Sweet Potato Yeast Rolls


When shaping the rolls, use tension in your cupped hand rather than too much excess flour to coax the dough into a ball. A generous brushing of melted butter on the baked rolls adds shine and flavor, while ajowan seeds offer an herbal bite reminiscent of thyme and cumin.

Sweet Potato Yeast Rolls Recipe
Photo: Victor Protasio
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
30 rolls


  • 2 medium-size sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cane sugar, divided

  • 5 tablespoons 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 tablespoons kosher salt

  • Cooking spray

  • 2 teaspoons ajowan, cumin, or caraway seeds


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. Serve rolls warm, or transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 1 hour.


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

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