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, Gluten-Free, + Vegan options.
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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 and these Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls are no exception!
While they do take a little time to perfect (practice does make perfect), you just have to love the finishing of these thick, tender rolls! Oh and I do have a secret ingredient to mine------bread flour mixed in! Yup. You'll love the brioche-like, fluffiness to using bread flour, so it's become my new cinnamon roll ingredient staple. Don't believe me? I definitely recommend you trying these Homemade Classic Cinnamon Rolls, Vegan Chai Latte Cinnamon Rolls, and Southern-Style Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls.
In case you wanted to make the vegan version of these cinnamon rolls, here's my Best Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls recipe. Simply add the chai glaze on top and wallah!
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.
Plus, these pumpkin cinnamon rolls are:
Ready to get baking? The first thing to do is assemble your ingredients! Like many rising dough recipes, you always start with adding your ingredients together in a stand mixer (or bowl if kneading by hand) and mixing until combined. Then you knead the dough vigorously for about 15-20 minutes to ensure that it becomes elastic-like in texture with a shine.
Then you add the dough to a greased bowl, cover and let it rise for the first hour. Once risen, remove it unto a lightly floured surface, roll it out to an inch thickness, spread on the filling, and then roll them up tightly before cutting them into rounds. Assemble dough pieces in prepped baking dish, cover and let it rise for a second time. Once risen again, brush the tops with softened butter, bake, glaze, slice, and serve!
Here's what you need for the fluffy pumpkin brioche-style dough:
Here's what you need to make the spiced filling for your cinnamon rolls:
Top your cinnamon rolls with a delicious chai-infused cream cheese glaze made with:
No matter what you call them—cinnamon buns, cinnamon rolls, sweet rolls, sticky buns, sticky rolls, cinnamon swirl, cinnamon danish—everyone has a favorite. I've never met someone who didn't like them.
A cinnamon bun or sweet roll is a sweeter, fluffier bread dough with a filling, usually cinnamon-based, in the middle. They are usually served around the holidays. When the filling is cooked, it makes an iconic swirl of deliciousness.
If you're thinking about making your own pumpkin puree instead of using a store-bought canned version, then you'll be happy to know that it is rather simple:
Due to many delicious attempts at perfecting this recipe, I have come across some very helpful, tried + true tips that will ensure a perfectly baked cinnamon roll with the most amazing texture and flavor. Here are the tricks that get the job done:
It is so important that your milk and butter are WARM, but NOT hot! It should be warm to the touch. If you find that your milk has overheated, allow it to cool before adding the yeast. The same is for the melted butter.
Be sure to let it cool to a warm temperature before adding it in. Milk and butter that are too hot will kill the yeast and you won't get the big, fluffy rise in the dough, which affects the texture once baked. We want these rolls super fluffy, and that's only possible when the yeast is bloomed properly, not dense rolls.
Like in most baking, room temperature ingredients mix better than cold ingredients. You'll need your butter to be super soft so that you can easily spread it generously across the dough for the filling.
I know it sounds weird, but hear me out. With cakes and cookies, you never want to overwork a dough because working develops the gluten in the flour. Gluten development leads to a chewy, unpleasant texture in cakes and cookies, making them dense and heavy.
Because cinnamon rolls use a yeast dough, it is required to develop the gluten in the dough. The yeast brings elasticity that lightens and fluffs the dough, much like bread dough. When making these rolls, keep on mixing even after you think you've mixed enough! The kneading process is super important for the perfection of these rolls!
While I developed this recipe as a quick-bake cinnamon roll after two proofing sessions, more flavor develops in the dough if you allow it to rise overnight. The dough has more time to rise, leading to a more developed, yeast-bread flavor. This yeast flavor is a perfect pairing with the sweet filling and frosting--trust me!
After much trial and error, I have found that a mix of bread flour and all-purpose flour makes the perfect combination for cinnamon rolls. The bread flour gives a thicker, dense feel while the all-purpose flour creates a tender, soft feel which ultimately results in a brioche-like texture that I think is perfect for these rolls.
A loose roll will fall apart upon slicing and bake unevenly. Instead, begin with a very tight roll and keep that momentum throughout the roll. The dough is sturdy and can handle being rolled tightly due to its elasticity.
One of the essential elements of these pumpkin cinnamon rolls is the actual pumpkin spice blend. It is very simple to make, plus, you can make a larger batch and save some for baking!
To make homemade Pumpkin Spice, combine these spices:
That's it! This delicious blend is perfect for lattes, cookies, cakes, pies, pudding, or all things pumpkin.
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.
Yes, this recipe has some caffeine. Black tea contains about 47 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce cup. Compared to coffee, which has 95 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce cup. If you use chai tea bags for this recipe, you'll have about 26 milligrams of caffeine per cup. To cut the caffeine out of this recipe altogether, simply use decaffeinated black or chai tea.
OK, so you might think it's possible, but you can totally make cinnamon rolls, including these Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls without yeast, if you ever needed to! Just know that the texture wouldn't be as brioche-like or fluffy, and they'll be more dense, but still good.
Instead of yeast, you'll just need to substitute with 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder to allow some level of rise to occur.
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.
