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Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

Yield: 15 bread rolls

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 2 hours 40 minutes

Tessa Arias

Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter are slightly sweet and totally festive with their easy and adorable pumpkin shapes. Your family will LOVE these!


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Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter - EVERYONE loves these!

Being festive during the summer doesn’t really mean much. But when fall rolls around it’s so easy to get excited about all the adorable decor, crave-worthy flavors, and even the warm-scented candles.

Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter - everyone wanted this recipe!

It means the holiday season is right around the corner which often comes with family gatherings (which can be good or bad), huge feasts for meals, cute boots and jackets, time off work, and a rekindled spirit of giving. Who doesn’t love it all (unless you’re the Grinch). As a food blogger the end of the year is my prime time, it’s when people are most often cooking and baking and I LOVE it.

(This post was originally published in 2014. I updated it in 2016 with the step-by-step video below where I explain EVERYTHING!)

I may be jumping the gun a little bit by posting these Pumpkin Bread Rolls a few weeks early, but I just couldn’t wait to share them. They will be perfect for ANY fall festivity and they’re as delicious as they are adorable. The rolls are incredibly soft with hint of pumpkin flavor and the butter is just epic. Win win win.

Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter - this is THE recipe for the holidays!

The idea for the shape of these Pumpkin Bread Rolls came from Beyond Kimchee blog. I knew I wanted to make pumpkin bread rolls, and it wasn’t until I was actually in the kitchen that I remembered seeing something online for an adorable way to form rolls into pumpkin shapes.

I’m so glad I remembered to Google it and that I found Beyond Kimchee because I think that extra step just makes these rolls so adorable and memorable. They would look absolutely beautiful on any holiday table!

Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter RecipeThe dough comes together quite easily in your stand mixer. You can knead by hand, it should take about 5 to 7 minutes. I just love the color of this dough! Cover the dough and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

While the dough rises I like to make the cinnamon butter, which takes just a few minutes using an electric mixer. You can make the butter ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon ButterOnce risen, punch the dough down lightly and shape into 15 balls.

Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon ButterFlatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand and using a pairing knife, make eight slices around the ball like petals on a flower (spelled that as “flour” the first time…). Make sure not to slice through the middle! This is going to give us our pumpkin appearance. Place the pumpkin rolls on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise again until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F.

Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon ButterOnce the rolls are risen, use a small round object, such as the end of a wooden pastry brush handle or your finger, to make deep indentations in the center of each roll. This will make room for our pecan slice pumpkin “stem.”

Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon ButterBrush with egg wash so the rolls will bake up nice and brown and shiny.

Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon ButterBake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place a pecan slice in each indentation. Serve warm with the cinnamon butter! The little segments of the pumpkin shape happen to break away easily and are perfect for butter dipping.

Recipe Rundown....

Taste: Is there anything better than the combination of slightly sweet pumpkin with cinnamon?
Texture: Super soft and slightly chewy, every bite is bread roll heaven.
Ease: I think you’ll be surprised by just how simple this recipe is!
Appearance: The best part of these rolls. How freakin’ adorable are they?!
Pros: Fun seasonal twist on bread rolls. These will become highly requested for every holiday dinner!
Cons: None at all!
Would I make this again? Absolutely.

How to make Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

Yield: 15 bread rolls

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 2 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

For the bread:

1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces or 43 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, divided
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups (16.88 ounces or 479 grams) all-purpose flour

Sliced pecan pieces, for the “stems”

For the butter:

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

For the bread rolls:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir the yeast, milk, sugar, butter, pumpkin, one egg, and salt until well combined. Gradually add the flour and knead on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Continue to knead the dough on medium-low speed for another 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and smooth. If it seems too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and shape into balls. Use the palm of your hand to flatten each ball slightly. With a pairing knife, cut 8 slices around each ball, being careful not to slice all the way into the center, to make the pumpkin shape. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Using the wooden end of a small utensil or your finger to poke an indentation in the center of each roll to create a space for the “stem.” In a small bowl beat the remaining egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush all over the rolls. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place a sliced pecan piece into the indentation of each roll.

