Get ready to fall in love with the coziest, most delicious treat of the season. These Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Pumpkin Spice are the ultimate autumn indulgence.
All the ingredients are listed in cups as well as grams if you prefer to use a kitchen scale.
Fluffy and gooey, they are a perfect blend of the warm, comforting flavors you crave when the leaves start to turn. So, grab a cup of pumpkin spice latte (or a cup of coffee if you're not already all in the pumpkin season), and let's dive into it!
I have to warn you though: the icing is totally your call, but I prefer to make these without it and drizzle them with maple syrup before serving. This approach allows you to freeze half of them without the hassle of dealing with a sticky mess when it comes to freezing (and later thawing) a batch of soggy rolls.
If you DO decide to make icing as well, this cream cheese icing for cinnamon rolls is my go-to!
- How To Make Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- Substitution Notes
- Variations & Add-ins
- Tools You'll Need
- 💭Crucial Success Tips
- More Sourdough Recipes
- 📖Printable Recipe
- Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Pumpkin Spice
- Baking Schedule
- How to Store Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- Pin It For Later
- End Notes
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The dough for these pumpkin sourdough cinnamon rolls keeps it simple, quite similar to regular cinnamon rolls, except for the addition of canned pumpkin (or your own pumpkin puree!). The filling? Well, it's probably the easiest you'll ever make.
- active sourdough starter
When it comes to sourdough, you want to make sure to have a bubbly sourdough starter on hand before you start baking. But you don't have to stress about it being perfect. I often miss the peak because life gets busy, and that's okay. Mature starters are pretty forgiving. Sometimes, I use my starter straight from the fridge, and with a little patience, it works just fine.
Here's a practical tip: after you feed your starter, mark its height. This way, you can quickly check how active it is. For this recipe, you want to use a very active starter, so go ahead and use it when it's at least doubled in height or even taller, even if it's starting to fall a bit!
- all purpose flour (or bread flour)
Let's talk flour. Bread flour is usually the go-to flour for sweeter sourdough recipes. Why? It has more gluten, which is a protein that gives your dough strength and softness. But since it can be pricier, I save it for recipes where that fluffy texture really matters.
For these homemade cinnamon rolls, I honestly don't notice the difference when I'm making them with all purpose flour versus bread flour. I suspect that pumpkin purée somehow softens the dough (comment below if you happen to know the science behind it!), so if you're saving bread flour for special things (like me), go for all purpose flour when making these.
You can also substitute whole wheat flour for bread flour in this recipe, but keep in mind that whole wheat flour (and whole grains in general) is denser and more absorbent. So, instead of the usual 2 ¼ cups of flour, you might only need around 3 ¾ cups (this is just an example – always go by the texture to be sure you have the right amount).
It's worth noting that when you mix whole wheat or whole grain flour with sourdough, the dough tends to have a stronger sour flavor and doesn't rise as high. Just something to be aware of. In my opinion, a good compromise is using half whole wheat and half bread flour for a balanced result.
The temperature of the water used matters, especially in sourdough. If it's too cold, your dough might take longer to rise, and if it's too hot, it could harm your yeast. For this recipe, we're using warm water. Not only to speed up the fermentation a bit but to incorporate other dough ingredients better and faster. This is an enriched dough, so incorporating all the ingredients is important to achieve a smooth dough.
Tap water works well, as long as it's safe to drink and doesn't smell strongly of chlorine. If it does, it's better to use bottled or filtered water to avoid messing with those wild yeasts and bacteria.
Salt is essential for good bread. It's not just for flavor; it helps your dough's structure. Salt toughens it up, traps those fermentation bubbles, and gives you a great rise and texture. Without it, your dough could get gooey. Salt also keeps unwanted microorganisms in check, making sure your bread tastes fantastic.
I usually use regular table salt, but in my area, it's high-quality sea salt without additives. If that's not the norm where you live, look for some good-quality salt. Your bread will thank you!
