Adding some mashed potato to this recipe is the secret ingredient to a texture that cannot be replaced. These rolls are so soft and the flavor is perfection! This is my FAVORITE roll recipe.
Our favorite roll recipe!
I recently made 3 different roll recipes on the same day, just to see how they all compared. I asked my family to tell me which recipe they liked the best. Seven out of seven of us all agreed that this recipe was our favorite!
All thanks to my Sister Sage
My sister Sage is a living legend because of this roll recipe. I started making them a few years back and I keep on coming back to them. I wanted to share the recipe with you all, with Sage’s permission because you need these in your life! You would never know that the secret ingredient is mashed potatoes. It turns out that mashed potatoes make these rolls ultra soft with the most amazing flavor. These are the best rolls to take to Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner, Easter dinner, or just make them on any regular Tuesday because they truly are magnificent and you’ll be glad you did!
Let’s talk about the ingredients:
WATER– Use warm water. Not too hot or it will burn the yeast. If it’s warm to touch but not uncomfortably hot on your skin, then it’s perfect.
ACTIVE DRY YEAST– I generally recommend active dry yeast but if all you have is instant yeast, go ahead and use it as an equal substitution. It will work out fine. Or if you want to use Natural Yeast/Sourdough, there is an adaptation for that below!
SUGAR– This recipe calls for 2/3 cup white sugar. This is probably the reason that the rolls are so delicious…. Because they are fairly sweet. You can reduce the sugar if you want to, or you could even use honey instead of sugar.
SALT– I recommend using a good quality sea salt if you have some. I always use Redmond Real Salt.
EGGS– try and use room temperature eggs so the cold temperature of the eggs doesn’t slow down the rising process. You can put two cold eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes to warm them up quickly.
If you have an egg allergy, this recipe would work out great using either flax egg substitute, or Aquafaba, which is used a lot in vegan cooking as an egg replacement because it behaves so similarly to eggs! Aquafaba is simply the liquid that comes in a can of chickpeas. 1/4 cup Aquafaba equals 1 egg.
If you had to skip the eggs altogether with no substitutions, the rolls would still work out ok. You would just need to use slightly less flour.
MASHED POTATOES– That’s right, prepared mashed potatoes just like the ones you would eat with your thanksgiving dinner. They could be leftover mashed potatoes, store bought mashed potatoes, homemade mashed potatoes, or instant mashed potatoes. Any of those will work.
If it’s possible to leave the salt out, then do so. But if the mashed potatoes that you are using already have been salted, it will be fine… If you want to get really compulsive then you could reduce the salt called for in the recipe by 1/4 teaspoon.
The only “DONT” when making this recipe, is don’t throw some unprepared instant potato flakes into the dough. That wouldn’t work out.
The addition of mashed potatoes sounds weird, but trust me! This is a non negotiable in this recipe. The rolls just won’t be as good without the mashed potatoes in there!
MELTED BUTTER– The butter combined with the mashed potatoes and the sugar is what really makes the flavor shine. If you don’t have butter, you could totally use avocado oil, olive oil, or even coconut oil.
FLOUR– I generally recommend using bread flour, but you could absolutely use whole wheat flour, or Kamut flour for this recipe. You could do 50% bread flour and 50% whole wheat, or 100% whole wheat, or 100% kamut. Be mindful that whole wheat flour will make the final result just a bit more dense and crumbly, but the flavor will still be fantastic! Kamut flour is a good option also if you want, but the rolls won’t rise quite as high or be quite as elastic as if they were made with bread flour. Both Kamut flour and Whole Wheat flours are very thirsty, so if using either of these, you’ll need to use 10% less flour than what the recipe calls for.
Time Saving Tips
You don’t have to be slaving over these rolls at the last minute! There are some ways to make them ahead that will give you some sanity!
Option #1 MAKE THE DOUGH AHEAD OF TIME, FORM THE PRE-BAKED ROLLS, AND FLASH FREEZE.
This method makes holidays so stress-free!!
- Make the dough,
- do the first rise,
- form the rolls,
- then lay them on a baking sheet. Don’t let them touch one another. Cover with plastic or a lid.
- Set the baking sheet flat in the freezer and set a timer for two hours.
- After two hours, remove the baking tray from the freezer and the rolls should be frozen! Pop them all into a large ziplock (or two) bag for storing, zip the bag to keep them airtight, and put them back into the freezer. They will last in the freezer like this for about two months.
