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How to make gooey cheese-filled rolls inspired by pumpkins

I love Thanksgiving side dishes almost more than I like the actual turkey. Which is why I spend more time developing sides than I do the main entrée. It’s also why I start developing said side dishes in October. They need to be perfect, and these pumpkin rolls are as close to perfect as you’re going to get.

I mean seriously, how freaking cute are these rolls? They are far cuter than regular crescent rolls and about as easy to make — completely from scratch.

Gooey cheese filled pumpkin rolls

This is my favorite no-rise, 30-minute roll recipe and is so quick to make. Just mix your yeast and water until it foams. (It’s like a science experiment, so it’s fun!) Then you whip in the egg, oil and sugar, and mix.

After that, you mix in the flour, and stir to combine. Then you knead with floured hands until the dough is as soft as a baby’s bottom.

Gooey cheese filled pumpkin rolls

Then you pull it apart and separate it into 6 pieces, and place them onto a heavily floured surface. Instead of wasting your time waiting for the rolls to rise, you can start them right away. Hurray!

Gooey cheese filled pumpkin rolls

Gooey cheese filled pumpkin rolls

To give the rolls a pumpkin shape, you want to cut the rolls in 7 to 8 places (while keeping the centers intact). After you’ve cut the pumpkin shapes, press your thumb into the centers (to make a well), and then you add the amazing and delicious mozzarella cheese.

Gooey cheese filled pumpkin rolls

So much cheese! Then you roll pieces of the remaining dough into small circles and place them over the cheese. Press the sides of the top into the rest of the dough to keep the cheese from spilling over.

Gooey cheese filled pumpkin rolls

Then you bake for only 14 minutes, until they are beautifully golden brown. To make the top look like a pumpkin, slice walnuts in half, and stick them into the top. For some added green, adorn the sides of the walnuts with small mint leaves.

Gooey cheese filled pumpkin rolls

And then you eat them. You eat every glorious, cheese-filled roll you can without getting sick. Yay, Thanksgiving!

Gooey cheese filled pumpkin rolls

Look at that cheese. It’s just lovely, isn’t it?

Gooey cheese filled pumpkin rolls

Gooey cheese-filled “pumpkin” rolls recipe

Recipe inspired by Thistlewood Farms

Not only are these look-alike pumpkin rolls delicious (and full of cheese!), but they’re easy to make too.

Yields 6-8 rolls

Prep time: 15-20 minutes | Bake time: 14-16 minutes | Total time: 29-36 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, cut in half
  • Mint leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, and set it aside.
  2. To make the rolls, place the active dry yeast and water into a bowl, and let it sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Mix in the canola oil, honey, brown sugar and egg, and stir to combine. Mix in the flour 1 cup at a time, stirring until a soft dough forms.
  3. On a hard surface, knead the dough until it’s soft and elastic, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Pull the dough apart into 6 to 8 pieces, and place them onto the baking sheet. Using a floured knife, cut each roll into 6 to 8 slices, keeping the centers fully intact. Using your thumb, press down into the centers, and add 2 tablespoons of mozzarella cheese into each well.
  5. Roll the remaining dough into small pieces to cover the cheese. Press the top of the dough into the pumpkin-shaped rolls to keep the cheese secured in the centers.
  6. Bake for about 14 to 16 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown and the cheese has melted in the centers.
  7. Cut the walnuts in half, and press them into the centers of the pumpkin-shaped rolls. Add some mint leaves for garnish.

More Thanksgiving bread recipes

Gluten-free sweet potato skillet cornbread
Garlic rosemary Dutch oven loaf bread
Irish soda bread 4 ways

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