Secret Ingredient Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Icing

pumpkin cinnamon rolls recipe

I was recently asked for my Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll recipe and I realized that my all time favorite cinnamon roll recipe is not on my blog. I can’t believe I haven’t shared this one with you.  My kids love helping make cinnamon rolls and if it was up to them we would make it every Saturday. It’s such a kid-friendly recipe to have the little ones help you with. Even with all their help I think I would rather keep it to an annual tradition.

As you know, our New Years tradition is to have cinnamon rolls and because I love trying new recipes I decided that each year I would try a new kind of cinnamon roll recipe.  This is what we’ve done

  • First year- Basic Cinnamon Rolls
  • Second year- Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (see recipe below)
  • Third year- Lemon Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls (recipe here)
  • Fourth year- Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel icing! recipe coming soon
  • Fifth year – Peanut Butter Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls recipe here

So you’re going to laugh when I share with you how our New Years Cinnamon Roll tradition got started.  Christmas morning I declared with much excitement that I was going to make us cinnamon rolls, I’d never made them before! So I got online and started to search for recipes and to my dismay they all took more than a day, ughhh.

I was so frustrated because they were supposed to be Christmas cinnamon rolls.  So after much research and trial and error I tweaked  a recipe I found.  By that time I decided it would be a New Years tradition and this is how we kick off our new year now!

pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe

Secret Ingredient Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup  pure pumpkin puree (add 2tsp of pumpkin spice) or canned pumpkin (here’s my recipe on how to make pumpkin puree from scratch)
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/3 cup instant butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 to 8 cups all-purpose flour


  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  • 1/2 cp of caramel (apple dip kind is fine)
  • 1 tbl of milk



-In a large mixing bowl dissolve yeast and water, let it sit for 10min or until bubbly. If it doesn’t bubble (kind of looks fizzy) you may want to try this again either your water was too hot or your yeast is old.

-Add eggs, salt, milk, sugars, pumpkin, shortening and pudding.  Slowly add all the flour (reserve 1/2 cp).  The dough will be sticky and some what lumpy (see image 1 below)

-Use remaining 1/2 cup as needed to flour surface. As you can see below the dough is not smooth at first.  (image 2)

-Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. (image 3)

-Punch dough down; divide in half. (image 4)

-Roll each portion into a 12-in. x 8-in. rectangle; brush with butter. (image 5)

– Filling: Combine brown sugar, pumpkin spice and cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over dough to within 1/2 in. of edges.

-Roll up jelly roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal. (image 6)  Cut into slices using my handy dandy slicing method: thread. Yup, just place thread under the roll and criss cross where you want to slice and it’s done.

-Place cut side down in two greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

-Bake at 350° for 22-28 minutes or until golden brown. This recipe made about 24 medium size rolls but I guess it depends on how big you want them.(image 7)

– I usually brush it with butter while they are still warm before I cover it with icing.

how to make cinnamon rolls recipe

For icing:

Mix caramel and milk in a bowl and place in microwave for about 30 seconds.  Add more caramel if you need it to be thicker or add more milk if you want the opposite. Drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls!

Enjoy! Oh, and if you didn’t guess the secret ingredient that makes these so yummy is the pudding.

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