For the cinnamon butter:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 30 seconds, or until pale in color. Add the powdered sugar, honey, and cinnamon and beat until well combined, light, and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the fridge for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serve the rolls warm with the cinnamon butter.

Adapted from my Ultimate Dinner Roll recipe

About Tessa...

Tessa is a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. She loves to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. She's on a mission to make the world a more unapologetically DELICIOUS place. Tessa lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
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84 Responses to “Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter”

  1. #
    Katharine — September 12, 2014 at 4:55 am

    I LOVE these! They are super cute! I’m going to have to find an excuse to make these, although I don’t think that’ll be hard! 🙂

  2. #
    Amber Rodman — September 12, 2014 at 5:30 am

    So excited to see these. I am a pumpkin fan and I make my own pumpkin puree every year for the whole season. Its normally two days in the kitchen to roast all the pumpkin and store it for cooking. These great little rolls will be a fantastic side or appetizer in my Harvest Party with all my friends.

  3. #
    Serena — September 12, 2014 at 5:35 am

    They look so lovely! I’m glad that I found this recipe because Halloween is a big thing in our family. Many neighbors come to visit us so this is a perfect thematic piece for the party. I used to eat gluten-free things but then, I realized that even some restaurants which have a gluten-free sign might not be 100% gluten-free. Eventually, I decided to stop this lifestyle and I started eating generally healthy food. I like your recipes because they bring me back to my home where my mom used to bake a lot. You also brought me back to baking with traditional ingredients. Thank you for that, Tessa!

  4. #
    Kimber — September 12, 2014 at 7:20 am

    These look delicious! Any alternative stem ideas for my nut allergic son? Thanks!

    • #
      Tessa — September 13, 2014 at 8:48 am

      Hmmm maybe a shortened pretzel stick?

  5. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — September 12, 2014 at 7:31 am

    These are so cute! Such a fun idea for Fall!

  6. #
    Gaby — September 13, 2014 at 8:00 am

    So gorgeous!

  7. #
    Laurie — September 23, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    These look adorable and delicious! I would love to make them for my daughter’s “our little pumpkin is turning one” birthday party, but not sure I would have time to make them the morning of. If I made them a day or two ahead of time, would they keep okay?

    • #
      Tessa — September 23, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      They’re definitely best fresh but they should keep fine – I would reheat briefly in the oven.

  8. #
    Gail Jones — October 5, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Have you ever used sweet potato’s? I will definitely try! Love the design. Perfect with my sweet potato soufflé cooked in a pumpkin .

    • #
      Tessa — October 5, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      No but I’m sure that would be wonderful!

  9. #
    Annette — October 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    How much flour? 4 1/2cups of bread flour?

  10. #
    Annette — October 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Oops read over too quickly found the flour 3 3/4 cups ap. Cannot wait to make them.

  11. #
    alfa — October 9, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Those are sooo good I mixed whole wheat and all purpose I had to add about a half A cup though . Thank u

  12. #
    Peachie Octaviano Have — October 12, 2014 at 2:11 am

    Hi, these look fabulous! I want to try and serve them on our Halloween brunch. I am considering of baking them for freezing. Is this advisable? Thanks in advance.

    • #
      Tessa — October 12, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      While they’re best fresh, you can freeze the baked rolls: Bake the rolls normally and let cool completely. Wrap all the rolls tightly in a sheet of foil then place in a resealable bag. Freeze up to 1 month. Take the foil-wrapped rolls out of the freezer bag and loosen the foil. Place the loosely-wrapped package of rolls directly on an oven rack and bake at 300°F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the rolls are piping hot to the touch and warm all the way through. Serve these rolls immediately and while still warm as they tend to become dry once cooled. Do not reheat.

  13. #
    Kiana Jensen — October 12, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    So excited to try these! Thanks for such thorough directions and pictures, sooo helpful. 🙂

  14. #
    Jaime — October 12, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    These look great! Quick question.. If I don’t wanna make all the roles at once… Can I freeze the dough until I want to bake them another time?

