These Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls are to.die.for. With pumpkin baked into the dough, and a pumpkin pie spice gooey filling, plus a cream cheese frosting – you will love them!
Friends, get ready for your new favorite way to enjoy homemade cinnamon rolls – pumpkin spiced! AND we’re using pumpkin puree, too. These luscious rolls are made without eggs and the recipe can be made dairy-free and vegan friendly as well.
The Best Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
If you haven’t made cinnamon rolls yet, I walk you through everything in this post so you feel confident during all of the steps. The recipe card looks long but I am just being extra thorough, so don’t be nervous!
Baking with yeast really isn’t as scary as it seems.
Once you make these pumpkin cinnamon rolls once, you’ll want them every weekend!
Ingredients for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- cashew milk – or your choice of milk
- rapid rise yeast – I prefer using active or quick yeast. One packet is equal to 2 1/4 tsp
- brown sugar or coconut sugar – either works here!
- butter – unsalted, vegan butter or conventional butter is best, but coconut oil works too.
- pumpkin – I used canned here and can’t speak to the results using homemade pumpkin puree, but it should work. You may need more flour to compensate for the extra moisture in homemade puree.
- flour – bread flour will give you the fluffiest rolls, but unbleached all-purpose flour works too. While you can use whole wheat pastry flour, the rolls will be more dense.
- spices – pumpkin pie spice and ground cinnamon for a delicious, flavorful filling
- cream cheese – softened is important here! So let it sit at room temperature as you’re preparing and making the cinnamon rolls.
- vanilla extract – for a hint of flavor in the frosting
- powdered sugar – for the cream cheese frosting
Making the Dough
Start with proofing the yeast – you do this by combining sugar, yeast and warm milk and let it sit for about 10 minutes, until the top is foamy.
If the mixture did not get foamy, your yeast is not active. So make sure you’re not pulling old yeast packets out from months and months ago – check the dates.
Then for this recipe you’ll then add the pumpkin puree and melted butter, then stir in the flour (and touch of salt) about 1/2 cup at a time. The dough will start to come together around the 3 cup mark. You’ll know it’s time for the dough hook when the dough looks elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Next I change to the dough hook attachment and knead the dough for about 5 minutes. You’ll need to add more flour here as well when dough begins to ball up but likely stick to the bottom. I add about 2 tablespoons at a time, take the dough off the hook to reshape and then place back in the bowl to continue kneading.
Once you’ve kneaded the dough for 5 minutes, it needs to rise in a draft-free environment.
TIP: Set the oven to 170ºF, turn off once it reaches temperature and allow the dough to rise in a lightly greased large bowl until it doubles in size – about 45 minutes.
Now it’s time to ROLL OUT.
Just be gentle as you roll the dough out into a large rectangle, on a floured surface, about 15 inches long by 9 inches wide.
Then the softened butter, sugar and cinnamon plus pumpkin pie spice filling goes on, and you’ll roll up the rectangle into a long roll to slice the cinnamon rolls.
Easiest Way to Slice Cinnamon Rolls
The floss method!
Trust me, it’s so easy and you won’t run the risk of smushing your dough roll as you try to cut into it.
The way you use floss is to shimmy the floss under the log, pull the floss together towards each other in the center and pull down until you’ve cut the roll.
Tips for Baking
Make sure you leave enough room in your baking dish for the rolls to rise again. I spread mine out just a little bit so as you wait for the second rise, they don’t overcrowd each other.
Bake the cinnamon rolls until the tops are lightly golden and when you push them they kind of spring back a little bit. Check the rolls half way through baking and if the tops are browning too quickly, cover the cinnamon rolls with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.
Cinnamon Roll Frosting
We’re using cream cheese (vegan friendly) for the cinnamon roll icing because it’s just the best!
In medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat the softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract, powdered sugar and non-dairy milk or yogurt and mix on low speed until combined.
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls Method
If you’re looking to have fresh cinnamon rolls in the morning but don’t want to be up super early, here’s what you do:
- Prep the recipe up until you’ve sliced the dough, and place rolls in a baking pan.
- Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
- Bring the pan out of the fridge about 45 minutes before pre-heating the oven.
