These ooey gooey vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls are a delicious treat to make for breakfast or brunch. They’re made with bread flour, which gives them the perfect fluffy texture.
Have you ever made homemade cinnamon rolls? They were Isaac’s grandma’s specialty and although I wasn’t lucky enough to learn from her, I figured I would take a stab at a festive version for the holidays. Luckily, a friend of mine, who went to culinary school and is now a pastry chef, actually came over the first time I attempted to create this recipe and helped me a ton.
The first batch was good, but a little dry and the rolls weren’t super fluffy, so I tweaked the recipe a bit and the result is the recipe I’m sharing today.
I have to say, these pumpkin cinnamon rolls are the real deal! They’re vegan, but still quite indulgent for an EBF breakfast recipe. I promise they’re worth it and they taste just as good as cinnamon rolls made with dairy – trust me!
Why You Need to Make These Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
They’re soft, fluffy and loaded with cinnamon goodness!
Perfect for a weekend brunch or holiday meal.
The pumpkin adds great flavor and helps to keep these cinnamon rolls moist!
water – we’re mixing the yeast into warm water until it dissolves. You want to make sure your water is warm but not hot (around 105°–115°F) otherwise it could kill off the yeast! You can also use unsweetened almond milk or any unsweetened non-dairy milk.
bread flour – I like using bread flour because it results in lighter, fluffier cinnamon rolls, but all-purpose flour will also work. I don’t recommend using gluten-free flour as that will result in a completely different texture. If you’re looking for a gluten-free version, try my recipe for gluten-free cinnamon rolls.
coconut sugar – to help activate the yeast. Cane sugar works as well.
salt – to bring all the flavors together.
pumpkin puree – you can use canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin puree. If using store-bought, just make sure the ingredient list is only “pumpkin” – you don’t want to accidentally buy pumpkin pie filling, which has added sugars.
coconut oil – for the dough and cinnamon sugar filling. Vegan butter will work as a substitute.
brown sugar – we’re mixing this with cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar filling.
ground cinnamon – can’t have cinnamon rolls without lots of cinnamon!
glaze – almond milk and confectioners’ sugar or powdered sugar. If you want a different frosting idea you could make my cream cheese frosting with vegan cream cheese and vegan yogurt to make a vegan cream cheese frosting!
How to Make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
First thing first, cinnamon rolls do take a little bit of attention and time, so make sure you have enough time set aside for this process!
Combine yeast and milk: Stir yeast into 1/3 warm water until dissolved. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Make dough: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer and combine using the dough hook on low speed for about 1 minute. In a separate bowl, mix together your wet ingredients – the pumpkin puree, coconut oil and warm water. Start your mixer at low speed and add your yeast and pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients slowly.
Mix at medium-low speed for five minutes or until the dough is smooth. Increase the speed to medium and mix for two minutes. This is technically the “kneading” process, but you’re using the mixer to do the work rather than doing it by hand. You’ll know the dough is done kneading and ready when it makes a slapping sound as it hits the side of the bowl.
Let dough rise: Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for one hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Make filling and prepare pan: While your dough rises, make the cinnamon sugar filling by stirring together the brown sugar, cinnamon and coconut oil in a bowl. Prepare your baking dish by greasing it with coconut oil.
Roll out dough: After your dough has doubled in size, it’s time to roll it out! Sprinkle extra flour on your surface and rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle that’s about 12 inches wide by 14 inches long.
Spread cinnamon sugar mixture: Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over dough and smear it all over the surface with your fingers.
Cut rolls: Starting at the top, roll the dough toward you into a large log, moving back and forth down the line of the dough, always rolling toward you. Roll it tightly as you go so the rolls will be nice and neat. When it’s all rolled up, pinch the seam closed and turn the roll over so the seam side is down. Cut the “log” crosswise into 12 one-inch-thick pieces and place on a prepared baking sheet or pie pan.
Let rise: Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Bake and serve: Once doubled in size, bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Make your frosting in a small bowl and spread over the warm rolls. Enjoy!
Tips For Success
Use warm water. You want your water to be warm to the touch, but not hot. It should be around 105°–115°F. If it’s not warm enough the yeast might not activate and if it’s too hot it could kill off the yeast! If it gets too hot you can let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to cool down.
