Wonderfully light and flavourful old-fashioned potato rolls, made from a vintage recipe that uses mashed potatoes and potato cooking water, for perfectly moist rolls. Makes a large batch, so perfect for the holidays!

rustic potato rolls in wooden bowl

These rustic potato rolls aren’t perfectly-shaped rolls, but they have so much to recommend them, I think you’ll be willing to over-look that :)

These rolls have freshly mashed potatoes and potato cooking water as their base. They bake up in to wonderfully light rolls, with a wonderful flavour and texture. They are beautifully moist inside, with a wonderfully, lightly crisp and crackly outside!

Ingredients and Substitutions

Potatoes – Russet or baking potatoes are recommended for these rolls, for best results. I haven’t tested this recipe with any other potatoes.

Butter – you could replace the butter with an equal amount of vegetable oil, if you’d like a vegan roll. You may need to use a bit more flour to accommodate for the extra liquid.

Rustic Old Fashioned Potato Rolls

Cook’s Notes

You’ll want too note that this recipe makes a huge batch of rolls – 24 to 32, so it is perfect for a big crowd (or to have some left-over to use for all those turkey sandwiches). The picture below shows just one of the two trays of rolls that this recipe makes! They freeze beautifully, so you can make them well ahead. They also stay perfectly moist stored at room temperature for quite a while, so don’t hesitate to make them a day ahead. Just wrap well and store on the counter-top.

This dough is very moist. Don’t hesitate to dust with flour along the way, as needed.

This recipe makes a lot of rolls, so it also makes a lot of dough. I have a larger stand mixer, but if you have a smaller one, you may wish to remove the dough and knead by hand if it seems to be straining the limits of your mixer at all.

I love to use two smaller baking sheets that fit side-by-side on one oven rack in my oven. If you don’t have any of these smaller sheets, you can use two larger baking sheets and bake on two racks, rotating their position half way through baking. You can also use two 9×13 glass baking dishes, if you like.

Shaping Variations

As noted, these are rustic rolls. I like to cut them in an irregular way, but you can also cut them in to more regular square shapes. As this dough is very moist though, they will never be perfectly shaped rolls.

If you’d like something a little more classic, you can roll the dough in to a rectangle the size of your baking sheet and cut in to even, smaller square rolls and place on to your baking sheet.

Rustic Old Fashioned Potato Rolls

Making Ahead, Storing and Freezing

To freeze, I break the large block of baked rolls roughly in half and freeze each half piece in it’s own freezer bag. It’s best not to break in to individual rolls until ready to serve, to avoid them drying out too much. To thaw, simply place bag on counter (still sealed) and allow to thaw.

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rustic potato rolls in wooden bowl

Get the Recipe: Old Fashioned Potato Rolls

Delicious, light and flavourful rolls, using mashed potato and potato cooking water. Makes a large batch of 24-32 rolls, so perfect for holidays! These freeze well.
5 stars from 2 ratings
Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 32 minutes
Yield: 24 rolls


  • 2 large russet baking potatoes, peeled and cut into big chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups potato cooking water, (see instructions below)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
  • 6 – 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing pan


  • Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the potato water in to a measuring cup and set aside. Drain /discard remaining potato cooking liquid. While potatoes are cooking, bring milk to a simmer in a small pan, then remove from heat.
  • Mash or rice the hot potatoes and place in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (You should have about 3 cups of mashed potatoes). Add the sugar, salt, and butter and blend well. Add the reserved potato water and the milk and beat well. Allow mixture to stand until it cools to lukewarm.
  • Add the yeast to 1/4 cup warm water, stir, and set aside for five minutes until bubbly. Gradually add four cups of flour to the potato mixture and mix well. If using a stand mixer, switch to the kneading hook. Add the dissolved yeast and blend well. Add the remaining flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition, until the dough is stiff enough to knead. You may not need to use all of the flour.
  • Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes), adding additional flour if necessary. Brush a large bowl with a thin layer of oil and place the dough in the bowl. Turn dough to coat with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 60 – 90, or until doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 400° F. Lightly grease two 9×13-inch rimmed baking sheets and lightly dust with a bit of flour. *If you don’t have two baking sheets that will sit side-by-side on one oven rack, position oven racks in top and bottom third of oven and bake on two racks, switching racks half way through baking time. You can also use two 9×13 glass baking dishes, if that’s all you have.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured board, gently punch it down. Divide dough in to two equal pieces. Take one of the dough pieces and cut in half again, to make 2 pieces. Cut each of those 2 pieces in half again, to make 4 pieces. Then cut each of those pieces in to 3 or 4 irregular pieces, to make 12-16 pieces. Arrange those pieces in a cobblestone pattern, leaving a bit of space between each and filling the entire pan as much as possible. Repeat with the other dough half and fill the second baking sheet in the same way. Lightly dust the top of the rolls with flour, cover with a clean tea towel and then let rise until doubled in size, approximately 30 minutes.
  • Bake with the baking sheets side-by-side on one (centrrack in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown on top. *At the 10 minute mark of baking, you may want to switch the pans to the other side and front to back, to ensure even browning. Serve warm or at room temperature. These rolls freeze well. Thaw in wrapping at room temperature.


Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card, for more tips on making this recipe.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Bread
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 45kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 150mg, Potassium: 142mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 60IU, Vitamin C: 1.7mg, Calcium: 14mg, Iron: 0.3mg
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