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. #
    sweetmaddy — October 7, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    OMG I did that once at a sleepover, my friend had that crazy sterilizing solution and I had never heard of it before, and I soaked my contacts in it…put one in my eye the next morning and FREAKED out. Oy that hurt so bad, I feel your pain!!!


  2. #
    Brittney — October 7, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

    The last picture with the gooey centre and the melting butter..it’s too much!
    I think you’re the only people that could make me laugh out loud while leading up to a sweet potato roll recipe, thanks :) And sorry about your poor eyes!


  3. #
    Jess P — October 7, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

    OH man! I have done the same thing with the contacts! I grabbed the sterilizing solution instead of the mild rinse that you CAN use and them immediately put your contacts in. It was the MOST painful thing! I only got one contact in but I couldn’t even open my eye to get it back out, it was on FIRE!!! I will NEVER forget that. So sorry you have gone through that too, it sucks!
    But those rolls looks so good! And I AM a bread person so I will be making those soon! Thanks!


  4. #
    Cindy — October 7, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

    Sorry about your eyes, but I throughly enjoyed todays post. I laughed myself silly. You’re a great writer. I would love to be able to reach into the screen and get one of those yummy rolls!


  5. #
    Ashley's Cooking Adventures — October 7, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

    These look amazing. I’m so excited to try them ASAP! Sorry about your eyeballs!


  6. #
    Becki's Whole Life — October 7, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

    I have the same contacts, but I have never done that – yeowch!! I am totally paranoid about doing it or someone borrowing my solution, not realizing that it’s acid – or whatever it is. The rolls look awesome – love sweet potato and they look nice and crispy on the outside and tender/flaky on the inside…yummmy!


  7. #
    Dana B — October 7, 2011 @ 8:25 pm

    ouch ouch ouch! been there, done that, but not _that_ bad :( Hope your eyes are happy again. Yummy rolls!! thx!


  8. #
    Amanda V — October 7, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

    Contacts have always freaked me out anyway, solution or no. It’s probably good that I don’t need them or I would probably do things like this every week.
    And these rolls look and sound amazing. Yay sweet potato and fall! :)


  9. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — October 7, 2011 @ 10:01 pm

    I was wincing reading that, yikes! Hope your eyes are feeling better now Jessica.


  10. #
    Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) — October 7, 2011 @ 10:02 pm

    Oh gosh…that sounds terrible! The eyes part, not the rolls. :) I’m sure you’ll never do THAT again! (again: the eyes part, not the rolls)


  11. #
    sarah@spinach and spice — October 7, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

    honey makes eveerything better. especially rolls :D This is a killer combination!


  12. #
    Kerry — October 7, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

    I love reading your blog. I wish it were my blog. You’re so much fun and the photos are fabulous.


  13. #
    sigird — October 8, 2011 @ 6:43 am

    Its 3:41 am and yes i am still up. I feel so bad for you but it am laughing so hard I woke my husband up suck for me. I hope you never do it again but hay it made me come to your blog and comment and take a look around love you blog i will sure share with all my friend


  14. #
    Paulette — October 8, 2011 @ 6:43 am

    The task of making bread heals the soul. Well maybe not so poetic but it sure does take your mind off of things that bother the hell out of you. I have been beating the heck out of dough for years. It makes you feel so much better. Especially the kneading process. I started it when my first divorce was in the process of making me go crazy. It really worked I imagined that loaf sitting on the board my EX and low and behold I felt so much better. So if your in pain, troubled or just want to eat something that heals the soul knead, knead, knead. Plus with butter as pictured in your blog it is sooooo good. Just might make that recipe today. Thanks Paulette


  15. #
    Cristy — October 8, 2011 @ 7:27 am

    I’m sorry about your eyes….ugh…so painful! Otherwise, however, what a great post. LOVE your writing!! Have I ever mentioned you crack me up every.single.day???? And yes, the second I saw that bowl of giant chunks of butter in the fourth photo, I thought, “Hmm..I think I’ll help myself to *that* as well.” :)


  16. #
    Lisa — October 8, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    Hi, Jessica- I skimmed the comments to make sure you didn’t answer this already so I hope I didn’t miss something. First of all, these look amazing. We are having people over for dinner next weekend and I can’t wait to try them. I know you often work with whole wheat flour- is there a particular kind you would recommend swapping out for the all purpose if I wanted to try that? WW Pastry flour? Do you think I’d need to adjust the liquids? Thanks!


