Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls are quite literally heaven on Earth. If you're a fan of regular sourdough cinnamon rolls, then hold onto your hat, these are going to knock it off!
These rolls elevate the classic with the enchanting flavor and luscious texture of pumpkin puree, taking your taste buds on a remarkable journey.
The harmonious union of sourdough's tang, pumpkin's natural sweetness, and the silky decadence of cream cheese icing (or glaze depending on where in the world you live) creates an irresistable symphony of flavors.
The dough is enriched with both pumpkin puree and butter making it a pleasure to work with. It will be silky and fairly easy to shape.
The enriched dough gives you a spongy, soft and all round delicious cinnamon roll that will have you eating more than one of these scrumptious buns!
What You'll Love About This Recipe!
Absolute Comfort Food - These gorgeously fluffy sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls are the comfort food you seek on those chilly fall mornings. Full of warming pumpkin pie spice and delicious autumnal color, you will love these rolls as a sweet breakfast treat or the centrepiece of a special brunch.
Full of Real Pumpkin - This soft and fluffy dough is full of real pumpkin, giving your rolls a wonderful color, texture and flavor.
Leavened with Sourdough Starter - And as a sourdough lover, the best thing is that these sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls are leavened with sourdough starter which give them a tangy flavor. Of course you can choose to add sourdough discard plus yeast instead of active starter if you wish (and there are notes for this further down).
A Note on Pumpkin Puree
I have chosen to use a homemade pumpkin puree. We grow pumpkins so I need to use them up (even out of pumpkin season we seem to have so many) ... plus there is no option to buy canned pumpkin puree where I live (or a pumpkin spice latte which also makes me sad lol).
If you are able to purchase it though, canned pumpkin will work just fine. And is a much more convenient option to making your own.
It also tends to be solid rather than liquid so is a great option. Just remember not to use pumpkin pie filling as this is different to pumpkin puree.
If you are going to make your own pumpkin puree, try not to puree it too much so that it becomes too liquefied.
When I first started making pumpkin puree I would cook the pumpkin down in a pot before pureeing, however I have recently changed and I now bake the pumpkin with the skin on and once cooled, scrape the flesh into a bowl before pureeing in a high powered blender. This gives me a "drier" pumpkin puree that is much closer to the puree you buy in a can.
If you have some extra pumpkin puree to use up, why not try these pumpkin sourdough muffins.
How To Make Pumpkin Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
If you've made sourdough cinnamon rolls before, then making pumpkin sourdough cinnamon rolls is not that different, only that you're adding pumpkin puree to the dough. Don't be put off or think that the dough will be hard to handle - it's silky smooth and elastic!
You can make the dough in a stand mixer or you could choose to knead it by hand, it's really up to you.
Making The Dough
Add milk and pumpkin puree into the bowl of your mixer and blend until they are mixed together (you can use the paddle attachment for this step).
Add your bubbly sourdough starter and gently mix it through the milk and pumpkin.
Now add the brown sugar, egg and all purpose flour and mix through.
Leave the mixture to autolyse for around 30 minutes (just pop a dish towel over the stand mixer bowl).
Now add the butter and salt to the mixture. Let your stand mixer knead the dough for around 3 - 6 minutes (you should use the dough hook for this).
Mix the dough for another 3 minutes or until it's smooth and slapping the sides of the bowl.
Once you're happy with the dough and it's silky smooth, place it into a glass or ceramic bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel.
Leave your dough to bulk ferment at room temperature. You'll want the dough rise to be around 50% for this, you do not want it to double.
Before the dough has finished rising, mix together the filling for your homemade cinnamon rolls so that it's ready to use when your dough has risen.
Shaping & Filling The Rolls
Before you start to shape the rolls, take a cake tin and line it with parchment or baking paper.
Once the dough has finished the bulk ferment lightly flour your counter and gently ease it out of the bowl onto a clean work surface. I don't flour the surface but you can if you want to.
Gently ease your dough out into a large rectangle using your fingertips. Use a rolling pin if you prefer.
Take your filling that you mixed up and spread it all over the dough rectangle, leaving a small margin on one side to close the rolls up.
