I’ve got one simple trick that makes this classic Pumpkin Roll recipe EASY and mess-free! It has the best soft texture and flavor with a delicious cream cheese filling.  
I truly love all of my pumpkin recipes, but there are only a few that I regularly bake every single year and they include this pumpkin roll, Pumpkin Cupcake, and my mom’s amazing Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!
One round slice of a pumpkin roll on a white plate with sprinkled powdered sugar and a fork.

Pumpkin roll

Do you know why pumpkin rolls are intimidating?  Because our moms’ method of making them made a HUGE and SCARY mess that rarely resulted in a nice and pretty pumpkin roll.  I’m excited to share the simplest trick and tastiest recipe for making a beautiful and mess free pumpkin roll!

Most recipes have you invert the baked cake onto a large towel that has been dusted with powdered sugar. Then you’re supposed to roll the cake up in the towel.  Honestly, this method has always been a dusty, powdered-sugary MESS for me. Not to mention that you end up with a sticky mess of a rag when it’s done.

Guys, there is such a BETTER and EASIER way!  Parchment paper is the trick!

For a MESS-FREE pumpkin roll:

Use Parchment paper! The biggest tip to making an easy, mess-free pumpkin roll is to roll the pumpkin cake up inside the parchment paper that it was baked on. Allow it to cool, rolled up. Then unroll it and spread with cream cheese frosting.

A pumpkin roll laying vertically with four slices of pumpkin roll laying in front of it.

How to make a homemade pumpkin roll:

  • First, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, leaving a little overhang on the long edges, so that it’s easier to lift the cake from the pan when it’s done baking.
  • Next, spread the cake batter on top of the parchment paper in the pan and smooth it into an even layer.  Bake it for about 15 minutes.
A jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper and pumpkin roll filling being spread over top.
  • When the cake is finished baking, carefully lift the cake from the pan and roll the hot cake up inside the parchment paper. This method is SOO much easier than turning it out onto a towel and praying that it doesn’t crack, or stick to the towel.
A cooked pumpkin roll, laying horizontally, and being rolled in parchment paper.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely, rolled up in the parchment paper, on top of a wire cooling rack. Once it’s cool unroll the pumpkin roll and discard the parchment paper.  Spread the cream cheese filling all over the top of the pumpkin roll and roll it back up into a log (without the parchment paper).
The cooked and cooled pumpkin roll laying on parchment paper with cream cheese filling being spread evenly on top.
  • You’ll be left with a beautiful, simple, pumpkin roll and hardly any mess to clean up. #winning

Does a pumpkin roll need to be refrigerated?

Yes, store it in the refrigerator. Once you have spread the cream cheese filling and rolled the pumpkin roll back into a log, wrap it in plastic wrap and leave it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving!

How to keep pumpkin roll from cracking:

The biggest trick to preventing your cake roll from cracking is to roll the cake up in the parchment paper as soon as it comes out of the oven. The hot cake will be soft and pliable and should roll up without cracking.
Making a classic pumpkin roll has never been easier with this handy trick! We love this beautiful, simple dessert. Pumpkin cake with a cream cheese filling | tastesbetterfromscratch.com

To make ahead:

Pumpkin roll can be prepared completely and refrigerated for 1-2 days ahead of time, before serving. OR, you can bake the cake, roll it in the parchment paper to cool. Once cool, refrigerate it (rolled in the parchment paper) for up to one day, before frosting.  Once you have fully assembled your pumpkin roll, you can also store it in the refrigerator for a few days!

Can I freeze a pumpkin roll?

Yes, you can freeze a prepared pumpkin roll for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before slicing and serving.

Consider trying these pumpkin recipes:

 

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Recipe

Making a classic pumpkin roll has never been easier with this handy trick! We love this beautiful, simple dessert. Pumpkin cake with a cream cheese filling | tastesbetterfromscratch.com
Prep 10 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 25 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
  

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 2 Tablespoons butter , softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar , plus more for dusting

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan (15 x 10'') with parchment paper, leaving an extra inch of parchment sticking up on both long sides of the pan so that you can easily lift the cake out after baking. (You can VERY lightly grease the parchment paper, if you want to, but you don't need to!)
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin until smooth.
  • Add dry ingredients to the bowl and stir just until combined and no dry streaks remain.
  • Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 14-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Immediately lift the payment paper and hot cake out of the pan and onto a flat (heat-safe) surface. 
  • While the cake is hot, starting at one of the short ends, use your hands to gently and slowly roll the cake (and parchment paper!) all the way up. Allow it to cool completely, on top of a wire cooling rack. (This allows it to cool underneath the roll, and keeps the cake from sweating).
  • While the cake roll is cooling, mix the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer until it is fluffy and smooth.
  • Once the cake roll is cooled completely, unroll it very carefully. Gently smooth the filling in an even layer over the cake.
  • Roll up the cake without the parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, before serving.
  • Dust the top with powdered sugar, if desired. You could use a duster, spoon, or even your fingers to lightly sprinkle it on top of the roll. Cut into slices and serve.
  • Store in the fridge, covered, for up to three days.
  • For more pumpkin treats, click here!

Notes

Make ahead:
Pumpkin roll can be prepared completely and refrigerated for 1-2 days ahead of time, before serving. OR, you can bake the cake, roll it in the parchment paper to cool. Once cool, refrigerate it (rolled in the parchment paper) for up to one day, before frosting.  Once you have fully assembled your pumpkin roll, you can also store it in the refrigerator for a few days!
Freeze:
Prepared pumpkin roll can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before slicing and serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 5gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 353mgPotassium: 119mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 3745IUVitamin C: 0.8mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 1.3mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @TastesBetterFromScratch on Instagram with #TastesBetterFromScratch!

Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

 

Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

 

I originally shared this recipe October 2014. Updated September 2017 and October 2019.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. Delicious recipe. I’ve made this several times. The outside of the pumpkin roll always is wet and sticky. Any ideas?

  2. 5 stars
    The best recipe! One and only recipe for me. I make many during Christmas as gifts and many compliments follow.

  3. 5 stars
    This came out perfect! The tips were very helpful. I personally roll mine in a clean kitchen towel leaving the parchment paper on to train it. Came out perfect didn’t crack once. Thank you!!

  4. 3 stars
    DON’T use parchment paper! I have always used the wax paper method, greasing and flouring the wax paper. Always came out beautifully with no cracks. I tried the parchment paper today. The roll stuck to the paper towel. I tried ever so gently to pull it off the towel without it sticking, to no avail. I have cracks in my pumpkin roll. I patched it the best I could with the cream cheese. I am so disappointed. Never again. Next time: Back to the tried and true wax paper.

    1. I’m so sorry you had trouble, but no where in the recipe does it say to use paper towel…Sorry if you got confused….Wax paper is a good replacement for parchment paper if you don’t have any, but wax paper is also cheaper, flimsier and absorbs easier than parchment, making parchment the superior choice.

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