Leftover Mashed Potato Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Mashed potato cinnamon rolls are soft, fluffy cinnamon rolls made with leftover mashed potatoes or potato flakes. They are the perfect breakfast treat!

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Cinnamon Rolls

I don’t know about you but I am not a huge fan of leftover mashed potatoes. For some reason, they never seem as good the next day. They’re kind of lumpy and never seem to heat back up right. Enter: leftover mashed potato cinnamon rolls. They will transform your (mostly) trash leftover mashed potatoes into the perfect Day or Two After Thanksgiving (or Christmas) breakfast treat.

Ingredients and Substitutions:

  • Mashed potatoes-just a cup-oftentimes in my family it’s the exact amount of potatoes that are leftover after Sunday supper, but a little more or a little less won’t hurt
  • Instant yeast-to make our dough rise. You can use active dry yeast instead, just be sure you “bloom” your yeast in 1/4 cup water before adding it to the dough.
  • Warm water-yeast is happiest in water that is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This is only slightly above body temperature so no need to get crazy with the hot water.
  • Eggs-to enrich the dough
  • Melted butter-to enrich the dough
  • Sugar-for sweetness. Feel free to sub in brown sugar or a little bit of honey instead.
  • Salt-don’t put the salt in directly with the yeast because salt kills yeast but we do want to put a little bit of salt in to keep the yeast from growing out of control.
  • All-purpose flour-you can substitute a similar amount of bread flour rather than all-purpose flour if you’d rather. Bread flour has a bit more protein to add some extra stretch to your cinnamon rolls but that’s hardly a bad thing.
  • Cinnamon and sugar-for the filling-I personally like my filling with a little more sugar than cinnamon but feel free to adjust the ratios as desired. You can add in a little nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice as well if you’re feeling sassy.
potato bread dough

Can you use potato flakes in these cinnamon rolls?

Totally! Simply sub in 1/2 cup potato flakes for the 1 cup mashed potatoes. The cinnamon rolls are just as good! I use this method to make these cinnamon rolls and potato bread all year round.

Can you use all-purpose flour in cinnamon rolls?

Yes! In face, I only use all purpose flour in my cinnamon rolls. Some recipes may call for bread flour. Why? because there is a little bit higher protein content in bread flour and higher protein=more gluten development. However, for these cinnamon rolls, all-purpose flour will work just fine.

adding cinnamon to cinnamon rolls

What if my cinnamon rolls rise too long?

If they rise too long on the first rise, no problem, punch the dough down, give it a few more kneads and let it rise again for about 40 minutes.

If they rise too long in the pan, it’s a bit trickier. Your best bet at that point is to go ahead and bake them. They might not get as much oven spring but they’ll still taste good.

unbaked cinnamon roll

How do I know when the cinnamon rolls are ready to go into the oven?

When the rolls have grown close to each other and when you gently poke the dough and it leaves a bit of a dent. This should take about 45 minutes, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

How do I store mashed potato cinnamon rolls?

Cinnamon rolls can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days in a sealed container. Because they don’t have any preservatives, they will start to become stale after about 4 days and mold after about a week.

To revive a slightly stale cinnamon roll-pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds.

You can also store them in the fridge for a week or so and that will drastically slow down the mold growth.

mashed potato cinnamon rolls before rising

Tips for success:

  • Don’t add too much flour to the dough-the first dough should be pretty sticky. You incorporate more flour when you do the second knead/shaping of the dough. At that point, the dough should be tacky but not sticky.
  • Leave enough space between cinnamon rolls for them to rise-the dough is going to rise either way, so if there isn’t space between the cinnamon rolls, it’s going to go up. Then your rolls sort of “pop” out of their roll form. Just as good, maybe not as pretty.
  • Don’t have a kitchen that is too warm or too cold-about 70 degrees is perfect. If your kitchen is colder than that, turn your oven on for 30 seconds, shut it off, then put your covered dough in the oven. It will act like a proofing box. If your kitchen is too warm, just keep an eye on your dough, it will take much less time to rise.
  • Don’t use old yeast-old yeast won’t rise. Your yeast will last MUCH longer if you store it in the fridge.
cinnamon rolls

What kind of frosting should I use?

My mom always made these with a simple frosting of 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. However, regular American buttercream is really nice drizzled on top and cream cheese buttercream is also an excellent choice. I like to drizzle my frosting on when the cinnamon rolls are still warm so that it sort of melts into the cinnamon roll, but waiting until they’re cool is also fine. There is basically no wrong way to frost a cinnamon roll.

Homemade Leftover Mashed Potato Cinnamon Rolls

Course Breakfast
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Resting time 2 hours


For the Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup butter melted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4-6 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling

  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon


  • In a large bowl, stir together melted butter, mashed potatoes, eggs, and sugar.
  • Add in yeast, stir to combine.
  • Add in water and salt and stir to combine.
  • Add in flour 1 cup at a time until dough is thick. This usually takes about 4 cups of flour.
  • Turn dough out onto floured surface. The dough will be sticky. Knead dough until the dough is smooth and elastic and is tacky but not sticky. At this stage I often incorporate up to 1 more cup of flour into the dough. This usually takes about 4-5 minutes of kneading by hand.
  • If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook and knead dough until smooth and elastic. If dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, add in a flour 1/2 cup at a time until it’s tacky but not sticky.
  • Cover dough with clean dish towel and allow it to rise until doubled (about an hour).
  • Once the first proof is over, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few minutes and then roll dough out into a rectangle.
  • Melt some 1/4 cup butter. Brush melted butter onto the dough.
  • Sprinkle the buttered dough generously with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. I use a mixture that is a little heavier on the sugar than cinnamon.
  • Roll the dough up and slice into rolls of desired thickness. Honestly, these rolls are best a bit on the thin side. I have tried making them fat, but the ratio of dough to filling was not as tasty.
  • Place the rolls on a 9×13" cake pan or 2 9×9" cake pans. Above I used a square cake pan, which makes the rolls nice an soft. My mother always used a cookie sheet, which is very good, but makes for crustier outsides.
  • Allow rolls to rise for about an hour.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the rolls for 25 minutes or so.
  • Ice as desired. My mother’s icing was just a simple combination of powdered sugar, milk, and a teaspoon of vanilla. Use as much milk as you would like to make the icing as thin as you like.


Can use 2/3 cup potato flakes instead of 1 cup mashed potatoes.

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Happy Baking!