Pumpkin cinnamon rolls are gooey, pumpkin-spiced and the perfect comfort food to eat on chilly fall mornings. This recipe requires no kneading and is made with an ultra-delicious buttercream frosting!
I can't wait any longer to share these pumpkin cinnamon rolls with you. As soon as there's a chill in the air it's time for all things pumpkin, right?
If you're intimidated by making cinnamon rolls, this is a great place to start because these rolls are no-knead and the dough is very forgiving.
These aren't just cinnamon rolls with pumpkin spice. They have pumpkin puree IN the dough and in the cinnamon sugar filling. Are you ready for a big bite of fall?
- Made with a soft and fluffy no-knead dough
- Filled with a pumpkin spiced filling
- Topped with ultra-creamy buttercream frosting
- Great for beginner bread bakers!
What you'll need
This is an enriched dough, which means it is made with high-fat ingredients like butter and eggs. Unlike biscuits which are made with just butter or pizza dough which is made without butter, the enriched dough is rich and makes an extra soft bread. Sweet potato rolls and whole wheat garlic knots are also enriched bread.
These are the ingredients needed to make pumpkin cinnamon rolls:
- Butter: Choose unsalted butter. It should be room temp, which means a light press with your finger leaves an indent.
- Milk: Higher fat milk yields a richer dough. I use 2% milk.
- Yeast: This recipe is made with "active dry yeast", not instant yeast.
- Flour: All-purpose flour works best here for a soft and tender dough. Do not use bread flour.
- Sugar: We use white sugar in the dough and light brown sugar for the filling.
- Eggs: Yes, 3 eggs is a lot but they contribute a lot to the structure and richness of the dough.
- Pumpkin: Choose pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
- Pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon add fall flavor. Feel free to make your own pumpkin spice blend using cinnamon, ginger, allspice, clove and nutmeg.
- Powdered sugar, also known as confectioners sugar. This makes the buttercream frosting.
Step by step instructions
If you learn better with video instructions you might like my pumpkin cinnamon rolls video on YouTube.
- Bloom the yeast. Blooming modern-day yeast is not required to activate the yeast, BUT I recommend doing it to make sure your yeast is alive. Mix yeast with "bathwater warm" water (105-110F). If it foams and gets fluffy in a few minutes, it's active. Congrats!
- Mix the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. You can do this by hand with a large spoon, with a stand mixer or a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin puree, milk, room temp butter, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and activated yeast with water.
- Add half of the flour. Stir, or beat on low speed, until combined. Slowly add the remaining flour until a sticky batter-like dough forms. It should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl but still wet enough that you wouldn't want to work with it.
- Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover with a clean cloth and place in a warm area to rest until doubled in size. This will take about an hour.
- Punch down the dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface (I use this baking mat for easy clean up). Knead a few times to coat in flour (I know I said this is a no-knead recipe- this doesn't count!). Roll dough out until it is 12x15 inches or so.
- Spread with the cinnamon sugar pumpkin filling. I find it's easiest if you use a pastry brush or spatula.
- Roll up tightly along the long edge.
- Slice into 11-12 one-inch pieces using a sharp knife or plain dental floss for a cleaner cut.
Place in a lightly oiled 9x13 baking dish or two 9" cake pans. Let rest until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes. They are ready when golden on top.
If you want cake-like frosting I recommend waiting for the cinnamon rolls to cool completely. For a more melted icing, you can just pour the frosting right on.
- Add room temp butter to a stand mixer or use a hand mixer in a mixing bowl. Cream butter on low speed until smooth.
- Add the almond and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add in half of the powdered sugar.
- Add in the milk when too thick to mix.
- Add remaining powdered sugar and mix on low speed until smooth and creamy.
- Don't overheat your liquids: Hot liquid kills yeast! Don't heat over 105-110 degrees F, unless the yeast you're using says to heat to a higher temp. You should be able to touch the liquid without feeling the need to pull your hand away immediately.
- Dough rising temp: The pumpkin dough will rise best at a temp of ~80 degrees F. I like to turn my oven to the lowest temp (usually 180F) for 5 minutes then turn off the heat. Place the bowl of dough inside with the door cracked.
