Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
These tender, fluffy pumpkin cinnamon rolls pair a pumpkin-infused brioche dough with swirls of buttery pumpkin spice brown sugar filling for the ultimate fall breakfast treat!
When it comes to fall recipes, we are firmly in the camp of put-pumpkin-in-all-the-things. Yes to pumpkin Dutch babies, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pie pop tarts, pumpkin overnight oats, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin spice lattes, and all the yesses to these pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
Cinnamon rolls really lend themselves well to being pumpkinized. (Okay, that’s not a word, but it should be.) First, you’ve got that soft, fluffy, tender brioche dough, which is only improved by adding a scoop of pumpkin puree. And then the spices—swap the cinnamon for pumpkin pie spice and you’ve just given the classic cinnamon roll an instant upgrade.
About this pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe
Now, these pumpkin cinnamon rolls do take some work since they’re made with a yeast-based dough. Are they worth it? Uh-huh. Not only are they delicious, your whole house will smell incredible as they bake up.
You’ll need to plan for about 3 hours of prep, rising, and baking time for these pumpkin cinnamon rolls, adding a bit more time to account for the learning curve if you’ve never baked with yeast or made cinnamon rolls in the past. Of course it’s not all hands-on time, but you’ll need to be around and doing some work during those three hours.
What you need
- Warm whole milk – Warm water may be used in a pinch, but I don’t recommend it as the fats in the milk create a richer dough.
- Sugar – you could also use honey if you prefer
- Active dry yeast – Not instant yeast this time!
- Pumpkin puree – Be sure to buy pumpkin puree, not a can of pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling contains more ingredients (sugar, etc.) that aren’t needed here.
- Eggs – Let these come to room temperature.
- You’ll also need some baking basics: vanilla, all-purpose flour, and salt
- Pumpkin pie spice – Use homemade pumpkin pie spice or store-bought.
- Salted butter – Unsalted butter may be used instead; just reduce the salt in the dough to 1/4 teaspoon.
- Brown sugar – Light or dark brown both work; dark has a more pronounced molasses flavor.
- Sugar, Cinnamon (of course!)
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Salted butter – This needs to be room temperature so it’s easy to spread onto the soft dough.
The glaze is a pretty standard glaze made with powdered sugar, whole milk, and vanilla. More sugar will make it thicker, more milk will thin the glaze.
How to make them
Start the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the warm milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and the yeast. Lightly whisk, then proof for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is frothy.
Tip: If the milk is too hot, it will kill the yeast; if it is too cold, the yeast won’t activate and the dough won’t properly rise. The ideal temperature is between 105°-110°F.
Add the remaining sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, and vanilla to the bowl and swap the mixer attachment to a dough hook.
Add the flour to the mixing bowl, followed by the pumpkin pie spice and salt.
Knead and rise. Use the dough hook to knead the mixture for 5 minutes, or until a dough starts to form.
At this point, add the butter and knead for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, or until the butter is incorporated and you have a soft dough.
Coat another mixing bowl with cooking spray, then transfer the dough to this bowl. Spray the top of the dough too, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place away from drafts for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in bulk.
Assemble the rolls. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out into a 17×20” rectangle.
Whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl.
Spread the butter onto the dough, then sprinkle the spiced sugar mixture over the butter.
Roll the dough into a log, then cut it into 9 to 12 evenly-sized pieces.
Tip: You can use dental floss to make cutting the cinnamon roll dough easier. Pull off a long piece of floss and loop it under where you would like to cut, then pull at the ends in opposite directions until you cut through the roll.
Place the cut rolls in a 9×13” baking dish that has been sprayed with baking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for another 20 to 30 minutes. Near the end of this rising time, start to preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Bake. Remove the plastic wrap from the pan and bake the pumpkin cinnamon rolls on the center rack of the oven for about an hour, or until they’re puffy and golden. Place the pan on a wire cooling rack.
Frost. While the cinnamon rolls cool, make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth. After the rolls have cooled for about 10 minutes, spread the glaze over the tops and serve.
Store cinnamon rolls in an airtight container to keep them as fresh as possible. If you want to store them in the pan, be sure to wrap them very tightly—use tape to secure the foil or plastic wrap if needed.
Yes, cinnamon rolls are meant to touch when baking. That helps them stay soft and tender. When you’re ready to serve them, just pull them apart with your hands!
Pumpkin spice is a cozy blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. It may or may not have allspice, too.
How to make these pumpkin cinnamon rolls your own
Here are some of our best ideas for customizing these pumpkin cinnamon rolls:
- Make them with cream cheese frosting. For a more traditional cinnamon roll experience, swap the glaze for tangy homemade cream cheese frosting or cream cheese glaze. Simply add 2 ounces of softened cream cheese to the glaze mixture; you may need to add 2 or 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar, depending on the consistency you want.
- Add nuts. Sprinkle chopped pecans over the filling mixture, then roll them up into the dough for some nutty flavor and crunch.
- Make sticky buns. Swap the glaze for homemade caramel and scatter chopped pecans over the top.
Make Ahead Ideas
You can prepare your pumpkin cinnamon rolls the night before, all the way up to the point of baking. Refrigerate overnight. Then, in the morning you can pop them in the oven, bake according to the recipe instructions, and enjoy.
Store pumpkin cinnamon rolls in an airtight container or bag for up to 3 days.
If you want to enjoy your pumpkin cinnamon rolls warm, heat them in the microwave for a few seconds at a time until they’re nice and toasty.
More recipes for cinnamon roll lovers
- Cinnamon Roll Waffles
- Crescent Roll Cinnamon Rolls
- Pumpkin Monkey Bread Muffins made with Cinnamon Rolls
Get the Recipe: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- ⅔ cup warm whole milk
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- ⅔ cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 ⅓ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup salted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoon whole milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment combine warm milk, 2 Tbsp of sugar and yeast. Lightly whisk, then let proof for 5 minutes or until frothy. Add in the remaining sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs and vanilla. Swap the mixer attachment to a dough hook. Add the flour into the mixing bowl, then top with pumpkin puree and salt.
- Knead for 5 minutes, until a dough starts to form. Add in the butter and knead for an additional 4-5 minutes until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough into a separate mixing bowl that has been sprayed with baking spray. Once the dough is in the sprayed bowl, spray the top of the dough with baking spray, then cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a clean, floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 17×20” rectangle.
- In a small mixing bowl combine brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk together, then set aside.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Whisk until smooth, then set aside.
- Once the dough is rolled out into a rectangle, spread the butter evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the filling mixture over top. Roll the dough up into a log, then cut into 9-12 even pieces.
- Place the cut rolls into a 9×13” baking dish that has been sprayed with baking spray. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and let rolls rise for another 20-30 minutes. They will not be doubled in size on the 2nd rise.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Once the rolls have risen, remove the plastic wrap and place into the preheated oven on the center rack. Bake for 1 hour. Once baked, remove the rolls from the oven and place onto a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes. Once the cool down time is up, spread the glaze over the still warm rolls.
- Cinnamon rolls may be stored in an airtight container or bag for up to 3 days.