Super Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

These super soft pumpkin cinnamon rolls have a secret ingredient, and it’s not pumpkin. That would hardly be a secret as it’s in the title. No, these buns rely on my old standby for a feather-light bread dough; tangzhong. A simple technique whereby a little cooked flour and water is incorporated into the dough. I can’t bring myself to make enriched bread dough any other way now that I’ve discovered this method.


Super Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns


What I like about it is that it adds no time and only the barest effort to the process, but tenderizes the dough so beautifully. I know there are other methods and tricks and tips that can greatly improve enriched breads, but they often want an overnight rise, of half-hourly turns, or a weird ingredient like lard. When I want a cinnamon bun I want one same day at the latest. Although to be honest I am pretty intrigued by the lard.


These buns are the tender, North American counterpart to the sometimes chewier and heartier Scandi cinnamon rolls. They’re enriched with butter, made tender with tangzhong, and given some flavour and yet more tenderness with that most North American ingredient; pumpkin. In this case I snagged a shockingly rare can of pumpkin puree from a confectionery store of all places – I guess in Australia we consider canned pumpkin candy? I don’t know. And then I just stirred a little into the dough. If you wanted to you could replace the pumpkin entirely with milk, or make your own puree and add that.


Super Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns


I am a Halloween hater. I hate being scared. I never watch TV, but when I’m home alone I chuck it on for background noise while I putter around. I hate that for the entire week of October I have to keep one eye out for the next horrendous horror movie trailer that’s going to freak me right out (World War Z scarred me for life. Also Annabelle). But this year, I’m coming around. It’s a little chillier than usual, and that’s definitely helping me get in the spooky spirit. I’ve carved a jack o’ lantern, my boyfriend and I have plans to watch Hocus Pocus and some Treehouse of Horror eps…and I made these cinnamon buns.


So you know. Not much to report. I’m slightly coming around to Halloween. I made you some Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns. And it’s pumpkin week! Go and roll around in all the amazing pumpkin recipes on offer. There are some truly dope ideas there for the beautiful orange beast. Also, watch ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!’ because it’s just the best. OK, love ya bye.


Super Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns


Cake Over Steak • Quick Pumpkin and Kale Risotto + Arancini

Twigg Studios • Sausage Stuffing Baked in a Pumpkin

Donuts, Dresses and Dirt • Pumpkin Spice Latte Popsicles

Cloudy Kitchen • Pumpkin Cake with Vanilla German Buttercream

Vegetarian Ventures • Smoky Pumpkin & Black Sesame Hummus

Eat Boutique • Pumpkin Scallion Dumplings

A Little Saffron • Pumpkin Stuffed Shells

Two Red Bowls • Pumpkin & Maple Caramel Baked French Toast

Wallflower Kitchen • Mini Pumpkin & Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Wit & Vinegar • Pumpkin Butterscotch Banana Split

Style Sweet CA • Pumpkin Creme Brulee Cake

Nommable • Pumpkin Biscuits with Mushroom Thyme Gravy

With Food + Love • Cinnamon Raisin Pumpkin Seed Bread

Hortus • Creamy Roasted Squash Soup + Pumpkin Risotto

Sevengrams • Vegan Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Jojotastic • 1 Pumpkin, 2 Ways: Pumpkin Trail Mix & Dog Treats

Grain Changer • Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal

Girl Versus Dough • Pumpkin Cranberry Flax Crisps

Earthy Feast • Pumpkin Grits + Pumpkin Home Fries + a Fried Egg

Harvest and Honey • Truffled Pumpkin Papardelle Alfredo

Tasty Seasons • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

Broma Bakery • Pumpkin Butter Pop Tarts

Tending the Table • Roasted Pumpkin and Barley Salad

The Sugar Hit • Super Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Delicious Not Gorgeous • Waffles with Spiced Pumpkin Butter and Brown Sugar Walnut Crumble

Taste Love and Nourish • Pumpkin Bread Pudding

The Green Life • Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chunk & Hazelnut Skillet Cookie (Vegan)

Foolproof Living • Pumpkin Creme Fraiche Pasta with Sage

The Monday Box • Pumpkin Mini Bundt Cakes

Design Crush • Pumpkin Whiskey Cocktail

The Road to Honey • Pumpkin Pie & Chocolate Layer Cake

My Name is Yeh • Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt and Hazelnut Dukkah

Give Recipe • Orange Chocolate Pumpkin Bread

Heartbeet Kitchen • Magic Vegan Pumpkin Pie Fudge

Beard and Bonnet • Marbled Pumpkin Muffins

Eat Within Your Means • Vegan Pumpkin Blender Muffins

Snixy Kitchen • Pumpkin Tapioca Pudding with Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Ruby Josephine • Moroccan Sweet Pumpkin + Beef Tagine

