Gluten Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

These are THE BEST gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls you’ll ever eat. They’re pillowy soft, perfectly rich and buttery, packed full of pumpkin puree and warming spices, and topped with a luscious maple cream cheese icing. Plus, they’re really easy to make AND there’s an option to make them overnight, for the most delicious breakfast the following morning.

Overhead view of the gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls, two of which are topped with maple cream cheese icing.

This recipe has been much requested in recent weeks – and with good reason. Who doesn’t love pumpkin cinnamon rolls, with their pillowy soft texture and rich flavour, especially if they’re smothered in the most luscious maple cream cheese icing?

But here’s the important bit: these aren’t your everyday pumpkin cinnamon rolls. These are GLUTEN FREE pumpkin cinnamon rolls… not that you could possibly guess it. Because they’re fluffy and buttery and decadent, and really easy to make at the same time.

Cross section of a gluten free pumpkin cinnamon roll.

The recipe for these pillowy soft pumpkin beauties is actually based on my recipe for gluten free cinnamon rolls that’s included in my upcoming book on gluten free baking! That’s the beauty of basic, “fundamental” recipes – once you’ve got the hang of them, the possibilities of adapting them further are pretty much endless.

Here, I’ve added pumpkin puree and a mix of spices to the basic gluten free brioche-type enriched dough and reduced the hydration accordingly (to account for the moisture in the pumpkin puree). And that’s just one example – you could also tweak the base recipe to make savoury, cheesy rolls with a pizza-style filling, and a bazillion of other tasty variations.

In fact, my upcoming book contains numerous such basic gluten free recipes that serve as a strong foundation, allowing you to build on them and create your own delicious gluten free masterpieces. I’ll post more details (including the pre-order information) for my book soon, so watch this space! My very first book, Baked to Perfection, is now available to pre-order – you can find all the information and pre-order links here!!

But now, without further ado: let’s talk gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls.

Gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls in a baking tin, partially glazed with maple cream cheese icing.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these wonderful cinnamon rolls – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

How do you make gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls?

Making gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls is actually surprisingly easy, and (aside from a few additional ingredients like psyllium husk and xanthan gum) not hugely different from the method used to make “regular” wheat-based cinnamon rolls.

Here’s how:

  1. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer, depending on whether you’re making the rolls by hand or using a stand mixer), combine tapioca starch, millet flour and sorghum flour. (NOTE: I’ve included information about possible substitutions lower in this post and also in the Notes section of the recipe.)
  2. Add xanthan gum,
  3. salt,
  4. the spices,
  5. and light brown sugar.
  6. Whisk well until all the dry ingredients are combined.
  7. Then, add one egg,
  8. the pumpkin puree,
  9. the active dried yeast that you’ve activated in some warm milk,
  10. and the psyllium husk gel that you’ve prepared by mixing psyllium husk with water.

The first 6 steps of the 10-step process of making the gluten free enriched dough.

The last 4 steps of the 10-step process of making the gluten free enriched dough.

Then, mix all the ingredients together until you get a very soft and sticky dough. You can do that by hand (warning: it’s a messy business, but strangely therapeutic) or using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and along the bottom, so that no stray patches of unmixed flour remain at the end).

Once you get a homogeneous dough, mix in the softened unsalted butter. The finished dough will be VERY soft and sticky:

Kneading the soft gluten free enriched dough.

But don’t worry – a lot of the moisture will be further absorbed by the flours and binders (that is, psyllium husk and xanthan gum) during the first rise, plus there’s a chilling step that helps make the dough even more manageable before we get to the rolling step.

The first rise: bulk fermentation

Once you’ve got your dough ready, I like to gently shape it into a ball with well-oiled hands, and place it into an oiled bowl, ready for its first round of rising.

Don’t worry if the dough feels too soft for you to shape it into a ball – that comes with experience and I’ve made LOTS of gluten free cinnamon rolls, so I’m quite used to working with very soft dough. You can just transfer it into the bowl and gently pat it down with oiled hands.

Then, cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in volume, like so:

First rise of the enriched gluten free dough until doubled in volume.

Once doubled in size, place the dough into the fridge to chill for about 1 hour. This chilling step is very important, as it firms up the butter in the dough and makes the next steps much easier.

