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!
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 spice: For 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. ;)
Parchment paper: I like to buy these pre-cut sheets, but you can also definitely cut your own.
How To Make A Pumpkin Roll:
Alright, let’s begin with the pumpkin cake. Simply:
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.
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.
Bake. This part goes quickly since the cake is so thin.
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.)
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:
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.)
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:
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.)
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.
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.
Wrap the cake. Wrap the finished pumpkin roll tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least an hour until chilled.
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…
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!
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.)
Love this pumpkin roll recipe? Be sure to try these other dessert rolls too:
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.
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
To Make The Pumpkin Roll:
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.)
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a large mixing bowl until combined.
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.
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.
While the cake is cooling, make the cream cheese filling (see below).
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.
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.
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:
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.)
Really enjoyed it – not difficult- next time will increase the spices a bit
I made 4 pumpkin rolls was easy to make. Use good parchment paper was a big help.
I made this for Thanksgiving. It was so INCREDIBLY good!! The filling is amazing. I will use the leftover from inside to put on top, this next time. Making this again for my upcoming Holiday party, plus one for myself. Great for breakfast!!
This pumpkin roll has brought rave reviews! It’s great, and it’s not sickening sweet!!!
my favorite pumpkin roll recipe……love all the spices….I do add pecans to the pumpkin roll before baking…..
What if you peeled off the parchment paper 1st and then pit it back on the cake and then rolled it? That may help?
Just made this for Christmas dessert! Love this easy recipe and it’s SO delicious! Thank you & Merry Christmas!!
I just made this for our Christmas dessert and absolutely love how it came out! Not too much of a pumpkin flavor (for those that may not like pumpkin as much) and not overbearingly sweet. It wasn’t hard to roll the cake but next time I want to try to get the layers neater as there were some cracks in my cake that made the icing ooze into places it wasn’t supposed to. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! I also made the chocolate version but it didn’t come out as moist. I’ll have to try it again another time!
This is simply amazing.
not but going too I don’t like pumpkin pie and the rolls they sell in the store are so processed. I like a good home made pumpkin roll
I had a similar pumpkin roll at a restaurant recently and found myself craving it and wondering if I could recreate it today.
I cut regular sugar and powdered sugar in half. And it still came out delicious. I also added a tablespoon of lemon juice and lemon zest to the cream cheese filling.
Just made this recipe today and it came out great. The instructions were very easy to follow I’ll definitely be making it more often. Also if you take the butter out of the filling it tastes almost exactly like cheese cake!
Just found this recipe and will give it a try soon. Lots of detail and a handy one-minute video means you cater for impatient people like me too. Thanks!
There used to be a bakery here where I live that made this deliciousness from October to December. Sadly, they are closed and I am DEFINITELY going to try making one of my own and see how close this is to their utterly delicious pumpkin roll!!
THANK YOU for sharing this!!
Made this just as written EXCEPT I had to adapt the filling to be dairy-free for my daughter. I used dairy-free cream cheese and buttery spread and it still came out DELICIOUS. So easy and definitely a fall treat for years to come!
Pumpkin rolls aren’t something I bake frequently but I’ve made a few using the traditional method of rolling it up in a sugar-coated towel, and while it is messy, I never had problems with tearing or sticking. Unfortunately that was not the case here. When unrolling it, the cake stuck to the parchment and tore itself to bits, especially as I got towards the other end. I pressed it back together as best I could, but it is not pretty. I think I will go back to the tried-and-true way next time.
My three sons made your pumpkin roll this evening. We had to make do with a 9 x 13 pyrex because that was the closest we had………..there was much concern from them, wondering how it would work. It was a bit thicker than it should have been, but it was great. It was easy and delicious! We will definitely be making it again!
The frosting is super good, I’m going to double up on the cake recipe next time it turned out thin and small
I just made this & it is easy, & delicious!! I had no problem with cracking or removing paper. I sprayed the paper as suggested. I have a question. I’d like to make this ahead & freeze it. Can it be frozen with the cream cheese frosting?
Thank you for this YUMMMMY recipe!
I have now made this several times for different occasions. Every time, the slices disappear swiftly. Everyone loves it!
I have been making this recipe for a few years. Love it. I double the recipe to use up one small can of pumpkin. I usually have one or more in the freezer to use for last minute desserts (slice frozen and at room temperature will thaw in less than an hour) or gifts. Thank you for a great recipe!
I have been making this recipe for years (I LOVE it and so does my whole family) but recently discovered I have a wheat allergy. Has anyone experimented with gluten free flours and this recipe?
These look SO yummy!!
