Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls

While these tender Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls will make an excellent addition to any Thanksgiving menu, they’re also a great way to use up leftover baked sweet potatoes for a post-Thanksgiving treat. Use these Sweet Potato Rolls as buns for turkey sandwiches, too!

Learn everything you need to know about how to make different shaped sweet potato dinner rolls, how to freeze homemade dinner roll dough, and how to freeze and reheat dinner rolls.

sweet potato dinner rolls in a white baking dish

I love to bake with yeast! There is nothing more comforting than a warming oven and the smell of freshly baked bread on a cold, fall day. Now that we’re finally though with the heat of summer, that is something I expect that we’ll be doing quite regularly around here.

Years ago, I tested out a sweet potato dinner roll version of the dough that I make for our favorite Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. Instead of pumpkin puree, this recipe features pureed sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes give the rolls a beautiful golden, orange color that brightens up the dinner table.

These Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls have become a family favorite and a MUST HAVE for Thanksgiving and all holiday dinners. Sweet Potato Dinner rolls are versatile too. Not only are they great for dinner, but my kids loved these rolls in place of regular bread for cinnamon sugar toast for breakfast.

Ingredients for Dinner Rolls

This sweet potato yeast dough for dinner rolls has a few simple ingredients in it. If you don’t have any buttermilk, make sure you check out these 6 Easy Buttermilk Substitutes to make your own buttermilk.

  • Yeast
  • Buttermilk
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Sweet Potato Puree
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt

How to Cook Sweet Potatoes for this Recipe

To make my own homemade sweet potato puree for these sweet potato dinner rolls, I like to peel and dice the sweet potatoes into 2 inch chunks and steam them in a saucepan with a steamer basket until tender.

You can also steam the diced sweet potatoes in an Instant Pot using an Instant Pot Steamer Basket. Adding 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pot, place the basket in, add the sweet potatoes to the basket. Then, following all proper Instant Pot safety protocols, steam cook them on high pressure for 10 minutes. Then, let the pressure release on its own (no quick release) before opening the lid. They should be plenty tender after this.

Once the sweet potatoes are steamed, puree them in a food processor. If necessary, add a small amount water until you are able to get a completely smooth process. You’ll want this to be a little thicker than canned pumpkin puree. It should not be watery.

Can I substitute Something Else for Sweet Potatoes?

Yes, in this recipe you can try pumpkin puree or squash puree as a substitute for the sweet potatoes if you don’t like sweet potatoes, are out of sweet potatoes, or are allergic to sweet potatoes. The recipe will still turn out great, just with a slightly different flavor.

It is best to prepare the puree using the same method so that the consistency is similar to the sweet potato puree. If the puree is too water it may not turn out as well.

sweet potato dinner rolls on a plate

How to Make Sweet Potato Yeast Dough for Dinner Rolls

This bread roll recipe is actually really simple to prepare, no complicated techniques. First, you will need to soften the yeast by combing it with the buttermilk. Next, you’ll whisk the eggs, sweet potato puree, butter, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Then, add the yeast mixture and mix again.

Slowly add the flour, about 1 cup at a time, mixing with the paddle attachment until the consistency is thick. After that, switch to a dough hook and continue adding the flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough is stiff enough to knead.

Because each cup of flour measures differently, it is important to focus on the feel of the dough. Begin with 3 cups of flour and increase if necessary. The dough should not feel tough or dry, but rather soft and pliable (but not sticky).

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Continue to knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough. The dough should not feel tough or dry, but rather soft and pliable (but not sticky).

Let the dough rise covered in a greased bowl on the counter or inside the oven with the oven turned off until the dough is doubled in bulk. See tips for understanding when your dough has doubled in bulk.

Can You Make Dinner Roll Dough in a Bread Machine?

Yep! Bread machine sweet potato rolls are so easy to make. I used to do this all the time when I had a bread machine. It is great when you need to multitask and be more hands off with the dough preparation.

You’ll follow the first 2 steps of this recipe, then you will add the flour and the prepared liquids to your bread machine. When adding the flour, I recommend starting with an amount somewhere between the lowest and the highest amounts listed in a recipe because you can always add more later when you handle the dough after the first rise. If you add too much, your dough may be dry.

Next, you will run the dough cycle. This will mix the dough and allow it to complete the first rise. After the first rise, you’ll remove the dough from the bread machine and shape the rolls.

