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Pumpkin Roll

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This classic pumpkin roll recipe is made with a delicious pumpkin cake and heavenly cream cheese filling…and it’s surprisingly easy to make. See the video below for a visual on how to assemble your pumpkin roll!

Classic Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Happy fall, everyone! In honor of the calendar officially flipping over to the new season this week, I thought I would bump my favorite fall dessert recipe to the top of the blog again.

Yep, I’m talkin’ about a good, old-fashioned, deliciously-indulgent, classic pumpkin roll. ♡

I have had a tradition of making pumpkin rolls every fall for at least a decade now, and always look forward to the cozy, comforting, delicious fall vibes that they bring. But I have to say that this year, during our first September living abroad, this small tradition has been especially nostalgic and comforting.

Even though it now requires making a special trek across town to the one store in Barcelona that sells canned pumpkin puree, plus an extra trip to a different store to purchase a brick of “Philadelphia” (the name for cream cheese here in Spain, so cute), and some major tinkering with my tiny Spanish oven — the rhythms and feels and smells and flavors of this ritual feel just as familiar as ever. And the second I slice off a beautiful round of that perfectly-paired pumpkin cake swirled with cream cheese filling, it tastes just delicious as ever. And the world feels wonderfully, magically, comfortingly small for a moment. Feels like fall.

Anyway, if you also happen to have a nostalgic craving hit this season for a classic pumpkin roll, this recipe has been my go-to for years. It calls for all of the classic ingredients (thanks, Libby’s!), but it’s updated with my method for rolling up the cake in parchment paper, which I have found to be simpler and more reliable than the classic towel method. If this is your first time making a pumpkin roll, don’t fear — it’s much easier than it may seem. Plus, I’ve included a handy step-by-step video below to take any of the guesswork out the equation. And if your friends and family are anything like mine, they are going to love it.

Let’s make a pumpkin roll!

Classic Pumpkin Roll Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Pumpkin Roll Ingredients:

To make this classic pumpkin roll recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, vanilla, granulated sugar: For the base of the pumpkin cake.
  • Pumpkin pie spiceFor seasoning the cake. (You can either use store-bought pumpkin pie spice, or I’ve included measurements for ingredient amounts for ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.)
  • Pumpkin puree: I have always used store-bought canned pumpkin puree, which is super simple. But you are welcome to make pumpkin puree from scratch, if you prefer.
  • Cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla: For the cream cheese filling. I told you it was indulgent. ;)

You will also need:

  • 10 x 15-inch jelly roll panThe specific size of the pan is important here, so that the cake can be nice and thin.
  • Parchment paper: I like to buy these pre-cut sheets, but you can also definitely cut your own.

Pumpkin Roll Ingredients

How To Roll A Pumpkin Roll

Cream Cheese Filling for a Pumpkin Roll

Sprinkling Powdered Sugar On A Pumpkin Roll

How To Make A Pumpkin Roll:

Alright, let’s begin with the pumpkin cake. Simply:

  1. Make your pumpkin cake batter. You can either do this in a stand mixer, or by hand in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the dry ingredients until combined, and set aside. Then in a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until thick. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin puree until combined. Then fold in the dry ingredients until they are just combined, being careful not to overmix the batter.
  2. Transfer batter to the baking sheet. Cover your jelly roll pan completely with parchment paper, leaving some extra room on the long (15-inch) sides so that you can easily lift the cake out after baking. (If the parchment paper is sliding around, just sprinkle a few drops of water underneath it, which will help it to stick to the pan.)  Then spread the batter evenly on top of the parchment.
  3. Bake. This part goes quickly since the cake is so thin.
  4. Remove cake from pan. This part needs to move quickly, so be ready. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, run a knife around the edges of the pan (if needed) to loosen the cake. Then carefully grab the edges of the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan and slide it over to a flat, heat-proof surface. (I recommend using oven mitts since the cake will still be very hot.)
  5. Roll the cake. Then holding onto the parchment, carefully roll up the cake — from short end to short end — until it forms a complete roll. (See video above for an example.)  Transfer the rolled cake to a wire cooling rack and let it cool completely to room temperature, seam-side-down so that they cake does not unroll.

While the cake is cooling, make your cream cheese filling. To do so, simply:

  1. Stir together your ingredients until smooth. It’s ok if there are a few tiny lumps of cream cheese. But in general, you want the filling to be pretty smooth. Also, it’s crucial that your ingredients are all room temperature so that the cream cheese filling can be nice and sturdy. Otherwise, the filling will be too thin and will ooze out of the pumpkin roll. (If it seems too thin, just add more powdered sugar.)
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use. To keep it nice and fresh.