- Place the rolls in the preheated oven and bake for about 25-35 minutes.
Substitutions for Cinnamon Rolls
Butter vs. coconut oil. I used butter in these cinnamon rolls, but coconut oil works too, you just won’t get the same flavor. I recommend a dairy-free, plant based butter if possible.
Flour. I used a whole wheat pastry flour but if you don’t have that on hand you can use about 1 1/2 cups all-purpose + 1 1/2 cups whole wheat. OR 3ish cups of whole wheat white flour. I didn’t test this with any gluten-free flours.
Frosting. I love a traditional cream cheese frosting for these pumpkin cinnamon rolls. It’s really the perfect pairing. If you’re looking to make the frosting dairy free you could either sub the cream cheese frosting with a dairy-free brand, or make a simple powdered sugar glaze.
Let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a comment and rating below! It helps others learn more about the recipe too! Xx Ashley
- 1 cup milk of cashew milk (or your choice of milk)
- 2 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast (1 packet)
- 2 TBS brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 3 TBS unsalted butter, vegan butter or coconut oil, melted & cooled
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
- 3 1/2 – 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or bread flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter or vegan butter, softened
- 1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- In a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup, heat milk for about 20-30 seconds. Allow temperature of mixture to reach 110F (or lukewarm). If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast. Add yeast and sugar into large mixing bowl of stand mixer and gently add milk. Stir until combined and allow to sit for 10 minutes, until top is foamy. If your mixture doesn’t get foamy, the yeast did not activate.
- Once the milk and yeast mixture is foamy, add melted butter and canned pumpkin mixing low speed until combined. Add 1 cup flour, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and salt and start to mix on low speed. Then begin adding more flour, about 1/2 cup at a time. You will likely need about 3 1/2 cups. Dough should be elastic and start to pull away from edge of bowl when it is ready. At this time, change the attachment to the dough hook, and allow the hook to knead the dough on low speed for about 5 minutes. Dough should remain soft but not overly sticky – this is typically where I add another 1/4 cup of flour with the mixer running, then stop the mixer once the flour has mixed in slightly, reposition the dough and start the mixer again to continue kneading the dough.
- Lightly oil large bowl and shape dough into ball, place dough in bowl and cover with towel and let rise in warm environment until dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes. TIP: set oven to warm or preheated to 200F then turn off. Place bowl in the warmed oven and allow to rise.
- Grease a 9×13″ baking dish with butter or coconut oil, set aside. Once the dough has about doubled in size, lightly cover rolling pin and flat surface with flour. Roll out dough into a 15×9 inch rectangle. Be patient, and roll gently. Don’t use too much flour or your dough will be stiff. Spread on softened butter, sprinkle sugar and spices; gently pat to let sugar absorb into butter slightly. Using the heels of your hands and thumbs, gently roll dough into a long roll, placing seam side down. Use floss method to slice rolls (this video helps for a visual) or a serrated knife to gently cut into about 1 1/2″ width. You should get about 12 rolls for a 9×13 pan. Place rolls in greased pan, leaving room to rise, and put pan in draft-free environment. You can use the warm oven tip above. See notes below for overnight adaptation.
- Once the rolls have risen again slightly (about 15 minutes), preheat oven to 350ºF (take rolls out and wait for oven to get up to 350F). Bake cinnamon rolls for 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Then, if necessary, cover top of rolls with foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Covering the rolls for the last 5-10 minutes will prevent them from getting too brown on the top.
- Make the cream cheese frosting: In medium bowl using electric hand mixer (or stand mixer with paddle attachment) beat softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract, powdered sugar and yogurt (or milk) and mix on low speed until combined. Spread on slightly cooled pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Best served warm – enjoy!
This recipe is already egg free, and can be made vegan using a dairy-free cream cheese for the frosting.
For overnight method: Prep the recipe up until you’ve sliced the dough, and place rolls in baking pan. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. Bring the pan out of the fridge about an 45 minutes before pre-heating the oven. Place the rolls in the preheated oven at 350ºF and bake for about 25-35 minutes, until tops are lightly golden.