Thanksgiving Recipes: Pumpkin Roll & More

pumpkin roll

Cary, NC — Over the years, we’ve published some pretty delicious Thanksgiving recipes on CaryCitizen. This year, we’ll highlight some of our best side dishes, desserts and turkey recipes and share one new recipe that’s sure to make your dinner guests happy.

Pumpkin Roll

By now, most have heard of the pumpkin roll. You can even find them in the grocery store. I’ve seen people buy these, because making a pumpkin roll – with its coiled middle – looks high-maintenance. It’s really not, though – here’s the recipe we use so you can try it this year.


For the cake:

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (you’ll just sprinkle this on a towel)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

For the filling:

  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Prep your pan.

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Grease a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan (a baking sheet with raised edges).
  • Line pan with wax paper. Grease and flour paper.
  • Sprinkle a clean, thin kitchen towel with powdered sugar and set aside.

Make the cake batter.

  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl.
  • Beat eggs and sugar in large bowl until thick. Add pumpkin and beat again.
  • Stir in flour mixture.
  • Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, on top of wax paper.
  • Sprinkle nuts evenly on top.

Bake and prep for icing.

  • Bake cake for 10-15 minutes or until cake springs back when touched.
  • Immediately turn cake onto prepared towel (on the sugar side).
  • Carefully pull off wax paper.
  • Starting at one of the narrow ends, roll up cake and towel together.
  • Cool on wire rack or in fridge for 30-60 minutes (it’s okay to leave it longer).

Make the frosting.

  • Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla in small bowl until smooth.
  • Carefully unroll pumpkin layer.
  • Spread cream cheese mixture over entire cake. Re-roll cake.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar for decoration.

Dessert is a Hit

If your guests have never had pumpkin roll, they’re sure to be impressed. Even though I make this recipe for my extended family’s Thanksgiving every year, they always call me to ask if I’ll make it again. Want to serve your family even more new creations? Below, you’ll find some out-of-the-ordinary takes on turkey, stuffing and sides in addition to old-time favorites.

Turkey & Stuffing

2 Hour Thanksgiving Turkey – Chef Randy Goldberg of The Matthews House in Cary donated this recipe to us for a citrus, herb-roasted turkey. Although the turkey will brine overnight, it takes only two hours to cook. Check it out for yourself!

Here’s another quick turkey recipe from the Matthews House – Apple Cider Brined Turkey. Apple cider, oranges and maple syrup give classic brine a fall twist.

After you’ve picked out your turkey recipe, why not try an entirely new kind of stuffing? We published this recipe for Pear & Prosciutto Thanksgiving Stuffing two years ago. On that same note, we published recipes for both Apple Pecan Cornbread Stuffing and Sausage, Pear & Cranberry Stuffing to give a classic recipe a sweet, tart twist.

Side Dishes

An alternative to cranberry sauce from a can are the two recipes in this story made with Apples & Cranberries. You can make a homemade, spiced cranberry sauce or a crisp, apple tart, which sounds like dessert but pairs as an excellent side dish to turkey.

For a delicious and healthier spin on salad, try this recipe for Pomegranate Apple Kale Salad. In the same story is a recipe for Harvest Butternut Squash Soup.

Find more distinct vegetables and side dishes by checking out recipes for Green Beans Gremolata and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Citrus Vinagerette.

Dessert & Drinks

Now that you’ve mixed up the classic Thanksgiving dinner with a new turkey and creative sides, try this recipe for classic Pumpkin Pie. For an adult version, take note of this recipe we published years ago for a Pumpkin Pie Martini – it was a hit.


Recipe by Jessica Patrick. Story from staff reports. Photo by Morgan.


CaryCitizen is sponsored in-part by Thai Spices & Sushi in Preston Corners.