Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
These pumpkin dinner rolls look just like mini pumpkins. They are not only soft and buttery dinner rolls, but also easy and fun to make. Perfect for Halloween party or Thanksgiving feast!
“We have used this recipe for 4 years at Thanksgiving. They are now a tradition”liz
I find myself today that playing with food is quite entertaining. I did have a great time making these Pumpkin Dinner Rolls. The best part? You get to eat them at the end!
Pumpkins are delicious and nutritious. So why not add some in dinner rolls to join the harvest season and celebrate the bounty of mother nature?
These rolls even look like mini pumpkins. They are quite easy to make from scratch and will look so gorgeous on your Thanksgiving dinner table.
These pumpkin dinner rolls are soft and tender with a hint of sweetness. Using a canned pumpkin puree brings a nice pumpkin color to the rolls and makes the process easy.
They didn’t take as much time as I thought it would. The whole process went really fast and I had nice warm rolls ready for my lunch. This recipe is one of the most popular western recipes on my site.
Ingredients for Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
- milk – preferably whole milk
- canned pumpkin puree
- light brown sugar
- white sugar
- butter – softened
- active dry yeast – 2 envelopes
- water – lukewarm
- all-purpose flour
- pecan halves – sliced into 3 vertical sections
- melted butter – for brushing
Can I make the dough ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the dough the night before and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight. On the next day, bring the dough out to a room temperature and proceed to the next step.
Can I use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?
Absolutely! You can mix the instant yeast right in with the flour without the proofing step. Make sure your liquid is lukewarm so that it won’t kill the yeast.
What do you suggest if I want to make these rolls well ahead of time and freeze?
- You can proceed up to making dough balls and freeze on a baking sheet. Make sure each ball won’t touch from one another. Once frozen, you can put them all in a zipper bag and freeze up to 3 months. To thaw, bring them on a kitchen counter and cover with a damp cloth. Bring it to a room temperature, it might take several hours to do so. When the dough balls are soft and pliable, proceed to the shaping and so on.
- You can finish the entire process and bake the rolls, but don’t brush with melted butter at the end. Once the rolls are cooled, put them in a zipper bag and freeze up to 3 months. To reheat, bring the roll to a room temperature by letting them sit on a counter top (about 30-40 minutes), then warm up in a preheated 350˚F oven for 4-5 minutes or until hot to touch. Brush with melted butter and serve.
I have a nut allergy. What else would be good for the pumpkin stem instead of pecan?
You can try with mini pretzel sticks broken into small pieces.
Can I use a fresh pumpkin instead of canned puree?
You can, but I recommend using steaming method, instead of boiling, to cook the fresh pumpkins. Mash the pumpkin and proceed to the recipe. You will need to adjust the amount of liquid to control the wetness of dough. See my Pumpkin Salad Recipe for steaming instructions
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls Recipe Instructions
Heat milk to scalding hot, add butter and let the butter melt. Add sugars, pumpkin and salt; stir everything well.
Combine yeast, 1 tsp sugar and warm water in another small bowl and let the yeast to proof (about 5 minutes). Add it to the pumpkin mixture with an egg; mix well.
Gradually add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon.
Time to knead! I used my mixer to do the job. Knead until the dough pull itself from the side of the bowl, about 5 minutes.
Dump the dough on the lightly floured surface and knead with your hand for 1 minute.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until they get double in volume.
Here is the beautifully risen dough. Love the deep yellow color!
Give it a punch to deflate. The moment I’ve been waiting for…
Divide the dough in half. Roll each half to make a log and cut each log in 15 pieces or more if you prefer smaller rolls.
Shaping into mini pumpkins
Form each piece into a ball by pulling it together…
Press down gently with your hand.
Using a knife, give 8 segments of cut on the edge but leave the center uncut.
Poke deeply on the center of pedal with your pinkie.
Let them rise again. The center indentation somehow disappeared but you can always poke them again. You gotta love poking!
Brush with egg wash to give a golden look.
Bake them in the preheated 350˚F oven for 9-12 minutes. Don’t over-bake.
Use Pecan for a Pumpkin Stem
Brush with melted butter for a little shine. And the final touch? Use a sliced pecan piece as a stem! Cute, aren’t they?
In a couple of weeks I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my house for about 20 guests. Thank God, it will be a potluck!
Imagine the turkey adorned with all the bells and whistles, the scrumptious & glorious fall side dishes flowing around the Thanksgiving table. And think of these mini pumpkin rolls being passed around. I bet you will see some smiles on people’s face.
There are so much to thank for. Family, friends, the laughter, and even the tears of life through rain or shine. Hope you enjoy these little mini pumpkin dinner rolls for your Thanksgiving feast.
Put leftover rolls in a zipper bag and freeze up to 3 months. To reheat, bring the rolls to a room temperature first. Then warm up in the preheated 350˚F oven for 4-5 minutes or until hot to touch.
More Pumpkin Recipes
- Korean Pumpkin Porridge (Hobakjuk)
- Kabocha Squash Salad
- Gluten-free Pumpkin Rice Donuts
- Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Maple Glaze
- Korean Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
- 3/4 cup whole milk, scalded
- 6 tbsp butter, softened
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 2 envelope (about 4 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 egg
- 5 cup + a little extra all-purpose flour
- 10 pecan halves, sliced into 3 vertical sections
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- Pour hot milk in a large mixing bowl, add butter and stir to melt. Add sugars, pumpkin puree, salt to the milk and butter mixture; mix well.
- In a small bowl, combine lukewarm water, yeast, and 1 tsp sugar. Wait 5- minute for yeast to proof. When it gets foamy, add it to the pumpkin mixture, and add the egg; mix well. Add the flour gradually and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. The dough will be sticky.
- Using electric mixer with a dough hook attached, beat the mixture on the low-speed setting until the dough itself pulls from the side of the bowl, about 5 minutes. You can add a little more flour if the dough seems too wet.
- Turn the dough out to a wooden board dusted with a little flour. Knead with hand for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball shape, place in a greased bowl and cover with a cloth. Let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 1 hr.
- Punch the dough to deflate. Knead the dough for a few seconds on a wooden board. Divide the dough into half and cut each dough half into 15 pieces, total of 30 pieces.
- Roll each dough piece into a ball shape with your hand. Flatten the piece with palm of your hand a little. Using a knife, give 8 cuts on the edge to mimic flower pedals but leave the center uncut.
- Poke the center with your finger to give a deep indentation. Repeat the same procedure to the remaining pieces.
- Place them, 2-inch apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or baking mat. Let them rise again until they become double in volume, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven 350ºF. If the center indentation doesn't look obvious on the rolls, poke them again with your finger. Brush with egg wash and bake for 9-12 minutes, until the top gets slightly golden.
- Brush the hot rolls with melted butter immediately. Insert the pecan slices on the center of the rolls to mimic the stem.