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Pumpkin Dinner Rolls are soft on the inside and perfectly baked on the outside. These make a fun and delicious addition to any fall meal and will be extra special on your Thanksgiving table!

Tis’ the season for all things pumpkin! If you love pumpkin recipes as much as we do, be sure to check out these Twice Glazed Pumpkin Scones, Cheesy Tortellini & Chicken Pumpkin Bake, and this delicious Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread.

a basket filled with warm pumpkin dinner rolls shaped like pumpkins.

These fun little rolls will make a real statement at any event! Not only are they pumpkin-shaped but they also have pumpkin in the batter, making a beautiful orange dinner roll! These rolls taste like delicious dinner rolls, nice and soft, great served with butter!

Serve these pumpkin dinner rolls as a solid companion to any of your fall meals (especially soups!). Or if you’re trying to figure out how to use up that random can of pumpkin in your pantry, this recipe is for you!

They are delicious as is with regular butter or you can spread whipped cinnamon honey butter on one when you’re wanting a treat but craving something a little less sweet than pie.

a pumpkin-shaped dinner roll with a pretzel rod for a stem.

Why this recipe works

  • They look like you spent ages shaping them when in reality it’s just a little bit of string and the natural rising process that does the work for you!
  • The pumpkin flavor is subtle but adds depth and dimension, not to mention it does a great job of keeping these rolls fluffy and moist.
  • These are perfect all season long, but are especially great for your Thanksgiving table or a Halloween feast.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Flour: Bread flour or all-purpose flour can be used for this recipe, although bread flour will result in a chewier texture.
  • Pumpkin puree: Make sure you don’t pick up pumpkin pie filling by mistake. I like to use homemade pumpkin puree when I have it on hand!
  • Active dry yeast: You can buy small packets or in bulk and store it in the fridge if you are a frequent bread maker. Instant yeast can be used instead and you can skip the proofing process.
  • Food safe twine: We use twine to help us get the pumpkin shape.
labeled ingredients for making pumpkin shaped rolls.

How to Make Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

  1. Warm the milk. In a small bowl or measuring cup, warm the milk to 100-110 degrees in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.
  2. Add the yeast and about a teaspoon of the sugar to the warm milk. Gently stir, then lit sit for 5 minutes to proof until foamy.
  1. Mix pumpkin, sugar, salt, butter & egg. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the pumpkin puree, remaining sugar, salt, melted butter, and egg.
  2. Add Yeast. When the yeast is bubbly, add it to the bowl with the pumpkin mixture. Then using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until combined.
  3. Slowly add in the flour 1 cup at a time, switching to the dough hook about halfway through.
  1. Add more flour if needed. This dough will be soft and sticky but should pull away from the edges of the bowl after kneading for 2-3 minutes. If not, add an additional 1/2 cup to full cup of flour.
  2. Knead the dough for 7-10 minutes until smooth.
  3. Allow the dough to rise. Pour a little oil into the bottom of a large, clean bowl. Form the dough into a ball and roll it in the oil to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let it sit in a warm spot for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
  1. Prepare the twine. While the dough is rising, cut 64, 10-inch pieces of food safe twine. Place the cut twine in a small bowl with 1-2 tablespoons of oil and let it soak. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.
  1. Divide the dough. Once the dough has risen, dump it onto a lightly oiled work surface. Cut into 16 equal pieces. Take each piece and shape into a ball by pulling all of the edges to the center and pinching to seal. Set aside.
  1. Arrange the twine. Take 4 pieces of the soaked twine. Arrange them so that the center of each piece of twine crosses the others and fans out to look like a sliced pie, making sure all of the sections are equal in size.
  2. Shape your pumpkin rolls. Take one of the balls of dough and place it seam-side down in the center of the twine. Lift the ends of one of the pieces of twine and gently tie it together over the top of the ball of dough. Repeat this with each of the remaining 3 pieces of twine. Trim any excess twine, then transfer the tied ball of dough onto the prepared baking sheets with the knot-side down.
  3. Repeat the process of tying all the balls of dough and arrange them on the baking sheets with plenty of space between them so they can rise and expand.
  4. Allow to rise a second time. Cover the tied rolls loosely with a piece of plastic wrap or a towel and place in a warm spot to rise for another 30-60 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
  1. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until done. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  1. Remove twine. Once cooled, gently cut and remove the twine from each roll.
  2. Add the stem. Cut off 1.5-inches from the end of each pretzel rod to create the stems. Gently insert the cut-end of each pretzel piece into the center of the tops of the rolls to finish the pumpkins. Enjoy!

