Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

October 11, 2018

If you’re a lover of Fall spices and sweet flavor, then these Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls are the best thing you’ll ever taste–seriously! Thick,  fluffy, tender, brioche-like rolls that come completely smothered in a rich, but light chai spice cream cheese glaze. Hands down——these cinnamon rolls are sure to be the newest Fall craze! Overnight + Vegan options available.

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

This post contains affiliate links + sponsored links by Bob’s Red Mill.

It’s All About the Fall Faves + Things!

Now that we’re in November and well into the Fall season, I hope that you’ve been enjoying all things apple, pumpkin, chai, chocolate, and even banana breads. There’s just so much goodness to indulge in this season.

If you’ve been an avid reader of Orchids + Sweet Tea, then you’ll know that Cinnamon Rolls are one of my favorite sweet treats to make.

While they do take a little time to perfect (especially the rising phase), I just love the finishing of these thick, tender rolls! Oh and I do have a secret ingredient to mine——bread flour! Yup. I love the brioche-like, fluffiness to using bread flour, so it’s become my new cinnamon roll ingredient staple.

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

Plus, after much trial and error, I’ve come up with awesome tips that help to ensure that your Cinnamon Rolls are absolutely perfect, regardless of the flavors used.

To kick things off, I of course have to mention these Delicious Homemade Classic Cinnamon Rolls which have been a real reader favorite! I mean come one, what is there not to love, right?

What You’re Guaranteed to Love About these Rolls.

OK, so if you’re still not entirely sold on these cinnamon rolls, then let me tell you what’s so great about them. They are SOFT, FLUFFY, + BRIOCHE-LIKE in texture. Yup. I love making my cinnamon rolls more brioche-like. Who doesn’t love the extra ‘pillowy-ness’ of it all?

I totally made up that word. Haha.

Oh and these rolls do live up to the Fall Faves category for a reason—-PUMPKIN + CHAI is incredible! Lately, I’ve been so in love with the combination of pumpkin + chai. I’m obsessed!

Don’t believe how good they both are together? Try these Easy Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

PUMPKIN OVER EVERYTHING!!! 

Did you catch our food theme last month—- #PumpkinWeek?

Although pumpkin flavor isn’t a new invention that was created in the food space, I wanted to re-create new ways that it could be introduced with bold flavors. 

Feeling Everything Pumpkin? These are Delicious Options!

Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats—-Vegan, Gluten-free, and only takes 5 minutes to whip together while you allow the refrigerator do the rest overnight. This recipe boasts of it’s creaminess, thickness from the thickly cut oats used, and generous Fall flavors which reminds you of the traditional pumpkin spice latte.

This One-Pot Cajun Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta is the perfect way to enjoy a good plate of creamy pasta much like the classic Alfredo version, but without the dairy and cheese (all Vegan), completely loaded with pumpkin flavor married with cajun seasonings, and of course with the amazing texture of Pappardelle noddles. This recipe is easy to make, satisfying, and is sure to be your family’s next staple Fall-inspired comfort food.

This Vegan Pumpkin Chai Latte is made with only a handful of ingredients and is the perfect warmth + coziness to any day. Literally whipped together in a few short minutes, this homemade latte comes fully dairy-free, vegan, + gluten-free. Enjoy this coffee-free cup of goodness every morning. 

Of course, we have other pumpkin recipes that you can find on our site by searching “Pumpkin” at the top of the site!

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

Now, with the Holiday season in fast approach, I’m truly excited to continue on with my baking and discovering the amazingness of different textures and flavor profiles—much like these Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls, which come completely drenched in a Maple Cream Cheese frosting!

Oh my, oh my! Who else is ready for all the Holiday goodness that is on it’s way?

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

Looking for Killer Cinnamon Roll Recipes? 

These Vegan Chai Tea Latte Cinnamon Rolls are something right on point for the Fall/Winter season. They are fluffy, soft, thick, sweet, and surely does just melt in your mouth with every bite.

These Perfect Vegan Apple Maple Cinnamon Rolls are not your traditional cinnamon rolls at all. These rolls come loaded with deep apple flavor and topped with a velvety maple glaze and sprinkles of toasted pecans.

These Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls most certainly live up to being the best. They are moist, soft, thick, sweet, and surely does just melt in your mouth. Not being your typical Cinnamon Roll, this recipe is topped with a mouth-watering Maple Glaze that will leave you wanting more. 

These Vegan Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls + Maple Pecan Glaze are something right out of a sweet treat magazine. They are fluffy, soft, thick, sweet, and surely does just melt in your mouth with every bite. Not being your typical Cinnamon Roll, this recipe is topped with a mouth-watering Maple Pecan Glaze that will leave you ‘Cinnamon Roll obsessed’.