- Flour measuring: Spoon and level flour into a measuring cup for the most accurate measuring. To do this, spoon flour into the measuring cup until overflowing. Use the back of a knife to wipe off excess flour. Don't shake or pat flour down.
- Shout out to my grandma for this recipe. I modified it from her original cinnamon roll recipe that has not one, but TWO sticks of butter. I'll share that recipe soon (but probably with just one stick of butter like these pumpkin cinnamon rolls). The buttercream frosting is all thanks to my mom. My oil pie crust is another grandma-inspired recipe (though it is from my other grandma!).
I prefer storing them in the fridge because they are enriched dough. I don't find that they dry out, especially if you pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds before eating. They will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge and 2-3 days at room temp.
Yes, this recipe can be made dairy-free by using your favorite non-dairy milk and vegan butter. I prefer Earth Balance buttery sticks for baking.
While this recipe can be made dairy-free, it cannot be made vegan because eggs are required to make the dough. I have not tested this recipe with Just Egg or an egg equivalent. I do have a vegan cinnamon roll recipe you might like.
Yes, cinnamon rolls freeze well. You can freeze the entire container or slice them and store them between pieces of wax paper in an airtight container. They will thaw quickly at room temp or can be popped in the microwave to reheat in just under a minute.
Yes, you can start the cinnamon rolls a day in advance. After rolling up the cinnamon rolls and placing them in a pan place them in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove from the fridge and let come to room temp (this takes about 30 minutes). Then let double in size for 30 minutes. Once doubled in size, bake according to recipe instructions.
Yes, the dough should be frozen after the first rise when cinnamon rolls are placed in the baking dish. Let thaw in the fridge overnight when you are ready to bake them.
Looking for more pumpkin recipes?
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Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls
- 2 packets active dry yeast 1 tablespoon + 2 and ½ teaspoons
- ½ cup warm water 105-110 degrees F
- ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons white sugar
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 to 4 and ½ cups all purpose flour
Cinnamon Roll Filling
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk more as needed
- Bloom the yeast. Mix yeast with warm water and 2 teaspoons sugar. Let rest 3-4 minutes, until it is foamy.
- Mix all ingredients but flour (remaining sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, unsalted butter, milk, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, activated yeast mixture) in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. You can do this by hand with a large spoon, with a stand mixer or a hand mixer on low.
- Add half of the flour. Stir, or beat on low speed, until combined. Slowly add the remaining flour until a sticky batter-like dough forms. It should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl but still wet enough that it would be difficult to knead.
- Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, tossing to coat with oil. Cover with a clean cloth and place in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Punch down the dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface (I use this baking mat for easy clean up). Knead a few times to coat in flour.
- Roll dough out with a rolling pin until it is 12x15 inches. Sprinkle with extra flour if needed.
- Make the filling by stirring together melted butter, light brown sugar, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. Spread out onto the dough using a pastry brush or spatula. Leave about ½ inch uncovered around the edges of the dough.
- Roll up tightly along the long edge of the dough. Slice into 11-12 one inch pieces using a sharp knife.
- Place cinnamon rolls in a lightly oiled 9x13 baking dish. Cover and let rest until doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake cinnamon rolls at 350F on the middle oven rack for 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven when tops are golden.
- Add room temp butter to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl if using a hand mixer. Cream on low speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the almond extract and vanilla extract. Cream until combined.
- Sprinkle in half of the powdered sugar. Cream on low until thick.
- Add in 1 tablespoon milk and the remaining powdered sugar. Beat on low speed until smooth and fluffy. Add extra milk as needed to thin the frosting.
- Let cinnamon rolls cool completely before frosting for a thick frosting. Frost while warm for a melted drizzle. Enjoy!
- Freezing instructions: You can freeze the entire container or slice them and store between pieces of wax paper in an airtight container. They will thaw quickly at room temp or can be popped in the microwave to reheat in just under a minute. Freeze unbaked cinnamon rolls after the first rise and before the second. Let thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Leftovers: Keep leftovers covered and refrigerated for 3-4 days. They can be kept at room temp for 2-3 days.
- Make in advance: After rolling up the cinnamon rolls and placing them in a pan place them in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove from the fridge and let come to room temp (this takes about 30 minutes). Then let double in size for 30 minutes. Once doubled in size, bake according to recipe instructions.