Add some warmth to your chilly fall mornings with a batch of homemade pumpkin cinnamon rolls. These fluffy rolls swirled with a buttery, cinnamon sugar and pumpkin spice filling topped with a maple glaze can be made ahead and frozen for months!
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The Perfect Fall Breakfast!
Cinnamon rolls give off a distinctly pleasant aroma, whether you’re passing by a bakery or they’re fresh from your oven. There’s just no mistaking one of the world’s best smells!
This time, we’ve taken classic cinnamon rolls and made them with pure pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice for a delightful fall twist! They’re made with pillowy soft dough filled with a cinnamon sugar and pumpkin spice swirl and a maple cream cheese glaze.
If I had known that most cinnamon roll recipes were as easy as they are, I would have been making them way sooner! Sure, there are a few moving parts, but each one is super simple and totally worth making pumpkin cinnamon rolls from scratch.
Why This Recipe Works
- The rolls are delicious! Do you bite right in, lick the icing off first, or unravel and eat it piece by piece? Either way, the result is always the same. AH-MAZING.
- Impressive. Surprise your family on Christmas morning, or your brunch crowd on a chilly day with a batch of homemade pumpkin cinnamon rolls. The smell alone is worth getting out of bed for!
- Easy to make ahead and freeze. Save yourself some time in the morning and make them the day before. Pop them into the oven when you’re ready to bake! Any leftovers freeze well, so make a double batch!
With a few simple baking staples, fall spices and of course, pumpkin, the ingredients for these pumpkin cinnamon rolls are super easy to find.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Yeast: Make sure your quick rise yeast is fresh and hasn’t expired. Do a little test first by adding it to a bit of warm water. If it foams and is active you should be good to go.
- Pumpkin puree: Canned pumpkin works for this, but if you have time to make pumpkin puree yourself, I recommend it. You can always freeze what you don’t use.
- Pumpkin pie spice: A pumpkin pie spice blend is simple to make at home using cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and on occasion depending on preference, allspice.
- Butter: You want to make sure to have room temperature butter so it’s easy to spread. If you’ve reached this far in the post and have forgotten to take it out of the fridge, here are some tips on how to soften butter. Use salted, or unsalted.
- Cream cheese: Here’s how to soften cream cheese if you need it!
How to Make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Don’t be intimidated to make these pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls! Even beginners can breeze through the recipe with this simple tutorial below.
- Activate the yeast. I start with the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook for convenience but if you don’t have one the bowl of an electric mixer works just fine. Once you’ve combined the yeast with the water and sugar, you’ll notice it starts to bubble and foam after about 5 minutes.
- Make the dough. Stir in the pumpkin, egg, and butter until smooth and creamy. Before you add in the flour, it’s important to know how to measure flour correctly. That way you’re not adding too much, making the dough dense. Once you’ve read my tips and tricks, add in the flour. First, you’ll add the 2 cups, then 1/2 cup at a time, kneading as you go. Use the mixer or your hands and add 1-2 Tablespoons of flour if it’s too sticky.
- Let it rise. Transfer the dough to a large bowl greased with butter or cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm dry area until doubled in bulk. Then, after about 1 hour, once it has grown in size, punch it down.
- Add the filling. Rolling out the cinnamon roll dough into a rectangle doesn’t have to be perfect. It should be approximately 14×16 inches to get the size and amount of pumpkin cinnamon roll we want. Spread the room temperature butter onto the dough getting close to the edges. Sprinkle the spiced cinnamon sugar mixture overtop the butter and make sure to rub it into the butter.
- Make a log. Roll the dough tightly, starting with the shorter side. Once you’ve reached the end, pinch the sides together. Use flavorless floss (yes, dental) or a large serrated knife to cut the dough in half, then into six 1-inch pieces.
- Slice and bake. Place the 12 rolls in a greased baking dish, about 1 inch apart, and cover with a towel so they can sit and rise for 30 minutes. Then, you’ll bake them in a preheated 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden on top. Let them cool for 15 minutes before adding the glaze.
