This small batch of pumpkin cinnamon rolls are soft, fluffy, and filled with lots of pumpkin flavor, and smothered with a buttery, cinnamon sugar filling. Served warm and topped with a delicious maple frosting, and you'll be in heaven!
Table of Contents
Small Batch Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
I have another small batch breakfast treat for you—small batch cinnamon rolls!
They can easily be made using this Nordic Ware ⅛ sheet pan, or you can use a 6-inch round or 6-inch square baking pan.
Made with instant yeast, these pumpkin cinnamon rolls are very soft and fluffy with the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor with a cinnamon sugar filling that will melt into a layer of gooeyness that is so very good!
Top them off with this small-batch maple frosting or you can use my small batch of cream cheese frosting! Either way, you'll be in heaven!
Here's What Ingredients You'll Need
Whole Milk. When heating up the milk, it's really best to use a digital thermometer. Before adding it to the dough, it should be around 100-115ºF.
For the maple frosting, the milk does not need to be heated.
All-Purpose Flour. My favorite is King Arthur All-Purpose Flour, but use what you have on hand! If it's a bit on the lumpy side, I recommend sifting it first.
Instant Yeast. If you're using the packets, you'll only need ½ of it. For reference, when measuring it out, it is 1 ½ teaspoons or 4 grams.
Sugars. Granulated sugar and light brown sugar for the rolls and cinnamon sugar filling. For the maple frosting, you will need sifted powdered sugar.
Spices. You'll need ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves, and salt.
Pumpkin Puree. When testing this recipe, I initially started out with a smaller amount of pumpkin, but it was hard to detect, so I increased to ½ cup. It pairs perfectly with the spices in the filling!
Unsalted Butter. You will need the butter for all three parts to this recipe. For the rolls, the unsalted butter needs to be melted and slightly cooled. For the cinnamon sugar filling and maple frosting, the butter needs to be at room temperature.
Eggs. You'll need only 1 egg for the rolls and 1 egg yolk for the egg wash.
Pure Maple Syrup. Only needed for the maple frosting.
Vanilla Extract. You will only need this for the frosting.
Milk. Any dairy milk including Lactaid milk (for my lactose intolerant or dairy sensitive friends) can be used, but whole milk is preferred here.
Sugar. You can use pure cane organic sugar in place of granulated sugar. And for the light brown sugar, you can use dark brown sugar as a substitute.
Spices. If ground cloves, nutmeg, or allspice is not your thing, you can leave those out.
And just a side note with the ground cinnamon, my favorite to use in recipes, including this one, is Vietnamese cinnamon. I highly recommend it, but regular ground cinnamon is just as good!
The Best Baking Tools
Here are a few baking tools I recommend using to make these easy pumpkin cinnamon rolls!
Nordic Ware ⅛ Sheet Pan. The ⅛ sheet pan is the best size pan for this recipe. I also like to use it for transporting condiments to the kitchen table for dinner or reheating leftovers in the oven. I have seen this pan on Nordic Ware's site, Amazon, and at Target. You can also use a 6-inch round baking pan or a 6-inch square baking pan.
If you're planning to use either 6-inch pan, you might have to bake your cinnamon rolls for a few minutes longer than the recommended 20-25 minutes.
Stand Mixer and Dough Hook Attachment. The easiest way to make these pumpkin cinnamon rolls is with a stand mixer and dough hook attachment! You can, of course, knead it by hand with a danish dough whisk.
Small Saucepan or Heat Proof Measuring Glass. Either will work for warming your whole milk.
Digital Thermometer. A tool I just recently started to use with some of my recipes that is perfect for monitoring the temperature of your milk!
Mixing Bowl. The same mixing bowl that you used for kneading the dough can be used for letting it rise. Just make sure you grease it before adding the ball of dough back in!
Oven Thermometer. This is a must for any recipe, whether it is for baking or cooking! They're cheap and it can easily hang right on your oven rack!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls—Let's Make Them!
Warm up the milk. I recommend doing this first to give the milk a chance to cool down before you add it to the dough. I also recommend melting the butter at this time too.
Make the dough. Use a medium-size bowl to mix up the all-purpose flour, instant yeast, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl you'll mix up the warm milk, pumpkin puree, melted butter, and lightly beaten egg. Add the dry and mix until the dough begins to form. Knead for 7-8 minutes.
The dough should be soft and a little sticky that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and let it rise for 1 hour or until it's doubled in size.
Make the cinnamon sugar filling. It's best to do this while your dough is rising. Set it to the side until you're ready to use it. You won't need the butter until it's time to assemble the rolls.
Assemble the rolls. Roll the dough out to about a 10-inch by 12-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter over the top, then the cinnamon sugar filling. Roll the dough into a log, cut, then place each slice onto your prepared baking sheet or pan. Let them rise again for about 25 minutes.
Bake. The recommended bake times for this pumpkin cinnamon rolls recipe is 20-25 minutes at 350ºF.
When done, let them cool slightly then top with the maple frosting.
