Make an easy pumpkin roll recipe using cake mix. It’s a light and moist pumpkin roll swirled with cream cheese frosting that’s sure to be a fall favorite.
Last Thanksgiving I shared a recipe for a classic pumpkin roll. I brought it to a potluck around the Thanksgiving holiday, and it was a hit! People raved about the nostalgia of roll cakes their family members used to make.
Roll cakes became popular in the mid-1800’s and feature variations of a light sponge cake filled with jelly or whipped cream. They go by many names such as Swiss rolls, jelly rolls, rolls. In this case, the wonderful pumpkin pie spice blend flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves come together in a delightful pumpkin roll cake.
Pumpkin Roll Recipe
We like roll cakes because they are whimsical and fun. The cream swirl center looks so decorative when it’s sliced. No complicated icing work is needed!
No one needs to know how easy these cakes are to make! The trick is in rolling the cake while it’s still warm. As it cools, it will retain its shape so it can be unrolled for filling and rerolled for serving.
- eggs – eggs should be lightly beaten
- canned pumpkin puree – use pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix
- spice cake mix – choose your favorite brand. There are a few out there from Betty Crocker, Dunkin Hines, and Krustez. This recipe was not tested with the gluten-free cake mix.
- cream cheese – room temperature cream cheese is softer and easier to mix. I prefer a full-fat version for a creamier texture.
- butter – adding butter to my frosting for a richer taste.
- vanilla extract – vanilla pairs well and off-sets the tang of the cream cheese
- powdered sugar – used to stiffen the icing and also for dusting your cake
See the recipe card for quantities.
How To Make Easy Pumpkin Roll Using Cake Mix
Heat the oven to 375F, or 350F if you are using a dark non-stick pan. Line a jelly roll pan (15x10x1) with parchment paper and spray lightly with a non-stick cooking spray.
2. MAKE THE CAKE LAYER
Begin by beating the eggs with an electric mixer in a medium bowl for about two minutes. They should be thick and lemon-colored. Add the pumpkin puree and continue beating until well mixed.
Gradually beat in the dry cake mix on low speed for about one minute, scraping down the sides to ensure the mixture is well incorporated.
Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan, spreading the mixture into the corners.
3. BAKE THE CAKE
Bake the cake layer for 10 to 14 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched in the center.
Immediately loosen the cake from the edges of the pan and turn the cake upside down onto a kitchen towel generously sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Carefully remove parchment paper.
4. PREPARE THE ROLL
While the cake is still hot, carefully roll the cake and towel from the narrow end.
Cool on a cooling rack for at least 60 minutes.
5. MIX THE FROSTING
While the cake is cooling, combine the softened cream cheese and softened butter together, and mix until smooth.
Add in the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add in vanilla and mix well.
6. CREATE THE CAKE MIX PUMPKIN ROLL
Unroll the cake carefully once it’s completely cool.
Spread the Cream Cheese Filling evenly on the cake, almost to the edges.
Carefully roll the cake back up but remove the towel as you go.
Wrap in plastic wrap and then foil and chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours before slicing.
Sprinkle the finished cake with powdered sugar, if desired, before serving.
Hint: You made notice your pumpkin roll tends to get a little sticky. This is from the condensation formed as the cake cools. You can remedy this simply by allowing the cake to cool thoroughly and also by dusting with additional powdered sugar as needed.
While the classic cream cheese pumpkin roll made with cake mix is always popular, you might want to try these variations to mix things up:
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Roll – You know I love chocolate! Add in some chocolate chips into the cake mix during baking for an added touch of sweetness. You can dust with cocoa and powdered sugar to give a hint at what’s inside, or consider drizzling with chocolate after your powdered sugar dusting.
- Gingerbread Pumpkin Roll – Substitute a box of Gingerbread Cake Mix for the Spice Cake Mix for an interesting twist of flavors around the holidays.
- How do I keep my pumpkin roll cake from cracking?
Although the cake will be hot to the touch, we do recommend rolling it *immediately* after removing it from the oven. This way it is still pliable. As it cools, it will become less so, and this is when you will notice cracks in the finished pumpkin roll. It will still taste delicious, but make not be as insta-worthy!
- Can I leave my pumpkin roll out?
It’s recommended to store your pumpkin roll in the refrigerator. If you’d like to have it out during your meal or potluck, it should be fine on the table at room temperature for a few hours. Due to the butter and cream cheese filling, however, the roll shouldn’t be left to get too warm for an extended length of time.
- Can I freeze leftover pumpkin roll?
These are sooo good, I doubt you’ll have any leftover! In case you do, you can store a prepared pumpkin roll covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you’d like to freeze it, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. It can be frozen for one month and thawed before serving. Do not refreeze.
I shared this post in 2018 with step-by-step instructions on how to make a pumpkin roll. If you prefer a video guide, this Better Homes and Gardens post has some helpful tips as well.
If you’re looking for more cake mix recipes, try these recipes next!
- Pumpkin Caramel Poke Cake (from a box mix)
- Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookie Bars
- The Easiest Coconut Cream Cake
Cake Mix Pumpkin Roll
- To make cake:
- 3 eggs
- ⅔ cup canned pumpkin not pumpkin pie mix
- ½ box spice cake mix about 1 2/3 cups
- powdered sugar
- To make frosting:
- 1 8 oz. package cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Heat oven to 375°F (350°F for dark or nonstick pan). Line 15x10x1-inch pan with parchment paper; spray with non-stick baking spray.
- In medium bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer on high speed about 2 minutes or until very thick and lemon colored.
- Beat in pumpkin until well mixed. Gradually beat in dry cake mix, on low speed; continue beating 1 minute. Pour into pan, spreading to corners.
- Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan and turn upside down onto towel generously sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully remove parchment paper.
- While hot, carefully roll cake and towel from narrow end. Cool on cooling rack at least 60 minutes.
- For the frosting, combine cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
- Add in powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
- Add in vanilla and mix well.
- Unroll cake carefully once it's completely cool.
- Spread Cream Cheese Filling on the cake, almost to edges.
- Carefully roll back up but remove the towel as you go.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and then foil and chill in fridge for 3-4 hours before slicing.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, before serving.