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Cheesy Onion Rolls

Last summer, while in Winnipeg for some Celebration book launch events, we enjoyed some wonderful cheesy onion rolls made famous by a local bakery.  I came home with the recipe and am sharing my copykat version with you today.  The yeast dough I used is not the bakery original, but my favorite refrigerator yeast dough. 

Yeast Dough:

  • 2 cups very warm water
  • 1/4 cup potato flakes (instant mashed potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons yeast (instant, fast rising)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
  • 6 - 6 1/2 cups flour
  1. Stir together the water, potato flakes and sugar. 
  2. Add eggs, softened butter, and yeast mixed with 3 cups flour. 
  3. Beat with mixer on high speed. 
  4. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until a soft but knead-able dough is formed. 
  5. Knead well. 
  6. Place in a greased bowl.
  7. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. (About an hour in a warm place.)

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  1. Punch down dough, and divide in half.
  2. Roll each half out to form a 16 x 12 inch rectangle.
  3. Brush each piece with half the melted butter; sprinkle each rectangle with half the cheese and poppy seeds.
  4. Beat egg, and brush lightly over long edges.
  5. Starting at one long side, roll up tightly, pinching seam to seal.
  6. Cut thick slices (about 1 1/2") and place on parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. 
  7. Press buns to flatten to about 3/4" thick.
  8. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  9. Brush lightly with beaten egg.
  10. Top each roll with onion slices. 
  11. Add a dollop of mayonnaise on top of each bun (about 1 teaspoon).
  12. Bake at 350°F for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Cool on racks.
Yield: 20 large cheesy onion rolls.

*Here's what I love about this dough.  It is a wonderful refrigerator dough...and keeps well for several days in the fridge in a sealed container.  It is a simple thing to use half the dough for cheesy onion rolls today...and refrigerate the rest to use for cinnamon buns or more onion buns tomorrow (or the tomorrow after that!). 

Served alongside a salad...these cheesy onion rolls have been a lunchtime favorite in recent months.



  1. Not to mention how luscious they look! They are a feast for the eyes and the tummy. I can't wait to try these or should I save them for when company comes? Thank you!

  2. Photo makes my mouth water! Love onion rolls and these look fabulous. The sliced onions called for in the ingredients are not used in the directions. I thought they would be put on before rolled up, but in photo looks like they are put on top before the mayonnaise. Which is correct?

    1. Sorry, Carol. I have edited the instructions to clarify things. The onions are laid on top of the rolls just before they go in the oven. :)

  3. Do these freeze well? I was thinking they would be nice to pull out if the freezer with some homemade soup for my husband's lunch...

    1. They freeze very well! I bake them for the freezer..pull them out and re-heat them to serve.

  4. oh boy they sure look good enough to eat...did u use a kitchen aid for the dough ? thanks

    1. I use the dough hook on my Bosch mixer to mix the dough...but it can easily be done by hand.

  5. Oh Judy - these look absolutely wonderful! I've never used refrigerator dough. Do you let it rise in the fridge or do you let it rise before refrigerating? Sorry I'm so inexperienced in using yeast dough this way - I would love to learn - it sounds like such a handy method. I love savoury buns like this and will definitely be trying this recipe!

    1. Rosella, in this case I mixed the dough, let it rise and then formed the rolls. However, since it is a great refrigerator dough, I often mix it, refrigerate it in a large bowl with a sealed lid and use it in my baking several hours or several days later. It's a great make-ahead dough.

    2. Thanks Judy - that's awesome! I have printed this recipe to try - maybe for Thanksgiving - yum!

  6. what do you do with the other half of cheese and poppy seeds? Can I sprinkle them on top?

    1. The cheese and poppy seeds are divided equally between the two pieces of dough.

  7. Do you have the gluten free adjustments for this tempting looking treat?

  8. I tried this recipe in early December but ran into a bit of a problem with getting the onions to stay on top - they slid off while I was putting them on, while baking or while eating! Even so these were delicious! I decided to remake them last week - with a few adjustments. The main one being, rather than putting the onion on top, I caramelized onions and added it to the filling with the cheese! YUMMY! I posted my version here:
    Thanks for always posting such wonderful recipes and inspiring us!

  9. Hello Judy, the direction for this recipe doesn’t tell you where to put the 1tbs of salt. With the wet or with the dry. Could you fix the directions please. Thank you


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