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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

These Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls have become a must have every autumn. Soft pumpkin rolls full of sweet cinnamon swirls topped with fluffy cream cheese frosting and a hint of maple.

There is a level of rustic nostalgia with pumpkins in autumn and the idea of going to the pumpkin patch or making a pumpkin pie. For me it invokes memories of hayrides, the time my parents made the mistake of telling me I could get whatever pumpkin I could carry and the pride of learning to bake and creating a little contribution for the Thanksgiving table.

If you’re looking for pumpkin treats but a cinnamon bun isn’t your thing checkout this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.

History of the Cinnamon Roll

Food historians quibble over the origins of the Cinnamon Roll. There is considerable evidence that the Swedish did it first but the Swedish Kanelbulle is very different than the sweet iced rolls consumed in North America.

The cinnamon rolls that we know and love today are really a combination of the Swedish Kanelbulle, German Schnecken , and English Chelsea Buns. It was most likely created by colonists in the mid-1700s.

Kanelbulle are less sweet and have the addition of cardamom in the dough. The filling is made using confectioners sugar, cinnamon, and almond flour sprinkled over butter. The rolls are typically not glazed or frosted but rather sprinkled with pearl sugar.

Schnecken consists of a dough made of sour cream and at least three eggs. There is no butter in this roll. Instead the dough is brushed with whipped egg whites and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar to create a tighter bun with layers that are fused together.

Chelsea Buns are a popular tea time treat created using traditional yeast dough brushed with butter and sprinkled with, brown sugar, cinnamon, dried fruits and nuts. After baking the rolls are drizzled with a simple icing made of milk and confections sugar.

Key Ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls

  • Pumpkin Purée – Canned or fresh will work perfectly well
  • Flour – A nice all purpose flour like King Arthur will make these rolls even better
  • Dark Brown Sugar – For a roll like this brown sugar is a more balanced sweetness than typical white sugar
  • Butter – These cinnamon rolls are as light on butter as you can go but its critical for getting perfect cinnamon roll layers.

How to make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

For the Cinnamon Roll:

Begin my preheating your oven to 200 degrees and greasing a large bowl with olive oil.

Use a hand whisk or the whisk attachment of your mixer to combine, yeast and warm water. That will need to sit for a few minutes to thicken before you add milk, butter, egg and pumpkin and mix on low.

Next up add sugar, vanilla spices with the mixer on low.

Switch to a dough hook on your mixer before adding flour. Add flour one cup at a time.

Knead the dough by hand or in the mixer until its smooth and elastic. Tip – Be patient, this step is important to get fluffy tender layers of cinnamon roll that you can peel apart.

Turn off the oven. Move the dough to a greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and then place in the oven to rise until doubled (about an hour).

Once your dough has risen, combine the sugars and spices for the filling and melt some butter.

Covered ball of pumpkin cinnamon roll dough

Roll our dough into roughly a 1 foot by 2 foot rectangle, brush with butter and sprinkle filling evenly across the bun.

The hard part is rolling the bun evenly, but its important to brush the non filling layer with butter as you roll so things peel apart later.

Next is the fun part, slice 2 inch buns an arrange event ply in a 9 by 13 pan, cover with a damp cloth and let those rise for about 40 minutes.

In a preheated 375 degree oven bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

For the Frosting:

The frosting is pretty simple, combine all the frosting ingredients and beat until creamy and smooth. You might have to add a little water if things are a little dry.

Tips for Making Cinnamon Rolls

Over the years I’ve made quite a few batches of cinnamon rolls, and I’ve learned a few things.

First, you have to be patient with yeast based baking and allow them the time to knead and rise.

To get perfect cinnamon rolls, they need time for the proteins in the dough to develop and trap air bubbles.

Three tricks will take the guess work out of knowing if your dough has risen enough.

  1. Letting dough rise in a warm, turned off, oven removes room temperature as a variable in your dough rising.
  2. Wrap your bowl tightly in cling wrap and use an expo marker to mark the starting size of your dough.
  3. Use the “finger test” Press your finger into the dough. If it does not stay indented then it has not risen long enough yet.

Never skimp on butter. This recipe uses half as much butter as most cinnamon roll recipes so its important to follow the recipe. The fats in the butter keep the dough from binding together, which is important for peelable cinnamon layers.

The last thing is to measure the cinnamon you put into the roll dough and avoid adding more. A compound in cinnamon can inhibit yeast dough from rising. I’ve recommended a teaspoon to avoid impacting the dough’s rise.

a pan of pumpkin cinnamon rolls
Yield: 12 large rolls

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls are a must have every autumn. Soft pumpkin rolls, sweet cinnamon swirls topped with fluffy cream cheese frosting and a hint of maple.



  • 1/4 cup warm water, about 110 degrees
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup milk, warmed
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, unpacked
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, optional
  • 4 cups flour


  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons warm water


  1. Warm oven to 200 degrees. Grease a large bowl with olive oil, set aside.
  2. For the Dough: In the bowl of a kitchen aid mixer fitter with the whisk attachment combine yeast and warm water. Let sit for a few minutes, until it begins to thicken.
  3. Add milk, butter, egg, and pumpkin to the yeast mixture. Mix on low until well combined. With mixer on low add sugar, vanilla, and spices. Mix until just incorporated.
  4. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Set the mixer on low and add the flour one cup at a time. Stop between cups to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Once the flour is incorporated set the mixer on low and allow the dough to knead until smooth and elasticity. Be patient, this step is important to get fluffy tender layers of cinnamon roll that you can peel apart. This is a good time to turn the oven off.
  6. Move the dough into the large greased bowl. Cover tightly with cling wrap and mark the current size with an expo marker as shown above. This makes it much easier to tell when the dough has doubled in bulk.
  7. Let the dough rise in the warmed oven until doubled in bulk, about an hour.
  8. For the Filling: In a medium bowl combine your sugars and spices, set aside.
  9. In a small bowl melt your butter, set aside.
  10. Once the dough has doubled in size and passes the finger test turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a 12×22″ rectangle.
  11. Brush the top of the dough generously with melted butter. Sprinkle your sugar mixture evenly across the top. If you want a really gooey center create a little ridge of the sugar mixture along the edge closest to you. This will be your starting point for rolling it up.
  12. Staring at that edge closest to you fold the dough over the cinnamon sugar ridge, brush the top with melted butter, roll the dough tightly away from you. Work slowly along the roll keeping it rolled tightly and brushing with melted butter as needed.
  13. When you reach the end flip the log you have created seam side down. It should be about 24″ long and at this point I usually measure it and stretch the dough as needed.
  14. Using a sharp serrated knife cut the log into 12 2″ rolls.
  15. Place the sliced rolls into a prepared 9×13 pan. Be sure to leave space between the rolls.Cover the pan of rolls loosely with a damp towel and allow to rise for at least 40 minutes.
  16. Preheat the oven to 375. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown and cooked through. Keep a close eye on them the last 5 minutes to be sure they do not over brown.
  17. While the rolls are baking make the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.
  18. If these buns wont be eaten all at once store the cinnamon buns at room temperature and the frosting in the refrigerator. This will keep them from drying out and allow you to heat them up as desired.
  19. If you would like to make these the night before simply cover the pan of rolls tightly with cling wrap before letting them rise a second time. Refrigerate them over night and allow them to come to room temperature an hour before you need to bake them.
  20. For the Frosting: Combine all of your ingredients in a large bowl, using a beater cream until smooth adding warm water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 716Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 130gFiber: 2gSugar: 94gProtein: 7g

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