In The Kitchen - Bread
October 18, 2020

Pumpkin Shaped Dinner & Cinnamon Rolls

These pumpkin-shaped rolls exude all the feels (and the scents and smells) of the season. Transform your dinner table with a dash of whimsy and holiday festivities

12 min read

Who wouldn't love to have these pumpkin shaped rolls adorn their table this season? Their just so darn cute. These bite sized beauties can be made with a dinner roll dough, babka dough, or any dough you choose, so long as it rises.

i’ve made dinner roll and cinnamon roll versions at my house more than once this week and they keep disappearing!  Must be magic pumpkins.  The scents they leave in the kitchen are definitely magical.  

While the dough for these doesn’t take long to make, it does take time to rise (at least 45 minutes) and to wrap each roll in twine.  It’s a great cooking project if you have helpers in the kitchen.  If you are sans helpers or magical kitchen elves, I recommend allowing at least 1 1/2 hours to prep and keeping your dough covered with oiled plastic wrap as you make your rolls so your dough doesn’t dry out. Below is a simple dinner roll recipe and a variation on the recipe for pumpkin spice and cinnamon rolls, as well as directions on how to shape your pumpkins.  And remember, just like the real gourds, each roll will turn out uniquely, and that’s half the fun!

Pumpkin Shaped Dinner & Cinnamon Rolls

24 rolls
Prep Time
1 hr 45 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
2 hrs

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  • 6 1 /2 cups flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons shortening
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water
                  Note: for pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls, add  an additional 6 Tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to the dough before combining.  If icing these cinnamon rolls, you can use the cream cheese icing from the pumpkin sourdough sticky buns. and/ or coat them in cinnamon sugar.


  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Mix the yeast and warm water and set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Add this mixture, along with the remaining ingredients above, in your mixer, kneading with kneading hook ~ 7 minutes. Dough should come together into a large, smooth ball.
Pumpkin Roll dough
  • Form 2 inch balls of dough. (If working alone, roll and twine wrap each ball of dough separately rather than form 2 dozen balls  and then shape them with twine, or your dough may begin to dry out by the time you finish tying. Keep your unused dough covered with oiled plastic wrap until you are ready to form and tie your next roll).
  • Wrap each ball of dough with twine to form your pumpkin shape.  Start by placing the roll in the center of your 1 1/2 -2 foot piece of twine.  Criss-cross the twine around the ball as if you are tying a Christmas present forming a cross, then forming a second cross on a 45 degree axis to the first, as pictured above. Pull lightly as you criss-cross, but don’t pull too hard.  You want slight, rather than deep, indents to start your pumpkin ridges  - the rising process  does the rest!
Pumpkin Roll pre bake partially tied
Pumpkin Roll pre bake - tied up

                                Note: If making the cinnamon rolls, you can also wash each roll in melted butter and roll in a bowl of cinnamon sugar - 4 parts sugar to 1 part cinnamon - after wrapping.

  • Place your tied rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and allow to rise ~45 minutes to an hour.
  • Remove the plastic wrap, and bake for 9-12 minutes.
Pumpkin Roll on tray cooked
  • Allow to cool on a cooling rack, then remove twine.  
  • For a finishing touch, place a cinnamon stick or stalk of rosemary into the center of the pumpkins for a pumpkin stem.
Pumpkin Roll decorative layout

They’re just so cute, they can’t help but make you smile.  And with all the variations you can make, these are wonderfull for fall brunch, Thanksgiving dinner, or making dinner any given Tuesday more festive.  For more bread recipes check out Tartine or Flour Water, Salt, Yeast,  artisanal bread cookbooks, or my recipes for babka, sourdough and more on the Bread section of my  In the Kitchen page!

What are some of your favorite fall recipes?


Pumpkin Roll Final