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Soft Rum Raisin Buns: A Bread Machine Recipe

Preview: Make these Soft Rum Raisin Buns in your bread machine or stand mixer. Rum-flavored icing and raisins are the stars of the show.

Do you remember butter rum lifesavers? I guess they’re still around, but I haven’t had any for years. My love affair with rum flavoring goes back to those lifesavers.

Raisin rolls are a fond memory of my days as an exchange student in Holland. Adding raisins to these rum buns results in a delicious collision of flavors.

  • If you don’t want a cinnamon roll, this is your recipe–no cinnamon/sugar filling is involved.
  • If you don’t want icing, leave it off.
  • If you don’t like raisins, try dried cranberries or cherries, currants, or nothing. Baker’s choice.

Like most bread recipes on this website, you can mix the dough by hand or use a stand mixer if you don’t have a bread machine. See the recipe notes for details.

Helen Corbitt inspired me with a recipe titled “Rum Buns” in her book, Helen Corbitt’s Cookbook. Her recipe uses a brioche-type dough, but I wanted something a little easier.

My favorite dinner roll recipe, Classic Dinner Rolls, gets a makeover to produce these Soft Rum Buns with Raisins. Rum-flavored icing and raisins make these my favorite breakfast rolls. I could eat them all day.

Rum Buns with Raisins ready to eat.

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • MILK: Any kind of milk will work, but the higher the fat content, the richer and more delicious the bread.
  • BUTTER: Be sure to set your butter out before you start so it can come to room temperature. Substitute shortening for butter.
  • EGG: All of my recipes are formulated with large eggs. If you have smaller or larger eggs, adjust the liquid (milk) accordingly.
  • SALT: Use table or sea salt. If you prefer Kosher salt, add 1/4 teaspoon extra. Please don’t leave out the salt. The yeast needs it to work right. You can experiment with cutting back but not out.
  • SUGAR: Granulated white sugar is best. If you want to substitute honey, reduce the amount by a couple of teaspoons. Honey is sweeter than sugar.
  • FLOUR: If you can’t find white whole wheat flour, substitute bread flour. You can substitute whole wheat flour but I would cut back to 1 cup so the rolls won’t be too heavy.
  • YEAST: Bread machine or instant yeast is my recommendation. If you want to use active dry yeast, add about 1/4 teaspoon extra as it is a bit slower on the uptake.
  • RAISINS: Substitute dried cranberries, dried cherries, or currants. Of leave them out completely.
  • ORANGE or LEMON OIL: I love to sprinkle this oil over the raisins to give them a fabulous new flavor dimension. You can leave it out or use extract (sparingly).
  • RUM: In this recipe, only the icing contains rum flavoring. If you don’t plan to ice these buns, I would add the rum or extract to the dough and adjust the amount of milk accordingly.

How do you shape the dough into smooth balls?

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.

Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and me by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating in the recipe below. No comment is required.

Hope to see you again soon!

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: Paula at

Yield: 16 rolls

Soft Rum Raisin Buns Recipe

Sweet Rum-Raisin Yeast Rolls

Get out your bread machine to make these fluffy and light rolls flavored with rum or rum extract and raisins.

Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes



  • 1 cup milk (I use 1 tablespoon heavy cream and the rest nonfat milk.) (227 gr)
  • 1/4 cup softened butter (57 gr)
  • 1 large egg (50 gr)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (6 gr)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (36 gr)
  • 1-1/2 cup (180 gr or 6-1/3 oz) white whole wheat flour (see post for substitutes)
  • 1-1/2 cup (180 gr or 6-1/3 oz) unbleached flour
  • 2-1/4 teaspoon bread machine yeast (7 gr)
  • 1 cup raisins sprinkled with a few drops of orange or lemon oil (150 gr)


  • 2 cups powdered sugar (227 gr)
  • 2 tablespoons rum (28 gr) or 2 teaspoons rum extract (to your taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (2.5 gr)
  • 2+ tablespoons heavy cream to make a runny icing


  1. Add all ingredients but raisins to the bread machine pan in the 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 the dough cycle completes, remove dough from the pan and place on floured surfaced. Knead raisins into the 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 the dough to rise until almost double.
  6. Bake in an oven preheated to 375˚F for 10-12 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes. Remove rolls from the pan and allow them 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.


Alternate Mixing Instructions:

Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand: 

  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using a dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand, combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: You can substitute active dry yeast for instant or bread machine yeast. There is no longer any need to dissolve it. Be aware that it may be a little slower acting than instant yeast, but it'll get there.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 174mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 3gSugar: 25gProtein: 5g

Did you make this recipe?

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Sunday 6th of September 2020

I've just made two batches of these lovely rolls Paula. I didn't have any orange oil, so I added the zest of a lemon and a small orange to the first batch and they were delicious. Half of them have disappeared already, as my daughter and her boyfriend turned up while they were cooling....yummy with butter! The second batch I made with dried cranberries and chopped dried apricots, and they are just out of the oven and smelling wonderful. I didn't bother to ice either batch, as they were so terrific on their own...maybe next time. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜€ I'm using your bread recipes almost exclusively now, Paula, and getting so many compliments that I'm really grateful to have found your site. Many thanks to you.


Sunday 6th of September 2020

Thank you Elaine. I'm thrilled to hear this and will keep working to share more terrific recipes.


Saturday 29th of September 2012

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


Saturday 29th of September 2012

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.


Wednesday 7th of March 2012

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.


Wednesday 7th of March 2012

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'

Wednesday 7th of March 2012

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?

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