Pumpkin Roll

My Nana was an amazing baker and was always up for involving me in her kitchen. She’d perch me atop a bar stool and side by side, I’d take in her talent and mimic her techniques the best that I could. Despite my young age she undoubtedly had a tremendous amount of confidence in me. She never questioned my ability to use a knife or remove baked goods from a piping hot oven. I was her sous chef and during our bake-a-thons, I was treated like an adult – not a 7 year old kid with a permed mullet and retainer.

There is no question that I inherited my whirlwind styling of baking from her. We would tear up her kitchen and dig our way out hours later. But she also instilled a fearlessness with food that I will forever be grateful for. How many second graders do you know that can whip out a perfect pumpkin roll with little to no guidance?

As far back as I can remember, Thanksgiving was pretty much synonymous with Pumpkin Rolls. We would set aside a weekend and systematically crank out about 30 Pumpkin Rolls that Nana would give away as holiday gifts to friends, family and fellow church members.

To this day, those Pumpkin Roll filled days are some of my fondest childhood memories. Nana often baked and cooked from memory, so I don’t have her exact Pumpkin Roll recipe, but I do remember her “doctoring up” the Libby’s recipe with secret ingredients, which I am pretty certain was pumpkin pie spice, so that’s pretty much what I’ve done for years with delicious results.

I hope you’ll join Katie and I in this week’s holiday recipe exchange sponsored by Chicago Metallic. We can’t wait to browse through your holiday baked goods! Be sure to head over to Good Life Eats and check out Katie’s recipe for Mini Cranberry-Walnut Tarts.

Pumpkin Roll

Yield: 10 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes


For the Cake

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup pure pumpkin puree (Libby’s)

For the Filling

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle a clean tea towel with powdered sugar. Set pan and towel aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat eggs, vanilla and sugar until thick.
  4. Add in pumpkin and mix to combine.
  5. Stir in flour mixture.
  6. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched.
  8. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
  9. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract until smooth.
  10. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel.
  11. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake.
  12. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.


  • Store prepared Pumpkin Roll in refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also wrap tightly in a layer of plastic wrap and then foil and store in freezer for up to one month. Remove frozen Pumpkin Roll to room temperature one hour before serving.
My Baking Addiction slightly adapted from Libby's.

122 Responses to “Pumpkin Roll”

  1. Vicky — November 18, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I have some extra pumpkin puree and now I know what I can do with it! Your roll looks gorgeous! I’ve only made a jelly roll once before and it didn’t look anywhere as nice as your’s :) My jelly roll pan is an 11×17, do you think the recipe would work just as well?


  2. mjskit — November 19, 2011 at 12:17 am

    WOW! This reminds me of a jellyroll but 100% better! Love this recipe!


  3. Karen — November 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Thanks to Chicago Metallic for the set and the contest.

    Chess pie has always been a favorite of mine, the first time I made it when I first got married my new husband had the first of many reservations for my childhood food loves. He was a convert at the first bite.

    Lemon Chess Pie
    5 whole Eggs, Large (or 6 Medium)
    1-¾ cup Sugar Plus 1 Teaspoon For Garnish
    1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest, Finely Grated
    3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
    2 Tablespoons Cornmeal, Regular Grind
    ¼ teaspoons Salt
    ½ cups Butter (4oz), Melted
    1 whole 9 Inch Pie Crust, Unbaked

    Preheat oven to 450ºF, position the oven rack in the upper center of the oven.

    Place pie crust on a cookie sheet, . bake for approximately 8-10 minutes, until the surface appears slightly puffed and dry (like a shortbread cookie!). Remove from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 325º.

    Bake the pie:

    Gently whisk the filling to recombine the ingredients. Pour filling into the hot pie crust, return to the 325ºF oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The center should only jiggle slightly and the top should appear light brown when done (it will firm up as it cools).

    Immediately sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Cool on a wire rack for about 4 hours. Refrigerate leftover pie.


  4. Mary Ellen — November 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Oh my goodness! Those prizes are the best essentials!

    Love pumpkin rolls! The only part I don’t like is that it needs refrigerated. I made it once as part of a gift and realized later they needed to stay cold due to the filling. But the ingredients are so easy and most on hand!