Tips for Making Sweet Potato Yeast Bread

My kids love to work with me to make Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls together. Here are a few tips for making rolls with kids:

Always have Fresh Yeast when Making Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls

Using fresh yeast is incredibly important to successful yeast baking. Old yeast will take much longer to rise, or might not even fully rise at all. And in this case I think everyone, adults included, will be sorely disappointed.

Prepare the Sweet Potato Yeast Bread Early

Kids are impatient. Plan ahead by preparing the dough in advance so they aren’t waiting hours for it to rise before they get to the fun part of rolling. Or have another activity ready to keep them entertained until the dough is ready to be shaped.

How Do You Proof Dough in a Cold House?

Rising will take much longer if your dough is in a cold spot. If you have a “proof” setting on your oven like me, I recommend using that when you let the dough rise.

To proof dough in a cold house, another way that works it to place a heating pad plugged in on the lowest setting in a metal bowl, then place a bath hand towel over top, and then set the bowl of dough on top of that.

Pre-Portion the Sweet Potato Dough When Working with Younger Kids

Making rolls is a perfect afternoon activity kids. They love to roll the balls for the rolls and are pretty good at it most of the time. For uniform shaped rolls, first portion out the rolls into equal sized chunks.

Then, allow kids to do the rolling themselves. Otherwise you may find yourself with lots of interestingly shaped and sized dinner rolls.

Digital Kitchen Scales are really useful for making sure all of your dinner rolls are the same size. You can weigh each small ball of dough to ensure equal portioning.

Dividing the dough into 3 ounce sized dough balls will yield approximately 18 Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls. 3 ounce is the size pictured in the photos. For smaller rolls, try 2 ounce size dough balls. This size will yield a little over 2 dozen rolls.

sweet potato dinner rolls in a white baking dish

How to Make Different Shaped Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls

You don’t have to stick to round dinner rolls. Experiment and have fun with different shaped Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls!

You can make knotted dinner rolls by rolling the dough into a snake like shape, and then tying it in a knot in the center. Then, take the two ends and fold them over and tuck in the middle. Place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, let them complete the final rise, then bake.

You can make cloverleaf dinner rolls by dividing 3 ounce balls of dough into three 1 ounce sized balls. Then place all 3 balls together in the muffin cup of muffin tins. Let them rise for the final rise, then bake.

Make Crescent Dinner Rolls with this sweet potato dinner roll dough by dividing the dough into 3 equal portions. Then, roll the dough out into a 12 inch circle. Use a pizza cutter to cut the circle in half, then cut each half into half again, leaving you with 4 quarters.

Cut each quarter into 2 wedge shapes. You’ll end up with 24 total wedges. Roll the wedges starting with the wide end and ending with the point, which you should place pointed down under the roll.

Transfer the formed crescents onto a baking pans lined with parchment paper, making sure to place enough space between each roll so they don’t stick together when rising and baking. Rise, then bake!

Can You Freeze Homemade Dinner Roll Dough?

YES, you can freeze dough with yeast in it! Freezing homemade dinner roll dough is great when you want to work ahead to take some of the work away from the day you plan to bake the rolls.

In my opinion, it is much better to freeze dinner roll dough rather than freezing homemade dinner rolls, and even better than baking rolls ahead of time. Your rolls will taste much fresher this way!

The best way to freeze homemade dinner rolls is as follows: prepare the recipe for these Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls until step 8. You should let dough rise before freezing, but only to the first rise that occurs before shaping. After this rise, shape the rolls. Place shaped rolls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze until the rolls are solid. Then, transfer the frozen dough balls into freezer safe zip top bag, removing as much air as possible.

On baking day, remove the frozen sweet potato dinner roll dough from the freezer. Place the rolls on your preferred baking sheet or dish. Let thaw at over night in the refrigerator. Then, let them rise on the counter for 45-90 minutes, depending on the warmth of your home. Because the dough starts cold from the fridge, the rise time will be longer than normal. Then, bake according to instructions.

How to Freeze and Reheat Dinner Rolls

If you’d rather bake the rolls completely and freeze prepared dinner rolls, you can do that too. First, you’ll need to let the rolls cool completely. This is crucial because you don’t want any steam or condensation trapped when you freeze the rolls. This could cause them to be soggy later when you defrost them.

After they are cooled, remove the rolls from the baking pan and lay them on a sheet of foil. Wrap the rolls tightly, but not smashing the rolls. Then place the wrapped rolls in a freezer safe zip top storage bag. They will freeze well for about a month.

