Pillowy and buttery vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls that are loaded with pumpkin flavor, pumpkin spice and topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting. These rolls are easy to make and are perfect for a brunch in Fall or Thanksgiving!
Why you'll love these cinnamon rolls
TASTE/TEXTURE: These vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls are delightfully soft and fluffy, and will melt in your mouth. The pumpkin puree makes them more pillowy than regular cinnamon rolls.
DIFFICULTY: If you can make regular cinnamon rolls, you can make these!
OCCASION: These pumpkin rolls are the perfect comfort food for Fall/Autumn! The pumpkin spice and flavors will warm you up from head to toe and the rolls are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.
Ingredients you'll need
These vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls use far fewer ingredients than any store-bought pumpkin cinnamon rolls, especially from Trader Joe's! You will need:
Notes about the ingredients
Bread flour or all-purpose plain flour. Both will work, though bread flour results in fluffier and larger vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls!
Dairy-free milk. Any type will work though I prefer using soy milk or one that is creamy or flavorful by itself.
Softened vegan block butter. Alternatively, you can still use a vegan margarine spread (just add a little more flour) or softened coconut oil with a generous pinch of salt.
Pumpkin spice (or pumpkin pie spice). Or you can make your own using a combination of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
Pumpkin puree which is store-bought or homemade. Make sure you don't use pumpkin pie filling.
Sugar, either granulated, light brown, dark brown or coconut sugar. I personally prefer brown or coconut sugar as it adds depth of flavor to the cinnamon rolls.
Instant yeast which is the quickest and easiest yeast to use! It doesn't need to be activated or proofed beforehand.
A complete list of ingredients, quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
If you don't have canned pumpkin puree
If you're in Australia or a country where you can't easily buy pumpkin puree, you can make your own by:
- Chopping some pumpkin. Try using a flavorful sweet variety.
- Steam the pumpkin until it is very soft.
- Puree the pumpkin.
- Optional: reduce the pumpkin puree by patting it with paper towels or cooking it in a pan on a stovetop. I did this for my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and it intensifies its flavor.
Making the pumpkin cinnamon roll dough
Firstly, if you use instant yeast, you can add all your ingredients to a bowl at the same time. If you use another type of yeast, you will need to activate/proof it beforehand.
If you have a stand mixer, add the ingredients to the bowl and knead for 10 minutes until it forms a soft and smooth ball.
If you don't have a stand mixer, add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix using a wooden spoon. Turn out your dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth.
The dough is PACKED with pumpkin puree so it's a little softer than the dough of regular cinnamon rolls. If your dough is still sticking to the side of your bowl, simply add a little more flour and knead again.
Let the dough rise in a WARM spot in your home until it doubles in size. Alternatively, if you want to make the recipe a day in advance, you can let your pumpkin dough rise in the fridge overnight. This dough is quite soft, so chilling it will make it easier to roll in the next step :).
Assembling the cinnamon rolls
On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a large rectangle. It doesn't have to be a perfect rectangle :). I'd recommend rolling the dough to about ½ inch (1 cm) thick. The thinner your dough, the more your cinnamon rolls will have.
Spread your pumpkin spice mixture on the surface then scatter the chopped pecans on top. Pecans are optional so feel free to omit if you're allergic or just don't have any at home!
Starting from the long side, roll your dough into a log. Try to make the log as tight as possible! Your dough should be firm but flexible enough that it won't collapse when you roll the dough (if it does, pop your dough in the fridge until it's firmer).
Then use a sharp knife or unflavored dental floss to cut scrolls out of your log.
Second rise for the vegan pumpkin rolls
After you arrange your rolls in a baking dish, allow them to rest for 1-2 hours or until they are puffy again. This may take longer or shorter depending on how WARM your home is! If you didn't let your dough rest in the fridge overnight, you can rest the shaped pumpkin rolls in the fridge overnight.
Then bake your cinnamon rolls.... and your home will smell wonderful :).
