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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pinwheels

This classic Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll is a staple on our family’s Thanksgiving table. I know it looks fancy schmancy, but this roll is surprisingly easy to make!

This fluffy Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll is a staple on our Thanksgiving menu!

Last month, I asked the Mr. if there were any foods or recipes he considered essential for Thanksgiving–the things he had to taste at least once during the holiday season. After a bit of consideration, he named these Pumpkin Pinwheels. These cream cheese swirled slices have quite a reputation in the Mr.’s family, and for good reason. The recipe comes from his grandmother, who made them every year for Thanksgiving. It has since been passed down to my father-in-law, who became quite famous for them at the school where he taught. Apparently, his fellow teachers loved them so much, he had to start bringing three Pumpkin Pinwheels to the teacher’s lounge to share each year.

The Mr.’s family lives in Texas, so I’ve decided to take up the Pumpkin Pinwheel mantle and continue the tradition in our home. This recipe has earned every bit of its fame. What’s not to love here? Fluffy cinnamon spiked pumpkin cake swirled with sweet cream cheese filling? This is the stuff Autumn dreams are made of.

This Pumpkin Pinwheel is swirled with extra cream cheese filling. Your guests will love it!

And the best part is, it’s surprisingly simple to make. The cake itself is only 6 ingredients and comes together in about 5 minutes. The cake is poured into a rimmed 9 x 13 inch baking sheet and baked until puffed and set in the center. I always line the baking sheet with parchment paper and it comes out of the pan in one piece without a problem.

How to make a pumpkin roll

While the cake is baking, you can whip up the dreamy cream cheese filling. If you like cheesecake, you’ll want to eat this with a spoon. My mother-in-law told me she tweaked the recipe a bit by increasing the filling, since that’s obviously the best part. She’s a woman after my own heart.

After the cake is cooled, you can flop it out onto some powdered sugar dusted wax paper, remove the parchment, and spread the cream cheese around. I like to put it almost to the edges, but leave just a tad of space so it doesn’t come squishing out when you try to roll it.

How to Make a Pumpkin Roll

Then all you do is roll! Starting from the short end you roll the cake over the cream cheese. It will likely crack along the way (you can see that mine did), but it still rolls up fine and will taste just as yummy.

How to Make a Pumpkin Roll

Once it’s rolled up, you’ll want to wrap it and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. I honestly think the longer this sets, the better it gets. The flavors really start to meld together the following day. You can also make a bunch of these ahead of time and freeze them. It’s just one less thing you’ll have to worry about on Thanksgiving day (or any day!).

Need an impressive holiday dessert? These Pumpkin Cream Cheese Rolls are easy to make and always a hit!

I hope you’ll give these a try and share them with your friends. Just don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself the designated Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll maker!

Looking for more great holiday desserts? Try Mom’s Custard Pie or this Salted Maple Caramel Apple Tart.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pinwheels

Prep Time 35 minsPrep Time
Cook Time 15 minsCook Time
Total Time 50 mins Total Time
Yields 12


  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup flour

For the filling

  • 12 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray then line it with parchment paper. Spray the top of the parchment with cooking spray as well.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, sugar, and cinnamon until sugar is well incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Add the pumpkin, baking soda, and flour and beat until smooth. Pour the mixture onto the parchment lined pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from pan.
  3. In the meantime, give your mixer bowl a quick wash, then add the ream cheese and butter to the bowl. Beat on high until the mixture is smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat, slowly raising the speed as the powdered sugar is incorporated. Beat for a good minute or two on high.
  4. Sprinkle a piece of wax paper with powdered sugar. Turn the cooled cake out onto the paper, and then peel off the parchment. Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the cake, leaving about a ½ inch on all sides. Starting on the 9 inch side, roll the cake over the filling. Don't worry if it tears, just keep going!
  5. Wrap the cake in saran wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve OR double wrap it and freeze. When you're ready to serve, place the cake in the fridge to thaw. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar if desired. Cake should be eaten within 4 days.


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 Recipe by NeighborFood

These Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pinwheels are a must-have on our holiday table, and this recipe is the absolute BEST.
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Leave a Comment

  • wearenotmartha November 11, 2014, 11:16 AM

    This is so gorgeous!! And tasty, too, I’m sure!!


  • Cate @ Chez CateyLou November 12, 2014, 5:14 PM

    Fancy schmancy that is easy to make? Love that!! This cake looks amazing – would love a giant slice right now!

  • Ala Shih November 12, 2014, 7:13 PM

    Agreed–pumpkin rolls are definitely a holiday staple! I’ve never made my own and am SO excited you’ve posted this, Court. Can’t wait!

  • Lemons for Lulu November 12, 2014, 9:09 PM

    Your story sounds awfully familiar. The first time I tried this roll was at my in-laws house the first year my husband and I were dating. Now it’s a tradition. Extra filling is a must!

  • Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy November 12, 2014, 9:19 PM

    LOVE pumpkin rolls! Yours looks amazing! Love that layer of cream cheese filling!

  • Ginny McMeans November 12, 2014, 11:12 PM

    What a beautiful pumpkin dessert! My family would flip!

  • ami@naivecookcooks November 12, 2014, 11:19 PM

    Such a gorgeous looking roll!! Bet it tastes delicious too!

  • Jaren November 13, 2014, 12:01 AM

    I love a good pumpkin roll dessert! I always feel like they look so fancy and special!

  • Kristine @ Kristine's Kitchen November 13, 2014, 12:58 AM

    That pumpkin cake looks scrumptious, and I love cheesecake so that cream cheese filling is right up my alley!

  • Andi @ The Weary Chef November 14, 2014, 12:21 PM

    This is so gorgeous, Courtney. Dishes that look fancy but are actually easy are my favorite kind! I’ve seen pumpkin rolls but never made one. Now I’m going to try it!

  • Liz Weber Berg November 15, 2014, 10:52 PM

    Oh, we love a pumpkin jelly roll, too! Such a wonderful family tradition!

  • Nancy November 17, 2014, 8:41 PM

    Holy crap that looks amazing! Pumpkin and cream cheese are a perfect pairing. Way to go with the rolling – if I tried doing that, I’m sure it would crack into a thousand ugly (but still delicious) pieces 😉

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood November 20, 2014, 3:55 PM

      Oh, mine definitely cracked too. Didn’t stop me from scarfing it down! My mom just gave me a tip though. She said if you roll up the cake while it’s still warm (parchment still intact), THEN unroll and fill, it won’t crack. Haven’t tried it yet, but I guess it’s worth a shot!

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