Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter
Filed Under: Bread | Fall | Halloween | Savory | Thanksgiving | Videos

Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

November 2nd, 2022
4.91 from 22 votes
4.91 from 22 votes

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

Yield: 15 bread rolls

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter - EVERYONE loves these!

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 heaven.
Ease: I think you’ll be surprised by just how simple this recipe is!
Pros: Fun, adorable seasonal twist on bread rolls. These will become highly requested for every holiday dinner!
Cons: None at all!
Would I make this again? Absolutely.

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These Pumpkin Bread Rolls are as delicious as they are adorable, and perfect for any fall gathering.

pumpkin bread rolls smeared with cinnamon butter

The rolls are incredibly soft with a hint of pumpkin flavor. Plus, the butter is utterly delicious.

And the best part is that both the rolls and the butter are surprisingly easy to make!

The idea for the shape of these Pumpkin Bread Rolls came from Beyond Kimchee blog. I wanted to make pumpkin bread rolls, and I was inspired to shape them this way thanks to Beyond Kimchee’s adorable pumpkin shaping technique.

I think that extra step makes these rolls so adorable, memorable, and beautiful for any holiday table.

I hope you give these cute pumpkin bread rolls a try this Thanksgiving!

pumpkin shaped yeasted dinner rolls, perfect for your thanksgiving table

How to Make Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

Which Yeast Is Best to Use For Pumpkin Bread Rolls?

Instant yeast, also called rapid rise or quick rise yeast, helps these pumpkin rolls rise faster. You can buy my favorite yeast on Amazon. This type of yeast is specifically formulated to allow you to skip yeast proofing (the step where you combine the yeast with warm liquid and allow it to sit for a few minutes until it becomes bubbly). Instant yeast can be directly added in with all of the other ingredients.

Can I Use Active Dry Yeast Instead of Instant Yeast? 

Yes, you can swap instant yeast for active dry yeast at a 1:1 ratio. Active dry yeast will take about 20% longer to rise. Here’s how to slightly speed up that process:

  • Combine the active dry yeast with the warm water and warm milk called for in the recipe and allow it to proof for 5 minutes, until frothy.
  • Then add to the bowl with the other ingredients and proceed with the recipe as written.

What Type of Pumpkin Should I Use in Bread Rolls?

  • I used store-bought canned pumpkin puree for this Pumpkin Scones recipe.
  • I don’t recommend using homemade pumpkin puree for this recipe, as homemade puree tends to contain more liquid, which can be detrimental to a yeasted bread recipe.
  • Note: Be sure NOT to use canned pumpkin pie filling for this recipe – it is not the same thing as pumpkin puree.
  • Check out my Fresh vs. Canned Pumpkin article for the differences between using fresh pumpkin puree, regular canned pumpkin, and organic canned pumpkin.

pumpkin puree types (homemade, canned and organic) in bowls, lined up next to one another for comparison

How to Knead Pumpkin Bread Rolls

This Pumpkin Roll dough comes together quite easily in your stand mixer. If kneading by hand, be sure to knead the dough properly so your pumpkin rolls hold their shape and bake up nice and fluffy. To learn more about this, see my instructions for how to knead by hand here.

How To Tell If You Have Over-Proofed Your Pumpkin Bread Rolls

This can happen easily if your kitchen is very hot, or if you’re super busy and forget to check on the rolls. If your rolls have over-proofed, they will likely deflate while egg washing, or look deflated once baked. Over-proofed rolls will look a little sad, but they should still taste fine.

How to Store Pumpkin Bread Rolls

Store baked, cooled Pumpkin Bread Rolls in an airtight container for up to two days at room temperature.

How to Freeze Pumpkin Bread Rolls

Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two months. Let defrost at room temperature before serving.

How to Make Pumpkin Bread Rolls Ahead of Time

Make 1 Day Ahead:

  1. After kneading the dough, remove the dough to a container wrapped in plastic wrap. Leave room for the dough to rise (it will still happen even in the colder environment, but more slowly). This will be the dough’s first rise.
  2. Once you’re ready to proceed with shaping the dough into little pumpkins, remove it from the fridge, punch it down, and allow it to rest and come to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before shaping as the recipe instructs. 
  3. The final rise may be longer than directed in the recipe because the dough will still be cool.

Make Further Ahead:

  1. After its first rise, shape the dough into pumpkins as directed.
  2. Cover well with plastic wrap and immediately place in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  3. When you’re ready to bake, loosen the plastic wrap and defrost to room temperature.
  4. Let rise until an indentation made with your finger into the dough remains.
  5. Proceed with the recipe as written.


