Our homemade Pumpkin Roll is an airy fall pumpkin sponge cake around velvety cream cheese filling. It’s an impressive dessert, but don’t be scared away by the presentation! It’s actually so easy to make with our fail-proof jelly roll technique and you can use a regular baking sheet.

This pumpkin cake roll is a lighter crumb cake based on our popular Pumpkin Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting. One bite and you’ll see why our readers can’t get enough pumpkin spice flavor.

Pumpkin Roll Cake served on a blue platter and sliced

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We start cranking out pumpkin recipes early and even stock up on Libby’s canned pumpkin puree so we can enjoy recipes like Pumpkin Pancakes and Pumpkin Waffles year-round. This Pumpkin Roll is a classic and a star among pumpkin recipes. It’s simple to make but it’s a show-stopper for the holidays.

Pumpkin Roll Video

See Natasha use her simple jelly roll technique to make this pumpkin roll. You won’t believe how easy it is to wow all your friends and family.

Pumpkin Cake Roll Recipe

Our pumpkin roll is the perfect finish to a Fall gathering and looks great on a Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert table because its rolled presentation adds such a fancy touch.

Traditionally, cake rolls are made in jelly roll pans, but when I polled my audience, nearly 80% of you said you would prefer using a standard-sized 13×18 baking sheet because that’s what you have on hand. Therefore, I wrote this for the bigger pan, but you can easily make it in a jelly roll pan for a thicker cake.

Pumpkin roll slice dusted with powdered sugar on a plate

Ingredients

It’s easy to whip up this delicious cake with only a few ingredients that you probably have on hand. It’s the perfect way to bring Fall onto your table.

For the Pumpkin Roll

  • Powdered sugar – prevents the cake from sticking to the rolling tea towel. Dust by hand or use a fine-mesh strainer to sift the sugar over the towel.
  • Flour – all-purpose flour is sifted in this recipe to give the cake an extra light crumb, but enough strength to roll without breaking
  • Baking soda and baking powder – we use both leavenings to give the cake an even rise
  • Spices – Cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt create that Fall flavor. Salt brings out the flavor of the ingredients.
  • Eggs – room temperature, to help the cake rise in the oven
  • Sugar – holds moisture and sweetens for a light and moist cake layer
  • Pumpkin Puree – we love Libby’s brand of pumpkin puree which has the richest color and flavor. If using homemade pumpkin puree, drain it well.

Pro Tip

We only use 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree here, so if you’re using store-bought, we suggest you plan to make soft Pumpkin Cookies with the rest of your can.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • Cream Cheese – We prefer full-fat cream chees and be sure it’s room temperature so it mixes evenly.
  • Butter – unsalted, softened butter
  • Powdered Sugar – sweetens the frosting without being overly sweet
  • Vanilla extract – flavors the filling, so be sure to use real extract or make your own Vanilla Extract for the best taste
Ingredients for Fall cake including flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, pie spice, eggs, puree, sugar, vanilla, butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar

Variations

We love the simplicity of this pumpkin roll recipe, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try adding chopped walnuts or pecans over the batter before it’s baked, like in Libby’s pumpkin roll recipe. You can also add chopped nuts or raisins on top of the frosting before re-rolling it up.

How to Make a Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin rolls are lighter than a traditional cake, so you’ll need to whip the butter and sugar to trap in the air. Add the rest of the ingredients on low speed so as not to deflate the cake. Just follow these easy step-by-step instructions for the perfect pumpkin roll.

Prepare the Pans

  • Preheat the oven to 375 ̊F. Grease your 13x18x1 rimmed cookie sheet with butter and line with parchment paper. Then grease and flour the parchment. This cake is very thin once baked, so you want to be sure it doesn’t stick. Dust a clean tea towel with 1/4 cup powdered sugar.
Powdered sugar dusted over a tea towel with a fine mesh strainer

Make the Pumpkin Cake Roll

  • Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt into a medium mixing bowl. This helps keep the crumb light.
  • Beat eggs and sugar in a second large mixing bowl with an electric mixer (or stand mixer with a whisk attachment) for 5 minutes until it’s light, fluffy, and thickened. Add the pumpkin puree on low speed then add flour mixture on low speed, mixing just until incorporated.
  • Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan with an offset spatula. It will be very thin. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until it springs back when touched. Immediately, turn the cake onto the sugared towel and carefully remove the parchment. Roll the cake and towel gently into a log starting at the shortest end. Let cool completely seam-side down on a wire rack for about 1 1/2 hours.
Step-by-step directions on making a Fall cake with cinnamon

Pro Tip

The secret of how to roll a pumpkin roll is simple: roll the cake up immediately while hot and pliable (watch the video tutorial above to see my technique). Then, let it cool completely rolled up and it will keep its form. If the cake is unrolled before cooling, the cake could crack or be gummy and the icing could melt.