Rolling, filling and shaping gluten free cinnamon rolls

Once chilled, I recommend giving the dough a gentle knead on a lightly floured surface before rolling it out. This ensures that the dough is fully deflated and thus easier to roll out, fill and then roll up. You don’t need to be “aggressive” in your kneading – I like to just gently fold the dough back over itself several times until it feels firmer (like you’ve knocked out any air/gas that was in the dough).

Then:

  1. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12×16 inch (30x40cm) rectangle. I like to do this on a lightly floured piece of baking/greaseproof paper, as it helps with rolling up the dough later on.
  2. Brush the dough with melted butter,
  3. and sprinkle generously with a mixture of light brown soft sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Roll up the dough so you end up with an approximately 16 inch (40cm) log.
  5. Divide the log into 9 equal pieces (each should be about 1 3/4 inch or 4.5 cm wide). I like to cut my gluten free cinnamon rolls with a piece of thread rather than a knife of bench scraper, as it preserves the pretty swirl instead of ‘smushing’ it. Unlike with wheat-based cinnamon rolls, I don’t recommend trying to get the thread underneath the log – instead, just hold the thread tight between your hands and press it down where you want to cut, all the way to your work surface.
  6. This method will give you a beautifully clean cut every time.
  7. Arrange the cinnamon rolls in a buttered 8 inch (20cm) square baking tin.
  8. If they’re a bit tall, you can gently press down on them to flatten them slightly.

The first 4 steps of the 8-step process of assembling the gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls.

The second 4 steps of the 8-step process of assembling the gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls.

The second rise: final proof

Cover the baking tin with clingfilm (to prevent the rolls from drying out) and let them rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until approximately doubled in volume, like so:

Proofing the cinnamon rolls until doubled in volume.

Overhead view of the gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls before baking.

Baking the gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls

Once doubled in volume, bake the cinnamon rolls on the middle rack in an oven pre-heated to 350ºF (180ºC) for about 45 minutes or until golden on top and an inserted toothpick comes out with no under-baked dough attached.

If the cinnamon rolls start browning too quickly, cover them with a sheet of aluminium foil (shiny side up) and continue baking until done – I usually cover them around the 30 minute mark.

Immediately out of the oven, while still hot, brush the tops of the rolls with a bit of melted butter. This makes them even softer and richer.

Overhead view of the gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls after baking.

Can you omit or substitute xanthan gum and/or psyllium husk?

No. I really cannot overstate this: you cannot omit or substitute either xanthan gum or psyllium husk in this recipe. You can’t use just one of them, you can’t omit them altogether, you can’t try replacing them with other ingredients.

Why? Because the recipe won’t work without them in the specific ratio they’re listed in the recipe. Their quantities (relative to each other and relative to all the other ingredient quantities) are optimised to give perfectly soft, decadent gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls that rise beautifully and bake up to sheer cinnamon roll perfection.

Also, before you ask: no, cornstarch isn’t a good replacement for xanthan gum. While both can be used to thicken things like sauces and soups, they play VERY different roles in gluten free baking. Cornstarch (or cornflour, depending on where you live) is a starch and thus acts similarly to tapioca starch or potato starch. Xanthan gum, on the other hand, acts as a gluten replacement and gives your gluten free bakes their elasticity and flexibility.

You can read more about psyllium husk and the role it plays in gluten free baking in my Ultimate Gluten Free Bread post.

Can you make overnight gluten fee pumpkin cinnamon rolls?

Yes!!!! You absolutely can make overnight gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls, and it’s actually really easy.

Just follow the recipe as written up to the second rise – that is, make the dough, allow it to rise, roll it out, add the filling, shape the cinnamon rolls and place them into the baking tin.

Then, instead of allowing them to rise for the second time, cover the tin with the pumpkin cinnamon rolls tightly with cling film and place it into the fridge to chill overnight.

The next morning, take the cinnamon rolls out of the fridge and proof them in a warm place for about 1 hour (or until approximately doubled in volume), then bake them as directed in the recipe.

Possible substitutions

Although all the ingredients in the recipe should be easily accessible either in your local grocery store or online, I still wanted to include a list of substitutions you can make.

  • Active dried yeast: You can use instant yeast, in which case you don’t need to activate it, but just add it straight to the dry ingredients along with the sugar. Add the milk that would be used in activating the active dried yeast to the dry ingredients along with the psyllium gel and other wet ingredients.
  • Psyllium husk and xanthan gum: YOU CAN’T SUBSTITUTE EITHER OF THEM WITH A DIFFERENT INGREDIENT. But if you use psyllium husk powder as opposed to the rough husk form, use only about 85% of the weight listed in the recipe.
  • Tapioca starch: You can use cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot starch instead.
  • Millet flour: You can use brown rice flour instead.
  • Sorghum flour: You can use buckwheat flour, oat flour or white teff flour instead.