  17. #
    Kim @ Eat What You've Got — October 8, 2011 @ 7:55 am

    Those look melt in your mouth delicious! I can’t wait to try them.


  18. #
    Sandra — October 8, 2011 @ 8:15 am

    OK I have to make these, like soon. I have to make them, drown them in butter, eat half the pan and then blame you for any pounds gained.


  19. #
    Michaela — October 8, 2011 @ 8:49 am

    gosh, poor you, that sounds so bad!!
    but yes, we have all been there! I will never forget the surprised look on my dad´s face when he went to the toilette during the night and I was ready for school at 2am… he was like “WHAT are you doing?” – eh, going to school, of course ;)
    and those dinner rolls look yummy!


  20. #
    Nicole — October 8, 2011 @ 8:53 am

    I’ve done that as well and it HURTS!!! How did you even keep them in. It’s
    Immediate pain :-( I’m so going to make these for Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing.


  21. #
    Meaghan — October 8, 2011 @ 9:25 am

    Sold! This is my first day reading your blog and I know I’ll be coming back for more. While I’m salivating over these yummy looking rolls, my hubs is drawing me a diagram of how to wire a light to a switch because that is a key skill, right? As I nod and pretend like I remotely understand I’m thinking about how quickly I can get some of those rolls in my belly. Thanks!


  22. #
    Jaan — October 8, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    Hard to believe that there is alot of us has have done the same thing. Maybe it was a lesson we needed to learn, painful one, but a lesson learned. Sorry. But not sorry abt the recipe for the bread. It looks so wonderful. Can’t wait for sweet potatoes to be in season so I can make them also.


  23. #
    Mindy — October 8, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

    Regarding your poor eyes – ouch and I’m sorry you had to go through that. I have 2 words on that subject: Lasik Surgery. This is coming from someone that, when I went in to get evaluated for Lasik, the Dr. said – did you know that you are considered legally blind without correction (I had done the glasses/contacts thing all my life)? I was totally shocked! Anyway – Lasik – best money spent EVER, with the exception of my new love, my iphone.
    Anyway, would love to know if anyone has tried using canned sweet potatoes in this recipe. These rolls sound heavenly but I’m on a make it as simply as possible kick right now!


  24. #
    Adrienne — October 8, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

    My boyfriend likes sweet potatoes and I like butter and honey all up in my mouth.

    These seem perfect.


  25. #
    Brindi — October 8, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

    Yes, I am a fellow eat-an-entire-cheecake (er) myself, but these look delightlful. oh, and I also have that little pumpkin spreader thingy…love it!


  26. #
    james — October 8, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

    Bummer. You clearly corrected the recipe, as you forgot to mention adding the Buttermilk in step 3. So I made the dough this morning with yesterday’s printout (pre-Buttermilk correction) and I now have a heap of the hardest dough in the world. Uggggggh.

    Maybe I’ll try this again next week.


  27. #
    Brittany — October 8, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

    I have that same solution and have got it in my eye. WORST PAIN EVER. You can’t even open your eyes but you have to in order to get the contacts out. I hate that!! Those rolls would totally make up for it though :D


  28. #
    Jen at The Three Little Piglets — October 8, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

    Oh yes – we have all been there! One time in the middle of a bad storm, the cable line to our house had fallen down on our car. I knew I needed to call and report it… I spent the ENTIRE day calling my own number on the bill, instead of the company’s number. Oh yeah! So nice of my husband to point it out to me…


  29. #
    Alaina — October 8, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

    Owwie, owwie! Hope your eye gets better! And I’m sure those rolls were a perfect cure for that. :-)


  30. #
    Prathiba — October 8, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

    holy crap. these look amazing. and i have done that with my contacts too. thinking of that makes me cringe. hope your eyes are ok. :)


  31. #
    Katie — October 8, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

    These look phenomenal! I’m pinning this on Pinterest! Thanks girl!


