These pumpkin sourdough dinner rolls are so soft and fluffy, and perfect to serve alongside your Thanksgiving dinner!
If you’re looking for a fun way to incorporate pumpkin into your Thanksgiving dinner, these Pumpkin Sourdough Dinner Rolls would be perfect.
They’re incredibly soft and fluffy, and have a lovely hint of pumpkin flavor.
Plus they’re such a pretty color on the inside.
These are also a wonderful way to use up any leftover pumpkin puree you might have.
Okay, let me show you how to make them!
Here’s the video tutorial.
I have a written tutorial below if you prefer reading!
How to Make Pumpkin Sourdough Dinner Rolls
First, let’s talk about your sourdough starter:
I keep my sourdough starter at 100% hydration.
This simply means that I feed it equal weights, not volumes, of flour and water.
For example, I don’t feed it half a cup of flour and half a cup of water. I feed it around 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of water.
Don’t worry if your starter isn’t kept at 100% hydration: simply feed it equal weights of flour and water for these pumpkin sourdough dinner rolls, and then you can go back to feeding it how you normally would.
The amount of time it takes for your starter to mature will vary.
If your kitchen is really warm, the starter could be ready as soon as 4 hours after feeding it.
But if your kitchen is really cold, it could take up to 12 hours.
You want to pay attention to visual cues when it comes to sourdough starters.
Once it has doubled, is bubbly and active, and passes the float test, you’re ready to go!
You can perform the float test by dropping a small amount of sourdough starter in a glass of water.
If it floats, it passes!
If it sinks, that means your starter is either not mature enough, or over mature.
You can read all about sourdough starters in my How to Make a Sourdough Starter From Scratch post.
Now let’s chat pumpkin…
I formulated this recipe with two options for amounts of pumpkin puree.
The first method uses a whole can of pumpkin puree, but the second method uses only a cup.
I thought it would be handy for you if you could either use up a whole can of pumpkin all at once, or utilize that leftover cup of pumpkin puree that’s languishing in the fridge.
I like this organic canned pumpkin by the brand Farmer’s Market, and I’ve also used the Thrive Market brand.
Mixing the Dough:
First of all, place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer:
- whole milk
- mature sourdough starter
- organic all-purpose flour
- melted butter (grass-fed butter, of course)
- pumpkin puree
- an egg
- unrefined sea salt
Knead the dough with the dough hook on medium for about 20 minutes.
Yep, you heard me. Twenty. Minutes.
The dough will start out kind of shaggy…
…but after 20 minutes the gluten will be nicely developed and it should be smooth and elastic.
Scrape the dough into a well butter bowl.
I really like this 4 quart lidded glass bowl from Pyrex for fermenting sourdough.
Since it has a lid, there’s no need to use plastic wrap or a tea towel to cover the dough.
Also, the since the lid creates an airtight environment, your dough doesn’t develop a dry crust from being exposed to the air!
Cover with the lid and allow to rise and room temperature overnight, or about 8 hours.
The dough should double in bulk after the first ferment/rise.
Note: The first rise can be done in the refrigerator as well. The dough will be easier to work with since it will be cold and less sticky.
However, it will need to rise for 12 hours instead of 8, and the second rise will take longer as well.
Shaping the Pumpkin Sourdough Dinner Rolls
Now, you can skip this next step if you’re not too particular about how evenly sized your dinner rolls are.
Weigh all of the dough and divide that number by the number of dinner rolls you want.
15 rolls fit nicely into a 13 by 9 inch pan.
BTW, I love my handy dandy Perfect Portions scale. It’s been going strong since 2010!
Now weigh out each roll to the amount you just calculated.
For me, that worked out to about 101 grams per roll.
Grab the corners of one of the dough balls and pinch them towards the center.
Roll the dough ball, seam side down, on your countertop, cupping your hands underneath it as you roll.
This creates tension on the surface of the roll and makes it nice and smooth.
I highly recommend watching the video if you’ve never seen this demonstrated before!
The Second Rise
Arrange the pumpkin sourdough rolls in a 13 by 9 inch baking pan.
I like to do 5 across, 3 down.
But you could also do smaller rolls if you prefer, or even divide them between two pans.
Cover with a tea towel and set aside to rise a second time.