Step by step directions on how roll a pumpkin roll

Make the Filling & Assemble

  • Beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl on low speed to combine. Then, beat on high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.
  • Unroll the cooled cake carefully. Spread the filling evenly over the surface and carefully re-roll the cake without including the towel. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.
Step-by-step instructions for making a pumpkin roll cake

Common Questions

Why did my pumpkin roll crack?

To prevent cracks, roll the cake when hot and unroll when completely cooled. The cake texture is also important so follow the steps to whip eggs and sugar, sift dry ingredients,, and gently mix them in. Also, don’t overbake to ensure the cake is airy and malleable.

Can I make this in a jelly roll pan instead?

Sure! I don’t love the idea of buying specialty pans when you can use something you already have just as well, so I wrote this for a 13×18, however, it can easily be adjusted for a jelly roll pan if that is your preferred pan – you’ll just have a thicker cake layer.

What is the secret to rolling a pumpkin roll?

The secret to a perfect jelly roll cake is to roll the cake in a thin tea towel dusted with powdered sugar immediately after baking. Then, allow it to cool completely before unrolling and filling.

What towel is best for pumpkin rolls?

A thin tea towel or flour sack towel without much texture is best for cake rolls so the cake can cool without trapping heat or steam.

Can I use parchment or cheesecloth instead of a tea towel?

I find that parchment is harder to remove once cooled, and doesn’t allow the cake to cool as quickly, often making it gummy or sticky. You can use a cheesecloth, but a tea towel is my go-to.

How to Serve a Pumpkin Roll

For the best presentation, cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes after rolling. Then, remove the plastic, dust it with powdered sugar, and slice each end to make it a uniform log. Refrigerating makes it much easier to get a clean cut.

A spiral slice of pumpkin cake roll

Make-Ahead

It’s easy to make this pumpkin roll recipe ahead. Simply bake it and roll it in the tea towel, and then once completely cooled, wrap it in an airtight plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for a day or two until ready to fill and serve.

  • To Refrigerate: Wrap the filled pumpkin roll in plastic and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: Wrap the finished cake roll in plastic wrap and foil. Place in the freezer for 2-3 months.
  • To serve: Thaw in the fridge overnight and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
A slice of pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling with a bite taken out

You’ll love the airy Autumn-spiced pumpkin cake roll and creamy filling. It’s the perfect finish to a festive Fall gathering, so try this easy pumpkin roll recipe, today.

More Pumpkin Recipes

If you love this Pumpkin Roll recipe, then you won’t want to miss these other pumpkin dessert recipes:

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Pumpkin Roll Recipe

5 from 41 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
A slice of pumpkin roll cake with cream cheese filling and powdered sugar
This light pumpkin Roll recipe is a festive dessert with perfectly spiced cake and delicious cream cheese filling. The secret to making a cake roll is to roll the cake using a tea towel immediately after removing it from the oven. After it cools, you can unroll and fill it without the cake cracking.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 12 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 12 people

Cake Ingredients

Filling Ingredients

Instructions

Prep Ahead

  • Preheat the oven to 375 ̊F. Grease a 13x18x1* rimmed cookie sheet with butter and line with a large sheet of parchment paper that goes up the sides of the pan. Grease and flour the parchment paper also. On a work surface, lay out a clean thin kitchen towel and generously dust the top with 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

Make the Pumpkin Cake Roll

  • In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, powder, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a second large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes on high speed with an electric mixer until lightened in color, fluffy and thickened. Add the pumpkin puree and with the mixer on low speed, continue mixing until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and continue mixing on low speed until just incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Scrape down the bowl and finish folding a few times with a spatula.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared cake pan and bake for 12-14 minutes or until the top springs back when touched. Note: a dark-colored pan will bake faster. Immediately turn the cake onto the prepared towel then peel back the parchment paper. Starting with the short end of the cake, gently roll the warm cake and the towel into a log. Set seam-side down and let cool completely on a wire rack for about 1 1/2 hours.

