These light and fluffy Sweet Potato Buns make amazing Sliders and Burger Buns, Bread Rolls for Sandwiches or Dinner Rolls. Packed with mashed Sweet Potatoes, these Brioche-style Buns are the perfect addition to your Holiday table and an original bread recipe!
Why we love this recipe
These Sweet Potato Buns are such fun and delicious bread buns! They are light and fluffy, just like classic Brioche Buns, but with a light sweetness that comes from the sweet potato.
Using mashed sweet potato inside the bread dough not only adds a fun orange colour to these buns, just like for my Sweet Potato Pasta, it also really makes the crumb super light, moist and fluffy.
Don't get me wrong, I love bread in any shape or forms, whether they come in a loaf, sourdough or a flatbread like Focaccia. But there is something so fun about adding veggies or cheese to breads like my Spinach and Ricotta Rolls!
These bread rolls are also super versatile and perfect for the Holiday Season. They can be used as sliders or hamburger buns, light dinner rolls or even to make sandwiches (to enjoy your Holiday dinner leftovers for example). They will also be great in summer to take to barbecues and picnics!
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes: simply cooked and mashed sweet potatoes with no seasoning, butter or other addition (see FAQ below on how to cook mashed sweet potatoes). Note that the weight/quantity is for the pre-mashed sweet potatoes, not the sweet potato before cooking and mashing it. I have not tried to make these with canned sweet potato, but I will guess that it works too.
- Instant Dry Yeast: a type of yeast that comes in fine granules and works quickly. It does not require to be dissolved in a warm liquid first (as opposed to active dry yeast) but I personally always do it to insure the yeast is still alive and active before making the bread! Read here to use Active Dry Yeast instead.
- Brown Sugar: the light molasses flavour works perfectly with the sweet potato!
- Milk: Full Cream preferred, although you could use a Plant-Based / Dairy-Free Milk if needed instead. This recipe will work with Water too, but you will loose some richness and flavour.
- Butter: unsalted, melted and at room temperature. Can be substituted with a neutral-flavoured oil like Canola Oil to make these buns dairy-free if required.
- Egg: medium size, at room temperature
- Flour: I used Bread Flour (not Plain/AP Flour) to create much lighter and fluffier buns. Scroll to the FAQ section below if using Plain/AP Flour instead.
- Salt: a simple Table Salt. Make sure to add it last so that it does not come in direct contact with the yeast, which could kill the yeast.
I also used a mix of Egg and Milk for the Egg Wash, and topped the buns with Black Sesame Seeds. This is optional.
How to make Sweet Potato Bread Rolls
There are four main steps to make these sweet potato rolls:
- Preparing the Mashed Sweet Potato, Making and Kneading the Bread Dough
- First Proving
- Shaping the Buns
- Second Proving and Baking
Making the Dough
The first step is to prepare the Mashed Sweet Potato and let it cool down before starting to make the dough.
To cook the sweet potato, I simply pricked it with a fork, wrapped it in foil and baked it in the oven for about 45 minutes at 180'C/350'F, or until very soft. You can also cook the sweet potato in the microwave or by boiling it if preferred (see the FAQs section below).
It is important to mash it very well so that the potato is very smooth and no lumps remain. This will insure it gets combined with the rest of the other ingredients easily! I just used a regular Potato Masher, but you could always blend it if preferred. Just insure not to blend it too thinly.
Once the Sweet Mashed Potato is ready, you can start preparing the sweet potato bread dough:
- Place the Milk in a heat-proof bowl or Jug and slightly heat it up in the microwave. It shouldn't be hot, just warm - somewhere around room temperature and your body temperature (I simply place a finger in the milk to check the temperature; you almost shouldn't feel any cold or heat).
- Photo 1: Whisk in the Brown Sugar until dissolved, then add the Instant Dry Yeast. Stir to combine, then set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to activate the yeast. You should start to see a light foam or bubbles on top of the milk.
- Photo 2: Add the Melted Butter (back at room temperature) and Mashed Sweet Potato.
- Photo 3: Whisk all the wet ingredients until combined then transfer into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (see FAQ section below if making these by hands).
- Photo 4: Add the Bread Flour (preferably sifted) then Salt. Start to knead on a medium-low speed for about 3 minutes, stopping to scrap the edges of the bowl if needed. Increase the speed to a medium-high and keep kneading for another 5 to 8 minutes (more or less depending on your mixer). The dough should be very slightly sticky still, but very smooth and elastic.
- Photo 5: Transfer the dough over a lightly floured or greased surface and bring together into a ball. Again, the dough should still be very slightly sticky - it's normal. Try not to add more flour unless necessary. Place the ball into a large clean bowl that has been lightly greased and cover with a tea towel.
