These are the lightest and most delicious rolls I have ever tasted. They freeze very well too.

Recipe from The Pleasures of the Table: Rediscovering Theodora Fitzgibbon.

Donal Skehan's potato yeast roll recipe

Makes about 16 rolls


  • 4 oz potatoes
  • 1 oz fresh yeast or 1⁄2 oz dry yeast
  • 2 oz sugar
  • 1 lb white flour (warm the flour in a warmed bowl if it has been stored in a cool place)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2oz butter
  • 1⁄4 pint warmed milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • milk for glazing


Cook the potatoes in salted water and drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Mash the potatoes very well or press through a fine sieve into a basin, then cover and keep warm. 

Cream the yeast in a bowl with the reserved tepid potato liquid and a spoonful of the sugar, and mix well as it froths up (if it does not froth, it is not satisfactory to use). 

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl with 1 teaspoon salt and rub in the butter. Make a well in the center and add the rest of the sugar and the mashed potatoes, mixing well.

Add the tepid milk and 1⁄4 pint water to the yeast liquid, mix and add to the mixing bowl, then beat in the beaten egg. Knead very well. Cover and leave in a warm place for about an hour, until doubled in size.

Turn out the mixture onto a floured surface and shape it into rolls. Put the rolls onto a greased baking sheet, well spaced, to allow for rising. cover and leave for 20 minutes. Brush with a little milk and bake at 425°F for 15–20 minutes.

*Donal Skehan is a home cook, food writer and television presenter who has written five cookbooks. He presents the TV show Kitchen Hero on RTÉ One in Ireland, Grandma's Boy on FOX International and is a judge on BBC's Junior MasterChef. Check out his Facebook page & website for more culinary tips, recipes and food travels. 

* Originally published in January 2017. Updated in April 2023.