Onion Rolls (pocket style) - updated Oct, 2018

Onion Rolls

These onion rolls are reminiscent of the onion rolls found at the former Ratner’s restaurant or at Junior’s in Brooklyn. They are more like onion puffs with a savory filling. Bubby and her friends love them.
This particular recipe is adapted from the book Inside the Jewish Bakery  by Ginsberg & Berg.

The dough is fast rising, due in part to the flour (bread flour) and the large ratio of yeast to flour (2 packages of yeast to about 4 cups of bread flour).

There is a bit of choreography: make the dough and while it proofs, make the filling, assemble the rolls.  Once you are practiced at this a batch of rolls can be made in an evening.

If you are new to bread baking, you can check out my post on yeast and kneading flour

Start with the dough:

  • 22 oz bread flour (bread flour will create a better texture in the final product, but you can use all-purpose flour) 
  • 4 1/2 tsp instant yeast (I use SAF gold for sweet dough, but any yeast will do)
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (not too warm, instant yeast is sensitive)
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 extra-large egg plus one yolk
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1.5 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1-2 Tbsp oil (for covering finished dough)
  • Add the flour into a large mixing bowl. For this recipe you want to use a mixer because of the high-gluten flour
  • Add yeast along one edge, top with 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Pour the water over the yeast/sugar side of the bowl to make sure yeast is hydrated
  • Start mixer on low speed, mixing the flour, yeast and water.
  • Add the egg and yolk, salt, oil, poppy seeds,sugar and continue to beat at medium speed for 4-5 mintues.
  • The dough will be stiff and pull away from the side of the bowl
  • Using a flexible scraper, gather up the dough, form a ball in the bowl
  • Pour 1-2 Tbsp oil over the dough, turn the dough so that the entire surface has an oily covering
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap (don’t leave air space between the wrap and dough, but make sure it is loose enough for the dough to rise)
  • Place in a draft free place (a cool oven works well) and allow to rise until just about double – this will usually happen in under and hour (45-50 minutes). 
    • Alternately: place the covered dough in the refrigerator and allow to rise for 8-10 hours (this is called "retarding"- slowing the rising/fermentation process. A good blog post on this technique can be found at The Baker's Blog).

Filling & Topping :Make the filling while the dough is proofing (rising).

In a bowl mix the following ingredients, it is both the filling & topping.
  • 24 oz finely chopped yellow onion (do this by hand in order to keep it from becoming too wet)
  • 3-4 Tbsp bread crumbs (will help the mixture dry)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds


  • Pre-heat the oven to 375
  • Line a baking pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper (no greasing necessary)
  • Remove dough from the bowl, place on a work surface and divide the dough into 3 balls
  • Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough slightly to form a short oblong
  • Rolling in the same direction, roll out to about 12-14 inches. Then work crosswise so that you form a rectangle, about 12x14 and a bit thicker than 1/4 inch.  You may need a small amount of flour to keep the dough from sticking.

  • Using 1/4 of the onion mixture, spread along the top 1/3 of the dough, lengthwise
  • Roll the dough, starting at the onion covered edge, forming a log
  • Cut the log crosswise into half and then each half into thirds (six rolls from the log)
  • Move the rolls, in the same position, seam side down onto a cookie or baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
  • Repeat the process twice more.  The yield is 18 rolls, slightly smaller than sandwich rolls.
  • You can make larger rolls if you want
  • Brush the 18 rolls with oil (use a neutral oil, canola, for example) Using the last 1/4 of the onion mixture, press into the tops of the rolls

  • Bake the rolls for approximately 30 minutes - check after 25 minutes. They will be golden brown
  • Cool on the pan
  • Wrap cool rolls, they stay well for 2-3 days at room temperature and freeze well (double wrap) for about a month.

Yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Enjoy them!


  1. Bubby says these are the best onion rolls ever!

  2. These scrumptious goodies can be made as if you were using your regular oven, using your machine's bake cycle. Most bread machines bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, so you need to be certain that your recipes call for this baking temperature, or adjust them accordingly.home bread maker


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