Lab Noon • Pasta Bake with Roasted Pumpkin and Saffron Sauce, Pistachio and Goat Cheese

An Edible Mosaic • Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding

Hey Modest Marce • Mascarpone Pumpkin Pie

Inspired By the Seasons • Pumpkin Applesauce Smoothie

CaliGirl Cooking • Pumpkin Praline Cinnamon Rolls with Spiked Cream Cheese Glaze

Sally’s Baking Addiction • Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Well and Full • Spicy Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus

Appeasing a Food Geek • Cheese Fondue Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin

SweetPhi • Pumpkin Chili Biscuit Bake

Warm Vanilla Sugar • Buttermilk Pumpkin Doughnuts

Mademoiselle Poirot • Cinnamon-Pumpkin Mousse on Honey Panna Cotta topped with Hazelnut Brittle

Heart of a Baker • Pumpkin Sticky Buns with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Flourishing Foodie • Massaman Curry with Pumpkin and Chickpeas

Ginger & Toasted Sesame • Pumpkin Jeon

Lindsay Jang • Best Ever DIY Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Fix Feast Flair • Hokkaido Pumpkin + Sage Mac and Gouda

Will Frolic for Food • Pumpkin Kale Patties with Coconut Cilantro Rice

A Couple Cooks • Pumpkin Pecan Baked Steel Cut Oats

Vermilion Red • Pumpkin Pie Souffle

Britnell • Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Displaced Housewife • Brown Butter Pumpkin Donuts

Sweet Gula • Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

La Pêche Fraîche • Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes

Kitchen Konfidence • Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi with Rosemary Brown Butter Sauce

Loves Food, Loves to Eat • Savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Kale & Caramel • Goat Cheese & Sage-Stuffed Pumpkin Challah

Okie Dokie Artichokie • Pumpkin Chorizo Chili with Sweet Potatoes + Pinto Beans

Salted Plains • Easy Pumpkin Bread

Liliahna • Chicken Legs with Pumpkin and Tortellini

TermiNatetor Kitchen • Whole Wheat, Pumpkin & Brown Sugar Brioche

Vermilion Roots • Sweet Rice Dumplings with Pumpkin

Celebrate Creativity • Pumpkin Mini Cheesecake Tarts

Serendipity Bakes • Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake

So Much Yum • Vegan Maple-Glazed Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

The Brick Kitchen • Pumpkin, Pecan & White Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches

Lisli • Pumpkin Pie Cake

Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt • Pumpkin Pie Dip

Fig+Bleu • Pumpkin Granola

The Speckled Palate • Pumpkin Caramel Cream Cheese Swirl Blondies

Cook Til Delicious • Fall Cliche Cake (Pumpkin Spice Cake / Maple Cream Cheese Frosting / Apple Cider Caramel Sauce)

Floating Kitchen • Chicken and Pumpkin Chili

The Wood and Spoon • Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Burnt Sugar Frosting

Fork Vs Spoon • Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Lemon & Vanilla • Pumpkin and Coconut Caramel Flan

Dunk & Crumble • Pumpkin Chocolate Icebox Cake

Chicano Eats • Pumpkin Butter Pan de Muerto

On the Plate • Pumpkin Pancakes, Salted Caramel & Pecans

Rough Measures • Cosy Pumpkin Spice Latte (Caffeine and Dairy Free)

Brewing Happiness • Pumpkin Ginger Breakfast Cookies

A Butterful Mind • Pumpkin Cheesecake with Vanilla Whipped Cream

The Little Loaf • Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Fork to Belly • Pumpkin Gnocchi

The Little Epicurean • Chocolate Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie

Bourbon and Honey • Spicy Roasted Pumpkin with Honey and Feta

What to Cook Today • Spicy Pumpkin Noodle Soup

Food by Mars • Pumpkin Pie (Grain-Free, Diary-Free)

The Bojon Gourmet • Pumpkin Butterscotch Pudding

Oh Honey Bakes • Pumpkin Cake with Gingersnap Toffee

Long Distance Baking • Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake

The Jam Lab • Pumpkin Madeleines Dipped in White Chocolate

The Lemon Apron • Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf with an Olive Oil Glaze

Sun Diego Eats • Thai Pumpkin & Sticky Rice Cakes

A Cozy Kitchen • Pumpkin Chai Scones with Black Tea Glaze

A Cookie Named Desire • Pumpkin Shrubs

Eating Clean Recipes • Vegan Pumpkin Chia Pudding

Kingfield Kitchen • Vegan Fresh Pumpkin Soup

Drink and Cocktail Recipes • Pumpkin Dirty Chai

The Pig & Quill • Pumpkin Sage Cannelloni (Dairy-Free)

My Lavender Blues • Pumpkin, Banana & Olive Oil Bundt Cake

Betty Liu • Pumpkin + Pear Butter Baked Melty Cheese

Happy Hearted Kitchen • Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin with Tahini Yogurt + Hazelnut Dukkah

InHappenstance • Pumpkin Scones with Maple Butter

Live Eat Learn • Pumpkin Gingerbread Hot Cocoa


xx Sarah.


