Pumpkin Spiced Cinnamon Rolls topped with cream cheese frosting are the ultimate Autumn morning treat! These can be made the night before, and you don’t even need a stand mixer or eggs!
These Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls kick off the official welcoming of fall! They’re gooey and are filled with all the lovely fall flavors and spices. Not only that, but the cream cheese frosting is the icing on the cake… or cinnamon rolls in this case. 🙂
I originally found this recipe from The Pioneer Woman and decided to adapt it to make a pumpkin spiced version. This recipe works great at high altitudes with no adjustments needed, aside from the rising time which is much faster at higher altitudes.
It’s my favorite recipe because the cinnamon rolls come out soft and pillowy. Oh, and did I mention they’re completely eggless?! Perfect for people with egg allergies or as a base to veganize this recipe—more on that below.
I also love that this recipe does not require a stand mixer. All you need are a saucepan, large bowl, wooden spoon, and some baking trays, which most people already have! This especially comes in handy if making these on Thanksgiving morning to free up much-needed kitchen gear.
If you’re entertaining friends and family OR you’re making this for a special occasion, these cinnamon rolls are definitely the way to go. (Heck, if I had time I’d even make them on a regular Tuesday afternoon just because they’re that good. 😉 )
How to Make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
I highly recommend that you read the instructions a few times before making these that way you have an idea of how the process works.
Make the dough
Start by warming up the milk on medium heat on the stove. Add the sugar, vegetable oil, and whisk until the mixture is warm, but not boiling, and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool until it is warm (about 95-105 degrees F). This is important since any hotter will kill the yeast. Use an instant-read food thermometer for the most accurate temperature reading.
Once your mixture is warm, sprinkle in the dry active yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add in the pumpkin purée and stir.
Mix in 4 cups of the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Cover the saucepan with a towel and let it sit in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Now, add in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir until everything is fully combined.
Form the rolls
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a rectangle measuring about 10×30 inches. This is where things can get sticky, so if need be, sprinkle the dough with some extra flour, but use sparingly since we want these to be as soft as possible.
Evenly spread on the melted butter and a light coating of pumpkin purée. Sprinkle the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg on top. Roll the dough up tightly into a log and seal the log by pinching the seam closed. Make sure to turn the log over so the seam is facing downward.
Now it’s time to cut the log into rolls, and there are two methods you can use:
1. The preferred method is to use some unflavored dental floss. Just place the floss underneath the log and tightly cross the two pieces over the top. This option prevents the rolls from being squished.
2. Slice with a serrated knife using a gentle back-and-forth motion to keep the rolls in their intended shape.
I cut them to about 1/2 inch thick, which gives me around 28 cinnamon rolls.
Place each roll into a buttered pan and place them in a warm, draft-free place to rise for about 20 minutes or until doubled in size.
Bake the rolls
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Once the oven is ready and the rolls have risen, bake for 14-18 minutes or until the rolls are golden around the edges.
It’s a good idea to make the frosting while the rolls are baking that way as soon as they come out of the oven you can slather it on. All of that yummy goodness will seep into the crevices and will make the rolls melt in your mouth.
To make the frosting, add the cream cheese to a medium bowl and beat on medium until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, butter, and splash of vanilla and beat again. If you want your frosting to be more of a glaze, pour in one tablespoon of milk at a time to thin it out. Be careful with adding the milk though since the frosting thins out pretty easily!
Frost those babies when they’re pulled straight from the oven. Be very generous with the frosting…
When I say generous, I mean drown them in this heavenly liquid. Trust me.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use Instant Yeast?
The secret to fluffy cinnamon rolls is all in the yeast. I tested this recipe using instant yeast and it did not give the same rising results as if you were to use active dry yeast from the packets. The cinnamon rolls came out flatter and less fluffy, almost like sad pancakes, and I don’t want your rolls to turn into sad pancakes. So no, I would not recommend using instant yeast in place of active dry yeast.
Can I make these vegan?
Yes! Since they’re already eggless, you only need to substitute a few ingredients. Use vegan butter, non-dairy milk, and vegan cream cheese.
Can I make these the night before?
Yes! Once you’ve cut the cinnamon rolls, place them in a buttered tray, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning you can just pull them out of the refrigerator, unwrap, and let them rise at room temperature until they’ve doubled in size.
How do I store these?
I find these are best served immediately, but for leftovers, store them in an airtight container on the countertop for up to 2 days, OR the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You may need to pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds so they can soften. (I’ve also frozen them un-frosted in a freezer-safe plastic bag,).
- Make sure your milk is at the correct temperature! This is probably one of the most important takeaways since the temperature of the milk will set the stage for the whole recipe. Meaning, if your milk is too hot, the yeast will die. And if your milk is too cold, the yeast will not activate properly. The best way to get an accurate temperature is to use a food thermometer.
- Use dental floss to evenly cut the rolls and prevent them from being squished as they would if using a knife.
- Frost the cinnamon rolls when they’re warm. All of the cream cheese frosting will melt and seep into the crevices and create a super soft melt-in-your-mouth texture. Trust me on this one. (The rolls are also really tasty if frosting individually once they’ve cooled. Just remember that the frosting will have a thicker consistency as shown in the picture above.)
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (No Eggs, No Mixer)
- 1 1/2 Cups Milk (Dairy or non-dairy will work)
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1 Cup Pumpkin Purée
- 4 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour (Divided)
- 3/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Allspice
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 Cup Butter (Melted, 1 Stick)
- 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Purée
- 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 (8 ounces) Block Cream Cheese (Softened)
- 1 3/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 4 Tbsp Butter (Melted)
- 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbsp Milk of your choice (If needed to thin out the frosting)
- In a large saucepan at medium heat, pour in the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the milk is "scalded" (very warm but not boiling). Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool until the temperature has reached between 95-105 degrees F.
- Sprinkle in the active dry yeast and allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the pumpkin puree. Add in 4 cups of the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and stir until just incorporated. Drape a towel over the pot and allow the mixture to sit in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour or until the dough has puffed up.
- Add in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until combined.
- After you've made the dough, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and butter your baking trays.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a large rectangle measuring approximately 10×30 inches.
- Spread on the melted butter and remaining 1/2 cup of pumpkin purée. Sprinkle the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice on top. Tightly roll the long edge of the rectangle, pinch the seam closed, and turn the log so the seam is facing down.
- Cut the rolls into 1/2 inch slices and place them in the prepared pans. Allow the rolls to rise for another 20 minutes or until they are puffed and have spread out.
- Place them in the preheated oven and bake for 14-18 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Spread on the frosting while the cinnamon rolls are warm from the oven, or individually frost once they have cooled.
- To make the frosting, add the softened cream cheese to a large bowl and mix until fluffy. Mix in the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla until fully incorporated and no lumps are visible. Pour in one tablespoon of milk at a time until you reach your desired consistency (more milk = thinner frosting).
- Use a food thermometer to ensure the milk is between 95-100 degrees F. Anything hotter will kill the yeast, and anything cooler will not activate the yeast.
- To make vegan, substitute for non-dairy milk, vegan butter, and vegan cream cheese for the frosting.
- High Altitude: No adjustments needed.
Recipe adaptation from The Pioneer Woman
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