This could be caused by a few things: 1. The yeast could have expired or it was killed off from the milk being too hot. Your best bet is to start over with fresh yeast. 2. Too much flour was added. You want the dough to be a little sticky or tacky in texture, but not too sticky that it's sticking to literally everything. 3. The dough was placed in a cold or drafty area of your kitchen. You can let the dough rise in the oven (see recipe notes) or sometimes I'll preheat the oven and just let the bowl sit on top of the stove, which sometimes does the trick.
The milk can be added to the dough when it's between 100º-115ºF or warm to the touch. A good thing to remember, if it's too hot for your fingers, then it will probably kill off the dough. Your best bet is to use a digital thermometer though.
Yes, absolutely. Keep in mind that you will have a slightly longer first rise and longer 2nd rise compared to using instant dry yeast.
No. This should not be used as a substitute.
They can be made using a Nordic Ware ⅛ sheet pan (what I used), or you can use a 6-inch round or 6-inch square baking pan (either 2- or 3-inch tall sides). If you're planning to use either 6-inch pan, you might have to bake your cinnamon rolls for a few minutes longer.
You can (and should) keep the ground cinnamon and nutmeg in the filling, but you can may leave the others out if they're not your favorite. Please note though that the pumpkin rolls will not be as flavorful.
More Cinnamon Rolls and Buns to Enjoy!
Pumpkin Cinnamon RollsAuthor:
- ⅓ cup Whole Milk , warm to the touch (100-115ºF)
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon Instant Yeast (½ package)
- 2 tablespoon Light Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ½ cup Pumpkin Puree
- 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, melted
- 1 large Egg, lightly beaten
Cinnamon Spice Filling
- 2 tablespoon Light Brown Sugar, lightly packed
- 2 tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- ½ tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Ginger
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon AllSpice
- ⅛ teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 3 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 tablespoon Whole Milk
- 2 cups Sifted Powdered Sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon Salt
- 1 large Egg Yolk
- 1 tablespoon Water
For the rolls
- In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low-medium heat until it reaches 180ºF. Set to the side and let it cool down to 100ºF-115ºF degrees or when it is warm to the touch. You can also microwave this in a heat-proof glass measuring cup for 15 seconds at a time until the milk reaches 180ºF.
- In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, instant yeast, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set to the side.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the warm milk, pumpkin puree, melted unsalted butter, and lightly beaten egg.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix together with a spatula until the dough begins to form.
- Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook and knead at a low speed for 7-8 minutes or until the dough has come together. The dough should be soft and a little sticky that pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. If it’s still very sticky, you can add in the additional ¼ cup of all-purpose flour, one (1) tablespoon at a time. You can also choose to stir the dough by hand with a danish dough whisk instead of using the mixing bowl and dough hook.
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, kneading it with your hands into a soft and smooth ball. Then transfer it to a lightly greased medium bowl. I use Baker's Joy to coat the bowl, but you can also use an olive oil spray. Cover with plastic wrap and/or a clean tea towel and place it in a warm area of your kitchen to allow the dough to rest and double in size (about 1 hour).If you plan to let the dough rest in your oven (see notes below) do not use plastic wrap!
For the cinnamon spice filling
- In a small mixing bowl, mix together the light brown sugar, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, and allspice. Set to the side. The room temperature unsalted butter will be used as a spread later when we assemble the rolls.
Assembling the rolls
- Lightly spray a ⅛ sheet pan or a 6-inch round (or square) baking pan with a flour-based baking spray and set to the side.
- Once the dough has doubled, punch it down using your fist, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Make sure to lightly flour the rolling pin too. Roll the dough out to about a 10” x 12” rectangle. Spread the unsalted butter onto the dough with an offset spatula, leaving about a ¼ inch border. Then sprinkle the cinnamon spice filling over the top.
- Starting at the longest end of the dough, roll up tightly to form a log.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the dough log into 6 equal rolls then place onto the prepared baking sheet or into the prepared baking pan, cut side down. I like to use a ruler to help evenly mark my cinnamon rolls. I also cut off the ends for a nice clean edge. You can still bake the edges in a separate pan though!
- Cover again with either plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm spot of your kitchen. Allow them to rise for an additional 25 minutes or until they have doubled in size. Meanwhile, adjust your oven rack to the 2nd level position (just above center) and preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- If making overnight small batch cinnamon rolls cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. Before baking, let sit at room temperature for it's second rise 1 hour before baking. Brush on the egg wash, then bake.
- In a small bowl lightly beat the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water, then brush onto the rolls. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350ºF. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes before adding the maple frosting.
For the maple frosting
- In a small bowl, mix together the unsalted butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, milk, and powdered sugar using your hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. The amount of frosting is small though so a hand mixer will work best here. This frosting can be made a day or two in advance of making the cinnamon rolls. Keep it stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature 20-25 minutes before using.
- Slightly beat your egg before adding it into the dough mixture.
- If additional ¼ cup all-purpose flour is needed add the flour 1 tablespoon at a time. For reference, ¼ cup equals 4 tablespoons.
- To let your dough rest in a warm oven, adjust the oven rack to the middle or center position. Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature, then turn off the oven once it is preheated. Place your bowl of dough in the oven with a medium-size bowl of boiling water on the rack below with the door closed. After 1 hour, open the door and remove the dough (and the bowl of water).
- When slicing the dough into rolls, use a ruler to mark where you will be cutting so each roll is roughly the same height.