I think I need bigger bowls.

Sweet Potato and Honey Dinner Rolls I howsweeteats.com

Actually, wait… I also think I need a bigger brain. Listen.

On Tuesday night before I was going to bed, at uh… midnight, I took out my contacts to sterilize them, washed my face, brushed my teeth, slathered moisturizer on my skin and then… put my contacts back in my eyes. You know… for bed?

This may not seem like a huge deal, but if you have to sterilize your contacts like I do, then you know that they absolutely cannot touch your eyes for at least 6 hours once they hit that solution.

Ouch ouch ouch.

Sweet Potato and Honey Dinner Rolls I howsweeteats.com

As I was screaming in pain with no one to help me since my husband was out of town, I managed to claw my eyelids open and practically scrape the contacts from my eyes.

I don’t know what had gotten into me, but it was like when you wake up feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with boatloads of energy, take a shower, eat breakfast, get dressed, put on makeup, then get in the car to go to work and notice that the clock says 1:54.


We’ve all be there, right?

WHY DID I STUFF MY CONTACTS IN MY EYES AT 12:07 AM?! It wasn’t like I had just woken from a deep sleep. Or a deep bottle of wine. Or rum! I know what you think of me.

Sweet Potato and Honey Dinner Rolls I howsweeteats.com

Then I couldn’t fall asleep because my eyes were on fire. The only thing that kept me alive (drama!) was blinking 436 times per minute. And for the last two days, my eyes have appeared as though I’ve been ingesting large amounts of questionable substances… like all day long.

By 3AM that night, I was starrrrving. I was past the point of exhaustion and still couldn’t comfortably keeps my eyes opened or closed, so I hoofed it downstairs and sank my teeth into one of these fluffy rolls. I had made them on Saturday in between my pajama wearing, wine drinking, and related laying around, and they still tasted fresh in the middle of the night three days later. They soothed me enough to eventually pass out and forget about the flames under my lids until about 6AM, when I simply wanted to shove my head into a barrel of ice.

Sweet Potato and Honey Dinner Rolls I howsweeteats.com

Even though I crammed way too much dough into a little bowl, seeing dough rise still makes me giddy. Especially when it spills over the dish and makes the kitchen smell all yeasty. In a, uh… good way.

I’m not even a bread person (much more of a consume-an-entire-cheesecake person) and I couldn’t stop with these rolls. We ate them with chicken chili and spread them with butter and drizzled them with honey and shoved them in our face and made them our… you know. They were like sweet potato pillows. I want to bounce up and down on them.

Sweet Potato and Honey Dinner Rolls I howsweeteats.com


Sweet Potato and Honey Dinner Rolls

Yield: makes about 30 rolls

Prep Time: 3.5 hours

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours


1 large sweet potato (once peeled, mine was 12 ounces)
2 packages of active dry yeast
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
4 teaspoons sea salt
6 cups of all-purpose flour, plus more for workspace
1 egg, lightly beaten


1. Peel sweet potato (or potatoes – you just want about 12 ounces), chop into chunks and place in a pot with cold water. Bring to a boil and and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain potatoes, then place in a bowl and mash.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine water, yeast, 2 tablespoons honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon and let sit until foamy, about 15 minutes.

3. Once foamy, add potatoes, remaining honey, 4 tablespoons melted butter, buttermilk and salt. Gradually add flour with the mixer on low until a sticky dough forms, then knead with the dough hook for about 2-3 minutes. Brush a large bowl with melted butter, then place the dough in the bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours.

4. Using a bit of flour, knead dough until silky then divide in half. Roll into a long rope, then cut off pieces of dough (about 2 ounces each) and roll into a bowl. Place them into a greased 9×13 baking dish – you should be able to fit about 15 in there (using 2 pans). If desired, you can freeze dough at this point for up to 2 months. If baking immediately, cover the baking dish and let sit in a warm place to rise for about 30-45 more minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush rolls with beaten egg, then bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown. (If you want to bake both pans at once, set one on the lower rack and one on the upper rack in the oven, then switch half way through baking.) Let cool for a few minutes, then serve warm with butter and honey.

[adapted from martha stewart]

Sweet Potato and Honey Dinner Rolls I howsweeteats.com

You can eat all that butter in that bowl there. Because I said so.

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248 Responses to “Sweet Potato and Honey Dinner Rolls.”

  1. #
    Kathryn — October 7, 2011 @ 7:05 am

    I love how shiny these are on top – they look like the most perfect dinner rolls ever!

    I don’t even trust myself to wear glasses, let alone contacts. It sounds horribly painful :(


  2. #
    Lindsey @ SoundEats — October 7, 2011 @ 7:08 am

    I love you and I love bread. And sweet potatoes. And honey. And I’m totally going to do a whole wheat version of these ASAP! Thank you!