    • #
      Tessa — October 12, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      Hi Jaime! I would not recommend freezing the dough. Instead I would bake the rolls first then freeze: Bake the rolls normally and let cool completely. Wrap all the rolls tightly in a sheet of foil then place in a resealable bag. Freeze up to 1 month. Take the foil-wrapped rolls out of the freezer bag and loosen the foil. Place the loosely-wrapped package of rolls directly on an oven rack and bake at 300°F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the rolls are piping hot to the touch and warm all the way through. Serve these rolls immediately and while still warm as they tend to become dry once cooled. Do not reheat.

  15. #
    Natasha — October 13, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    I made these for thanksgiving and their delicious! Being my first time making bread, it was surprising simple and extremely easy to understand. The pictures really helped!

    One question though, can you substitute the flour for gluten-free four?

    • #
      Tessa — October 15, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      I really don’t know, unfortunately. I don’t have any experience using GF flour in bread baking.

  16. #
    Rose — October 17, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    The recipe lists 2 eggs but the directions list 1. Could you please clarify?

    Thanks! I can’t wait to try 🙂

  17. #
    Iryna — October 18, 2014 at 1:56 am

    Hello! Please advise: “pumpkin puree” – is it a fresh mashed / blended pumpkin or I have to cook the pumpkin before?
    Thank you 🙂

  18. #
    lupe martinez — October 23, 2014 at 9:29 am

    rose- the second egg is to brush on the rolls before baking. Iryna-pumpkin puree is canned pumpkin (or homemake “mashed” pumpkin if you prefer). not to be confused with canned pumpkin pie mix.

  19. #
    Amber E — October 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Wanting to make these to sell tomorrow along with some muffins. I don’t have an electric or hand mixer though. I have made bread once or twice before without using a mixer. Would these be fairly difficult to do by hand? I love the muffin recipe I have, but I want to have something shaped like a pumpkin and I don’t have a pan with little pumpkin shapes in it.

    If these would be too difficult, what is another option for doing something with a pumpkin shape that I could do by hand?

    • #
      Tessa — October 24, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Hi! Please read the post: “You can knead by hand, it should take about 5 to 7 minutes.”

  20. #
    Kristina — October 29, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Just wondering if you have to use whole milk or if you could get away with skim. That is normally all we have in the house! Thanks!

    • #
      Tessa — October 29, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      You should be okay with skin.

  21. #
    Sam — November 1, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Thanks for posting a fun Fall recipe. I’m not sure what “instant yeast” is though. Does that mean quick-rising yeast or just regular? Thanks in advance for clarification.

  22. #
    Tad — November 2, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Any idea how many carbs are in each roll? I have a diabetic son and the nutrition info would be very beneficial. Thank you.

    • #
      Tessa — November 3, 2014 at 9:33 am

      Sorry, I don’t know! I’m not a nutritionist and don’t feel comfortable providing that info, so I’d suggest popping the recipe into a nutrition calculator website.

  23. #
    jen browder — November 19, 2014 at 9:19 am

    These look wonderful. Can you think of any reason I couldn’t use my bread machine to make the dough? Thanks!

    • #
      Tessa — November 20, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Should work fine in a bread machine!

  24. #
    Sally — November 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I love this! These are perfect for Thanksgiving. Is shaping the bread into the pumpkin shape do-able with a more brioche like bread recipe?

    • #
      Tessa — November 20, 2014 at 10:49 am

      I’ve never tried!

  25. #
    Pixie — November 26, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Would white whole wheat flour work in this recipe ?

    • #
      Tessa — November 26, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      I haven’t tried it but I think it would be okay, though you might want to start with half white whole wheat half all-purpose to see how that goes. Wouldn’t want the rolls to end up too heavy and dense due to the wheat flour.

  26. #
    Emalee — December 11, 2014 at 5:04 am

    Can I let the dough rise overnight (in its “pumpkin” form) and bake it the next day? Or would the dough rise too much?

    • #
      Tessa — December 11, 2014 at 8:59 am

      Hmm I’m really not sure I haven’t tried it with this specific recipe, though I’d be a little weary because you really don’t want the rolls to loose their pumpkin shape! If possible, I would let the mass of dough rise overnight then let it come to room temp before shaping it. Or you could even freeze the baked rolls to make them ahead of time, I’ve left come detailed instructions for that in above comments.