Once the cake has cooled, it’s time for the fun part. To assemble your pumpkin roll:

  1. Gently unroll the cake. Place the cake back on a flat surface and gently unroll it until the cake is mostly flat again, going slowly so that the cake doesn’t break. (If it does a bit, don’t worry, it will still taste delicious.)
  2. Spread on the cream cheese filling. Using a spatula, spread the cream cheese filling out evenly on top of the cake, leaving a 3/4-inch border around all sides of the cake so that the filling doesn’t spill out while the cake is being re-rolled.
  3. Re-roll the cake. Then go ahead and roll the cake back up again, carefully peeling off the parchment paper as you roll until it until it is completely released.
  4. Wrap the cake. Wrap the finished pumpkin roll tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least an hour until chilled.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar. When you’re ready to serve the cake, remove and unwrap it. Then lightly dust the entire roll with powdered sugar. Then…
  6. Slice and serve!  I like to take a small slice off of the ends just before serving, to reveal those beautiful swirls and make it a bit prettier. Then voila! Your homemade pumpkin roll will be ready to enjoy!

Classic Pumpkin Roll Recipe

How To Store + Freeze A Pumpkin Roll:

Great news! Pumpkin rolls keep well in the refrigerator and freezer, so they’re the perfect dessert to make ahead of time if you’d like. To store your pumpkin roll, wrap it up tightly in plastic wrap. Then you can either refrigerate it for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. If you choose to freeze the pumpkin roll, be sure to let it thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before serving. (If you try to warm it up in the microwave or oven, it can dry out.)

The Best Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Variations:

Love this pumpkin roll recipe? Be sure to try these other dessert rolls too:

How To Make A Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Enjoy, everyone!

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Classic Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Pumpkin Roll

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 0 About 8-10 servings 1x

Description

This classic pumpkin roll recipe is made with a delicious pumpkin cake and heavenly cream cheese filling…and it’s surprisingly easy to make.  See the video above for a step-by-step visual tutorial for how to assemble your roll.


Ingredients

Scale

Pumpkin Cake Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (*or see below for substitution)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • optional: powdered sugar (to sprinkle on at the end!)

Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

To Make The Pumpkin Roll:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.  Line a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper, leaving an extra 1-inch of parchment sticking up on both 15-inch sides of the pan so that you can easily lift the cake out after baking.  (If you’d like the parchment to stick to the bottom of the pan more easily, sprinkle a little bit of water on the pan and then press the parchment paper on top of it.  You can also lightly mist the top of the parchment paper with cooking spray for easier cake release afterwards, although it’s not required.)
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a large mixing bowl until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and granulated sugar for 1 minute until thick. Add in the vanilla and pumpkin, and whisk until just combined. Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula, and stir together until just combined.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into prepared pan.  Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until top of cake springs back when touched. Carefully lift the parchment paper and cake out onto a flat (and heat-safe) surface.  Then slowly, use your hands to roll the cake — rolling from the short end to the short end — until it is completely rolled up.  Transfer the cake roll to a wire rack, and cool until it reaches room temperature.
  5. While the cake is cooling, make the cream cheese filling (see below).
  6. Once the cake has reached room temperature, transfer the cake roll to a flat surface, and carefully it until it is flat again (or mostly flat, it’s ok if the ends curl up a bit). Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over cake, leaving a 3/4-inch border on all sides.  Then carefully re-roll the cake, gently peeling away the parchment paper as you roll until you can completely remove and discard it. Tightly wrap the pumpkin roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
  7. Remove and unwrap the pumpkin roll and transfer it to your serving dish. Lightly dust the pumpkin roll on all sides with powdered sugar, if you would like.  Then slice* and serve.
  8. If you have leftovers, just re-wrap the pumpkin roll in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Or freeze for up to 3 months.

To Make The Cream Cheese Filling:

  1. Whisk together cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until smooth. If the filling is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a half teaspoon or two of water.  (You want a medium consistency so that the filling is easy to spread, but not too warm or thin that it will ooze out of the cake when you’re rolling it up.)


Notes

*If you do not already have a jar of pumpkin pie spice, you can use the following:

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

**If you want the cake to be pretty on the very ends, I recommend slicing off about 1/2-inch of the cake on both ends before serving.  Then you’ll definitely see those pretty cream cheese swirls!