  3. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — October 7, 2011 @ 7:08 am

    I’m not even a bread person either (more like a brownie person!) and these look…incredible. This is worth all gluten poisoning I would endure. They look soooo good!

    Super cute pumpkin butter knife :)

    And I didnt know you wore contacts! I hope your eyes are feeling better. Ouch!!


  4. #
    Laura — October 7, 2011 @ 7:15 am

    If your posts weren’t random and rambly (in a good way, and yes I made up that word), I think I’d lose interest in your blog. Thanks for all the good work. Makes me smile to see them in my reader.


  5. #
    Erika - The Teenage Taste — October 7, 2011 @ 7:21 am

    These rolls look perfect! (How ironic considering your not-so-perfect night! Hope your eyes feel better now!) I’m bookmarking these! :-D


  6. #
    Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles — October 7, 2011 @ 7:22 am

    OH NOOOOOO! ….I have to sterilize my contact too and realize what a huge thing just happened to you! OUCH!!!!! I would have drank a bottle of wine (or rum, it’s whatever) and hope it put me to sleep! But you went and made something tasty from a bad experience!


  7. #
    Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama — October 7, 2011 @ 7:24 am

    Oh my god those look perfect and so good! I just did a squash biscuit the other day…. but these look so much better. But I’m yeast bread challenged! I need to work on it….


    • Jessica — October 7th, 2011 @ 7:37 am

      I was deciding between biscuits and these!


  8. #
    Melanie — October 7, 2011 @ 7:25 am

    My stomach turned when I read about your contacts because the EXACT same thing happened to me last year. I used to (key words) use the sterilizer where it fizzes and bubbles, then you have to let them sit for 6 hours. Like you I put them in and I could not believe the pain!! It was probably the worst I’ve ever felt in my life, I collapsed on my bathroom floor and had to use one hand to try to keep my eyeild open and like you, had to scrape the contact off. I’m shuddering. It’s one of my least-favorite memories and I feel your pain! I think it literally burns your eyeballs because mine was red for a few days. :( Anyways – I just wrote a book but I can relate and I don’t think you’re being dramatic at ALL because when I tell it, it sounds even more dramatic, haha.
    Also, those rolls look delicious – I think I’m going to try them for Thanksgiving this weekend ! (Here in Canada-land)


    • Jessica — October 7th, 2011 @ 7:37 am

      I didn’t want to be overly dramatic either but yes… it probably was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.


  9. #
    Jennifer@Peanut Butter and Peppers — October 7, 2011 @ 7:31 am

    My husband hates sweet potato, I wonder if I could make this and he would never know? Ha ha!! I love tricking him!


    • Jessica — October 7th, 2011 @ 7:37 am

      Probably! Or maybe try russets or something. :)


    • Sherrie — October 10th, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

      He will NEVER know, promise! You can taste the sweetness of the honey, but the sweet potato is not at all noticeable! Loved every bite! :)


  10. #
    Erica — October 7, 2011 @ 7:37 am

    I have contacts…been there,done that. Im in pain just thinking about it. The rolls-amazing. These scream thanksgiving


  11. #
    Kim in MD — October 7, 2011 @ 7:38 am

    Oh my gosh…I’m so sorry about your contact lense fiasco! That sounds so painful! At least you had one of these rolls to (somewhat) comfort you! They really look amazing-perfect for Thanksgiving!


  12. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — October 7, 2011 @ 7:38 am

    We have all had those late night moments! These rolls look delicious, I wouldn’t need anything else for dinner.


  13. #
    heather — October 7, 2011 @ 7:44 am

    OH, my poor friend! At least you had delicious sweet potato rolls to comfort you. They look delicious!


  14. #
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — October 7, 2011 @ 7:48 am

    Wow! These look amazing! Sorry about your contact lens ordeal! Yikes!


  15. #
    Christina @ This Woman Cooks! — October 7, 2011 @ 7:48 am

    I’ve never heard of sweet potato rolls but after you described them to be like pillows, I want one. And they’re so fluffy!

    I’d totally do the same thing if I wore contacts…wanna hear about the time I brushed my teeth with neosporin? Yup. That happened.


    • Jessica — October 7th, 2011 @ 7:49 am

      LOL WHAT?! Oh my gosh.


  16. #
    Trish — October 7, 2011 @ 7:51 am

    I can’t stop laughing at your contact episode. I thought I was the only one out that has tried to sear their eyes shut. I did that this summer, and thought I was going to go blind. God bless you for making my morning. FYI… if you don’t rinse them all the way there is sometimes a little burning (flash back). The rolls look amazing and I can’t wait to try them, I have a sick honey at home and I am sure this will make him feel better. PS. Rinsing your eyes with saline will help with the burning, if by chance you do I again. It worked for me once I was able to pry my eyes open.


