Vegan Pumpkin Rolls with Pumpkin and Date Fillings: Recipes Around the World

Make these vegan pumpkin rolls with either pumpkin or date filling instead of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving.

Vegan pumpkin rolls - Roads and Destinations

Vegan Pumpkin Rolls with Filling: Two Ways 

Soft, fluffy, and easy to make. Who doesn’t want to try these Thanksgivings’s classics. Yet despite all too common ingredients, the vegan pumpkin rolls with either pumpkin or date filling require some time investment.

Why to bother then? Easy. It’s too good to say no to. On top of that, it’s almost Thanksgiving. And it means the pumpkins are in every kitchen in both North and South America. The seasonal vegetable is a king that rules over most of the dishes at this time. From pumpkin spice latte at home or popular cafes around the world to pumpkin pies and pumpkin soups, this plant finds many ways to our stomachs.

Needless to say, some people use this pumpkin season as an excuse to bring to their tables more dishes made with this orange squash. Vegan pumpkin rolls is another way to incorporate this favorite vegetable into your diet this time of the year. 

The prettiest pumpkin patches in Los Angeles - Roads and Destinations
Travel with Kids | Roads and Destinations

Pumpkin Goodies in Americas: A Word from History

In America, though, the pumpkin is more than just a seasonal plant. Its history dates back to the time when Columbus discovered the continent. As it turned out, the pumpkin has thrived in this part of the world for centuries. The thick-shelled vegetable is not demanding. It can grow in practically all soils and in different weather conditions.

Yet despite its availability, in colonial America, the pumpkin dishes, including these vegan rolls, didn’t have many supporters. Instead, the plant was considered the food of last resort.

And that “last option” didn’t make the colonists wait long. Soon, unable to get yeast from Europe to make beer, the new locals turned to the almighty but humble pumpkin. The colonists fermented the vegetable to replenish their drinking supplies. At that time, water wasn’t sanitary and could cause more damage to a body than relief.

Slowly, the Americans started using the pumpkins in their baked goods. It took some practice and creativity to bake first vegan pumpkin bread rolls and buns.

The real obsession with the pumpkins came after the Industrial Revolution. During this time, the modest vegetables ceased to be just a food for the poor and became a delightful treat for everyone.

The pumpkin become a staple in American desserts around 1844, when Thanksgiving became an official holiday. Today, the vegetable is one of the main ingredients in a wide range of traditional sweet and savory dishes. It’s used in vegan recipes, just like our pumpkin rolls, or as a side dish for meat and poultry.

Pumpkin Pie - Roads and Destinations
Vegan pumpkin rolls - Roads and Destinations

Varieties of Vegan Pumpkin Rolls

Initially, the pumpkin goodies were simple, not less delicious, though. But they certainly lacked extrinsic details the baked goods possess nowadays. Yet even today, plain pumpkin rolls come out of kitchen ovens in different parts of the continents nearly every day.

But when Thanksgiving approaches, these humble bread rolls get a lot more festive. They put on different “pumpkin” and “flower” attires. Often, the pumpkin rolls festoon not only their facades but also insides, making room for pumpkin, dates, mushroom, cheese, and any other vegan or non-vegan fillings. The sky is really the limit here. 

Vegan pumpkin rolls - Roads and Destinations
Vegan pumpkin rolls - Roads and Destinations

2 Methods of Shaping Your Vegan Pumpkin Rolls

If you make these vegan pumpkin rolls with kids, then you’re better to get creative. Two favorite ways to shape the bread buns are flowers and pumpkins. 

  • To make the “pumpkins”, wrap a long piece of spring around the ball of dough to divide it into eight sections. First, place the string over the center of the ball. Then turn the raw pumpkin roll over and cross the string over in the opposite direction to make a cross. Once you have your eight sections formed, tie the string loosely in a knot and cut the strands. Remove the twine after the bread buns are fully baked. Now your vegan pumpkin rolls look just like the small pumpkins.
  • The flower-shaped vegan pumpkin rolls look equally appealing. If a little bit of floral touch in November gets you in the festive mood, make small cuts in the balls of dough with scissors. Squeeze each “petal” in the center a little bit to give it a more define shape. And voila! Your flowery vegan pumpkin rolls are ready. Don’t forget to bake them, though. 
Bread buns with filling - Roads and Destinations
Vegan pumpkin rolls - Roads and Destinations



  • 1 cup unsweetened plant milk
  • 1 packet (7 g) yeast 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (add more if the dough is still sticky)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Pumpkin Filling

  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup date puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Date Filling

  • 1 cup dates, pitted 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/3 cup water (use more or less depending on how soft are the dates)

Sweetened Milk for Icing

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened plant milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)


Stage 1

  1. Heat the plant milk of your choice a little bit. Make sure it’s warm, not too hot. If you overheat the milk, let it cool down. Otherwise, the heat may kill the yeast.
  2. Add the yeast to the milk. Mix it well and let sit for 5 minutes. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the yeast along with the melted coconut oil and pumpkin puree to the flour mixture. Now combine everything well until a smooth dough is formed. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 1 hour.
Bread rolls with filling - Roads and Destinations
Vegan pumpkin rolls - Roads and Destinations

Prepare the Filling

  1. Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend the dates with the water until a smooth mixture is formed. Add more water if needed. You can use the date mixture as it is or add the cinnamon. 
  2. For the pumpkin filling, mix the pumpkin and the date puree. Add the vanilla extract. Alternatively, you can divide your date mixture into two parts, add the pumpkin in one of them, and stuff your vegan pumpkin rolls with both the pumpkin and date fillings.  

Stage 2

  1. Lightly grease a baking dish or use parchment paper.
  2. Place the dough onto a floured surface, dust it with the flour a little bit, and divide into 12 equal parts.
  3. Work on one pumpkin roll at a time. Roll it into a small circle. Once done, take the pumpkin roll in your hand, place the filling in the middle, and start sealing, pushing the filling in the center, so you can get a nice round ball.  
  4. Use the methods described above to shape your rolls into the pumpkins or flowers. Alternatively, you can bake your vegan pumpkin rolls as they are, shaped in round balls. 
  5. Place each pumpkin roll in the baking dish. Cover with a cloth and let rest for 1 hour.
Vegan pumpkin rolls - Roads and Destinations

Stage 3

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Bake the vegan pumpkin rolls for 30-35 minutes or until the tops of the breads are golden.
  3. While the rolls are baking, whisk together the plant milk and the maple syrup for the icing.
  4. When the buns are ready, remove the strings carefully. Drizzle the icing on the buns. 
  5. Enjoy your festive vegan pumpkin rolls. 


  1. Oil the strings before using them. This way, it’s easier to remove the twines when the pumpkin rolls are baked. If not, you may tear your creations while detaching the strings.
  2. Bake your vegan pumpkin rolls with the date or pumpkin fillings as the plain rolls if you are not up to decorating them.
  3. Make puree yourself by baking a pumpkin in an oven for approximately 40-60 minutes. Remove the skin and seeds (if you haven’t done it yet). Mash the remaining part and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Want to experiment with more travel inspired dishes? Check out these recipes.

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Vegan pumpkin rolls - Roads and Destinations

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