If you’re looking for a perfect dinner roll, this may be it. These savory pumpkin dinner rolls are soft, squishy, and buttery. And awesome. The flavors in these buttery rolls perfectly complement all your Thanksgiving favorites.

You may also want to check out my garlic Parmesan rolls or my soft garlic chive dinner rolls. They’re soft and perfect for sopping up gravy, too!

You can find more of my Thanksgiving breads all in one place here.

For ease of browsing, all of my bread and roll recipes are here. Thanks for stopping by!

A basket of pumpkin dinner rolls topped with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Bread Matters

I love a good, crusty bread. One you practically have to snap your head back away from in order to tear off a bite. I love to dip that kind of bread in oil.

But when it comes to gravy–brown, turkey, chicken or beef gravy and not the Italian version of gravy–I want a soft roll. I want a squishy roll, and while we’re at it, I want it to be rich, too.

Soft pumpkin dinner rolls in a basket with a bread plate and a small dish of butter and a jar of sorghum syrup.

I want it to soak up gravy or let me make tiny sandwiches of parts of my meal. A bit of turkey. A bit of stuffing. A bit of cranberry, all on my soft, buttery roll. Yes, I know what I want in a roll.

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Pumpkin Roll Recipe Inspiration

This Thanksgiving, I also knew I wanted to make pumpkin dinner rolls. I looked up Pumpkin Rolls in Donna Currie’s Make Ahead Bread, and while they sounded fantastic, I knew that, as written, they wouldn’t be as squishy as I wanted.

So I adapted Donna’s recipe into a rich, brioche-esque, buttery dough. I added a fine dusting of freshly Microplaned Parmesan Reggiano for an even more savory, nutty kick, and these little guys were just about perfect.

For Thanksgiving, I made 24 rolls and took 23 to Julie’s house. I’m not sure what happened to that 24th guy.

I was a bit concerned that some of the teenagers might be sad about orange rolls for Thanksgiving, so we brought some King’s Hawaiian Savory Butter Rolls as back-ups.

A pumpkin dinner roll on a plate with a basket of rolls in the background. One bite is missing from soft fresh roll.

I am very pleased to announce that, not only did most of the teenagers devour more than one, we didn’t have to break out the King’s. Yay us, because we’re going to make our favorite Ham and Cheese sliders with them. Huzzah!

So, if an endorsement by a passel of teenagers is a good indicator, these savory pumpkin dinner rolls are likely to go over really well at your house, whether or not you have teenagers.

Savory Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Most people think of pumpkin as a sweet flavor, mainly because of pumpkin pie. And I love pumpkin in sweets too like my caramel pumpkin mousse or my pumpkin butterscotch angel food pudding.

But pumpkin is a vegetable–okay, a gourd, but still–and as such, it also shines in savory recipes. The mellow richness of pumpkin plays beautifully with fall herbs and spices like marjoram and sage.

For Thanksgiving, the same herbs found in poultry seasoning are also play up the savory goodness of pumpkin.

I’ve seen many pumpkin dinner roll recipes that call for pumpkin spice, but especially if you’re serving a pumpkin dessert, I think it’s nice to keep the rolls savory as opposed to bringing dessert flavors onto your dinner plate.

Sorghum Syrup?

A split pumpkin dinner roll spread with butter and sorghum syrup pouring on.
The Beloved and I enjoyed a buttered soft buttery pumpkin dinner roll with thick, wonderful, sorghum syrup on it. The sweet with the nutty cheese and savory roll was pretty irresistible. My wonderful friend Lisa sent me four pounds of sorghum syrup, and you’ll see it turning up quite a bit around here over the next few months! Thank you, Lisa!

If you’ve never had sorghum before, it’s worth trying. It is thick like honey but tastes like a non-bitter molasses.

If you have issues with molasses because it can be bitter, give sorghum syrup a try. It is most excellent on rolls or biscuits or used as a molasses or honey substitute.

Soft Pumpkin Dinner Rolls Q&A

Since not everyone is comfortable baking with yeast, here is some information I hope you’ll find helpful.

Is there any way to make these rolls more quickly?

Yes. You can increase the yeast to 2 1/2 teaspoons, decrease the butter by half, allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl on the counter and then shape and let rise again.

Cutting down the amount of butter while upping the yeast by a little bit will allow you to make these rolls in one day with no overnight rise.

Can you freeze pumpkin dinner rolls?

Absolutely. Most bread freezes and thaws extremely well. Cool the baked rolls completely and then freeze them in freezer bags. Be sure to press out as much air as you can before sealing the bags. Pull them out of the bag as you need them, or let the entire bag defrost on the counter. You can then warm them in a low oven wrapped in foil or you can warm them up for a few seconds in the microwave.

Can you freeze the dough before baking?