Recipe is very slightly adapted from Libby’s.  Cooking time listed above does not account for cooling time.

Pumpkin Roll Recipe

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530 comments on “Pumpkin Roll”

  1. I made the Pumpkin Roll for the first time. Oh so easy. I scored the bottom of the roll only to help it roll better..Thanks .You are making me look good.

  2. I love the idea of using parchment paper. I never like the towel idea, THANK YOU

  3. This is my third time making this Pumpkin Roll. Everyone loves it. It is so easy to make and it looks impressive. Looks good and taste great. What a combination.

  4. Great recipe! We made it for Thanksgiving…Soooooo good!!!!!!

  5. This is brilliant!!! Tried it and will never make pumpkin roll with a towel again. Thank you do much!

  6. Do you spray the parchment paper before you put the pumpkin batter on top or does it really come off as easy as it looks.

  7. I have made this many times with towel and powdered sugar so will definitely try this
    Question:
    The pic after you unroll the cake, it looks like powdered sugar around edge of cake as you are spreading on the filling?
    Just wanted to make sure I didn’t miss a step

  8. It is delicious!! I’m just wondering could one also substitute Sweet Potatoes for the Pumpkin?

  9. Easy to make. Taste great. Have to work on my rolling technique.

  10. i use a can of pumpkin pie mix eliminating the need to use all the spices. Works just fine and freezes very well

    • Can I explain how? What size can? Did u still use flour, baking soda n powder? ( new to this!) Thanx so much for ur prompt reply!

  11. Awesome tasted very good.

  12. I’m a rube baker and this recipe and technique were perfect. Didn’t change a thing and my results were delish. I plan to try the carrot cake roll next. Thanks so much.

  13. I tried your way of making the pumpkin roll with just the parchment….so much better than the nasty looking towel. Flipping it over puts the wet side to the outside and would always stay wet looking. Now the reverse way has the bottom that stays dryer looking awesome! Mine does crack some…..got a thought on that?

  14. Awesome recipe , easy to follow ands turns a out great . Tastes wonderful !!! My husband asked me to make it again a week later !!!!

  15. so awesome and easy to make – Love it and appreciate your sharing and the new tips

  16. You have THE Best recipes and demonstration videos to be found on the net. Have made many of your recipes and they are simply best…this one I’m going to try for the first time because it looks so doable, I never would have thought it to be that easy. Thank you and Happy Fall!

  17. Love the beautiful presentation of this pumpkin roll! :)

  18. Looks great – can’t wait to try it when we get some pumpkins here (any day). We can’t get canned pumpkin either here (Turkey) or in the UK, so I just thickly slice a pumpkin or a butternut squash and bake it in the oven until soft, then mash the flesh and freeze it in can-sized portions. If you wash the seeds to remove all the fibrous bits, then roast them and toss them with salt and spices, they make a great beer snack. Haven’t found a use for the skin yet – working on it…

    Also, if you can get hold of full-fat fresh milk (unpasteurised is top choice, it gives bigger curds, but pasteurised is OK), you can make your own cream cheese just using a little vinegar to start the separation process and some salt. Loads of instructions available on the web. We don’t get proper cream cheese in Turkey – it’s more like soft smooth feta, great for some things, but not ideal for others, so I’ve made my own quite a few times, and it’s really easy.

    Happy cooking.

  19. Thank you so much for the video!!

  20. Hi Ali,
    Made your pumpkin roll last night and my hubby flipped over it, delicious! My pan was a bit bigger so I added 1/4 more of all ingredients. Instead of a sprinkle of powdered sugar, I sprinkled with pumpkin pie spice. Thank you for sharing this tasty recipe.
    Ali your website is one of my most favourite.
    Have a fun day.
    Darlene
    Nova Scotia

  21. I would love to make this gluten free for my niece with Celiac. Can you suggest adjustments to the recipe for me? Thanks so much.
    Betsy

    • I made it using the America’s Test Kitchen gluten free flour blend tonight, and it worked perfectly! I think you could use Cup4Cup or another gf flour blend and get similarly good results, because there is proportionally not much flour in this recipe. So delicious!!

  22. Hi Ali

    Thanks for your post. I haven’t made it yet, but I plan to. This may be my first foray into baking. I have a strange question, though… my husband and I just bought a home in Barcelona in the Ravel area close to La Rambla. Where did you go to find the canned pumpkin and have you found a store yet that carries more American imports like that? That would be so helpful to know. Otherwise I will be carrying suitcases full of home products and spices. Thanks so much!

