Savory, with a crispy crust and a fluffy crumb, these onion poppy seed rolls stuffed with golden, caramelized onions and poppy seeds will be the stars at your dinner table. Vegan, soy-free and nut-free recipe.
I am in love. With this onion poppy seed roll.
So yes, it’s a bread roll, and it’s really just a thing, and that too a thing I will demolish in a few bites, but so what? This is true love.
Why else did I bake up so many versions of this roll in the past week and still stay enamored? And I don’t really have words to describe how amazing they are, these rolls. They are savory with the caramelized onions, slightly crunchy with the poppy seeds, beautifully golden and crispy on the outside, and soft and cloudy and fluffy as can be on the inside.
Onion Poppy Seed Rolls are usually made with a challah dough, and with raw onions, and I love the raw onion version too (which has a different, equally delish flavor). But the caramelized onions add a touch of class and richness. They do add an extra step — you have to caramelize them — but it’s totally worth it.
You also have some choice in how you shape and bake these, and it will make all the difference to your rolls. If you want more of the crispy crust, bake them in a muffin tin. They’ll come out beautifully golden, and divine.
If you want a nice presentation, make them pull-apart style, in the large pan, like the photographs. They bake up all snuggled together, like cinnamon buns, and they have less of a crust but a lot of fluffy crumb to slather vegan butter on.
How to bake the most perfect onion poppy seed rolls:
- These rolls are pretty much foolproof, so all I’ll say is to follow instructions closely. This is true for any baked good. I know everyone loves to make recipes their own, I do too, but unless you’re a seasoned baker who knows how ingredients in baking interact, leave the experimenting alone. Once you do learn, you can do all the experimenting you want.
- Make sure you follow the rise times. If you’re a new baker, remember that how long you knead your bread, and how long you let it rise, can make all the difference to how your bread turns out.
- Like I said above, you can use raw onions in these instead of caramelized and you’ll have great results with a different flavor. If you use raw onions, you will need less. When I make this with raw onions, I use just one medium onion. With caramelized onions, I use two because the onions cook down quite a bit as they brown.
- When you bake loaves of bread, you need to let them cool thoroughly before you slice them. Happily that’s not the case for rolls. You can eat these hot or warm out of the oven.
So go ahead, make some Onion Poppy Seed Rolls for yourself, and enjoy them! And when you do, come back and tell me about it.
Looking for more vegan bread recipes?
- Easy French Bread
- Gluten-Free Multigrain Sourdough Sandwich Bread
- Vegan Garlicky Cheesy Pull Apart Pizza Bread
- Crusty Sourdough Dinner Rolls
- Easy Vegan Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
- Christmas Wreath Rolls
Onion Poppy Seed Rolls Recipe
Vegan | Nut-free | Soy-free
Onion Poppy Seed Rolls
- Stand mixer or large bowl
- A large baking pan, approx 9 X 13 inches
- 1.5 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions (or 1 if you're using them raw. If caramelizing the onions, slice them thinly. If using raw, cut the onions into a very fine dice)
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds (I used white poppy seeds because I had those, but black poppy seeds would be fine and would probably look prettier because they'd stand out)
- Place the yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup of water in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl and let it stand five minutes until frothy.
- Sift in 3 cups of flour and baking soda. Add salt. Drizzle in the water as needed and knead until the dough comes together.
- Add 3 tbsp of oil and knead on medium-high speed until all of the oil is absorbed by the dough. This will take a little more effort if doing by hand, but you'll get there. I find that after adding the oil the dough tends to get a little sticky again, so I usually add a little more flour until it comes together in a ball.
- Stop kneading at this point and turn the dough out onto a work surface. Fashion it into a smooth ball, and place in an oiled bowl. Turn over once to coat the top of the dough with the oil, cover with a kitchen towel, and let the dough rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled.
- While the dough is rising, you can caramelize the onions. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet, add the sliced onions and about 1/2 tsp salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are a nice golden-brown. You can also add a pinch of sugar to make the onions brown faster. Let the onions cool.
- Oil the baking pan or the muffin tin.
- After the dough has risen for an hour, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Punch the dough down and, using your hands or a rolling pin, shape it into a rectangle about 12 inches long and nine inches wide.
- Sprinkle the caramelized or raw onions, whichever you're using, evenly over the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border on the top and bottom.
- Sprinkle the poppy seeds over the onions evenly.
- Dampen the long edge of the dough that's away from you and then gently roll up the dough as tightly as you possibly can, the way you would a jelly roll or a cinnamon roll.
- Press the seam in to form a seal. Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 rolls.
- Place the rolls, evenly spaced, in the baking pan. Or, if using a muffin pan, place one roll in each of the tins.
- Let the rolls rise for another hour, again in a warm place. If you want a golden-brown look for your rolls, brush the tops with 1 tsp maple syrup mixed with 1 tbsp oil before placing them in the oven.
- In the last few minutes of the second rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove to a rack and, when you're able to handle, get them out of the muffin tins or pull them apart from the baking pan. Enjoy.