- Photo 6: Leave to prove for 1 to 1,5 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. The exact time will depend on the room temperature, so it could take longer for the first proof if your kitchen is cold (*). If you gently poke the dough, it should slowly spring back but still leave a small dent.
- Photo 7: Punch the dough to remove the air and transfer over a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (9 for large burger buns or 15 for small dinner rolls). To be exact, you will want to use a kitchen scale, weight the dough then divide that by the number of rolls you want to make.
(*) when making bread in winter, I like to place the dough in a slightly warm oven to prove (I just preheat the oven for a couple of minutes, just to get it up to a room temperature).
Shaping the Buns
- Photo 8: Gently flatten each bun into a disk using your fingers
- Photo 9: Fold the edges of the disk towards the centre of the ball, making your way around the disk. You want to create tension in the dough so keep going around until it feels like you cannot pull the edges anymore. This will help to trap the air inside the buns and create a nice rise in the oven
- Photo 10: Gently pinch the dough in the centre so that it sticks together.
- Photo 11: Turn the ball over (seams down) and gently roll it between the bench and the palm of your hand to form a nice even shape. You will want to apply a slight pressure to help shape the sweet potato buns.
Final Proving and Egg Wash
- Photo 12: Once you have shaped each buns, place them in a large baking tray (I used a large roasting pan) lined with baking paper. Make sure you leave enough room between each buns as they will rise again during the second proving and in the oven.
- Leave to prove a second time for about 30 to 45 minutes (again, more or less depending on the temperature of the room). They should have almost doubled in volume.
- Preheat your oven on 180'C/350'F.
- Photo 13: Optional: for a golden finish, brush the buns with an Egg Wash. To do so, whisk together one egg with a little bit of milk and brush the liquid over each bun. Finish the bread rolls with a sprinkle of Seeds or Grains - I used Black Sesame Seeds.
- Bake the sweet potato rolls for about 25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Leave to cool down completely inside the baking tray before removing them. If you move them or slice them while still warm, some of the steam still contained in the buns will evaporate which will create a dried, less fluffy crumb.
Tips to make this recipe
- Check that the Dry Yeast is active by dissolving it in the warm Milk first (it needs to be warm but not hot or it will kill the yeast - just slightly higher than room temperature). After a few minutes, you should see froth / bubbles at the surface, which indicates that the yeast is still active.
- Use a Stand Mixer with a dough hook attachment for the best results. Yes, you can knead the bread by hands, but I always find to get a much lighter and fluffier bread crumb when using the mixer.
- Only add more Flour only if required. It is tempting to want to add more flour as you go, but the dough is supposed to be slightly sticky before the first rise.
- Make sure to follow the proving time for the best bread texture and crumb. An under or over-proofed bread will be more dense and dry, or not rise enough in the oven. It is hard to give a specific proving time as it will depend on the temperature of your kitchen - but make sure it has about doubled in volume for the first rise and once shaped.
- A good way to test if the bread has proved enough is by gently poking it. It should slowly spring back but leave a small dent when it reaches the ideal proving time. If it springs right back, it usually needs a little bit more time. If it deflates, it is over-proved.
- Brush the buns with an Egg Wash for a shiny, golden finish. You can also top them with your favourite seed or grain like I did here with Black Sesame Seeds - for example: white sesame seeds, poppy seeds, oats, pumpkin seeds,...
- Leave the sweet potato buns to cool down completely before removing them from the tray. The breads will actually continue to bake from the inside even when out of the oven. Moving them or slicing them straight out of the oven might let the remaining hot air/steam come out which could result in less fluffy and drier buns.
Yes, honey will work too, but you might need to slightly increase the flour quantity as it will add more liquid to the dough.
Yes, these sweet potato buns can be made with a Plain / All-Purpose Flour (with the same ratio / quantity), but for the best crumb and bun texture, I highly recommend using a Bread Flour.
Bread Flour as slightly more protein than an AP Flour, which will help your buns (and bread in general) rise more in the oven - thus making them lighter and fluffier.
There are three ways to cook Sweet Potato in order to mash it: wrapped in foil in the oven (like I did here), cut into small pieces and boiled or in the microwave. The method is up to you, but you need for the sweet potato to be very tender in order to get a smooth, lump-free mash.
You can always make these by hands but you will need to knead them for much longer than in your stand mixer to get a similar result. As the dough is slightly sticky, it will be a messier process as well, but try not to add too much flour as you knead the bread.
Storing & Freezing
The buns will stay fresh for up to 3 days at room temperature, preferably covered or in an air-tight container / bread box. I do not recommend keeping them in the fridge or they will become dry quickly.
