The Best Maple Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

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You’ve probably had classic cinnamon buns, but have you tried my Maple Walnut Pumpkin Cinnamon rolls? A fun, flavourful deviation from tradition!

A pumpkin cinnamon roll drizzled with maple glaze.

Originally Posted October 6, 2015. Updated 9 /13/2022

Back when I first published this post, it was right after a trip to Duluth to see the fall colours and photographing the Northern Lights for our first time ever.

I had fallen behind on Thanksgiving posts, but was suddenly feeling seasonal and refreshed by that trip. I guess that the crisp, clean air and warm autumn colours had put me right in the mood for baking.

At some point, we passed a display of cinnamon buns, and my mind had wandered.

What about doing pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls? With actual pumpkin in the bread? Of course, I need to put maple syrup in it…

… and here we are!

I had actually started with my Buffalo Chicken Buns recipe!

I don’t make a ton of regular cinnamon rolls, usually preferring savoury baking or non-traditional bastardizations, such as my Chai Cinnamon Rolls, Apple Cinnamon Buns, Strawberry Orange Rolls, and even my Reuben Buns. So much fun!

Anyway, a few tweaks to the traditional cinnamon roll idea, and these fluffy pumpkin cinnamon rolls were AWESOME.

Said my husband:

“It’s autumn in my mouth! I love the complexity of the flavours all together. It’s well balanced, with nothing overwhelming anything else.

The soft bready texture of the pumpkin rolls with the creamy glaze, the stickiness from the filling, and the crunch of the walnuts all compliments and contrasts each other, and keeps it all interesting.”

So, the next time you’re craving homemade cinnamon rolls, consider giving this pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe a try!!

A pan of pumpkin cinnamon buns that has been flipped over, showing the caramelized bottom.

You can serve these upside down, as a sticky bun!

Ingredients

These delicious rolls don’t require anything weird in terms of ingredients – all pretty simple ingredients, you should be able to find at any grocery store.

That said, I do have some notes as far as ingredient specifics and potential substitutions for you:

Pumpkin Puree

The pumpkin flavor in these rolls come from actual pumpkin. You’ll want to use pure pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling.

Puree is just pumpkin, “pie filling” has other fillers and flavourings added.

You can use store bought or your own pumpkin puree, so long as it’s just basic pumpkin.

Maple Syrup

Use actual maple syrup, as in “the boiled sap of a maple tree”.

I’m haunted by a comment someone left a few years ago about pancake syrup being maple syrup, so now I specify.

BTW: the darker the syrup, the better the flavour.

Butter

I use unsalted butter in this, but if you’re looking to make vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls, you can swap it out for vegetable oil.

Spices

I use Ground Cinnamon, Ground Ginger, Ground Cloves, and Ground Nutmeg, individually measured.

That said, you can use a premix pumpkin pie spice in place of them, if you’d prefer – about 2 Tbsp.

Chopped Walnuts

I usually go for a maple walnut thing with these cinnamon rolls, but sometimes I’ll use chopped pecans instead.

If your perfect cinnamon rolls do NOT involve nuts, you can definitely just leave them out entirely.

Everything Else

Rounding out this recipe, you’ll need:

All purpose flour
Active dry yeast (or Instant yeast)
Confectioners sugar / Icing sugar / Powdered sugar
Brown sugar
Granulated Sugar
Pure vanilla extract
Pan spray
Salt

… I just don’t have any notes for you on any of those! 🙂

A pumpkin cinnamon roll drizzled with maple glaze.

How to Make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, here is a pictorial walk through.

Pumpkin Rolls Dough

Sprinkle yeast and brown sugar into warm water, allow to stand for 10 minutes – it should get very bubbly.

A measuring glass of yeast water, before and after the yeast grew frothy.

In a large mixing bowl – or in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment – combine about half the flour and salt.

Pour in yeast mixture, pumpkin, and vanilla, stir well to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. (Low speed, if using a stand mixer).

Add remaining flour, combine.

A 5 part image showing the start of the dough being mixed together.

Dump dough out onto a well floured surface, knead until an elastic, soft dough forms – about 5-10 minutes.

Alternately, you can mix it in a stand mixer with a dough hook for on medium speed 5 minutes or so!

A 4 part photo showing the progression from scraggly dough to smooth dough, in a mixer.

Once dough is fully kneaded, place in a greased bowl. Cover the top of the dough with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel.

Place bowl in a warm place (draft-free place!) and let the dough rise for about one hour, or until doubled in size.

Assembly

Once the first rise is over and the dough has doubled in size, roll dough out on a floured surface.

Note: You can use a rolling pin, or just sort of push the dough into a rectangle with your hands. I usually skip the rolling pin, personally.

Aim to make it a large rectangle, say a 20 x 12 inch rectangle or so.

A 2 part image showing the ball of pumpkin bread dough on a work surface, then rolled out to a large rectangle.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter and maple syrup, evenly brush over dough, leaving a 1″ border around the edge.

A 4 part image showing butter and maple syrup melted together and spread over the pumpkin dough.

Combine brown sugar and spices, sprinkle evenly over the butter/maple syrup mixture, then sprinkle chopped walnuts evenly over sugar mixture.

A 4 part image showing the spices and sugar mixture being mixed and spread on the dough.

