This is one among my favorite holidays, just because families across the country gather together to eat an equivalent meal. If you’re like us, you’ve started brooding about what you’ll serve to your guests for Thanksgiving dinner, and this year, I’ve decided to form Pumpkin Dinner Rolls, adapted from our milk bread recipe.

Since everyone loves our Milk Bread recipe, I thought–why not turn it into a delicious and festive dinner roll? If you're keen on buttery, soft parker house rolls you’ll love these! the feel of Asian milk bread is tender and fluffy, and it lends itself well to savory and sweet applications (check out our Chinese bakery bun recipes for more ideas).


These buns are closer to our classic Milk Bread recipe, with the addition of steamed pumpkin puree to feature some extra vitamins, autumnal color, and a really subtle flavor. If you would like to intensify the pumpkin flavor, you'll add a few pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg to the dough.

When it involves the pureed pumpkin, you'll use canned, but i prefer to form my very own. With all of the ornamental pumpkins out there, though, it’s hard to understand which of them will work best for food. We used an extended Island Cheese Pumpkin, but others like Jarrahdales and Blue Hubbards work well too!

These Pumpkin Dinner Rolls are family-approved–we slathered them with butter, melted cheese on them, and made mini turkey sandwiches (perks–or occupational hazard–of food blogging is that we’ve made a complete of three turkeys this fall, and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet!). I hope your family likes them the maximum amount as mine did, which they impress your guests at your Thanksgiving table!



  • ⅓ cup milk (75 ml, at room temperature)
  • 1 large egg (at room temperature)
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (about 120g)
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream (158 ml, at room temperature)
  • ⅓ cup sugar (115g)
  • ½ cup cake flour (70g)
  • 3½ cups bread flour (500g)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (10g)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt (7g)
  • Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • Simple syrup (optional: 2 teaspoons of sugar dissolved in 2 teaspoons hot water)


  1. If you are making homemade pumpkin puree, simply steam about ½ pound of any baking pumpkin for 15 minutes, pour out the liquid from the steamer, and scoop the pumpkin flesh out. Mash the pumpkin with a fork until smooth.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add ingredients in the following order: pumpkin puree, heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cake flour, bread flour, yeast, and salt. When measuring the flour, tap the measuring cup against a hard surface to ensure there are no air pockets.
  3. Turn the mixer on to the lowest setting, and let it go for 15 minutes--stopping occasionally to push the dough down off the hook. If you're in a humid climate and the dough is too sticky, feel free to add a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If you don't have a mixer and would like to knead the dough by hand, extend the kneading time by 10 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes of mixing, the dough is ready for proofing. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, and place in a warm spot for 1 hour. I proofed the dough in my oven (I had the oven on rapid proof for 5 minutes, turned the oven off, and then closed the oven door). The dough will grow to 1.5x its original size.
  5. In the meantime, grease a square 11x11” pan or 9x13” pan on all sides with a stick of cold butter.
  6. After an hour of proofing, put the dough back in the mixer and stir for another 5 minutes to get rid of any air bubbles.
  7. Next, divide the dough into 16 equal pieces on a lightly floured surface, with the help of your kitchen scale. Shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball and arrange them on the pan with about half an inch of space between them on all sides. Once shaped, cover and proof for another hour until the buns grow to 1.5X their original size.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the risen dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with the raw pumpkin seeds.
  9. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 16-18 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Take the buns out of the oven and immediately brush them with the sugar water to give them a really great shine, sweetness, and rich color. Serve warm! (Note, these warm up really well in the microwave!)

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