These Pumpkin Dinner Rolls are so soft and fluffy! My go-to fall roll recipe is special enough for Thanksgiving dinner but easy to make, freezer-friendly, and so delicious with just the right amount of pumpkin flavor.
Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls with Pumpkin are a Thanksgiving Must!
Other than fresh, warm Apple Streusel Sheet Cake, very little can top buttery, soft homemade rolls. These cheesy Pumpkin Dinner Rolls are even better than normal rolls. Just look at the beautiful, natural color!
They’re made with shredded cheddar and pumpkin puree which keeps them moist, soft and add the pretty color. The rolls are super easy to make, they can be made in advance and leftovers freeze nicely. Perfect for the holidays!
We had these pumpkin rolls three times last week! One time with a roasted tomato soup, one time with a butternut squash soup and as a lunch snack with some Boursin cheese on top. I took the rolls out of the freezer a few hours in advance and just popped them in the hot oven for a few minutes before serving and they were as good as freshly baked! A perfect time saver in my opinion!
These cheezy Pumpkin Rolls are super light and airy! I wanted to make them in a shape that’s easily freezable so I formed smooth little balls out of the dough and put three in a muffin cup to make cloverleaf rolls. I love pull-apart bread so what could be better than buttery pull-apart rolls?!
Many people are afraid of working with yeast. So if you feel this way, you are definitely not alone! But there’s nothing to be afraid of. Yes, you need to follow a few simple rules but nothing is more satisfying than a fresh loaf of bread or a batch of homemade rolls fresh out of the oven. Making yeast dough is really easy, even if you haven’t worked with yeast before!
My hints for making foolproof dinner rolls:
- Dry yeast will last almost indefinitely when frozen.
- The more you bake with yeast the more yeast-friendly your kitchen will become and the doughs will rise better. Always using the same bowls for yeast doughs also makes doughs rise more quickly.
- I prefer to use Instant Yeast (I’ll add a link to my favorite below). It comes in small individual packages so even if you don’t bake with yeast often you always have a fresh packet of yeast. That makes it more foolproof!
- Make sure that the liquid you add is just lukewarm and not hot or you will kill the yeast.
- Instant Yeast doesn’t need to proof but if you’re not sure if your yeast is still good it’s better to do this step. Just dissolve the yeast and a little bit of sugar in lukewarm milk/water and let it sit for a few minutes. If it’s still active the pinch of sugar will make the yeast bubble up.
When the yeast has bubbled up add the other ingredients and knead at medium speed until the dough has come together and is smooth and elastic. Then I like to turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand for just a short moment. The warmth of your hands helps the dough to become more elastic.
Then put it in a greased bowl and let it rise until doubled. I like to place the bowl in my bed under the covers. Some people put it in a warm oven but the bed method works best for me! When it has doubled in size place three little dough balls in each muffin cup and brush the tops with butter. Let them rise while you preheat your oven, mine takes about 20 minutes to reach 350F, that’s usually enough time for the dough balls to increase in size.
After they come out of the oven I like to give them a second brush with butter just to make them even more delicious! These Pumpkin Dinner Rolls are super tender and soft. They’re special enough for Halloween or Thanksgiving but also make a great everyday roll.
I hope you enjoy my go-to fall pumpkin dinner roll recipe as much as we do!
And a quick tip if you can’t find canned pumpkin puree where you live.
How to make homemade pumpkin puree
I like to use Hokkaido pumpkins to make my own puree but this method works with every kind of pumpkin.
- Cut a pumpkin in half (or quarter it depending on its size), scrape out the seeds and pulp.
- Place pumpkin pieces on a baking sheet and roast for 45-60 minutes in a 350°F (180°C) oven until the pumpkin is fork tender.
- Peel off the skin and puree the pumpkin in a food processor or with a handheld blender. You can add a little bit of water if your pumpkin looks too dry.
- Use the pumpkin puree immediately or freeze it. I recommend freezing it in 1 cup portions which are perfect for most recipes like this dinner roll recipe or my Nutella Swirl Pumpkin Bread.
Looking for more Pumpkin recipes?
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Rum Glaze and Pecans
- Chai-spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Tools used for making this recipe:
Muffin Pan: I love this muffin pan! It comes with a lid so it’s easy to transport baked muffins or cupcakes and it’s super easy to clean, everything slides right off.
Cheese Grater: I prefer to grate cheese myself and not buy pre-shredded cheese. This grater does a great job and comes with a container to catch the grated food.
Instant Yeast: I love this yeast! It works every single time!!
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
- 1 and 1/2 cups milk lukewarm (360ml)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 and 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (500g)
- 4 tbsp butter room temperature (55g)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (225g)
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (75g)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the sugar in the lukewarm milk. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and stir gently. Let it sit for 3 minutes until light and foamy.
Add flour, 3 tbsp butter, salt, pumpkin puree, and shredded cheddar cheese. Knead at medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few more minutes.
- Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until doubled.
Lightly grease two 12-count muffin pans with butter. Set aside.
Punch down the dough. Break off small pieces and roll into balls (about 1-inch diameter). Place three dough balls into each muffin cup.
Cover the muffin pan loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled, about 20-30 mins.
Make-Ahead Note: The assembled muffin pan can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
Brush the tops of the dinner rolls with butter and bake for 16-20 minutes until the tops are golden. Take the rolls out and brush with more butter, if desired.
Leftover Pumpkin Dinner Rolls also freeze great. Take them out of the freezer a few hours before you want to serve them and reheat in the oven at 300°F, about 5-10 minutes.
Originally published in September 2016, updated in September 2017.