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Pumpkin Roll Recipe

This pumpkin roll recipe will quickly become your new favorite fall treat! It’s a pretty pinwheel-looking dessert made of pumpkin cake and a cream cheese filling.

Homemade Pumpkin Roll

The moist and indulgent dessert is best served chilled and will be a sure hit at your next party.

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And while it might seem intimidating to make, it’s actually very easy! 

Pumpkin Roll Ingredients

Don’t let this lengthy ingredient list intimidate you. Most of what you need are common pantry staples.

  • Flour. All-purpose flour is fine for this recipe. Just be sure to sift it and measure it correctly. (See the tips for how to do that.)
  • White and confectioners’ sugar. You’ll add both white and confectioners’ sugar to the cake layer of the recipe. Then, you’ll add more confectioners’ sugar to the filling. The two sugars ensure the pumpkin roll is nice, sweet, and not too tangy from the cream cheese filling.
  • Baking soda. Baking soda will help the cake layer rise and plump up.
  • Pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree. The double whammy of pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice gives the roll its rich pumpkin flavor. Be sure to get pumpkin puree, though, and not canned pumpkin.
  • Eggs. Eggs act as a binding agent and hold everything together.
  • Lemon juice. The acidity in the lemon juice reacts with the baking soda and helps the cake rise. The lemon juice’s taste also enhances all the other flavors in the recipe.
  • Cream cheese. Use a block of full-fat cream cheese for the best flavor.
  • Butter. Some baking recipes allow you to swap margarine for butter. This pumpkin roll isn’t one of them. Stick to real butter. Trust me; you’ll notice a difference if you don’t.
  • Vanilla extract. Use high-quality, real vanilla extract. It adds a warmth and richness that you just can’t beat.

How to Make a Pumpkin Roll

The first thing you need to prepare is the pumpkin cake. Here’s how:

1. Make the batter.

Combine flour, baking soda, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Then add the eggs, pumpkin puree, and lemon juice.

2. Bake.

Spread the mixture evenly into a greased and floured cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Bake the mixture for 15 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

While waiting, place a damp linen towel on the counter and dust it with sugar. You’ll need this for rolling the cake, as it prevents the cake from sticking to itself.

3. Remove the cake.

You must move quickly for this step, so get ready. Once the cake is cooked, run a knife around the pan’s edges to loosen it.

Turn the pan over onto the damp towel. The cake will be extremely hot, so don’t forget to wear oven mitts! 

4. Roll the cake.

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Gently roll the towel lengthwise with the cake inside. Transfer the towel and cake onto a wire rack and let it cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Make sure the seam of the towel is on the bottom to prevent the cake from unrolling.

While you’re waiting for the cake to cool, it’s time to make the cream cheese icing.

5. Combine the icing ingredients.

Blend the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon until smooth.

Be sure to use room-temperature ingredients to avoid a thin icing that oozes out of your roll.

If your icing is too thin, you can remedy it by adding more powdered sugar. 

6. Refrigerate.

This will keep your icing fresh. You can freeze it too, especially if it comes out too thin. Take it out only when ready to use it.

Once your cake has cooled to room temperature, it’s time to assemble the roll.

7. Unroll the cake.

Transfer the cake-in-towel to a flat surface. Unroll the cake ever so gently, so it won’t break. 

8. Spread the icing.

Use a spatula to spread the cream cheese filling evenly. Leave a border around the sides (about 3/4 inches) to prevent icing from spilling out when you roll the cake.

9. Roll the cake.

Do this right after you spread the icing onto the cake and without the towel this time. A hot cake is more pliable and less prone to cracking.

10. Wrap and chill.

Wrap the roll tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

11. Cut and serve.

Slice the rolls and expose those beautiful swirls. Serve cold and enjoy!

Tips & Tricks

Use these tips when making your pumpkin roll:

  • Measure the flour correctly. Use a sifter to help aerate the flour. Additionally, use a spoon to transfer the flour to your measuring cup. Don’t pack it in.
  • Make cake-rolling simple. Another alternative to the old towel-rolling method is to use parchment paper instead. Roll the pumpkin cake inside the parchment paper you used to bake it on. It’s a lot easier and mess-free! 
  • Don’t overbake! Take it out of the oven once the edges start to look dry. The center should still look moist but will spring back when you press on it. 
  • Make your own DIY pumpkin spice. No pumpkin pie spice? No problem! You can make one by yourself by combining cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. 
  • Use a large serrated knife. This will ensure nice and clean cuts and prevent flattened slices.
Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

How to Store & Freeze Pumpkin Rolls

Pumpkin rolls can be stored in the refrigerator and freezer, so you can make them ahead of time. Wrap your pumpkin roll tightly in plastic wrap to store it.

If storing in the fridge, it will last for up to 5 days. In the freezer, it will keep well for up to 3 months.

Before freezing, place the cake in a zip-top bag.

Before serving frozen pumpkin roll, thaw it in the fridge overnight first. I don’t recommend heating it up in the oven or the microwave, because your pumpkin roll might dry out.

Pumpkin Roll Recipe



Prep time


Cooking time






  • Cake Layer
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup 1 white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon 1 baking soda

  • 2 teaspoons 2 pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 cup 1 pumpkin puree

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon 1 lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons 2 confectioners’ sugar

  • Filling
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1 teaspoon 1 vanilla extract

  • 1 cup 1 confectioners’ sugar


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.
  • In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in pumpkin puree, eggs, and lemon juice. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread the mixture evenly.
  • Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
  • Lay a damp linen towel on the counter, sprinkle it with confectioner’s sugar, and turn the cake onto the towel. Carefully roll the towel up (lengthwise) with the cake in it. Place the cake-in-towel on a cooling rack and let it cool for 20 minutes.
  • Make the icing: In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and sugar with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.
  • When the cake has cooled 20 minutes, unroll it and spread icing onto it. Immediately re-roll (not in the towel this time), and wrap it with plastic wrap. Keep the cake refrigerated or freeze it for up to 2 weeks in aluminum foil. Cut the cake into slices just before serving.
Pumpkin Roll Recipe

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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