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Grandma's Nasty Rolls - aka Feather Rolls

Grandma's Nasty Rolls, also known as Feather Rolls, have been a long-standing family favorite. Growing up, at every holiday feast, someone would ask, "Did Grandma make her nasty rolls?" We all hoped the answer was yes!

You see, Grandma's rolls weren't really nasty. In fact, they are the best rolls I have ever tasted. The kind of roll you can load up with butter and jelly, or stuff with leftover turkey. Either way, you have heaven in your mouth.

Grandma didn't think her rolls ever turned out just right. Maybe she is like most of us, and no matter what we do, we can't make it like mama could. Whatever her reasoning, she would poke her head out of the kitchen and get everyone's attention. Then she would announce, "I'm sorry, but these rolls are just nasty." She would shake her head and go back in the kitchen.

We never believed her. Her rolls were devoured every year. If we were lucky enough to get leftovers, they didn't last a day. But the name stuck. We all hoped for nasty rolls every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It wasn't until just last year that I learned the name for Grandma's Nasty Rolls was actually Feather Rolls. (Ahh, the power of family traditions.) I had volunteered to make rolls for Thanksgiving. I decided to try Grandma's rolls, and they turned out...nasty. Except, they were the real definition of nasty. They were hard, puny blobs. After doing some research, I realized I was attempting Feather Rolls. Once I realized what my end result should be, these rolls were easy-peasy.

Now, when my kids see me making rolls, I hear whoops of joy and sighs of delight. Grandma's Nasty Rolls have entered the hearts, and stomachs, of the next generation. Try these delicious rolls yourself to go with your favorite soup or for your family's Thanksgiving feast.  


  • Medium saucepan
  • Large mixing bowl
  • 9x13x2 baking pan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 2 long-handled spoons for mixing
  • Plastic wrap


  • 1 C milk
  • 1/3 C shortening
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-2 TBS yeast
  • 1/2 C warm water
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 4 C flour
  • Shortening or nonstick spray


Step 1: Scald milk, shortening, sugar and salt over low to medium-low heat in medium saucepan. Cool to lukewarm.


Step 2: Dissolve yeast and 1 TBS sugar in 1/2 C warm water.

Step 3: Mix yeast and milk mixtures together. Add beaten eggs. Stir in flour; mix well to form dough. Let stand for 10 minutes. 


Step 4: Knead dough, using as little flour as possible.


Step 5: Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough.


Step 6: Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge overnight, or until thoroughly chilled (at least 2 hours).


Step 7: Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, shape dough into 15 rolls and place in greased 9x13x2 baking pan.


Step 8: Let rise until light (about 40-60 minutes).


Step 9: Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush tops with melted butter. Serve warm.

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