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Upgrade Your Bread Basket With These Delicious Cranberry Pumpkin Rolls

What’s going to be in your bread basket this Thanksgiving? Consider adding these pretty-as-a-picture cranberry pumpkin rolls to the mix. 

Buttered cranberry pumpkin rolls on plate

Gorgeous golden rolls for your Thanksgiving bread basket!

Photos via CakeSpy

These tender, soft and sweet-tart cranberry pumpkin rolls are the perfect complement to the earthy and rich flavors of your Thanksgiving feast. But make no mistake, these rolls contribute just as much to the post-Thanksgiving experience as they do to the main course. They form a critical component of your Black Friday breakfast, and are sturdy enough to make perfect little bookends for leftover turkey sandwiches. 

Thanksgiving cranberry pumpkin rolls

Cranberry pumpkin rolls

Makes 16 rolls

Adapted from King Arthur Flour


  • 4¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree 
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup room temperature water, divided 
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled 
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries 

Step 1:

Cranberry pumpkin roll ingredients in mixing bowl

Combine all of the ingredients except for the cranberries in a large bowl. Knead by hand (using a wooden spoon and/or flexible dough scraper) or in the bowl with a stand mixer until the dough comes together into a soft and fairly smooth texture. It will be somewhat sticky. If it is too sticky to handle, add a little bit more flour. 

Step 2:

Near the end of the kneading process, add the dried cranberries and continue to knead only long enough to evenly distribute the berries. 

Step 3:

Risen cranberry pumpkin roll dough in mixing bowl

Place the dough into a greased bowl, and cover with a slightly damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature for about 90 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size. 

Step 4:

Gently deflate the dough with a slightly wet hand (to discourage sticking). Turn it out onto a non-stick surface, and divide into 16 equal portions. 

Step 5:

Cranberry pumpkin roll dough in cupcake pan

Using slightly wet hands (once again to discourage sticking), form each portion of dough into a loose ball. Place the balls into the wells of two greased, standard-sized muffin tins, or place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Baking in the muffin tin will keep balls compact; baking them on a sheet will allow them to spread out. 

Step 6:

Allow the shaped rolls to proof for 30 minutes to an hour at room temperature, or until they look puffy. Near the end of the proofing period, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Step 7:

Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, or until deeply golden. If you’re unsure of doneness, use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of one of the rolls: the interior temperature should be about 190 F. 

Step 8:

Warm, buttered cranberry pumpkin rolls

Remove the rolls from the oven and allow to cool on wire racks. Enjoy warm! 

Recipe notes

Pumpkin moisture variances

Depending on which brand of canned pumpkin you use, or if you’re using homemade pumpkin puree, there can be variances between the water content in this recipe. As such, be mindful when making up the dough and use your senses to determine what it might need to attain the right texture. If your dough seems overly sticky, add a little bit more flour; if it seems too dry, add a little bit more water. 

Free form cranberry pumpkin rolls

Shaping the rolls

As you’ll see in the recipe, you can either bake the rolls in muffin tins or free-form, on baking sheets. Since the dough is somewhat soft, baking the rolls in a muffin tin will help them maintain a compact, rounded shape. Baking them free-form will allow for more spreading, and the rolls will look slightly wider and flatter, as pictured above. Either way, they are delicious! 

Looking for more bread basket inspiration? Try our recipe for Parker House rolls or our fantastic fantan roll recipe

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving bread? 

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