Easy Pumpkin Bread Rolls

Christine Johnson

By Christine Johnson


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4.88 from 8 votes

This easy vegan pumpkin bread roll recipe wraps up all the best fall flavors into one bite. The tasty bread rolls are simple to make and great to serve alongside any fall-forward dish.

Vegan Pumpkin Bread Rolls. Great for making with kids!

I’m so excited to be sharing these vegan pumpkin bread rolls with you! I’ve been obsessed with them ever since I made them the first time. They are lightly sweet, deliciously fluffy and let’s face it…totally adorable.

Bring all of the best fall flavors into your kitchen with these vegan pumpkin bread rolls. Not only do they taste like pumpkins, but they actually look like little pumpkins too. They’re great to serve alongside a comforting soup or a filling main course. They’re also pretty tasty on their own.

Besides being super simple to make, these pumpkin rolls are also vegan. The yeast works with the flour and pumpkin puree to form a dough that bakes up super light and fluffy in the oven, no eggs required.

When the weather starts to cool down and the chill returns to the air, give yourself a taste of fall with these easy pumpkin bread rolls.

Vegan Pumpkin Bread Rolls. Great for making with kids!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe 

  • Fun To Make. Forming the dough into mini pumpkins is basically like creating an art project in the kitchen. 
  • Budget-Friendly. Only 6 ingredients are needed to make these pumpkin rolls, and chances are you already have the majority of them in your pantry. 
  • The Best Of Fall. The pumpkin takes over the rolls in the best way possible, making these the ultimate dinner roll during the fall season. 
  • Freezer-Friendly. These rolls are excellent to stick in the freezer. Double the batch and stick the second half in to save for another day. That way, you can enjoy them long after the fall season.

How To Make Pumpkin Bread Rolls 

Making bread can seem slightly intimidating, but it actually couldn’t be easier. You’ll see the full recipe down below and can print it out to use while in the kitchen. Here’s a quick walkthrough of how these pumpkin bread rolls come to life. 

Key Ingredients 

  • Pumpkin Puree. Both canned pumpkin and fresh pumpkin will work in this recipe. If using canned, make sure it is 100% pumpkin puree. If going the fresh route, roast the pumpkin first and then mash it into a fine puree.
  • Active Dry Yeast. The main ingredient to give the rolls their rise and fluffiness. 
  • Maple Syrup. A little syrup goes a long way. The small amount in the recipe adds a nice but subtle sweetness to the rolls. 
  • All Purpose Flour. This recipe uses all purpose flour to bind everything together. 

Step-By-Step Instructions 

  1. Activate the Yeast. Add the water, yeast, and maple syrup to a large mixing bowl. Give it a good stir with a whisk or wooden spoon, making sure everything is thoroughly combined. Once combined, let the mixture sit for about five minutes to let the yeast fully activate. After about five minutes, add the pumpkin puree to the yeast mixture and combine. 
  2. Add in the Dry Ingredients. Next, add the flour and the salt. It may get a little messy here, so don’t be shy about mixing with your hands. When everything is combined, turn the dough onto a clean, floured surface to knead. 
  3. Knead the Dough. This is where the arm workout comes into play! Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it looks smooth. If you want to take the shortcut, use a dough hook in a stand mixer. Let the mixer go to work for about 5 minutes.
  4. Let The Dough Rise. When the dough is fully kneaded, place it in a greased bowl and let it rise for about 90 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.
  5. Form The Pumpkins. After the dough has expanded, punch it down to release the excess air. Then, form the dough into 8 equal pieces. Take each ball of dough and pinch the bottoms together. Now comes the time to shape the pumpkins. Find the halfway point in a long piece of food-safe string. Take the halfway point and flip it over onto the dough ball. Then, pull the two pieces of string together and cross them so a cross forms on the bottom of the ball of dough. Flip the ball over again and repeat the steps until the ball is in 8 equal pieces. Tie the top of the string and cut off any excess that is left over.
  6. Second Rise. When all the balls have been shaped, cover them with cling film and let the dough rise again for about 30 minutes. The dough will puff up around the string, forming the signature pumpkin shape. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 170°C.
  7. Bake and Enjoy. After the second rise, place the rolls in the oven and let them bake for 15-20 minutes. Let them cool fully on a cooling rack before cutting off the string and serving. Top the rolls with a pumpkin seed to add the finishing details. 
Vegan Pumpkin Bread Rolls. Great for making with kids!

