Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch

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This pumpkin recipe is modified from a family recipe for potato-cinnamon rolls. The pumpkin flavor gets very strong and somewhat bitter if the baked rolls are left at room temperature for a couple days. This recipe is best eaten or frozen the same day.

Prep Time:
40 mins
Cook Time:
25 mins
Additional Time:
1 hr 45 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 50 mins
7 pie plates of rolls


  • 2 cups warm milk

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

  • cup shortening

  • cup white sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast

  • 7 ½ cups all-purpose flour, or more as needed

  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar, or more to taste

  • 1 tablespoon milk, or as needed

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or as needed

  • 1 apple - peeled, cored, and chopped (Optional)

  • 2 tablespoons raisins, or to taste (Optional)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts, or to taste (Optional)


  • 1 cup butter

  • 2 cups brown sugar

  • ½ cup milk

  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, or more as needed


  1. Mix milk, pumpkin, shortening, sugar, eggs, and salt together in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and stir gently until yeast is dissolved and well mixed. Mix in 2 cups flour at a time until mixture begins to get thick. Set mixer aside. Continue adding flour gradually, kneading by hand until dough is smooth and no longer wet and sticky.

  2. Place dough into a bowl, cover with a wet cloth, and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

  3. Roll out each dough portion on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle shape about 1/2-inch thick. Combine brown sugar and milk in a small bowl to form a paste; smooth sugar-milk paste evenly across both dough rectangles and sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Add apple, raisins, and walnuts.

  4. Roll up rectangles and slice into 1 1/2-inch sections. Place rolls into 7 greased pie pans, gently pressing down on rolls with your fingers to squish into the pans. Set rolls in a warm place until puffy, about 30 minutes.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  6. Bake in the preheated oven until light brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, tip rolls out of pans, and let cool on wire racks completely, 20 to 30 minutes.

  7. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat and add brown sugar. Boil over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and return to a boil. Remove from heat and let butter mixture cool to lukewarm temperature, about 10 minutes.

  8. Pour butter mixture into a mixing bowl. Beat using an electric mixer while adding powdered sugar gradually until it reaches a spreading consistency. If frosting gets too stiff, add warm water or more milk and beat.

  9. Frost cooled rolls with frosting.

Cook's Notes:

You can use a scant 2 tablespoons dry yeast instead of 2 packages, and you can use any type of toasted nut that you prefer.

When working in flour, I often divide the dough and work with only half at a time which I find more manageable.

To make pumpkin dinner rolls, after dough has doubled in size, form into golf-ball size lumps and place in rows in greased pans. Set in a warm place until rolls have doubled in size and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 18 minutes. Serve or freeze immediately.

To freeze: After rolls cool, place in gallon-sized freezer bags. Squeeze out extra air and place into the freezer. Freeze frosting in a separate microwaveable container. To serve, take frozen rolls out of the bag, place on a plate, and defrost in the microwave. Top with thawed frosting and serve warm.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

274 Calories
9g Fat
46g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 40
Calories 274
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 159mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 26g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 39mg 3%
Iron 2mg 8%
Potassium 108mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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