Serving the vegan cinnamon rolls
These pumpkin spice rolls are so fluffy and pillowy that you can enjoy them by themselves, for breakfast or dessert.
However, they are even better with a vegan cream cheese frosting or maple cream cheese frosting used in my sourdough cinnamon roll recipe. The only downside is you have to wait until they are completely cool til you can frost them!
Or you can drizzle them with a sticky maple syrup to make pumpkin sticky buns!
Like all bread, cinnamon rolls are best enjoyed fresh. However, according to Prepared Cooks, when cinnamon rolls are frozen the right way, they can be stored for up to 4 months! They recommend wrapping the rolls in plastic or aluminum foil and sealing them in an airtight container to put in the freezer.
I haven't tried this recipe using a 1:1 gluten-free flour. If you do, let me know how you go!
Yes. I'd recommend using coconut sugar in the rolls and in the filling!
For the cream cheese frosting, omit the powdered sugar and add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup at a time until it reaches your desired sweetness level. The icing will be runnier than a typical cream cheese frosting.
More vegan pumpkin recipes
Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- 3 ¼ cups (406g) all-purpose plain flour, plus more for dusting
- ¾ cup (150g) pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup (85g) dairy-free milk, warm
- ½ cup (115g) vegan butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons (40g) granulated sugar, brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon (9g) instant dry yeast, (note 1 for other types of yeast)
- 1 tablespoon (8g) pumpkin spice, (note 2 for homemade blend)
- Pinch of any good-quality salt, skip if using salted vegan butter
Pumpkin Spice filling
Cinnamon roll dough:
- Add all the ingredients to a stand mixer or large bowl. If using a stand mixer, knead all ingredients until it forms a dough that is smooth and elastic. If using a bowl, mix all ingredients until combined then knead on a floured surface until smooth. If the dough is too dry, add a dash of milk and knead again. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle on some flour and knead again.
- Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave it in a warm place for at least 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size. Alternatively, rest the dough in an airtight container overnight.
Pumpkin spice filling:
- Add the sugar, butter, pumpkin spice and optional vanilla to a small bowl. Mix until it forms a smooth paste and set aside.
Assembling the pumpkin cinnamon rolls:
- Grease a large baking tray about 11 x 6 inches (30 x 15 cm) large or line with parchment paper.
- Lightly dust a clean surface with flour. Roll out the dough into a rectangular shape about 12 x 17 inches (30 x 45 cm) large and about ½ inch (a little over 1 cm thick).
- Spread the pumpkin spice filling on the dough, about 1 inch (2 cm) away from the edge. Sprinkle the pecans on top.
- Starting from the long side, roll the dough into a tight log. Use a sharp knife or unflavored dental floss to cut rolls out of the log.
- Arrange the individual cinnamon rolls on a baking tray. Place a tea towel over the rolls and set aside to rest for at least an hour until the rolls have increased by at least 50%.
Cream cheese frosting:
- Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Add more sugar for a firmer frosting. Chill in the fridge until needed.
Baking and storing the rolls:
- When your rolls are puffy again, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Bake the rolls in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are slightly golden brown. If you insert a skewer in one of the middle rolls, there should be no raw dough on it.
- When the rolls have cooled completely, spread the glaze on top.
- The rolls are best eaten the day they are baked. Alternatively, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day or in the fridge for 1-2 days.
- Instant yeast doesn't need to be 'activated' beforehand. However, if you use another type of yeast, combine it with warm milk from the recipe and a pinch of sugar beforehand. Wait until it bubbles then use it in the recipe.
- You can make your own pumpkin spice blend for this recipe. Simply mix 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, ½ tablespoon ground nutmeg and ½ tablespoon ground ginger. This will make enough pumpkin spice for the dough AND filling.
- Alternatively, you can omit the powdered sugar and add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup at a time until it reaches your desired sweetness level. The icing will be runnier than a typical cream cheese frosting.
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