Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (Less Sugar, Simple Steps)

These sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls are the perfect fall breakfast recipe. Especially when topped with pumpkin maple cream cheese frosting. This recipe is healthier than most with less sugar, whole ingredients, and sourdough for gut health.

cinnamon rolls on a pan and one on a plate covered with frosting
Source: Plum Branch Home

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My cinnamon rolls have a perfect layer of cinnamon sugar swirled throughout the roll. The outside layer is flaky while the inside is soft and pillowy thanks to our sourdough starter.

The pumpkin maple cream cheese has the perfect balance of maple and pumpkin complimenting the roll. It’s an easy frosting to whip up in just a few minutes.

Recipe Inspiration

With autumn on it’s way, I wanted to combine a delicious breakfast treat and seasonal flavors. That’s how sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls were born at our house.

I began developing this recipe and spent two following weekends testing it out. It’s got the perfect pumpkin flavor and don’t get me started on the frosting: it’s amazing!

For this recipe, we’re using pure maple syrup in the dough and frosting as well as cane sugar in the filling. I didn’t want to use refined sugar, corn syrups, or any other sweetener that’s terrible for the body.

I dislike nothing more than needing to chug water after enjoying a cinnamon roll. Do you also need tons of water after eating processed sugar? I sure do!

up close cinnamon roll with frosting
Source: Plum Branch Home

Reasons I Love this Recipe and So Will You

  • This recipe uses sourdough starter for added gut health benefits.
  • With less sugar and pure wholesome swaps, it’s not overwhelmingly sweet.
  • The cinnamon rolls keep wonderfully in the fridge.
  • You can freeze baked cinnamon rolls for easy and quick breakfast.

What Makes This Recipe Simple

  • You will combine all ingredients in one bowl.
  • The steps of this recipe are simplified as much as possible.
  • Although the fermenting, proofing times are long, the amount of work is minimum.
  • You’ll use canned pumpkin rather than homemade to keep things easy.
  • Don’t let the length of instructions overwhelm you, it really is simple!
baked cinnamon rolls

Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Ingredients

Dough

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter (fed or discard)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (I like organic from Kroger or Trader Joes)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup (I like Costco’s Kirkland Brand)
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 egg + 1/2 cup flour

Filling

  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon (I like Costco’s Kirkland Organic Saigon Cinnamon)
  • 1/3 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened not melted)

How to Make Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

The Dough

  1. Add flour and salt to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Then using a fork or pastry cutter, cut butter into pea-sized pieces in the bowl. You can also use a cheese grater to make it easier.
  3. Now add sourdough starter, pumpkin puree, water, and maple syrup. (do NOT add the egg or extra 1/2 cup of flour)
  4. Using your hands or a spoon, mix until all ingredients are combined and a dough forms.

Bulk Ferment

  1. After mixing, cover the bowl with a dish towel or lid.
  2. Then let dough ferment on the counter or non-drafty place (such as in a turned off oven or microwave) for 6 hours.

Make the Filling

  1. Right before the dough finishes fermenting, stir together cinnamon, cane sugar, and softened butter (not melted) in a bowl until combined.
  2. Set aside while shaping the dough.

Shaping

  1. After the bulk ferment is finished, uncover and add egg plus extra 1/2 cup of flour to the dough.
  2. Use your hands to incorporate the ingredients. (This is going to be a little messy and takes a few minutes, but trust me it’ll incorporate).
  3. Once ingredients are incorporated, roll the dough out with a rolling pin into a 12 inch by 6 inch rectangle. The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick. (coat your workspace lightly with flour to prevent sticking)
  4. Now spread the filling in an even layer all over the rectangle of dough. Make sure as much of the rectangle is covered as possible.
  5. Next, carefully with both hand, roll the rectangle tightly into a log starting at the 6 inch side. When you get to the end, use your fingers to pinch the seam together down the log.
  6. Finally, using unflavored dental floss, a knife, or bench scraper cut the log into 8 pieces. Add each cinnamon roll onto a parchment lined cookie sheet about 1-2 inches apart.

Second Ferment

  1. Cover the cinnamon rolls on the cookie sheet with a second piece of parchment paper, gently pressing the sides around the rolls.
  2. Stick cookie sheet into the refrigerator for 12 hours (best if done overnight) for the second ferment.

Baking

  1. After the second ferment is completed, take cookie sheet out of the refrigerator and preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. After oven has preheated, stick cookie sheet in and bake for 25 minutes (use a knife to poke the centers after baking to ensure doneness).
  3. While pumpkin cinnamon rolls are baking, make the frosting.
  4. Finally, add frosting to slightly cooled cinnamon rolls after baking and enjoy!
hand frosting a cinnamon roll
Source: Plum Branch Home

Pumpkin Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Frosting Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp milk or cream (I use homemade cashew cream)
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree

Instructions

  1. First, add all ingredients together in a bowl
  2. Second, use an electric mixer to combine.
  3. Finally, store in an air-tight container in the fridge until needed.

