Soft, fluffy and buttery vegan pumpkin dinner rolls that are easy to make and use only 6 key ingredients! These rolls are the perfect dinner side in Fall and Winter.
This recipe combines two of my popular yeast bread recipes, my vegan brioche buns and vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
Simple pantry ingredients & substitutions
To make the pumpkin bread buns, you'll need:
Notes about the ingredients
All-purpose or bread flour. Bread flour results in slightly taller buns that are more similar to regular sandwich bread. You can also use whole wheat or spelt flour, though it'd make your pumpkin rolls denser.
Vegan block butter. Alternatively, you can use vegan butter spread (margarine) but you may have to decrease the amount of milk that you use.
Pumpkin puree. This recipe works well with both canned and homemade pumpkin puree. Note that pumpkin puree varies a lot with consistency and flavor so you may need to add more or less flour (or sugar), as needed.
Sugar of choice, such as granulated, brown, coconut or even maple syrup! Even though these pumpkin dinner rolls are savory, we need a little sugar to help feed the yeast and for flavor.
Instant dry yeast (or rapid-rise yeast) is the easiest yeast to use! Alternatively, you can use regular yeast.
Pumpkin spice (optional) for extra Fall flavor. This is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves and I've provided a homemade recipe for it in the recipe card.
A complete list of ingredients, quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Preparing the dough for the pumpkin buns
If you're using instant yeast, simply add all the ingredients to a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer!
If you're using active dry yeast (or another type), mix it with the warm milk from the recipe to activate it (shown in image #1). When the mixture bubbles, add the remaining ingredients to your mixing bowl.
Initially, the dough will be quite sticky and shaggy (like image #3 below). However, when you knead the dough for longer, it'll come together. Kneading strengthens the gluten strands in the dough which helps it stay in one piece! If your dough is still sticky or dry, add more flour or milk as needed.
How to tell when the dough has been kneaded enough
For the best vegan pumpkin dinner rolls that are soft and fluffy, make sure you knead your dough for long enough!
Your dough is ready when:
- It doesn't stick to the side of the bowl or your kneading surface. It should be tacky but not sticky.
- It feels soft, stretchy and elastic
- Optional: It passes the 'windowpane' test. This is where you stretch a piece of the dough to create a 'window' and it doesn't break (shown in image #5). In saying that, your bread rolls will still bake well without passing this test.
First rise for the dough
Once you've made the dough, let it rest in a bowl in a warm spot in your home!
As this dough is enriched with butter, we need to keep the dough warm enough so it can rise. King Arthur Baking recommends that dough is left at 24°C to 26°F (75°F to 78°F) for a rise over 1-2 hours. If your home is colder, it'll take longer for the dough to rise.
When the dough doubles in size (or thereabouts) you can go ahead and shape your vegan pumpkin dinner rolls!
Tips for shaping your rolls or buns
Divide your dough into 12 equal parts and shape them into balls. You can be as rough or fussy as you want. Honestly, it doesn't matter what your buns look like!
For extra smooth dinner rolls, you can:
- On one side of the dough, stretch and fold all the end bits to the centre and pinch them together. Keep doing this until the underneath is smooth and taut.
- Turn your dinner roll upside down revealing the smooth surface. Clasp your hand over the dinner roll, and gently push and roll until it's completely smooth.
For a step-by-step guide on how to shape bread rolls, check out Baking Mad's Youtube video.
Once you've shaped the rolls, we need to rest them again to allow the gluten to settle. After around 1 hour, the buns will become puffy again and will be ready to bake!
Shortcuts for quick vegan dinner rolls!
If you're in a rush or just don't have the time to wait for the dough to rise, here are a few shortcuts:
- Use instant dried yeast as it makes the dough rise quicker compared to using other types of yeast.
- Skip the first rise of the dough. Once you've prepared the dough, go ahead and shape the pumpkin buns. However, you'll still need to rest the dough after they've been shaped.
- Make the dough the day before and let it rise in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. Remove the dough from the fridge and when it's soft enough, you can shape the dough into buns.
Customizing these pumpkin rolls
These rolls as is, are perfect for Thanksgiving dinner or dinner in Fall! However, they are very easy to customize.
To make sweeter pumpkin bread rolls ideal for breakfast, use 4 tablespoons of your sweetener of choice. After baking, you can sprinkle them with coarse sugar and serve them with vegan cream cheese! Alternatively, check out my vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
For pumpkin hamburger buns, divide the dough into only 6 parts, brush them with the maple syrup mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake the buns spaced apart on a lined baking sheet. If you have burger bun rings, use them for taller buns!
For healthier vegan pumpkin dinner rolls, use whole wheat flour and softened coconut oil instead of butter. Whole wheat flour is more absorbent than all-purpose so you may need to add extra liquid to get a soft dough. I also recommend adding extra salt to mimic that buttery flavor.