  17. #
    Kristen — October 7, 2011 @ 7:52 am

    Can you do a little pictostorygram (you know how you do) of how to work with yeast? I mean for real… like, here’s a bowl, here’s warm water, here’s how you test it, here’s how you use it… or whatever. I’ve read Ina’s directions, I’ve dvr’d and played back Paula Deen’s step by step on the food network, and still… nothing.. no rise… no glory.

    That’d be grand.


    • Jessica — October 7th, 2011 @ 7:53 am

      Heheheh… I’ll see what I can do. :)


  18. #
    Angela @ The Dancer Bakes — October 7, 2011 @ 7:53 am

    These sound absolutely incredible – I may have to make them to go with the corn chowder I’m making this weekend!


  19. #
    Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels — October 7, 2011 @ 7:53 am

    Wow these dinner rolls look sooo good and fluffy. I’ve always wanted to make sweet potato rolls and can’t wait to give these a try. :) YUM!


  20. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — October 7, 2011 @ 7:53 am

    ohmigosh. i’m dying, i want that roll + butter like my life depends on it!

    honestly i use the regular solution when i take out my contacts so i’ve never done that before, but let’s just talk about how i almost started bawling at the eye doctor last night. i just hate that they shine super bright lights in your eyes and puffs of air and the fact that being practically blind makes me feel like an idiot. it was very emotionally difficult…and not even the first time i’ve done it. sigh.


  21. #
    Alicia at AliGirl Cooks — October 7, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    Ugh I use that same contact solution and have made that mistake before! It’s almost impossible to get your eye open to get them out. Nothing like a roll with tons of melty butter to make you feel better though!


  22. #
    Brittany from CountingMyCupcakes — October 7, 2011 @ 8:06 am

    Bookmarked!! I didn’t even need to read it before I knew this was something I HAD to make.


  23. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — October 7, 2011 @ 8:13 am

    “when it spills over the dish and makes the kitchen smell all yeasty” – LOL! Only foodies would think of ‘yeasty’ as a good smell, but I totally know what you mean! I feel so sorry for you and your contact catastrophe. Hopefully you’ll be back to regular snoozing lately so you can dream about floating on honey dinner roll clouds (although you don’t need to dream because clearly they already exist in your kitchen!!)


  24. #
    Yammie @ Yammie's Noshery — October 7, 2011 @ 8:17 am

    Oh. My. I love sweet potatoes so much. These look spectacular. Sorry about your eyeballs.


  25. #
    Jen @ keepitsimplefoods — October 7, 2011 @ 8:17 am

    I shouldn’t be looking at this or even thinking about dinner rolls for that matter (wedding is tomorrow!!!)! But these look amazing!


    • Jessica — October 7th, 2011 @ 8:24 am

      Ah! Congrats girl! This is the weekend we got married too, 3 years ago. :)


  26. #
    Kristin — October 7, 2011 @ 8:20 am

    Those rolls look amazing.

    One time when I was in high school, I ran out of contact solution and went into my mom’s bathroom to borrow hers. I got a nasty surprise when I put it in my eye. She made me go to school anyway and I had to walk around looking like a crazy one-eyed monster. Contacts are just trouble!

    The good news is that you can still see and bring us delicious recipes! I hope they’re all healed now.


    • Jessica — October 7th, 2011 @ 8:24 am

      My eyes hurt just thinking of that.


  27. #
    Grammy@gram-cracker.com/blog — October 7, 2011 @ 8:24 am

    OH YUM! Sweet Potato anything makes my heart smile!


  28. #
    Katrina — October 7, 2011 @ 8:28 am

    Mmm nothing like hot buns right from the oven. I love this flavour combo too!


  29. #
    Suzanne — October 7, 2011 @ 8:29 am

    Dude, my eyes are hurting for you. A couple years ago I came home sloshed from my office Christmas party. I took out my contacts and then proceeded to kill a bag of corn chips… and then try to take my contacts out again. It took a good five minutes of scratching at my eyes before I remembered that I had already taken them out. My eyes were red for days…


    • Jessica — October 7th, 2011 @ 8:38 am

      I’m in pain after reading that.


  30. #
    April — October 7, 2011 @ 8:29 am

    You have just reduced my Thanksgiving Feast jitters from a ten to, oh, probably a five. I should probably put the bottle down now then, huh?

    How? Well, I am sifting through what feels like hundreds of potential recipes for each of the 15 to 20 dishes that will be served.

    Yes, this is all self-inflicted. I feel the need to switch things up… so tired of the same ‘ol, same ‘ol. Why do I do this to myself?

    At least I now KNOW what bread will be on the menu. Yay! I will be substituting canned sweet potatoes though.

    I am happy to report that the twitching has subsided.

    Thank you!


