Delicious layers of fluffy pumpkin cake and sweet cream cheese filling swirled together to make the ultimate treat! This easy pumpkin roll is perfect to serve during the fall season.
Favorite Pumpkin Dessert
This is one of my favorite desserts to make for Thanksgiving (or anytime during the fall). Sometimes I’ll even make this instead of a classic pumpkin pie. It tastes just as delicious and can be made weeks in advance, giving you one less thing to worry about on the big day.
I always get so many compliments when I make this pumpkin roll. The layers are so pretty and delicious. I love the cream cheese filling…it adds the perfect amount of sweetness. Such a big crowd pleaser!
The best part about this dessert is that you can make it ahead of time and freeze it until you’re ready to serve. I usually make mine in October and then stick it in the freezer for Thanksgiving, or whenever a time comes up that I need a dessert.
How to Make a Pumpkin Roll
This recipe does take a little bit of work and time, but it is so worth it! It tastes absolutely delicious and looks so pretty. Everyone always raves about it! Scroll down for the printable recipe.
- MIX. Beat the eggs in a large bowl and then mix in sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt. Add flour and baking soda to the bowl and mix just until combined.
- BAKE. Pour the batter into a greased 10×15″ jelly roll pan that’s been lined with parchment paper. Tap the bottom of the pan on the counter until the batter spreads evenly. Then bake in oven at 375°F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean.
- ROLL. Place a cotton tea towel on the counter and evenly sprinkle with about 3 Tablespoons of powdered sugar. Once the cake is done cooking, flip it onto the towel while it’s still warm (remove the parchment paper). Then gently roll up the cake inside the towel, starting at the narrow end. Place in the refrigerator with the seam down and let cool completely.
- FILL. Beat cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Once the cake is cool, unroll it and then spread with the cream cheese filling. I like to spread the filling on thick (leaving about 1/2″ from the edge). Don’t worry if it comes out a little, you can always wipe off the edges. Then roll up again without the towel and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to slice.
- SLICE. Before slicing, place in the freezer for 15 minutes. This allows for easy, clean cuts. Dust the top with powdered sugar, then slice using a sharp knife.
- Tea towel vs. parchment paper. I prefer to use a cotton tea towel when rolling the cake. It’s important to use this specific type of towel so that the cake doesn’t stick to it. Some think it’s easier to use parchment paper instead because you don’t have to transfer the cake onto the towel since it already bakes on the paper. You can absolutely use parchment paper, I’ve just had better results with a tea towel (the cake seems less sticky). One thing to note if using parchment paper – make sure to leave about 1-2 inches sticking out on the sides. This makes it easier to lift the cake from the jelly roll pan and then roll the cake.
- Keeping it from cracking. Rolling the cake while it’s still warm will prevent the cake from getting cracks on top. The heat and moisture make it more pliable and will help eliminate any cracking. It’s much more likely to crack after the cake has cooled. Then once it’s cooled, you can unroll it and spread on the cream cheese filling.
- Length of cooling. I first let the rolled cake portion cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then once the cream cheese filling is added, I let it refrigerate again for at least 30 minutes, but usually longer so that it has time to form. Before serving, I’ll stick the pumpkin roll in the freezer for about 15 minutes. This makes it easier to slice and the cuts will come out cleaner.
Make Ahead + Freezing
This is the perfect dessert to make in advance. Simply prepare as instructed, then let cool completely. Wrap tightly in saran wrap, then place in the fridge or freezer (if freezing, I’ll place the wrapped roll in a freezer bag so it stays extra fresh). It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Don’t try to warm it up in the oven or microwave to thaw faster or it will dry out!
5 star review
“This is a great recipe, and perfect for Thanksgiving dessert. I shared the prepared pumpkin roll with friends and have been deluged with requests for this wonderful recipe. It is well worth the trouble, which I think is minimal, as you end up with a special ending to your meal.”– Elizabeth
More Pumpkin Recipes for Fall:
- Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting
- Favorite pumpkin pie crunch cake
- Pumpkin whoopie pies
- Soft pumpkin cookies with caramel frosting
- Pumpkin cheesecake recipe
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
- 1/4 cup butter (softened)
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (plus more for towel)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 10×15" jelly roll pan with non-stick spray. Then line with parchment paper and spray the top with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Then mix in sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt.
- Add the flour and baking soda to the bowl and mix just until combined. Then pour into prepared baking sheet and tap until the mixture spreads evenly. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean.
- While the cake is baking, place a cotton tea towel on the counter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (about 3 Tablespoons).
- Once the cake is done cooking, flip onto the towel while it's still warm and take off the parchment paper. Then gently roll up the cake inside the towel, starting at the narrow end. Place in the refrigerator with the seam down until cooled completely.
- Beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
- Once the cake is cool, unroll the cake and then spread with the cream cheese filling. Roll up again without the towel and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to slice.
- Freeze 15 minutes before slicing for easy cuts. Then sprinkle the top with powdered sugar just before slicing. Make sure to use a sharp knife.