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.
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.
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.
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!
The 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.
Once risen, punch the dough down lightly and shape into 15 balls.
Flatten 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.
Once 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.”
Brush with egg wash so the rolls will bake up nice and brown and shiny.
Bake 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.
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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
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.
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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