Pumpkin Dinner Rolls are so soft and fluffy! With a bit of sweetness from honey and real pumpkin purée, these easy pumpkin buns are incredibly moist and rich. The buttery finish certifies these as the best rolls for Thanksgiving, hands down!
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
Savory turkey, super creamy brown gravy, salty stuffing… Don’t you want something light and sweet on the table this Thanksgiving?
These pumpkin dinner rolls are just the thing to balance your entire turkey day meal!
How much flavor can you trap in one dinner roll? A whole lot!
Sticky honey, warm spices, and wonderfully nutty pumpkin puree are all baked into soft, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin yeast rolls.
I just love Thanksgiving sides — I could eat them all year! And I’m always looking for ways to use pumpkin purée outside of the usual dessert recipes, so pumpkin buns are an easy 5-star winner for me!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Warm Milk – The keyword here is warm — not hot! Warm milk gets the yeast going and makes the pumpkin bread rolls mouthwateringly moist.
Hot milk would kill the yeast, and cold milk would take too long to work!
- Honey – A honey that’s as close to raw and pure will give you the best flavor and texture. Aside from that, the type of honey you use is up to you!
- Pumpkin Purée – Not pumpkin pie filling!! The pie filling has all sorts of flavorings and sugar added to it! You need 100% pumpkin purée for this recipe.
It’s fairly easy to make your own purée. Don’t forget to strain out the fibers and remove the excess juice if you do.
And be sure to use a pie pumpkin — those are the small varieties, not the larger carving type.
- All-Purpose Flour – Keep a little extra on hand to flour your work surface and get the dough to just the right consistency.
I needed to add 3 additional cups to my dough to create a smooth consistency. It shouldn’t be sticky or tacky.
- Butter – Need a dairy alternative? Use plant-based butter with no worries! Your honey dinner rolls will be just as tasty.
- Active Dry Yeast – If you only have instant yeast on hand, that’s fine. The only difference is that you won’t need to let it activate.
Still, you want to use warm milk — not hot or cold — to let it do its thing!
How to Make the Best Pumpkin Bread Rolls
- Use warm milk to activate the yeast.
To get the yeast to “do its thing,” the milk should be between 110° and 115°F.
- Master the proofing process.
Letting the dough rise properly is so important to getting that pillowy texture we all want!
My favorite tip — preheat your oven to a relatively low temperature, no higher than 200°F, for just a couple of minutes.
Then, turn it off and let the dough for pumpkin yeast rolls rise in the warm oven!
- Don’t overbake.
Pull homemade buns from the oven as soon as they are golden brown and puffy.
They may still appear a bit shiny — and that’s just fine! If you wait until they look totally dry, they’ll be too dry to eat.
Make Ahead Instructions
You can make the dough for pumpkin dinner rolls the night before.
Let the dough proof once, divide into individual rolls, then refrigerate them on a baking sheet under some aluminum foil.
You’ll need to let the honey dinner rolls rise one more time, about an hour to completely double in size, before baking.
Pumpkin Buns FAQ
That’s fine! All you really need is a wooden spoon and some space to work.
Since the earlier steps of the recipe involve a lot of mixing, they could take a bit of extra time. Once you add the flour in the second step, mix until the dough forms.
At that point, transfer the dough to your floured surface and knead until it’s no longer sticky — this can take up to 5 minutes.
Crank your oven back up to 350°F, brush your pumpkin dinner rolls with a bit more butter, and simply bake until warmed through!
They’re best eaten within a day of baking them, but they’ll last for up to 5 days in an airtight container on your countertop.
Freezing Pumpkin Yeast Rolls
If you freeze the unbaked yeast rolls, be sure to wrap them well to avoid freezer burn. Also, you’ll need to give them even more time to thaw before you can bake them.
For best results, you want to let them thaw in the fridge overnight, then allow them to finish proofing at room temp.
If you forget to move them to the fridge (we’ve all been there!), then they’ll take even longer to rise at room temperature — up to 5 hours.
Speed up the process by letting them rise in a preheated oven.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Simple Breads and Rolls
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
- 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast, 2 packets
- 1 cup warm milk, 110° to 115°F.
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
- 2 large eggs
- 8 tablespoons melted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 7 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add yeast, warm milk, and honey. Swirl with your fingers or a spoon to dissolve the yeast. Allow the mixture to sit until the yeast starts to bubble and becomes aromatic, about 5 minutes.
- Add pumpkin, eggs, and 6 tablespoons melted butter. Mix on medium speed until mostly combined. Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and 4 cups of flour. Mix on low speed until smooth.
- Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough that pulls away from the sides and bottom of the bowl. (I had to use the entire 3 additional cups.)You should have a ball of tacky (but not sticky) dough at this point. When you touch the dough and pull your fingers away there should not be any dough on your fingers. If it is sticky, add a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it becomes tacky (does not leave dough on your fingers when you touch it). Run the mixer to knead the dough for about 5 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead about 10 turns, then form it into a loose ball. Place dough into the stand mixer bowl (which should be mostly clean from the dough being kneaded in it). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down and place it on a countertop; form dough into a loose ball. We are going to cut this ball into 24 (somewhat) even pieces. First, use a bench scraper or butter knife to cut the dough into 4 quarters. Roll each quarter into a log, then cut each log into 3 equal pieces. Finally, cut each piece into 2 equal pieces. When you are done cutting, you will have 24 pieces.
- Place rolls on a greased 13"x19" jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet (or two 9×13-inch pans). *At this point you can refrigerate the dough and continue the recipe the next day. See Notes.
- Cover and let rolls rise until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake pumpkin rolls for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Brush tops and sides with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Allow to cool before serving.
- You can substitute almond milk for regular milk and plant-based butter if you need a dairy free option.
You can mix the dough with a wooden spoon by hand if you do not have a stand mixer. Add milk, yeast and honey to a bowl. Once the yeast blooms, mix in the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and 6 tablespoons butter. Once it comes together, add in the salt and the flour. Mix with a spoon to combine. Turn dough out onto floured countertop and knead for 3 to 5 minutes, until dough is no longer sticky. Proceed with remaining instructions. Overnight Method
Once the dough is formed into balls and placed on the baking sheet, you can place them in the refrigerator covered with aluminum foil to finish the next day. When you’re ready to continue, remove the pan of dough from the refrigerator and remove aluminum foil. Allow rolls to come to room temperature and rise until doubled in size. This can take longer than 45-60 minutes, as the dough has to warm up before it begins to rise. Then, proceed with recipe as written.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally Published November 2015, updated and republished October 2023
Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.