Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

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Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls — Big, soft pumpkin bread rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls

Other than warm, fresh chocolate chip cookies, very little can top warm, fresh, homemade rolls. And rolls made with pumpkin and honey butter are even better.

The pumpkin bread rolls are easy to make and are ready from start to finish in under 2 hours. Not bad at all for a yeast recipe.

They’re soft, slightly chewy, and the pumpkin keeps them moist and adds just enough tooth-sinking density.

The scents of pumpkin, spices, honey, and bread baking that waft thorough the house are positively intoxicating. Sure beats lighting a pumpkin-scented candle! 

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

I purposely designed this easy dinner roll recipe for singles, smaller families, or for the average weeknight dinner when you don’t need dozens and dozens of rolls. I cringe when I see 4 to 7 cup of flour recipes.

This pumpkin dinner roll recipe has just over 2 cups and serves a family, not an army. Any extras freeze nicely. Not that I think you’ll have any.

I’m sure you can double the recipe if you need more, although I haven’t tried. The entire batch fits on the plates shown below.

Normally I don’t do step-by-step photos because frankly, they’re a pain. Stop, start, wash hands, pick up camera. Do the next step, get dirty, wash hands, pick up camera; repeat. Then edit all the photos.

But I was feeling generous and I want the photos to convince you that these pumpkin dinner rolls are do-able, even if you’ve never worked with yeast.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

They’re soft, fluffy, and just chewy enough.

The pumpkin flavor, while present, is not overly strong. If you know someone who’s on the fence about pumpkin or have a family where some people love it, but others are just so-so, these are the perfect compromise.

They give the pumpkin lovers a taste of their favorite orange-colored food group, while not alienating those who don’t love in-your-face pumpkin flavor.

I’d like to call them ‘Honey Butter Gently-Flavored-With-Pumpkin Dinner Rolls’.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

In the recipe section, I built in a make-ahead/overnight option. However, they’re so fast to make, I don’t know if you’ll need the make-ahead option, but it can save an hour on baking day.

I haven’t tried freezing unbaked dough, but most baked bread freezes beautifully.

I hope the recipe comes in handy for your fall baking, Thanksgiving dinner table, and holiday parties. Or for soft dinner rolls any old night of the week just because.

It’s my new go-to pumpkin dinner roll recipe after playing around with many others over the years. Enjoy.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

What’s in the Pumpkin Dinner Rolls? 

To make this easy dinner roll recipe, you’ll need: 

  • Milk
  • Unsalted butter
  • Egg
  • Pumpkin puree
  • All-purpose flour
  • Instant dry yeast
  • Granulated sugar
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Salt

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

How to Make Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Add milk and 2 tablespoons of butter to a measuring cup. Zap it for about 45 seconds in the microwave and stir until the butter melts.

Top it off with pumpkin puree, 1 egg, and whisk together.

In muffin making, this would be the wet ingredients that you’d pour over the dry. Same concept here.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

Heat it for another 15 seconds, just to get it nice and toasty. This doesn’t make the mixture hot, but ensures the mixture is warm enough to activate the yeast.

This is a rare yeast recipe that I never even took out my thermometer. In general with yeast and liquid, if it’s ever too hot that you can’t comfortably stick your finger in it, wait a minute or two until you can or you’ll kill the yeast.

Set mixture aside.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

Get out your flour and yeast. I only bake with King Arthur All-Purpose and sometimes King Arthur Bread Flour. Bread flour will lend a chewier, thicker, denser result, more like a bagel. I wanted to keep these rolls softer and fluffier and opted for all-purpose.

I strongly recommend King Arthur flour because the protein levels are generally slightly higher than in other brands. In baking, this lends more structure, translating to puffier cookies, stronger cakes, and better rising bread.  

Cheap flour is cheap flour. Spend an extra two bucks for good flour. The results are worth it.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

I only bake with Red Star Platinum Yeast. It’s the best yeast I’ve ever tried and it never lets me down.

If you’re new to bread-making or working with yeast, consider this yeast your insurance against goofs because it’s very forgiving.

Since it’s an instant yeast, you don’t have to proof it (let it stand with warm liquids for 10 minutes or until foamy). You simply add it with the rest of your dry ingredients.

