By Darryl Alder
Oct 10, 2015

Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls—the Secret is Mashed Potatoes

IMG_0554Every holiday, the family expects sweet rolls. But not just any old kind, they have to be Mashed Potato Cinnamon Rolls. Seriously! I have no idea why they are so good, but they are winners every time.

This recipe was shared with our family in 1975 in the Junior League of Salt Lake City’s Heritage Cookbook and we never went back to old recipes. But I have a feeling this one has been around for more than a hundred years. It’s just a hunch, but I think some pioneer baker figured out something just right for our high mountain altitude (4500 ft/1370 m); but whatever you do never leave out the mashed potatoes!

Ingredients for one 12 in/30 cm dutch oven  (about 1 doz in all)

  • 1 pkg dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup canned or scalded milk (cooled)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup each raisins and nuts if your Scouts will eat them these can be placed in the filling but are better in the batter
  • melted butter
  • cinnamon
  • brown sugar
  • Buttercream or cream cheese frosting

Soften yeast in warm water and let stand 10 minutes. Place butter into milk while cooling to lukewarm. Stir in half the flour and all the sugar, mashed potatoes, egg, salt and yeast. If adding raisins and nuts, mix them separately in another bowl with one cup of flour. Then add to dough. Continue adding flour until all is mixed in. This is a soft dough. Cover and let rise until doubled. Then roll dough to 1/2 inch thick rectangle on a floured surface. Brush one side with melted butter, cover surface with 1/4 inch layer of brown sugar, then generously cover that with cinnamon (if nuts and raisins were not added to the dough they can be added to the filling now, or skip them depending on your Scouts’ tastes). Roll the entire rectangle jelly roll style and cut into 1 inch slices. Place into a buttered dutch oven, cover and let rise to double.

IMG_0560Place onto hot coals; cover  lid with hot coals too. Bake for 20 min until golden brown, checking every five minutes. Remove from heat and while still warm, slather with buttercream or cream cheese frosting. This allows the icing to melt into the rolls for rich and gooey filling.

If I am doing this on an overnight campout, I cut the rolls and freeze them on a cookie sheet ahead of time (don’t allow the final rise before freezing). Then just before leaving for camp,  I butter the dutch oven, place the frozen rolls in the bottom, allowing them to thaw and rise overnight. They will be perfect for baking in the morning.

Darryl Thumbnail
Author: Darryl Alder | Director of Strategic Initiatives, Utah National Parks Council, BSA. He loves outdoor cooking and always takes too much food and cooking equipment on any camping trip, just ask his fishing buddy Dave Gaddis.

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4 thoughts on “Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls—the Secret is Mashed Potatoes

  1. AvatarAndrew

    Wow looking over the article and seeing the pictures made me hungry for some cinnamon rolls. They look great. One of our first times cooking in a dutch oven we made pumpkin bread and it actually turned out pretty good. Some of the greatest dutch oven cooking I have ever seen are from two Scouters in the Longs Peak Council in Greeley, Colorado. Ray Stuckenschmidt and Red McDonald are two of the finest dutch oven cooks I have ever seen. I ought to see if I can post their cookbook here. What are some good sites for dutch oven recipes?

  2. AvatarMatt Rosing

    I made these and they were a hit. This is a great recipe because it’s all ready to cook in the morning when it rises over night.

    BTW, the recipe just says 1/2 sugar. I took that to mean 1/2 tablespoon. It could be a 1/2 tsp as well. I’m also wondering if the mashed potatoes are supposed to be powdered? I had to add a bunch more flour to get the dough right.

    I made the slices 2″ wide and something like 6-8″ long. They were probably less than 1/2″ but not much. I put the nuts on when I added the cinnamon and sugar. It seemed like the dough would be easier to work. I’m not sure my yeast was any good (it was a year out of date) so I added some sourdough starter as well. It rose just fine. I did freeze the rolls and didn’t put them in the DO until I got to camp. I left a gap between the rolls to give them some room to expand outward. I used briquettes and ringed the top, plus a few in the middle and probably half as many on the bottom. I increased the recipe by about half and used a 14″ oven.

    Thanks, I will be making this again

  3. AvatarLoretta Sudweeks

    It is 1/2 cup sugar. Yes, the potatoes are mashed not instant. You can double this recipe, makes 16 for a cookie sheet or casserole dish. Bake 350 for 20-30 minutes, if you use a casserole dish where the rolls are touching, slightly longer to bake.


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