Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Fluffy, fragrant and sticky-sweet cinnamon rolls are a thing of true beauty for the most passionate of breakfast-lovers. Add a swirl of bright pumpkin purée into the batter, a drizzle of cream cheese icing glaze on top, and you’ll be in pure heaven.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen


  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, to be divided
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk, warmed (but not scalding)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
  • 3 1/2 cups (450 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 1/4 cup (packed) (50 grams) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2/3 cups (150 grams) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade (recipe below)
  • 1 large egg
  • Oil for coating rising bowl


  • 3/4 cup (packed, 145 grams) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • tiny pinch of table salt
  • 2 teaspoons (5 grams) ground cinnamon


  • 4 ounces (115 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk or buttermilk
  • 2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • Few drops vanilla extract (optional)
For 16 to 18 buns

For the dough: Melt the butter in a little saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Combine your warmed (but not scalding!) milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside for 5-10 minutes. The mixture should become foamy, if not you might need to start over with fresher yeast.

In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add just 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of the melted butter and stir to combine. Add yeast-milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix to combine. Run the mixer with the dough hook for 5 minutes on low.

Scrape mixture into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour in a draft-free place; it should double in size.

While it is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper.

For the filling: Stir together the filling ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

Scoop dough onto a floured surface and flour the top of it well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 16×11-inch rectangle, being careful not to spread the dough too thinly. Brush reserved melted butter over dough. Sprinkle filling mixture evenly over dough. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. It’s going to be messy and sticky, but that’s the way it is supposed to be.

Cut the log cross-wise into generous 1-inch sections, being careful not to smash the buns (use a sharp serrated knife, try to apply absolutely no pressure whatsoever and gently saw your log with a back-forth motion).

Divide buns between two prepared pans. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes.

If you’re doing this ahead of time, you can now put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, leave them out for an hour to warm up and finish rising.

15 minutes before you’re ready to bake them, heat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

For the glaze: Beat your cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in milk until you obtain your desired consistency.

Remove the plastic and bake buns for 25 minutes in preheated oven, until puffed and golden. Remove from oven, drizzle with glaze and serve hot.

Pumpkin Puree

  • 1 small pie pumpkin
  • aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 375°F (290°C). Cut the pumpkin in half, scrape out the seeds and pulp from the center and discard. Place pumpkin halves on a baking sheet face up, cover with aluminum foil and roast in a 375-degree oven for about an hour, or until pumpkin is fork-tender. Let cool slightly, then peel the pumpkin and blend the pulp in a food processor.

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