- On the day that you want to bake the rolls, decide what time you want to be pulling them out of the oven and then count backwards about 5 hours. That is the time that you want to be pulling them out of the freezer. Arrange the frozen dough rolls on a greased baking sheet. Cover them with a cookie sheet lid or a clean dish towel or plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.
- Let them thaw,
- then rise.
- Once they are risen to double in size, bake them as you would have had they never been frozen!
Option #2 MAKE THE DOUGH THE DAY BEFORE, FORM THE PRE-BAKED ROLLS, COVER AND REFRIGERATE OVERNIGHT.
This method works really nicely if you have some time to make the roll dough the night before you need to bake them. Simply
- Make the dough.
- Let the dough do the first rise.
- Form the dough into the desired shape and arrange on a greased baking sheet. Cover with a lid or with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for 12 hours. (Don’t refrigerate for too long because it will still rise in the fridge and it could overproof!)
- Remove from fridge about two hours before you want to be pulling them out of the oven. Let them come to room temperature. If the dough hasn’t already doubled in size, give it a bit of time to finish rising.
- Bake the rolls as though they had never taken an overnight getaway in a fridge.
How to form these rolls
You can form these rolls literally any way that you want. There are plenty of roll forming shapes and methods, so pick your favorite and go with it.
For this recipe, I usually do a crescent shape. To do this, I divide the dough into two equal portions and roll each half of dough out on a lightly floured countertop until it forms a large, thin, circle. Then with a pizza cutter, I cut the dough in half, then in half again, etc. until there are sixteen equal triangles. Then I roll the dough up from the outside in.
This technique will make two circles of 16 rolls, so 32 rolls total. You could bake these in two, 9×13 inch pans.
Another option is the smooth ball shape.
For the smooth balls, I divide the dough into 30 equal portions. I then roll each ball of dough until it is smooth, and place five rows of three into a 9×13 inch baking pan, two pans total.
Can these be made with sourdough instead of active dry yeast?
I thought you would never ask! 😍 They absolutely can be made with sourdough!
I actually made this recipe recently, but made them sourdough style. I asked my family after what they thought and if they thought they were sourdough, and nobody could tell! Because this is a slightly sweet bread, the sweetness really cuts any tang from sourdough so it doesn’t have a strong sourdough flavor.
Luckily it’s an easy switch to make these with sourdough! You just have to be prepared for 1- the time it takes to activate your starter after a feed, and 2- the rising times will take much, much longer! But the hands on time is exactly the same!
Sourdough adaptation instructions
SOURDOUGH ADAPTATION INGREDIENTS:
- 1 cup of active bubbly starter (instead of one tablespoon active dry yeast)
- 1.5 cups of warm water
- 2/3 cup of sugar
- 2/3 cup of melted butter
- 2 room temperature eggs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup unsalted mashed potatoes
- 6 to 7 cups unbleached bread flour
The only change to the ingredients is that you are using active sourdough starter instead of active dry yeast.
SOURDOUGH ADAPTATION INSTRUCTIONS:
- Combine water, active bubbly sourdough starter, sugar, eggs, melted butter, eggs, salt, and mashed potatoes. Mix together until it is all combined.
- Add flour, cup by cup, kneading mixing in between. You have enough flour when the dough comes together and isn’t extraordinarily sticky.
- Knead for about 10 minutes.
- Cover the dough and let it rise until doubled. Depending on the temperature and strength of your starter, this could take anywhere from 4 to 10 hours.
- Form rolls. Cover and let rise until doubled. This could take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours.
- Bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes.
SOURDOUGH-VERSION TIME SAVING TIPS:
I have had inconsistent and mostly negative results when freezing pre-baked sourdough, so I do not recommend that you form and freeze the dough. However, you *can* form the dough, arrange it on a greased baking pans, then cover it and refrigerate it overnight, or for anywhere from 1-24 hours. Take the dough out of the fridge 4-5 hours before you want to be pulling it out of the oven. Let it come to room temperature, and rise a little more if it needs to. Then bake as usual.
For more help on baking with sourdough, check out this SOURDOUGH 101 post here!
The (non sourdough) roll-making process
I know that making any type of yeast dough can be intimidating when you are new to it. Trust me, this process is actually easy and can be fool proof!
- Gather your ingredients. Let the eggs come to room temperature. Prepare the mashed potatoes. Melt your butter.
- Combine the water, yeast and sugar. Give it a gentle mix, then cover it (with a clean dish towel, a plate, a lid to your bowl, or plastic wrap) and set a timer for ten minutes. Covering the warm water + yeast + sugar mixture simply helps keep the heat inside the bowl.
