Recipe Redux – Potato Rolls

Potato Rolls Basted With Butter Before Baking

This month’s Recipe Redux theme, in honor of Thanksgiving, is a food memory for which we are thankful and then a healthy “redo” of that recipe. This was pretty easy for me to come up with an idea as one memory and food jumps out at me this time of year. My family has always made potato rolls (actually called Ice Box Rolls according to the original recipe but we’ve never called them that) for Thanksgiving. This is a recipe that has been handed down in my family and something the entire extended family looks forward to having on this day. These light, fluffy rolls with a delicate butter flavor go down easy and hardly anyone can stop themselves with just one or two.


At some point when I was young, my mother became the one to make the potato rolls every Thanksgiving. I remember there always being a cloud of flour in the air punctuated by the smell of melted butter while my mom made several batches of the rolls. She then began to teach me to make the rolls when I was in college and took an interest in learning to bake.

Family Recipe for Potato Rolls with a healthy makeover

My first time making them by myself, I was living away from home in Utah and unable to come home for the holidays. It was a little piece of home that I could still have with me even though I was far from my family. It was certainly a little trickier to make the rolls living at high altitude, but I still managed to pull off a close replica of our iconic family roll and share with new friends.

Over the years, I’ve made them quite a few times, either by myself or still with my mother, though admittedly the past few years no one has made them as it is a bit of a time commitment. This month’s challenge, however, sparked the desire for this bit of family comfort food and for that I am grateful.

Family Recipe for Potato Rolls with a healthy makeover

I did make some changes to the recipe to boost the whole grains and drop the fat content a bit, while still trying to retain their light, fluffiness as well as some of the buttery flavor. Originally I had tried to use all white whole wheat flour, and while the roll tasted good (my 5 year old quickly gobbled up two of the rolls), it didn’t quite have the flavor I was going for as it tasted too much like a regular whole wheat roll (albeit a very good one). In the end, I decided to use a mix of white whole wheat and all purpose flour. Plain Greek yogurt and some applesauce replaced some of the butter in the original recipe so that I could still baste the tops with butter before the final rising. Each bite is a precious trip down memory lane.

Potato Rolls
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 dozen
My family comfort food in a tasty roll given a healthy makeover. You can use all white whole wheat flour and still make a great roll, though I used a combination of flours to achieve more of the original flavor I wanted.
  • 1 package yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1½ cups mashed potatoes, packed, still warm
  • ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ - 3 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
  1. Add yeast to ½ cup warm water. Stir and set aside for 5-10 minutes or until frothy.
  2. Combine potatoes, Greek yogurt, applesauce, sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, beaten eggs, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Scald the milk by heating in a small saucepan until a skin forms on top and remove from heat just before it begins to boil. Slowly add the milk to the potato mixture.
  4. Make sure potato mixture isn't too hot and then add the yeast mixture. Stir well.
  5. To the potato and milk mixture, add the all-purpose flour. Then add in the white whole wheat flour, beginning with 2½ cups. Add more flour as needed so that it is still sticky but can be handled.
  6. Turn dough out onto a floured board or counter and knead, adding more flour as needed, until smooth and elastic.
  7. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and set in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 1 to 2 hours. (Dough can also be placed in the refrigerator overnight to rise).
  8. Punch dough down and roll out on a floured surface to about ¼ inch thickness. Using a 2-3" biscuit cutter, cut out rolls. Place rolls 1” apart on a non-stick baking sheet. Baste with remaining melted butter and fold the roll nearly in half (leave about a ¼” edge). Cover and let rise another 1 to 2 hours.
  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake rolls in preheated oven until lightly golden on top, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Enjoy some of the other Recipe Redux creations; maybe you’ll find a new family food memory to begin making on one of these pages.

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