Make the Filling

  • In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract on medium speed until combined. Then increase to high speed and beat 2-3 minutes until fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Assemble the Pumpkin Roll

  • Unroll the cooled cake and use an offset spatula to spread the cream cheese frosting evenly over the surface. Carefully re-roll the cake using the towel to help you keep a tight roll. Trim the ends for a prettier presentation if desired and dust the top and sides of the cake with powdered sugar. Slice and serve.

Notes

Best Baking Pan: *This recipe fits a 13×18” baking sheet. If using a standard-size jelly roll pan, you’ll get a thicker cake that will need a longer baking time.
To prepare the cake ahead: once you have filled and re-rolled the cake roll, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. To serve, unwrap, transfer to a serving platter, and dust with powdered sugar.

Nutrition Per Serving

300kcal Calories43g Carbs4g Protein13g Fat8g Saturated Fat1g Polyunsaturated Fat4g Monounsaturated Fat0.2g Trans Fat75mg Cholesterol172mg Sodium102mg Potassium1g Fiber35g Sugar2872IU Vitamin A1mg Vitamin C42mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Pumpkin Roll Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
300
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
13
g
20
%
Saturated Fat
 
8
g
50
%
Trans Fat
 
0.2
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
4
g
Cholesterol
 
75
mg
25
%
Sodium
 
172
mg
7
%
Potassium
 
102
mg
3
%
Carbohydrates
 
43
g
14
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
35
g
39
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
Vitamin A
 
2872
IU
57
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
42
mg
4
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make a pumpkin roll, Pumpkin roll, pumpkin roll recipe
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 300

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Comments

  • Bri
    January 1, 2024

    Natasha girl, you’re my go-to for ALL desserts, and this one was no exception. Fantastic directions, easy to follow and always delicious. Thank you for the reliably excellent recipes!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 1, 2024

      Aw, thank you, Bri! So glad you’re loving them!

      Reply

  • Jana
    November 22, 2023

    Delicious! The video is so helpful. I am making two today for our Thanksgiving feast with family tomorrow. Thank you, Natasha and Happy Being Grateful Day to ALL!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 22, 2023

      Hi Jana! You’re very welcome. I’m so glad you love this recipe. Have a blessed thanksgiving!

      Reply

  • Donna Ramsey
    November 21, 2023

    Is tripling this recipe okay? I know that sometimes doubling or tripling a recipe can make it not turn out just right..

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 21, 2023

      Hi Donna! I haven’t tried it myself. You’d need a larger pan or multiple pans to bake it and it’s best to bake right away.

      Reply

  • Leigh
    November 21, 2023

    This was my first time making a pumpkin roll. Love watching your video first before making the roll. It turned out great! I made your Chocolate Lasagna last night and have it in the freezer ready for Thanksgiving. I’ve never been disappointed in any of your recipes I’ve tried. They’ve taken me outside my comfort range, but love trying new foods.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 21, 2023

      That’s wonderful, Leigh! Thank you so much for sharing.

      Reply

  • Kat
    November 20, 2023

    Hi, I love your recipes. Im going to try this one because you add 3/4 cup of pumpkin. Just want to make sure that is correct. I know i have seen 2/3c with all the same ingredients you have thank you

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 20, 2023

      Hi Kat! That’s correct. I hope you love the recipe!

      Reply

  • Rebecca
    November 9, 2023

    Followed the recipe exactly, and it turned out so well! The cake didn’t crack at all, and it looked beautiful. And tasted great. I never thought I’d be able to make a cake roll, but it wasn’t that hard!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 9, 2023

      I’m so glad to hear that, Rebecca!

      Reply

  • Julia
    November 4, 2023

    Help….just took out of oven and there are big craters in the bottom of the cake. Looks like the surface of the moon. What did I do wrong? It smells heavenly…can’t wait to finish!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 4, 2023

      Hi Julia, it’s hard to say without being there. Pumpkin rolls are lighter than a traditional cake, so you’ll need to whip the butter and sugar to trap in the air. Add the rest of the ingredients on low speed so as not to deflate the cake.

      Reply

  • Cindy M. Stalsberg
    October 29, 2023

    Tomorrow will be the 3rd time I’ve made this pumpkin cake roll this fall. I’ve made it all for different occasions so different people ate it. They all loved it. I followed your instructions to a T. It turned out beautiful. I will be making for Thanksgiving also!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 29, 2023

      Hello Cindy, nice to know that this has become your go-to recipe! Thanks a lot for sharing.

      Reply

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