Once the filling has been spread, roll the dough into a tight log, finishing with the seam underneath the log.
Once the log is rolled use dental floss to cut them (trust me it works). If you don't have dental floss, a sharp knife is fine.
Place the pumpkin cinnamon rolls into the tin, with the seams facing inwards so they don't pop open in the oven.
Now your cinnamon rolls are shaped, you need to let them rise again and fill out the tin. This will take a few hours (but may take more or less depending on your starter and the temperature of your home).
Once the cinnamon rolls have puffed up you need to bake them. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and place the tin in the middle of your oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
Once the cinnamon rolls are cool you can frost them with vanilla cream cheese frosting.
To make the vanilla cream cheese frosting, add the powdered sugar, cream cheese and vanilla extract to your stand mixer and whip until it's thick and glossy (check out other topping ideas below).
Use a spatula or knife to spread the frosting onto your sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
Using Sourdough Discard
This recipe and suggested timeline has been written with active sourdough starter in mind, that is sourdough starter that has been fed and is at its peak. If you would prefer to use sourdough discard, you will need to add 7g of commercial yeast (you can use instant yeast or dry active yeast).
The process of making the dough is exactly the same, except that the timing will be much faster if you are using commercial yeast. This is a good option if you need the rolls in a hurry or you're still in the early stages of developing a sourdough starter and it's not quite strong enough yet.
Selecting A Pan for Sourdough Pumpkin Rolls
I like to bake these in a square tin, but you can use whatever you have on hand. A round, springform tin is a good option too or a cast iron skillet for a more homely feel. Even a rectangle baking dish is fine.
My Pumpkin Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls do come out a little square, but honestly they still taste amazing so it's really a small detail!
I line my tin with baking paper so that when the rolls are done I can easily lift them out and break them up into individual rolls.
Lining your tin with baking or parchment paper is important so that the sugar in the filling of the rolls doesn't stick to the tin.
Baker's Timeline for Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
The Night Before (Day 1)
Feed your sourdough starter a bigger ratio like 1:3:3 so that it will peak in the morning when you want to mix the dough for your sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
The Next Day (Day 2)
Mix and knead dough for sourdough cinnamon rolls.
Cover dough and allow to bulk ferment (you want the dough to rise around 50%).
Roll out dough, spread filling and roll. Cut into individual rolls and place into cast iron skillet.
Allow rolls to sit for around an hour before covering in plastic wrap and placing into fridge for the night.
Take rolls out of the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature.
Bake the sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls (make frosting while they're baking).
Allow rolls to cool for around 30 minutes then smother in frosting and enjoy!
Frosting Ideas for Sourdough Pumpkin Rolls
I'm not going to lie, I adore vanilla cream cheese frosting and could eat it on pretty much anything, but if that's not your jam, then you might like to try some of these ideas for topping your warm sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls:
- Whipped Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese -
- Maple Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting - swap out the vanilla extract for 20g of pure maple syrup in the icing recipe below.
- Maple Glaze
- Powdered Sugar
How To Store + Freeze
These sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls are best eaten the day they are baked - fresh is best! Once they've been frosted or iced, they are harder to store because they will be sticky. If you are wanting to eat them the day after baking (if you have a few left over) I recommend warming them just slightly in the microwave to soften them a little.
You can also freeze these - the icing is fine to freeze too.
I prepare them as if we are going to eat them straight away and then place the whole thing into a large plastic container and then straight into the freezer.
They will last up to 3 months like this and are the perfect thing to whip out for unexpected visitors!
Just take the lid off the container and let them defrost at room temp. Don't try to heat them or the icing will melt!
If you wanted to freeze them without the icing, then you would be able to warm them in the oven first before icing or frosting them.
Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
For The Dough
- 100 g Sourdough Starter fed and bubbly
- 100 g Milk
- 100 g Pumpkin Puree canned or homemade
- 30 g Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 60 g Butter
- 375 g Bread Flour you can sub All Purpose
- 7 g Salt
For The Filling
- 40 g Butter
- 60 g Brown Sugar
- 7 g Cinnamon Ground
For The Icing
- 70 g Cream Cheese use a block, not spreadable cream cheese
- 20 g Butter
- 150 g Powdered Sugar icing sugar
- 5 g Vanilla Extract
- Premix & Autolyse:Add milk and pumpkin puree into the bowl of your mixer and blend until they are mixed together (it doesn't have to be smooth, just combined).
