Resurrection Rolls (with VIDEO)

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Have you heard of Resurrection Rolls? These classic Easter Buns are a hands-on way to tell the Easter Story to kids – and they result in a tasty treat, too! They are a great option for an Easy Easter Breakfast, but can also be served as a sweet side for supper.

A simple tutorial for Homemade Resurrection Rolls from scratch. A hands on way to teach kids the Easter Story that doubles as a fun Easter breakfast

Easter Resurrection Rolls Recipe

Resurrection Rolls, or “Empty Tomb Rolls” are an Easter tradition in our house. Basically, they are a “stuffed sweet rolls” that after baking appear to become empty – similar to how Jesus was placed in his tomb, then three days later the tomb was revealed to be empty.

I first made this recipe when I was working as a Children’s ministry director. It was a great hands-on way to explain the Easter Story to kids and the rolls were done just in time for the kids to head home, so they were able to excitedly open their rolls in front of their parents to reveal the “empty tomb.”

(I had pre-made the dough as that step is a bit more time consuming with kids. You can also swap out our homemade dough recipe with crescent rolls or a pre-made dinner roll dough.)

I’m going to walk you through each step of the recipe and how they relate to the traditional Easter Story – I think sharing the Easter Story with kids during the baking process is the most important part of this recipe. Of course, you can modify the story according to your own beliefs. The Bible passages that you may want to read before making this recipe or while they bake are Matthew 27:45-57 and John 3:16-17.

Resurrection Rolls Story  

For this recipe, the marshmallow represents Jesus’ body.

The rolls represent the tomb.

Rolling the marshmallow in the butter and cinnamon-sugar represents the oils and embalming wraps that would have been used on Jesus’ body.

Wrapping the marshmallow in the tomb represents closing his body in the tomb.

Now, for some families, you can describe the baking time as the punishment of death that Jesus took for our sins – and of course, there is a similarity between the oven and “the underworld,” but I’ll leave that to your discretion. Ultimately, the baking time represents the three days.

Finally, when the rock in from of the tomb is rolled away (the oven is opened) and the tomb is opened (the roll is opened) we discover that Jesus (or the marshmallow) isn’t there anymore. The tomb (roll) is empty! Christ is risen!

The sweetness that remains represents God’s love for us.

Another fun hand’s on way to teach kids the Easter story are these Resurrection Eggs. They are super hard to find (the linked option was the only version I was able to find when writing up this recipe) but if you luck out, they are a great dinnertime conversation activity.

Can these rolls be made in advance? Personally, I think these rolls are best enjoyed shortly after making but you can refrigerate the dough (or even the prepared, wrapped rolls) overnight if you’d like to save time when making these with the kids. Just let the dough (or rolls) come to room temperature before baking.

Do I have to make these rolls from scratch? No, many people make their Resurrection Rolls using pre-made crescent roll dough and I think that’s totally acceptable! I just wanted to provide a from-scratch alternative for those who wanted it. Just skip ahead to the assembly directions and proceed with the recipe as written. You’ll need two rolls of crescent dough for this recipe.

Can I use vegan marshmallows to make Resurrection Rolls? Yes! While I haven’t tried this personally, I had one follower on Pinterest say that she used vegan marshmallows with great results. The most important thing is using regular-sized marshmallows to allow them to completely melt. Jumbo/giant marshmallows won’t melt, which kind of ruins the experience.

This Resurrection Roll recipe is one of the 32 recipes, crafts and decor ideas included in our free Easter Planning Ebook available to our e-mail subscribers:

Check out our quick recipe video for how to make these Empty Tomb rolls, and then don’t forget to scroll down to grab your free printable recipe:

How to make Empty Tomb Resurrection Rolls for Easter

Resurrection Roll Ingredients

For the dough:

  • Warm milk – while water can be substituted, milk results in a richer, velvety roll. Milk should be about 100ºF (not more than 130ºF), so slightly warmer than room temperature but not scalding (you can use a cooking thermometer to check this)
  • White granulated sugar – this is essential for “feeding” the yeast and cannot be substituted
  • Active Dry Yeast – instant yeast can be used to reduce the rising time
  • Butter, melted – can use canola or vegetable oil to substitute
  • Large Egg – essential for binding the recipe
  • Vanilla extract – can be skipped or substituted with your preferred extract flavoring
  • Pinch salt – this is essential for “feeding” the yeast and cannot be skipped
  • All-purpose Flour – can be substituted for C4C gluten-free flour

Tip: you can swap out the from-scratch dough for two tubes of crescent dough.

