These vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls are incredibly soft and fluffy, and are loaded with pumpkin flavor and pumpkin spice. Topped with a soft cream cheese icing, these are perfect for breakfast or brunch!
Why you'll love this recipe
TASTE/TEXTURE: These vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls are softer and more pillowy than regular cinnamon rolls! You can space them apart to get crusty edges or place them close together for even more plush cinnamon rolls.
DIFFICULTY: These are as easy to make as any cinnamon roll recipe! The dough comes together in one bowl and the hardest thing is waiting for them to rise.
OCCASION: They're perfect with a cup of coffee or tea in Fall/Autumn!
Ingredients you'll need
To make these vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls, you'll need:
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Bread flour or all-purpose flour. Both will work, though bread flour results in fluffier and larger vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls! I haven't tested this recipe using gluten-free flour.
Pumpkin puree either canned or homemade. This recipe works well with either! To make your own pumpkin puree, I've listed instructions at the end of this blog post.
Vegan block butter. Alternatively, you may use spreadable vegan margarine, though your dough may need a little more flour. Softened coconut oil will also work however, I recommend adding a generous pinch of salt to mimic the flavor of butter.
Non-dairy milk. I prefer using creamy flavorful milk such as soy, oat or almond milk. However, any type of milk will work.
Sugar. I recommend using regular sugar for the dough to allow the pumpkin's golden color to shine. Brown sugar or coconut sugar are best for the filling. Alternatively, you can use brown or coconut sugar for both the dough and filling!
Pecans or walnuts to add flavor and texture to the filling. Or you can simply omit them.
Instant yeast. This is the quickest and easiest yeast as it doesn't need to be proofed beforehand. Alternatively, you may use active dry yeast (or another type), if you proof it in warm milk beforehand.
A complete list of ingredients, quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Tips for making the dough
You can use a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl to prepare the dough for the pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls.
If you're using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is soft and stretchy.
If you're making the dough by hand, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl using a wooden spoon. Turn out your dough place the dough mixture on a floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth.
As mentioned before, the dough is packed with pumpkin puree so it's a little softer than the dough of plain vegan cinnamon rolls. However, like all yeasted dough, the longer you knead it, the less sticky it'll become. After some time, if your dough is still sticky, add a little flour and continue to knead.
First rise for your dough
The key to resting your dough is making sure it's in a WARM spot in your home!
According to King Arthur Baking, the ideal temperature for yeasted dough is between 75°F to 78°F (23°C to 25°C). My home is often colder so I make sure the dough is resting in the kitchen or near a heater.
The colder your home is, the longer dough will take to rise. The exception is if you're resting the dough in the fridge overnight!
The dough is ready when it's roughly doubled in size. If you gently poke the dough, it should spring back slowly.
Tips for assembling your cinnamon rolls
To roll out your dough, I suggest using a rolling pin or a large jar. The dough needs to be shaped into a large rectangle shape, or thereabouts!
Unlike some recipes, you can spread the cinnamon mixture close to the edge of the dough. This cinnamon mixture is quite thick and won't ooze out easily!
When rolling your dough into a log, try to roll it as tightly as possible.
To cut your rolls, I recommend using unflavored dental floss because it's easier and doesn't squish your cinnamon rolls! Alternatively, you can use a very sharp knife :).
Second rise and baking the cinnamon rolls
Similar to the first rise, you'll need to rest your cinnamon rolls again. They're ready to bake when they puff up again.
I baked the cinnamon rolls in 9 x 13 inch pan for the rolls below however you can use any large baking pan. I've also baked this recipe in an 11 x 6 inch pan and round baking dish and got taller cinnamon rolls with less 'crusty edges.'
