Add a fall twist to your side dish lineup with the ultimate recipe for Easy Pumpkin Dinner Rolls that are pillowy soft and flavored with a hint of pumpkin spice. If you’re in the mood for hot, salty, pillowy carbs but aren’t a fan of pumpkin, check out my recipe for good ol’ plain homemade dinner rolls.
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Homemade bread is a must when it comes to a side dish spread. Whether it’s the holidays (hello, Thanksgiving!) or you’re just in the mood for a fall-inspired spin on carbs, this is the recipe for you.
The emphasis here is on “easy.” Dump, stir, proof (it’s easy, I promise!), bake and devour.
Soft, pillowy and oh-so-delicious, these pumpkin dinner rolls are not just a side dish but a perfect way to celebrate the season. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you!
Why You’ll Love ‘Em
- Made with 9 simple ingredients.
- Subtle, savory pumpkin flavor.
- Pillowy soft texture.
- If you have a fear of yeast, this is the recipe for you. I developed this recipe to use instant (rapid-rise) yeast, so everything just gets dumped into one bowl and mixed.
- Can be made ahead for stress-free baking, which is especially handy during the winter holidays!
- All-purpose flour: The backbone of your rolls, all-purpose flour strikes the perfect balance between protein and starch for a soft and tender crumb.
- Whole milk, warmed to 110°F: Warming the milk helps activate the yeast, which sets the stage for a perfect rise.
- Pumpkin puree: Brings natural sweetness and a distinct autumn taste to elevate your rolls.
- Egg, at room temp: Using a room temperature egg ensures even incorporation into the dough.
- Unsalted butter, melted: Melted butter in the dough enhances tenderness and gives the rolls a rich, buttery flavor. Brushing melted butter on top before baking adds a golden finish.
- Sugar: Plays a crucial role in bread-making as it serves as a food source for the yeast. When yeast consumes sugar, it undergoes fermentation, producing carbon dioxide gas. This gas gets trapped in the dough, causing it to rise. But it’s not all science – the subtle sweetness it imparts contributes to the overall flavor profile, too
- Pumpkin pie spice: Don’t worry if you don’t have it on hand – crafting your own is easy. Mix equal parts of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves to create a personalized spice blend that captures the essence of autumn in every bite.
- Instant (rapid rise) yeast: It doesn’t require proofing, so you can add it directly to the dry ingredients.
- Kosher salt: Enhances overall flavor, regulates yeast activity and balances sweetness. You can substitute it with ¼ teaspoon of table salt.
- Cooking spray: You’ll need this to grease your baking dish. Alternatively, a touch of butter will do the trick.
- Large-flake sea salt, for topping (optional): Omitting it won’t compromise the deliciousness of your dinner rolls, but it does add a decorative touch and enhances the overall flavor.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
How to Make Savory Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
The key word here is “savory!” Don’t let the mention of “pumpkin spice” make you think these rolls trend in the sweet direction. They’re a savory roll, with just a hint of pumpkin flavor. When I was developing this recipe, it was important that these rolls could have a firm spot on your dinner plate without suggesting that they might be dessert.
Now that we’ve established the taste, it’s time to focus on texture. When it comes to dinner rolls, I like mine to be soft, pillowy and airy. These rolls are all that… and then some!
- Start by making the dough. Combine 1 cup flour, milk, pumpkin, egg, butter, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, yeast and kosher salt in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Mix on low for flour incorporation, then increase to medium for 2 minutes. Add ½ cup flour and mix, then add the final ¾ cup flour and mix until the dough forms a ball. The dough should be sticky but pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Add more flour if necessary.
- Then, turn out the dough and knead until it comes together into a smooth ball. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover the bowl with a towel, and let rest in a warm, dark place.
- After a one-hour rise, the dough will double in size and become filled with air bubbles.
- Then it’s time to divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. A kitchen scale comes in handy to ensure each ball of dough is the same size, however it isn’t essential. Cover the pan with a towel, then return it to the warm, dark place for 30 minutes.
- No dinner roll of mine is complete without a good slathering of melted unsalted butter, which lends flavor and also contributes to the golden brown color. And don’t forget the large-flake sea salt, too!
