These pumpkin dinner rolls are the perfect, festive side dish to add to any fall meal! They not only taste like pumpkin but they are shaped just like one as well! Impress all of your guests by making these rolls and taking your holiday celebrations to the next level.

I love pumpkin so much! It’s delicious and versatile and, in my opinion, the best part about fall! Check out some more of my delicious pumpkin recipes like this Creamy Pumpkin Soup, this yummy Sausage Pumpkin Pasta, or this delicious Pumpkin Mac and Cheese!

A basket of pumpkin dinner rolls.

Pumpkin Dinner Roll Recipe

I know that I love pumpkin recipes, but these pumpkin dinner rolls take fall baking to the next level!! These rolls are so deliciously soft, and they are shaped like pumpkins. They are topped with a green pumpkin seed to imitate the pumpkin’s stem. And they not only look like a pumpkin, but because of the delicious pumpkin puree, they taste like one too. But don’t worry, the pumpkin flavor isn’t overwhelming, it’s subtle enought that these rolls can go with anything! They are the perfect festive fall recipe!

The best part about these rolls is that they aren’t too complicated to make. The longest part is waiting for the dough to rise. But once it does, it takes on that beautiful orange color from the pumpkin puree and makes these look authentic and tasty. Bake them up for your next gathering this fall, and your guests will go crazy over them!

Ingredients in Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

These ingredients are really simple, and you probably already have them all on hand. Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

  • Active Dry Yeast: You will activate this yeast with some warm milk.
  • Sugar: You will add this in with the yeast.
  • Whole Milk: Your milk should be warm, not hot! Otherwise, it will kill the yeast.
  • Flour: I used all-purpose flour in this recipe.
  • Salt: This will enhance all of the ingredients in this recipe.
  • Pepper: This adds delicious flavor with no heat.
  • Garlic Powder: I love adding in the flavor of garlic. It complements the pumpkin puree so well!
  • Cardamom: I love any excuse to use cardamom in recipes.
  • Butter: I used unsalted butter in this
  • Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie filling): You can buy a can of this at the store ( I always stock up at the beginning of the season!) or you can make it at home using this recipe.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: I used roasted and salted green pumpkin seeds. This acts as the pumpkin stem on the rolls!  

How to Make Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

I know that there are a lot of steps to this pumpkin dinner roll recipe but don’t let that intimidate you! I did easy step by step instructions so that you won’t miss a thing. These turn out perfectly soft and delicious, you will love them!

Dough

  1. Mix Yeast: Mix the active dry yeast and sugar in warm milk (not hot but more than room temperature). Let sit until it starts to froth, about 5 minutes. This indicates that your yeast is active and ready to use.
  2. Add Ingredients to Stand Mixer: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add your yeast mixture, all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, garlic, cardamom, butter, and pumpkin puree. Mix on low until combined, about 5 minutes. Then, mix for an additional 2 to 4 minutes on a medium speed to develop the gluten.
  3. Let Dough Rise: Once the dough is thoroughly mixed, remove it from the mixing bowl and put it into a separate, lightly greased bowl to rest for about an hour. The dough should double in size. Cover your dough with plastic wrap or a warm damp towel.
  4. Fold and Rise Again: Once the dough doubles in size, remove it from the bowl and fold. (The goal of a fold is to degas and stretch the dough slightly and then form it back into a ball, this helps develop the gluten). Return it back to the bowl and let it rest for another half hour.

Baking

  1. Prep Pans: While the dough rests, prepare your pans. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Stretch Dough: Once the dough has risen again, dump it onto a lightly floured surface and stretch slightly into a square, about 12 inches by 12 inches.
  3. Cut and Roll: Cut the dough into 16 pieces (3 inches each). Roll into balls and place on your sheet pans, leaving about a 2-inch space between each roll.
  4. Let Dough Rise and Preheat Oven: Cover rolls and let proof until about double in size. Preheat the oven to 375℉.
  5. Make Vertical Cuts: When rolls are about doubled in size, slightly flatten with your hand (don’t flatten completely). You will then make 5-6 vertical cuts around each roll, being careful not to cut the center. This will imitate the grooves that run along a pumpkin. Lastly, gently poke a small crater into the center of each pumpkin and put in the oven.
  6. Bake: Bake until rolls are golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. If you’re using one oven for both pans, switch the position of the pans in the oven after 7-9 minutes to ensure even browning. 
  7. Brush with Butter and Garnish: Once removed from the oven, brush with butter immediately and place a green pumpkin seed in the center of each pumpkin dinner roll to imitate a stem.
6 pictures showing the process of making the bread dough.

Can I use Instant Yeast Instead?

Yes! These pumpkin dinner rolls can use instant dry yeast instead of active dry yeast. Just skip the proofing of the yeast and add it straight into the dough mixture.

CAN I USE INSTANT YEAST INSTEAD OF ACTIVE DRY YEAST?

The top view of pumpkin rolls on a baking sheet.

Quick Tips Title

I know that you want these pumpkin dinner rolls to turn out perfectly! Here are a few tips that will help you achieve that every time.

  • Start with Less Flour: Always start with the smaller flour measurement and add more if the dough is too wet. This dough isn’t typically very wet. It should easily pull from the sides of the bowl when mixed well.
  • Folding the Dough is a MUST: Folding the dough is an essential step. It develops your gluten, which produces a better flavor and texture. I tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and, pound the air out with my hands, fold it back into a ball, being careful not to form it too tight and tear the skin.
  • Temperature for Rising Dough: The temperature of the area you’re baking in will affect how quickly your dough rises. Warmer temperatures will cause the dough to proof quicker, and cooler will slow it down. Likewise, the temperature of the liquids you add will also affect it.

A closeup of a pumpkin dinner roll.

How to Store Leftovers

You can make these pumpkin dinner rolls the night before serving, although they are best when eaten fresh! Here are some instructions on how you can store them for later.

  • Room Temperature: If you plan on serving these within 24 hours, then you can store them at room temperature in an airtight container.
  • In the Fridge: If you have leftovers and plan on keeping them for more than a day, then you should store them in your fridge for 2-4 days after baking them.

Someone holding a pumpkin dinner roll up.

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