Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter
Yield: 15 bread rolls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Tessa's 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.
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 baking and I LOVE it.
(This post was originally published in 2014. I updated it in 2017 with new photos and the step-by-step video below where I explain EVERYTHING!)
These Pumpkin Bread Rolls 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. They’re also surprisingly easy to make. 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. If you don’t have a mixer, see my instructions for how to knead by hand here. I just love the color of this dough! Cover the dough and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Make Ahead Baking Tips
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.
To make the rolls ahead of time, simply refrigerate the dough after kneading in a container wrapped in plastic wrap or in a ziptop bag. Leave room for the dough to rise (it will still happen even in the colder environment).
In this case, the overnight refrigeration is the first rise so once you’re ready to proceed with shaping the dough into little pumpkins, remove the it from the fridge, punch it down, and allow it to rest and warm to room temperature before shaping, about 30 minutes. The final rise may be longer than directed by the recipe because the dough is still cool.
You can also freeze the dough after it has risen for the first time and been shaped into the pumpkins. Cover immediately with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months.
Loosen the plastic wrap and defrost to room temperature. Let rise until an indentation made with your finger into the dough remains. Proceed with the recipe as written.
Lastly, you can parbake the rolls to make the ahead of time. Bake for half the baking time, or until the bread begins to hold its own shape. Remove from the oven, cool completely, then wrap well in plastic wrap and tin foil. Refrigerate overnight or store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature then bake for the remaining time from the recipe in the oven (label the time and temperature on the bread before storing). Feel free to wrap and freeze bread rolls individually to bake off as many as needed.
If you make this recipe and would like to have it featured, upload it to Instagram and tag me and use the hashtag #handletheheat!
Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter
For the bread
- 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
- 1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons (43 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) pumpkin puree
- 2 large eggs, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 3/4 cups (476 grams) all-purpose flour
- Sliced pecan pieces, for the “stems”
For the butter
- 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (31 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup (84 grams) 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.
Serve the rolls warm with the cinnamon butter.
I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)
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