These corn bread rolls are delightfully light and tender. Serve sandwiched with shredded barbecue meat, or as dinner rolls with your favorite meal!
When it comes to dinner rolls, there's a magical creation that effortlessly combines the rustic charm of cornbread with the flawless lightness of a yeast roll. Envision a golden brown exterior, giving way to a cloud-like interior that's both light and sweet.
Years ago, I developed this corn bread roll recipe for barbecue pork sandwiches, mimicking one of our favorite restaurants at the time. My goal was a hamburger bun-like consistency with the taste of cornbread, because we all know how well cornbread pairs with barbecue!
I researched my tail off trying to find a cornbread roll recipe that could get me started in the right direction. I knew I wanted it to be a yeast recipe, and not just a quick cornbread. There's a big difference. If you cut a cornbread muffin in half and throw some BBQ in between, it will get mushy and fall apart. I wanted a yeast roll that was reminiscent of cornbread, but not the texture of cornbread.
I didn't have to steer far from Martha's version. I made only a couple of changes to ensure the buns were buttery and fabulous. These rolls are lighter and chewier than cornbread. They're yeasty and fabulous. We don't only make them for pulled pork sandwiches, we often eat them as dinner rolls to accompany our meal.
(full printable recipe at end of post)
These corn bread rolls use basic baking ingredients you will find in your pantry. A few substitution ideas are noted below.
Here's What You Need:
- Warm milk -- Adds moisture to ensure rolls are not dry, and enhances the richness to the flavor.
- Warm water -- Activates the yeast.
- Granulated sugar -- Provides a touch of sweetness and also contributes to the leavening process.
- Active dry yeast (I sometimes use instant yeast) -- Acts as the leavening agent, causing the dough to rise and create a light and fluffy texture. Also provides the yeasty taste.
- Eggs(yolks only) -- Binds the ingredients and provides richness.
- Salt -- Enhances overall flavor and balances the leavening process.
- Butter (unsalted, but if salted is all you have just omit the amount of salt listed)
- Yellow cornmeal -- Creates the distinct cornbreadflavor and texture.
- Bread flour -- Can substitute all purpose flour but the rolls will have less chew.
- Olive oil or nonstick spray
When you carefully balance these ingredients, you create a harmonious blend of flavors and texture to create the perfect corn bread roll.
You do not need to be a seasoned baker to make these corn bread rolls. Just a few baking steps and a bit of prep time are needed in the process. No bread machine needed.
- In a large bowl, combine milk, water, and sugar; sprinkle yeast on top and let stand for 10 minutes until foamy.
- Add egg yolks, salt, butter, cornmeal, and flour; mix with the paddle attachment in a stand mixer on low speed for 2 minutes; switch to the dough hook and knead until smooth (about 5 minutes).
- Spray a separate bowl with oil, transfer the dough, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Line a baking pan, punch down the dough on a lightly floured surface, divide into portions, shape into balls, and place on the baking pan; spray plastic wrap with oil and let rise for an additional 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F; melt 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter, brush the tops of the dough balls, sprinkle with cornmeal, and bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.
- Remove from the oven, cool on a wire rack.
Room Temperature: Store these rolls at room temperature in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to 2 days.
Refrigeration: For longer shelf-life and prevent them drying out, store in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
Freeze: You can make these rolls ahead of time and store them in the freezer until ready to use. For best results, freeze them the same day you you bake them. The more fresh they are when placed in the freezer, the more fresh they are when thawed.
Serve these rolls with the following meal ideas:
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This recipe was originally published January 2014 and updated October 2023 with new recipe tips.
Corn Bread Yeast Rolls
- ½ cup warm milk (about 110 degrees)
- ½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
- 1 ½ Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and slightly cooled
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 cups bread flour
- Olive oil or Nonstick cooking spray , to help handle the dough
For the tops:
- 1-2 Tablespoons butter , melted
- Additional yellow cornmeal for sprinkling
- 2-4 Tablespoons butter
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand for 10 minutes, until foamy. Add the egg yolks, salt, butter, cornmeal and flour; mix with the paddle attachment on low speed for 2 minutes. Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead on medium low speed until the dough is smooth and does not stick to your finger when squeezed, about 5 minutes.
- Spray a separate bowl with oil. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl, flip once to cover both sides with the oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Punch down the dough and divide into 12 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface or pastry mat, shape each portion into a ball then place on the lined baking sheet. (To easily shape into smooth rounds, I pull down the sides and pinch the excess dough on the bottom.) Spray plastic wrap with oil, then loosely cover the dough balls and let rise for 10 more minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, melt 1 to 2 Tablespoons of butter. Brush the tops of the dough balls with the melted butter, then sprinkle with cornmeal. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden and baked through. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Serve as dinner rolls or slice and use as slider buns.
- Shape 8 larger dough balls and bake a few minutes longer for larger buns.
- To freeze: Allow to cool to room temperature, then store in the freezer in zipper bags. Thaw in the microwave for about 45 seconds for one roll, flipping halfway.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only.