  1. Prepare the dough, shape the pumpkin rolls, and begin baking as instructed in the recipe.
  2. Bake for half the baking time, or until the bread begins to hold its own shape.
  3. Remove from the oven, cool completely, then wrap well in plastic wrap and tin foil.
  4. Label the remaining bake time and temperature on the bread before storing.
  5. Refrigerate overnight or store in the freezer for up to 1 month.
  6. When ready to bake, bring to room temperature and bake for the remaining time from the recipe in the oven.
  7. Feel free to wrap and freeze bread rolls individually to bake off as many as needed.

lineup of homemade pumpkin bread rolls

More Fall Recipes You’ll Love:

4.91 from 22 votes

How to make
Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

Yield: 15 bread rolls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter are slightly sweet and SO festive, with their easy and adorable pumpkin shapes. Your family will LOVE these!


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
  • 1 large egg
  • 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

To finish:

  • 1 large egg


For the bread rolls:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 to make the pumpkin shape, being careful not to slice all the way into the center. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Use 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:

  1. 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.

  2. Serve the rolls warm with the cinnamon butter.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Adapted from my Ultimate Dinner Roll recipe.
Course : Side Dish
Cuisine : American
Keyword : dinner roll recipe, dinner rolls, fall, fall baking, pumpkin, pumpkin rolls, thanksgiving

This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated with additional recipe tips, a step-by-step video, and baking science information.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

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!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

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!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Jeanne — November 27, 2022 at 1:21 pm

    These are so delicious and delightful. Every time I make them they get rave reviews. I multiply the recipe and snip some (with scissors) into the cute pumpkin shape, and the rest, for home use, into regular round rolls or even loaves that don’t need as much time to shape.

  2. #
    mirror — November 13, 2022 at 5:06 pm

    I made this recipe twice–once as written, and second I adjusted heavily. As written, they are yummy rolls, but there is no sweet flavor (I even used pumpkin pie puree). So on the second time, I added a lot more sugar and spices and they were delicious.

    My adjustments for sweet pumpkin rolls:

    3/4 C milk, 1/4 C maple syrup. Use pumpkin pie puree and add 3 Tsp pumpkin pie spice and 1 Tsp vanilla extract. When they came out of the oven, I brushed the rolls with butter and sprinkled raw sugar and cinnamon on top. I made candied pecans and used those as the stems.

    The first batch were very large so on the second batch, I divided them into about 20 rolls and they were a much more reasonable size to eat.

    I made the cinnamon butter too which was delicious but after testing with these changes, was too much sweetness. Regular butter was perfect.

    • #
      mirror — November 13, 2022 at 5:09 pm

      Also I used 1/4 C brown sugar instead of white.

  3. #
    Cherlynn — February 3, 2022 at 1:38 pm

    They turned out very soft and beautiful on the inside.
    My changes:
    I added pumpkin pie spice into the flour. And about 2 T. Of maple syrup to the wet mixture before the flour.
    I added 1/2 c extra pumpkin and reduced the milk by 1/4 c.

    The family went Gaga for them, I shaped them into hearts instead because it’s February.

    I was a little disappointed though that the pumpkin flavor was just not there for me, despite my attempts to enhance it
    Gorgeous color, awesome dough but besides the shape, not quite pumpkin enough, for me personally.

  4. #
    Shilpi Mittal — December 11, 2021 at 8:39 am

    Came out to be soft and fluffy. It has become my favorite.

  5. #
    Lolita Somwaru — November 26, 2021 at 9:07 am

    I made these yesterday for Thanksgiving and it came out looking so beautiful. It was so easy to make. All my family complimented how delicious it was and they even took some leftover of it home. Thank you so much for the recipe and great idea for an addition to Thanksgiving meal!

    • #
      Emily — December 1, 2021 at 11:34 am

      So happy to hear your rolls were such a hit, Lolita!

  6. #
    Jessica Palange — November 8, 2021 at 8:25 am

    I made these as a trial run for Thanksgiving. They are easy to make and super cute. I plan to add orange food coloring for more pumpkin coloring. I’d love to have more pumpkin flavor in my dough if anyone has suggestions!

  7. #
    shri — October 4, 2021 at 11:40 am

    How big of a difference will there be in the recipe if I use salted butter? Just wanted to check ^_^

    • #
      Emily — October 4, 2021 at 11:58 am

      Hi there! We personally don’t use salted butter in recipes as explained in this article about Salted vs. Unsalted Butter; however, the general rule of using salted butter in place of unsalted is to reduce 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in the recipe per 115g of butter. Since this recipe only uses 43g of unsalted butter, you’d reduce the salt by about 1/16 of a teaspoon. Please let us know how it goes!

  8. #
    Sophia — July 13, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    These were delicious. My first attempt at making bread ever and they came out so well! The subtle subtle sweetness is so nice. Thank you for the clear instructions and the handy video!

