Baking cinnamon rolls is at the top of my list of favorite fall traditions, and this year pumpkin cinnamon rolls are my must bake! These pillowy yeasted rolls are enriched with pumpkin and a touch of spice, spiraled around a brown sugar cinnamon filling. Baked until golden and topped with swirls of sweet and tangy brown butter cream cheese frosting, these rolls are pure indulgence!
And because there’s nothing better than freshly baked cinnamon rolls, this recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving morning breakfast. Prep the rolls the night before, let them rest in the refrigerator overnight, and bake the next day (see recipe notes below). Served up warm with your morning coffee, each bite is irresistible!
- 3 1/2 cups (490 g) flour, divided
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 package Red Star PLATINUM Yeast
- 1/4 cup (48 g) sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup (240 g) low-fat milk
- 1/4 cup (56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120 g) pure pumpkin
- 5 Tbsp (70 g) unsalted butter, very soft
- 1/2 cup (90 g) light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp (28 g) unsalted butter, cubed
- 4 Tbsp (56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 oz (168 g) reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cups (150 g) powdered sugar, sifted
- Combine 2 cups (280 g) flour, nutmeg, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large mixer bowl; mix on low speed until incorporated. Heat milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until very warm (120-130°F). Add warm milk, butter, egg, and pumpkin to flour mixture and mix on low until combined; mix in remaining 1 1/2 cups (210 g) flour. Switch out the flat beater for a dough hook, and knead dough for 4-5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. If the dough is very sticky, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time while kneading, just until dough is slightly sticky.
- Place dough in a large bowl coated with nonstick spray and cover with plastic. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes. To check if dough has doubled, lightly flour two fingers and press them down into center of dough. If indentations remain, gently press down dough; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish (or two 9-inch round pans) with nonstick spray.
- Turn dough out on a lightly floured board and roll into an 18 x 12-inch rectangle. Spread dough with softened butter, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt; sprinkle over dough and press gently into dough with rolling pin. Carefully roll dough up into a tight log and pinch edges to seal (if dough starts to stick, use a bench scraper to lift dough from the board).
- Trim off uneven ends and score dough into 12 equal slices. Use unflavored dental floss to slice dough crosswise (slip a long slice of floss under log of dough and cross on top to cut slices cleanly). Place rolls cut side up into prepared baking dish. Cover loosely with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes (If making the rolls ahead, see note below).
- While the rolls rise, preheat oven to 350°F and make the frosting. Cook 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a deep brown. Pour brown butter into a mixer bowl and let cool to room temperature. Add butter and cream cheese, and beat until combined. Mix in vanilla and salt. Beat in powdered sugar on low speed until incorporated, then on medium speed until soft and creamy.
- Once the rolls have doubled in size, bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Spread the frosting over the warm rolls before serving.
Make ahead: To make the rolls ahead, place rolls cut side up into prepared baking dish and cover tightly with plastic. Let rest in the refrigerator overnight (up to 14 hours). On baking day, let the rolls come to room temperature and rise on the counter until doubled in size (about 30 to 45 minutes) before baking.