  27. #
    mimi — June 25, 2015 at 1:09 am

    Dear Tessa,

    i tried and the bread came our beautiful, the next morning i noticed the bread became dry. wonder why…any tips…

  28. #
    Gayle mccreery — November 21, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Looks wonderful and I will do it!

  29. #
    Kristn — December 15, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    I liked these very much. The texture was great, however i wanted more pumpkin flavor. Any ideas on how I could add more pumpkin to the mixture without throwing everything else off?

  30. #
    Kristi Minor — May 19, 2016 at 9:00 am

    OMG! Made these and they were amazing! Even my picky brother loved them and asked for me to make them next time he ate with us! The butter is easy and perfect proportions! Some of my pumpkins were deformed but that was my own fault for not taking my time. Some turned out perfect though!

  31. #
    Lura — August 22, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Can I reduce the amount of sugar? I know yeast needs sugar but I don’t typically like my dinner rolls so sweet. Aside from taste, would cutting the amount in half hurt the texture or otherwise mess up the result?

    • #
      Tessa — August 22, 2016 at 11:38 am

      That should be fine!

  32. #
    Jenn — September 21, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Oh my gods, we need these in my house!

    But I’m gluten intolerant. Do you know if one-to-one would work or would AP be better or what? I may have to experiment. We need these!

    • #
      Tessa — September 21, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      I’m sorry Jenn, but I have little experience in gluten-free bread baking :/ Let me know if you give it a try!

  33. #
    Sil — September 29, 2016 at 5:08 am

    Can I freeze these.they look great.

  34. #
    Emily — October 3, 2016 at 8:54 am

    I’m curious why the milk needs to be scalded– can you explain?

    Thanks for the recipe!

    • #
      Tessa — October 4, 2016 at 6:23 am

      Hi Emily, I explain that in detail in the video 🙂

  35. #
    Rita Zelig — October 5, 2016 at 5:39 am

    You are my VERY FAVORITE person in the world! Because of you I made the very best Apple Streusel Challahs! I Love You Tessa! And now for Succoth, which is our festival of harvests, I will be able to create these adorable little pumpkin rolls! Thank you so much for explaining, flour to liquid to yeast ratios, etc. It’s such a HUGE relief to understand that much better! G-d Bless You Always! Yea me! Pumpkin Rolls here I come!🎃❤️😘

    • #
      Tessa — October 10, 2016 at 10:43 am

      So thrilled to hear that, Rita! I’m glad the explanations were helpful 🙂

  36. #
    Joanne — October 5, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Hi I made the rolls and they are amazing and so easy and delicious.

    However I followed the butter recipe to a tea b it was dark in colour and runny. Not sure what I did wrong?

    • #
      Tessa — October 10, 2016 at 10:40 am

      Wonderful! Hmm the butter may not have been whipped enough.

  37. #
    Brandi — October 14, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Just curious if anyone has the answer to GF flour. I just tried it today… and they came out more like a corn meal or biscuit- really heavy and grainy. Is this because of the GF flour? I made 3 batches at once, so it’s really frustrating that all 3 came out this way. Should I just suck it up and do AP flour and pretend there isn’t any gluten in them?

    • #
      Tessa — October 14, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      GF flour doesn’t work well for bread since gluten is essential for the dough to develop its structure. There are some GF flour products made specifically for bread, but in general you’re much better off following bread recipes that were specifically formulated to be GF.

  38. #
    jaimy — October 16, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Can i make these with bread flour instead of AP?

    • #
      Tessa — October 16, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      That should work!

  39. #
    debbie bain — October 16, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    How sweet are these rolls? I was thinking of having these in place of the usual Dinner roll, but I don”t want my rolls to be like a desert!! ty

  40. #
    debbie bain — October 16, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    How sweet are these rolls? I’m thinking of making these for thanksgiving instead of the usual dinner rolls ,but I don’t want a roll as a desert!

    • #
      Tessa — October 16, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      Definitely not overly sweet. We love them because they taste good with everything else on the Thanksgiving table 🙂

  41. #
    Sandra — October 17, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    May we use apple instead of pumpkin?