For the filling:

  • Large marshmallows – can use vegan marshmallows, marshmallows should be “standard” or “large” but not jumbo. Avoid flavored marshmallows as this changes their composition and may create uneven results
  • Butter, melted – can use canola or vegetable oil to substitute
  • White granulated sugar – can be swapped for your preferred granulated sweetener
  • Cinnamon – can be swapped for a different spice blend of your choosing (ie, pumpkin spice, etc)

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.

Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful

Empty Tomb Rolls taste like cinnamon buns and tell the important story of Jesus' resurrection

How to Make Resurrection Rolls

In a large bowl, combine the warm milk, 1 Tablespoon of the sugar and active yeast. Let “proof” for 5 minutes, until frothy.

(If the mixture is not frothy, the yeast needs to be replaced.)

Using an electric mixer, beat in the butter, remaining sugar, egg and vanilla.

 

Add the salt and flour and mix until the dough forms a ball.

Remove the dough from the bowl and knead until smooth.

Grease the mixing bowl and place the dough back in to rise. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350˚F

Roll out the dough to 1/2″ thickness and cut into 8 equal pieces. (For thinner buns, you can roll into 16 pieces.)

Roll marshmallows in melted butter, and then in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place one coated marshmallow in the middle of one piece of dough, and roll the marshmallow until completely covered by the dough, pushing in sides as you go. Pinch seams on either end to seal each roll.

Place rolls on a cookie sheet, and bake at 350˚F for about 12 minutes.

Immediately after removing rolls from the oven, brush with remaining melted butter and then sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve warm.

 

Pin these quick and easy Easter Rolls:

These Empty Tomb Resurrection Rolls are a great Easter activity for kids. Teach them the Easter Story and make a sweet treat while you're at it!

Grab your free printable for our resurrection rolls recipe:

Yield: 8 rolls

Resurrection Rolls

A simple tutorial for from-scratch Resurrection Rolls, or Empty Tomb rolls, for teaching children the Easter story in a delicious, hands-on way.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 4 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups flour

For the filling:

  • 8-16 large marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the warm milk, 1 Tablespoon of the sugar and active yeast. Let "proof" for 5 minutes, until frothy.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat in the butter, remaining sugar, egg and vanilla.
  3. Add the salt and flour and mix until the dough forms a ball.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead until smooth.
  5. Grease the mixing bowl and place the dough back in to rise. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  6. Meanwhile, combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
  7. Roll out the dough to 1/2" thickness and cut into 8 equal pieces. (For thinner buns, you can roll into 16 pieces.)
  8. Roll marshmallows in melted butter, and then in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place one coated marshmallow in the middle of one piece of dough, and roll the marshmallow until completely covered by the dough, pushing in sides as you go. Pinch seams on either end to seal each roll.
  9. Place rolls on a jellyroll pan, and bake at 350˚ for about 12 minutes.
  10. Immediately after removing rolls from the oven, brush with remaining melted butter and then sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve warm.

Notes

Feel free to swap out our homemade dough recipe for two cans of crescent roll dough.

Pin this Recipe for Later

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

These resurrection rolls are a great Easter activity for kids and make a delicious snack, too!

For more Easter recipes for the whole family, check out our Bunny Bum pretzels or our Garlic and Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb.

Check out our other Appetizer Recipes here:

Appetizer Recipes

A simple tutorial for Homemade Resurrection Rolls from scratch. A hands on way to teach kids the Easter Story that doubles as a fun Easter breakfast These Empty Tomb Resurrection Rolls are a great Easter activity for kids. Teach them the Easter Story and make a sweet treat while you're at it! A delicious Easter recipe for kids, these Empty Tomb Resurrection Rolls tell the story of Jesus' resurrection through the steps of the recipe! A great hands on way to tell the Easter Story A delicious Easter recipe for kids, these Empty Tomb Resurrection Rolls tell the story of Jesus' resurrection through the steps of the recipe! A great hands on way to tell the Easter Story

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