A note on measurements (tl;dr: if possible, use a scale)

While I’ve included the volume measurements (cups and spoons) in the recipe card below, if at all possible (and I really cannot overemphasise this): USE METRIC GRAM MEASUREMENTS IF YOU CAN.

They’re much more precise and produce more reliably delicious results. This is true for pretty much all of baking – a kitchen scale will invariably give better results than cups and tablespoons.

So there you have it, friends: everything you need to know to make truly spectacular gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls. I really hope you’ll love this recipe as much as I do.

Happy baking,

Signature of the author, Kat.

A hand taking a gluten free pumpkin cinnamon roll out of the baking tin.

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

These are THE BEST gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls you’ll ever eat. They’re pillowy soft, perfectly rich and buttery, packed full of pumpkin puree and warming spices, and topped with a luscious maple cream cheese icing. Plus, they’re really easy to make AND there’s an option to make them overnight, for the most delicious breakfast the following morning.

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Gluten Free
Prep Time 45 minutes
Bake/Cook Time 45 minutes
Rising + Chilling Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 9 rolls

Ingredients

For gluten free pumpkin brioche dough:

  • 7 g (2 ¼ tsp) active dried yeast
  • 50 g (¼ cup) light brown soft sugar, divided
  • 90 g (⅓ cup + ½ tbsp) whole milk, warm
  • 12 g (2 tbsp + 1 tsp) psyllium husk (I use the rough husk form, if you use psyllium husk powder, use 10g instead.)
  • 140 g (½ cup + 1 tbsp) water, warm (Note 1)
  • 170 g (1 ½ cups) tapioca starch (see Notes for possible substitutions)
  • 120 g (¾ cup + 2 tbsp) millet flour (see Notes for possible substitutions)
  • 50 g (⅓ cup + 1 tbsp) sorghum flour (see Notes for possible substitutions)
  • 7 g (2 ½ tsp) xanthan gum
  • 5 g (1 tsp) salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • tsp ground allspice
  • 1 UK medium/US large egg, room temperature
  • 110 g (½ cup) pumpkin puree
  • 30 g (¼ stick) unsalted butter, softened

For cinnamon-sugar filling:

  • 75 g (3/8 cup) light brown soft sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 55 g (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing the baking tin

You will also need:

  • 1-2 tbsp melted unsalted butter for glazing the rolls immediately out of the oven

For maple cream cheese icing:

  • 55 g (¼ cup) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 30 g (¼ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 150 g (1 ¼ cups) powdered/icing sugar, sifted
  • 4 tsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1-2 tbsp whole milk (optional, to adjust the consistency of the icing if needed)

Instructions

For gluten free pumpkin brioche dough:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the yeast, about ½ tablespoon of sugar and warm milk. Set aside for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the mixture starts frothing.

  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the psyllium husk and water. After about 15 – 30 seconds, a gel will form.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together the tapioca starch, millet flour, sorghum flour, xanthan gum, salt, spices and the remaining sugar, until evenly combined.

  4. Add the yeast mixture, psyllium gel, egg and pumpkin puree to the dry ingredients. Knead all the ingredients together until evenly combined into a soft and sticky dough, about 5 – 10 minutes. You can knead by hand or using a stand mixer with a dough hook (make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and along the bottom, so that no stray patches of unmixed flour remain at the end).

  5. Once you get a homogeneous dough, mix in the softened unsalted butter. The finished dough will be VERY soft and sticky.

  6. Transfer the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in volume.

  7. Once doubled in volume, place the dough into the fridge to chill for about 1 hour. (This chilling step is very important, as it firms up the butter in the dough and makes the next steps much easier.)

Assembling the gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the cinnamon-sugar filling. Set aside until needed.

  2. Lightly butter a square 8 inch (20cm) baking tin and set aside until needed.

  3. Once the dough is chilled, give it a gentle knead on a lightly floured surface before rolling it out. This ensures that the dough is fully deflated and thus easier to roll out, fill and then roll up. You don’t need to be “aggressive” in your kneading – just gently fold the dough back over itself several times until it feels firmer (like you’ve knocked out any air/gas that was in the dough).

