This Libby’s Pumpkin Roll is a tender and moist pumpkin cake filled with a delightful cream cheese frosting. It is such an impressive dessert that is easier to make than you think!
It might look complicated but with my step-by-step instructions and some tricks I have learned through the years you can make a perfect pumpkin roll too! I have been making this classic pumpkin roll recipe for many years now. It really is pretty easy and came out great the very first time I made it. But I have definitely picked up some dos and don’ts that are very helpful.
Table of contents
Why you’ll love this easy pumpkin roll recipe
- The beautiful presentation will impress your guests!
- It’s perfect for Thanksgiving get-togethers.
- It is a delicious dessert that has all the warm flavors of fall.
See recipe card for exact amounts.
Canned Pumpkin – I do in fact use Libby’s pure pumpkin puree. I have used the store brand when they didn’t have Libby’s (and money was tight) and it came out fine.
Flour – all purpose flour. I do have a gluten free version of this recipe, so check that out if you want. It tastes pretty much the same.
Eggs – we use large eggs.
Sugar – regular granulated for the cake and powdered for the frosting and to dust the towel you roll the cake up in to cool.
Butter – unsalted real butter.
Baking Powder – this helps our cake to rise.
Baking Soda – this helps us get a nice fluffy pumpkin cake.
Cinnamon – gives our cake warm flavor.
Allspice – we use this instead of cloves to give our cake a nice pumpkin spice flavor.
Vanilla – pure vanilla extract and not imitation vanilla.
How to make this easy pumpkin roll recipe
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Prepare the pan by cutting a piece of waxed paper the size of the bottom of the pan. Butter the sides of the pan and put the waxed paper in, then butter the waxed paper. Sprinkle with flour and tap the pan while moving it around until the flour covers the entire surface, sides too. Dump off the excess flour.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl combine eggs and sugar and beat with a hand mixer until thick. Add pumpkin, beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to beat until combined.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan; even batter with a spatula. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Check after 10 or 11 minutes if using a dark-colored pan. Cake is done when the top of the cake springs back when touched and the edges pull away from the side of the pan. The cake will also have an almost glittery appearance.
- While the cake is in the oven prepare a kitchen towel by dusting it with powdered sugar. To do this I put it in a mesh strainer and tap it as I move it over the towel.
- Remove cake from oven and immediately turn out onto sugar dusted towel. Carefully peel off waxed paper. Starting at the narrow end, roll up cake and towel together; let cool completely on a wire rack.
- In a large mixer bowl beat cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla with the whisk attachment until smooth. I do this in my stand mixer but you can use a hand-held electric mixer.
- Unroll the cake carefully, spread the cream cheese mixture over the cake. Reroll cake, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (I refrigerate mine overnight).
Tips & Tricks
- I use wax paper to line the pan. Some people use parchment paper. I tried parchment paper once and didn’t like it as much as waxed paper.
- To measure the waxed paper place the pan on top of the waxed paper and outline it with a pen or pencil. Cut the paper just inside the ink mark.
- The eggs and pumpkin puree should be room temperature when you make the cake.
- The cream cheese and butter should be brought to room temperature also.
- Make sure you use about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar to dust the towel. The only time I had my cake stick to the towel was when I didn’t use enough. I would rather waste a little than have my pumpkin roll stick.
- Turn the cake out onto the towel immediately when it comes out of the oven, take the waxed paper off and roll it up in the prepared towel right away.
- Let the cake cool about 30-60 minutes. The cake needs to be cool but you don’t want to let it cool too much before unrolling it and adding the filling. This is personal preference and I have seen recipes for this that say different. See what works best for you.
- Use a 10-inch jelly-roll pan. I used to use a regular sheet pan but it is much easier to make a jelly roll cake in a jelly roll pan. Makes sense, right? I use mine for many other things so it’s not like you are buying something you will only use during the holiday season.
- I use a cotton kitchen towel, like a tea towel, not terry cloth. I also use this kind of towel to wring out spinach and stuff of that nature. We keep them in a kitchen drawer and they are used for food only.
- Don’t worry if your cake cracks a little. Just roll it up and let it cool. When you unroll it and put the frosting on it just carefully roll it back up and refrigerate it for a few hours and it will probably look fine. If it is too cracked up or sticks to the pan a little just sprinkle powdered sugar on the finished cake to hide the imperfections.
- I have made many pumpkin rolls, sometimes 2 at a time, and they come out a little different every time. Some times better than others, that is the nature of cooking and baking.
Why is my pumpkin roll wet or sticky?
This is more than likely the condensation that forms while it is cooling. As you can see in the photos mine came out this way. I just leave it because I am okay with it. You can cover it with a dusting of powdered sugar to take care of it.
Do pumpkin rolls need to be refrigerated?
Yes, the cream cheese frosting does need to be refrigerated. It also helps it to keep its shape while cutting it.
Store in plastic wrap in the fridge for 3 or 4 days. To freeze you can either freeze it whole or cut it into slices and wrap individually for up to 3 months. Allow the whole pumpkin roll to thaw before cutting and serving.
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Libby’s Pumpkin Roll Recipe with Cream Cheese Filling Recipe ↓
Libby’s Pumpkin Roll Recipe with Cream Cheese Filling
For the cake:
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup Libby’s Pumpkin
- 1/2 cup (or more) powdered sugar to use on towel
For the filling:
- 1 package cream cheese, softened (8 ounces)
- 6 tbsp butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
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- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Prepare 10" X 15" X 1" jelly-roll pan; butter sides, line with waxed paper then sprinkle waxed paper and sides of pan with flour, shake off excess.
- In a small bowl , mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt until combined.3/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp salt
- In a large bowl, beat sugar and eggs until thick with an electric mixer. Add pumpkin, beat until combined. Add in flour mixture and beat until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan; even batter with a spatula. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Cake is done when the top of the cake springs back when touched and the edges pull away from the sides of the pan. It also has an almost glittery appearance.1 cup sugar, 3 eggs, 2/3 cup Libby’s Pumpkin
- While the cake is in the oven dust a kitchen towel with powdered sugar. (To do this I put the powdered sugar in a mesh strainer and tap it as I move it over the towel.)1/2 cup (or more) powdered sugar
- Remove cake from oven and immediately turn out onto sugar dusted towel. Carefully peel off waxed paper. Starting at narrow end, roll up cake and towel together; let cool completely on a cooling rack.
- In a large bowl beat cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Unroll cake carefully, spread filling over cake. Re-roll cake, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (I refrigerate mine overnight).1 package cream cheese, softened, 6 tbsp butter, softened, 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted, 1 teaspoon vanilla
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Minimally adapted from Very Best Baking.