  42. #
    DeAnna Wolf — October 18, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    I made these and they are delicious. Not sweet at all, a great dinner roll. And that butter, yum! Added a tad of nutmeg, so good!

  43. #
    Krista — October 18, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    I would love to make these but I have an egg allergy, any recommendations on how to substitute?

  44. #
    sophia — October 19, 2016 at 7:47 am

    This sounds awesome. Not really a fan of pumpkin but this has only 1/2 cup of the puree, I’m gonna give it a try. When I print your recipes, they are so well designed…love it. Just a suggestion, the typeface you have chosen to use is so thin and light. It’s great on the screen but it prints out so faint that it’s a struggle to read.

  45. #
    Louise — October 19, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    I can not use milk at my thanksgiving dinner. Any ideas on whether I could use scalded soy, almond or other milk? thank you

  46. #
    Connie Guimond — October 22, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Could I get the make ahead instructions. Thanks

  47. #
    Dom — October 22, 2016 at 8:30 am

    just wanted you to know that I made these today and they were divine! I’ve changed them slightly and have written about them on my blog (with a link back to you of course)… they’re not as sweet as I thought they would be. We love them toasted with honey! Thanks for the inspiration x

  48. #
    Yazmin — October 26, 2016 at 9:25 am

    How do I store these breads for later?

  49. #
    tiffany dobolek — October 26, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    How do I account for high altitude?

    • #
      Tessa — October 28, 2016 at 10:54 am

      I’m not sure, Tiffany. I’ve only ever lived at sea level.

  50. #
    Megan — October 27, 2016 at 9:48 am

    So cute!! Making these for my sons preschool tomorrow! Perfect festive snack. Thank you for sharing this

  51. #
    Cindie — October 27, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    I am so excited. The dough is rising right now and can”t wait to put them in the oven!!

  52. #
    Tatiana Semenov — October 28, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Once baked, how do I store them and how long will they keep fresh?

  53. #
    tiffany dobolek — October 29, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    I’ll let you know how it turns out. I am at 8,800ft in Harris Park, Bailey, CO. I just moved up here from Denver and I’m learning how to bake and cook all over again! 🙂 I am going to add a few tbsp of flour and 1/8cup water… we’ll see what happens! I think I may have to leave them in the oven longer also.. So far everything takes longer to bake.. fingers crossed!!!

  54. #
    Loretta — October 30, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Just did a dry run for Thanksgiving. There is no pumpkin taste. Would have liked that. They are bland and pretty

  55. #
    Katey Hakizimana — October 31, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I have made these at least three years in a row and and they are now a Halloween tradition with White Chicken Chili. Yum! Thank you.

  56. #
    Lena — November 2, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Where is the print button

  57. #
    Lena — November 2, 2016 at 9:22 am

    oops found it

  58. #
    Susan — November 2, 2016 at 9:55 am

    After the rolls have risen a second time and formed into unbaked pumpkin rolls, can I store in the refrigerator the day before Thanksgiving, and then on Thanksgiving Day take them out, bring them to room temperature, brush with egg wash, and then bake? Does refrigerating the unbaked rolls overnight deflate or compromise the successful outcome of these pumpkin rolls?

  59. #
    Ann — November 15, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    ^^ This was my exact question. Has anyone else tried? Maybe using regular rise yeast instead of instant would facilitate that?

  60. #
    Amy Woods — November 17, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Hello, You mentioned in your video that there were make ahead instructions on your blog. I haven’t been able to locate them. Can you help? Thanks!

  61. #
    Mary H — November 23, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Tiffany…how did your rolls turn out at high altitude?

  62. #
    Mariana — November 27, 2016 at 1:01 am

    Made these for Thanksgiving the day before. Really easy to make and came out looking like the photo except, as another person mentioned, they didn’t taste like pumpkin at all. I wasn’t sure if it was because I used skim milk. My husband compared the taste to a plain bagel.

    I stored them in a plastic container after Thanksgiving and they did not store well. Aside from already lacking flavor, I couldn’t even eat a piece the day after.

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