  32. #
    Laura — October 8, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

    These look Beyond delicious! I have got to try making them!!
    And my sympathy about your eye, sounds like you had a very painful night!


  33. #
    Hannah — October 8, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

    Those look lovely. I’d enjoy a trampoline made of them, for sure.

    Glad I’m not the only one whose brain sometimes leaves my head…I have done the SAME thing with my contacts. AGH!
    I sincerely believe that panicky feeling- like your eyes are on fire and being almost unable to remove the very things that cause the pain- is hell on earth. And then you have to deal with your eyes hating you for a whole day.


  34. #
    Christine — October 8, 2011 @ 10:02 pm

    Hello! I am having a sinner party next Saturday and was wondering how far in advance I could make these? Would you recommend baking them and then reheating before dinner? I hate the thought of that!


  35. #
    Christine — October 8, 2011 @ 10:02 pm

    Whoops… Meant dinner party not sinner party! Lol


  36. #
    Ann — October 8, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

    Oh, I KNOW your pain! I put that stuff in my regular case and just touched it to my eye and was in pain for HOURS…I can’t imagine sticking the contact back in! The dinner rolls look amazing, tho! The bowl probably looked different without your contacts!


  37. #
    Courtney @ The Petite AthlEAT — October 8, 2011 @ 10:43 pm



  38. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — October 8, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

    That stinks about your contacts! Your poor eyes! I can’t wait till I can get some lasik surgery so that I don’t have to deal with contacts anymore, they are such a pain!


  39. #
    Kristin — October 9, 2011 @ 1:03 am

    #1 I love the pumpkin-handled spreader. Where did you get it??

    #2 I have done that with the contacts before the 6 hours were up. You can’t describe the pain to someone who hasn’t felt it for themselves.


  40. #
    Marcy — October 9, 2011 @ 10:40 am

    I am making these for my Canadian Thanksgiving dinner today. Wish me luck(as I tend to be really good at screwing up recipes)!!


  41. #
    Rachel — October 9, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

    Yum!!! After the dough is frozen what is the best way to cook it? Bring it to room temperature and then cook or just put it in the oven?


  42. #
    Jess @ Jess Go Bananas — October 9, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    Mmmmm we’ve made our way to sweet potatoe from the bounties of pumpkin! hooray!


  43. #
    Tracy — October 9, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    Yum, I love the sound of these! Pinning them on my to-make board. :-)


  44. #
    Marty — October 9, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

    I’m kinda intimate about working with yeast due to the temperature, etc. This post makes me definitely want to give it a whirl. So fluffy and yummy looking!


  45. #
    Heather Bell — October 9, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

    Wow, sad about your eyes, but thanks for the sacrifice. These rolls look heavenly! Everything on here does! This cannot be a good thing.=) bellesbazaar-heather.blogspot.com


  46. #
    michelle — October 9, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

    I put my contacts back in once after chopping jalapenos. Duh.


  47. #
    Jessica Helmar — October 10, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

    Yep, I did that unintentially. My grandma bought me contact solution that wasn’t the mild wash that my disposable contacts are supposed to use, but that sterilizing wash that burns! I had no idea why my eyes hurt so bad and it’s so hard to take them out of your eye when your eye automatically squeezes shut from the attack!!


  48. #
    Lauren — October 10, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

    Do you have any suggestions for those of us with [really ridiculously/pathetically old] mixers without dough hooks? Can the first kneading just be by hand? Thanks!


    • Kendra — October 10th, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

      Hi Lauren…I also have only a pathetic little handmixer so I made these all by hand. I whisked everything together until it was getting too sticky and then I kneaded by hand. turned out great!!


  49. #
    Kendra — October 10, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

    Hi Jessica! I made these for Canadian thanksgiving today (eh!) and they are incredible!! One question: I froze half the batch, per your suggestion. What do I do when I un-freeze them? Do I thaw completely and let them rise again before baking? Thanks!!


    • Jessica — October 10th, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

      So glad you guys liked them! I think that you would thaw completely (like maybe overnight in the fridge), then bake! Let me know how they turn out when you do. :)


  50. #
    Sara B. — October 10, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

    Well, unlike you, I am a bread person. So, these definitely sound like they would be bad news if I got them in my hands. Seriously, these sound awesome!



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