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!

Print
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.


Scale

Ingredients

Pumpkin Cake Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoonpumpkin 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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597 comments on “Pumpkin Roll”

  1. 1st time making a roll and it turned out excellent. Looks just like the picture . Definitely will make it again!

  2. 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 :)

  3. This roll was so good, it surprised the whole family! Will definitely want to make it again for special occasions. Thanks for it. :)

  4. 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!

  5. First time I have made the pumpkin roll I was amazed at myself, it turned out great. I will definitely be making more.

  6. Delicious I would make it again so yummy my family loved it 😊

  7. Beat those eggs 5 min! Will give a lighter, spongier cake.

  8. The batter was too thin the first time I made it. Made a decoy f thick batch and worked perfectly

  9. 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!

  10. DO NOT ISE PARCHMENT PAPER!! It absorbs the moister and causes a world of issues. I threw away an entire batch.

  11. Just tried it tonight. Excellent! Would definitely do it again.

  12. Can you substitute fresh eggs for powder eggs?

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Great recipe and super easy to make! The instructional video helped a lot.

  17. 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.

  18. Some time my roll cracks why does it do that please let me know

  19. Can I use self rising flour or cake flour…thanks

  20. Can you use light brown sugar instead of granulated sugar?

  21. 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!).

  22. 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!

  23. 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!

  24. Try it next week for Thanksgiving it sounds really good

  25. 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. :)

    • Cookie sheets

  26. Unless you want to throw away the ingredients and start over, I would just follow the Libby’s recipe. If you use parchment paper with no flour and grease, the paper will not peel off smoothly and you’ll wind up with a mess you have to throw away. Frustrating.

  27. Thank you so much for this recipe! I was looking for a more flavorful pumpkin cake recipe and I found it!.
    The only difference i did was separate the eggs and whip them up each one had half of the sugar. But when you do it this way the color turns into a softer orange.
    Anyway, it was a hit with my friends!

  28. I don’t have a jelly roll pan, but I do have a 13×11 pan. (I expect most home cooks are in the same position.) The difference is 7 square inches or about 5% of the batter. I’m gonna try this, leaving out some… I’ll let you know how it goes….

  29. Can this be made in a 1/2 sheet pan?? (18×13) that’s all I have and I don’t want to have to buy a whole new pan.

  30. It was absolutely delicious!!

  31. Hello! I love this pumpkin roll, well actually everyone loves it! I have made it a couple times but now I am living abroad and can only find a pan that is 10.5 x 15.5 ”
    Maybe I am being petty for asking, but I am a perfectionist and am wondering if you think it will be okay to use?
    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes! You are my go-to!

  32. My husband and I made this recipe tonight in advance for our Thanksgiving that we are spending with a couple family members (of which are in our TINY non covid-19 circle) And of course we had to make one to eat for ourselves…I…WE just want to say YUMMY! Very easy to make! Thank you 😊Sincerely, Mr and Mrs Futrell

  33. This recipe was easy to make. My only complaint was the filling. 6 Tbsp of butter left the filling with a too buttery taste. I made 2 rolls, so the second, I only used 4 Tbsp and it was better, but still not as cream cheese tasting to my liking. I will use a different filling recipe next time.

  34. I didn’t have parchment paper, so I greased my pan, baked at 375 for 13 min. Took a knife around edges and under a bit and plopped it onto wax paper, rolled it in wax paper and let cool. No cracks or problems. I noticed the wax paper kept it very moist.

  35. Havent tasted it yet. But i think it should be good I used a little applesauce in the batter so i could blend my leftover Halloween pumpkin in my vitamix mixer. i also substituted 1 egg with a flax egg and added a little more flax meal to make up for the extra liquid content from the applesauce
    The cream cheese seemed a little too thin so I added more icing sugar and a little tapioca starch so it wouldn’t be too sweet It was still quite soft so after rolling it I put the whole thing in the freezer to firm it up Cant wait to have some with a cup of tea!

  36. Mine stuck to the parchment paper. What could cause this? I made 4 the first one came out fine but 3 did not roll they were stuck

  37. Thank you so much for this recipe; it is now my go-to that I recommend to everyone. I’ve never made a sponge cake roll of any kind before this, and I’m pleased with how simple this was. Fresh baked is always better, but I’m surprised at how well it turned out for my first attempt. For Thanksgiving, my parents have asked me to make one for them. 🍁

  38. I have made pumpkin rolls for years. I have to say it took me a while to perfect the way I wanted to make them. I have done the rolling up in a tea towel with confectioners sugar and rolling it up. Way to messy. Have also transferred to another sheet of parchment paper with the sugar. Still messy and not ideal. I did this one and tweaked it slightly. The cake part is the same. I used one stick of butter and 2 blocks of cream cheese and 2 cups of 10x sugar, for making 2 rolls at once. After my cakes cool for about 45 minutes, I place in my freezer for 10 minutes. No cracks and easy to work with to roll up. Then I dust with sugar from my sifter.

  39. I loved this and plan to use this recipe A LOT in the future in fact, since its so close to thanksgiving i’ll use this as a recipe for dessert!!! Thank you so much for providing a easy recipe i really couldn’t find this anywhere (at least the right recipe)

    -Sincerely, Denice

  40. I’ve been using this recipe for several years now and it’s a family Thanksgiving favorite. My family doesn’t love Pumpkin Pie so this is a delicious alternative for Thanksgiving dinner! It comes out perfect every time and is always delicious

  41. Really appreciate your step by step help. I have made these for years, but when you are 80, you
    get forgetful at times. lol ITTURNED OUT SO PRETTY.

  42. Followed recipe exactly, came out horribly due to roll sticking to parchment paper. Roll was too soft and not tight grained if that makes sense. Was so sticky, stuck to paper even when fully cooled. Its chilling in fridge now, we shall see if it congeals properly by tomorrow morning. I’ve made much better rolls from the pumpkin can recipe :-(

  43. This is my go to pumpkin roll! So easy and so darn good! I made it this Wednesday morning for Thanksgiving dessert, chilled it and tonight sliced off the 2 ends for a sneak preview! My husband loved it as well! Thank you! FIVE stars!

  44. The roll tastes really good but the dough cracked all over the place. I followed the recepie to the T! Please help!

    • Oh no! Was the pumpkin cake still really hot when you rolled it? If it sits out too long and cools, that can lead to cracking. Either way, it should still taste delicious…so hope that you enjoy it!

  45. Cake quantity was not near enough. I had to make it again to add to first batch as it was not even near enough to fill a jelly roll pan to all the edges.
    Also….. if there’s a video on this page, I sure couldn’t find it. Not there!!

    • Hmmm, was your pan possibly a larger size? The video is located right above the ingredients section in this post, or you can view it on YouTube too – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqqdRfQOuJQ&t=2s. Best wishes!

  46. This was a nice pumpkin roll and I liked the filling, and it was a very nice treat for Thanksgiving! I am excited to make this again with my Mom. We (my Mom and I) really like your recipes. We look forward to more great recipes. Keep up the good work!

  47. 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!

  48. This roll turned out very tasty. The filling was a little sweet for me, the next time I will use 2/3 cups powdered sugar. Do not buy a jelly roll pan if you don’t have one. If you have a cookie sheet with at least 1/2 inch deep sides it will work just fine. This recipe was very easy to follow.

  49. This was so good! I did add a little more powdered sugar in filling. I did spray a little Bakers Joy on my pan before putting down my parchment paper so it wouldn’t slide. Thanks so much for this recipe