I posted a tennis roll recipe when I first started my blog, click here to see that recipe. It was a slight modification of a recipe I found online. Back then I used Wayne’s outpost and my “What’s cooking in Guyana” cookbook for recipes and tips. Since then my cooking and baking has evolved, through trial and error and just playing around with recipes as well as consulting the bakers in my family. Therefore, I’ve adjusted the tennis roll recipe and simplified it. I shared this new recipe on youtube in April 2018 and promised to update the recipe here and just never got around to doing it. As I am getting back into the swing of steady posting and working on being a more consistent blogger, I wanted to tackle any and all posts that I had sitting in my drafts and this was one of those.

The Best Way to Make the dough:

Over time I’ve found that the best way to make the dough is in your stand mixer if you have one. But if you don’t have a stand mixer you can still make tennis rolls using your hands and a trusty kitchen tool––the whisk. I use a whisk for the beginning part of the dough when doing it by hand. I add the liquids to a bowl, just like I would with my stand mixer and I whisk in the flour, a little bit at a time, until I get a pancake batter like consistency.

I then follow-up with handfuls of flour until I have a nice smooth dough. Next, I turn the dough unto a floured surface and I knead it to a smooth dough ball. It takes some time about 10 good minutes to knead the dough by hand, but it is so worth it.

This dough ball should be smooth but also soft. If the ball is too stiff the tennis rolls will be hard. When I am done kneading the dough into a smooth ball, I place it into a greased bowl, cover it and let it rise.

Making the Tennis Rolls

Once the dough doubles in size you can choose to punch it down, knead it again and leave it for a second rise, or if you are in a hurry (as I always am) you can knead it, cut it into 8 pieces and start working on your tennis rolls.

I usually divide the dough into 8 fairly large tennis rolls. I knead each piece of tennis roll dough into a smooth tight ball. Then I cover it and let it proof for about 30 to 45 minutes. Then I bake them up to golden brown tennis rolls.

Immediately after baking, I remove the tennis rolls from the oven, I brush them with butter and cover them with a kitchen towel to let them cool. Alternatively when they’ve cooled off a bit, I put the tennis rolls in a large ziplock or bread bag, that helps to keep the tennis rolls nice and soft.

The Tennis Roll Youtube video tutorial


The Printable Tennis Rolls Recipe:

4.0 from 2 reviews
Tennis Rolls (Updated Recipe)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Tennis roll is a sweet bread roll with hints of vanilla and citrus that we typically enjoy for breakfast.
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Guyanese
Serves: 8 Tennis Rolls
  • ½ cup of warm water
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • ¼ cup butter, melted + 1 tablespoon of butter for after you're done baking
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 to 4 cups of sifted flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
  • Egg wash: 1 egg white and 2 tablespoons of water
  1. Add the warm water to a small bowl, then dissolve the brown sugar in the water
  2. Next add the dry active yeast and mix together well, then cover and set aside in a cool warm place to allow the yeast to activate
  3. In another bowl, combine the butter and milk and set aside
  4. When the yeast has activated and is nice and frothy combine the yeast and the butter and milk mixture. You can do this in your stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl
  5. Then add the lemon zest, lemon extract and vanilla extract and mix together
  6. Start to make the dough by adding ½ cup of flour to the liquid mixture and using a whisk or the whisk attachment of your mixer mix together to form a smooth pancake like batter
  7. Continue to add small amounts of flour until the batter becomes too thick to whisk
  8. If using your stand mixer switch to the dough hook and add the remaining flour
  9. Then mix on low speed until a smooth dough forms
  10. If mixing with your hands continue to add the flour ½ a cup at a time until all of the flour is mixed in to form a smooth dough
  11. Turn the dough unto a floured surface and knead it into a smooth tight ball
  12. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let proof until it doubles in size
  13. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down and knead the dough again. At this point you can allow the dough to proof again or you can cut the dough into 8 pieces and begin to work on your tennis rolls
  14. Knead each piece of tennis roll dough into tight smooth balls
  15. Place the dough balls on a greased baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel
  16. Set dough balls aside and let them proof for 30 to 45 minutes until they doubles in size
  17. Preheat your oven to 350 °F
  18. Finally, make an egg wash using an egg white and 2 tablespoons of water
  19. Brush the egg wash over the top of the tennis rolls
  20. Bake tennis rolls for 25 minutes
  21. Remove the tennis rolls from the oven and brush with butter then cover with a kitchen towel and let cool
  22. After the tennis rolls cool down a bit, place them in a large ziplock or bread back to help keep the tennis roll from becoming stiff
  23. Enjoy with a nice slice of extra sharp cheddar cheese

I hope you try this new recipe and while you are baking try my recipe for guyanese plait bread or whole wheat bread!

Happy Baking!



  1. HannaH April 21, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Thanks for your recipe. But when do you add the salt?

    1. Althea Brown April 21, 2020 at 10:23 am

      Thanks for catching that. Add the salt to the flour before adding the flour to the mixer. I’ll update the recipe.

      1. Pauline Harry December 11, 2020 at 6:38 pm

        Thank you for posting this. I can now bake tennis rolls in the US😊

        1. Althea Brown December 12, 2020 at 10:03 am

          Yummm. Enjoy.

  2. Keith May 19, 2020 at 11:02 am

    Is this gluten free

    1. Althea Brown May 19, 2020 at 1:23 pm

      It’s not sorry

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  4. Amanda May 30, 2020 at 8:04 am

    Is the flour bread flour or plain flour?

    1. Althea Brown May 30, 2020 at 8:23 am

      It’s regular all purpose flour!

  5. Lisandra August 2, 2020 at 7:25 am

    Disappointed that I missed the step about salt.
    How long do I let the dough rest? What if i choose to do a second rise, what will that rise time be? Lastly what do I grease the bowl with?

    1. Althea Brown August 2, 2020 at 7:52 am

      Sorry that I skipped the salt I’ll add it now. It won’t greatly affect the taste. You let the dough rest for about 45 minutes. If you do a second rise you let it rest for 30-40 minutes and punch down and knead again before forming into balls but with rapid rising yeast this is not necessary. Grease the bowl with a bit of butter or oil. Hope this helps.

      1. Aalia Prashad August 27, 2020 at 8:37 am

        I’m doing something wrong somewhere, when I’m rolling it out into balls it’s not coming out smooth.

  6. Safhrana Bhikam February 19, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    Hi do you ever try making gluten free tennis roll?

    1. Althea Brown February 20, 2021 at 12:01 pm

      I have. That recipe is coming next week!!!

      1. Safhrana Bhikam March 10, 2021 at 10:45 am

        Can’t wait to try it. 😃

  7. Abigale March 31, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    My grandma turns 90 this year and moved to the states from Guyana when I was born. I know she misses these kind of treats. I’m going to make her these and probably the mithai 🙂 she will be so surprised and hopefully it is even half as good as the food she grew up with.

    1. Althea Brown April 15, 2021 at 7:36 am

      I love this so much!


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