I’m going to do the honest thing here and give credit where credit is due.  My daughter Megan took center stage in the kitchen today.   Together, we did come up with this version of pumpkin cinnamon rolls that we’re pretty proud of.  We did this using a recipe that’s been used in our family for years.  It was just a matter of adding a little of this-an-that, and tweaking a thing or two.  But, in all actuality Megan made these from start to finish.

From a young age she learned to bake with yeast, on our many visits to South Carolina, while visiting her grandparents.  She and her grandma would often find the time for a baking project or two during our stay.  We lost Grandma this past June at the blessed age of 91.  And, although the baking had slowed down in the latter years of our visits, the love of baking never left Megan.   I know, especially now, when Megan bakes she reflects back on those loving memories of baking with her precious grandma.  And, I think that’s a wonderful thing.

Here my Bosch mixer is doing what it does best.

Here is the dough once it has been mixed.  Be sure to notice how sticky it still is – you want it that way.

The dough turned  out on a  floured counter top.  Since this is a sticky dough you will need to add enough flour to work with it.  Don’t over do it though…just enough to be able to handle the dough.  The stickier the dough – the moister the rolls will be.

Here is the silky smooth dough after it has been lightly kneaded (very little) and shaped.  You will put this into a greased bowl and turn once so that each side is coated.  Cover with a dish towel and put into a warm place to rise.  I turn the warmer on my oven on the low setting for just a very short few minutes and then turn it off.  The oven holds the warmth nicely causing a nice rise for your rolls.  Remember, you can not leave the warm setting on…it will be too much heat.

You will let this rise, until doubled in size, and then roll out into a rectangular shape about 1/4 inch thick using a rolling pin.  Once the dough is shaped you will brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with a very generous sprinkling of the sugars, pumpkin pie spice, and chopped nuts.  Our favorite are walnuts, but pecans are good, and any nuts are optional.  Amounts really don’t matter much here.  Just use your own tastes in determining how sweet, pumpkin-y spicy, and nutty you want to to be.

Next, starting from the long edge of the rectangle you will carefully roll up into one long roll, stretching slightly after rolling.  Yep, we thought it kind of looked like an elephant’s trunk too!

You’re going to cut off and discard the very end of the roll, so that you can begin slicing the roll in to those yummy individual slices.

Ahhh…we forgot to take a picture of this step, but we slice the pumpkin cinnamon rolls using dental floss.  You just slide the floss under the rolls at the desired thickness you want and draw up the edges of the floss, letting each side cross past the other, until the floss is pulled through the dough, slicing each one into a perfect round.  Remember, you are not going through the motions of tying a knot…you’re simple crossing past at the top.

Then you place the rolls into a baking pan cover and let rise again.

 This is how they look after they have risen.  These are in the oven – we had actually just started baking them at this point.

While baking you’ll want to mix your icing and have that ready when the rolls are done.  Be careful not to over bake.  I like the very center of my roll to be a bit doughy…um-mm.  We let ours cool just ever-so-slightly before icing.

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The pumpkin puree in these will create a slightly denser dough.  These aren’t always quite as light and airy as traditional Cinnamon Rolls – but these pumpkin cinnamon rolls are every bit as delicious.  You will not be disappointed – I promise.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Serving Up Southern


  • I cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons of yeast, or 2 packages
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour (may need more

For the Sugar Mixture:

  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup butter
  • brown sugar
  • sugar
  • pumpkin pie spice

For the Icing:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon milk may need more


  • Dissolve yeast in warm water with about a teaspoon of sugar for 3 minutes. Add the cake mix, 1 cup of the flour, eggs, oil, and the salt. Beat with beater until bubbles appear. (I use my Bosch mixer, but a KitchenAid, or hand mixer will work.)
  • Slowly add the remaining flour. If you do not have a Bosch or a stand mixer, stir with a spoon, making a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and lightly need and shape into a large round disk.
  • Place dough into a greased bowl, turning once to coat both sides of dough. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until it's doubled in size. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface and roll into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.

For the Sugar Mixture:

  • Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter onto the rolled dough. Then, sprinkle with a very generous sprinkling of sugar, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Roll up starting from the long edge of the rectangle - jelly roll style - stretching it out.
  • Using dental floss, slice into about 1 1/2 inch slices. Put the rolls into a lightly greased pan, cover, and let rise.
  • Put into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 14 to 20 minutes. Times will vary according to different ovens. Watch closely to avoid over baking.

For the Icing:

  • Combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup, and pumpkin pies spice and mix well with an electric mixer. I usually mix this before adding the tablespoon of milk. If it is to thick, add the tablespoon of milk (or more) until you reach the desired consistency. Be careful not to add to much milk, resulting in your icing being to runny.

Disclaimer: Nutritional values (per serving) are approximates only and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

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