Sweet Rum-Raisin Yeast Rolls (Mixed in a Bread Machine)

rum raisin rolls post 3 red sq

With or without frosting, these rolls are good for breakfast or illegal snacking.

My love affair with rum flavoring goes back to butter rum life savers.  Remember those? I guess they’re still around but I haven’t had any for years. When I saw a recipe titled Rum Buns in one of my most food-stained and dog-eared cookbooks, Helen Corbitt’s Cookbook, I was inspired. Her recipe uses a brioche-type dough but I wanted something a little easier.

I immediately thought of my favorite dinner rolls. I’ve made them hundreds of times, mixing the dough in a bread machine, of course.  I made the following changes to my basic recipe:

  1. Substituted white whole wheat flour for half of the unbleached flour (I tried to make them a little healthier, but don’t worry.  You can still get fat on them.)
  2. Added raisins seasoned with orange or lemon oil (May I caution you about substituting extract for the oil?  Not the same. I would rather you leave it out altogether, although the oil makes these special.)
  3. Added icing (See #1. No need to take the health issue to extremes.)
I think ball-shapes are the fastest and easiest way to shape these rolls. If you haven’t seen it before, here’s a slightly dorky video I made to show you my simple technique.
P.S.  Like most of my bread recipes, you can mix this by hand or with a stand mixer if you don’t have a bread machine.

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Sweet Rum-Raisin Yeast Rolls
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 16 rolls
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Get out your bread machine to make these fluffy and light rolls
  • 1 cup milk (I use 1 tablespoon heavy cream and the rest nonfat milk.)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 2-1/4 teaspoon bread machine yeast
  • 1 cup raisins sprinkled with a few drops of orange or lemon oil
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rum or 2 teaspoons rum extract (to your taste)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2+ tablespoons heavy cream to make a runny icing
  1. Add all ingredients but raisins to bread machine pan in order listed.
  2. Select dough cycle. Check dough after 10 minutes. Add flour or milk, as appropriate, 1 tablespoon at a time to make dough stick to the side of the pan and then pull away as it kneads.
  3. When dough cycle completes, remove dough from pan and place on floured surfaced. Knead raisins into dough.
  4. Divide dough into 16 equally-sized pieces and form into smooth balls. Place in 2 greased 8 or 9-inch round pans (preferably with a dark finish).
  5. Lightly cover pans with a tea towel and allow dough to rise until almost double.
  6. Bake in oven preheated to 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes. Remove rolls from pan and allow to cool on a rack unless you want to eat them right away. You have my permission.
  1. Combine all ingredients, stirring until smooth. Pour over slightly cooled rolls.


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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jillian September 29, 2012 at 4:31 am

Paula. I want to try and make these but I’m wondering if it matters that I don’t use bread machine yeast?


Paula September 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Bread machine yeast is a slightly more concentrated form of regular yeast so you may substitute. I would use a touch more regular yeast than the recipe calls for.


Paula March 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Wonderful looking rolls Paula. The colour and consistency of them remind me of the hot-cross buns we used to have at Easter every year when I was a kid.


Sue March 7, 2012 at 10:21 am

You could use it where a zest or an extract is called for. It’s my understanding that the oils are much stronger than an extract (I have not used them before), so I’d be a little stingy with how much you use until you’re used to it.


Megan's Cookin' March 7, 2012 at 8:49 am

I use to love those life savers. These roils sound delightful! I’ve never used orange or lemon oil. What else do you use the oils in? I guess anywhere a zest is called for, huh?


Lisa March 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I want to make these and wonder if this would be a good time to use the raisins I soaked in rum? I read somewhere, about a month ago, it was an old trick to give flavor to hard petrified raisins and I set them to soak, but have not found a use for them. I’m not familiar with the oils and don’t know if it would work.


`Suzanne March 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Paula these rolls look wonderful especially with that glaze on top. I made the roast the other night it wasn’t exactly the recipe of your sisters because I was out of beef boulion but I substituted a mushroom gravy packet and everyone loved it. No left overs to make the sheperds pie 🙂


Paula March 5, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Suzanne, I’m thinking I would like the mushroom gravy stuff even better. Love mushrooms and anything with mushroom flavor.


Jane March 5, 2012 at 10:08 am

These rolls look soft and fragrant and wonderful. I am intrigued by your use of citrus oil to add flavor to the raisins. I have never thought of doing that and would like to try it. Is that something you’ve done before? Or was the use of the oil on raisins kind of an experiment? I’ve done things before like soaking raisins in orange juice, or in a diluted liqueur, before draining them and using them in a recipe but I’m always on the look-out for new ideas like yours. A very interesting technique!


Paula March 5, 2012 at 10:46 am

Hi Jane,
So glad you asked. It was an experiment. I don’t normally keep orange juice in the house, and I only have a small amount of liquor for cooking and baking (seems I never have the right kind though). In the past I have tried to duplicate the raisin rolls I used to eat in Holland as an exchange student. Using a few drops of oil on the raisins seemed to add that special something I was looking for. So I tried it with these rolls and really liked it there too. Thanks for writing. pr


Sue March 5, 2012 at 5:48 am

Well these are a must try…I’m sure they’ll be fantastic since everything other bread recipe of yours has been.

But just curious – is there a reason to knead the raisins in afterwards rather than during the bread machine knead cycle?


Paula March 5, 2012 at 7:16 am

That is an excellent question! If you add the raisins in the beginning, the machine will tear them up in the kneading process and your bread will be a darker color. Some machines will signal when it is OK to add nuts or fruit toward the end of the kneading cycle. If yours has this feature, this is the perfect time to add the raisins. For me, I either miss the signl or more often, I only want to add raisins to half the batch so I do it by hand. Thanks for asking. pr


Vicki V March 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Oh.my.goodness. These look divine! I use orange oil, too, for different things. Love it!


Gary March 4, 2012 at 7:17 am

These look amazing and I love the combination of flavors. Up North I was able to buy Sun Maid’s “baking raisins” which I loved for recipes. They were tender, plump and juicy. Can’t find them here in the South for some reason. These certainly beat “hot cross buns” anyday!


Lorraine March 4, 2012 at 6:57 am

Good morning, Paula!

I wonder why my heart smiles when I see you have a new post… could it be that you always share such tasty treats!

Orange and lemon oil are new ingredients to me. Isn’t it amazing what wonderful variations you can make when you have a great basic bread dough.

I think you mean, 3 tablespoons SUGAR in your recipe. I know because this recipe has been embedded in my head for the past 20 years 🙂

Have a great week!


Phyllis March 4, 2012 at 6:09 am

Dough correction: 3 tablespoons SUGAR!


Paula March 4, 2012 at 7:40 am

Yes, Yes, Phyllis. You are correct. I changed it. Thanks so much. pr


The Café Sucré Farine March 4, 2012 at 4:26 am

Hello Paula! These sound fabulous, what a delicious breakfast (really any time of the day) treat! But I don’t think I could keep them around the house, way……… too dangerous, even the freezer would be calling my name if they were stashed away …………


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