Yes. If you know you want to freeze the rolls before you bake them, increase the yeast to 1 Tablespoon. Make the dough through the first rise (whether you’re making them in one day or you’re speeding up the process by adding yeast and reducing the butter), then shape the rolls, pan them up, and freeze the whole tray. Once frozen, wrap the whole tray really well. Defrost them at least overnight in the fridge before bringing them out to allow them to rise on the counter. Once they have almost doubled in size, they’re ready to bake.

Can you bake this as a loaf of pumpkin bread?

Yes, you can. This recipe makes about 36 ounces of dough, or 2 pounds, 4 ounces. From this recipe, you can make one 1 1/2 pound loaf and 4 rolls (or a 12 ounce round loaf baked directly on a baking stone), or you can make 2 1-pound loaves plus 4 rolls/12 ounce round.

And there you have it: buttery pumpkin dinner rolls worthy of any holiday table.

They sop up gravy with the best soft rolls out there, plus they’re a pretty color. You can certainly leave off the Parmesan cheese, but it goes beautifully with the pumpkin and plays nicely with the poultry seasoning in the dough.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we have. Twice.

A basket of golden pumpkin dinner rolls on the Thanksgiving table.
These are the very rolls I made for Thanksgiving. I didn’t want you to think I was kidding!

A Note About Measurements

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07/22/2024 07:15 am GMT
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Soft, Buttery Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Jennifer Field
This recipe for soft, buttery pumpkin dinner rolls makes 12, but it's easily doubled if you have at least a 6-quart mixer.
These are the perfect, soft, savory dinner roll. With a hint of pumpkin and some poultry seasoning to enhance it, they are super buttery and delicious.
NOTE that this dough needs to be refrigerated overnight, and then the shaped rolls will need a few hours to rise before baking, so plan accordingly.
If you still have some bits of leftover Thanksgiving, pile them on a split roll and make yourself a little sammich. You'll be glad you did.
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Bread and Rolls Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 269 kcal


For the Dough

  • 9.5 oz 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 3 oz 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons water (cold or room temp)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons sorghum syrup or honey
  • 8 oz 2 scant cups bread flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 8 oz 2 scant cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 1.25 oz 1/4 cup malted milk powder**
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/4-1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 oz 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened but not greasy

To Finish and Bake

  • 2-3 Tablespoons of milk
  • Parmesan cheese (block, not the green can)


  • Combine the pumpkin, water, yeast, sorghum syrup or honey, flour, malted milk powder, poultry seasoning, and salt (in that order) in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix with the dough hook until all the flour is incorporated. The dough will be pretty stiff at this point.
  • With the mixer on medium low speed, begin adding the softened butter, about a tablespoon at a time, until it’s all incorporated. Make sure one addition of butter is completely incorporated before adding the next. Once the butter is all in, you’ll have a very soft dough/stiff batter. Knead on medium/medium-low speed for about 10 minutes.
  • Pour/scrape the finished dough into a greased bowl. Spray the top with pan spray or brush with oil, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and portion into 12 buns. Each will weigh right around 3 ounces. If you have a scale (and you really should) weigh the entire amount of dough and then divide by 12 and scale the dough accordingly.
  • With oiled hands, shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball. Tighten it up a bit by rolling it between your hands on the counter. This doesn’t work so well with this dough, so just do the best you can. Don’t bother to flour or oil the counter. Just use your bench knife to occasionally scrape up any bits of dough that stick to it.
  • Place the rolls about 1/2" apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. You could also place them in 3 rows of 4 in a parchment-lined 9"x13" pan. Spray the tops of the rolls, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature until doubled in size. This could take several hours, especially if your kitchen is cold. The dough will spread more than it rises, but that’s okay. All the dough balls should be touching and sort of stuck together by at least 1 1/2" on all sides (or the sides that are touching, anyway). To speed the process along, you can let them rise in a warm place, and if you run out of time, you can always refrigerate them and finish later.
  • When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Brush the tops of the rolls with the milk and then Microplane some Parmesan evenly over them.
  • Bake until golden brown. Some of the cheese will have browned too, but not all of it. This should take about 30 minutes. I baked mine for 15 minutes then rotated the pan and baked another 10 minutes. It depends on your oven. The internal temperature of the rolls should be 200F.
  • Remove from the oven and cool on a rack until just warm. Serve them immediately or reheat once they’re room temperature. Store cooled buns in freezer bags. I thaw mine for a few seconds in the microwave and then heat them for a couple of minutes in the toaster oven.

Did You Make Any Changes?


**You can also use dried milk powder in your rolls. I like the flavor the malted milk powder lends.


Serving: 1gCalories: 269kcalCarbohydrates: 35.6gProtein: 7.1gFat: 11.1gSaturated Fat: 6.9gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 421mgFiber: 1.8gSugar: 5.2g
Keyword pumpkin dinner rolls, rolls
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