Grease bowl/pan. Make sure to grease the bowl and pan that you are letting your cinnamon rolls rise in. As the dough rises, it could stick to the dish and tear instead of rising.
Let rise in a warm spot. Make sure you’re letting your dough rise in a warm location in your house. If you’re in a rush and want your dough to rise faster there are a few things you can do to try and speed up the process. If you have a bread-proofing option on your oven you can turn that on and place your dough in the oven covered. Another option is to wet a kitchen towel with hot water, ring it out and then place it over the plastic wrap. This will add more warmth to the dough and help it to rise faster.
Use a serrated knife for cutting. When cutting the rolls, use a serrated knife. It makes all the difference, trust me! You can also use plain dental floss to cut the rolls.
What to Serve with Cinnamon Rolls
I am already dreaming up an epic spread for Christmas morning or Easter brunch to pair with these pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Here’s what I’m thinking would pair well with them:
Spinach Quiche – I love pairing sweet and savory for brunch and this dairy-free spinach quiche is one of my favorites for brunch.
Fruit Salad – Fruit is always a good brunch option. I love this simple mixed berry fruit salad.
Kale Pomegranate Salad – I love serving a green salad at brunch and this kale pomegranate salad is perfect for Christmas!
Pumpkin Spice Latte – Definitely have to serve cinnamon rolls with some sort of coffee to sip on and this pumpkin spice latte is so delicious! If you’re looking for a chilled option, this cold brew coffee would be perfect.
Mimosas – To round out this special brunch, I would serve these cinnamon rolls with mimosas. I also have these apple cider mimosas which are delicious!
How to Prep These Cinnamon Rolls in Advance (Overnight Method)
If you want to prep these cinnamon rolls the night before, follow the instructions through step 9 (placing the cinnamon rolls into the prepared baking dish), then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning pull the pan from the fridge and let the rolls rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours or until the rolls have doubled in size, then bake as directed.
How to Freeze Cinnamon Rolls
If you want to freeze these cinnamon rolls before baking, follow the instructions through step 9 (placing the cinnamon rolls into the prepared baking dish), then cover well and place in the freezer. When ready to bake, pull the cinnamon rolls from the freezer to thaw in the fridge overnight. The next morning let the rolls rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours or until the rolls have doubled in size, then bake as directed.
After baking, allow the cinnamon rolls to cool completely, cover the pan and place in the freezer. You can also freeze the individual cinnamon rolls. Just make sure they’re stored in a freezer-safe container and covered tightly. I’ve found it’s best to freeze them without the frosting and add that once you’ve reheated them. When ready to enjoy, thaw the cinnamon rolls and heat in the microwave or toaster oven until warm.
Stir yeast into 1/3 cup warm (105°–115°F) water until dissolved. Let stand 10 minutes.
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of your stand mixer and combine using the dough hook on low speed for about 1 minute.
In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: pumpkin, coconut oil and 1/3 cup warm water. With mixer running at low speed, add yeast mixture and pumpkin mixture to your dry ingredients by pouring them down the inside of the bowl. Increase speed to medium-low, and mix 2 minutes.
Let dough rest 5 minutes. Mix at medium-low speed 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Increase speed to medium and mix 2 minutes. Kneading is done when dough makes a slapping sound as it hits the side of the bowl. Dough temperature should be close to 90°F.
Once combined, place dough in oiled bowl and cover. Let rise 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.
While dough is rising, make cinnamon sugar filling by stirring together brown sugar, cinnamon and coconut oil in a bowl. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking sheet or round 9.5-inch pie pan with coconut oil.
Sprinkle extra flour on your surface and rolling pin and roll dough into 14 x 12-inch rectangle.
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over dough and smear it all over the surface with your fingers.
Starting at the top, roll the dough toward you into a large log, moving back and forth down the line of dough (in a "typewriter" motion) and always rolling toward you. Roll it tightly as you go so the rolls will be nice and neat. When it's all rolled, pinch the seam closed and turn the roll over so that the seam is facing down. Cut roll crosswise into 12 1-inch-thick pieces and place on prepared baking sheet or pie pan.
Cover, and let rise in warm place 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake cinnamon rolls for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden in color and cooked through and no longer doughy.
To make frosting, combine confectioners’ sugar and almond milk in a small bowl. Spread frosting over warm cinnamon rolls and serve.