Honey Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
Honey pumpkin dinner rolls are the perfect fluffy twist on classic dinner rolls. They’re soft and fluffy, easy to make, and perfect for feeding a crowd. I always make room on my thanksgiving table for these perfect rolls! Serve with salted butter, honey, and cranberry sauce for the ultimate experience.
How to Make Honey Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
Even if you’re intimidated by baking bread, these honey pumpkin dinner rolls couldn’t be easier. They only require a few ingredients and even the most novice baker can make this recipe!
Ingredients you’ll need
- Flour. This recipe uses both bread and all-purpose flour. The AP flour keeps the rolls light and fluffy while the bread flour gives them structure.
- Active dry yeast. Make sure your yeast is fresh and hasn’t been hanging out for ages. The fridge is the best place to store yeast.
- Honey. Instead of sugar, honey gets the yeast nice and active and gives the rolls a slightly sweet flavor.
- Pumpkin puree. You could also swap in sweet potato puree. Make sure to use canned (or homemade) pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
- Milk. I used whole milk in this recipe, but you can swap 2% if needed.
- Butter. Butter added to the dough makes the rolls so soft and elastic. Make sure your butter is nice and soft before adding it.
Soft dinner rolls need a ‘rich’ dough
The crustier and chewier the bread, the less fat there is in the dough. This is known as ‘lean’ dough. Unlike bagels or crusty sourdough, soft dinner rolls need fat making it a ‘rich’ dough. The milk, butter, and egg in this honey pumpkin dinner roll recipe keep the dough nice and soft so don’t skimp on fat here!
How to make honey pumpkin dinner rolls ahead of time
If you plan to make these for Thanksgiving, there’s already a lot going on! You may not have 3 hours to dedicate to one culinary project, so let’s talk alternate options. You can prepare the dough, let it rise, shape it, and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, let the dough rise on the counter for about 2 hours and then bake. Making these ahead of time can take some of the work off your plate on the day of.
Here’s how to freeze honey pumpkin dinner rolls: Follow the make-ahead instructions and instead of refrigerating overnight, freeze the rolls in a baking pan. Once frozen, they won’t stick together anymore and you can place them in a freezer bag. Let them thaw overnight in the fridge and then rise on the counter (covered) in a baking pan for about 4-5 hours, then bake. You can also freeze the baked dinner rolls. Therefore, if you want a smaller batch, you can make the entire recipe and bake only a few fresh rolls at a time.
Making rolls without a stand mixer
I prefer to make these rolls in my stand mixer for ease, but they can be made without a stand mixer. Using a dough whisk, whisk the dough ingredients together in a large mixing bowl (follow the below instructions). This is going to require a lot of elbow grease as this is a stiff dough. You’ll have to knead the dough by hand for at least 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
Tips for making fluffy dinner rolls
- Make sure your milk is at the right temperature. Too hot and the milk will kill the yeast. Aim for milk at about 100 degrees F.
- Check your yeast’s expiration. Old yeast may not work, so make sure your yeast is fresh. If your yeast doesn’t get foamy in the milk, get some new yeast and start over.
- Use the right flour. This recipe specifically uses bread and all-purpose flour which keeps the rolls from being too heavy and dense.
- Use the right amount of flour. I always weigh my flour specifically and this keeps me from adding too much. Too much flour also can result in heavy and dense rolls.
- Rising time. Don’t rush the dough when it’s rising. Find a warm-ish spot in your kitchen (at least 70 F) and let the dough do its thing, especially after shaping. Dough that hasn’t risen enough will yield hard rolls.
More Easy Bread Recipes to Try
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Honey Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
- 3/4 cup 177ml whole milk, warmed to 100 degrees F
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 1/4 teaspoons 1 standard envelope active dry yeast
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 cups 300g all-purpose flour
- 2 cups 300g bread flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 tablespoons 2 oz, unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- Sugar for sprinkling (optional)
- Whisk the warm milk, yeast, and honey together in the bowl of your stand mixer and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is foamy.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours and salt and set aside.
- Add the egg and pumpkin puree to the milk mixture and the flour. Mix on medium-low speed until the dough just starts to come together. Add the softened butter and mix on medium-low for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Grease a 9x13 rimmed baking sheet or baking pan. When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Transfer to a clean workstation (you shouldn't need flour as the dough should be tacky, but not sticky). Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces using a scale for accuracy. I do this by weighing the total dough weight, dividing by 12, and weighing each piece. This ensures even baking time. Shape the rolls into smooth balls and arrange them in the prepared pan, giving the rolls an inch of space between each other. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let them rise for another hour or so, until puffy and touching.
- Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, water, and honey until smooth. Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and a light sprinkling of sugar (optional). Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown.
- Cover leftover rolls tightly and store them at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.