These banana yeast bread rolls are soft, light, and buttery. They are the easiest sweet yeast rolls you'd ever make! They add a nice twist to the classic dinner rolls and are way better than the overly sweet store-bought version. A perfect addition to any meal.
If you’ve been wondering how to put that overly ripe banana on your kitchen countertop to good use, this banana buns recipe is for you. All you need to whip up this recipe is simple pantry ingredients! What are you waiting for?!
Let’s start baking; after all, it’s baking season.
Reasons to love this recipe
- Unlike the classic roll bread, this banana roll is refined sugar-free.
- These banana rolls will elevate any menu, whether you serve creamy squash soup, a hearty tikka masala sauce, or tasty lamb chops.
- You can make it dairy-free by substituting the butter for oil.
- They are pillowy and soft with dreamy air pockets.
- It’s a simple recipe. Although it needs a few hours for the dough to rise, the baking time is less than 30 minutes, and the result is well worth it.
- The best part? These easy yeast rolls are great for beginners. Follow the steps carefully, and you’ll have some nice, fluffy banana buns.
Sweet bread rolls are a great accompaniment for dinner. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or Hanukkah, you can’t go wrong with a fluffy roll to roll in dinner- all puns!
Here are some of the main ingredients you need to make the bread.
Bananas: for a more flavorful bun, I’d prefer you use overripe bananas, as this adds some depth to the flavor.
Eggs: bring the eggs to room temperature. Aside from leavening the yeast, the eggs add texture to the rolls making them light and fluffy.
Butter: I love using melted butter for this recipe instead of oil. The butter not only adds a buttery flavor to the bread but also to the soft texture.
Flour: bread flour, to be exact. Upon testing, I realized bread flour yields a more chewy bread than when I used all-purpose flour. See substitutions below
Honey: for the yeast to feed on.
Yeast: active dry yeast or instant yeast can be used. This aids in the rise of the buns.
Flour: all-purpose flour, plain flour, or self-rising flour will work fine. Use the exact measurement in the recipe card if you use either of the flour mentioned.
Eggs: full-fat whole milk can be used instead of eggs. You can use a combination of white vinegar and baking soda. If a recipe calls for 1 egg, substitute for 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
Other good substitutes are full fat plain yogurt, applesauce, buttermilk, or flaxseed.
Yeast: instant dry yeast can be used, this might require a shorter time for the dough to rise.
These substitutions are recommendations. Not all substitutes have been tested by me. If you try to sub any of the ingredients, let us know how it went in the comment.
Here are some variations to give your sweet yeast rolls a fun twist:
- Make wheat butter buns using whole wheat flour.
- Add some extra cheese and make it a cheesy bun.
- Make the banana yeast bread rolls fun by adding some chocolate chips, raisins, cranberries, or other fun dried fruits.
- Nuts: a great option would be some crumbled pecan, walnut, or almonds.
- Topping: my kids love this part! The end result is always memorable. We’ve tried it with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and sea salt. I’d love to try some fresh herbs, I bet that’d be fun.
Step-by-Step Instructions for sweet bread rolls
Step 1: Melt the butter:
Heat a heavy bottom pan (preferably a light colored one) over medium heat. Add the butter and cook.
Stir often, until the color changes from a yellow to golden tan, then to a rich brown. Set aside to cool slightly.
Step 2: Proof the yeast:
Combine the warm milk, honey, and yeast in a bowl. Cover with kitchen cloth and proof for 5 mins or until bubbles form on top.
Step 3: Make the dough
Mix together the bread flour, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside
Add the banana, browned butter, egg, orange zest, and flour mixture into the bowl of stand mixer with proofed yeast. Mix until it’s roughly combined.
Step 4: Knead
using the hook attachment or the palm of your hands, knead the batter until a dough is formed. The dough should be soft and stretchy, but still workable.
Step 5: First Rise
Cover and allow to rise. This will take about an hour or so depending on the environment.
Step 6: Divide dough
Punch down air and divide dough into 12 equal size balls.
Shape the rolls
take a piece of the dough, and begin to fold each side outward as if you are tucking it in. Fold all around until a ball is formed.
Step 7: Second rise
Place the shaped balls in a baking pan or cast iron skillet, and cover loosely with kitchen cloth or plastic wrap to rise for an hour or so.
Step 8: Bake
Transfer into the oven and bake until it’s golden brown.
Brush with melted butter, and serve warm.
- Check the expiration date of your yeast before using. An expired yeast won’t rise, and I can guarantee that would ruin your hard work.
- Spoon and level the flour when measuring for accuracy. To be safe, use a kitchen scale to weigh it.
- It’s vital to use a food thermometer to gauge the temperature of the milk. The temperature should be between 100-115 degrees F. You can also check temps using the back of your hands. If the milk is too hot, you’ll kill the yeast, too cold, and the yeast won’t activate.
- The dough should be able to stick to your fingers, yet workable. Mistakes happen, if your dough is too hard to work with, add a tablespoon of warm milk (or water) at a time until you reach the desired texture. Same applies if the dough is too wet, add a tablespoon of flour at a time before setting it aside to rise.