If you are an experienced bread maker, you’re going to love the extra puff and oven-spring you get with the Platinum. Your baked goods will rise higher and faster than you’re used to. So well worth the extra buck compared to other yeasts.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

In a mixing bowl, add the flour, yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar (must-have, it’s the yeast’s food source), 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, and 1 teaspoon nutmeg. Sounds like a lot of spices, but it’s not.

Pumpkin puree and flour are both insanely bland and need to be jazzed up with spices.

I did not add salt because I am very sodium-sensitive but if you’d like to add a pinch, feel free.

Knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes. I used my stand mixer, but you can do it by hand.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

You really want to develop the gluten. Pumpkin is dense and heavy and will weigh down the dough and by kneading it thoroughly, you create gluten formation, which helps the bread rise better and not stay dense.

I could have gotten away with 2 cups flour, but I used 2 1/4 cups. Over-flouring the dough is a no-no because it creates dense, thick bread that’s not light and fluffy. But for the sake of knowing that without a doubt this recipe will work in other climates, I went up to 2 1/4 cups.

You can see this dough is not sticky or gloppy at all. It’s a dream dough to work with. Nice and smooth.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

Put it in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm, draft-free place until it nearly doubles in size. For me, this is the inside of my oven (powered off) and took 45 minutes.

Do not go by the clock. Go by how your dough looks.

If it takes longer, it means your house is cold or the yeast is just being pokey. That’s life. Wait until your dough has nearly doubled  before moving on.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

45 minutes later, we’ve doubled in size.

Look at that big puffball. When I punched it down, it sounded like air being let out of a helium balloon. I love that sound. Means the yeast worked and the dough is alive.

Shape it into rolls. I made 8. I could have made 9 or 1o because 8 made very hearty-sized rolls

Put them in a pan and wait until they’ve nearly doubled in size, likely about 30 to 45 minutes.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

Before baking, brush them with equal parts melted butter and honey. Whatever is left over, reserve to brush on after baking. They’re little sponges and will happily absorb it.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

Look at these big, golden, glistening buns.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

Can The Rolls Be Made in Advance? 

Yes! If you would like to use an overnight or make-ahead option, after you get the rolls into the pan and covered with foil, place the pan in the fridge.

When ready to bake, pick up with the next step below, making sure to allow the dough to come to room temp and rise nicely; it could take longer than the 45 minutes indicated below since dough is coming right out of a cold fridge.

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls - Big, soft rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

Can Dinner Rolls Be Frozen? 

Definitely! Let them cool completely, then seal in a freezer bag for up to three months. 

When ready to enjoy, thaw them on your counter or gently reheat in the oven. 

What to Serve with Soft Dinner Rolls

Since this recipe contains pumpkin, it’s the perfect Thanksgiving dinner roll recipe! Here are some holiday favorites to serve alongside the rolls: 

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls — Big, soft pumpkin bread rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!

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4.69 from 19 votes

Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

By Averie Sunshine
Big, soft pumpkin bread rolls brushed with honey butter are the best! Everyone loves them and they disappear so fast!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 29 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 10
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Ingredients  

Dough

  • cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, bread flour may be substituted; rolls will be firmer and chewier rather than softer and fluffier; you may only need 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet, I use Red Star Platinum
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt, optional and to taste

Honey Butter

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Tip: Combine equal parts softened butter, not melted and honey, and whisk together until fluffy and combined for serving with the rolls

Instructions 

Dough:

  • Add milk to a 2-cup microwave-safe measuring cup, or microwave-safe bowl.
  • Add butter and heat on high power to melt butter, about 45 seconds. Stir until butter has melted smoothly into the milk.
  • Add the egg, pumpkin puree, and whisk to combine.
  • Return measuring cup to microwave and heat for about 15 seconds to warm mixture up. This will help to activate the yeast; set aside briefly.
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or large mixing bowl for hand kneading, add the remaining dough ingredients, thorough optional salt.
  • Pour wet pumpkin-milk mixture over the dry ingredients.
  • Turn mixer to low speed, and knead for 5 to 8 minutes, or until dough is smooth and has come together. This is not a sticky dough and if your dough is sticky, tacky, or gloppy, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is no longer sticky. I doubt you will need to add any, because I could have made this recipe with 2 cups flour, but went up to 2 1/4. Don’t over-flour your dough because it creates rolls that are dense and heavy.
  • Turn dough out into a mixing bowl that’s been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Flip dough over once so both sides are lightly greased, and cover bowl with plasticwrap.
  • Place bowl in a warm, draft-free environment until dough has nearly doubled in bulk, about 45 to 60 minutes. Do not go by time elapsed on the clock. Wait until dough has nearly doubled in size, and if it takes longer than an hour, that’s fine.
  • Punch dough down and turn it out onto a nonstick surface. I spray my counter with cooking spray and don’t even need to add flour.
  • Divide dough into 8 to 12 equally-sized portions, rolling each portion into a ball. I made 8 rolls and they were very generously sized. I would aim for 9 to 10 rolls. They may look skimp now but don’t worry, they rise and swell very nicely.
  • Place dough balls into a foil-lined and cooking sprayed 9-inch square pan. If you would like to use an overnight or make-ahead option, after you get the rolls into the pan and covered with foil, place pan in fridge. When ready to bake, pick up with the next step below, making sure to allow the dough to come to room temp and rise nicely; it could take longer than the 45 minutes indicated below since dough is coming right out of a cold fridge.
  • Cover pan with a sheet of foil, place pan in a warm, draft-free environment until dough has nearly doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. In the last minutes of rising, preheat oven to 375F.

Honey Butter:

  • Melt butter in small microwave-safe bowl, about 45 seconds on high power.
  • Add the honey and stir to combine.
  • Before baking, generously brush dough with honey butter; reserve any extra and brush it on after baking.
  • Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until puffed, golden, domed, cooked through, and when tapped, the rolls should sound hollow.
  • Allow rolls to cool in pan until they’re cool enough to handle before serving. 

Notes

Storage: Rolls will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 4 days. Heat in microwave for 5 to 10 seconds as necessary to recreate the just-baked taste and to soften.
Finished (baked) rolls will keep airtight in the freezer for up to 6 months. I have not tried freezing this dough in the unbaked state but you could likely freeze it after step 12 and upon thawing, pick up with step 13; however I haven’t tried.
Doubling the recipe: I have not tried doubling the recipe, but I imagine that would be fine. Bake in a 9×13-inch pan or similar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 197kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 134mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

More Homemade Bread Recipes: 

ALL OF MY BREAD RECIPES! 

Soft & Fluffy Sweet Dinner Rolls — Lightly sweetened from the honey in the dough and brushed with honey-butter prior to baking!! These dinner rolls are made from scratch and are baked to golden brown perfection! 

Honey Dinner Rolls

No-Knead Rolls with Honey Butter — These soft, light, fluffy yeast dinner rolls are so easy to make! They’re practically work-free because there’s no-kneading involved.

No-Knead Make-Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls — These 100% whole wheat dinner rolls are soft, light, fluffy, and so easy. They’re practically work-free because there’s no kneading. 

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Parker House Rolls – The BEST homemade dinner rolls because they’re so light, airy, fluffy and practically melt in your mouth!

Parker House Rolls - The BEST homemade dinner rolls because they're so light, airy, fluffy and practically melt in your mouth! They have a wonderful buttery flavor that will make them an instant family favorite at your next holiday gathering or make them for a special meal! 

Outback Steakhouse Wheat Bread {Copycat Recipe} — A very short ingredient list, no mixer, and nothing fancy is required. Served with homemade honey butter, this brings restaurant-style bread to your house.

Outback Steakhouse Wheat Bread {Copycat Recipe} (vegan)

30-Minute Honey Whole Wheat Skillet Bread — Skillet breads bake quicker than bread in loaf pans, so you get to enjoy this bread sooner rather than later.

30 Minute Honey Whole Wheat Skillet Bread (no-knead, no yeast)

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. I made this recipe and for some reason it went all wrong and I’m not sure what I did. The dough stayed tacky, even after 4-5extra tablespoons of flour. They would up have a weird taste, probably because of the flour. I’m new to baking bread and am going to try this again today. Hopefully it will turn out better today. Any tips or suggestions? 

    1. Excessively sticky dough means you need more flour. Bread baking is not an exact science and it will really depend on your dough, climate, brands/types of ingredients used, etc.

      I would say add sufficient flour so the dough is manageable and not too sticky. Use King Arthur brand flour, it’s the best, especially for new bakers, you will get far superior results. Change your brand of yeast too. I recommend Red Star but do something different than what you already did since that too could have been part of the problem.