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

What About the Pumpkin?

When it comes to the pumpkin flavor, I use the pumpkin from the can specifically for pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling (I use the organic version from Libby’s). 

Greatest Challenge with Cinnamon Rolls.

Cinnamon rolls specifically, are a bit more challenging when it comes to the making of the dough and rolling, however, it’s nothing that a little practice can’t fix.

I remember the moments in the beginning of my baking journey, where I HATED making cinnamon rolls because I felt that they were so hard to master.

It’s MESSY with the inside filling and rolling and cutting and fixing them into perfect little rolls.

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

Looking for a Healthier Sweetener Option?

The Best Healthy Sugar Alternatives + Substitutes list is all about finding better ways to enjoy your favorite sweets without compromising your healthy lifestyle. For those who follow a vegetarian and/or vegan lifestyle, this lists offers a few great ideas to incorporate healthy sweeteners into your diet.

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

The dough process is SUPER precise to the point that your liquid being too hot or too cold could kill the yeast and cause it not to rise and the list goes on! But guess what?

I became better at it (obviously after a few trial + errors) and now it’s just a swift process.

Why Add Organic Artisan Bread Flour?

As I’ve mentioned previously, I love adding Bob’s Red Mill Organic Bread Flour to my cinnamon rolls as a secret ingredient because it creates such fluffy rolls.

This bread flour is made with premium high-protein flour milled from America’s highest quality wheat. While using all-purpose flour can achieve soft cinnamon rolls, there’s just something special about the rolls when this type of flour mixes in. I don’t know how to explain it, but mixing in this bread type allows for the rolls to be thicker, airy, fluffy, soft, and just GOOD!

In general, this bread flour is perfect for baguettes, pizza crust, dinner rolls, no-knead breads, and more. However, I think that we can add cinnamon rolls to the list. Haha.

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

So, if anything in baking and/or cooking seems too hard for you, just know that after a bit of practice, it won’t be. You’ll get it. You’ll enjoy it. And best of all–you’ll eat it! Haha.

WHAT YOU’LL LOVE MOST ABOUT THIS RECIPE?

It’s super easy to make (I have Tips below to ensure this!).

Bold Fall flavors + spices—-All about that Pumpkin + Chai!

Only requires ONE baking dish.

Can be MADE AHEAD! (See Notes!)

The epitome of COMFORT SWEETS!

Super thick and fluffy.

Super flavorful.

Did I mention that it’s just TOO GOOD TO PASS UP!?

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

If you didn’t get a chance to see my last Cinnamon Roll recipe, no worries—here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way to ensure that I make the perfect Cinnamon Rolls:

  • TIP #1: LIKE I SAID—NEVER OVERHEAT THE MILK. 

This one is super, super imperative. You have to always make sure that your milk is warm to the touch and not even a degree hot. Even if you heat your milk and it’s hot, simply let it cool until it feels warm. This ensure that you don’t kill the yeast and your dough rise to a nicely big fluff.

  • TIP #2: USE VERY SOFT BUTTER AT ROOM TEMPERATURE.

This is the ultimate secret to tender cinnamon rolls. Much like with other cakes and doughs, room temperature butter creates a nice texture. Simple.

  • TIP #3: MIX, MIX, MIX! 

Unlike most other recipes, you actually want to mix (or knead) your cinnamon roll dough to its capacity so that you release the gluten and it becomes extremely elastic. This helps when rolling and allows you to create a nicely flat, thin square, which is later filled with your choice of filling and rolled.

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

  • TIP #4: OVERNIGHT IS BETTER!

Although I’ve mostly made my cinnamon rolls within the same day, ultimately, rising your dough overnight in the refrigerator is the best! This slow rise process allows the yeast to completely feed off of the sugar and creates great flavor and of course—a lot more fluffiness.

  • TIP #5: USE BREAD FLOUR TOO.

One of my latest discoveries was the use of bread flour in my cinnamon rolls. Before, I would use only all-purpose flour. However, after a little experimenting, I’ve learned that bread flour creates a beautiful texture—tender, thick, and even more fluffy, almost ‘brioche’ like.

  • TIP #6: ROLL TIGHT!

Yes, you read it right. Although the assembly part is extremely messy, I’ve learned that the rolling is the star process! Before, I use to struggle with rolling the perfect cinnamon roll, however, lately I’ve been able to roll it pretty tight, which not only creates a nice structure, but it allows you to cut the dough more evenly which helps with baking. When rolling, always start the initial first roll really tight to keep the same momentum throughout.

