Soft Rum Raisin Buns: A Bread Machine Recipe

Sneak 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.

Rum Buns with Raisins ready to eat.Pin

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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.

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.

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at Hope to see you again soon! 

Sweet Rum-Raisin Yeast RollsPin

Soft Rum Raisin Buns Recipe

Paula Rhodes
Get out your bread machine to make these fluffy and light rolls flavored with rum or rum extract and raisins.
4.67 from 9 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Mix and Rise Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 55 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 16 rolls
Calories 165 kcal




  • 1 cup milk - I use 1 tablespoon heavy cream and the rest nonfat milk. (227 gr)
  • ¼ 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 white whole wheat flour (see post for substitutes) - 180 gr
  • 1-1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour - 180 gr
  • 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)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract - 2.5 gr
  • 2+ tablespoons heavy cream to make a runny icing


  • Add all ingredients but raisins to the bread machine pan in the order listed.
  • Select the DOUGH cycle, then press START.
  • Check the dough at least twice by lifting the lid to take a peek. The first time, look immediately after the machine starts mixing to ensure the paddles are engaged correctly. 
    Look again 15 minutes into the DOUGH cycle to assess the consistency of the dough. For most recipes, The dough should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.
    If your dough is too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time.
    Conversely, if the dough is too dry, add one tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks just right. Read more about this surprising secret to success with a bread machine here.
  • When the dough cycle completes, remove the dough from the pan and place it on a floured surface. Knead raisins into the dough.
  • Divide the dough into 16 equally-sized pieces and form into smooth balls. Place the balls into 2 greased 8 or 9-inch round pans (preferably with a dark finish).
  • Lightly cover pans with a tea towel and allow the dough to rise until almost double.
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 375˚F for 10-12 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Remove rolls from the pan and allow them to cool on a rack unless you want to eat them right away.


  • Combine all ingredients, stirring until smooth. Pour over slightly cooled rolls.


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. Then, using a dough hook, turn the speed to 2 or 3. 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. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading 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 the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 185mg | Potassium: 114mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 146IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword bread machine recipes, Raisin Bread Recipe, Rum Raisin Yeast Bread, Sweet Yeast Bread
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Recipe Rating


  1. The Café Sucré Farine says:

    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 …………

  2. Dough correction: 3 tablespoons SUGAR!

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

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

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

  6. 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?

    1. Sue,
      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

  7. 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!

    1. 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

  8. 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 🙂

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

  9. 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.

  10. Megan's Cookin' says:

    5 stars
    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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

    1. 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.

  14. Megan's Cookin' says:

    5 stars
    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?

  15. 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. 😉😀
    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.

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