Appalachia Appalachian Food

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls

Easy thanksgiving rolls

With Thanksgiving only a few days away many of us are thinking about food and family. I find it interesting-how folks become connected with the things they cook-you know how we expect them to fix the dishes we love. I still think of my Granny Gazzie’s biscuits, stewed taters shaped like boats, and fried sweet potatoes even though she’s been gone for years. Others in my family that come to mind:

~Granny-we all love her green beans, biscuits, and holy smoke cake

~Pap-he makes a pan of fried potatoes like no one else

~Miss Cindy-makes the best stews and soups you’ve ever tasted-without a recipe

~My sister-n-law Kim-makes a coconut cake that even tempts The Deer Hunter who claims he hates coconut

~Papaw Tony-makes hush puppies so tasty-that you forget about the fish

~Nana makes sausage balls so good that I look forward to them from one Christmas till the next

Over the years, folks have come to expect a few of my dishes: Paul wants Oatmeal Krispie Cookies for his birthday present each year, folks look forward to the Pressley Family Christmas Party-just so they can eat my Pecan Pralines, and I’m told Thanksgiving just wouldn’t work without my Oatmeal Dinner Rolls.

I’m a bread junkie-seriously I’d rather have a piece of good bread (cornbread, biscuit, or roll) than meat any day. When The Deer Hunter and I were first married I found the recipe for Oatmeal Dinner Rolls in an issue of Southern Living. Knowing I loved anything with brown sugar in it I gave them a try-and all these years later I’m still glad I did. So easy-so good-and as far as bread goes-quite healthy with the addition of oatmeal.

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls-makes approximately 32 rolls

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 (1/4 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 cups all purpose flour (it actually takes closer to 5 cups)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Oatmeal dinner rolls

*bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium pot; stir in oats and butter; return to a boil; boil for one minute stirring constantly; remove from heat and let cool to 110 degrees

Easy yeast rolls

*stir together 2 packets of yeast (if you buy yeast in bulk like I do-2 1/4 teaspoons equals one envelope), 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 2 cup measuring cup

Easy rolls for thanksgiving

*let yeast mixture sit for 5 minutes-the mixture will bubble up to the top of the cup

Rolls with oatmeal

*beat oat mixture, yeast mixture, flour, salt, and brown sugar with a mixer until smooth

The best rolls ever made

*the dough will be sticky and slightly wet-turn it out onto a floured surface; knead adding flour as needed till dough is smooth and elastic-about 5 minutes

*place dough in a greased bowl; cover; and let rise in a warm place for an hour or till dough doubled in bulk

How to make yeast rolls

*punch dough down; divide in half; shape each portion into 16 1 1/2 inch balls-or whatever size you want; place evenly in lightly greased pans-round or square (after second rising rolls may be refrigerated overnight-let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking or freeze after second rising for up to a month; thaw overnight in refrigerator; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking)

How to make oatmeal dinner rolls

*cover and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes or till doubled in bulk; bake in 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or till golden brown

Southern Living rolls

Carol Barclay from Portland Texas is credited with developing this great recipe. Over the years I’ve found it to be almost fool proof-I never measure the temps of the water or the oatmeal, use at least an additional cup of flour as I knead and shape the dough, and I’ve never kneaded the dough for the full 5 minutes. Another neat thing about this recipe-if you only need a few rolls-take the rest of the dough and use it for cinnamon rolls.

So how about you what dish are you expected to make?


This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig in November of 2009.


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  • Reply
    Sandra Myers
    December 26, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    Thank you for this recipe Tipper… I am definitely going to try this one!

  • Reply
    Tamara Henderson
    August 16, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    I made your rolls today. They sure are good, but I will do something different next time I make them. I will make them a lot smaller, lol. I guess I took the easy way out and got 13 out of my dough. I saw that you get 32, lol. They are delicious, but very dense. One of my rolls would definitely fill a person up!

    • Reply
      August 17, 2021 at 9:54 am

      Tamara-thank you for sharing your results!