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

Now, let’s dig right into these lovelies, shall we?

FOR THE DOUGH:

Start by combining the yeast and 1 Tbsp brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and then slowly pouring in the warm water, while stirring everything together. Allow 10 minutes for the mixture to sit and the yeast to activate (It’ll become foamy when done right!).

Meanwhile, melt the butter and milk together over the stove top on low to medium heat, stirring frequently until the butter has fully melted. NOTE: You don’t want the mixture to get too hot or boil! Set aside and let it cool until WARM.

Add lukewarm butter-milk mixture to yeast and mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time and continue mixing on low speed until well combined. Add the pumpkin puree and mix until well combined.

Next, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, brown sugar, sea salt and spices to the wet ingredients and mix on low-speed until well combined. 

Change “mixer head” to kneading accessory and knead dough for 5-10 minutes on medium-high speed until dough ball becomes smooth and elastic and dough springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers. NOTE: If dough is too sticky, add 1 Tbsp of flour at a time until texture is achieved!

Once dough ball is perfectly kneaded, add it to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit and rise for 1 hour to an hour + 15 minutes.

In the meantime, you can work on the filling!

FOR THE FILLING:

Melt butter and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon and brown sugar and set aside as well.

Once the hour has gone by and your dough has risen (about double it’s original size), preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, flour a flat surface and place the dough on it and using a rolling-pin, roll it out to a rectangle (approximately 9″x14), trimming the edges if needed. NOTE: Try not to make the dough too thin or else rolling it up will be hard to do!

Then, generously brush melted butter overtop of dough and spoon the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the butter. NOTE: I also use a ‘pastry brush’ to sweep sugar mixture evenly across the dough to ensure that every bite is sweet!

Tightly roll dough (long-ways) and using a pastry cutter, cut dough into 1.5″ rolls, placing each roll into a large baking dish (lined with parchment paper!).

Then place plastic wrap over the baking dish with rolls and let them rise again (for another 20 minutes).

Once the rolls have doubled in size (once again!) or have gotten significantly larger, brush the tops of the rolls with a little more melted butter and then bake them for approximately 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven.

While all the baking magic is happening, make the Chai Cream Cheese Glaze.

Remove the rolls from oven and wait 15-20 minutes or so (until it completely cools), and then spread the glaze atop the rolls using a rubber spatula.

Bon Appetit!

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Rising Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 10 mins
Serves: 12 servings
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Ingredients

Pumpkin Dough:

  • 3 cups Organic All-purpose flour (I use Bob's Red Mill; See Notes!)
  • 2 cups Artisan Bread flour (I use Bob's Red Mill; See Notes!)
  • 1 packet Rapid Rise Yeast (That's 2 1/4 tsps!)
  • 1 cup organic pumpkin puree (NOT Pie filling!)
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar + 1 Tbsp
  • 1 1/4 cup Almond milk (You can use your fave plant-based milk!)
  • 1/4 cup WARM water
  • 2 large eggs, room temp. (Don't include for Vegan option!)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (That's 4 Tbsps!; For Vegan option, use 6 Tbsps vegan butter!)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon (See Notes!)
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Filling:

  • 3 Tbsps unsalted butter, melted (For Vegan option, use vegan butter!)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar

Chai Cream Cheese Glaze:

  • 4-5 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4 oz. organic cream cheese, at room temp. (That's 1/2 a pack!; See Notes!)
  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter, softened (For Vegan option, use vegan butter!)
  • 1 Tbsp chai spice mix  (See Notes!)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4 Tbsps organic heavy cream (For Vegan option, use Plant-based milk!)

Instructions

FOR THE DOUGH:

  • Start by combining the yeast and 1 Tbsp brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and then slowly pouring in the warm water, while stirring everything together. Allow 10 minutes for the mixture to sit and the yeast to activate (It'll become foamy when done right!).
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter and milk together over the stove top on low to medium heat, stirring frequently until the butter has fully melted. NOTE: You don't want the mixture to get too hot or boil! Set aside and let it cool until WARM.
  • Add lukewarm butter-milk mixture to yeast and mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time and continue mixing on low speed until well combined. Add in pumpkin puree and mix until well combined.
  • Next, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, brown sugar, sea salt and spices to the wet ingredients and mix on low-speed until well combined. 
  • Change “mixer head” to kneading accessory and knead dough for 5-10 minutes on medium-high speed until dough ball becomes smooth and elastic and dough springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers. NOTE: If dough is too sticky, add 1 Tbsp of flour at a time until texture is achieved!
  • Once dough ball is perfectly kneaded, add it to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit and rise for 1 hour to an hour + 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, you can work on the filling!

