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Sweet Potato Buns

Sweet potato buns – How can you resist serving something with such a cute name at your Thanksgiving table? We often make potato buns with regular white potatoes. However, when we saw these gorgeous organic baby garnet yams from Melissa’s, we knew we were going to want to use them for anything and everything. And that includes traditional Thanksgiving buns.

Sweet Potato Buns - Perfect for the holidays!

You can pick these babies out of a crowd because of their light purple/red skin. Inside they’re a vibrant yellow-orange, and they’re even more brilliant once they’re cooked. To make these sweet potato buns, we took Mom’s old recipe and swapped out the white potatoes for sweet potatoes. The end result is a bun that’s a little bit sweeter, and it has just the right golden-orange hue to fit in perfectly at your Thanksgiving table.

Confused about the difference between yams and sweet potatoes? You’re not alone. What many produce marketers call “yams” in this country are still technically sweet potatoes. A true yam is starchy and dry, not sweet (and it’s from a whole different family of plants, but that’s getting way too technical). For further clarification, see this article from Melissa’s on yams vs. sweet potatoes.

 Sweet Potato Buns

Sweet Potato Buns

These golden-yellow sweet potato buns are the perfect accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword bread, buns, rolls, sweet potatoes, thanksgiving, yams, yeast
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Rising time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 17 minutes
Servings 12


  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 small baby garnet yams, baked (or other small sweet potatoes)
  • 3/4 cup scalded milk (see note)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp melted butter (additional) for brushing


  1. Soften the yeast in the warm water. Next peel the baby yams and mash them in a large bowl. Add the scalded milk, salt, and sugar; cool to lukewarm. Add the yeast mixture and stir to combine.

  2. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix until smooth; stir in butter and well-beaten egg. Add remaining flour gradually and knead the dough until it is smooth and satiny. (It should be a light orange color and it should have just barely enough flour in it so that it doesn't stick to your fingers.) Place the dough in a well-greased bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rise in a warm place until it is doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

  3. After it has risen, turn the dough out on a lightly floured board, punch it down, and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 24 pieces and form each piece into a ball. Place the dough balls on greased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Brush them lightly with melted butter, cover them with a towel, and again allow them to rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

  4. Bake in a preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Note: Scalded milk refers to milk that has been heated to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, or just below boiling. Heat it in a shallow saucepan until you see tiny bubbles forming around the edge; then remove it from the heat.

Baking these with your kids? They can help throughout the whole process: mashing the sweet potatoes, kneading and mixing the dough, rolling the dough into balls, and brushing the butter on top. Make it a family project!

P.S. Need some more ideas for Thanksgiving dinner? Check out these Plant-Based Thanksgiving Dishes to round out the perfect feast.

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7 Responses to Sweet Potato Buns

  1. Priscilla | ShesCookin November 7, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Sweet! Love how you put a new twist on mom’s recipe and they are perfect for Thanksgiving. I bet a turkey & dressing sandwich tastes great on them.

  2. Jeanette November 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    These look so nice and fluffy – would love a warm sweet potato bun!

  3. averagebetty November 17, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    These look amazing! I just made biscuits with regular taters for the first time a month ago — these look like they would be perfect as little after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich sliders! Thanks for the quick lesson on scaled milk too 🙂

    • Jeanne November 18, 2012 at 10:03 am #

      Thanks, Sara!!

  4. Passion September 27, 2020 at 8:36 am #

    Looks awesome! What type of flour do you use?

    • Jeanne September 27, 2020 at 8:43 am #

      Thanks for stopping by! Just regular all-purpose flour…

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