1 pound packs and store any extras in a clean, glass jar in the fridge. It lasts months!
- Warm Water + Warm Milk– I like using both for making this dough. For best results, use a thermometer to ensure you don’t go above 110-115 degrees F. If in doubt, err on the side of cooler than warmer.
- Brown Sugar– light or dark brown sugar is fine to use, you just want it to be fresh (read: not hard as a rock) for easy spreading in the filling.
- 100% Pure Pumpkin vs Pumpkin Pie Filling– These are often mistaken as the same thing, but they are not. Pumpkin Pie Filling has added spices and sweeteners in it, while 100% Pure Pumpkin is simply cooked, pureed and canned pumpkin. Make sure you’re using 100% pure pumpkin for this recipe.
- Cinnamon + Nutmeg– this is a classic combination of flavors to use with pumpkin. Pumpkin Pie Spice works well in a pinch as well.
What Should I Do If My Yeast Doesn’t Get Bubbly?
If you have let the yeast proof 5-10 minutes and you’re not seeing foamy bubbles, that means your yeast is not alive and your rolls won’t rise. Your water was too hot and you killed the yeast OR you’re using old yeast and it was dead to begin with. Throw it out and start again with lukewarm water and/or fresher yeast.
Why Are My Cinnamon Rolls Not Very Soft After Baking?
Because there is a lot of sugar in these pumpkin cinnamon rolls, most of the time the sugar has just crystalized on top of the rolls after baking. The quick solution is frosting the rolls while they are warm, softening those tops right up. Also adding too much flour to the dough can make your rolls tough and dry. Dry dough will also make it difficult for the rolls to rise. See my ‘What to Look For” section below when making the pumpkin cinnamon roll dough.
How to Make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
When working with yeast and making any kind of bread product, patience is basically the main “ingredient” you’ll need. While this isn’t a hard recipe per se, it just takes some time. The steps are easy if you take them one by one. Lots of guidance found in the recipe card below!
Make the Roll Dough
Stir yeast, 1/4 tsp sugar, and warm water together until dissolved. Set aside to get bubbly. Stir yeast mixture together with warm milk, melted butter, pumpkin, sugar, salt and half the flour. Add in more flour bit by bit until dough forms and is sticky to the touch but doesn’t leave a residue on your hands. You might not use all the flour and you may need more flour.
What to look for: Your dough should come together on the dough hook, the bowl should be mostly clean and the dough itself should be smooth and feel tacky but not sticky enough to leave a residue on your hands. Set this aside to proof.
Proof the Dough (Let it Rise)
Proof dough in a well-greased bowl. Cover and rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Form the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Roll out dough to be a 12×24 inch rectangle. Spread dough with melted butter and maple syrup. Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg over the top.
Roll dough up long ways and cut into 16 even, large rolls. Place into greased baking pans.
Rise for a Second Time (Second Proof)
Cover the formed rolls with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and rise again another 45 minutes or until they look puffed and not quite doubled in size again. This will happen quicker than the first rise.
Place pan in the oven and bake until the tops are golden brown. Keep a close eye on them to keep from over baking.
Make the Maple Frosting and Top Warm Rolls
Combine powdered sugar, vanilla extract, maple extract, milk and melted butter together until you have smooth consistency. Spread warm rolls with frosting. Serve and enjoy warm!
Making Dough Ahead
I love working with this dough because its so darn versatile! You can make it ahead and stop at just about any step within the recipe and save for later in the fridge or freezer.
After the Dough is Made Before the First Proof
- Refrigeration: At this point, you can store the dough covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours (it will rise in the fridge).
- Freezer: freeze in an airtight container or zip top bag for up to 3 months. To use, defrost and rise on the counter in a greased bowl, about 4 hours. Roll and fill as usual.
After the Dough is Filled and Formed into Rolls, Before the Second Proof
- Refrigeration: At this point, you can store the pans of rolls covered in the refrigerator overnight to slowly rise. Before baking, you will want to bring the rolls to room temperature before baking to ensure an even bake, about 1 hour on your counter.
- Freezer: To freeze, place cut rolls into an airtight container separated by parchment paper or in a zip top plastic bag. To defrost, place frozen rolls into a greased baking pan and cover gently with plastic wrap. Let rolls defrost and rise, then bake as usual.
Storing Baked Rolls
These will last up to 2 full days at room temperature as long as they are in an airtight container or covered tightly with plastic wrap. They will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Of course, before enjoying, be sure to microwave for a few seconds to warm them up for maximum deliciousness.
- To Freeze- let Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls cool completely before wrapping them tightly in aluminum foil, and then placing them in a freezer safe ziplock bag. These will stay fresh in the freezer for 1-2 months.
- To Reheat from Frozen– I have found its best to let them thaw overnight in the fridge. Then place the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls on a baking sheet and cover with foil in a 250 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Check to make sure the rolls are warmed through.
Loved Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls? Give These Favorites a Try…
- Warm Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake Dip
- Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Cinnamon Roll Pancake & Waffle Syrup
- Cinnamon Roll Pretzels
I hope you love it as much as we do at my house! Be sure to save/bookmark/pin/print this recipe and add it to your recipe box! It’s a good one you’re not going to want to lose. Have a great day, friends!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
for the dough–
for the filling–
- In large bowl, sprinkle yeast and 1/4 teaspoon sugar over warm water. Stir and proof 5-10 minutes. After yeast has foamed, stir in milk, butter, sugar, salt, pumpkin puree, and half the flour. Stir in flour by 1/2 cup increments.
- When you can no longer stir, remove dough to board and knead in remaining flour or until dough is similar to bread dough, slightly sticky but won't stick to your hands. (For me, it took me about 5 minutes of kneading and I used 5 1/2 cups flour.)
- Lightly grease dough ball and place into a clean bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free area in your kitchen. Let dough rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
- While waiting for dough to rise, grease 1-9×13 pan and 1 pie plate or 8×8 square dish. In a small bowl, stir maple syrup and butter together.
- Punch down dough and remove to a clean, lightly greased board. Roll dough out to be 24×12 inch rectangle (approximately).
- Pour butter and maple syrup mixture over rolled dough and spread out to moisten entire surface.
- Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg over top dough and press down lightly. Roll dough up lengthwise to be a long, skinny log. Pinch edges of dough together. Using a sharp knife, cut entire log in half (to get 2). Cut those halves in half again (to get 4). Cut those halves in half again (to get 8 ) and then again (to get 16).
- Place rolls in prepared pans. (12 rolls in the 9×13, 4 in the other.) If some of the filling oozes out onto your board while cutting, scrape it off and place on top of the rolls to bake (we don't want to loose any filling!).
- Cover rolls to rise again for 1 hour or until they have almost doubled in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until top of rolls are golden brown. (Check them after 18 minutes just to be sure you don't over bake).
- While rolls are baking, mix powdered sugar, vanilla, maple extract, milk and melted butter together until smooth. Spread over hot rolls and serve warm.