These soft and fluffy pumpkin cinnamon rolls have pumpkin in the dough and pumpkin pie spice in the filling! Finished off with a bourbon cream cheese icing, these are the best way to start a cozy fall morning.
This recipe is basically just a simple twist on my favorite cinnamon rolls recipe. These pumpkin cinnamon rolls are made with lots of pumpkin purée and pumpkin spice added to the dough, plus a generous pour of bourbon stirred into the cream cheese frosting for some extra fall vibes.
The cinnamon rolls are soft, light, fluffy and there’s just enough pumpkin flavor to notice, but not so much that it overwhelms the inherent beauty of classic cinnamon rolls. They’re totally irresistible! (Did I mention that these pumpkin cinnamon rolls are also egg-free!?)
This pumpkin cinnamon rolls recipe doesn’t require a ton of ingredients; here’s what you’ll need:
To help ensure your success in making these Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, we are going to walk through the significant steps in the process together! Starting with making the pumpkin brioche dough.
This pumpkin dough is a riff on my go-to brioche dough for just about everything. The dough is so incredibly soft and easy to work with. Basically… it’s perfect.
Start by adding the flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice to a large bowl and stir until just combined. Add the milk, pumpkin purée, and melted butter, and knead the dough until a firm, but slightly tacky ball is formed. You should really only need around 2¼ cups (280g) of flour; resist the temptation of adding too much!
If kneading by hand, only add more flour when the dough begins to stick to your surface. It should be smooth and elastic, but still a little tacky. Once the dough is kneaded and smooth, form it into a ball then place it in a lightly greased bowl to rest for about 15 minutes while you make the filling. If using active dry yeast, you’ll let the dough rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
While the pumpkin brioche dough is resting, you’ll make the brown butter cinnamon sugar filling.
THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO MAKE THE PUMPKIN SPICE CINNAMON SUGAR FILLING:
The second method is easier, however, I prefer the first method because I find the filling doesn’t leak out of the pumpkin cinnamon rolls to the bottom of the pan as much.
Honestly, this icing should come with a warning that’s how good it is. While the pumpkin cinnamon rolls are baking, make your icing. Simply add your softened butter to your softened cream cheese and stir to combine. Don’t worry if the mixture looks a little curdled, it will smooth out! Add the powdered sugar, milk, and bourbon and stir until smooth and combined. Then, you’re ready to drown your rolls once they’re out of the oven! If you want a kid-friendly icing, just replace the bourbon with an equal amount of milk!
PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I use active dry yeast instead?
Technically, yes! But you’ll need to add the yeast to the warmed milk and let sit for 5 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. Also, your rolls will require two longer rises instead of just one; one rise will need to be done after kneading the dough and one after slicing the dough log into rolls!
Can I use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour for the dough?
Sure! Just use an equal amount!
Can I make the cinnamon rolls ahead of time?
Absolutely. There are two different routes you could take.
1) REFRIGERATE ASSEMBLED PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS TO BAKE THE NEXT DAY
Tightly wrap the assembled (but not risen) pumpkin cinnamon rolls with plastic wrap and cover with a damp tea towel or the lid to the baking dish. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, remove the assembled rolls from the refrigerator. Loosen the plastic wrap and let the cinnamon rolls come to room temperature and complete their second rise covered with loose-fitting plastic wrap and a warm, damp tea towel.
Bake the risen rolls according to the recipe!
2) FREEZE PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS TO BAKE AT A LATER DATE
Prepare the pumpkin cinnamon rolls all the way through their rise. Instead of baking the cinnamon rolls for the entire time, just bake them partway (par-baking) for 10 to 15 minutes. The rolls should be raised and set, but not totally browned. Remove from the oven and let the rolls cool completely in the pan. Wrap the pan in two layers of plastic wrap or place them into a large plastic bag and seal. Freeze for 8 hours or up to 6 weeks. The night before you want to serve the rolls, take them out of the freezer and place them, still wrapped, in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Unwrap the cinnamon rolls the next morning and bake them at 350°F until they are completely done and a light golden brown all over, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Can I leave the bourbon out of the icing?
Totally; just replace it with an equal amount of milk!
PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS: TROUBLESHOOTING
Help! My dough isn’t rising! What’s wrong?
Yeast has a “use by” date. As it moves beyond that time, it loses its oomph. Check the date printed on the package to make sure it’s within its usable life. If your yeast hasn’t expired, then you likely accidentally killed it by adding liquids that were too hot. The ideal temperature of the milk is between 120°F (48°C) and 130°F (54°C); I recommend getting an instant-read thermometer to ensure you don’t waste your ingredients!
Help! My dough is extremely sticky and difficult to knead!
Dough that is too sticky is a very common problem but it is actually really easy to fix! Sticky dough is almost always caused by a dough that is too hydrated. This basically means that you have either added too much milk to your dough or not enough flour. The fix is simply incorporating a little bit more flour (I recommend 1 tablespoon at a time)! The dough should be slightly tacky, but if you touch it with a clean, dry finger, the dough shouldn’t come off onto your finger.
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