Pumpkin Brioche Cinnamon Rolls

pumpkin cinnamon rolls

This post was originally published on November 19, 2009. May I recommend these for Thanksgiving breakfast?

I like these pumpkin cinnamon rolls a lot.

In case it seems like I’m damning them with faint praise, consider that I’ve spent the past two weeks in class redefining my relationship with butter. Brioche à tête. Brioche sucrée. More brioche à tête. Cinnamon rolls. Sticky buns. Brioche tarts. Brioche tartlets. Brioche coffee cake. Strawberry brioche. Gibassier. Stollen. Panettone. Pan d’oro. And let’s not forget croissants 521 ways.

They’re delicious, they’re beautiful, they’re fun to make, every one of them. So I truly mean no disrespect when I say Stop! I’m supersaturated! Quick, someone give me a lima bean (and if you know me, you’ll recognize a truly desperate plea here.)

But back to the rolls. I made them at home, the weekend before we started this descent into the sweet, rich, yeasty madness known as the Viennoiserie unit. I guess I thought… well, clearly I was unencumbered by the thought process, as Click and Clack would say.

But I can I still say like these rolls, and right now, that’s saying a lot. Maybe you’ll like them too.

Pumpkin Brioche Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 8 rolls


  • Mix pumpkin brioche: about 15 minutes
  • First fermentation, 1 hour, plus overnight (8 – 12 hours) in the refrigerator
  • Prepare pepita cream: 10 minutes (can be prepared in advance)
  • Shape: 15 minutes
  • Proof: about 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Bake: 20 minutes
  • Cool and ice: 10 minutes


  • 750 g pumpkin brioche dough (recipe follows) that has been fermented overnight, rolled into an 8 x 10-inch rectangle, and chilled
  • 1/4 cup pepita cream, at room temperature (optional; recipe follows)
  • 44 g granulated sugar
  • 44 g brown sugar
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 85 g toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 120 g powdered sugar, sifted
  • about 2 T. warm milk


    1. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
    2. In a food processor, pulse the pumpkin seeds a few times until about half are finely chopped (the rest will be coarsely chopped).
    3. On a lightly-floured counter, roll the chilled pumpkin brioche dough into a rectangle 11 inches long and 16 inches wide.
    4. Smear the entire surface of the dough with pepita cream in a very thin layer, leaving a 1-inch margin along one short edge of the dough. Brush the margin with water. (Alternatively, omit the pepita cream and brush the entire dough rectangle with water.)
    5. Sprinkle the pepita cream evenly with cinnamon sugar mixture, then chopped pumpkin seeds, maintaining the 1-inch margin.

ready to roll

    1. Starting at the edge opposite the sugar-free margin, roll the dough into a log.
    2. Cut the roll into 8 rounds and space them 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

cut cinnamon rolls

  1. Cover and proof for about 1 hour and 45 minutes at room temperature, until the indentation left by a fingertip springs back very slowly.
  2. Meanwhile, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 380F.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown.
  4. Slide the rolls, still on their parchment, onto a cooling rack.
  5. To make the icing, whisk warm milk into powdered sugar until just of drizzle-able consistency. Drizzle the icing over the buns while they are still warm, but not hot.
  6. Serve the rolls while still warm, or freeze and warm before serving.

Pumpkin Brioche Dough

Yield: about 1800 g

Note: this is a lot more dough than is needed for 8 cinnamon rolls (750 g). The recipe can be scaled down, or use the remaining dough for a tart, or make extra rolls to feed your freezer.


  • Mix dough: about 15 minutes
  • First fermentation: 1 hour at room temperature, then overnight in the refrigerator
  • Divide and preshape: 10 minutes
  • Chill: 20 minutes
  • Shape: varies
  • Proof: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
  • Bake: varies


  • 768 g flour
  • 40 g (about 2) egg yolks, cold
  • 100 g (about 2) whole eggs, cold
  • 425 g (one can) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 14 g ( 4.5 t.) instant yeast
  • 14 g (2-1/3 t.) salt
  • 2 g (3/4 t.) ground cinnamon
  • 2 g (3/4 t.) ground ginger
  • 1 g (1/2 t.) ground nutmeg
  • 1 g (1/2 t.) ground cardamom
  • 154 g sugar
  • 307 g unsalted butter, at room temperature