- maple syrup
I'm a European, so using maple syrup is not something I do very often. But I love using maple syrup in this recipe. It gives the dough a nice color and a real maple taste. But here's the deal: don't use maple-flavored pancake syrup; it won't work (been there, done that). Check the label and make sure it's only pure maple syrup.
It's a good idea to use ingredients at room temperature. So, if your maple syrup has been in the fridge, let it sit on the counter for at least 10 minutes before you mix it into the dough.
If you want to make it less sweet, you can use less maple syrup, honey, or sugar as the recipe suggests. You can use just a tablespoon or skip it altogether. Your dough will still be tasty, especially with all the sweetness in the filling. And if you do make that change, keep everything else the same.
- pumpkin puree
For this recipe, you'll need 7.5 oz. (½ can) of pumpkin puree. See substitution notes below on what to do if you don't have any on hand.
But whatever you do, don't use pumpkin pie filling! It'll make the dough too sweet and very weird.
The egg gives the rolls a soft texture and stops them from becoming crumbly, so you can handle it more easily. See substitution notes if you're out of eggs.
- coconut oil
Using coconut oil specifically DOES make a difference in this recipe. I like using melted coconut oil in many of my sweet sourdough recipes because it does something special for the texture - it makes the result super soft and doesn't leave a coconutty taste behind. See substitution notes if you want to use something else.
- ground cinnamon
You can tweak the amount to match your taste, but it pairs nicely with pumpkin spice. I personally like to be generous with it because it enhances the flavor.
Now, some sourdough experts might warn you that cinnamon can hinder your starter and your dough won't rise. From my experience, that hasn't been an issue. Maybe if you've got the absolute best, freshest cinnamon ever, it could make a difference. But for regular cinnamon, don't hesitate to use it in your sourdough bread (or Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bagels)!
- pumpkin pie spice
Another thing I buy and use only since discovering it's magic when following American recipes. It's delicious and still a bit new to me! But feel free to skip it if you don't have it. Since we have pumpkins in our dough already, you'll taste it in the rolls regardless. The only thing I'd do if you decide to skip pumpkin pie spice is to add a bit more cinnamon.
How To Make Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
I included lots of pictures for this pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe because it's sometimes daunting to make something that has such a particular shape (or is it just me?). A baking schedule is also included in this post to make planning easier for you.
Start by mixing all the ingredients except the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn in on high speed to incorporate everything nicely. I usually do this with a dough hook attachment and get away with it, but use another attachment if you aren't able to mix everything properly with a dough hook.
Add in 2 ¼ cups of flour and start mixing the dough on low speed with a dough hood attachment. Wait a few minutes and then start adding flour little by little. The dough is ready when it forms a ball and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl anymore. This should take anywhere from 5 - 15 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a large bowl, cover it with something airtight (plastic wrap, plastic bag, aluminum foil simply a lid), and let the dough rise for about 6 hours. If you want the sourdough process to happen a bit faster, place the bowl in a warm place and the dough might be ready in 5 hours (bo likely not any sooner).
After the dough is at least 75% bigger in volume, it's done with the first rise. This can also be done overnight if your kitchen is not too hot (works for me in the winter, but not in the summer).
Prepare the filling by simply smashing together softened butter (at room temperature), sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. I have the best results when I use a regular spoon and a small bowl for this, but you can certainly use a hand mixer or even a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
Take the dough out and onto a clean working surface.
Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to make a large rectangle. Evenly distribute the filling across it.
Roll the dough in a log, starting from the long end.
Make 10 - 12 individual rolls, using a bench scraper. To make the pieces somewhat equally as big, mark the log lightly before cutting into it to get an idea of how thick the rolls should be.
Some people prefer to cut off the edges of the dough because they tend to be a bit irregular in shape.
Place the rolls in a cast iron skillet (10.25 Inch Cast Iron works best for this recipe) and make sure to leave room for them to puff up a bit during a second rise. No parchment paper is necessary, but be sure to grease the cast iron skillet with some butter or oil to prevent the rolls from sticking to it.
Cover them with a wet tea towel and give them a chance to rise the second time for about 1 - 3 hours. Try to put them in a worm spot so they'll be ready sooner.
