Easy Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Sometimes, you need Cinnamon Rolls. AmiRight?

Sometimes you need decadent and cozy.
Sometimes you need velvety cream cheese frosting.
And caramelized cinnamon-sugar filling.
And fluffy spirals. And vanilla bean aromas.
While still in your pink PJs, warm mug in hand.
Sometimes you need Cinnamon Rolls.

And Christmastime is kinda the b e s t time for all that.

So today I am sharing my easy, vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, which is based on one of my vintage recipes, Pumpkin-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls. I have always loved that recipe, but this version is updated to be simpler.

I also share 1) a video for this recipe 2) things that make me feel sentimental 3) ten happy things for the holidays.

Hope you can wake up one morning this month to the aroma of these cinnamon-magic beauties...

The best part.

Starting out with the dough. This + flour and you are good to go.

I tested this updated recipe about four times. There is something so fun and soothing about making cinnamon rolls, it is probably my favorite special-treat, baking recipe to make.

This plump ball was my first batch of dough, it puffed up perfectly. I used slightly MORE flour in that batch.

Rolled out, sliced and rested. These fluffy spirals are ready to bake..

Out of the oven, fluffy and warm. These are a bit lopsided because I baked them separated, on a baking sheet. You can bake your rolls in a cast iron skillet, or a casserole or brownie dish for a more consistent, side-by-side rise, where the rolls stick together.

These little babes need some frosting on top..

Vegan cream cheese frosting..

And frost...

Here is one batch that I baked side by side, snug together..

Watch me make them. Video.

Make-Ahead Instructions.

Prep the rolls ahead of time. You can bake them the next morning or make them up to about 2-3 days in advance of baking. After that, the dough tends to dry out too much and lose its bounce.

1. Prep the dough as described in the recipe. Knead. Cover with a towel. First rise to allow the dough to just about double in size. Roll out the dough, add cinnamon-sugar filling. Roll up. Slice into rounds. Arrange the rounds on a greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet or large casserole dish. You want the rolls to have room to fluff up even more.
2. Second rise, with the rolls sliced. About 30-60 minutes is good. (This is where you would decide if you want to bake the rolls right away, or store them in the fridge, for baking in the next few days. Since these are make-ahead instructions, we pop them in the fridge...)
3. Fridge time. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge.
4. Baking day: Uncover rolls, they should be nice and plump. Transfer them to a more suitable baking dish, if needed. Bake as usual, about 30 minutes at 350 degrees (or until golden brown on edges + sugar filling caramelized). Note: Your rolls may need a few additional minutes since you are baking the dough slightly chilled.
5. Frosting. The frosting is easy to whip up the day you want to serve your rolls. I usually make my frosting right before using it to frost. But if desired, you could make the frosting ahead of time as well, up to a day in advance, and store it in the fridge. Frosting notes: Frost your baked rolls when they are just about fully cooled to keep the frosting thick and creamy. Frost rolls when they are still warm for that melty "glazed" look, frosting that soaks into all the crevices and doesn't hold its shape as much or at all.

Hope that helps you have a stress-free cinnamon roll morning!

Recipe Tweaks + Subs (Optional):

- Add 1/3 cup of organic raisins to the roll filling.
- Add 1/2 tsp fresh orange zest to the dough.
- Pumpkin sub? Try apple sauce or mashed sweet potato.
- Whole Grain Flour? My original recipe used some whole wheat flour in the recipe. You can absolutely sub about 1-2 cups of the flour with a whole wheat or spelt variety. Just keep in mind that you might need to use a bit less flour since whole grains can be more moisture-absorbing than white flours.
- Extra decadent? Add a few pinches of vegan butter on top of the rolls before baking or brush the tops of the rolls with melted vegan butter or coconut oil.
- Gluten-free? You can absolutely use your fave gf flour blend for this recipe. From my experience, I can never get the same bounce in my rolls doing a gf version, but you may be more skilled at gluten-free baking than me. A custom blend of flour sub might work better than a standard store-bought gf flour alternative.
- Quick Method. Do you have to do a second rise after slicing the rolled up dough? Nope! The rolls will be slightly less fluffy, but totally ok to skip the second rise. This means you can make these start to finish in about two hours.
- Get Nutty. Add chopped pecans, walnuts or even a drizzle of warmed peanut or almond butter on the inside of the roll dough before rolling up. My original version used pecans.

This was the first batch I made. I rolled out the dough REALLY thin and wanted a very tight and thin spiral. For fluffier results, you want to keep the dough a bit thicker than this. But it is fun to experiment too!..

On yeast: Yeast can be a finicky ingredient. You want to make sure your yeast is fresh, most importantly.

Also, if you find a bit of variation in the initial rise, it isn't you, it's the yeast, flour, brand of flour, type of flour, room temp, bowl, everything working together. Slight variations are normal. But I have found, that in the end, after baking, the rolls turn out pretty consistently, even if that initial rise or even second rise, looks different between batches. That has been my experience anyways! Hope that makes sense. As always, ask me questions or tips in the comments, I am happy to help you out.

More insider swirls..

La, la laaaa. All I want for Christmas, is youuuuuuu.. (Da, da, da, babyyyy) ... Mariah had to be talking about cinnamon rolls, right?

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

Kathy Patalsky

Published 12/09/2017

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

These delicious vegan cinnamon rolls are perfect for your holiday celebrations or making any morning special.


