You will love these warm pumpkin cream cheese cinnamon rolls! They are perfect for fall. They boast swirls of fluffy, soft cinnamon dough with luscious, pumpkin cream cheese frosting on top.
This recipe was first published 09/14/20.
Once a glimmer of Fall happens, we all have one thing in mind (besides sweaters and cute boots).
That's right! It's pumpkin.
My family's all time favorite cinnamon rolls are these pumpkin cream cheese cinnamon rolls. Believe it or not, my kids like them even more than my traditional cinnamon rolls.
They have everything you want from a traditional cinnamon roll but with an ooey gooey lip smacking good, pumpkin cream cheese frosting on top.
The trick with the pumpkin cream cheese frosting is to spread it over right out of the oven, warm cinnamon rolls. All of the frosting melts into each and every crack and crevice.
Why You'll Love These
This is an in depth recipe with lots of step by step instructions and photos to help you get perfect cinnamon rolls!
My family loves how fluffy and delicious these pumpkin cinnamon rolls are. They are delicious!
It's a great fall treat to make with kids. Mine love helping as much as possible and although my daughter always manages to get more ingredients on herself and the counter, then in the bowl, they still turn out perfect with the best experience since I get to make them with the people I love.
Here's an overview of the ingredients you'll need. Make sure to reference the recipe card for the entire list of ingredients, amounts and directions.
- active dry yeast
- cane sugar
- brown sugar
- pumpkin puree
- all purpose flour
- kosher salt
- pumpkin pie spice
- cream cheese
- vanilla extract
- powdered sugar
How To Make Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
This section is to help give you some step by step guidance and extra tips with photos, the recipe directions are located in the recipe card.
Make the dough. Warm the milk, you want to heat it so that it registers somewhere between 100-110 degrees, it should be warm but not hot.
Add the active dry yeast (not rapid rise) and sprinkle it with a bit of sugar over top. The sugar helps to activate the yeast and grow.
In the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. And all at once mix in the yeast mixture, egg and butter so it all comes together at once.
Continue mixing for 5 minutes on medium/low.
First Rise. The cinnamon rolls go through two rises. The first rise is the dough itself, the second is before they bake and are already looking like a cinnamon roll.
Form the dough into a ball and put it into a greased bowl to rise, covered. I always stick my bowl into a warm (not hot!) oven. The easiest way to do this is heat your oven to 200 degrees then turn it off and put the bowl in, with the door closed.
Let it rise until it has at least doubled, about an hour.
Making the cinnamon rolls. Flour your countertop and dump out the dough, sprinkle a little flour on top. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a rectangle, 12" x 18".
Spread melted butter over the dough and sprinkle it with the sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly.
Roll up the dough like a log roll and use sewing thread or a serrated knife to make even cuts so you end up with 12 rolls. Seriously though, sewing thread works the best for really clean cuts!
Grease a 9"x13" baking dish and place the cinnamon rolls in it. A little tip is to put the larger pieces toward the edges so they cook through.
Second Rise. Now for the second rise. Cover the cinnamon rolls and let them rise for 30 minutes. The best place for this is near the oven, because at this point you need to start preheating your oven.
Baking. Bake the cinnamon rolls at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. 25 minutes will give you a much chewier, gooey-er cinnamon rolls and 30+ will give you a more well done cinnamon roll.
Frosting. As soon as the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven you can slather them with the pumpkin cream cheese frosting. To make it all you need to do is beat together all of the frosting ingredients.
Over the years and many many cinnamon roll batches, both successful and unsuccessful I've learned a thing or two about cinnamon rolls.
So let's take a minute and go over some things I've learned through trial and error in hopes it can help you make beautiful (stress-free) cinnamon rolls.
There are a few main culprits as to why dough doesn't rise. (1) The yeast didn't activate properly; the milk was either too hot or too cold. Try using a thermometer to get the right temperature, 100-110 degrees. (2) The room was too cold. Try letting your dough rise in a warm oven, make sure the oven is not hot, all you need to do is heat it to 200 degrees then turn it off. (3) Old yeast. Expired or old yeast is a big culprit of dough not rising.
Make sure whatever method you used for the first rise, you also use for the second rise.
If your pan isn't nonstick and cooking spray isn't work, or butter to grease your pan isn't working, try lining your baking pan with parchment paper for an easy release.
