pumpkin cranberry twists

OK so yes, it’s not even Halloween yet and I’m about to talk about Thanksgiving. But if you’re one of those way-way-ahead Thanksgiving planners, you’ve probably already got most of the menu hashed out for the big day.

Me? Well, I’ve got the rolls covered!

Thanksgiving for us has varied greatly for the past few years. The first year we were hitched, we had Thanksgiving at my parents’ house, so my mom and dad were in charge of the food (and I was in charge of the eating, natch). The following year, we decided to host Thanksgiving, for both families, in our 700-square-foot apartment. It was chaotic and merry all at the same time, and hot. So hot. Twelve people and a not well-ventilated kitchen with the stove and oven going all day in a small space makes for an Amazon-like atmosphere, just FYI.

The next year, we hosted Thanksgiving at our place again but for half the people, which was still merry but less chaotic and Amazon-like. And the year after that, we spent Thanksgiving with Elliott’s fam at their place.

For a few of those years we’ve been in charge of the turkey and some sides and/or desserts. But as much as I love ALL OF THE THANKSGIVING FOOD (seriously, last meal? Thanksgiving dinner), my favorite thing to make for the holiday is rolls. Because carbs.

pumpkin cranberry twists

pumpkin cranberry twists

pumpkin cranberry twists

This year, we’ll be making the trek down to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, and these pumpkin cranberry twists are coming along for the ride. That is, if they stick around for that long. We’re already down two (for recipe testing purposes!…), and I’m not sure I can hold out another month before I sneak another roll or five.

There are a few reasons why I love these rolls. 1) They have pumpkin and autumn spices and dried cranberries and pecan bits in them, so they taste like a fall flavor explosion in your mouth (and they make your kitchen smell that way, too), 2) They’re super-soft on the inside with an ever-so-slight chew on the outside, which in my opinion is the primo, grade-A, top-choice consistency for rolls, and 3) They’re going to look pretty on the Thanksgiving table. And I’m such a sucker for good food presentation.

pumpkin cranberry twists

Whether you’re a mega-Thanksgiving planner and you’ve already got the grocery list put together for the big day, or you’re waiting until a few weeks before to hash out the menu, or if you’re one of those people who waits until the morning of Thanksgiving to think about the food and you end up buying cold cuts and cranberry sauce in the shape of a can (which I kind of love to eat, actually), I implore you to think about adding these twists to your Thanksgiving table. Your tummy will be so thankful.

pumpkin cranberry twists

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Pumpkin Cranberry Twists

  • Author: Courtesy of Red Star Yeast
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 16 rolls 1x


  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) Red Star active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)


  1. In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, stir 1 cup flour, yeast and warm water until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, maple syrup, oil, salt, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and egg until combined.
  3. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir to combine.
  4. Using a wooden spoon or dough hook attachment, stir in remaining flour 1 cup at a time until a dough forms. Knead by hand on a lightly floured surface 7-10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed OR knead on medium speed with dough hook attachment 5-6 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed.
  5. Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl; turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour in a warm place until doubled.
  6. When dough is doubled, punch down and knead in cranberries and pecans. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into a 12-inch log. Fold each log in half, then twist both ends once, pinching seams to seal. Place twists on 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  7. Cover baking sheets with tea towels or lightly greased plastic wrap. Let twists rise until puffy, about 45 minutes.
  8. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Uncover twists; brush with beaten egg. Bake 15 minutes until golden brown and baked through. Cool slightly before serving.


Disclosure: I received compensation from Red Star Yeast for recipe development purposes. All opinions are my own.