Absolutely! Usually, I make my cinnamon roll dough via my electric stand-mixer which has the appropriate attachments for the kneading process, however, with these cinnamon rolls, I have had the pleasure of doing this all by hand and it wasn't difficult.
It just requires a bit more arm work, that's all! Plus, there’s nothing that a light drizzle of flour can’t help, right?! You'll basically follow all steps for making the dough in a large bowl and once it begins to come together and can form a ball, then you'll begin working the dough in a front-to-back and folding motion a few times until you begin to feel the dough "soften" and become elastic-like. It took me about 5-6 minutes or so total. Not bad!
While I don't personally pour milk over all of my cinnamon rolls, especially these pumpkin chai rolls, however, if you're wondering why this is done it's because: as the rolls bake, the cream or milk in the bottom of the pan heats up and Its liquid migrates up into the rolls, making them moister.
Absolutely! It's possible to replace heavy cream with milk when making cinnamon rolls since heavy cream adds a richness to the dough and helps it to rise. Either way, milk or heavy cream works just fine!
I actually made a Reel video on this to help you create the most delicious experience with store-bought can cinnamon rolls. While I did it for my Gingerbread cinnamon rolls, the same concept applies to these pumpkin rolls:
1. Use a high-quality organic store bought version of cinnamon rolls to start!
2. Add about 1 cup of milk + ¼ cup pumpkin puree + spices (whisked together) and pour them over rolls once in baking dish. This helps to make them “pumpkin flavored” + gives them a nice soft, fluffy texture while baking.
3. Never use the icing! Once baked, top your cinnamon rolls with homemade icing like my Chai-infused cream cheese frosting.
4. Always add frosting to WARM rolls so that it semi-melts and adds further moisture to baked rolls and becomes perfectly “whipped”.
Yes! To make fluffy classic cinnamon rolls gluten-free, substitute both the all-purpose and bread flour with Bob's Red Mill's 1:1 baking flour. Reduce the amount by 1 cup and add more if necessary if the dough is too sticky.
Of course! If you don’t want to make your 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 rolls rise at room temp 1 to 1 ½ hours. Then continue with the baking and glazing steps.
Not only does chilling the dough mean that you can reduce the amount of work needed to be done in just one day, but cold dough is also easier to roll out and shape into rolls which creates a tighter, neater roll. So feel free to chill the dough if desired.
Unfortunately, when cinnamon rolls come out too hard and/or dense, it means that the yeast wasn't activated properly and the dough didn't rise like it should have. If the dough doesn't double in size before being rolled out, then this is an indication that the dough didn't rise adequately.
I can admit that I used to make my cinnamon rolls with melted butter for the filling, however, after stumbling upon using softened butter---I'm a believer! Melted butter usually seeps out of the centers once the dough is rolled and lifted and it dries out pretty quickly when baking. Whereas, I've found that softened butter keeps the filling more in tact and truly softens the rolls as they bake.
Of course! Instead of cream cheese, you can substitute with vegan butter (softened at room temp.), substitute the butter with vegan butter in the dough/filling, omit the eggs, and substitute plant-based milk with heavy cream. See my Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls recipe for guidance.
Leftovers 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.
To reheat, I recommend adding them an oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-10 minutes or until just about warmed through, but the glaze hasn't melted. For a quicker warm, you can add it to a microwave for a few seconds. You can also let it sit at room temperature until warm enough to eat.
Now that you're on a pumpkin feel with this cinnamon roll recipe, give these recipes that your entire family will love a try next:
If you tried these Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.
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I am miffed after making the dough for this recipe. 5 cups was clearly not enough flour for this recipe . The liquid to dry ratio is incorrect. As a baker, I think it would be best for you (Shanika) to try this recipe again and adjust the ratios. or remove the recipe altogether because multiple people have stated to you that the flour listed was not enough.
Hi Carly! Thanks so much for your feedback! I do apologize for any trouble that the recipe has caused! I actually have this one on my list of recipes to revamp + reshoot for this month since it's an old one of mine, therefore, it'll be perfect once it's updated! Thanks so much! 🙂
I was nervous because it was my first time baking anything like a cinnamon roll or bread or using yeast, but it turned out great! The next logical step is applying for GBBO. Halved the sugar in the glaze because I don’t have a sweet tooth. Thank you for the marvelous recipe and the confidence boost!
Hi Parisa! OMG---I'm so happy to hear that this recipe turned out great! Honestly, it made my day to hear that I helped boost your confidence and made your first experience with making cinnamon rolls seamless! Thanks so much for choosing my recipe! 🙂
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! 🙂
I thought 1/4 cup butter was 4 Tbsp?
Hi Rachel! Thanks so much for catching that! It is 4 Tbsps! Fixed!
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!
I LOVE this recipe! Those cinnamon rolls are huge! Saving t his right now to make this weekend for my little crew!
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!
Your rolls are superb - they look so light, bouncy and large. The colour is gorgeous too.
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!
Oh my goodness! These look amazing... always love that added pumpkin goodness!
Thanks so much, Kim! Pumpkin with anything is so good, right!
These Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls looks so enticing. Perfect for this time of the year.
They really are super addicting after you have your first bite, Anvita!
I love anything with pumpkin spice! These look amazing!
Thanks so much, Jessica! Yes, Pumpkin Spice is the best!