After the dough becomes nice and puffy again, place it straight into a preheated oven.
Bake the rolls at about 350°F (about 180°C) for 23 - 26 minutes. If your oven is strong, consider lowering the temperature just a bit so the rolls don't get over-baked. The goal is to get them golden brown, not deep brown.
Take them out of the oven. Serve them with a generous drizzle of maple syrup and enjoy!
Hint: to prevent the dough from sticking to the large bowl during the bulk rise, you can apply a thin layer of oil inside the bowl. The easiest thing to do that is to simply use a cooking spray.
- Maple syrup - If you don't have maple syrup, no worries. You can use honey, sugar, brown sugar, or even coconut sugar instead. I'm often out of maple syrup (European, remember?), and I usually substitute it for honey when I don't have it on hand.
- All purpose of bread flour - You can also substitute whole wheat flour for bread flour in this recipe, but keep in mind that whole wheat flour (and whole grains in general) is denser and more absorbent. So, instead of the usual 2 ¼ cups of flour, you might only need around 3 ¾ cups (this is just an example – always go by the texture to be sure you have the right amount).
- Pumpkin puree - You can even do your own pumpkin puree and use it in this recipe. I often make my own using hokkaido squash from our garden. But honestly, it's more because I want to use up the pumpkins (they went crazy this year!). The difference in taste is minor at best. I'm just saying you can absolutely make and use your own.
- Coconut oil - But if you're not into coconut oil, no problem. You can simply switch it out for avocado oil, which works great. If you don't have that, olive oil is another good option, followed by melted butter. Go with whatever you like best, just make sure you use some kind of fat, we don't want to forget that.
- Egg - If you can't use eggs due to allergies or any other reason, don't bother with trying to find a substitute. I forgot to add it on more than one occasion and the rolls turned out just fine without it!
Variations & Add-ins
Since this is a very particular recipe, altering it too much will leave you with rolls that aren't...well...pumpkin sourdough cinnamon rolls. But you can definitely try some of the variations below and retain their essence!
- Crunchy - add chopped pecans or walnuts for a crunchy variation. Don't forget to sprinkle some over top before serving.
- Extra pop of color - add a teaspoon of turmeric into the dough to make it more yellow. An extra pop of color will make these look even more appetizing.
- Light - use cream cheese instead of butter to make these a little lighter in calories.
- Pumpkin pie spice - if you want the pumpkin pie spice flavor to dominate, use only pumpkin pie spice and skip the cinnamon.
Tools You'll Need
When it comes to measuring out the ingredients, using a kitchen scale is my top recommendation for precision. Of course, measuring cups work too, but there's just something about the scale that adds that extra level of accuracy.
If you've got a stand mixer, it's a time-saver when it comes to mixing and kneading the dough.
A rolling pin will help you immensely in rolling out the dough. You can also do it by stretching it by hand, but it's a lot more work.
A cast iron skillet (10.25 inches if possible) is a perfect vessel to bake these rolls in. I bought one on sale for less than 20$ and it serves me very well! See the FAQ below for more information on other options.
A bench scraper, a sharp knife, or a serrated knife is useful for cutting the rolls without squishing them too much.
💭Crucial Success Tips
- Is the first rise over? - The biggest thing to look out for when deciding if the dough is properly fermented is the overall volume increase and the presence of at least some bubbles just below the surface. You can also try poking the dough; it should bend but then slowly spring back. Learn more about sourdough proofing here.
- DON'T flour your work surface - We want the dough to stick together when we're going to roll it, so skipping the flour is necessary to create a tight roll that won't separate later after we bake cinnamon rolls.
- Spread out the filling evenly - I find a large wooden spoon handy for this, but a regular spoon will do the job just fine.
- Rolling the dough into a log - You can help yourself with a bench scraper if the dough sticks to the surface a bit. Wetting your hands also helps with this.
- Give your dough time to go through the second rise - many recipes say the second rise should last only 30 minutes to 1 hour. I find that the dough puffs up much better if we give it some more time. I have waited 3 hours or more on some occasions when making those and they were even more fluffy and soft as a result! So if you're not in a hurry, give them time.