You can actually prepare the buns in advance and bake them just before serving. To make these sweet potato buns ahead, follow the normal instructions until the buns are individually shaped. Place them on a tray covered with wrap or foil and keep in the fridge overnight (the cold will stop the proving process).
Take them out of the fridge and let them come back to room temperature for about an hour. Allow for another 30 to 45 minutes to prove again before baking as indicated. As always, depending on the temperature of the room, this could take more or less time.
The sweet potato buns can be frozen individually. Make sure they are completely cool then wrap them individually in a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminium foil. Alternatively, you can use a large freezer-friendly container or freezing bag, but i recommend using baking paper or foil to separate each bun.
Freeze for up to a month for more freshness. Leave to thaw at room temperature for a few hours or overnight when ready to eat.
More Homemade Bread Recipes
- Chocolate Brioche Bread Wreath
- Lemon Sweet Rolls
- Classic Cinnamon Scrolls
- Apple Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread
- Chocolate Chip Brioche Bread
- French Brioche Loaf Bread
- Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
- Chocolate Brioche Bread
- Sesame Bagels
- Challah Rolls
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Sweet Potato Buns for Burgers or Dinner Rolls
Sweet Potato Buns
- 200 gr (7 oz) Mashed Sweet Potato - (*) (about 3/4 cup)
- 180 ml (3/4 cup) Full Cream Milk - warm
- 11 gr (1 tablesp.) Instant Dry Yeast
- 30 gr (2 1/2 tablesp.) Brown Sugar
- 50 gr (3 1/2 tablesp.) Unsalted Butter - melted and at room temperature
- 1 Egg
- 500 gr (3 1/3 cup) Bread Flour - (**)
- 8 gr (1 1/2 teasp.) Table Salt
Egg Wash & Topping (optional)
- 1 Egg
- 15 ml (1 tablesp.) Full Cream Milk
- Seeds or Grains to top the buns (I used Black Sesame Seeds) - to taste
I highly recommend using the measurements in grams & ml (instead of cups & spoons) for more accuracy and better results.
Sweet Potato Buns
- Cook the Sweet Potato then mash it until very smooth. This can be done in the microwave, oven or by boiling it (refer to FAQ section above). Leave it to cool down until it reaches room temperature.
- Place the Milk in a bowl or jug and heat it up slightly in the microwave (see note 1). Whisk in the Brown Sugar until dissolved, then add the Instant Dry Yeast. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes or until the yeast starts to activate and you can see froth/bubbles on the surface.
- Whisk in the melted Butter (at room temperature), the Egg and the Mashed Sweet Potato then place it all in the bowl of your Stand Mixer fitted with the Dough Hook attachment (see note 2).
- Add the sifted Bread Flour and Table Salt and start kneading the dough on a medium-low speed. Stop to scrap the edges of the bowl if needed. Knead for about 3 minutes, then increase the speed to a medium-high and keep kneading for another 5 to 7 minutes (see note 3).
- Flip the dough on a very lightly floured or greased surface and bring together into a large ball (it will still be slightly sticky, it's normal). Transfer into a clean bowl that has been lightly greased, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for about 1 to 1,5 hour - or until the dough has doubled in size (see note 4).
- Punch the air out of the dough, then transfer over a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 equel balls (or more or less if you want smaller or larger buns). Use a scale to weight the dough and get the exact same size for each buns.
- For each bun, gently flatten the ball of dough with your finger to strech it out, then fold each side towards the middle of the disk to create tension within the dough. Turn the ball over and gently roll it under your palm, applying slight pressure against the surface, to get a perfect round bun.
- Place the buns inside a large lined baking tray, leaving enough room between each buns for them to prove and expand again. Leave to prove a second time for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the buns have risen again.
- Preheat your oven on 180'C/350'F.
Egg Wash (optional)
- Just before baking the buns, prepare the Egg Wash by whisking together the Egg and Milk. Brush the liquid over each buns, then sprinkle your choice of topping over the buns.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the buns are puffed and golden. Leave to cool down completely in the tray before moving the sweet potato buns.
- Be careful the Milk is not too hot or it will kill the yeast. It should only be slightly warmer than room temperature and about your body temperature (if you touch it with your finger, you shouldn't feel much heat from it).
- The dough can be kneaded by hands on a slightly floured or greased surface if you don't have a stand mixer, but you will need to knead it for much longer to get a similar result.
- The dough should be smooth, without lumps, and very stretchy. It will be slightly sticky - it is completely normal. Try not to add too much flour unless absolutely necessary (if the dough is extremely sticky)
- The exact proving time will always depend on the temperature of your room, so I can only give you an estimate. In a very cold room, it could take much longer for the dough to rise. As an indication, the dough should have about doubled in volume before you move onto the next step.