  31. #
    Gen — October 7, 2011 @ 8:29 am

    I’ve never baked with sweet potatoes in bread before…..will definitely have to try this out! Especially since no one else likes sweet potato anything in my family….I get all of the rolls to myself! :D


  32. #
    kathleen @ the daily crumb — October 7, 2011 @ 8:34 am

    oh.my.goodness. these look fantastic! i love anything and everything with sweet potatoes… can’t wait to try these :)


  33. #
    Kelly — October 7, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    So sorry about your eyes!!! OUCH!

    But these rolls do look amazing. Bread is my weakness…I can easily pass up cookies, cakes, pies but put fresh rolls in front of me and it is a stomach ache waiting to happen…in a good way! :)


  34. #
    Lindsay @ biking before bed — October 7, 2011 @ 8:39 am

    Those biscuits look like an awesome way to dull the pain:) I have taken my contacts out several times right after chopping jalepenos. Don’t ever try that one.


    • Jessica — October 7th, 2011 @ 8:40 am

      Ohhhh been there, done that. Atrocious.


  35. #
    Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers — October 7, 2011 @ 8:45 am

    Sorry about the contacts! Ouchiessss!

    The rolls look fantastic. I’m drooling over them even though I just finished my breakfast!


  36. #
    Molly @ RDexposed — October 7, 2011 @ 8:53 am

    I’ve actually showered and put in contacts at 12:30am only to realize once putting on jeans the actual time. On another note-I want to make these rolls for Thanksgiving!


  37. #
    Noelle — October 7, 2011 @ 9:01 am

    Been there done that, except after peeling poblano peppers. Major stupidity for me!


  38. #
    Blog is the New Black — October 7, 2011 @ 9:06 am

    Looks amazing- perfect for Thanksgiving!


  39. #
    Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food — October 7, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    I used to sterilize my contacts that way and I used to be so jealous of others who just popped them in their solution and could pop them right back out! I know that feeling of putting them in before the six hours were up. There is honestly nothing worse in the world.


  40. #
    Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking — October 7, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    Ouch!!! I can SO totally relate. I’m a contact wearer, too and there’s nothing worse than trying to get a burning contact out of your eye. Only you can’t open your eye long enough to get it out because the slightest amount that you do manage to open your eye makes you feel like someone’s shooting flames into them!!!
    OMG!!Thanks, Jessica, my eyes are hurting now just thinking about it. ;-)
    Tasty looking rolls. Yum.


  41. #
    Laura @ Casa del Hansen — October 7, 2011 @ 9:10 am

    Yum! Thanks for sharing – these look amazing. And I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who does that with her contacts. It’s awful, isn’t it? (The pain we go through… just to be able to see!).


  42. #
    Mal @ The Chic Geek — October 7, 2011 @ 9:17 am

    These look absolutely delicious!


  43. #
    Anna @ On Anna's Plate — October 7, 2011 @ 9:23 am

    Ooooh, I love how golden they get on top!!! Beautiful!


  44. #
    Holly @ The Runny Egg — October 7, 2011 @ 9:25 am

    I wanted to let you know that I used to have the type of contacts that you sterilize and I used to do that all the time!!! I would take them out and then a few minutes later put them back in — why why why???


  45. #
    Sarah — October 7, 2011 @ 9:30 am

    These look delicious! And relating to your contact story, my mom once bought me that type of contact solution that can’t touch your eyes for six hours. Well, I had never used that kind before so I took my contact out because it was dirty sprayed that stuff on it, and put it back in my eye. It really was the most painful thing I have ever experienced, and I threw that bottle right out. You are not exaggerating at all!


  46. #
    amanda @ fake ginger — October 7, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    I’m not a contact wearer (is that even a word?) but anything having to do with the eye freaks me out. I would’ve cried like a baby for days! Hopefully it’s all better now.

    These look so delicious. I loooooove a good sweet potato bread but I’ve never thought to make rolls. Perfect for Thanksgiving!


  47. #
    Cait's Plate — October 7, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    That roll was well deserved! There is seriously nothing worse than that contact situation – I have been there before! It feels like you have some sort of weird tick because you literally cannot stop blinking. And there is NOTHING you can do to make it better! Except of course eat one of those rolls. Can I have one for next time this situation arises??


  48. #
    Heather — October 7, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    Ouch on the contacts, I’ve done that, I know how bad it hurts. The rolls look delicous. Thanks for sharing.


  49. #
    A Zesty Bite — October 7, 2011 @ 9:37 am


    All of those pictures of the rolls look amazing. It definitely builds up the anticipation and leaves you wanting one.


  50. #
    Ashley — October 7, 2011 @ 9:41 am

    I would take one of those rolls over ANY dessert. Oh goodness. The golden color. The buttery shine. The fluffiness. Ugh!


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