You certainly can! I would use a medium-sized baking dish and try to put the rolls in evenly, for example, 3 on the long edge and ⅘ on the short edge. Since baking dish gets hotter a lot faster than a cast iron skillet, maybe bake them for a minute or two less to avoid overbaking them.
You can, but I wouldn't recommend it. They will probably become a bit loose because they'll have no support at the sides and the filling will likely cover your entire baking sheet (instead of making them juicy and slightly crunchy at the bottom).
Absolutely! If you mix up the dough late at night you can shape and bake the rolls in the morning.
And if you don't have time to make them right away, just put them in the refrigerator and finish them when you have time. You can leave them in the fridge for up to 3 days!
Some people also like to use dental floss for this, but be careful not to use one that has a strong mint flavor added to it.
A very sharp knife will also get the job done. Or even better, a serrated knife is great for slicing through the soft, doughy texture of pumpkin rolls without squishing or tearing them. Just make sure to use a gentle sawing motion to get clean and even slices.
If your sourdough cinnamon rolls aren't puffing up like they should, don't stress. It happens to the best of us. Here are some things you can check:
Starter is not active enough: Make sure your sourdough starter is happy and bubbly. It should double in size after you feed it.
Time and Patience: Sourdough takes its time. Give your dough enough time to rise. It might need more time than regular commercial yeast rolls.
It's too cold in your kitchen: The room temperature matters. If it's too chilly, the dough can be sluggish.
Kneading/mixing Matters: Give your dough some love and knead/mix it well. Good kneading helps it rise nicely.
Not Too Dry, Not Too Wet: Find the dough's sweet spot between too dry and too wet. If it's extreme in either direction, it can mess with the rise. Learn more about hydration in sourdough baking.
Rolling Right: When shaping the rolls, roll them up tight and place them seam-side down in the pan.
Where You Bake: If you're at a high altitude, things might need more time to rise.
Sourdough, the original "Natural Yeast," was the way our bread-making ancestors rolled before quick commercial yeast stole the spotlight in the early 1900s. Then yeast became available and people were happy they could bake their bread faster. In recent years, people have been rediscovering sourdough because it is (in my opinion) superior in taste and in nutritional benefits.
Sourdough is better compared to regular bread when it comes to blood sugar. It doesn't just impact your current meal but also sets the stage for several meals down the road. And it's not just for diabetics; it's a win for all of us.
The magic of sourdough lies in its long fermentation process. It's a nutritional game-changer. It not only ferments and pre-digests grains but also neutralizes something called phytic acid. This acid locks up essential nutrients like minerals and B vitamins, but sourdough unleashes them, making them easy for our bodies to absorb.
Sourdough is also kind to your tummy, especially for those with gluten sensitivity, often causing no issues at all.
And it's a natural probiotic. When you bake it, those probiotics transform into prebiotic fuel for your gut bacteria, keeping your digestive system happy and healthy.
It's not only good for you – it also tastes absolutely amazing!
More Sourdough Recipes
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
For the dough:
- ¼ cup (about 60 grams) warm water
- ½ cup (about 100 grams) active sourdough starter
- 2 tbsp (about 40 grams) maple syrup
- ¼ tbsp (about 4 grams) salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp (about 14 grams) coconut oil
- 7.5 oz or ½ can (about 210 grams) pumpkin puree
- ½ tbsp (about 3 grams) ground cinnamon
- 2 ¼ cups (about 270 grams) all purpose flour (plus a little extra for adjusting the dough consistency)
For the filling:
- 2 ½ tbsp or ½ stick softened (about 35 grams) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (about 50 grams) sugar
- ½ tbsp (about 3 grams) ground cinnamon
- ½ tbsp (about 3 grams) pumpkin pie spice
- Start by mixing all the ingredients except the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn in on high speed to incorporate everything nicely. I usually do this with a dough hook attachment and get away with it, but use another attachment if you aren't able to mix everything properly with a dough hook.
