Recipe Review

Martha Stewart Just Taught Me the Secret to the Best-Ever Cinnamon Rolls

published Mar 29, 2021
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Credit: Sara Tane

I am extremely passionate about potatoes. The humble root vegetable can truly do it all! Every time I think I’ve seen every cooking method, every trick, and every hack that puts the starchy wonder to good use, I stumble upon another that’s even more brilliant. Case in point: I recently learned that Martha Stewart adds mashed potatoes (!!!) to her cinnamon rolls. Whaaaat?

I had no idea adding potatoes to cinnamon roll dough was a thing, but a quick “mashed potatoes in cinnamon rolls” Google search assured me it very much is. Turns out, lots of bakers have been adding fluffy mashed potatoes to their cinnamon roll doughs for years. (Thanks for letting me know, guys!) Supposedly adding mashed potatoes gives the rolls an extra-fluffy, airy texture, and keeps them extra moist. I recommend reading this Mashed article (no pun intended) for more of the science behind it.

So while Martha isn’t the the only one to use this hack, I trusted her to introduce me to the world of potato-infused cinnamon rolls. Here’s what happened when I gave her recipe a try.

Credit: Sara Tane

How to Make Martha Stewart’s Cinnamon Rolls

Aside from the mashed potato addition, these cinnamon rolls aren’t much different than your average homemade recipe. To incorporate the potato, you need to peel and cut a medium Russet (about 8 ounces) into 1-inch pieces, then boil until mashable. From there, drain the pieces and either run them through a ricer or food mill, or just mash them up by hand with a fork. 

I don’t have a ricer or a food mill (both are tools I constantly tell myself would be nice to have but never end up buying), so I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to achieve the desired light and fluffy consistency. But to my surprise and relief, my fork-mashed potatoes incorporated seamlessly into the dough. I added them to the milk and yeast mixture along with flour, butter, sugar, egg, and salt, and after several minutes of mixing in a stand mixer, a soft and pliable dough formed.

Credit: Sara Tane

From there, the rest of the recipe follows normal cinnamon roll procedure: Let the dough rise, roll it out, fill it with butter and a cinnamon brown sugar mixture, roll it up, slice into rounds, let rise in the fridge overnight, bake, and top with a cream cheese frosting.

Credit: Sara Tane

My Honest Review of Martha’s Cinnamon Rolls

I don’t make cinnamon rolls (or literally anything that requires an overnight rise) *often,* so when I do, they better be worth the effort. I can confidently confirm that these were. I’d never previously thought to add potatoes to cinnamon rolls, but it worked really well. The brioche was super light and airy, and the potato flavor was undetectable. I was concerned not having a ricer or food mill would prevent me from reaching peak fluffy cinnamon roll nirvana, but my tool deficiency didn’t hold me back. All in all, if I were to make cinnamon rolls again, I’d probably follow this recipe because it was straightforward and the rolls were delicious. 

Credit: Sara Tane

A Few Tips for Making Martha’s Cinnamon Rolls

I’m not going to sit here and pretend I have any baking tips to improve on a Martha Stewart recipe. I mean, I took the liberty of adding a sprinkle of flaky salt and cinnamon to the rolls, so call me a pastry genius, if you’d like. But if I were to make these again, I would probably get a little more creative with the filling (no offense to brown sugar and cinnamon); I might add a handful of chopped walnuts or hazelnuts, plus a sprinkle of cocoa powder, cardamom, or espresso powder (or all three, if it feels right). Maybe even a drizzle of tahini! 

Adding potatoes to my cinnamon roll dough was definitely a game-changing addition; I don’t think I’ll make another batch of rolls without them. Thanks, as always, for the intel, Martha.

Have you tried adding mashed potatoes to your cinnamon rolls? Tell us what you thought!