  5. Stephanie — November 20, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    This couldn’t have been easier. I am running the Turkey Trot so I need all theime I can get Thanksgiving morning. This fit the bill as it can be frozen or in theridge for a few days! You post with helpful hints came in handy. Only one problem… (go-ahead, I’m including this for laughs) I didn’t relaize the towel I chose was longer than the cake, and I foolishly put the cake in the center. I had to cut the towel so I could roll it up. DUH! I also wrapped the thing close to death juuuust in case, and its in teh freezer now. Ah…beginner bakers!

    Here is my holiday recipe, another quickie from the Silver Palate Cookbook:

    Ellen’s Apple Tart

    Poach 4 med to large apples (peeled,cored and halved) in simple syrup, removiong when slightly firm. Remove and strain, let them cool.
    Pour 3/4 cups sugar and 3 Tbs water into 10 in oven safe pan, set over medium heat and cook until syrup turns golden. Remove from heat and let harden.
    Place one apple half, round side down in center of carmelized sugar. Surround it with rest of apples. Slice last half into 6 slices and rest in between the apple halves.
    Melt 2 Tbs butter. Whisk in 1 tbs lemon juice, 1 tsp nutmeg and 2 Tbs. Calvados. Drizzle over tart.
    Preheat oven to 425. Roll out puff pastry to 1/4 inch thickness, count 12 in round. Place over apples.
    Bake until pastry is deep golden and syrup is bubbling (30 – 35 min)
    Remove from oven, let sit 15 minutes. Invert onto serving platter.

    Love the SIlver Palate Cookbook!!! Thanks again for this easy recipe!


    • Stephanie — November 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm

      Sorry for the typos…on my iPhone in the car! And no, I am not driving.

  6. Jeff @ Cheese-Burger.net — November 21, 2011 at 3:38 am

    I love pumpkin roll. Although I could never get it perfectly. I’ll try out your recipe in preparation for Thanksgiving.


  7. Holly W — November 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Oh I love holiday baking! Can’t wait to check out all these great recipes. It’s been so fun to participate in the recipe swap!


  8. angela — November 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    this is beautiful! i made pumpkin rolls the other day to freeze for thanksgiving, but they don’t look as gorgeous as yours – they look like oval lumps of cake and filling! how do you get a pumpkin roll to look so perfect?! are there tricks to these? :)


  9. Amanda P — November 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    I made this pumpkin roll last week for work and the dessert received rave reviews and was very delicious. Great recipe, thanks!


  10. sweetsugarbelle — November 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    You are amazing!


  11. Nicole H. — November 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Okay, fingers crossed. It is cooling in the towel right now and so far so good! I’m so nervous!


  12. Abigail P.O. — November 29, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Made this for Thanksgiving. Surprisingly easy and absolutely delicious! I got compliments on it’s clean flavor. I personally love cream cheese frosting, on anything so this is definitely a keeper. I was thinking about trying a chocolate cake base with peppermint cream cheese frosting for christmas :)


  13. Art — December 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Wow…these look awesome. My wife makes pumpkin rolls, with a similar recipe. They are yummy (at an entire one myself). I’m definitely sending her the link to your recipe. Thanks!
    -Art, Chief Taste Tester: skizzlebakes.com


  14. Novella Byrd — September 28, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Love this post! I too cooked with my Granny. She was famous for her homemade bread. She was a master at handling the dough. Before she got her mixmaster she would had the flour at the end with her hands, not a bit would stick to them. I thought I had watched her closely enough, but when I tried to add in my flour with my hands, I could not get away from the sticky mess! I literally had dough gloves! It just made me that much more appreciative of her skill. When I asked her what she did differently, she replied, ” you have to have a light touch.” I made sure the next time she made bread, I really paid attention to her light touch! Thank you for sharing your story, it brought back very fond memories for me!


  15. bev — September 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I have been making pumpkin rolls for years, but I add chopped walnuts to the top of the batter before you bake it. The nuts then end up on the outside of the roll, delicious. I double the recipe and make two at a time, and I have non-stick jelly roll pans that I only use for this recipe, my kids have been warned never to use them if they want another pumpkin roll!!