  • Reply
    Sallie R. Swor
    November 23, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Tipper, I was looking up roll recipes then read your post late. Due to a new grand baby I’m back in your neck of the woods & planning to help with Thanksgiving dinner doing pie and rolls. Since I don’t have my recipes with me I think I will try yours. To the person who is a baker but afraid of yeast just read about the things you need to be careful of and go for it. I’ll bet you won’t have any trouble. Then there was the mention of pecan brown sugar chess pie. That sounds wonderful. How can we get the recipe? As for fried sweet potatoes, my mother sliced large sweet “taters” into thick (about 3/8″) slices and fried them for breakfast in fried meat (pork – bacon or sausage) grease. They were best browned around the edges. Usually we had fried pork, dirty gravy (milk/flour) or maybe fried squirrel with them for any meal. I love these mountains. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Reply
    November 25, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Bread lover here, too!
    My dad made the best fried taters, too. I cannot replicate them to save my soul. LOL

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    November 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    These sound wonderful! I’ll have to try them. I usually make Sweet Potato rolls or Pumpkin/Thyme rolls.
    I also loved the post on cell phones — I have only recently begun to carry one — and it’s not a ‘smart phone’ just a plain old dumb one. I don’t make calls just to chat but it’s useful when my husband’s down in his workshop. a quarter of a mile down the mountain to be able to reach him.

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Your rolls look incredible! I was going to pre-make my crescent roll dough today and freeze it until wednesday night but now may have to change my plan…lol!
    I make a dessert called Pumpkin Delight that is expected every year. Even though it’s made for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, my daughter whose birthday is December 4th always requests it as her birthday “cake” too!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Kimberly-yep you fry them just like regular taters : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Sherie Rowe
    November 20, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Yum! I am a bread lover, but I am by no means a bread maker! I may try this one though, that photo of the roll with the butter melting on it got me! I am always expected to bring Sweet Potato souffle and pecan-brown sugar chess pies and Granny Bell’s Fresh Apple Cake!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I’ll be expected to make my deviled eggs. I always make them with apple cider vinegar and I use a little more than the recipe calls for and I think that’s what gives mine that little extra that everyone loves.
    Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Dirt, Bet and I wait until Saturday to have Thanksgiving with the marrieds. This year when Michelle called to ask the time and what to bring, I decided not to be the middle man, instead I had Bet tell her that she needed to call the other marrieds figure out a time and what they wanted to bring and we would do the rest. Because it is actually after everyone has had regular Thanksgiving, one daughter loves her dad to make his slow outdoor cooked leg of lamb and some non-traditional foods. The other daughter however misses how the traditional foods are cooked so we also do a turkey and all the fixin’s. So needless to say covering everyone’s “needs” we end up with a lot of food!

  • Reply
    SandyCarlson (USA)
    November 19, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    They look delicious! Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth K
    November 19, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Generally I do the whole thing. On the rare occasions when I am responsible for bringing something elsewhere, it’s my squash carrot casserole which I found in Better Homes & Gardens’ American Christmas, Crafts & Foods – 1984. I had been married 4 years and was really into cooking the whole meal. This recipe has become a staple with both sides of the family – we love it.
    Your dinner roll recipe – I will certainly be giving this a go. My husband adores anything cinnamon bread, rolls, cookies, etc. so I’ll be in touch for the Cinnamon Roll recipe!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Your rolls have made me very hungry all of sudden. I’ll have to try those soon.
    I’m responsible for the whole thing: Herb-Roasted Turkey, Stuffing, Fluffy Mashed Taters, Candied Yams, Gr Bean Cass, Homemade Rolls, Oyster Cass, Gravy, Cranberry Sauce and Punkin Pie 🙂 I might try something new, a Sweet Potato Spoonbread.
    Now I’m starving!

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    November 19, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Those rolls look FABULOUS!!! I am going to have to try that recipe. You mentioned fried sweet potatoes in your post. I have never heard of that before. Do you just slice them up and fry them in a bit of oil?

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Looks delicious!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 19, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Another one for my recipe book. We always are requested to make the mashed potato’s My husband makes them with Yukon golds and mashes them with the cooking water instead of milk…..sounds awful doesn’t it, but just try it one time and you will always make them lke this.