Starting with one of the longer edges, tightly roll the dough up, jelly roll style.

Generously grease a 9 x 13″ baking pan with extra butter or cooking spray, sprinkle with the granulated sugar.

Using a very sharp knife, cut rolls from the dough log – 12 even rolls.

A 5 part image showing the pan being spread with butter and sugar, the dough rolled up and cut into 12 pieces.

Carefully place rolls into the prepared baking dish, spacing them evenly.

Cover pan with plastic wrap, allow to rise a second time – for about 20 minutes.

A pan of 12 unbaked pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls, before and after the last rise.

While the dough rests, heat oven to 375F.

Once second rise is over, pop the pan in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and perfect.

Once the pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls are done, remove from the oven. You can place the pan on a wire rack, if you like.

I like to turn the buns out – upside down, usually – pretty soon after taking them out of the oven, to prevent sticking. Sometimes I’ll serve them right-side-up – you do you!

(In this case, I cooked them too close to the top of the oven and they browned up more than usual, so I flipped them).

The pan of pumpkin cinnamon buns fresh out of the oven, then turned out on a cookie sheet.

Maple Glaze

In a medium bowl, whisk together maple syrup, butter, vanilla extract, and salt until smooth and well combined.

Add powdered sugar a little at a time, whisking until smooth and well combined – glaze will be THICK.

It should be only barely spreadable – thin with a little bit of milk if needed.

Spread glaze onto buns while still hot.

A 5 part image showing the maple syrup glaze being mixed.

Alternately (As pictured!), you can do the glaze as a drizzle.

Make the glaze in a microwave-safe bowl, to the very thick stage.

Microwave for 10-15 seconds, or until liquid. Stir well.

Transfer to a pastry bag, drizzle over room temperature rolls, allow to set up for 20 minutes or so.

A 2 part image showing a hand holding a pastry bag of maple glaze, and that glaze drizzled all over the baked pumpkin rolls.

Leftovers

Cooled cinnamon rolls can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or so.

Best served reheated, rather than cold from the fridge.

At the very least, let it warm up to room temperature to serve.

A pan of pumpkin cinnamon rolls, unglazed.

A pan of pumpkin cinnamon buns that has been flipped over, showing the caramelized bottom.

Share the Love!

Before you chow down, be sure to take some pics of your handiwork! If you Instagram it, be sure to tag me – @CelebrationGenerationCA – or post it to My Facebook Page – so I can cheer you on!

Also, be sure to subscribe to my free monthly email newsletter, so you never miss out on any of my nonsense. Well, the published nonsense, anyway!

Finally, if you love this recipe, please consider leaving a star rating and/or a comment below, and maybe even sharing this post on social media!

A pumpkin cinnamon roll drizzled with maple glaze.

A pumpkin cinnamon roll drizzled with maple glaze.

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Maple Walnut Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Everyone loves classic cinnamon buns, but have you tried my Maple Walnut Pumpkin Cinnamon rolls? A fun, flavorful deviation from tradition!

Prep Time30 mins

Cook Time40 mins

Rising Time1 hr 20 mins

Total Time2 hrs 30 mins

Course: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Snack

Cuisine: American

Servings: 12 Large Cinnamon Rolls

Calories: 460kcal

Author: Marie Porter

Ingredients

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 ½ cups Warm – not hot! – water
  • 4 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 5+ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree NOT pie filling mix
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup Butter, Melted
  • ¼ cup Maple Syrup
  • ½ cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • ½-1 cup Chopped Walnuts
  • Extra butter or pan spray
  • 1 tablespoon Granulated Sugar

Maple Glaze

  • ¼ cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 tablespoon Butter, Melted
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch Salt
  • 2 cups Confectioners / Icing / Powdered Sugar

Instructions

Buns

  • Stir yeast and brown sugar into warm water, allow to stand for 10 minutes – it should get very bubbly.

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine about half the flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture, pumpkin, and vanilla, stir well to combine. Add remaining flour, combine.
  • Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead until soft and elastic, 5-10 minutes. (OR: mix it in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 5 minutes or so!)

  • Once dough is fully kneaded, place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.

  • Once dough has doubled in size, roll out on a floured surface. Aim to make it a large rectangle, say 20 x 12″ or so.

  • Combine melted butter and maple syrup, evenly brush over dough, leaving a 1″ border around the edge. Combine brown sugar and spices, sprinkle evenly over the butter/maple syrup mixture. Sprinkle chopped walnuts evenly over sugar mixture.
  • Starting with one of the longer edges, tightly roll the dough up.

  • Generously grease a 9 x 13″ baking pan with extra butter or pan spray, sprinkle with sugar.

  • Using a very sharp knife, slice the roll into 12 even rounds. Carefully place each roll into the pan, spacing them evenly.
  • Cover pan with plastic wrap, allow to rise one more time – about 20 minutes. While waiting for the buns to rise, heat oven to 375F.
  • Once final rise is over, pop the pan in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and perfect.

  • As buns are baking, make the glaze:

Notes

See the post for a pictorial walk through, as well as information on ingredient substitutions.

Nutrition

Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 86g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 250mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 3357IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 3mg

A pan of pumpkin cinnamon rolls, unglazed.

A pumpkin cinnamon roll drizzled with maple glaze.

A pumpkin cinnamon roll drizzled with maple glaze.

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