You know fall is almost here, right?
In my family, breakfasts on Thanksgiving mornings have always been quick, light bites first thing when you wake up, as the scent of roasting turkey slowly begins to float through the kitchen.
Still in our pajamas, we drink cups of coffee, eat cereal, maybe nibble on a piece of toast. We stop there, not wanting to eat too much before that huge Thanksgiving feast.
But as a devout foodie, I’ve always been disappointed by this hapless breakfast.
Soggy cereal? Bland toast?
Not this year.
This year, I won’t shoo away the opportunity to enjoy a big homemade breakfast, even when there will be a belly-busting Thanksgiving meal later that day.
And you’ll soon be adopting my new approach in your own home, as soon as you take a bite of my pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
These tender, spiced pillows smothered in cream cheese frosting are irresistible.
Fresh from the oven, these rolls emerge plump and golden, decorated with dark cinnamon stripes and bubbling over with melted butter.
Let them cool just a bit before topping them with the frosting – you’ll love watching the frosting soften on the warm pumpkin dough and dissolving into its crust and crevices.
The entire kitchen will be filled with the aroma of with warm cinnamon and yeast, drawing curious family members out of their slumber.
And be prepared: these go quickly!
I found myself, waiting on onions for the stuffing to cook, reaching for another bite of breakfast with a free hand, pulling at one end of a cinnamon roll and breaking it off into a curved, sugary piece, crystallized on the top with icing.
By the time my herbed turkey was halfway cooked, only three rolls were left. By the time the turkey was done, just one remained.
It’s okay to indulge before you indulge – enjoy every fluffy, buttery bite of these divine sweets!Print
Fresh from the oven, these spiced pumpkin cinnamon rolls are plump and golden, topped with homemade cream cheese frosting.
For the Dough:
- 2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 cups canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the Cream Cheese Glaze:
To Make the Dough:
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes, until the yeast is activated and the mixture is a little foamy. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, pumpkin puree, milk, melted butter, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Mix in the yeast mixture until a thick dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface.
- Begin kneading, adding a little flour at a time, until the dough is soft and elastic and no longer sticky.
- Place the dough in a large bowl that has been lightly oiled, turning to coat the entire surface. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
To Make the Filling and Assemble:
- While the dough is rising, prepare the cinnamon filling. Mix the softened butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.
- Punch the dough down. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Lightly flour a clean work surface. Roll the dough into a large, 12-by-10-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Spread the cinnamon mixture in an even layer over the dough, leaving a bit of a border at the edges.
- Roll up the rectangle tightly, starting with the long edge, pressing firmly to get rid of any air pockets. Pinch the seam and ends to seal. Roll over so the seam is on the bottom. Cut into 8 thick slices. For smaller pieces, cut into 12 even slices. Place slices in a lightly buttered square pan. If making more rolls, use a 9×13-inch rectangular pan. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for another 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the towel from the pan, and bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let cool slightly.
To Glaze and Serve:
- After the cinnamon rolls have cooled for about 10 minutes, spread the frosting evenly over the top. Serve while still warm.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Cinnamon Rolls
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Baked Goods
Keywords: cinnamon roll, pumpkin, fall, breakfast, cinnamon
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Make the Dough
If making 8 rolls, lightly butter a square baking pan. If you plan on a larger yield, lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan. Set aside.
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes, until the yeast is activated and the mixture is a little foamy. Set aside.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Begin kneading with your hands, adding flour a little at a time if needed, until the dough is soft and elastic and no longer sticky.
Step 2 – First Rise
Place the dough in a large bowl that has been lightly oiled, turning to coat the entire surface of the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Step 3 – Make the Filling
While you are waiting for the dough to rise, prepare the cinnamon filling. Combine the softened butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir together until smooth. Set aside.
Step 4 – Assemble, Roll, and Cut
Punch the dough down; cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
Lightly flour a flat work surface. Roll the dough into a large 12-by-10-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Spread the cinnamon mixture in a thin layer over the dough, leaving a bit of a border at the edges.
Roll up the rectangle tightly, starting with the long edge, pressing firmly to get rid of any air pockets. Pinch the seam and ends to seal.
Roll over so the seam is on the bottom of the work surface. Cut into 8 thick slices with a sharp knife. For smaller buns, you can cut them into thinner slices, about 12 pieces total.
Step 5 – Second Rise
Place the slices in the prepared greased pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for another 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Step 6 – Bake and Make Icing
While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the towel from the pan, and bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the dough, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
If using a dark metal pan or a glass pan, check the cinnamon rolls at 15 minutes, as this material causes the dough to bake and brown at a quicker rate.
While the rolls are baking, make the cream cheese glaze. Cover and set aside at room temperature until ready for the next step.
Step 7 – Glaze and Serve
Make the cream cheese frosting according to Foodal’s recipe, linked in the recipe card ingredients list above.
After the cinnamon rolls have cooled for about 10 minutes, spread the frosting evenly over the top. Serve while still warm.
Pumpkin in the A.M.
Never say no to enjoying the fall flavors of these cinnamon rolls first thing in the morning!
Even when it’s Thanksgiving morning, and you already know you’ll be eating a huge meal later that day…
Hey. All breakfasts deserve our complete devotion.
And that whole rule about not over-eating in order to have room for the meal?
By the time our Thanksgiving dinner was ready, dished up and plated, we were more than ready for another round of happy feasting.
Truly, this whole experience is enough to make me throw caution to the wind and insist on instant gratification in all of life, at any meal.
What do you eat for breakfast before a holiday dinner? Will you indulge like my weak and hungry soul, or practice self-discipline? How do you like this autumn-themed take on classic cinnamon rolls? Leave a comment below, and rate this recipe!
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published December 3rd, 2008. Last updated: November 11, 2020 at 12:40 pm.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.