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Cranberry Pumpkin Dinner Rolls (plus loaf option!)




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Cranberry pumpkin dinner rolls.

These Pumpkin and Cranberry Dinner Rolls are perfectly pillowy and delicious. They would be fabulous on a holiday dinner table, but why not have them with your favorite chili or chowder, or pop one in the microwave, slather it with butter, and have it for breakfast?

cranberry pumpkin dinner rolls on a bread board

These pumpkin dinner rolls bake up with a beautiful soft texture and a glorious golden color,

They’re studded with dried cranberries that soften up during baking into little jammy gems of sweetness. What could be more perfect than a basket of these beauties on a holiday dinner table? 

Don’t be afraid of yeasted rolls!

I avoided yeasted bread recipes for years, I didn’t want to take the extra time, and to be honest I was a bit intimidated. If that describes you, too, I encourage you to give this recipe a try. While it definitely takes some time, all the steps are easy, especially if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook to do the kneading for you. 

Cranberry pumpkin dinner rolls in a baking pan.

These cranberry pumpkin dinner rolls walk the line between sweet and savory.

Serve them warm with a little butter and cinnamon for breakfast or an afternoon snack and they feel like a decadent treat, but they aren’t too rich or sweet to be served at dinner, either. I just love them!

Cranberry pumpkin dinner rolls, and in loaf form, too

Everyone’s house is a little bit different, but for me, setting my dough to rise on top of my pre-heating oven, covered with a layer or two of dish towels for insulation, seems to work well.

Tips for getting dough to rise ~

  • The bleeding obvious, but check to make sure your yeast is fresh! I buy new envelopes every 6 months.
  • Take some time to find the warmest spot in your house. Some people have luck using an oven with just the pilot light on. Do you have radiators? Try setting your dough near one.  
  • If you love to bake bread, especially in winter, I think a proofing box is invaluable.  You can set it to any temperature and know your bread is going to stay super cozy.

Cranberry pumpkin pull apart dinner rolls

The secret to soft, shiny rolls ~

  • Brush rolls with melted butter when they come out of the oven, it’s that simple.  The butter gives the rolls a glossy sheen, and ensures that the crust stays nice and soft.

A cranberry pumpkin dinner roll, on a plate

Can you make these pumpkin rolls in a loaf pan?

  • Yes.  I’ve also included instructions for making this bread into loaves.
  • The recipe as written will make 2 standard loaves.  They came out really nicely, too. We made it into French toast the next day, which was fantastic!

cranberry pumpkin loaf bread, sliced

How to shape perfectly round rolls ~

Once you’ve got a great dough, there’s one more step to master before you’re done…

  • For perfectly round rolls, portion out even amounts of dough.
  • Using a cupped hand on a clean surface, roll the dough in small circles with your hand, keeping contact with the surface the whole time, until you get a smooth round ball.  The bottom can have a puckered appearance, as long as the top is smooth and taut.

a cranberry pumpkin dinner roll, split, with butter

Want yeasted rolls in about an hour?  

Try my Quick Whole Grain Oat Rolls ~ believe it or not they’re that quick.  

Cranberry pumpkin dinner rolls.
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4.5 from 4 votes

Cranberry Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Course bread
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rising time 2 hours 30 minutes
Yield 16 rolls

Ingredients

For the bread

  • 4 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 tbsp butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

For topping

  • 3 tbsp butter, melted, for brushing

Instructions

  • Add all of the bread ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix, with a dough hook, until the dough is soft, smooth, and not too sticky. About 5-10 minutes.
  • Lightly grease a large bowl, add the dough, cover, and leave to rise somewhere warm for about 1 1/2 hours. The dough should be almost doubled in size.
  • Prehat oven to 350F.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, and place on a lightly floured surface for shaping. For making dinner rolls, divide the dough into 16 equal portions. You can weigh the pieces of dough for super-accuracy, but I just divide in half by eye, and then continue to divide each half in half until I have the right number of rolls.
  • Arrange the rolls in a baking pan. For "pull-apart" style rolls, you can use 2 8-inch cake pans which should fit 14 rolls, or a 9 x 13 pan should fit all 16. Cover and allow to rise again for about an hour. They should look noticeably puffed up and start to crowd each other.
  • To make loaves, divide the dough in half, gently shape into a log, and place each half into a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Cover and allow to rise for another hour. The dough should rise about to or slightly above the top of the loaf pan.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes for the rolls, and about 35-40 minutes for the loaves. While still warm, brush the tops of the rolls or the loaves with the melted butter.
  • Allow to cool slightly before removing from the baking pans.

Notes

Recipe lightly adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Cranberry and Pumpkin Dinner Rolls pin.

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5 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Candace
    November 24, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    5 stars
    These did not disappoint, Sue! In fact, Mr. Squash, who is not a real pumpkin lover (except for pumpkin pie), like some of us, asked to have them for breakfast this morning! Now that’s a recipe that’s a keeper! Thanks for another great one!

  • Reply
    Shelly huff
    November 23, 2019 at 8:45 am

    5 stars
    Could these be rolled in balls and baked in a muffin tin?

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 23, 2019 at 9:05 am

      I think that would work well.

  • Reply
    Judy
    November 22, 2019 at 9:01 am

    This looks gorgeous. I’ve never used canned pumpkin. Is it the 15oz can or the larger one?
    And just as I’m commenting, I’m a fan of your writing, wish you’d do a book of your food essays
    and recipes of course. I think it’d do really well.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 22, 2019 at 4:47 pm

      Hi Judy, thanks for the kind words :) I use 3/4 cup of canned pumpkin, which is about half of the 15-ounce can, so you’d have some leftover.