Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns

November 8, 2010


After an amazingly fun weekend in San Francisco for Foodbuzz Festival, I totally need a day (or 12) to decompress. I need to upload all the photos, take them in, and then get working with Chels on our recap. And to be honest, we took a red eye home from California, leaving SFO at 11 p.m. PST and arriving in Boston at 7:30 this morning EST. I’m in a bit of a daze today. And though I love Virgin Airlines more than anything, it’s not really suitable for a night of sleep. Lucky for me, I work from home so I can get a full day in while in sweatpants, but all I really want to do right now is sleep! Oh, happy Monday.

The only thing I can really think straight about right now (without zoning out or passing out) are cinnamon buns. Cinnamon buns are the new cupcakes for me. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’ll always be a cupcake person, but lately I want to make cinnamon buns of all flavors and varieties. I know everyone and their mother has been making pumpkin cinnamon buns across the blog world lately. But I just couldn’t resist making my own.

I started off using a Cooking Light recipe and then I got real. If I’m eating cinnamon rolls, I want to eat cinnamon rolls. So, I just made a few adjustments. Like adding more butter. And sugar. Can you blame me? Light treats are fun sometimes. But real treats are needed often.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls:

1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
1/4 C warm water (100-110 degrees)
4 2/3 C flour, divided
1 C canned pumpkin
1/2 C 1% low-fat milk
5 T butter, melted
2 T granulated sugar
1 1/4 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t pumpkin pie spice


7 T granulated sugar
5 T brown sugar
3 T flour
3 t cinnamon
4 T chilled butter, cut into small pieces


3/4 C powdered sugar
1T milk (I used whole)
1/4 t vanilla


Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl.


Add 3 2/3 C of flour, pumpkin, milk, melted butter, sugar, salt, and nutmeg.


Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. It already looks like amazing deliciousness that I wouldn’t mind eating right from the bowl!


Now, it’s time to knead the dough. I used the bread hook on my electric mixer for about 6 minutes, adding the remaining cup of dough little by little throughout the kneading process.

But if you want to do it by hand, it will probably take you about 10 minutes on a well floured surface. Again, add the remaining cup of flour a little at a time if you’re doing it this way.

Place the dough in a large bowl that has been lightly coated in oil (I used vegetable). Coat the dough in the oil, cover it in plastic wrap, and let it rest for about 45 minutes in a warm spot. I pre-heated my oven to 200 degrees and then turned it off and put my bowl of dough in there.


45 minutes later and it had grown quite a bit!


I knew it was ready because I pressed my fingers into it and the indentation stayed.


Punch it down and let it rest for about 5 more minutes.

In the meantime, you can start making your filling. Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, 1/4 C flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl.


Then add the butter and cut it in with your fingers or a pastry blender.


It didn’t take long for it to resemble coarse meal. Yay!


Now flour your surface and rolling pin and roll the now ready dough out. It’s supposed to be in a 12×10 rectangle.


Once the dough is rolled, sprinkle evenly with with the brown sugar, cinnamon, butter mixture.

I may have sprinkled a bit extra cinnamon and sugar around too. I mean, I like sweet.


And starting from the long edge furthest from you, roll the dough tightly, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets.


Pinch seams and ends to seal.


Cut the roll into 1-inch slices. I ended up getting more than 12 rolls and they wouldn’t all fit into one dish. But generally, you’ll want to use a 9-inch dish coated with cooking spray.


I used a round dish and put the remainder in a square dish.


Cover the dish and let it rise for another 25 minutes. I KNOW, lots of rising involved here, but it’s SO worth it!

While they’re rising (again), pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.


Let them cool. And while they’re cooling, whip up some icing. All you need to do it mix powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until smooth.

Then pour the icing over the cinnamon buns.

Oh, hello there heaven.


Being the cinnamon bun lover that I am, I absolutely loved these. The pumpkin taste was subtle, but definitely there. And I was happy I added extra butter and cinnamon sugar. Very happy. I could imagine these might be just a little bit dry without that extra.


I was kind of proud of myself I was able to take a semi-healthy recipe and make it not so much. Just kidding. But I was proud of myself that I was able to take a recipe and know what it needed more of to make it just a little bit tastier. I wouldn’t change a thing on these now!