FOR THE FILLING:

  • Melt butter and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon and brown sugar and set aside as well.
  • Once the hour has gone by and your dough has risen (about double it's original size), preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, flour a flat surface and place the dough on it and using a rolling-pin, roll it out to a rectangle (approximately 9"x14), trimming the edges if needed. NOTE: Try not to make the dough too thin or else rolling it up will be hard to do!
  • Then, generously brush melted butter overtop of dough and spoon the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the butter. NOTE: I also use a 'pastry brush' to sweep sugar mixture evenly across the dough to ensure that every bite is sweet!
  • Tightly roll dough (long-ways) and using a pastry cutter, cut dough into 1.5" rolls, placing each roll into a large baking dish (lined with parchment paper!).
  • Then place plastic wrap over the baking dish with rolls and let them rise again (for another 20 minutes).
  • Once the rolls have doubled in size (once again!) or have gotten significantly larger, brush the tops of the rolls with a little more melted butter and then bake them for approximately 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven.
  • While all the baking magic is happening, make the Chai Cream Cheese Glaze and set aside.

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • Simply combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer & beat together on medium-high speed until fluffy.
  • Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, chai spices, and heavy cream, continuing to mix on medium speed until you reach the desired consistency. **Add more heavy (1 Tbsp at a time if too thick) or powdered sugar (for more thickness).*
  • Remove the rolls from oven and wait 15-20 minutes or so (until it completely cools), and then spread the glaze atop the rolls using a rubber spatula.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • TO STORE: Cinnamon Rolls can be kept fresh at room temperature when tightly wrapped or sealed for up to 3 days. Fresh for up to 1 week in the Refrigerator. Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2 months.
  • VEGAN OPTION: Instead of cream cheese, you can substitute with maple syrup (1/2 cup WARMED) and continue the steps for glaze. See Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls recipe for help.
  • OVERNIGHT OPTION: If you don’t want to make your Cinnamon Rolls on the same day, you can simply follow all steps (including the initial 1+ hour rise) and after cutting rolls and placing them into your baking pan, just cover them tightly (using foil paper of plastic wrap) and refrigerate them overnight or for 8-12 hours instead. The following day, remove from refrigerator and keeping them covered, let cinnamon rolls rise at room temp 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • RAPID (INSTANT) RISE YEAST VS. ACTIVE DRY YEAST: If you’re not using the Rapid Rise Yeast for this recipe, please know that the rise time will be twice as long (about 3 hours) since regular Active Yeast doesn’t work as quickly.
    CHAI SPICE MIX: 2 Tbsps cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp allspice, 1 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp ground cloves
    BOB'S RED MILL: To purchase Bob's Red Mill flours, visit their site.

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Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls.

 

ORCHIDS + SWEET TEA

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  1. It would be helpful if the ingredients were listed the order they are used in the recipe. Also, for the pumpkin puree, there is no mention of WHEN to incorporate the puree into the recipe. In retrospect, I’m thinking that it should be added to the wet ingredients. Sadly, I did not realize that the puree was missing until after I added incorporated my dry ingredients. I added the pumpkin puree afterward and then needed to add and additional 8 TB more of flour to offset the puree.

    • Hi Coleen! Thanks so much for your feedback! I do apologize for any confusion! The puree goes in after the eggs and I’ve since updated this! I do hope that you enjoy these! 🙂

  2. Hi Shanika! That recipe looks gorgeous-I’m trying it out right now. But how much pumpkin puree for the dough? I added two cups like in your carrot cinnamon rolls as I couldn’t find the info anywhere, but the dough ended up so sticky I had to add another 4 cups of flour! I’m sure it’ll be delicious anyways though.
    It just yields 3 times the original recipe now. Cheers! 🙂

    • Hi Maike! Thanks so much! And I’m sorry that I missed the amount of pumpkin purée to add! It’s actually 1 cup of pumpkin purée! I’ll definitely fix this now! I’m sure it’ll still be delicious and how can you go wrong with more cinnamon rolls! Haha! Be sure to let me know how it turns out! ?

      • Thanks! They turned out tasty but a little dry (ironically)- I’ll make sure to try the updated recipe though, you had a really great idea there ☺️?

      • Awww, I do hope that it turns out greater next time! Thanks so much for the update!

    • Thanks so much, Lauren! They really are huge, but so fluffy that it’s perfect! Haha! I hope that your little crew enjoy these as much as we did!

    • Thanks so much, Lucy! This definitely came after much trial and error! I hope that my tips to making them perfect helps you if you ever decide to give it a try!