- Add your sourdough starter and gently mix it through the milk and pumpkin.
- Now add the sugar, egg and flour and mix through for around 1 minute or until a shaggy dough forms.If you are using a Thermomix, use the dough function for around 30 seconds.Leave the mixture to autolyse for around 30 minutes.
- Kneading The Dough:Now add the butter and salt to the mixture. Let your stand mixer knead the dough for around 3 - 6 minutes. The dough should start to become smooth and silky. Once it's become quite smooth, let the dough rest for around 30 minutes.If you are using a Thermomix, use the dough function for 3 minutes.
- Mix the dough for another 3 minutes or until it's smooth and slapping the sides of the bowl.If you are using a Thermomix, use the dough function for 3 minutes.Once you're happy with the dough and it's silky smooth, place it into a glass or ceramic bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Bulk Ferment:Leave your dough to bulk ferment - it needs to double before you move onto the next stage. The time it takes to bulk ferment will depend on your starter, as well as the temperature in your home. If you want to leave the dough overnight, I would reduce the starter to 50g.
- Before the dough has finished rising, mix together the filling for your cinnamon rolls so that it's ready to use when your dough has risen. You can mix the ingredients with a fork or in a stand mixer, it's up to you. I find it easy to mash together with a fork (less washing up). Mix the butter, cinnamon and brown sugar together to form a paste. Set aside until your dough is ready to shape.
- Shaping The Rolls:Before you start to shape the rolls, take a cake tin and line it with parchment or baking paper. You want to have this ready to go as it will make things easier once the rolls are shaped. You can scrunch up the parchment paper to make it fit into the tin. I use a square tin but you can use round if you'd prefer.
- Once the dough has finished the bulk ferment lightly flour your counter and gently ease it out of the bowl. Try to get the smooth side of the dough onto the counter and the sticky side facing up. Gently ease your dough out into a rectangle using your fingertips. You can use a rolling pin if you want to, but your hands are fine too. Pop any large bubbles that have formed and gently de-gas the dough as you go.You can see I had a little helper for this batch
- Take your filling that you mixed up and spread it all over the dough rectangle, leaving a small margin on one side to close the rolls up.
- Once the filling has been spread, roll the dough into a tight log, finishing with the seam underneath the log. Try to get it as tight and even as you can to give you nicely coiled rolls. Try to work quickly as the butter in this dough means that it has the tendency to "melt" under the heat of your hands.
- Once the log is rolled, cut it in half and then into halves again. Cut each small log into 3 rolls. You should end up with 16 rolls (give or take a few). You can cut the rolls with a sharp knife, or if you want an exact finish, use dental floss to cut them (trust me it works).Place the pumpkin cinnamon rolls into the tin, with the seams facing inwards so they don't pop open in the oven.If you are wanting to pause the process so you can bake them tomorrow - here is where you would wrap the tin in plastic wrap and place them into the fridge.
- Second Rise:Now your cinnamon rolls are shaped, you need to let them rise again and fill out the tin. This will take a few hours (but may take more or less depending on your starter and the temperature of your home).
- Baking Time:Once the cinnamon rolls have puffed up you need to bake them. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and place the tin in the middle of your oven. Bake for 30 minutes - keep a close eye on them as the sugar can catch very quickly. Cool your cinnamon rolls in the tin for around 30 minutes and then place onto a rack to cool.
- Icing The Rolls:Once the cinnamon rolls are cool you can ice them.Add the icing sugar, cream cheese and vanilla to your stand mixer and whip until it's thick and glossy. Use a spatula or knife to spread the icing onto your sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls. How thick you make the icing is up to you - I like it thick - but you can just add a thin layer if you'd prefer.The cinnamon rolls are best eaten or frozen within 24 hours of baking ... if they even last that long!