These didn’t last in my kitchen for very long. And they’re the perfect cold, rainy day in November treat. With a mug of hot tea, of course. And suddenly, chilly Boston isn’t sounding so bad.

Beware because I already have other varieties of cinnamon buns I’m dying to make. Let’s just say this is going to be a very cinnamon bun filled season! Oh, and if you’re in the market for even more decadent cinnamon rolls (yes, it’s very possible!), try Pioneer Woman’s. You’ll die. But right now, I’m preferring the seasonal pumpkin cinnamon roll.

Do you have a favorite cinnamon bun recipe? Or flavor? Also, can someone please tell me the difference between a cinnamon bun and a cinnamon roll?

Check back tomorrow for our big Foodbuzz Festival recap! In the meantime, it was SO SO lovely to get the chance to meet some of our very favorite bloggers. Everyone was so nice and Chels and I left the weekend feeling so loved and grateful for our lives. And full. And tired. The red eye. So tired. Snooooze.


47 Responses to "Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns"

  1. Nicole says:

    I have yet to find the best cinnamon roll recipe and my hips cannot take the research 🙂 These look fantastic, though. I love the color the pumpkin adds.

  2. That looks so good! Now I want cinnamon buns! ;]

  3. Shannon says:

    ooh, i just made some, although on the healthier end of the spectrum 😉 they were absolutely delicious… and now i want to make them again!!

  4. Haley says:

    Oh my gosh these look SO good! I love all the pumpkin foods that are coming out this fall, even if I live in a place that doesn’t see much weather change, it makes me crave it =)

  5. Simply Life says:

    wow! Nice work! Those look soooo perfect for a winter morning!

  6. These cinnamon buns looks like ooey-gooey goodness….and I want some right now!

  7. Tania says:

    These look great!
    I have been making my grandmother’s recipe for years… I’m so attached to it that I hesitate to try another kind. These, however, may change that.
    As for cinnamon bun vs roll, I have no idea!

  8. OMG these look amazing! I have been searching high and low for a relatively easy and healthier cinnamon bun recipe – need to make these asap!!

  9. cailen says:

    mmmm….these look amazing! wish i could enjoy one right now : )

  10. genesis says:

    totally making these tonight. i have everything ill need. will report back tomorrow or whenever i am rescued from face planting myself in these buns (lol).

  11. very very impressed with these! put pumpkin in anything and i’ll eat ’em!

    so lovely finally meeting you guys this weekend. unfortunately, my interview with you (and a few others) had sound issues so i wasn’t able to use you in the video, but here it is if you want to check out the weekend recap:


  12. Erica says:

    I’ve always wanted to try and home make these bad boys. Pumpkin + cinnamon- such a great combo. Glad you guys had fun. I’m excited for the recap

  13. Ohhh lord. I kinda can’t believe you did this. I must make these ASAP. Hope you had a blast at foodbuzz!

  14. Amanda L. says:

    I made pumpkin cinnamon rolls as well and they are addicting! However, my husband has requested regular cinnamon rolls next time around!

  15. Bert says:

    Did you ever try frying cinnamon buns in butter?

  16. mmmm delicious! you know i like pumpkin cinn rolls too 🙂

  17. Food GPS says:

    Good meeting you at Foodbuzz Fest. That was a blast. I’d choose a cinnamon roll over a cupcake any day, night or morning.

  18. Welcome back to Boston! These look sinfully yummy.

  19. Karen says:

    These look soooo good! I’m definitely going to make some soon!

  20. Bridget says:

    Those look deeeeelicious!! Funny I made some a few weeks ago and actually had no idea they were the latest blog rage until I blogged about them haha. Yours came out WAY better 🙂 Mmmm I love a good cinnamon bun/roll…whatever, same deal.
    WElcome back to Boston, I have decided I am SO going to the foodbuzz fest next year!!

  21. i’ve seen so many cinnamon rolls on blogs but the pumpkin really looks delicious, i’ll have to make them one day!

  22. Mandi says:

    I just recently made my first batch of homemade cinnamon rolls and oh man…so good. They were so worth all the work and all the rising time!! I definitely want to do a pumpkin cinnamon roll too – I will def be following this one when I do! When I made my batch I followed Joy the Baker’s cream cheese cinnamon roll recipe: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2009/06/cream-cheese-cinnamon-rolls/
    They turned out perfectly! Can’t wait to try this one!