Tips for The Best Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

  • Don’t start this recipe when you’re in a rush.
  • Always roll the cinnamon roll dough tight when shaping.
  • Follow this recipe exactly and be sure to measure.
  • Don’t overwork the dough by kneading.
a cinnamon roll being served
Source: Plum Branch Home

What to Serve with Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

  • Slices of baked bacon
  • Sausage links
  • Cup of coffee
  • Roasted potato hash

Storing Leftovers and Freezing

Refrigerator: Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freezer: For longer freshness, store in a freezer-safe container or baggie individually wrapped for up to 3 months. (thaw in the fridge overnight then reheat in a toaster or even until warm)

hand getting a cinnamon roll of the pan
Source: Plum Branch Home

Recipe FAQ

  • Can I use sourdough discard for this recipe? For this recipe you can use fed starter or sourdough discard.
  • Are these cinnamon rolls hard to make? These sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls are super simple!
  • Why are my cinnamon rolls not light and fluffy? If your cinnamon rolls are dense, they need more time during the ferment processes. Be sure to give them the full proofing times.
  • Is bread flour or all-purpose flour better for cinnamon rolls? Either flour will work great, I personally use all-purpose.
  • Can I pre make these cinnamon rolls and freeze to bake later? Yes you can, just be sure to freeze them individually wrapped or put parchment between them to prevent sticking.

Example Recipe Timeline

Use this example baking timeline to help you figure out the best timing. This is the schedule I usually follow when making sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls.

  • Saturday
    • 11:45 am: mix dough
    • 12 pm – 6 pm: bulk ferment
    • 5:50 pm: make filling
    • 6 pm: begin shaping dough
    • 6:20 pm: place in fridge for 2nd ferment
  • Sunday
    • 7 am: take out of fridge and bake
    • 7:05 am: make frosting
    • 7:25 am: take cinnamon rolls out of oven
    • 7:30 am: frost and enjoy

Helpful Kitchen Tools

More Breakfast Recipes To Try

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sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls

Sourdough Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Molly LaFontaine of Plum Branch Home
These sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls are the perfect fall breakfast recipe. Especially when topped with pumpkin maple cream cheese frosting. This recipe is healthier than most with less sugar and whole ingredients.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
1st and 2nd Fermenting 18 hours
Total Time 19 hours 10 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 8 cinnamon rolls

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter fed or discard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree I like organic from Kroger or Trader Joes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup I like Costco’s Kirkland Brand
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 egg + 1/2 cup flour

Filling

  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon I like Costco’s Kirkland Organic Saigon Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter softened not melted

Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp milk or cream I use homemade cashew cream
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree

Instructions
 

The Dough

  • Add flour and salt to a large mixing bowl.
  • Then using a fork or pastry cutter, cut butter into pea-sized pieces in the bowl. You can also use a cheese grater to make it easier.
  • Now add sourdough starter, pumpkin puree, water, and maple syrup. (do NOT add the egg or extra 1/2 cup of flour)
  • Using your hands or a spoon, mix until all ingredients are combined and a dough forms.

Bulk Ferment

  • After mixing, cover the bowl with a dish towel or lid.
  • Then let dough ferment on the counter or non-drafty place (such as in a turned off oven or microwave) for 6 hours.

Make the Filling

  • Right before the dough finishes fermenting, stir together cinnamon, cane sugar, and softened butter (not melted) in a bowl until combined.
  • Set aside while shaping the dough.

Shaping

  • After the bulk ferment is finished, uncover and add egg plus extra 1/2 cup of flour to the dough.
  • Use your hands to incorporate the ingredients. (This is going to be a little messy and takes a few minutes, but trust me it’ll incorporate).
  • Once ingredients are incorporated, roll the dough out with a rolling pin into a 12 inch by 6 inch rectangle. The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick. (coat your workspace lightly with flour to prevent sticking)
  • Now spread the filling in an even layer all over the rectangle of dough. Make sure as much of the rectangle is covered as possible.
  • Next, carefully with both hand, roll the rectangle tightly into a log starting at the 6 inch side. When you get to the end, use your fingers to pinch the seam together down the log.
  • Finally, using unflavored dental floss, a knife, or bench scraper cut the log into 8 pieces. Add each cinnamon roll onto a parchment lined cookie sheet about 1-2 inches apart.

Second Ferment

  • Cover the cinnamon rolls on the cookie sheet with a second piece of parchment paper, gently pressing the sides around the rolls.
  • Stick cookie sheet into the refrigerator for 12 hours (best if done overnight) for the second ferment.

Baking

  • After the second ferment is completed, take cookie sheet out of the refrigerator and preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • After oven has preheated, stick cookie sheet in and bake for 25 minutes (use a knife to poke the centers after baking to ensure doneness).
  • While pumpkin cinnamon rolls are baking, make the frosting.

Frosting

  • First, add all frosting ingredients together in a bowl
  • Second, use an electric mixer to combine.
  • Finally, add frosting to slightly cooled cinnamon rolls after baking, and enjoy!

Notes

Use this example baking timeline to help you figure out the best timing. This is the schedule I usually follow when making sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
  • Saturday
    • 11:45 am: mix dough
    • 12 pm – 6 pm: bulk ferment
    • 5:50 pm: make filling
    • 6 pm: begin shaping dough
    • 6:20 pm: place in fridge for 2nd ferment
  • Sunday
    • 7 am: take out of the fridge and bake
    • 7:05 am: make frosting
    • 7:25 am: take cinnamon rolls out of oven
    • 7:30 am: frost and enjoy
Keyword sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls, sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls plum branch home, sourdough pumpkin cinnamon rolls recipe

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