  16. Jessica — October 8, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    I would love to make this for Thanksgiving this year, but we will be driving 4 hours to my family’s house.. Any idea on how to safely transport this? Or should I just save this for a Thanksgiving at home…


    • Jamie — October 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      Pumpkin Roll freezes beautifully. Wrap in plastic wrap, then foil and freeze. You could transport it in a small cooler with ice – I’ve done this numerous time because it’s a Thanksgiving must have! Thanks for stopping by! :)

  17. Amanda — October 20, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I just attempted to do this, and there are a couple things worth noting. I wanted to double the recipe for a big party, but I don’t have a jelly roll pan, so I poured the double batch into a regular cookie dish. After baking, I realized it would be quite thick, which ended up making rolling it difficult. Also, the filling should be chilled before spreading onto the cake, especially since the cake was still hot in the middle, though cool on the outside. It was way to runny and just spilled out the sides when I tried to roll it up. I tried several times, which caused the cake to start cracking. By the time I got it all rolled up, it was cracked, most of the filling spilled out on the saran wrap. But I managed to get it wrapped up and put in the freezer (will be eating next weekend). So we’ll see how it turns out! Seems delicious, though, so I’m sure we’ll eat it even if it looks terrible!


    • Jamie — October 22, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      Yes, the cake will definitely be less pliable if the recipe was doubled. You always want to make sure that the cake is completely cooled before attempting to spread the filling. I hope it still tastes delicious.

  18. Eidilia Thomas — October 29, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I made this pumpkin roll yesterday and it came out picture perfect! I ran out of parchment paper so I used aluminum foil instead and it worked just fine. I posted a step-by-step photo album on my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151302172133594.524464.655138593&type=1&l=c966ce62b5. Thank you so much for posting!


  19. Teevi — November 1, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Jamie, thank you so much for the recipe and idea! I made it last night and it came out perfectly – so nice texture of the cake, I really enjoyed it – delicious! :)


    • Jamie — November 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback – have a great day!

  20. NRS — November 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Made this today. We love it!!! My only question is that i cooled it for 1 1/2 hours before filling. Maybe was still tiny bit warm. And wrapped in plastic to refrigerate. When i removed the plastic wrap some hours later, the cake was almost wet. Could that be because wasn’t 100% cooled before refrigerating? Or some other reason? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated since i will definitely be making this again.


    • MBA — November 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe. The cake will definitely have a wet texture if placed in the plastic wrap too early. It’s best to wait at least two hours or until it feels 100% cool. Thanks for visiting and providing your feedback- have a great day!

  21. Barb — November 17, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Does anyone have a Chocolate Roll Recipe. I used a cake mix and it didn’t turn out, cracked and was soggy. Would like to try a chocolate one. Thanks and love this site.


  22. Sherry Hyer — November 22, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Loved your story about baking with your grandmother – I have some similar memories!
    Your pumpkin roll recipe sounds great – I tried one for the first time this year, taken from a recipe I found at our local supermarket, and i thought you might be interested in the enhanced filling ingredients, which I found very tasty!
    In addition to the regular cream cheese filling, this recipe added chopped dried cranberries and chopped nuts. I thought the tartness of the dried cranberries made a nice contrast with the sweetness of the pumpkin roll! And nuts improve almost everything in my opinion!


  23. Shawnee — December 21, 2012 at 1:49 am

    I have never baked a jelly roll before, but I thought I’d try this one in time for the holidays. And it did not disappoint! I am shocked at how well it turned out because I had nooo idea what I was doing (I had to look up what a jelly roll pan was). So excited to take this to parties and share your recipe with my friends!


    • MBA — December 26, 2012 at 9:24 am

      I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for stopping by and providing your feedback – have a great day!

  24. Jessica S. @ Floptimism — October 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    This cake roll is absolutely gorgeous, and I love the story about your nana! My grandmother was always in the kitchen baking, and I have no doubt that my love for cooking and baking has a lot to do with my memories of her. I wanted to let you know that I featured this on my blog’s Weekend Wrap-Up, where I share some of my favorite ideas and recipes from the past week. Thank you for such a wonderful post, and I hope you enjoy your weekend!

    Here’s the link to the wrap-up, in case you’re interested (feel free to stop by and grab a badge for your post, if you like):


  25. Beth — October 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I made this for the first time yesterday, and I have had it twice today already. Completely irresistable recipe here.Thanks for sharing!