  23. Easy easy! Very moist. Love it. And, using the parchment instead of a tea towel which I would normally use was great.

  24. So easy to make and so delicious.

  25. This was easy to make. Instructions are perfect! I had never made a roll before. Looking forward to having it fir Thanksgiving dessert!

  26. Thanks for the parchment paper idea! Brilliant! Using a tea towel always grossed me out.
    I’ll be making more of these pumpkin rolls for sure. Your recipe is perfect.

  27. Fantastic recipe! Made this 4 times now and wouldn’t change a thing! Fall in a roll, so moist and flavorful… melts in your mouth!! Family devoured it every time! Thank you for sharing!

  28. Hi!
    I’ve been wanting to make a pumpkin roll for years, but the process always looked a bit intimidating.
    You made it look so easy! I followed your recipe exactly and my pumpkin rolls (yes, I made 2) came out perfectly and so yummy. Without the dish towels and all the extra Crisco.
    Thank You!!?

  29. I made this pumpkin roll my family loved it..it was delicious..I will definitely make again.

  30. Made this yesterday and it’s already all gone! My entire family and friends loved it and I’m sad that it’s already gone. Will be making this many times in the future. Only my second time making a roll recipe and went very well in my opinion :)

  31. Look forward to making this Pumpkin ? Roll as much as I love ❤️ ? pumpkin!

  32. “Philadelphia” becuase is US, while other companies make cream cheese the “Philadelphia” brand is the most popular. Cream cheese also goes by the name of Neufchâtel so if you see this in the store you can use it as well.

  33. Has anyone tried using a Silicone pan liner? I would think it would work. If I baked it on the liner then used that to roll it up. I really want to try my making this for Thanksgiving. But we would certainly have to taste test at least once lol

  34. What are your suggestions for freezing it? I want to make it ahead of time for a party. ???

  35. It was awesome better than a store

  36. Yes, I made it. My granddaughter loved it. It was pretty easy and fun to do.

  37. I’ve made this twice now in the last week for two parties and everyone absolutely loved it! This recipe was so easy. I will be making it again.

  38. Made this and it tastes great! Not hard to put together. Love it!

  39. I MADE THIS pumpkin spice roll for a weekend pot luck and it was a great choice.
    . I was lucky to get a slice myself. I plan on making another one on Wed. for my family.

  40. I use the same recipe but instead of rolling from the short side, I roll from the longer side, makes a longer roll and the pieces aren’t as big, just the right size for 1 serving. Also cut them in half for easier handling.

  41. Absolutely amazing. First time I made a pumpkin roll and it turned out just perfect! I actually took this exact recipe and made a banana roll as well! Oh my so yummy! Thank you for sharing this recipe! I did however, make a different spread for the center, the cream cheese is so heavy. But the roll is 100% this recipe and absolutely outstanding!

  42. I made this and once rolled up it stuck to the parchment paper. Is there any way to keep this from happening? It wasnt the bottom that stuck it was the top.

  43. We love this recipe – so delicious and surprisingly easy to make. When it first appeared in the Boston Globe’s Confidential Chat ( 30+ years ago!), it was suggested to sprinkle the tea towel (or parchment paper – thank you!) with chopped walnuts or pecans before pouring in the cake batter. Both are tasty, and add a bit of additional flavor and crunch, but plain is equally delicious. Such a yummy alternative for those not enamored with traditional pumpkin pie, but still includes the traditional pumpkin at Thanksgiving!

  44. This is the best recipe for a flawless classic pumpkin roll! We love it so much and are indulging a little much in my home by making two rolls!

  45. Can I make the cake a few days ahead of time before filling it?

  46. Best pumpkin roll recipe I’ve tried. I even used your pie spice recipe and I am so pleased with the flavor I am making a second one right now.

  47. I’m soon to be making this but it doesn’t say how many rolls one batch makes.. Need ASAP…

  48. Pretty good but I would cut the butter in half if I make this again. Also would add more powdered sugar to the filling. I’ve eaten this my whole life but never made it before. It really is a simple recipe and besides those tweaks I would make again if someone wanted it.

  49. I made this for Thanksgiving dessert and my family loved it! It was easier than I thought it would be and the filling was really good, not too sweet. I plan on making it again soon.