Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

September 11, 2018


Once a glimmer of Fall happens, we all have one thing in mind (besides sweaters and cute boots). Pumpkin.  Pumpkin everything.  Candles, coffees and food.  My absolute favorite are pumpkin cream cheese cinnamon rolls, they have everything you want from a traditional cinnamon roll but with an ooey gooey lip smacking pumpkin cream cheese frosting.  These pumpkin cream cheese cinnamon rolls have me hooked on pumpkin.  


Even though fall is "technically" a couple weeks away, September has hit and that's good enough excuse for me!  Did you catch last weeks beginning of fall lineup?  It started with creamy and savory Beef Stroganoff and was followed up with Soft Baked Pretzels & Cream Cheese Cheddar Beer Dip.  



These cinnamon rolls are soft and fluffy in the center with an ever so slightly firm exterior.  It has loads of swirls to contain that dreamy pumpkin cream cheese frosting.  The cinnamon roll itself doesn't have any pumpkin in the batter but I think it's better to not go overboard.  You know what they say, there can be too much of a good thing.  Or is it there can't be too much of a good thing?  


I can tell you this much...there definitely can't be too much of this frosting because it is spatula tasting, bowl licking good.



Imagine you just took a bite out of the most amazing pumpkin pie, silky and smooth, but combine that with some cream cheese frosting and it is heaven on earth.  I use the same couple spices I use in my pumpkin pie that I do for these cinnamon rolls.  My husbands not into all things pumpkin but he absolutely loves these!!  I think because it has the essence of pumpkin pie without overwhelming the cinnamon roll.



This is a really great cinnamon roll recipe and you don't have to make it with the pumpkin cream cheese frosting if you don't want to.  Feel free to use the same recipe at Christmas time sans pumpkin.  I love making a big batch of these and surprising people with them, nothing puts a smile on a face like a a big old cinnamon roll.



Over the years and many many cinnamon roll batches both successful and unsuccesful I've learned a thing or two about cinnamon rolls.  So let's take a minute and go over some things I've learned through trial and error in hopes it can help you make beautiful {stress-free} cinnamon rolls.  



  1. "My dough isn't rising."   Any time a recipe calls for the dough to be covered so it can rise you can turn your oven on for a few minutes {remember to turn it off} to get it a tad warm and stick your bowl in there - just enough warmth to help the rise!  

  2. "I cut the rolls and they aren't rising a second time."  Once you are preheating your oven and you form the rolls, put them in the pan and cover to rise again place them down at the base of your oven where the warm air vents and you'll get a nice second rise.  Did you know that the drawer below an oven was used back in the day to keep food warm?  

  3. "Sticking to the pan."  Line your baking pan with parchment paper, no more wrestling with the pan to get your rolls out {despite greasing it}! 

  4. "The dough isn't cooked."  My last tip is to let the rolls cook long enough.  There is nothing more disappointing than pulling your cinnamon rolls out of the oven, letting them cool an hour only to discover they are doughy and gooey still.  A nice medium golden brown is what you are aiming for.  If you're questioning whether they are cooked through or not then they are probably not ready to come out.



Since we're adding pumpkin puree the frosting is a little thicker.  I actually like it better this way, then it doesn't slide off the top of the roll when you frost it.  


It all just stays put and nestles into each cinnamon-a-licious swirl.



One thing I really love about making cinnamon rolls is that the dough is so forgiving.  You roll and roll and roll it out until you have this big rectangle, fill it up with all the luscious butter and sugar and jelly roll it on up.  


It's a great fall treat to make with kids.  Mine love helping as much as possible and although my daughter always manages to get more ingredients on herself and the counter, then in the bowl, they still turn out perfect with the best experience since I get to make them with the people I love.



Since I use parchment paper to line my pans the cinnamon rolls come out nice and easy, no sticking.  All i do is take two pieces and set them in the pan going different directions, then once its cooled a bit you just lift them out and they pull right apart!  Check out all that fluffy goodness in the photo below.  They are as light and soft as they look.  



I want to take a second to admire the sweet little tea cup saucer in the photos.  This actually belonged to my husbands grandmother and years back she gave me 3 pairs of tea cups and their sauces.  I am your stereotypical keepsake family heirloom lover.  The older and more backstory it has the better.  I also inherited a few old cookbooks {dating back to the 1950's and older}.  


I was so glad to have thought to use the saucer for the recipe photos, since it's so special.  And a cinnamon roll is even fancier on english bone china, don't you think?




cinnamon roll dough

1 c milk, heated for 45 seconds in the microwave

2 1/4 tsp yeast

1/4 tsp sugar

6 oz butter

1/4 c sugar

1 1/4 tsp salt

3 1/2 c + 2 tbsp flour


cinnamon roll filling

5 tbsp butter, melted

1/2 c white sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 c brown sugar, packed


cream cheese frosting

2 tbsp butter

1 1/2 c powdered sugar

3 tbsp pumpkin puree

4 oz cream cheese

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg (1/16 tsp)

3 tbsp milk



Add the yeast to the warm milk, and sprinkle the 1/4 tsp sugar on top.  Let the yeast activate for 4-5 minutes, it should be foamy when done.  Add the melted butter to the yeast mixture.  In a large mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, salt and wet ingredients.  If you have a hook attachment beat the dough on medium speed for 5 minutes (alternative knead the dough on a flour surface with your hands).  Dough should no longer be sticky.


Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover and let it rise for 90 minutes, doubling in size.  If you don't have a warm spot in your kitchen try turning on the oven for a few minutes, turning it off and putting the covered bowl in there while it rises.


Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to a 12" X 24" rectangle.  Drizzle on the melted butter, white sugar and cinnamon.  Add the brown sugar to the top in chunks (see image below).  Starting in the bottom corner, roll the dough up.  You'll be left with a long cylindrical tube shape (think of rolling it like a hot dog instead of a hamburger, that old saying).  Cut the dough into two equal halves.  Each half will make 6 cinnamon rolls, for a grand total of 12 rolls.  (My images show 9 rolls solely for photo purposes, don't be confused by this, the rest of mine went in a small pan).


Add two pieces of parchment paper to a pan.  Place the cinnamon rolls in the pan, close but not touching. Leave enough space for the rolls to puff up.  Cover and place the pan near the oven to rise again for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350.  


Uncover the cinnamon rolls, place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Turn the pan halfway through cooking time.  


In a stand mixer (or using a whisk) blend together the butter, powdered sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and milk.


Pull the cinnamon rolls out of the oven, let them sit 5 minutes before frosting.










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Welcome to

Modern Crumb!

Thanks for stopping by.  I'm Tara.  Food fan, avid crafter and pizza lover extraordinaire.  I'm a wife and a mom of two kids.  

Modern Crumb is a food blog that shares delicious and easy family friendly recipes that everyone wants to eat!





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