Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Glaze

Despite the best of intentions to get my three pumpkin recipes up before Christmas, the stress of the last week got the better of me. Between packing up my stuff, trying to stick to the airline baggage limits (no way was I going to pay $81 per kilo of excess baggage) and saying (hopefully a temporary) goodbye to friends and London, I just didn’t have any time to even think about my pumpkin recipes.


But alas, I survived the 33 hour journey back to Australia (23 hours flying time, 10 hours transit in Abu Dhabi airport) and now you are getting your pumpkin recipes whether you like it or not. Also, I’m not posting on Christmas Day because I’m a sad sack. I got a total of 7 hours of non-perfect sleep in a 48 hour period and, needless to say, was in bed by 6:30pm on Day 1 of my return to Australia. I strongly hoped that I would sleep for a full 12 hours through to the morning, but at 2:30am, I awoke feeling rested and relaxed and here we are now at 4:30 in the morning being productive.


So, here is today’s pumpkin recipe – Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Glaze. This was the second time I had made cinnamon rolls and I was much better prepared and knew what to expect this time around. You need to set aside a fair bit of time to get from prep to table, but most of it just involves sitting waiting for your dough to rise.


SONY DSCI made these over the course of a Sunday and while they were rising, Iain and I went to our local pub to partake in one of the most British of traditions – a Sunday roast. With the sea of gravy and the crispy potatoes and the cheesy cauliflower and the Yorkshire pudding with its crusty exterior and soft and chewy interior and the broccoli, carrot and parsnips to round off your 5 a day and the wafer thin carvings of red roast beef (or pork or lamb or chicken or nut roast, they cater for all palates) our plates are always spotless when we finish. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I like to think our local makes the best roast dinner in the whole world and I just had to go there one last time before leaving, so it worked out well that I had an hour or so to kill waiting for the rolls to rise.


Anyway, I digress. What was my point again? Oh, that’s right. Set aside a lot of time to make these rolls, but don’t expect to be in the kitchen slaving away the whole time.


These pumpkin cinnamon rolls are soft and fluffy and melt in your mouth good. They have a force that pulls you in and makes you want to eat them until you feel like every cell in your body is full of sugar. But that’s ok, sometimes you need to spend a day (more like every day!) eating nothing but sugar. I certainly won’t judge you for it, because I was sucked in just the same.


One tip I’ll give that I learnt about the hard way, is to not crowd your rolls in the dish/tray like in the photo above. I thought they needed to be as close together as possible, but they definitely don’t. Leave few centimetres between them when you first add them to the dish, so that they have room to rise and expand and do their thing. Seems like common sense now that I’ve made the mistake, but I didn’t even consider it at the time!


Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Glaze

Makes 12-15

Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes



⅓ cup milk

30g butter

½ cup pumpkin purée

2 tbsp brown sugar

¼ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp salt

1 egg, beaten

7g sachet dry yeast

2½ cups plain flour


½ cup brown sugar

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

45g butter, melted


½ cup icing sugar

½ tsp vanilla essence

2-3 tsp single cream

1 tsp hot water


  1. For the dough, heat butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is just melted. Set aside. In a large bowl, add pumpkin purée, brown sugar, nutmeg and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium until combined. Slowly add milk and butter mixture and mix until combined, then add egg and yeast and mix well. Decrease electric mixer to low and add 1 cup flour. Mix for 5 minutes until well combined, then add 1¼ cup more flour, and mix until just combined. You can use your hands here instead if you prefer. Lightly coat a large bowl with vegetable oil and add dough. Cover with cling film and sit in a warm, draft-free place for approximately 1 hour, until dough has doubled in size.
  2. While the dough is rising, make sugar-cinnamon filling by combining sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a small bowl and mixing well. Set aside.
  3. Punch dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface. The dough will be sticky, so add ¼ cup more flour and knead well to mix. Roll dough out into a 23 x 38cm rectangle, spread with melted butter, then sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Roll tightly and use dental floss or a cheese wire to cut off 3-4cm pieces. Position in a lightly greased baking dish (you may need two dishes depending on the size and shape of the dish you use), leaving a 2cm gap between each roll to allow them to expand. Allow rolls to rise in a warm, draft-free place for another hour or so until doubled in size. Go to pub while waiting (optional).
  4. Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. Bake rolls for approximately 25 minutes, covering with aluminium foil part way through if browning too much.
  5. For the glaze, mix icing sugar, vanilla and 1 tsp of single cream in a small bowl. Add 1 tsp of hot water and mix well. It should be quite thick still, so add more cream as needed (about 2 tsp more), 1 tsp at a time, mixing well after each addition. Dip a spoon in glaze and drizzle over rolls in a zigzag pattern while they are cooling. Allow rolls to cool for another 20 minutes, otherwise they will come apart or lose parts when separating them.

Recipe adapted and rewritten from Sally’s Baking Addiction.



  1. The Editor · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Jane Doe (at-your-service).

  2. The Editor · · Reply

    I tried this recipe with a caramel glaze…it tasted sooo good 🙂

    1. That sounds delicious! If I can find some more canned pumpkin, I’ll have to try a caramel glaze with it.

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