Old-Fashioned Butter Rolls

Many years ago my mother made a book of recipes to be handed down to her children and grandchildren.

The book was a treasure trove of recipes from generations past, many concocted in order to utilize the ingredients on hand and produce tasty dishes.

During hard times, such as the Great Depression, my mother and her mother used these to produce fortifying, tasty desserts, seemingly from nothing.

One of those desserts was the butter roll.

“Back during Mama and Grandma’s time, they used what they had to make a meal,” my mother recalled. “We always had good meals, sometime seemingly out of nothing, but we always had a dessert. I have never seen this butter roll anywhere except at my home. I have made it many times for my family.”

Here is that recipe:


Put 2 cups plain flour into a bowl, sprinkle with salt and work in 2/3 cup shortening until it resembles meal. Stir in just enough ice water to make a stiff dough. Put on floured board (here I find a clean countertop better for rolling this), and use a floured rolling pin.

Roll, turn over on more floured space until it is very thin. Use small saucer and cut rounds around the saucer. Spread each round almost to the edge with softened butter, sprinkle generously with sugar, roll up tightly and place in a buttered baking dish.

Bake at 400 degrees until the rounds or rolls are browning slightly.


Heat 1 1/2 cups milk with enough sugar to be sweet, add about a teaspoon vanilla. Have this very hot, but not boiling. Pour carefully over the rolls, return to oven for 10 or 15 minutes.

Better served warm.

P.S. This tip is mine: for a delicious variation on this recipe, combine dark brown sugar, cinnamon and finely chopped pecans. Sprinkle this over the buttered surface before you roll them up. 

Thanks for listening…. keep smiling!

Audrey McCarver August 10, 2022

Audrey McCarver

Audrey McCarver

Audrey Brooks McCarver, currently a resident of Ripley, Mississippi, is a wife, a mother, a grandmother and an author. She likes Southern cooking, country music, old pickup trucks, Fa-So-La singing, afternoon walks down a lonely country road and fresh-cut watermelon with a pinch of salt. A native of Gadsden, Alabama, Audrey will be a frequent guest columnist on this blog and write about all things Southern.