The amount of time it takes the rolls to rise a second time will vary based on the warmth of your kitchen.
If your kitchen is quite warm, it may only take 2 hours. But if your kitchen is chilly, it might take 6 hours.
These pumpkin sourdough dinner rolls should rise all the way over the edge of the pan before you bake them.
You want to give them enough time to rise and develop beautiful air bubbles.
Baking the Pumpkin Sourdough Dinner Rolls:
Bake in a preheated 375° Fahrenheit oven for 30-32 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the middle of a roll registers 200° Fahrenheit.
I used my new ChefAlarm probe thermometer to test how long it takes these to reach the proper internal temperature.
Yup, I was totally geeking out about my new toy.
Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter.
Yes, this is optional.
But it makes them so pretty.
You can brush them a second time just before serving if it seems like most of the butter has been absorbed.
Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool for a few more minutes before serving.
This can be a little tricky.
I like to use a metal spatula to coax the pumpkin sourdough rolls out of the pan and onto the cooling rack.
If you leave them in the pan to cool, they’ll be a bit soggy on the bottom.
You want them to be able to breathe.
…just look how soft and fluffy these are!
I love pull-apart dinner rolls. They’re so much fun to, well, pull apart! 🙃
You know me. I pretty much have to serve dinner rolls with some good quality grass-fed butter.
But of course you could go the extra mile and drizzle a little raw honey on top as well.
Or you could put some homemade cranberry sauce on top in place of jam.
I’ve used these for hamburger buns, and I think they would make lovely sandwich buns as well.
You could also make a mean Thanksgiving leftover sandwich with turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and a slice of cheese.
I need to make that happen this year.
These pumpkin sourdough dinner rolls will keep for a few days at room temperature if they’re well-sealed in a zippered storage bag.
You can store them for a week or so in the refrigerator, but they do tend to dry out in there.
You can freeze them for longer storage if you make sure to store them in freezer gallon bags. Make sure to remove all of the air before placing in the bag in the freezer.
More Sourdough Recipes:
- Sourdough Pie Crust
- Sourdough Pancakes Overnight Recipe
- Overnight Sourdough Waffles
- Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
- Sourdough French Bread
- Soft Sourdough Dinner Rolls
- Sourdough Tortillas
- Sourdough Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- Soft Sourdough Sandwich Bread: No Yeast!
More Thanksgiving Recipes:
- Cranberry Sourdough Stuffing
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Chicken Wild Rice Stuffing Casserole
- Cranberry Clafoutis
- Green Bean Casserole from Scratch
- Baked Pumpkin Pie Pudding
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Pioneer Woman’s Pumpkin Pie (my version)
- Simple Sage Dressing
- Fall Pear Pie
By the way, if you aren’t quite ready to start your sourdough journey, I did share a regular yeasted version of these pumpkin rolls on the Pioneer Woman’s blog last year. You can find the recipe here.
Pumpkin Sourdough Dinner Rolls
These pumpkin sourdough buns are perfect for serving with your Thanksgiving feast!
- ⅓ cup whole milk (80 grams)
- 1 cup active sourdough starter (240 grams)
- 4 ½ cups organic all-purpose flour (612 grams)
- 1 can pumpkin puree (15 ounces, 425 grams)
- ¼ cup grass-fed butter, melted and cooled (57 grams)
- ¼ cup raw honey (82 grams)
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons unrefined sea salt (8 grams)
- 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter, melted (for brushing)
Place the milk, sourdough starter, flour, pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup butter, honey, egg, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Using the dough hook attachment, knead the dough on medium speed for 20 minutes. The dough will start out slack and somewhat shaggy, but it will come together into a smooth, elastic dough.
Scrape the dough into a large, buttered glass bowl. Cover with a lid and allow to rise at room temperature for 6-8 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
Grease a 13 by 9 inch baking dish and set aside.
On a greased work surface, divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. You can weigh the dough and divide that weight by 15 to determine how much each dough ball should weigh. Mine came out to about 101 grams per roll.
Form the balls into rolls by pinching the corners into the middle, then rolling the dough on the counter to create surface tension.
Place the balls in the prepared baking dish. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm spot until the rolls have risen up over the edge of the pan, about 2-6 hours.
About half an hour before the rolls are done rising, preheat your oven to 375°F. Bake the risen rolls in the preheated oven for 30-32 minutes, or until they're deeply browned and reach an internal temperature of 200°F.