  • Dough:
  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 1/2 warm water
  • 1/2 cup warm non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp pumpkin puree, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar, organic
  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter, melted
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Filling:
  • 2-3 Tbsp cinnamon, generous sprinkles to cover dough
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • Frosting:
  • 8 ounces vegan cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, organic
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • a few splashes of non-dairy milk, as needed


  1. Add the yeast and warm water to a small bowl. Stir to combine and set aside for 3-5 minutes before using.
  2. Combine the non-dairy milk, pumpkin, salt, sugar and vegan butter in a large mixing bowl. Stir until smooth.
  3. Stir in the yeast mixture.
  4. Add the flour, one cup at a time, and fold to combine. You can use up to 4 cups, but 3 1/2 cups may feel like enough to achieve a fluffy ball that is easy to handle. On a floured surface, or right in the bowl, knead the dough for a few minutes. Then grease your large mixing bowl to prevent sticking and place the dough back inside of it. Cover with a clean dish towel and set the dough aside to rise in a warmish place for 45 minutes to an hour.
  5. When the dough has risen, it should have doubled in size. Punch out the dough and transfer it to a well-floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a thin thickness. Variantions: If you want a tightly rolled cinnamon roll with many layers, roll your dough out as thin as you can get it. If you want a more basic roll, roll the dough to about a 15 by 9-inch rectangle size.
  6. Brush the melted butter over the rolled out dough, sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar over top and begin rolling the dough up.
  7. Slice the roll into 9 even sections. To make sure you slice then evenly, do a few test cuts by indenting marks on the dough, before actually starting to cut the rolls.
  8. Transfer the rolls to a baking sheet and allow to rise for another 45 minutes. Then bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
  9. Allow the rolls to just about completely cool before adding the cream cheese frosting. It is ok if the rolls are still slightly warm to allow the frosting to melt a tiny bit into the rolls.

Yield: 9 rolls

Prep Time: 00 hrs. 25 mins.

Cook time: 00 hrs. 30 mins.

Total time: 55 mins.

Tags: dessert,cinnamon rolls,vegan,pumpkin,breakfast,brunch,baking,bakery,holiday,

Now, I want to talk holidays!...

"You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear
Voices singing, let's be jolly
Deck the halls with boughs of holly"

...I love that line from Jingle Bell Rock because it notes the 'sentimental' part of the holidays. Sentimentality over the simplest of gestures or movie scenes...

- Tree. The twinkly glow the first time you flip on the lights to your Christmas tree.
- Music in Stores. If O Holy Night comes on when you are strolling your big, red cart through Target. You non-chalantly wipe a tear as you glide down the baking aisle.
- Movie Music. When the John Williams-scored, opening credits to Home Alone start, those sparkling bells dah-dah, da-da-da, dah-dah, da-da-da, and you well up with, "I love this movie!!!!"
- Family Feels. That scene in The Holiday, in the snowflake fort, the hand grab, and the 'Three Muskateers' line. Sob! .... Or really anything that reminds you of family holiday time, love, loss, kids, togetherness. Water works.
- Laughter. Any scene in Elf. Like when Buddy excitedly says, "So good news, I saw a dog today."
- Old Movies. The final scene of White Christmas.
- Why am I crying???? Or when you randomly watch "Christmas with the Kranks" for the first time, thinking it is just a mindless holiday flick and you end up sobbing during one of the scenes. (I mean, that MAY have been me last night..)

What is one of your sentimental moments?? I want to know!

More holiday inspirations..

My 10 Random Things That Make Me Joyful in December..

1. Garfield. Childhood fave. Read Garfield holiday comics here.
2. Movies. Have you seen all of these?
3. Music. Faves: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland, Carol of the Bells, O' Holy Night, Baby it's Cold Outside (Love the version with Liza Minelli and Alan Cumming), Nutcracker: Waltz of the Snowflakes or Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Jingle Bell Rock, anything off the NSYNC Xmas album... what?
4. S N O W. Ok, so I basically have to watch White Christmas for that. But still..
5. Cocoa. Cloud cocoa to be exact.
6. Twinkly "Fairy Lights." The best. These are my favorite off Amazon.
7. Gift giving. A few ideas here.
8. Theaters. Christmas day, when everything else is closed, but the warm movie theaters are humming with life, and the aroma of popcorn.
9. Cookies. This year's new Pfeffernüsse recipe is a keeper.
10. Quiet Time. Amidst the twinkly lights, and hush of "time off from work," reflect, goof off, do things just because they make you happy. Road trip. Explore. Plan an adventure or project. Bake. Make soup. Cook for your parents or bake with your kids. Play a board game. Watch a science documentary (Loved The Farthest, on Netflix!). Write the first chapter of a novel or life memoir or the next 'Lady Bird." Reach out to someone who was there for you this past year, say thanks. What worked in 2017? What good things happened? What made you H A P P Y? Do more of that in 2018!

I am wishing you and your family a smooth sail into an awesome 2018!

Enjoy these rolls!...

This was one of the earlier batches I made, very thin swirls because of the thinly rolled out dough. Delicious and fun to pull apart..

These swirls remind me of the hair on the top of the Grinch. #IveBeenWatchingTooManyXmasMovies..

Recipe References:
- Based on my Pumpkin Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
- Food Network, Paula Deen

Pin this recipe for later!..

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