It's super frustrating when your cinnamon rolls are gooey and undercooked when you go to eat one. Keep in mind as they cool they continue to cook but you should always follow a recipe and bake the minimum amount of time needed. But if this happens you can cover with foil, put them bake in the oven at 325 and continue baking until they are good.
Make Ahead, Storing and Freezing:
To Make Ahead: Make the pumpkin cinnamon rolls all the way up until it would go for it's second rise, don't do the second rise and instead cover them with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
When you're ready to bake them the next day let them come to room temperature on the counter for 2-3 hours, then bake as normal.
To Store: Since these cinnamon rolls have a pumpkin cream cheese frosting on top they need to be stored in the fridge.
To Freeze: If you want to freeze the dough before baking then follow the make ahead recipes and instead of putting them in the fridge, put them in the freezer.
Cover with plastic wrap and a double layer of foil. They will take longer to come to room temperature when it comes time to back though.
If you want to freeze them after they've been fully prepared you can do that too. Cover them with plastic wrap and a double layer of foil. Try eating them within 2-3 months of freezing.
More Fall Recipes
- Big Fat Pecan Sticky Buns
- Great Grandma's Cinnamon Apple Dutch Baby
- Apple Crisp
- Four Cheese Baked Mac and Cheese
- Pumpkin Roll
- Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
- 1 c milk
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
- ½ tsp sugar
- ⅓ c pumpkin puree
- 4 c all purpose flour
- ¼ c cane sugar
- 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 4 tbsp butter softened
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 c brown sugar, packed
- ½ c cane sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing:
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 c powdered sugar
- Warm up the milk (100-110 degrees for active dry yeast). Sprinkle the active dry yeast over top followed by ½ tsp sugar. Give it a little wiggle so some of the yeast falls to the bottom. Let stand 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Mix in the yeast mixture followed by the egg, egg yolk, butter and pumpkin puree. Mix on medium low for 5 minutes. Form into a ball, grease your bowl and place back in, covered.
- Rise for an hour in a warm place or until it has at least doubled.
- Dump the dough out onto a floured counter top. Use a rolling pin to get the dough to 12”x18”. Mix together 1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup cane sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
- Spread out the melted butter on the dough, then top with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll up like a log and use sewing thread (or serrated knife) to cut 12 even rolls.
- Place in a greased 9x13 baking dish, cover and rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Uncover and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven.
- To make the pumpkin cream cheese icing beat together the cream cheese, butter, , pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and powdered sugar. Top the warm cinnamon rolls with the pumpkin cream cheese frosting.
Milk Temperature: If the milk is too cold/too hot the yeast will not activate and foam up. If the yeast doesn't activate start over. The ideal temperature is 100-110. Stir the milk when it comes out of the microwave because it will be hotter/colder in different parts.
Yeast: The entire recipe is reliant on the yeast you use activating. If your yeast doesn't activate, the cinnamon roll dough will not rise. If your yeast doesn't get frothy and foamy in the warm milk and you've already checked to make sure the temperature is correct, it means your yeast is old. Even if you haven't hit the expiration date, your yeast just isn't working anymore. Get new yeast. Always do a test run before you start a recipe using yeast to make sure your yeast is still working.
Rising: My pro tip (especially if you live someplace cold, you have a cold kitchen) is to let the dough rise in a warm oven. Heat your oven to 200 degrees, then turn it off. Now put the dough in the oven and close the door. Let it rise! Warning, don't forget to turn the oven off.
Cutting: Another pro tip is to use sewing thread to cut your cinnamon rolls. I keep a spool in my kitchen around the holidays just for this reason! Make sure your counter is floured, so when you run the thread under the rolls it doesn't get stuck and caught up in the dough.
Make Ahead Instructions: Prepare the cinnamon rolls up to the point of placing them in the greased baking dish. Skip the second rise. Instead, cover your dish with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. Give yourself a few hours to have them ready before you serve them. Take them out of the fridge and rest on the counter for 2 hours, then bake in the oven.
This recipe was updated on 09/05/2023, to reflect a better textured dough and more step by step instructions and pictures.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 441Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 259mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 2gSugar: 38gProtein: 7g
This information comes from online calculators. Although moderncrumb.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.