How to Make The BEST Pumpkin Roll Recipe

This easy pumpkin roll recipe with the best cream cheese filling is the perfect fall dessert. It’s moist and simple to freeze and serve with my tips for how to roll a pumpkin roll successfully every time. 

My Favorite Pumpkin Roll recipe with or without nuts |

Cake rolls can seem daunting to make, but I’m here to tell you they’re actually easy when you have a few tricks up your baking sleeve. Here, I’m sharing an important tip for baking it in the pan, an easy rolling trick, and how to make THE BEST pumpkin roll with or without nuts. This easy pumpkin roll recipe is one recipe that made me fall in love with pumpkin-flavored everything. The first is the classic pumpkin pie. Then there are my light-as-a-pillow pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and of course, pumpkin bread—a true beacon of fall. The warm, inviting trifecta of cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin wafting from the oven makes me a firm believer that you can’t have too much pumpkin this time of year. 

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pumpkin roll ingredients on white counter

What’s in This Pumpkin Roll Recipe

This classic pumpkin roll recipe roll is made with simple ingredients—many of which you likely already have on hand.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this pumpkin roll recipe:

  • Eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • Pumpkin puree—use 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling which is pre-sweetened
  • Lemon juice
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Spices
  • Kosher salt
  • Chopped nuts—pecans, walnuts, or almonds
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cream cheese
  • Butter
  • Vanilla extract

rolled up pumpkin roll

How to Make This Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Assembling this pumpkin roll can be a bit finicky, but with a few tricks up your sleeve, you should have no trouble creating this tubular stunner.

Here’s how to make it:

Prep your pan. First, prepare your sheet pan with a layer of parchment paper. Don’t skip the parchment paper! It will make transferring this thin sheet cake a whole lot easier to manage. I like parchment paper like this that’s pre-cut so I don’t have to leave anything to guesswork.

Make your batter. Whisk together the pumpkin roll cake batter in a large bowl and spread it in a thin, even layer over the prepared baking sheet. If you like nuts, you’ll want to sprinkle them on top of the batter before baking and lay the nut side of the cooked cake onto the powder-sugared towel as described below. Chopped, toasted pecans are my favorite but walnuts also work great.

Bake it up. Bake in a 375°F oven for 12-15 minutes. Use a paring knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan.

how to make a pumpkin roll

Rolling and Frosting

  • Grab a towel. I like a light flour sack kitchen towel (one without any nap) for this. Generously sprinkle the towel with powdered sugar, then invert the still-warm sheet cake to the towel. The powdered sugar helps prevent the cake from sticking to the towel.
  • Give it a roll. Working quickly but gently, roll the cake up tightly in the towel. Rolling at this stage, while the cake is still warm is crucial so the cake cools and sets in that tubular shape you want. Rolling it while warm will also keep your pumpkin roll from cracking.
  • Make your cream cheese frosting. Mix the powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth.
  • Unroll and ice. Once the cake has cooled, gently unroll it and spread with the best part of this dessert: the cream cheese frosting. I use an offset spatula to make it smooth. It’s one of my favorite kitchen tools.
  • Roll and chill. Roll the pumpkin roll back up again and chill until ready to serve.
  • Slice and serve. When ready to serve, dust with powdered sugar, slice, and serve.

rolling up a pumpkin roll cake

What is the Secret to Rolling a Pumpkin Roll

There’s a trick to baking the pumpkin roll. My Mom uses flat baking sheets with no sides to them (the kind you could find in pretty much any grocery store). I, however, use these high-side baking pans.

Another secret to a successful pumpkin roll is to leave a gap between the batter and the edge of the baking sheet when spreading the batter. That way as it bakes, the expanding cake doesn’t touch and glue to the sides of the pan. This will make it so much easier to lift from the pan.

Why Did My Pumpkin Roll Crack?

Fret not, if you read the instructions carefully, your pumpkin roll shouldn’t crack. Cracks tend to happen if you attempt to roll your cake after it’s cooled. The key is to always roll while your cake is still warm. The moisture and warmth from the cake will help it stay together.

spreading frosting onto a pumpkin cream cheese roll

How Long is a Pumpkin Roll Good For

This pumpkin roll cake should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. I recommend waiting to slice the cake until you’re ready to eat it, as the edges tend to dry out over time in the fridge.

Can I Freeze a Pumpkin Roll?

Yes, this pumpkin cream cheese roll freezes well. Once you’ve assembled and chilled your cake, slice it and wrap each slice in plastic wrap. Place on a baking sheet to freeze, then store the slices in a large freezer bag once they’ve hardened. When you’re ready to eat the frozen pumpkin roll cake slices, place them in your fridge to thaw for about 2-3 hours.

My Favorite Pumpkin Roll recipe with or without nuts |

More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes to Try

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.

My Favorite Pumpkin Roll recipe with or without nuts |