Allow the rolls to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Brush the tops of the rolls with the 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
Transfer the rolls out of the pan and onto the cooling rack to cool further until ready to serve. You can brush the tops of the rolls with more butter just before serving if most of the butter has been absorbed.
Store any leftovers in a well-sealed zippered bag at room temperature for a few days, or in the freezer for longer storage.
- To use just one cup of pumpkin puree instead of the whole can, increase the milk to 2/3 cup (160 grams), and decrease the flour to 4 cups (535 grams).
- A mature sourdough starter is one that has been fed 8-12 hours previously, has doubled and is active and bubbly, and passes the float test.
Monday 16th of January 2023
Exactly as described! I'm a sourdough novice, but love Erica's recipe for this and found it to be a nice twist on a dinner roll.
Friday 20th of January 2023
So happy you enjoyed them! Thank you for your review!
Thursday 24th of November 2022
I’m super excited to try these at my family’s thanksgiving dinner this year. I’m working on the second rise and hopeful this will be something I make again. I appreciate the added suggestions for (appliances) for your benefit. I found a wooden spoon and bowl worked just fine. I used your recipe as a guide. I’m excited to try my homemade pumpkin purée in this recipe. Thanks for the suggestions on a scale. This is a future hope of mine in the kitchen. Happy Thanksgiving from Montana in 2022!
Sunday 20th of November 2022
I am curious if I make these today but just leave them to cold ferment until Thanksgiving Day and then bake would that work or...... should I wait
Monday 21st of November 2022
Hmmm...that may be a bit early? You could mix together the dough and then let it bulk ferment in the fridge for a few days. I have seen recipes for pizza dough where you leave the dough in the fridge for up to 5 days I think? But that's pizza dough, not dinner rolls! :)
Thursday 25th of November 2021
Made these for Thanksgiving. They were amazing. Tons of compliments. They are the perfect mixture of sourdough with a little something special. So soft and pillowy. Thank you for the recipe and for providing the weights. My baked goods always turn out better when I follow a recipe by weights instead of volume. These rolls are a new Thanksgiving tradition for us.
Wednesday 1st of December 2021
Aw, this makes me so happy! Yes, weighing is SO nice with sourdough.
Saturday 9th of October 2021
Having baked with sourdough twice weekly since the pandemic began, I was unimpressed with the way this dough looked. It was a total MUSH and never actually looked like dough in my mixer. I basically poured it into the buttered glass dish and crossed my fingers. This morning, it had risen nicely but I couldn't even set it on my baking mat to form into buns; it just oooooozed out of the bowl! Using floured hands and a good bit of flour on the baking mat, I attempted to roll the dough into balls. While it more or less worked, I didn't bother to weigh them (and I weigh EVERYTHING!!!) because I figured the extra handling would just make them stickier. I'm sure that a refrigerator rise would have helped some, but not much. The buns rose 'fairly' over a 4 hour period in a warm kitchen (all my other breads and Thanksgiving buns had risen beautifully today, these were 'fair') and they baked up solidly to 200˚F in 25 minutes. Unlike my usual sourdough soft buns, the rise was unimpressive. Would I make them again? Probably not as I'd be looking for a different pumpkin-y type bread roll whose dough looks more like dough. Kudos and 'thank you' to you, Erika, for having the courage to post your recipe and video. I'm glad it worked out for you and I was eager to try it. I've just had more impressive results with other recipes.
Thursday 18th of November 2021
@Ontario Gal, I had the same issue while the dough was in the mixer. After reading your comment, I took a chance and added a few tablespoons of bread flour and it seems to have “saved” the dough. I am currently on my final rise and things are looking good!
Friday 15th of October 2021
Also, how wet is your pumpkin puree? Is it more on the liquid side? Was your starter at peak fermentation (has just doubled and passes the float test)?
Friday 15th of October 2021
I'm sorry these didn't work out for you! What is the temperature of your kitchen? I live in northern Minnesota, so my kitchen could be colder than yours. Also, what type/brand of flour did you use? If you use a flour with a lower protein content, the dough won't come together and develop the gluten easily. I've had readers mention that if they use lower quality flour, the dough remains sticky instead of forming the gluten properly.