- Add in 2 ¼ cups of flour and start mixing the dough on low speed with a dough hood attachment. Wait a few minutes and then start adding flour little by little. The dough is ready when it forms a ball and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl anymore. This should take anywhere from 5 - 15 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a large bowl, cover it with something airtight (plastic wrap, plastic bag, aluminum foil simply a lid), and let the dough rise for about 6 hours. If you want the sourdough process to happen a bit faster, place the bowl in a warm place and the dough might be ready in 5 hours (likely not any sooner).
- After the dough is at least 75% bigger in volume, it's done with the first rise. This can also be done overnight if your kitchen is not too hot (works for me in the winter, but not in the summer).
- Prepare the filling by simply smashing together softened butter (at room temperature), sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. I have the best results when I use a regular spoon and a small bowl for this, but you can certainly use a hand mixer or even a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
- Take the dough out and onto a clean working surface.
- Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to make a large rectangle. Evenly distribute the filling across it.
- Roll the dough in a log, starting from the long end.
- Make 10 - 12 individual rolls, using a bench scraper. To make the pieces somewhat equally as big, mark the log lightly before cutting into it to get an idea of how thick the rolls should be.
- Some people prefer to cut off the edges of the dough because they tend to be a bit irregular in shape.
- Place the rolls in a cast iron skillet (10.25 Inch Cast Iron works best for this recipe) and make sure to leave room for them to puff up a bit during a second rise. No parchment paper is necessary, but be sure to grease the cast iron skillet with some butter or oil to prevent the rolls from sticking to it.
- Cover them with a wet tea towel and give them a chance to rise the second time for about 1 - 3 hours. Try to put them in a worm spot so they'll be ready sooner.
- After the dough becomes nice and puffy again, place it straight into a preheated oven.
- Bake the rolls at about 350°F (about 180°C) for 23 - 26 minutes. If your oven is strong, consider lowering the temperature just a bit so the rolls don't get over-baked. The goal is to get them golden brown, not deep brown.
- Take them out of the oven. Serve them with a generous drizzle of maple syrup and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 roll
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 203Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 56mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 4g
A schedule that works for me most of the time goes like this:
8:00 AM - feed the starter
14:00 PM - mix the dough and prepare it for bulk rise
14:30 PM - bulk rise
20:30 PM - put it in the fridge (to pause it)
The next day:
*you can finish your rolls whenever you have time. I have time in the morning but if you have a job to go to, you can finish them after work.
8:00 AM - transfer the dough to the countertop (to let it warm a little)
09:00 AM (or whenever I have time that day) - roll out the dough, add the filling roll, cut, shape, and put in a cast iron skillet. Let them do a second rise.
11:30 AM - bake, serve and enjoy!
How to Store Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Let your freshly baked cinnamon rolls cool down completely. It helps them stay tasty and not get soggy.
After cooling, you have a few choices. If you're going to eat them on the same day, don't bother too much. Just leave them in a cast iron skillet on the counter and let people eat them throughout the day (this is what usually happens at our house).
If you're planning to eat them in a day or two, pop them into an airtight container. You can place parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking. Another option is using large ziplock bags.
Fridge: If you want to keep them around for more than a couple of days, you can put them in the fridge. It helps prevent any potential mold growth. Just make sure they're sealed well to avoid drying out. They should be good for at least 4 days that way.
Freezing (Long-Term Storage): If you're thinking long-term (up to 3 months), freezing is your friend. Put them on the baking sheet lined with some parchment paper and freeze them. When they are completely frozen, transfer them to a ziplock bag to save on space.
Thawing: When you're ready to enjoy your frozen cinnamon rolls, simply take them out of the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for a few hours or overnight. Microwave each roll at the highest setting (900 W) for 1 minute. You can also warm them up in the oven at a low temperature for a few minutes to freshen them up (at about 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes).
Pin It For Later
Feel free to comment down below if something did not go according to plan or if you tried to make this recipe and had problems following the recipe. I will try my best to get back to you. Or just leave your comment and tell me how it went. I love getting feedback from you!