Recipe FAQ’s

Can I use fresh pumpkin puree?

Yes, it’s easy and delicious! Use this Homemade Pumpkin Puree Recipe to learn how to make your own!

Can you make the dough ahead of time?

Possibly, but it is not advised to leave it in the fridge for more than a day, maybe two. If you go this route, stick it in the fridge for a long first rise and then bring the dough back to room temperature before continuing with the rest of the process. I would image like many bread dough recipes that you could also freeze the rolls after shaping them, then tie the frozen balls of dough before letting them thaw and rise on the counter, but I haven’t tried it yet with these. Feel free to experiment with this one and let me know your results in the comments!

a basket lined with a linen napkin and filled with homemade pumpkin dinner rolls.

Recipe Tips

  • Storing: Dinner rolls will keep in an airtight container on the counter for 2-3 days, although they are always best eaten fresh.
  • Freezing: These rolls freeze great in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: Bring the rolls to room temperature and then you can warm them up in the oven at 300 degrees F until they are hot (about 4-5 minutes).
  • Don’t have pretzels? You could use roasted almonds or pecans instead of pretzels for the “stems”.
a hand holding a buttered pumpkin roll.

More Creative Ways To Use Pumpkin

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Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls are soft on the inside and perfectly baked on the outside. These make a fun and delicious addition to any fall meal and will be extra special on your Thanksgiving table!
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Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Rising Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 16 rolls
Calories: 198kcal
Author: Amy Nash

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra, if needed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 pretzel rods
  • 2-3 Tablespoons oil
  • Food safe twine

Instructions

  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, warm the milk to 100-110 degrees in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.
  • Add the yeast and about a teaspoon of the sugar to the warm milk. Gently stir, then lit sit for 5 minutes to proof until foamy.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the pumpkin puree, remaining sugar, salt, melted butter, and egg.
  • When the yeast is bubbly, add it to the bowl with the pumpkin mixture. Then using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until combined.
  • Slowly add in the flour 1 cup at a time, switching to the dough hook about halfway through.
  • This dough will be soft and sticky but should pull away from the edges of the bowl after kneading for 2-3 minutes. If not, add an additional 1/2 cup to full cup of flour.
  • Knead the dough for 7-10 minutes until smooth.
  • Pour a little oil into the bottom of a large, clean bowl. Form the dough into a ball and roll it in the oil to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let it sit in a warm spot for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
  • While the dough is rising, cut 64, 10-inch pieces of food safe twine. Place the cut twine in a small bowl with 1-2 tablespoons of oil and let it soak. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.
  • Once the dough has risen, dump it onto a lightly oiled work surface. Cut into 16 equal pieces. Take each piece and shape into a ball by pulling all of the edges to the center and pinching to seal. Set aside.
  • Take 4 pieces of the soaked twine. Arrange them so that the center of each piece of twine crosses the others and fans out to look like a sliced pie, making sure all of the sections are equal in size.
  • Take one of the balls of dough and place it seam-side down in the center of the twine. Lift the ends of one of the pieces of twine and gently tie it together over the top of the ball of dough. Repeat this with each of the remaining 3 pieces of twine. Trim any excess twine, then transfer the tied ball of dough onto the prepared baking sheets with the knot-side down.
  • Repeat the process of tying all the balls of dough and arrange them on the baking sheets with plenty of space between them so they can rise and expand.
  • Cover the tied rolls loosely with a piece of plastic wrap or a towel and place in a warm spot to rise for another 30-60 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until done. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Once cooled, gently cut and remove the twine from each roll.
  • Cut off 1.5-inches from the end of each pretzel rod to create the stems. Gently insert the cut-end of each pretzel piece into the center of the tops of the rolls to finish the pumpkins. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Substitutions: Almonds can be used in place of the pretzel rods for stems.
  • Storing: Dinner rolls will keep in an airtight container on the counter for 2-3 days, although they are always best eaten fresh.
  • Freezing: These rolls freeze great in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: Bring the rolls to room temperature by thawing on the counter (if frozen) and then you can warm them up in the oven at 300 degrees F until they are hot (about 4-5 minutes).

Nutrition

Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 259mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 2mg
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