  1. Place flour, eggs, pumpkin, yeast, salt, and spices in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix at low speed for about 4 minutes. It is normal for the dough to be quite stiff at this point.
  2. With the mixer in medium speed, add the sugar very slowly, in 3 or 4 increments. Mix for about 2 minutes following each addition. (If you add the sugar too quickly, mixing will take longer.)
  3. Continue to mix in medium speed until the gluten reaches full development, i.e., you can stretch a paper thin, translucent “windowpane” from the dough.
  4. Turn the mixer back to low speed and add the butter all at once. Mix for a minute in low speed, then turn the mixer to medium speed and mix until the butter is completely incorporated. You should now have a dough that is very soft and satiny, quite extensible (stretchy) but also strong and elastic (springs back after being stretched)
  5. Transfer the dough to a covered, buttered container and ferment at room temperature for one hour.
  6. Press the dough to degas it and refrigerate it overnight (8 – 12 hours).
  7. Divide the and preshape the dough into the sizes and shapes you will need for your final product. (For the tart above, 300 g, preshaped into a ball. For small rolls, 50 g, also balls. For eight cinnamon rolls, 750 g, rolled into an approximately 8 x 10-inch rectangle.)
  8. Space the preshaped dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and slip the sheet into a plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap.
  9. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes to re-chill thoroughly.
  10. The dough is now ready to be shaped, proofed, and baked.

Pepita Cream

Yield: 3/4 cup (1/4 cup is needed for 8 cinnamon rolls)


  • Mix: 10 minutes
  • Refrigerate: up to 2 days (optional)
  • Bring to room temperature: about an hour


  • 56 g toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 56 g fine granulated sugar
  • 18 g flour
  • 1.5 g (1/4 t.)salt
  • 56 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 25 g egg (this is about half an egg; use the other half to egg-wash the tart)
  • 2 g (1/2 t.) vanilla extract


  1. Place pepitas, sugar, flour, and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times, then process until the pepitas are very finely ground.
  2. In a bowl, cream the butter with a hand mixer until fluffy.
  3. Add the egg, vanilla, and a tablespoon or so of the pepita mixture, and beat until the egg is incorporated.
  4. Add the remaining pepita mixture and mix until just incorporated.
  5. Refrigerate for up to two days. Bring to room temperature before using.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Royall says

    Thank you, thank you, Susan! I’m taking the leftover dough out this morning so it will thaw. Can’t wait to try these! If it turns out anything like the tart minus the apples, then I’ll be a happy camper! I’ll send a photo along….. if I don’t screw up that is!! LOL


  2. says

    wow… I LOVE your bread baking and the pumpkin rolls look so great…

    I have been baking out of Peter Reinhart’s “The Bread Bakers Apprentice”. Following a group of baker’s from a blog called “Pinch My Salt”. Have you heard of it? It is a fun group….I really am enjoying the bread baking too…

    More later,

  3. Royall says

    I was going to ask a quick question before I hit the post button the last time….. I’m using ADY and bought the Costco “economy” sized package. Now that I’m learning more about bread, I finding that most bakers recipes are calling for IDY. What is the formula to increase the ADY to work with your recipes? I winged it on your brioche recipe and added about 20g hoping that I didn’t get too carried away!



    • Benjamin says

      If a formula calls for Instant yeast, but you wish to use Active Dry, add 1/3 extra yeast and subtract that same amount of water. For example if a recipe calls for 100 grams of Instant yeast, then you can use 133g active dry yeast and subtract 33g of water from the formula. The reason why bakers prefer to use Instant is that it can be added with the dry ingredients, removing the need to ‘bloom’ in water before use, and the results from Instant tend to be much more consistent. Hope this helps.


  4. says

    The Cinnamon rolls sounds great! I’ve seen cute little butternut pumpkins in the wholefood shop next door but had no Idea how to use them. (Boyfrind said no to pumpkin soup or gnocchis) Now I had one :-D

  5. Royall says

    Rose, you don’t have any idea how yummy the pepita cream is! I was going to save some from the Tart for when I got to do these rolls. NOT! I ended up eating it on homemade bread toast. Raw eggs and all!!! Wonderful.

  6. says

    Pumpkin? Brioche? How could I not love these!

    So… Do you taste everything you make in class? If so, are you getting tired of it? I think I might after awhile. Even if I didn’t, I think I would get even fatter than I am just by being around all of that food!!

  7. Royall says

    I just had my desert. A wonderful Pumpkin Brioche Cinnamon Roll!! It tasted sooo good and I still have enough dough for another batch! Next time though I’m going to add some golden raisins to the filling or maybe some dried apricots soak in a bit of rum! Thanks again Susan for a wonderful and versatile recipe!

  8. says

    Wow, Susan, these are perfect! I think even I would be oversaturated in all that brioche and croissant baking and eating but these do look truly scrumptious!

  9. Lindsay says

    Ah! I just found your website and my heart raced—and then I thought –Oh no! It’s for seasoned bakers only, I’ll bet there is no step by step method….but yes, there it was!