  23. DianaHayes says:

    You did a fantastic job with this, they look divine. I love the idea of pumkin everything and cinnamon rolls is now on the list too. Great idea.

  24. Sharlene says:

    Haha I love how you added extra “non-light” ingredients to a Cooking Light recipe to make sure it’s yummy enough. I’d do the same thing! Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls are amazing but they’re definitely death by butter. I’ll have to try these out!

  25. emily says:

    Ahhh, I have to make these! Maybe Thanksgiving morning? I’m still so obsessed with pumpkin that it’s not even funny. I have no idea what the difference between a cinnamon bun or roll is…but who cares as long as they are delicious?! 🙂

  26. Susan says:

    I love that you did it right!

  27. These look insanely good! (even after my chocolate chip cookie i just had). My first time at your blog and love it!!!

  28. cookie says:

    i am so on the cinnamon scroll bandwagon at the moment…
    i really want an espresso scented one!
    these look delectable though.

  29. Juliana says:

    These cinnamon rolls with pumpkin look so yummie, absolutely perfect for the season. Love the pictures 🙂

  30. peachkins says:

    these are perfect ..my mouth is watering as I look at it..

  31. I LOVE PW’s cinnamon rolls, but these look like a great seasonal alternative! I can’t wait to see your foodbuzz round-up!

  32. These look soooo good! I have never been brave enough to make cinnamon rolls.
    Oh my gosh redeye. We got home this morning, and I am so tired!

  33. Monique says:

    its meant to be! IM visiting some family and they requested i bake something… i was thinking cinnamon rolls and opening this post has confirmed that i should DEF do this! you rock!

  34. Meesh says:

    These look fab. I need to get my baking game up to par so i can make these.

    p.s. so jealous you get to work in sweatpants! must be amazing after the red eye

  35. Susie, it was so nice to see you again. This time NOT in the restroom. Thanks for the gift. It was lovely and I can’t wait to try it out.

    your buns look awesome, as expected 🙂

  36. genesis says:

    i made these last night…DELISH! im going to make another batch tonight and do a post tomorrow. will link back. thanks again!

  37. Mary says:

    Oh goodness me! You’ve included ALL of my favorite ingredients… and I’m wiping the drool from my chin as we speak!


    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  38. Wow those look amazing! Totally worth the wait time. Must make!

  39. rita says:

    that looks soooooooooo good! is it possible to add some dark chocolate in the mix? i’m just wondering.

  40. Tina says:

    I think cook illustrated recipe in their yellow cookbook is the best. It is time consuming but so delicate and airy and I always add extra cinnamon, sugar and butter!

  41. Oh goodness these look AMAZINGGGGGGG!!! I’ve been trying to develop a pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe lately, actually. I wasn’t sure how the pumpkin would be in the dough, I’m so glad it works! Ugh it’s like 9 pm and now all I can think about it breakfast! 🙂

  42. UrMomCooks says:

    I’ve made the same cinnamon roll recipe for New Year’s Day for years! Never really thought about a different flavor in the dough, but this pumpkin version looks awesome! Wish I had some!

  43. These look so good. I definitely will have to try to make them.


  44. I’m clearly playing catch-up now and I have only one thing to say: you would 🙂

  45. These look so good. I know what you mean about the red eye – I always need 2 days to get back to neutral. Welcome back!!

  46. HPD says:

    we’re traveling for the holidays, so won’t have much of a say in the thanksgiving dinner prep, but can definitely whip these up for everyone the next morning. thanks!

  47. Lisa Leong says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    I created slightly different pumpkin bun from your recipe this afternoon. It is very delicious. First of all, I chopped the pumpkin into small pieces and cooked it in microwave oven for 5 minutes. Then added in sugar, milk powder, few table spoons water, custard power, butter, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon into the mixture, mashed the pumpkin until it turn to paste. Let it rest for 15 min or until the paste is in room temperature. As the temperature is dropped, shape the paste into ball shaped and wraps it with bread dough. Let it proceed a with second round proving and bake for 10 minutes.


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