Made this punkin roll it is easy to make very good to eat great recipe
I just tried this pumpkin roll as a possibility for Thanksgiving dinner, and the answer is a resounding YES! It’s light, delicious, and rolled perfectly on the parchment paper (I did use a slight amount of cooking spray). This recipe is definitely a keeper!
1st time making a roll and it turned out excellent. Looks just like the picture . Definitely will make it again!
Can I use self rising flour or cake flour…thanks
Wondering how I could make this gluten free
Couldn’t you just use a gluten free flour? I’m pretty sure the flour is the only concern. But I am running on little sleep. I’ve made many cakes in the past following the recipe but substituting gf flour :)
This roll was so good, it surprised the whole family! Will definitely want to make it again for special occasions. Thanks for it. :)
What if the pumpkin batter looks kinda thin ? What do I use to thicken it up just a little bit? Fist time ever making this ?
It doesn’t need thickened, I just made it and while the batter is very thin before baking, it bakes very nicely still.
I felt a little intimidated; usually this kind of thing never turns out the way the recipe says—I’m sure because of the baker’s talent!
I set aside the whole afternoon to make this and it took just what the recipe said, turned out great! Thanks!
First time I have made the pumpkin roll I was amazed at myself, it turned out great. I will definitely be making more.
Delicious I would make it again so yummy my family loved it ?
Beat those eggs 5 min! Will give a lighter, spongier cake.
The batter was too thin the first time I made it. Made a decoy f thick batch and worked perfectly
Turned out excellent!!! I sprayed both side of the parchment paper nothing stuck to it. Only problem was I didn’t roll it tight enough. On the filling I added and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar!
DO NOT ISE PARCHMENT PAPER!! It absorbs the moister and causes a world of issues. I threw away an entire batch.
What is ISE?
Use* it’s obviously misspelled
Just tried it tonight. Excellent! Would definitely do it again.
Can you substitute fresh eggs for powder eggs?
Has anyone made this at high altitude? If so, did it need any adjustments?
I made this on top of Mount Everest and it turned out just sparkling. A little fluffy but just like mom used to make.
Parchment paper then the filling,then cake batter, bake.
Right out of the oven, Sprinkle with powdered sugar and invert on towel then roll.
And let set.
What a great idea, James. I’m gonna try it your way and see how it turns out.
I’ve tried this recipe 3 times and it cracks every time :( I finally lowered the temp to 370 and baked on a greased parchment papered pan for 13 minutes. It rolled perfectly, I then let it cool for 1.5 hours and when I unrolled it, it cracked a little on the top but the cream cheese covered it. But when I went to roll it up again, it cracked. Do you know what I could be doing wrong? I’m tempted to throw xanthan gum in the recipe to see if that will help it be more pliable. I also added only half of the powdered sugar to the frosting since we don’t like it too sweet.
Great recipe and super easy to make! The instructional video helped a lot.
This has been my go to pumpkin roll recipe for a couple of years now. Super easy and no other recipe I have found is as good.
Some time my roll cracks why does it do that please let me know
Can I use self rising flour or cake flour…thanks
Can you use light brown sugar instead of granulated sugar?
This was delicious!! I’d make it again in a heartbeat. I was intimidated by the rolling part at first but it really wasn’t too bad! The cream cheese frosting is to die for (coming from someone who isn’t big on frosting usually!).
My go-to pumpkin roll recipe! it’s perfect every time.
I would love to make a Christmas gingerbread type version of this…do you think instead of the 2/3 cup pumpkin I could sub 1/3 cup molasses, 1/3 cup apple sauce? Or any ideas of a gingerbread type roll? Thank you for any ideas!
This was my first attempt at making a pumpkin roll, I made it for a fried who used to get them from a coworker years ago. She said it’s the best one she’s ever had and had tried others but they weren’t the same. She said this one was better! I changed a couple things – I used 3/4 white sugar and 1/4 brown sugar in the cake batter, and did 1/2 tbsp vanilla and 1/2 tbsp maple syrup and a tbsp of cream in the filling and it was perfect! I read tips to make sure to roll slowly and snugly as you go. (Another tip – it’s scorching hot so use gloves or something to help protect your fingertips.) I sprayed cooking spray under the parchment paper to hold it in place but not on top, and it still helped the cake come off easily. I think the trick is to move slowly and patiently. Next time I’m going to tap the pan firmly on the counter to even the batter out better before baking, and add chopped pecans. I could not be more pleased with how this turned out. Thank you!
Try it next week for Thanksgiving it sounds really good
I would like to make this for Thanksgiving. I don’t have a jelly roll pan. Is there anything else I can use? Thank you!
Just look up the jelly roll pan and see what it looks like to compare to what you have in your pantry. Or you can purchase one at Walmart or Costco/Sams. I just got a new one at Costco for a very low cost. :)