    • Jamie — October 21, 2013 at 7:25 pm


      You’re so welcome! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the recipe so much. Have a fantastic day and thank you for following MBA!


  26. Christine — October 22, 2013 at 7:40 am

    I just tried this for the first time and it was DELICIOUS!!! This is by far my new favourite fall dessert. Very easy to make and huge pay off!! I did not have a jelly roll pan so I used a 15″ by 11″ rectangular casserole dish and it turned out fine. Will definitely be making this again!!


    • Jamie — November 4, 2013 at 10:50 am


      Thank you so much for stopping in to share! Have a fantastic day and thank you for following MBA!


  27. Pat — November 1, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    I love making jelly rolls or cake rolls. I think they travel well and look spectacular when sliced and served. They are also lovely for a baked gift to give at the holidays. A quick tip: I use paper towels to roll up my cake. I pull off about 2-3 rectangles of paper towels…..but do not separate them at the seams. I lay them on the counter and then is sprinkle them with confectionary sugar and I use my fingertips to spread it evenly over the towels. Then, I invert my hot, cooked cake right on top of the sugared paper towels. I use the towels to help me roll up the cake. I let the cake cool rolled up with the toweling. When I unroll it, the sugar keeps the cake from sticking to the toweling…and the towels help to absorb any extra moisture that comes from the cake being hot initially. I unroll the cooled cake…fill it with either jelly or whatever other filling I want….and roll it back up. The powdered sugar looks nice as a light ‘frost’ to the outside of the cake. This idea works every time for me…..and I don’t have to worry about having a clean enough towel–or if some fibers from the towel might stick to the cake. The paper towels are disposable and do a great job. Have a blessed holiday!


    • Jamie — November 4, 2013 at 11:06 am


      Thank you so much for the tips! Have a lovely day!


  28. Anty — November 10, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    How do you get the pumpkin cake itself to be as flat as it is in the picture and as smooth as it is on the outside? It looks uniform. Thank you


    • Jamie — January 10, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      Anty, that is how it comes out when I bake it as I describe in the instructions.
      – Jamie

  29. Marylynn — December 9, 2013 at 7:38 am

    This was my first pumpkin roll. All these years I was intimidated! This was so easy and everyone loves it! I am on my 4th one and people keep asking for more. Thanks


    • Jamie — December 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm


      That’s great to hear! I’m so happy that the recipe was a success! Happy Holidays and thanks for following MBA!


  30. Beth R. — September 25, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    This is almost the exact recipe Iv been making since the early 80s. I found the recipe in the magazine Family Circle and Iv been making it for holidays ever since. Only thing different is I put walnuts on top of the cake before I bake it. The nuts gives it more flavor. My family and friends love it!!!!


    • Jamie — September 26, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Thanks for visiting Beth.


  31. Evelyn Morrison — September 26, 2014 at 10:14 am


    1 cup flour
    1 stick melted butter
    1 cup finely chopped pecans

    Mix and pat in bottom of 9X13 pan.
    Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

    1st LAYER:
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1 8 ounce package crème cheese
    2 cups Cool Whip

    Mix well and spread on the cooled crust.

    2nd LAYER:
    3 boxes instant pudding (any flavor)
    4 cups milk

    Mix until stiff.
    Pour on top of 1st layer.

    3rd LAYER:
    2 cups Cool Whip
    ½ cup chopped pecans

    Spread Cool Whip on top of the pudding layer.
    Sprinkle chopped pecans over the Cool Whip.


  32. Kelly — October 7, 2014 at 2:42 am

    ive never used a towel or powdered sugar when rolling. I lay regular wax paper on cookie sheet with a small amount hanging over pan at ends and spray with non stick spray. Once you spread batter, bake and remove from oven, I simply roll up with paper inside the roll. It looks like the wax paper is a small layer of filling. Place on wire cooling rack. Once cooled, I unroll, spread filling and re roll WITHOUT paper. It peels easily away once you start rolling. I sprinkle sifted powdered sugar over roll before serving (just a light dusting).


    • Jamie — October 7, 2014 at 9:01 am

      Thanks for the tips. I appreciate you stopping by.


