Sweet Potato Yeast Rolls

Sweet Potato Yeast Rolls are a wonderful accompaniment to a Thanksgiving dinner.  You always have to have a basket of bread, so why not include these?  The taste is rich and the color is brilliant!

With most yeast doughs, you have to allow time for the dough to rise, but while that’s happening, you can be working on other parts of your thanksgiving dinner.

Begin the process by roasting the sweet potatoes.  Once cool enough to handle the potatoes, peel and mash them.

The dough begins with combining milk, sugar and butter in a small saucepan and heating until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.  The yeast, water and sugar are proofed in another small bowl.  To proof it means giving it a little time (5 minutes or so) for the yeast to get bubbly. 

The milk, yeast and sweet potatoes along with an egg are combined in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment and mixed with the flour and salt until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.  Transfer it to a bowl and let it stand until it doubles in size, about an hour.

Divide the dough into 30 pieces and shape into balls.  Place them on a baking sheet and let rise for another 30-60 minutes.  

Brush an egg wash on the rolls, sprinkle with ajowan or caraway seeds.  Bake the rolls for about 18 minutes.  Brush the hot rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

Serve these delicious rolls hot from the oven or let cool completely on a wire rack.

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Sweet Potato Yeast Rolls

Makes: 30 rolls

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Bake Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours & 20 minutes


  • 2 medium-size sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar, divided
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter (2 1/2 ounces), melted, divided
  • 1/4 cup warm water (100°F to 110°F)
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (about 17 ounces), plus more for work surface
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tsp ajowan, cumin, or caraway seeds
  • Flaky sea salt


Prick sweet potatoes all over using a fork; place on a microwavable plate. Microwave on high, turning every 4 minutes, until softened, 8 to 12 minutes total. Let cool 10 minutes. Peel and discard skins. Mash sweet potatoes in a medium bowl using a fork until mostly smooth.

Cook milk, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-low, stirring often, until sugar just dissolves, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together 1/4 cup warm water, yeast, and remaining 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Place milk mixture, yeast mixture, 1 cup (8 ounces) mashed sweet potatoes (reserve remaining sweet potatoes for another use), and 1 egg in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium-low; gradually add flour and salt, beating until combined, about 1 minute. Increase mixer speed to medium; beat until dough is smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky, 6 to 8 minutes. (Dough should stick to bottom of bowl but pull away from sides.) Transfer dough to a large bowl lightly greased with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature until almost doubled in volume, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and divide into 30 (about 1-ounce) pieces. Shape into balls. Arrange dough balls in 6 rows of 5 balls each on a rimmed 13- x 9-inch baking sheet lightly greased with cooking spray, spacing about ½ inch apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature until dough balls have almost doubled in size, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F.

Whisk remaining egg in a small bowl until lightly beaten. Uncover rolls; brush lightly with beaten egg. Sprinkle rolls evenly with ajowan seeds. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and puffy, 14 to 18 minutes. Brush hot rolls with remaining 2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle flaky sea salt over. Serve rolls warm, or transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Chef’s Note:

Find ajowan seeds at your local Asian or Indian market, or order from kalustyans.com.

Recipe from Food and Wine


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