    • #
      Tessa — July 14, 2021 at 10:10 am

      Aw, yay! Congratulations on making bread for the first time! I’m so happy you loved them 🙂

  9. #
    Margarita — November 23, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    So cute!! Rolls are delicious, recipe and video were easy to follow. Happy thanksgiving!

    • #
      Tessa — November 24, 2020 at 2:58 pm

      So glad you loved these rolls! Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

  10. #
    Sherry — October 4, 2020 at 12:56 am

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made these today. I I watched your video on how to knead dough by hand and this video with helpful instructions. I had the confidence to try it and use my intuition as well. Thanks for giving me the confidence and tools to cook my first bread rolls. They came out great. Will be back to your site. 🙂

  11. #
    Suzanne Pearson — September 14, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    Can you use a bread maker to make the dough? How would that change the recipe?

  12. #
    Grace Martinez — April 15, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    I absolutely loved these! They were a huge hit last Thanksgiving among family, even the picky eaters! The butter is a perfect pair. Oh so simple and delicious!

  13. #
    Grace Martinez — April 15, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    I made these last Thanksgiving and absolutely loved them! They were a huge hit among the family, especially when paired with the butter. Simple and oh so rewarding!

  14. #
    Joanie — January 13, 2020 at 11:21 am

    These rolls are amazing!! I’ve made them three times now and each time I messed up (1-forgot to add salt until it was already all mixed, 2-did not punch down after taking out of fridge and let rise for 4+ hours before shaping, 3- had a hard time punching down out of the fridge) BUT nonetheless, they turned out fine EVERY TIME so the recipe is pretty forgiving! I used scissors to cut them into the pumpkin shape and was super easy! I made them for Thanksgiving and Christmas and par-baked them prior. They came out great!! I love the way you explain how the ingredients all work together – like Alton Brown but more layman’s terms! THANK YOU, I LOVE YOUR SITE and continue finding awesome recipes!

  15. #
    Mahsa — November 19, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Hi and thank you for the delicious and cute rolls.

    I have a question, I like to add more flavor to my pumpkin rolls. so I thought to add another 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (total of 1 cup) and of course I have to add more flour ( how much????) or maybe reduce the amount of milk? I was wondering if you had this experience or if you have any tips for me.

    Thank you,

  16. #
    Liana — November 18, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    These are absolutely delicious and a favorite for Thanksgiving dinner.

    I wonder if I can make these ahead of time and frozen for later use

  17. #
    Megan — November 17, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    So yummy, cute and easy to make! I can’t wait to do it again. The butter is unbelievable! I used a razor blade instead of a paring knife to cut the rolls. Great great great recipe!

  18. #
    Angela — November 15, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    These rolls are AMAZING! They are soft and fluffy with a perfect subtle pumpkin flavor that really gets kicked up by the yummy butter. Thanks!

  19. #
    Jessica Flory — November 3, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    WOW, Tessa, these were AMAZING!!! They were so light, fluffy, and chewy. Just the perfect texture. And that honey butter, YUM!!! I actually left out the powdered sugar since we don’t like things too sweet and it was perfect.

  20. #
    Karen Christensen — October 22, 2019 at 7:33 am

    I made these in 2016 for Halloween, we had Trick or Treaters come to the door with their parents and they could smell the rolls baking, needless to say, the parents got a better treat than the children. (The children got them too, if they wanted them, and most wanted more!)
    This is a great recipe and it makes wonderful rolls. The cinnamon butter tops them off with just the right amount of flavor.
    I lost half of my recipe and I am so glad that you have it updated, I am making them today for a sewing group that meets twice a month with potluck treats and meals. Tonight is the night for “Spooktacular” treats, I bet they will love these!

  21. #
    Dan — October 17, 2019 at 6:10 am

    Lovely, but I had to add loads more flour to get a workable dough that wasn’t sticky and gloopy (I am using scales)

  22. #
    Nora K — September 20, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Pretty disappointed with this recipe, the bread didn’t really have any flavor and was a bit chewy. I followed the recipe exactly and while they look cute, it’s more style over substance as they don’t taste great.

    I like the general idea, so I’ll probably tweak the recipe, I think it either needs a stronger sweeter or savory flavor. Like an egg yolk/sugar wash, maybe with a little more sugar in the dough, would improve them alot. Or increase the salt in the dough for a savory roll with some flavor. I’ve never made something off this site before though, so I might just look for another recipe source entirely.

  23. #
    Joyce S. — November 22, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    I made these for Thanksgiving 2018 and they came out perfect. I was rushed so they were various sizes and some looked like a pumpkin and others not so much. By the way, I used my bread machine and followed my manufacturers directions with this recipe and it’s perfect!

    Rave reviews from family. I will absolutely make these every year. And probably for Christmas, too!!

  24. #
    Shira — November 21, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Hi there!
    can this recipe be made glutenfree?
    And can I bake these rolls without yeast?
    If not, is there any substitude for the yeast?
    By the way, they are just gorgeous!!!