  33. Laura — November 9, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Hi, I too have been making pumpkin rolls for years…I use the Libby recipe. My pumpkin rolls usually turn out really nice, but as they sit in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap, they get sticky on the outside and actually a little gummy and they don’t have that light airy texture they had when I first made them. I always make sure to cool them several hours in the refrigerator, wrapped in tea towels too, before putting the filling in and rerolling them…so I just can’t figure out how to remedy this problem. Thanks so much in advance for your help :)


    • Jamie — January 28, 2015 at 11:47 pm

      Laura, it sounds like they’re not completely cool before you wrap them in plastic wrap. Condensation is what will make them gummy. I would suggest putting them in the freezer, in a tea towel, without plastic wrap, to cool.

      – Jamie

  34. Angel — November 19, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    I made this last night! The pumpkin portion was SPOT ON! It was soooooo delicous! Unfortunately I didn’t let my butter come to room temperature all the way and when I made the frosting had lumps of cold butter stuck in it :( boo! I didn’t notice this until today when I went to serve it and tasted one myself by butting into a big butter clump :( going to try again with the frosting tomorrow and see how it works! I’ve heard of other frosting recipes for cream cheese that only use 3 tablespoons also. Your nana makes a fine roll I just can’t seem to get her frosting down!! Thanks again!


    • Jamie — November 20, 2014 at 11:07 am

      I am sorry you had trouble with the frosting. I hope you have better luck next time. Thanks for stopping by.


  35. viri — November 26, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Can I substitute the vanilla with vanilla bean paste and about how much?


    • Jamie — November 28, 2014 at 9:30 am

      I would recommend reading the conversion that is usually on the vanilla bean paste package due to the variance between brands. I hope this is helpful.


  36. Paula — November 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I am getting ready to try this recipe, but I have a 15.25 x 10.25 pan. Would this work just as well? Thank you.


    • Jamie — November 28, 2014 at 9:32 am

      I believe your pan will work just fine. Thanks for stopping by.


  37. Nikki W. — December 2, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    For Thanksgiving, I made two pumpkin rolls: 1 was this recipe; the second was from another site that hundreds of people had rated 4.7 out of 5. My family did a taste test and unanimously agreed that while both recipes were excellent, your pumpkin roll recipe on My Baking Addiction was clearly superior. Thanks for sharing a recipe I’m sure my family will enjoy for generations!


    • Jamie — December 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Thanks so much, Nikki! I am so glad to hear you and your family enjoyed the recipe. I actually ate pumpkin roll for breakfast today – no shame in my game! Wishing you a happy holiday season from my kitchen to yours!

  38. Beth — October 25, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Try filling the pumpkin roll with icecream. Yummy!


  39. Joanne — October 26, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    I’ve been making this recipe for a few years now. They’re so delcious and always a big hit! Everybody loves them.


    • Jamie — October 28, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      So happy to hear you enjoy the recipe! Thanks for stopping by!

  40. Vijay — November 4, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Is there a substitute for pumpkin puree? 


    • Jamie — November 5, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      The only substitute would be homemade pumpkin puree. Thanks!

  41. Emily — November 19, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    I don’t understand the towel..will you please explain


    • Jamie — November 23, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      You turn the cake out onto a tea towel and roll it up within the towel to cool. I’m betting you can find a tutorial on YouTube for a visual reference.

  42. Catia Crack — October 17, 2016 at 12:11 am

    These are DELICIOUS. The only pumpkin flavored thing I like <33


    • Jamie — October 17, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that, Catia!

  43. Mary — October 29, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Made pumpkin rolls the tops come out sticky why


    • Jamie — November 2, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Hi, Mary. Do you live in a humid climate? There’s a chance the tops are sticky because of extra moisture in the air. Make sure the cake is baked and cooled completely to avoid the sticky top. I hope this helps!

  44. Karen Parke — November 20, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Mine came out very chewy, any ideas on what I did wrong ??


    • Jamie — November 22, 2016 at 11:35 am

      Hi, Karen! Check to see if your baking powder is expired….it could be the reason the cake came out chewy. Let me know if I can help with anything else!

  45. Jan MacKenaier — November 24, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Mine came out also too sticky and wet. Will let cool longer next time. However, is there anything I can do with the wet, sticky ones already made to make them less wet. Thanks


    • Jamie — November 27, 2016 at 8:50 am

      Hi, Jan! How did the pumpkin roll taste? If you enjoyed the flavor, I would probably still serve it. I hope this helps!

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