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Soft Raisin Rolls with Rum Icing (Mixed in a Bread Machine)

My favorite dinner roll recipe gets a makeover to produce these Soft Raisin Rolls with Rum Icing with your bread machine. Rum-flavored icing and raisins make these my favorite breakfast rolls. Really, I could eat them all day. Who am I kidding?

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

Sweet Rum-Raisin Yeast Rolls

My love affair with rum flavoring goes back to butter rum lifesavers.

 Remember those? I guess they’re still around, but I haven’t had any for years.

Recipe Inspiration

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.

I immediately thought of my favorite dinner rolls. I’ve made them hundreds of times, mixing the dough in a bread machine, of course.  

What happened when My Favorite Dinner Roll recipe married Helen’s Rum Buns?

  1. Substituted white-whole wheat flour for half of the unbleached flour (I tried to make them a little healthier. 100% unbleached flour is good, too.
  2. Then I added raisins seasoned with orange or lemon oil. The oil makes these special. May I caution you about substituting extract for the oil?  Not quite the same.
  3. Added icing (See #1. No need to take the health issue to extremes.)

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.

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Sweet Rum-Raisin Yeast Rolls

Soft Raisin Bread Rolls with Rum Icing

Yield: 16 rolls
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

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



  • 1 cup milk (I use 1 tablespoon heavy cream and the rest nonfat milk.)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup (180 grams or 6-1/3 oz) white whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 cup (180 grams or 6-1/3 oz) unbleached flour
  • 2-1/4 teaspoon bread machine yeast
  • 1 cup raisins sprinkled with a few drops of orange or lemon oil


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


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

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?