  • Reply
    trisha too
    November 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Well, I used to be in charge of rolls, but then they came to my house for Thanksgiving one year and found out about the pies–now my mother-in-law calls me the “pie lady.”
    Tipper, I must have missed this post the first time around, these rolls sound yum–will have to give them a try!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Oh, how yummy they look! I can almost smell the aroma. I might just try these as I am a bread addict. Yum, yum! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    November 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Oh my– ALL of the dishes you listed sound so good! I will try your biscuits, which look wonderful. I will do them for Christmas, b/c I have just tooooo many things to make for Thanksgiving. YUM!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Those rolls look fabulous! Anything with yeast scares me, but since you say these are so easy and fool-proof, maybe I will get brave one of these cold days and attempt it!
    At our family Thanksgiving I always make my stuffing, with wild rice and pecans, folks would be very disappointed if I didn’t. I am also the family’s “baker”, so I make the pumpkin and pecan pies for the day. I do all the cookie baking for the family, one of thier favorites are my Molasses Cookies. My Pop nags me all throughout the year to make Husband Cake, a WWII recipe for a rich, heavy spice cake that uses no butter or eggs; his mom used to make it, now the mantel has passed to me. I also have the recipe for my Great-aunt Mary’s Easter Bread, it is sweet and melts in your mouth, but – again – I live in terror of yeast! When Mom retires early next year, we will make it togeher. I cherish my family’s food traditions, making these dishes year after year is like honoring those who are no longer with us, and having something of them present on the holidays too.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    November 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Tipper, these rolls sound great, unfortunately just reading about them raised my blood sugar. Have a great Thanksgiving.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Yum, those rolls look so good! I love brown sugar too. I cook the turkey and the dressing for our family get together. My family loves the gravy I make with the turkey drippings. My sister that loves to bake takes care of all the desserts. We always wind up with enough food to feed an army. Southern Living is my favorite magazine. Many of the recipes that I use came from there. Looking forward to a day of good food and spending time with my family this next week. I definitely plan to try these rolls soon.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 11:11 am

    I’m a bread junky too. The oatmeal
    rolls look delicious…Ken

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Those rolls look very good and any leftovers are probably great for making a turkey sandwich…may have to try those this year. Will miss having my parents here this year as they will be at my sister’s home — probably closer to where you live! I will miss making Thanksgiving dinner with my mother — we cook well in the kitchen together, and enjoy it — so it is all me this year! One little tradition we do is after each dish is completed we say “If nothing else we will have pumpkin pie and … whatever else it is that we have made”! You are very lucky to have all your family there!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 19, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Tipper those Oatmeal Rolls of yours are the best in the world. Like you I can make a meal of them.
    I also like those butterscotch thingies you make and the praline is top of the line. You make a lot of good things!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I’m going to try these rolls today! Nothing soothes the southern soul like fresh homemade bread.

  • Reply
    Rick Kratzke
    November 19, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Thank god I have the day after Thanksgiving off cause i will need it to get over all the food I am going to eat.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I remember how good your rolls were. I made them from the orginal post. thanks for reminding me of the recipe!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    November 19, 2011 at 9:34 am

    I’m with you, Tipper–can make a meal with some bread& butter & husband is the same way. Sadly I was just diagnosed with diabetes so have had to cut way back. I may try these for Christmas & treat myself.

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    November 19, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Those rolls look so good! Thanks for that recipe! I am asked to make my Memaw’s cornbread dressing. She always baked a hen because she said the drippings were better to use for the dressing than a turkey. Of course we have a turkey also. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    November 19, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Usually it’s the “whole kit and kaboodle” LOL…but this year due to a huge (attendance) special early Thanksgiving…
    Our immediate family is only responsible for rolls, a dessert and I’m doing the stuffed celery, Gelatin salad and Cranberry sauce..There will be at least 70 there..Whew!
    I’m gonna try this recipe one of these days near Christmas when things settle a bit..yummm, they sound so good..My daughter-in-law has already got her rolls going or we could have tried your recipe…
    Thanks Tipper for a great post as usual…

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I am right there with you on the bread over meat, or any other food. the hush puppy has me drooling and biscuits are my favorite bread, but I love ALL bread. daddy made a hoe cake that was killer. again with the bread.

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