Recipe Tips and Variations

  • Let The Dough Rise. Don’t rush the rising process of the dough. It may seem like you are waiting forever for the dough to form, but it will make all the difference when the rolls are baking. 
  • Substitute The Pumpkin. Don’t like pumpkin? Try out another squash or go with a sweet potato. The rolls will have a similar texture and taste just as good. 
  • Don’t Overmix The Batter. When mixing the yeast with the wet ingredients, don’t overmix it. If overmixed, it can kill the yeast causing a faulty rise. 

Make-Ahead & Storage Recommendations 

These rolls can easily be prepped beforehand for dinner. Make them about 1-2 days before and store them in an airtight container. To warm them up, place them in the oven at a low temperature. 

The rolls will also freeze very well. Save any extra in an airtight container for about 2-3 months. Thaw overnight or warm up in the oven at a low temperature when ready to eat. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why aren’t my bread rolls fluffy?

If you find that your pumpkin rolls are rather dense and hard, you might have mixed too much flour into the dough. Double-check your measurements and be mindful of how much extra flour you add to the dough when kneading.

Why don’t my rolls look like pumpkins?

Securing the string to the rolls can be a little complicated at first. Follow the instructions slowly and make sure all 8 crosses are there.

Why didn’t my rolls rise?

If your rolls don’t rise, your yeast may not have activated correctly. It could be old or sometimes a bad batch. Double-check the freshness of the yeast, and don’t overmix it when combining it with the other wet ingredients. And be sure to check out our guide on how to make your dough rise every time.

Try These Other Homemade Bread Recipes 

Print Recipe
4.88 from 8 votes

Easy Pumpkin Bread Rolls

This easy vegan pumpkin bread roll recipe wraps up all the best fall flavors into one bite. The tasty bread rolls are simple to make and great to serve alongside any fall-forward dish.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Rise Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 35 minutes
Course: Baking
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: pumpkin bread, pumpkin rolls
Servings: 8 rolls
Calories: 225kcal


  • 8 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 16 ounces all purpose flour


  • Add the water, yeast and maple syrup to a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Leave for about 5 minutes while you measure out the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add the pumpkin puree to the yeast mixture and stir to fully incorporate.
  • Add the flour and salt and stir until the mixture comes together. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth. Alternatively, mix for 5 minutes in a stand mixer.
  • Place the dough into a greased bowl and let rise for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Once doubled, punch the excess air out of the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each one into a ball and pinch the bottom together. Take a long piece of string and find the halfway point. Place the half way point on top of the ball and flip the whole thing over. Pull the two pieces of string together and cross them over to create a cross on the bottom of the ball. Flip it over again and do the same thing until the ball is divided into 8 equal pieces. Tie the string at the top and cut off any excess. See the pictures below for the process. Cover the 8 rolls with cling film and let rise again for 30 minutes. The dough will puff out around the string and make pumpkin shapes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (about 170°C) and bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes. Let them cool on a cooling rack before removing the string.


Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 295mg | Potassium: 130mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 4412IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 3mg

Images by Lauren Caris Short.

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7 thoughts on “Easy Pumpkin Bread Rolls”

  1. I made these last night and they looked great, but when I tried to take the string off this morning it ripped chunks of bread out as it came away :(

    • Oh no! I probably wouldn’t leave it quite that long to take off the string, as it might stick more the longer it’s left on the bread. I let them cool for 20-30 mins then take it off. You still need to do it really gently as it’s quite soft bread. Hopefully they still tasted great!

    • Hi! Well the bread recipe itself is based on a sweet potato bread I made last year (with sun dried tomato layers), So I substituted pumpkin for sweet potato for that recipe. I’ve seen a lot of people making bread rolls look like pumpkins on Pinterest so I thought I would try it with my pumpkin bread recipe :) Thanks for the comment!