Pumpkin Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

When Val posted her Rich Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls with Berries and Maple Butter Frosting yesterday I turned into a drooly puddle of self-pity.  I wanted a couple of those rolls badly!  Why oh why do she and Dad live 17 hours away?  Since my next visit from Dad and Val is not  yet scheduled, I had no recourse but to whip up some cinnamon rolls for myself.  And since the fall weather is rolling in *Can I get a big ‘Glory!  Hallelu!’ from someone out there who loves fall like me? I decided to opt for flavors that scream autumn to me; pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. 


In keeping with my philosophy of making mornings as simple and thought-free as possible I employed my usual morning bread modus operandi:  I made the dough the night before, rolled it out, 


…brushed the dough with butter and sprinkled with a cinnamon/nutmeg sugar.


…Cut the the filled and rolled dough and put into greased baking pans and then into the fridge for the night.


In the morning they looked like this!

After 30 minutes in a 350°F oven, they were almost ready to eat…

Since they’re healthy rolls made with pumpkin and whole wheat flour you can get generous with the cream cheese icing and they cancel each other out, right?


They’re on the plate… I’m holding the kids off with a stick…

Behold!  Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing.  A more perfect fall breakfast there never was!




Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing



These rolls are redolent with fall flavors; pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg! They’re a little less guilty-feeling than the usual cinnamon rolls since they’re made with whole wheat flour and wonderful-for-you pumpkin.


A note about the method: I started these the night before I wanted to serve them. You can certainly make them in one day, just allow the second rise to occur on your countertop instead of in the fridge. And if you inhabit a parallel universe where you do not love cinnamon as much as we do you can reduce the amount of cinnamon called for in the recipe.





  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin or mashed, cooked, drained pumpkin
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast (or 2 packages dry yeast)
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur White Wheat)
  • canola oil, for brushing dough before rising (This is only needed if you’re using the manual method!)



  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter


  • ¼ cup cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar


Bread Machine Dough Method:


Put the milk and butter in a microwave safe container and heat until the butter is mostly melted into the milk. Pour into your bread machine’s pan and add all the remaining ingredients for the dough in the pan in the manufacturer’s recommended order. Progam for the dough cycle and press ‘start’. I’ll catch up with you in a minute. Please allow me to go over the manual instructions for those without the indentured servants…


Manual Dough Method:


Put the milk and butter in a microwave save container and heat until butter is mostly melted into the milk. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, butter, pumpkin, sugar, and salt until evenly combined. Add 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast to the bowl and stir with a large wooden spoon until smooth. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and stir until a soft dough comes together. You may need to add a little extra flour to make the dough workable, but only add it 1 Tablespoon at a time so that it doesn’t get too dry. This is supposed to be a very soft dough! Lightly flour your countertop and knead the dough for a couple turns until you have a smooth dough. Lightly grease another large bowl and turn dough into it. Rub the surface of the dough lightly with a neutral oil, such as canola, cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.




In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling. Set aside to prepare the dough.


On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a 24″ x 10″ rectangle. Brush generously with melted butter to within ½” of the edges. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar mixture. Roll up from a long side in jelly-roll style. You can use a bench knife to help you along if your dough is sticking a little. Pinch the seams shut to seal. Using a sharp knife- preferably serrated- cut the roll into 24- 1″ slices. Grease 2- 9″ square baking pans. Place 12 rolls in each pan with cut sides facing up and down. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise overnight in the fridge.


About an hour before you want to serve the rolls, remove plastic wrap from the rolls and set in an oven with the light on. Place a pan of boiling water on the rack below the rolls, close the oven and allow to warm for about 30 minutes. When you can no longer feel a chill coming from the dough when your hand is lightly placed on top, remove pans from the oven and preheat to 350F.


Bake rolls for about 30 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Remove from oven to a rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes.


While rolls are cooling, whisk together the cream cheese and milk. Add the powdered sugar and whisk vigorously until smooth.


Turn rolls out on a plate if desired or leave in the pan and drizzle with the cream cheese icing.  EAT!  EAT, I say before the children get them all!


  1. Rebecca says

    Hot Garlic- Thanks, lady. Can I help you back up?

    Cecil- I’d never had them either. Let’s call it inspiration!

    RecipeGirl- Thank you! They were divine. I’d highly recommend giving them a whirl.

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