  10. Rod says

    Great dough recipe! I have been “Waiting for Good Dough” for a while to use to make my version of my Slovak grandmother’s kolache, and this is the best I’ve found yet. It is sweet without being too sweet and has a great, moist texture. It also seems to age well as the kolache I made a few days ago with it are still very good.

    Thank you very much for this dough recipe! I wondered how you came up with adding pumpkin puree.

  11. helen says

    I’m in London and we don’t do pumpkin in a tin – any chance this could be done with boiled or roasted pumpkin flesh? Or is there something special about the tinned pumpkin?

    • Heidi Mullin says

      Yes, you can. I deseed my pumpkins, bake until done, scrap out the pumpkin and mash well. I freeze it in baggies of 2 cups each to use all winter long. Tastes great. I do place the pumpkin in a strainer for a while to drain out the water, otherwise you have to add more flour.

  12. פילאטיס says

    היי האם אתם יודעים שכדאי להזמין מאמנת כושר אישי, מאמן כושר אישי, בא אליך פעמיים בחודש. מומלץ לפעילות גופנית, בונה לך תוכנית כושר אישית שמתאימה לך למטרה שלך

  13. JIW says

    I am coming to this party late. but I have some local grown pumpkin puree and we LOVE cinnamon rolls. I had a niggling thought that wouldn’t go away about making pumpkin cinnamon rolls. so i looked al over the web for a both 3 weeks and STOPPED HERE. I mean I stopped looking when I got to this site and this recipe. NOW is the WE to make these. And I say WE because I am disabled and everything takes a long time for me. But I’m not ready to give up scratch yet. Also, my son is visiting and I always make cinnamon rolls when the kids are here. Now they are 27 and 29, but nothing beats Moms cinnamon rolls. (they aren’t married yet, can’t you tell, then It will be second place for Mom and rightly so! :). Anyway, the only change is I use 1/2 cup of Bobs red mill cereal mix that doesn’t have wheat in it. Now I’m not needing GF , but this mix sure pumps up the dough of everything I bake. Otherwise will follow to a T. The pumpkin seeds are going in now to toast. I still don’t use a scale–my next considered purchase as tare ones are becoming very inexpensive. Thakn you so much for this site. It has been a joy to peruse and I will get a lot of pleasure trying the recipes. I’ll be back to let you know how the rolls came out. Happy Holidays.

  14. says

    Carissima Susan,
    volevo ringraziarti tanto per la deliziosa ricetta che hai generosamente condiviso dei Pumpkin Brioche Cinnamon Rolls, ho già avuto il piacere di testarla per i miei familiari ed è strepitosa.
    Ti volevo altresì ringraziare per aver creduto nel mio lavoro e nella mia passione e per avermi consentito l’accesso alla tua straordinaria vetrina sul mondo.
    Colgo altresì l’occasione per augurare a te ed a tutti i tuoi affezionati lettori, serene e gioiose Festività Natalizie.
    Grazie, a presto, Anna Giordani

  15. Wendy says

    This recipe looks great. I am going to try it with Einkorn flour and a sourdough starter.

    My one comment on this recipe, is that it would be great if the recipe were NOT in grams. Or at least have measuring cup equivalents. Its a pain to have to measure on a scale and not be able to eyeball the recipe to know how much of everything you might need before getting started. For instance the above recipes uses about 7.5 C flour. That seems like an enormous amount of flour for EIGHT cinnamon rolls. ?? And 1.5 C butter? Again, seems like A LOT. Is it a double batch? I would be great to know what the total weight of the entire recipe is so you would know how you could split the recipe up between the brioche and the tart etc. (Since you do note how many grams for each item is needed– it would be great to know how much the recipe makes.
    Thanks again, I hope this works for me. :)

    • Ema says

      The recipe for the cinnamon rolls uses 750 g of the prepared dough, not the full amount that the dough recipe makes. I think she states that somewhere in the above description that the dough recipe makes a lot more than needed for the cinnamon rolls, so you can scale it down if needed or use the other extra dough to make another batch, a tart or whatnot.

      Bakers use weights because it is so much more accurate than using cups, and it’s important to get the liquid to flour ratio just right. Different flours, even different brands or batches can weigh differently. One cup of one flour might weight more or less than a different brand or even a different batch of the same flour. Although I was pretty attached to standard US measurements, once I started making my recipes by weight, I never looked back! ?? It made a big difference! And once you get the hang of weighing ingredients, it really doesn’t take any longer than measuring by cups. It also helps that digital scales are so inexpensive nowadays! Happy baking!!

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