- After the ten minutes is up, remove the covering and see if the yeast has been dissolved. It should look foamy and bubbly. If this is not what you see, then your yeast may have gone bad and needs to be replaced.
- To the water + sugar + yeast mixture, add the eggs, melted butter, salt, and mashed potatoes. mix this all together slightly.
- Start adding the flour, cup by cup, mixing or kneading well in between. You may need anywhere between 6 to 7 cups of flour depending on the humidity, air pressure, size of your eggs, or the hydration of your mashed potatoes. You know you have enough flour when, while kneading, the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. When you touch the dough, it should be tacky but not overly sticky. When you touch the dough, it shouldn’t be extraordinarily sticky to on your fingers.
- Knead the dough for about ten minutes, either by hand or with a stand mixer.
- Cover the dough and let rise until doubled in size, or for about one hour.
- Dump the dough onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Divide in two equal portions. This recipe makes either 30 or 32 rolls. Each half of dough can be made into 15 or 16 rolls. Depending on what size of pan you are using and what shape you are going for, form the rolls. If baking in 2, 9×13 inch pans, you can fit 15 smooth round rolls into a baking dish. If forming into a crescent shape, you can fit 3 rows of 8 on a 13×18 inch sheet pan. For this you would fill 1.5 13×18 inch sheet pans.
- To form in crescent rolls, Roll each half of dough into a large round circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 16 long triangles. Roll up each piece of dough from the outside in.
- Prepare your baking sheets/baking pans by either greasing them or lining them with parchment paper.
- Place dough rolls on your baking sheet, cover, and let rise until doubled in size.
- Bake rolls at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes.
Watch the videos below to see how you can make and form the rolls.
Sage’s Perfect Potato Rolls
Hands on time: 30 min
Bake time: 15 min
Total Time: about 3 hours
Servings: 30 to 32 rolls
Perfect soft rolls with a secret ingredient! There is no other way to get this amazing cloud-like texture. Guarantee everyone you share these with will fall in love. Enjoy!
- 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2/3 cups melted butter (10 1/2 Tbsps)
- 2 eggs, room temp
- 1 cup prepared mashed potatoes
- 6 to 7 cups bread flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water with sugar, about 10 minutes.
Add salt, butter, eggs, and mashed potatoes. Mix well.
Add the flour, one cup at a time, kneading well in between. You may need anywhere from 6 to 7 cups. Knead for about ten minutes, until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl and is smooth and elastic.
Cover and let rise, 1 hour.
On a countertop dusted with flour, dump out the dough. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a large circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough like a pizza into 16 triangles, or 32 total triangles. From the outside in, roll up the dough into a crescent shape. Lay on a greased cookie sheet and cover with a clean dish towel.
Let rise for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.
Bake at 375° F for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove when tops are golden brown.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @amberskitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #amberskitchen.
So, I have made these three or four times already. My daughter is away at college and is coming home this week. As a subtle hint she sent me a text and said, “I can’t wait to come home for a potato roll!” I guess she just put them on the menu. Thanks for sharing all your recipes. Yum!
Haha I love that! You are such good mom! Thanks for the comment, it means a lot to hear little stories like that.
Can you make these with natural yeast??
Sarah, absolutely! The way I convert anything to natural yeast is I use 1 cup of active starter for each tablespoon of dry yeast called for in the recipe. You might need to slightly adjust the amount of flour, so just go for a texture of slightly tacky but not sticky dough. The rise times will need to be greatly increased.
Finally made these after seeing them on IG for so long – A MAZE ing. I often eat *cough* A LOT of rolls and my husband modestly eats one or two…but tonight I think he ate SEVEN. Thanks for an awesome recipe!
Sandy glad you love them!! And way glad your husband loves them! Haha you can’t just have ONE roll right? Thanks for the feedback.:)
Do you use AP flour or bread flour?
Hi Whitney! I prefer to use Bread flour, but all-purpose also works great!
Does this dough freeze ok? I’m trying to prep Christmas dinner and would like to make these beforehand- maybe freeze after they’re formed? If not, they’re DEFINITELY worth making the day of! We scarf them!
Hey Amber, yes you can absolutely try freezing them formed. As long as you let them rise and thaw before baking.
These are by far my favorite rolls. Can you make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate and let rise and bake the following day?
If you are in a bind for time you can form the rolls and tightly cover them in plastic wrap and refrigerate them. However, I wouldn’t recommend refrigerating them for any longer than 12 because they will still rise slowly in the refrigerator.