  25. #
    Rachel E Vincent — November 19, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Hi Tessa,

    Can you use buttermilk instead of whole milk in this recipe? just curious. I love to use buttermilk for as much as possible… cuz it’s awesome 😛


  26. #
    Diane Litz — November 12, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Hi Tessa, Can I use unbleached all purpose flour for this recipe? I really do not know the difference..

  27. #
    Barbara — October 25, 2018 at 4:00 am

    I’ve made these three times now and always to rave reviews. I made them last weekend for my 7 little grandchildren as a Halloween treat. Because they are all young they really wouldn’t finish a whole roll, I halved the dough pieces again and made 30 small ones instead of the 15 . Also so they could take them in their school lunch to their nut free school , I used short pieces of a brownish licorice. They turned out adorable! I would like to attach a photo of them but not sure how!
    Thanks for another great and fun recipe!

  28. #
    Ariana — October 12, 2018 at 5:17 am

    What is the flat scooper thing you used in the video called?

  29. #
    Barb — November 25, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Tessa, thanks for sharing this great fun recipe. I made them for Thanksgiving dinner, they turned out great, and were a big hit.

  30. #
    Steve — November 23, 2017 at 7:00 am

    Thank you, Tessa. This is the second year I’ve made these for Thanksgiving. They are always a hit and are a great conversation starter.

  31. #
    Debbie — November 21, 2017 at 7:13 am

    ignore my question since I forgot i asked it and you answered it already….
    Happy Thanksgiving

  32. #
    Debbie — November 21, 2017 at 7:11 am

    these look so cute! my family doesnt like pumpkin though
    any idea what i could substitute in place of the pumpkin?
    thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes!

  33. #
    Sarah — November 20, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Hey Tessa, I’m making these adorable pumpkin rolls for Thanksgiving and was wondering if there was any way to make them cheesecake flavored with a cream cheese filling? Thanks!

  34. #
    Hillary — November 17, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Tessa!
    These look awesome! As a vegan, the switches for me to make these look fairly straightforward but I wanted to check beforehand. Are flax eggs okay? Is using oil going hugely affect these? I would use vegetable oil as I wouldn’t want the coconut oil to overpower. Help!

  35. #
    Jacklyn Fisher — November 16, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Does using a metal bowl in a kitchenaid kill the yeast? Do I need to use a glass bowl kitchenaid or just by hand? thanks

  36. #
    Debbie — November 11, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    wthese look so adorable! only one problem for our family. no one likes pumpkin! i want to do the challenge, what can i use in place of tthe pumpkin??

    • #
      Tessa — November 12, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      The pumpkin flavor is very mild, Debbie!

  37. #
    Clara Plank — November 3, 2017 at 5:03 am

    if you can’t handle gluten spelt flour is a great alternative. I usually mix some millet with it maybe about 4 parts spelt and 1 part millet. Happy Baking!

  38. #
    Barb — October 9, 2017 at 11:39 am

    These were wonderful! I made them for the cute factor and it was a bonus that they were so tasty! The instructions were super easy to follow and they certainly made an impact at our Thanksgiving feast. Thanks so much for sharing!

  39. #
    Nirvana Narine — September 29, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I made this recipe and it came out great. I used carrot instead of pumpkin. Yummy and delicious

  40. #
    Nily — August 26, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Noticed in your recipe for the cinnamon butter that you call for 1 stick (4 ounces) butter … but isn’t a stick 8 ounces? So … am I using a stick of butter or 4 ounces?

  41. #
    Sabrina — June 18, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    thank you for this recipe, even in the summer because, why not? thanks also for sharing the pumpkin shaping recipe! Pumpkin is great anyway, it should be used regularly in more stuff, even out of season!

    • #
      Lou — November 9, 2023 at 8:21 am

      Can almond milk be substituted for the whole milk?

      • #
        Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 9, 2023 at 2:59 pm

        Hi Lou! We haven’t tried that, so we can’t say for sure. It will likely change the flavor and texture a little, but it should still be delicious! Let us know how it goes 🙂

  42. #
    David — March 23, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    I live in Japan and sweets made either with pumpkin or sweet red-bean paste (Anko in Japanese) are very popular. I’m thinking that filling the center with a small ball of the sweetened cooked pumpkin would be a great way to use these as a not-too-sweet dessert instead of as a dinner roll.

  43. #
    Monica — March 10, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Have you baked bread on the grill? I’m wondering if it would work for this recipe.

    • #
      Tessa — March 11, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      I haven’t! Let us know if you give it a shot 🙂

  44. #
    Zahra — February 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

    My breads flatten in during second rising and flatten again in oven. What can i do to they become fat like yours ???

  45. #
    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.

  46. #
    Mary H — November 23, 2016 at 8:28 am

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

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