- All that’s left to do is pop these beauties into the oven. A quick 20 to 25 minutes later, and you’ll be staring down a dozen of the softest, most picture-perfect pumpkin-spiced dinner rolls on the planet.
Whipping up these dinner rolls ahead of time means you’ll have warm, freshly baked carbs ready to roll onto your table in no time. Super handy, especially during festive occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
For refrigerating yeast rolls, after preparing the dough, cover the pan and refrigerate for 12-24 hours to slow yeast activity and enhance flavor. When ready to bake, let the rolls reach room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking and bake as directed.
Additionally, the unbaked rolls can be frozen for up to a month. The day before you want to bake them, remove the shaped rolls from the freezer and arrange them in a greased baking pan. Cover and let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, let the dough rise on the counter. Bake the rolls at the same temp and length of time noted in the recipe.
- Make Sure Your Yeast is Fresh: To check if your yeast is fresh, dissolve a teaspoon of sugar in ¼ cup of water warmed to 110°F, sprinkle yeast over it and wait 5-10 minutes. If bubbles and froth appear, the yeast is fresh; otherwise, consider getting a new batch.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: Bringing the egg to room temperature and ensuring the milk is warmed helps create an ideal environment for the yeast to activate, resulting in a light and airy dough.
- Don’t Skip the Pumpkin Pie Spice: It’s the key to infusing that unmistakable autumn flavor into the rolls. If you don’t have a premade spice mix, combine cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.
- Knead Until Smooth: Take the time to knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic. This step is crucial for the development of the gluten structure, giving the rolls their soft and fluffy texture.
- Let Them Rise Twice: Allow the dough to rise twice – first, after kneading, and then after shaping the rolls. This double rise ensures a light and airy texture.
Sure! However, you’ll want to activate it in warm water first, following the package instructions.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, mix the dough by hand then knead it on floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes.
You can store leftover rolls in a sealed plastic bag for 1-2 days at room temp. However, keep an eye on the moisture and open the bags every now and then if they look like they’re getting too soft.
- 30-Minute Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- Pumpkin Turkey Chili
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- Pumpkin French Toast Casserole
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more as needed
- 1/2 cup whole milk, warmed to 110°F
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg, at room temp
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for topping
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 (1/4-oz.) packet instant (rapid rise) yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cooking spray
- Large-flake sea salt, for topping
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine 1 cup of the flour with the milk, pumpkin, egg, butter, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, yeast, and kosher salt. Mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium and continue mixing the dough for 2 minutes. Add another ½ cup of the flour and continue mixing until it is incorporated. Add the remaining ¾ cup flour and mix until combined and the dough begins to form a ball. The dough should be sticky but pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If it is too sticky, add more flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed.
- Lightly flour your work surface. Turn out the dough and knead until it comes together into a smooth ball, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover the bowl with a towel, and let rest in a warm, dark place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Grease an 8-inch round baking dish with cooking spray.
- Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then arrange the balls in a single layer in the prepared pan. Cover the pan with a towel, then return it to the warm, dark place for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Uncover the rolls, brush with additional melted butter, and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until the rolls are golden brown and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven, brush them again with melted butter, and serve warm.
- If the dough feels very firm and unpliable when you knead it, that’s a sign that it’s starting to become over-kneaded. Immediately stop and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Allowing the dough to rest will give you a better shot at a more tender result.
- Make-Ahead Instructions: If you want to prepare the rolls in advance, follow the directions up until you place the (unbaked) rolls in the baking pan then tightly cover the pan with plastic wrap. The dough can remain in the refrigerator for up to 12-24 hours or in the freezer for up to 2 months. If you’ve refrigerated the rolls, remove them from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temp, which usually takes about 30 minutes. Baked as directed. If you’ve frozen the rolls, remove the rolls from the freezer and place them in the fridge overnight then bring them to room temp to rise before baking them as directed.
- You can store leftover rolls in a sealed plastic bag for 1-2 days at room temp. However, keep an eye on the moisture and open the bags every now and then if they look like they’re getting too soft.
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