- For a smoother shaped roll, make a cup with your palm, and roll over the small pieces of dough, swirl in circular motion until the dough is well rounded.
- If the rolls begin to brown before the baking time is up, cover the top loosely with aluminum foil to prevent it from over browning.
- The cooking time for the brown butter is dependent on the type of pan you use, the heat setting, and the amount of butter used. Follow my direction on the recipe card to brown the butter perfectly.
This method is great when you are entertaining for the holidays or simply don’t have time to bake the bread rolls in one sitting.
First, combine the ingredients according to the directions on the recipe card, knead the dough and place on an oiled bowl. Cover with clean kitchen cloth and place in the refrigerator for the first rise. The dough can remain in the refrigerator anywhere from 2 to 24 hours. When you are ready to punch down and shape the dough, allow the dough to come to room temperature (about 20 minutes) before proceeding.
Prepare and bake rolls as directed. Cool completely, then place the rolls in a single layer in a freezer safe container or bag. Freeze the rolls for up to 3 months.
Thaw at room temperature when ready to serve.
Refrigerate; If you have any leftovers, place them in a bread container or plastic/ziplock bag, seal and leave at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for a week.
Freeze: wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap then a freezer bag, and release any trapped air. Freeze for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight.
What to serve with Sweet Bread Rolls
These milk buns are the perfect addition to a dinner table, and can be paired with so many dishes, my favorites are:
- Creamy pasta
- Serve with animal protein like minced beef, meatballs, fish, or scrambled eggs.
Butter in buns yields a soft texture, buttery flavor, and crispier top. The fat in butter helps to soften the gluten yielding a chewy soft bread.
Bread rolls are made using these basic ingredients: flour, fat: butter or oil, yeast, water or milk, eggs, and sweetener.
Yeast won’t survive in a hot environment. An ideal temperature for dry yeast to be awakened is between 100-115 degrees F. If the milk is cold, the yeast won’t activate.
LOVE BREAD? TRY THESE RELATED BREAD RECIPES.
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Banana Yeast Bread Rolls
- stand mixer
- Cast iron skillet or 13 X 9 rectangular baking pan
- ¾ cup whole milk, warmed to 110°F
- 1 packet active dry yeast (about 2 ¼ teaspoons or 7g)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 1 large egg
- ½ tablespoon orange zest from 1 orange
Melt the butter:
- Heat a heavy bottom skillet or saucepan on medium heat. Add the cubed butter, and begin to swirl in circular motion using a rubber whisk. The butter will foam up as it melts.
- Stir frequently, and keep an eye on it, as the color changes progressively, from a yellow to golden tan, then to a rich brown. Once you see the brown specks at the bottom of the pan, you’ll smell a nutty rich aroma, it’s time to remove the pan from heat. ( cook time is about 6-9 minutes)
- Pour the butter (including the brown bits) into a heat safe now, and set aside to cool slightly (about 10 minutes)
Proof the yeast:
- Meanwhile, combine the warm milk, honey, and yeast in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cover with a clean kitchen cloth and proof for 5 mins or until bubbles form on top of the mixture.
Make the dough:
- Mix together the bread flour, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside (we will use the bowl for later)
- Add the mashed banana, browned butter, egg, orange zest, and flour mixture into the bowl of stand mixer with proofed yeast. Attach the paddle attachment, and mix on low-medium speed until it’s roughly combined. Remove any dough sticking to the paddle attachment, and scrape off sides of the pan (If mixing by hand, use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, then proceed to the next step using both hands).
- Attach the dough hook, and begin to mix on low speed for about a minute, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.
- Grease the large bowl from earlier with olive oil (about ½ tablespoon). Transfer the dough onto the bowl, turning once to grease the surface of the dough. Cover the bowl with kitchen cloth or plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm and dry place to rise for about 1 hour 30 minutes or until it’s doubled in size.
- Grease a 12” cast iron skillet or a 13 X 9 rectangular baking pan with cooking spray. Set it aside.
Divide the dough:
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Turn out onto a floured surface. Using a bench cutter, divide the dough in half, then divide each half into 6 small pieces, making 12 rolls in all.
- Shape each small portion into a smooth ball by rolling the dough in the palm of your hands or tucking edges under. Place the balls, smooth side up on the greased baking pan or skillet, leaving at least 1-2 inches of space between each balls.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm and dry place for 30-45 minutes or until it’s almost doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. Place oven racks to the middle position.
- Uncover the puffy rolls, then place the pan or skillet into the heated oven. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until the top of rolls are golden brown. Remove from heat, and set over a wire rack.(The bread rolls should have a hollow sound once tapped on top)
- Brush the top of the hot rolls with butter, then sprinkle with either cinnamon sugar, coarse salt, or enjoy as is.
- An expired yeast won’t rise so check the expiration date before using.
- Spoon and level the flour when measuring for accuracy. To be safe, use a kitchen scale to weigh it.
- If the rolls begin to brown before the baking time is up, cover the top loosely with aluminum foil.
- Refrigerate; place leftovers in a bread container or plastic/zip lock bag, seal and leave at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for a week.
- Freeze: wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap then a freezer bag. Freeze for up 4 weeks. Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight.