These pillowy Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls are rolled with cinnamon brown sugar, baked to perfection then topped with an irresistible homemade maple frosting flavored with Chai spices. You won’t be able to get enough of these ooey, gooey, delicious pumpkin cinnamon buns!
Pumpkin cinnamon rolls with maple frosting (make that chai maple frosting) are the perfect brunch or weekend breakfast treat for the Fall.
Does making cinnamon rolls made from scratch seem scary or intimidating? I know they did to me at first! But stay tuned because I’m sharing all my tips, so making pumpkin cinnamon rolls is easy for any level cook!
After your first batch, I’m certain you will see these pumpkin cinnamon rolls are absolutely addictive in every possible way!! If you want to try making more cinnamon rolls, I recommend these Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls, Bourbon Pecan Sticky Buns, or Homemade Cinnamon Rolls!!
Why You’ll Love These Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls
- Fall Flavors in Every Bite. From the pumpkin to the maple syrup and blend of spices these pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls burst with great flavor.
- Perfect Pillowy Soft Cinnamon Rolls. The dough mixes up easily and turns out soft and fluffy.
- Lots of Tips and Tricks to Help You. I totally get that cinnamon rolls from scratch may seem daunting so I’m sharing all my tricks so the process is seamless.
Ingredients to Make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
I know, I know, it’s a hefty ingredient list. But, as long as it seems, most of the items can be found right in your pantry! I’d love to take a moment to highlight a few of the more obscure ingredients and offer up a few useful notes. Be sure to check the recipe card for the full list and quantities.
- Sugar: This recipe uses granulated sugar along with dark and light brown sugar for the cinnamon rolls while powdered sugar works best for the frosting because it dissolves more easily and turns out creamier.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter in this recipe. It gives you much more control over the optimal level of salt when making desserts.
- Yeast: Use instant yeast for a shorter rise time.
- Ground Ginger: Ginger is one of the few spices that can walk the line between savory and sweet. It’s peppery, floral, and sweet, with a hint of citrus. Ginger adds zest and aroma to this recipe.
- Coconut Milk: I chose coconut milk to cut back on dairy because of my own sensitivity. But, I also find that coconut milk adds a delightfully sweet richness. Whole-fat milk can be used in its place.
- Pumpkin Puree: Earthy and sweet, pumpkin brings a unique and fresh flavor to this cinnamon roll recipe. You might not ever go back to regular cinnamon rolls again.
- Ground Cloves: Sweet, spicy, and pungent, cloves add depth and warmth to our pumpkin rolls. Don’t have any on hand? Allspice is a great replacement.
- Ground Cinnamon & Nutmeg: Similar to cloves, both cinnamon and nutmeg add deep flavor and complexity.
- Chai Spice Mix: Chai is one of Fall’s most iconic flavors! A mixture of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and allspice, chai is incredibly complex. I find that it adds a fun bite to these rolls.
- Maple Syrup: Buttery and rich, maple syrup layers in decadence while highlighting one of Fall’s best flavors. Want to mix it up? Try using honey!
How to Make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Making these homemade pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls takes a bit of time, but isn’t overly difficult. Here’s a look at the highlights, but you should definitely take a look at the full instructions in the recipe card before getting started.
Making the Cinnamon Roll Dough
- Combine the flour, sugars, yeast, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and butter in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix together.
- Add the milk and egg to the bowl and mix again. Last, add the pumpkin puree to the bowl and mix on medium speed. The dough will be light orange in color and feel soft and sticky after mixing.
- Form the dough into a large ball and place it in a clean, lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Make the Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- Combine the sugars, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl with the melted butter.
- Stir the mixture until well combined.
Rolling the Cinnamon Rolls
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a floured surface into a large rectangle approximately 20 by 10 inches.
- Brush the dough with half of the melted butter, and sprinkle the filling over the butter, leaving a quarter-inch border around the edges, and press the filling lightly into the dough.
- Roll up the long side of the rectangle to form a tight log and place it seam-side down on the work surface.
Cutting the Cinnamon Rolls
- Slice the log into ten 2-inch rolls. Place one roll in the center of a cake pan and then fill in the rest of the pan with the other rolls.
- Brush the tops of the rolls with the remaining melted butter and let them sit covered with plastic wrap until the rolls have almost doubled in size.
Making the Icing
- Beat the butter until fluffy and gradually add the powdered sugar. Add the milk and flavorings and mix again.
- Place the mixture in the microwave for 10-20 seconds until it melts down and is pourable.
Baking and Icing the Cinnamon Rolls
- Bake the cinnamon rolls until the tops of the rolls are browned.
- Pour the icing over the rolls while they’re still warm.
Tips for Making the Best Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon rolls made from scratch can be intimidating, but I’ve compiled my top tips for the BEST Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls EVER!
- Don’t Kill Your Yeast. Be gentle with your yeast. Keep the milk between 110 and 115 degrees. Any cooler and the yeast won’t activate. Any hotter, and you’ll kill the yeast before it even has a chance. A kitchen thermometer comes in handy here.
- Use Room Temperature Ingredients. Yeast likes a warm environment, so using eggs and butter at room temperature is crucial. Not only will this help to keep the dough at optimum “yeast activity” temperature, but the ingredients will also mix together easier.
- Fill the Rolls from Edge to Edge. Don’t be stingy! Cover every square inch of the dough with cinnamon-sugar filling. You’ll only need to leave a small section along one edge bare so you’re able to pinch and seal the seam closed once you’ve rolled the dough.