Your cinnamon rolls are fully baked when you can insert a toothpick in one of the middle rolls and it doesn't collect any raw dough. Alternatively, they're ready if:
- The cinnamon rolls are an even golden brown color on top
- If you lift up one cinnamon roll, the bottom will be cooked
Decoration and serving suggestions
These vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls are wonderful when topped with:
- Vegan cream cheese frosting (my favorite and listed in the recipe below)
- A soft vanilla buttercream (listed in the notes of the recipe below)
- Maple syrup glaze, such as from my vegan sticky buns recipe
- Dairy-free yogurt mixed with some maple syrup
Prepare them the night before to serve at breakfast or enjoy them for dessert!
How to make cinnamon rolls in advance
When preparing these pumpkin cinnamon rolls, you can refrigerate them at either of the following stages:
- During the first rise. Knead the dough until soft, place it in an airtight container then refrigerate it. The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and when it's soft enough to handle, roll it out and assemble the cinnamon rolls. Cold dough is actually easier to shape!
- During the second rise. Assemble the cinnamon rolls in their baking tray, cover the tray and refrigerate them.
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
2. Cut your pumpkin in half and discard the seeds.
3. Place the pumpkin, flesh side down on the baking tray.
4. Bake the pumpkin until it's fork-tender. This can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour.
5. When the pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and blend until smooth.
1. Peel and roughly chop the pumpkin.
2. Boil or steam the pumpkin until it is very soft. Drain the pumpkin very well.
3. Puree the pumpkin until smooth.
4. If the pumpkin puree is super wet, reduce it in a saucepan on the stovetop.
Like all bread recipes, cinnamon rolls are best enjoyed the day they're baked.
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 freeze.
Yes, just like my vegan sourdough cinnamon roll recipe, I recommend using around ½ cup (100g) of an active sourdough starter with 100% hydration instead of the yeast. Reduce the milk in the recipe to 3 tablespoons (45g) and add more milk if needed.
More vegan pumpkin recipes
Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- 3 ¼ cups (406g) all-purpose plain flour, plus more for dusting
- ¾ cup (150g) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade (not pumpkin pie puree)
- ⅓ cup (85g) dairy-free milk, warm
- ½ cup (115g) vegan butter, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons (40g) granulated sugar, brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon (9g) instant dry yeast, (note 1 for other types of yeast)
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, (note 2 for homemade blend)
- Pinch of any good-quality salt, if using unsalted butter
Pumpkin Spice filling
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls:
- Add all the ingredients to a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment or a large mixing bowl. Knead the mixture for at least 5 minutes until it forms a smooth and stretchy dough. Add a little more milk if the dough is too dry or a little more flour if the dough sticks to the bowl.
- Place the dough in a clean 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 in the fridge 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 Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls:
- Grease or line a baking pan about 13 x 9 inches (33 x 23 cm) large. Alternatively, use a smaller baking tray or round casserole dish.
- 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 ½ inch (~1 cm) thick.
- Spread the pumpkin spice mixture on the dough close to the edge. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top (optional).
- 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 in your baking pan. Place a tea towel over the rolls and set them aside for at least an hour. The rolls are ready when they have increased in size by at least 50% and are puffy again.
Baking the cinnamon rolls:
- When your rolls are puffy again, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Bake the rolls in the oven for 20-25 minutes. They are ready when their surface is evenly golden brown or if you insert a skewer in one of the middle rolls, there shouldn't be any raw dough on it.
Icing and serving:
- Combine all the icing ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Add some dairy-free milk for a runnier icing or more sugar for a firmer icing.
- When the rolls have slightly cooled, spread the cream cheese icing on top.
- The rolls are best eaten the day they are baked. Alternatively, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days. Warm up the rolls before enjoying them again!
- Instant yeast doesn't need to be 'activated' beforehand. However, if you use another type of yeast, mix it with the warm milk from the recipe, wait until it bubbles then use it in the recipe.
- To make pumpkin pie spice at home, mix 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground ginger and ½ teaspoon ground cloves. If you don't have any cloves, add more cinnamon. 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's sweet enough for you. This icing is runnier than a typical cream cheese icing.
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