- To help the dough rise quickly, set the oven to 175°F and once it’s reached that point, turn off the oven. Place the bowl inside the oven to give the dough a warm area to rise.
- Do not add yeast to milk over 105-110°F. It needs to be warm to activate, but anything too hot will kill it.
- To thicken the glaze, add powdered sugar. To thin it out, use heavy cream.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the dough into rolls. Otherwise, you’ll be distorting the shape by holding onto the dough too tight.
- Short on time? Make this cinnamon roll breakfast casserole and use pumpkin pie spice instead of the cinnamon called for in it.
While it’s best to measure flour for baked goods with a baking scale, you can learn how to measure flour accurately without a scale. First, scoop the flour into the measuring cup to prevent the flour being packed down. Scooping invites some air into the flour to make it fluffy. Second, level the measuring cup with a knife.
Yes! After placing the pumpkin cinnamon rolls in the pan, cover the pan and store in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, let the rolls sit at room temperature for an hour before baking.
Only if you are finding that your dough is too wet! I did not reduce pumpkin puree, but you can if you would like. It only takes a few minutes on the stovetop then let cool before using in the dough.
Yes! Cool completely and then freeze baked pumpkin cinnamon rolls without any icing. Thaw and then reheat slightly in the oven before frosting and serving.
Assemble the rolls up until the point you’ve sliced the log and added the rolls into a greased baking dish. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap them place them in the fridge for up to 16 hours.
The cold will hinder the rising process, so you’ll have to pull them out the next morning for about an hour before you’re ready to bake. Allow them to rise until doubled. Dab with a paper towel if there is too much liquid. A little is ok.
5 star review
Fantastic! The dough rose beautifully both times and was so easy to work with (not too sticky or shaggy). One one the easiest cinnamon roll doughs I’ve worked with. Perfect fall flavors.– Alisha
Storing, Freezing + Reheating
- Store: These pumpkin cinnamon rolls can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 days. Make sure to keep them covered so they don’t dry out. They’ll keep a little longer in the fridge, up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Once baked and cooled, transfer the cinnamon buns to a freezer container or zip-top bag and keep them frozen for up to 3 months! Make pumpkin cinnamon rolls at the end of winter and enjoy them in the spring. Why not?!
- Reheat: Thaw them in the fridge overnight and then zap them in the microwave for 10-20 seconds so they are nice and soft and warm.
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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- ¾ cups warm milk , 105-110°F
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package quick rise yeast , about 2 1/4 teaspoons
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup unsalted butter , melted
- 1 large egg , at room temperature
- 4 cups all-purpose flour , more or less as needed
- 2 Tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
- ¾ cup brown sugar , can use light or dark
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese , at room temperature
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter , at room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar , plus more if needed
- 3-4 Tablespoons pure maple syrup , more to taste
- 2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream , more as needed for consistency
- Pinch salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir together the warm milk and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let sit about 5 minutes, or until bubbly.
- Stir in the pumpkin, egg, and butter until smooth and creamy. Add 2 cups flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and stir until smooth. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Knead in the mixer or with your hands for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and soft. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 to 2 Tablespoons more flour.
- Place the dough ball in a large bowl greased with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise 1 hour in a warm place, or until doubled in size. Once dough has doubled in size, punch it down.
- Butter or spray a 9×13-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Line bottom with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle, approximately 14×16 inches. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Spread the butter onto the dough with a pastry brush. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the dough, and rub the sugar into the butter.
- Roll the dough up tightly starting at the shorter side (14-inch side). Pinch the sides together at the end.
- Using floss or a large serrated knife, cut the dough in half and cut each half into 6 (1-inch pieces) for a total of 12 rolls. Place rolls in baking dish, about 1-inch apart. Cover with a towel and let the rolls sit 30 minutes, or until rolls have doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes before frosting.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup, and salt. Mix until well combined. You can add heavy cream to thin or powdered sugar to thicken. It should fall like a ribbon from the spoon.
- Drizzle the icing over the slightly cooled cinnamon rolls.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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