- Roll Tightly. Be sure to roll the dough as tightly as possible. The tighter you’re able to roll, the more buttery layers you’ll get. This will also ensure that the rolls keep their shape during baking.
- Slice Using Floss. If your knife isn’t sharp enough, it will squish the rolls and ruin their shape. Instead, loop a piece of dental floss around the dough and cut through the cinnamon rolls.
- Let the rolls cool before icing! If the rolls are too hot, the icing will run right off of the rolls. Wait for at least 10 minutes before glazing, it’s worth it.
Popular Substitutions & Additions
- Add Some Dried Fruit. Sprinkle dried cranberries or raisins over the top of the sugar and butter mixture before rolling.
- Add Nuts: Sprinkle chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds over the top of the sugar mixture just before rolling.
- Swap the Maple Frosting: Use a basic cream cheese frosting instead.
What to Serve with Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls
- Serve these up for weekend or holiday brunch along with this easy breakfast casserole or some Mexican breakfast flautas.
- Enjoy some Fall flavored sips along with your pumpkin rolls such as this spiced apple cider or French hot chocolate.
- Add them to your brunch buffet with a breakfast board, cereal parfaits, and some blueberry lemon biscuits.
How to Store & Reheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
These rolls don’t last long in my house but, when there are leftovers, I make it a point to keep them moist and delicious rather than dry and drab. The answer to keeping them moist is all in the packaging method. Store cinnamon rolls in an airtight container or individually wrapped in saran or foil.
You can enjoy them at room temperature or warm. If you prefer to reheat. Place them in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can heat them in a convection or conventional oven at 350° F for about 5-10 minutes.
How long will pumpkin cinnamon rolls last?
You can store them at room temperature for 2-3 days, but to store them longer, move them to the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Can I freeze pumpkin chai cinnamon rolls?
Yes, you can. If you’re not planning on eating your leftovers within a week, I suggest freezing them. Cinnamon rolls can be stored and frozen for up to 4 months. To defrost, allow the rolls to sit at room temperature or a few hours or overnight in the fridge.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re looking to cut perfect cinnamon rolls, your best bet is with floss. While a knife can sometimes squish the roll as your cutting, dental floss will easily cut right through it. Place it under the roll and tie it around the dough so it cuts through.
While they are both pastries and have similar flavors, cinnamon rolls are thicker, softer, and fluffier than cinnamon buns.
Once your package of yeast is open it’s best to store the yeast in the refrigerator for optimal freshness for up to four months or in the freezer for up to six months
Catch me baking these pumpkin cinnamon rolls all Autumn long! I mean, is there any better way to wake up on a Fall or Winter morning than to the smell of freshly baked rolls? I don’t think so.
They’re the perfect treat to serve up for holiday brunch or a simple weekend treat that everyone will love!
More Cinnamon Roll Recipes
- Lazy Chai Cinnamon Rolls
- Lazy Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls
- Orange Cinnamon Rolls
- Lemon Cinnamon Rolls
- Cinnamon Roll Biscuits
- Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread
*Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating and leave comments below!* Post a photo of how your version of the recipe came out on Instagram (using #grandbabycakes)!!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Chai Frosting
For the Pumpkin Dough:
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 3/4 stick
- ⅔ cup coconut milk
- 1 large egg
- ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
For the Cinnamon Filling:
- ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ounce unsalted butter, melted 1/4 stick
For the Assembly:
- 1 ounce unsalted butter, melted 1/4 stick
For the Maple Chai Spiced Frosting:
- ½ stick butter at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ½ teaspoon chai spice mix
- Small sprinkle which ends up being 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon milk
Make the pumpkin dough:
- Butter one 10-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugars, yeast, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom on medium speed. Add the butter and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the milk and egg and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add the pumpkin puree and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. The dough will be light orange in color and feel soft and sticky.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, carefully form it into a large ball, smooth the top with your hands, and place it in a clean, lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling.
Make the cinnamon filling:
- In a small bowl, stir together the sugars, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Add the melted butter and stir until combined.
Assemble the rolls:
- Dust a work surface with a sprinkling of flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a large rectangle approximately 20 by 10 inches, brush the dough with half the melted butter, and sprinkle the filling over the butter, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edges. Use the palms of your hands to press the filling lightly into the dough.
- Roll up the long side of the rectangle to form a tight log and place it seam side down. Slice the log into ten 2-inch rolls.
- Place one roll in the center of the cake pan, then fill in the rest of the pan with the other rolls. Brush the tops of the rolls with the remaining melted butter, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside until the rolls have almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position the rack in the center.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are browned. In order to pour your icing over still-warm rolls for the best effect, prep all the frosting ingredients while the rolls are baking and put together the frosting (this will only take about 5 minutes) immediately after the rolls come out of the oven.
Make the frosting:
- Beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, then add milk or tea and flavorings. Increase amount of spice, or sugar until desired consistency and flavor are reached.
- Place in the microwave for 10-20 seconds until it melts down and is pourable. Drizzle over cinnamon rolls when they are fresh out of the oven and enjoy.
Serve the rolls:
- Invert the pan of rolls onto a serving plate or leave them in the pan for a rustic look. Pour the frosting over the warm rolls. It’s okay if a little bit of the frosting drips down the sides—it’s even encouraged. (Alternatively, use an offset spatula to apply the icing.) Serve immediately.