  4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12x16 inch (30x40cm) rectangle.

    Tip: I like to do this on a lightly floured piece of baking/greaseproof paper, as it helps with rolling up the dough later on.

  5. Brush the dough with the melted butter, and sprinkle generously with the cinnamon-sugar filling, making sure it forms an even layer across the dough rectangle.

  6. Roll up the dough so you end up with an approximately 16 inch (40cm) log. Divide the log into 9 equal pieces (each should be about 1 3/4 inch or 4.5 cm wide).

    Tip: I like to cut my gluten free cinnamon rolls with a piece of thread rather than a knife of bench scraper, as it preserves the pretty swirl instead of ‘smushing’ it. Just hold the thread tight between your hands and press it down where you want to cut, all the way to your work surface.

  7. Arrange the cinnamon rolls in the buttered baking tin. If they’re a bit tall, you can gently press down on them to flatten them slightly.

  8. Cover the baking tin with clingfilm (to prevent the rolls from drying out) and let them rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until approximately doubled in volume.

Baking the gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

  2. Once proofed, bake the cinnamon rolls at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 45 minutes or until golden on top and an inserted toothpick comes out with no under-baked dough attached.

    Tip: If the cinnamon rolls start browning too quickly, cover them with a sheet of aluminium foil (shiny side up) and continue baking until done – I usually cover them around the 30 minute mark.

  3. Immediately out of the oven, while still hot, brush the tops of the rolls with a bit of melted butter. This makes them even softer and richer.

  4. Allow to cool until warm, then top with the maple cream cheese icing.

For maple cream cheese icing:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together all the maple cream cheese icing ingredients until you get a smooth and creamy consistency.

    Tip: You can adjust the consistency of the icing by adding milk or more powdered/icing sugar if you want the icing to be runnier or thicker, respectively.

  2. Spread the icing across the warm pumpkin cinnamon rolls and serve.

Storage:

  1. The gluten free pumpkin cinnamon rolls are best eaten still warm or within a few hours of baking, however they keep well in a closed container (or covered tightly with clingfilm) until the next day in a cool dry place.

    To serve them the next day, re-heat them in the microwave for about 20-25 seconds – this will return them to their original soft texture.

Recipe Notes

 

Note 1: You can use anywhere from 130 to 150g of warm water. The exact amount will depend on your pumpkin puree consistency (if it's more watery, use less water) and how comfortable you are with working with fairly soft dough. 130g of water gives a firmer dough that's easier to work with, but the pumpkin cinnamon rolls will be very slightly firmer (i.e. not quite as pillowy soft), especially when cooled. 150g of water will give a softer dough that's slightly more difficult to work with, but the cinnamon rolls with be extremely soft and pillowy.

 

POSSIBLE SUBSTITUTIONS

  • Active dried yeast: You can use instant yeast, in which case you don’t need to activate it, but just add it straight to the dry ingredients along with the sugar. Add the milk that would be used in activating the active dried yeast to the dry ingredients along with the psyllium gel and other wet ingredients.
  • Psyllium husk and xanthan gum: YOU CAN’T SUBSTITUTE EITHER OF THEM WITH A DIFFERENT INGREDIENT. But if you use psyllium husk powder as opposed to the rough husk form, use only about 85% of the weight listed in the recipe.
  • Tapioca starch: You can use cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot starch instead.
  • Millet flour: You can use brown rice flour instead.
  • Sorghum flour: You can use buckwheat flour, oat flour or white teff flour instead.

 

NOTE: All substitutions should be made by weight not by volume.

 

MAKING OVERNIGHT GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS

To make overnight pumpkin cinnamon rolls, follow the recipe as written up to the second rise – that is, make the dough, allow it to rise, roll it out, add the filling, shape the cinnamon rolls and place them into the baking tin.

Then, instead of allowing them to rise for the second time, cover the tin with the pumpkin cinnamon rolls tightly with cling film and place it into the fridge to chill overnight.

The next morning, take the cinnamon rolls out of the fridge and proof them in a warm place for about 1 hour (or until approximately doubled in volume), then bake them as directed in the recipe.

 

DOUBLING THE RECIPE

You can easily double the recipe to make enough pumpkin cinnamon rolls to fill a 9x13 inch (23x33cm) baking tin. In that case, I recommend that you divide the rolled-up log into 12 even pieces, to make 12 slightly larger pumpkin cinnamon rolls.

Looking for more delicious gluten free pumpkin recipes?
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