To reheat them, remove from the freezer and packaging, then thaw completely to room temperature on the counter. Then, pop them in the oven on a baking sheet loosely tented with foil so they don’t dry out. Bake at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until nice and warm.

How to Serve Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls

As tempting as it will be to eat hot rolls, fresh out of the oven, it is best to let them rest for about 10 minutes before eating them, otherwise they maybe gummy inside. Then, brush the dinner rolls with hot, melted butter after baking and sprinkled with flake sea salt.

We like to eat them just like that, but when we’re feeling extra fancy these dinner rolls are amazing served with Whipped Cranberry Butter passed alongside. They also make great Leftover Turkey Sandwiches using Thanksgiving turkey!

Have you ever made sweet potato dinner rolls before?

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Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls

Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls

Yield: 1 1/2 - 2 dozen rolls, depending on the size
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes

While these tender Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls will make an excellent addition to any Thanksgiving menu, they’re also a great way to use up leftover baked sweet potatoes for a post-Thanksgiving treat. Use these Sweet Potato Rolls as buns for turkey sandwiches, too!

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm buttermilk (about 110 degrees)
  • 2 large room temperature eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cup sweet potato puree
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 6 - 7 cups (approximately) All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Instructions

To Make the Sweet Potato Yeast Bread

  1. Stir yeast into buttermilk to soften in a large bowl. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before stirring to combine.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs, sweet potato puree, butter, sugar, and salt together. Add the yeast mixture and whisk until combined.
  3. Using the paddle attachment for your stand mixer, add 3 cups of flour - 1 cup at a time - until a thick dough begins to form. When the dough begins to thicken you will need to switch to the dough hook attachment.
  4. Slowly add the rest of the flour, a bit at a time, until the dough is stiff enough to knead.
  5. Because each cup of flour measures differently, it is important to focus on the feel of the dough. Begin with 3 cups of flour and increase if necessary.
  6. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Continue to knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough. The dough should not feel tough or dry, but rather soft and pliable (but not sticky).
  7. Place the dough into a greased bowl. Turn the dough in the bowl to coat the entire ball of dough with oil.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and rise until doubled in bulk, for 1 - 2 hours. See tips for understanding when your dough has doubled in bulk.

Shaping the Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls

  1. Divide the dough into thirds. Then, divide each third into 6-8 portions, depending on how small you would like your rolls.
  2. Roll each piece of dough to form smooth balls. Then, divide the rolls between the baking sheets and cover with plastic wrap.
  3. Allow the rolls to rise for 20 - 30 minutes, then discard the plastic wrap.

Baking The Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper. (Note: Alternatively, you can bake the rolls in greased round cake pans instead of on baking sheets).
  2. Cook the rolls in the 400 degree F preheated oven for 15-25 minutes, or until they are baked through and golden on top.
  3. Rotate the baking sheets halfway through baking if you cannot bake them all on the same rack.
  4. As tempting as it is to eat rolls fresh out of the oven, it is best to let them rest for about 10 minutes before eating them, otherwise they maybe gummy inside.
  5. Then, brush roll tops with melted butter. And add a sprinkling of flaked sea salt (if desired).

Notes

Don't have buttermilk? Check out these 6 Easy Buttermilk Substitutes and learn how to make homemade buttermilk. It’s easier than you’d think to make your own buttermilk!

How to Make Sweet Potato Puree

Peel and dice the sweet potatoes into 2 inch chunks and steam them in a saucepan with a steamer basket until tender. OR Steam the diced sweet potatoes in an Instant Pot with an Instant Pot Steamer Basket. Add 1 cup of water to pot, place the basket in, add the sweet potatoes to the basket. Cook them on high pressure for 10 minutes. Let pressure release on its own (no quick release) before opening the lid.

Puree steamed sweet potatoes in a food processor. If necessary, add a small amount water until you are able to get a completely smooth process. You'll want this to be a little thicker than canned pumpkin puree not watery.

Tips for Shaping Dough Balls

Dividing the dough into 3 ounce sized dough balls will yield approximately 18 Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls. 3 ounce is the size pictured in the photos. For smaller rolls, try 2 ounce size dough balls. This size will yield a little over 2 dozen rolls.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 18 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 249 Total Fat 5g Saturated Fat 3g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 31mg Sodium 306mg Carbohydrates 44g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 2g Sugar 4g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 7g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.