Readers have successfully made this recipe with King Arthur's 1:1 gluten-free flour. However, I haven't tested this myself!
Any baking pan of a similar size will work! For stand-alone buns, you can space them apart on a large baking sheet. Or you can use a smaller baking pan of any shape for pull-apart rolls. If your pan looks like it won't fit 12 rolls, you can make 8-10 larger rolls.
More vegan pumpkin recipes
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Vegan Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
Vegan Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
- 3 ½ cups (440g) all-purpose plain flour, or bread flour plus extra for dusting
- 1 cup (200g) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
- ½ cup (120g) dairy-free milk, warm
- ½ cup (115g) vegan butter, softened (note 1)
- 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar, coconut sugar or maple syrup, to taste
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast, (1 standard packet), or yeast of choice (note 2)
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, optional (note 3 for homemade blend)
- Pinch of salt, if using unsalted vegan butter
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, or any light-colored liquid sweetener
- 1 tablespoon melted vegan butter, oil or water
To make the vegan pumpkin dinner rolls:
- If you're using regular yeast: Add the warm milk, yeast and a pinch of sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Whisk until combined. Wait for 5-10 minutes until the mixture starts to bubble.
- Add all the dough ingredients to your bowl. If using a stand mixer, use the hook attachment and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is soft and stretchy. If mixing by hand, use a large wooden spoon to combine the ingredients in your bowl. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until the dough is soft and stretchy.
- If your dough is a little sticky, add more flour and continue kneading. If the dough is a little dry, add more milk and knead. The softer your dough, the softer your dinner rolls will be!
Resting the dough:
- Place the dough in a bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel. Place the bowl in a warm area in your home until it doubles in size. This will take at least 1 hour. (See note 4 about overnight proofing)
- When the dough has doubled, divide it into 12 even parts (about 75g each). On a lightly floured surface, shape each part into a smooth and round ball.
- Arrange the balls in a greased casserole dish (my dish was 11 x 6 inches or 28 x 15cm and any similar-sized dish will work). Cover the dinner rolls with a kitchen towel and let them rest in a warm area for at least another hour. The rolls should increase in size by around 50%.
Baking the dinner rolls:
- When the dinner rolls are puffy again, preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Bake the dinner rolls for 22-28 minutes in your preheated oven. If the dinner rolls are browning too quickly but aren't fully cooked, carefully tent your baking dish with aluminum foil. The dinner rolls are ready when their tops are golden brown and edges look done. If you tap a dinner roll, it should sound hollow.
Serving the dinner rolls:
- To make the glaze, mix the ingredients in a small bowl. While the rolls are still warm, brush them with the glaze. If desired, sprinkle the rolls with flaked salt or pumpkin seeds.
- Enjoy the pumpkin dinner rolls warm. Like all homemade bread, these pumpkin rolls are best eaten the day they are baked. Alternatively, store them in an airtight room temperature for 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Warm up them up before serving.
- If you only have access to vegan butter spread (vegan margarine), use 1-2 tbsp less dairy-free milk.
- Instant yeast doesn't have to be activated beforehand and can be added to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
- For homemade pumpkin pie spice, use ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger and a pinch of ground cloves. If you don't have the nutmeg, ginger or cloves, use more cinnamon.
- To proof the dough overnight, place the dough in an airtight container in the fridge. The next day, when the dough is warm enough to handle, you can shape them into rolls.
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Just made these and they are amazing! Great recipe, thank you 🙂
Made these today with butternut squash cus I had some frozen chunks in my freezer. Came out great! My whole kitchen smells amazing!! Thanks for the recipe! <3
That sounds wonderful! Thanks so much for your feedback Ellen 🙂
Kristen W. says
I haven’t made these yet, but new to vegan baking and have a question. Can I prep the dough, portion it out and freeze them raw to prep for thanksgiving? Then just let thaw and rise like regular frozen bread dough? I don’t want to bake them ahead of time if I can help it.
Yes that's absolutely possible! If you let the dough rise, portion it out then freeze them, just make sure you let it come to room temperature and rise again before baking (for the best fluffiness factor). I hope that helps!
I just made these rolls yesterday and I think there might be one left !!They came out delicious and soft and my family has devoured them! The recipe was easy to follow and I’ll be making them again soon.
I'm so happy that you loved them, thanks for your feedback Debi!
Dorian Gray says
Made them yesterday, they came out absolutely perfect and we all enjoyed them so much. Lovely fluffy clouds of pumpkin! Soft, aromatic and hard to resist!
Thank you! 💜
Aw, that's such a dreamy description of the pumpkin buns! I'm so happy you enjoyed these - reminds me to make them again soon. Thank you so so much for leaving your feedback x
I loved making these, they were so tasty!
Yay! I'm so glad to hear!