Super Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
For the tang zhong:
  • 90ml (6tbsp) water
  • 20g (2 tbsp) plain flour
For the dough:
  • 2½ cups (375g) plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup (50g) caster sugar
  • 1½ tsp dried yeast
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ stick (55g) butter, softened (or grated)
For the filling:
  • 1 stick (100g) butter, soft
  • ¾ cup (150g) brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  1. First, make the tang zhong. Place the water and flour into a small saucepan or frying pan and whisk together. Place over a medium heat, and cool just until the mixture thickens to a gel. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  2. For the dough, place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook.
  3. Add the tangzhong, pumpkin and eggs to the dry ingredients, and knead on a low-medium speed until a dry dough forms.
  4. With the mixer on low, add the butter a little at a time, and knead until it's completely incorporated - about 5-10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic, and set aside to rise until doubled in size OR place in the fridge overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  6. Roll the dough out into a 12in/33cm square, and spread over the filling in an even layer.
  7. Roll up, not too tightly, like a swiss roll, and then trim away the uneven end pieces. Using a serrated knife, gently cut the rest of the roll into 8 even pieces, trying not to squash them.
  8. Arrange the buns in a greased and lined baking dish, cover loosely with plastic and set aside to rise for a further 30-45 minutes.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes, or until light golden brown and cooked through. Leave to cool in the tin until just warm.
  10. To make the frosting, stir together the sugar and buttermilk. Drizzle over the warm buns, and serve.

Super Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns


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  • I, too, am a total Halloween hater. I think its the self-inflicted pressures of having a great costume idea or wearing itty-bitty things that don’t fit with my donut-loving body shapes.

    Screw all that; I’d much rather tuck into these.

  • Love!!! I really need to try out the tang zhong method, it’s on my to-do list for when midterms are done. :) Is Halloween a big deal in Aussie? Here in the US people go all out, and I’ve always wondered if it’s like that overseas. I feel you on all the scary stuff, I can’t handle it either lol.

  • Don’t know if I could bring myself to buying a tin of canned pumpkin, I love pumpkin any way it comes, baked, steamed, in a pie, in soup, in a stew (jumbuck stew – YUM) and I’ve just realised I don’t have any at home so will buy some today. My grandma passed away when I was 6 and one of her “things” was pumpkin pie – nothing American about her, born in Tasmania, lived in Victoria, NSW and did missionary work in the Cook Islands but those pumpkin pies!! Anyway I am the pumpkin pie maker now in our family.
    My kids knew nothing of Halloween until our neighbours alerted them to the fact they could dress up and get lollies! They’re now 17 & 18 and still think it’s a pretty good time of the year. No harm in it, and we are told to embrace other cultures so not sure why there’s such a backlash for this one?

  • So when I saw these in the party line up I got waaay too excited. Cinnamon rolls are my favorite thing to make ever- something about the process just makes me giddy all day. Plus I gotta say the fluffy tender ones are more my style than the chewy kind, so I cannot waaait to try this recipe. xo

  • Oh these look lovely and fluffy! At the moment an overnight rise is my go-to way to get tender enriched dough, but will definitely have to try tangzhong sometime. And I’m seriously impressed you found canned pumpkin over here, I’ve never been able to locate any!! :)

  • These are a huge hit here in the States… I have been making them to much acclaim since Halloween!

    My only upgrades are to give the buns a second proof for 30-45 minutes and to use dental floss to separate the buns. (My serrated bread knife tends to stick…)

    But I can’t thank you enough for introducing me to the tang zhong method… my daughter says these are way better than the ones a famous chain here makes!

    • Better than Cinnabon!?! That’s high praise indeed! I am honoured, and so glad that you tried these and they’ve become a family favourite. That means the world to me, George, thank you very much for commenting and letting me know.

      You should know that your baking instincts are excellent, because these buns do need a second rise! I just updated the instructions to reflect that. Happy Holidays! xx Sarah

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