  2. HI, Averie! I am sooooo excited to make these because I want to get the nutritional benefits and love the taste of pumpkin, but sugars and desserts make me sick which makes me so sad during the holiday season. I cannot WAIT to try these! I want to make them this weekend and was wondering how far ahead you can make the dough? Would two days be much too long? Thank you for sharing your recipe! They look amazing.

    1. I never have made the dough that far in advance so I really can’t say. Overnight is the longest I’ve tried.

  3. 5 stars
    I made these yesterday and they are amazing with butternut squash puree. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

    Has anyone tried freezing them before the second rise? Do they still turn out? It would help a lot for Thanksgiving if I could make serval batches to keep in the freezer

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad they turned out amazing with butternut squash puree! I haven’t tried freezing them before the second rise so can’t give you any advice there.

      Personally…bread freezes quite well and if you’re just looking to batch cook in advance, I’d make them straight through and then let them come up to room temp and right before serving put warm them momentarily in the oven if you’re looking for warm rolls. However test this with one batch before the big day!

  4. 5 stars
    I made these yesterday and they are amazing with butternut squash puree. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

    Has anyone tried freezing them before the second rise? Do they still turn out? It would help a lot for Thanksgiving if I could make serval batches to keep in the freezer

  5. 5 stars
    4 years running and I still make YOUR honey pumpkin yeast rolls EVERY year at the holidays!! At least 3-4 dozen for all of our Thansgiving gatherings because they are perfect unique and WONDERFUL in every way.

  6. 5 stars
    4 years running and I still make YOUR honey pumpkin yeast rolls EVERY year at the holidays!! At least 3-4 dozen for all of our Thansgiving gatherings because they are perfect unique and WONDERFUL in every way.

  7. Is this a recipe that you could make without a stand mixer? It sounds delicious, however, I don’t own one of those as of yet.

    1. Use the “stretch and fold” method. It works just as well as kneading or a standing mixer … and much easier.

  8. Very nice recipe!! I had cooked down about 10 free pie pumpkins,so I felt like Bubba and his shrimp, coming up with pureed pumpkin recipes!

    Made for Thanksgiving but did a 4x between 2 mixers. Oven could’t keep up so some overproofed but the flavor is there for sure. Love that it’s not a sweet roll…a delicious bite while drinking sweeter apple cider sangria with the meal! literally making a single batch right now. Cold rainy day snack…. Thanks for sharing a new go- to for me!

    1. Glad you loved the rolls and I agree, not too sweet, and glad you were able to make use of all your pureed pumpkin!

  9. I have a stupid question – do you buy pumpkin puree? If not, do I just puree raw pumpkin or do I need to cook it first and then puree it? Thanks!!

  10. Lovely blog Averie, should I dare to make this with milk and butter substitutes for my allergic-to-dairy husband? Would you recommend against it?

    1. I think you’d be able to use a soy, almond, or cashewmilk without much problem. Then there’s the butter…maybe Earth Balance would work? Andt then there’s the egg. That is something that I don’t know how you’d work around in this situation if you have to remove that too. LMK if you end up trying and how things go!

      1. might I suggest coconut oil to replace butter for dairy allergies? Eggs are not dairy, they are only an issue for vegans.

  11. I didn’t have pumpkin spice or nutmeg I added some cinnamon and mixed dried herbs it came out perfect.
    thanks.

    1. Curious about what dried herbs you used. I’m worried that the rolls will be to pie-like in taste due to the pumpkin pie seasoning. I was thinking about sage and/or thyme. Thoughts?

      1. They’re not overly pumpkin-ey at all but if you want to mask any pumpkin flavor (but then what’s the point…) you could always add whatever other dried herbs you want. Sage/thyme are very overpowering and will mask just about anything IMO.

    2. I think the sage and rosemary suggestions sounds amazing.  Averie, I think you misunderstood the question:  She did not want to mask the pumpkin flavor, but add some nice savory herbs rather than pumpkin pie spice, which would make me nervous as well.

      1. I didn’t actually misunderstand – they are pumpkin dinner rolls which is why I use pumpkin pie spice.

        The other herbs sound lovely but that’s not what I would call a pumpkin dinner roll at that point. It’s more of a ‘fall-flavored dinner roll’. Let me know if you try it.