Guyanese tennis rolls on the stove

Bread is a beloved staple in many households. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of baking your own bread, like these delightful tennis rolls. I will walk you through the process of making your own delicious Guyanese tennis rolls from scratch.

Picture this: the tantalizing scent of warm tennis rolls wafting through your kitchen, promising a treat that’s both comforting and irresistible. Guyanese Tennis Rolls are a testament to the art of bread-making, with a recipe that’s been passed down through generations. With just a handful of simple ingredients and a bit of patience, you can recreate this delicious bread in your own home.

The secret to it’s flavor

Guyanese tennis rolls have a unique flavor which has been a mystery to most. Local bakeries have always held the secret until now. A simple combination of vanilla and lemon zest gives it that quintessential flavor. The soft, pillowy bread, with a slightly dry texture is a staple breakfast item in most Guyanese households.


  • Mixing Bowl: A large mixing bowl is essential for combining your ingredients and kneading your dough.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are crucial in baking, so make sure you have both dry and liquid measuring cups, as well as measuring spoons.
  • Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer (optional): While you can mix and knead your dough by hand, a stand mixer or hand mixer with dough hooks can make the process quicker and easier.
  • Dough Scraper or Bench Knife: This tool is handy for scraping dough from your work surface and for cutting the dough into portions.
  • Pastry Brush: You’ll use this to brush melted butter on top of the Guyanese tennis rolls after baking.
  • Baking Sheet or Tray: You’ll need a baking sheet or tray to place your tennis rolls on before they go into the oven. Make sure it’s lined with parchment paper or lightly greased to prevent sticking.
  • Kitchen Towel or Plastic Wrap: You’ll use a kitchen towel or plastic wrap to cover your dough while it’s rising to keep it from drying out.
  • Cooling Rack: Once your tennis rolls are baked, you’ll want to transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely before serving.
golden tennis rolls on a baking sheet

Making the dough

Begin by proofing the yeast in a mixture of warm water, milk, and sugar until it’s frothy. Then, combine this the yeast mixture with flour, salt, lemon zest, butter and a touch of melted vanilla extract. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic, then let it rise until it doubles in size, before rolling into rolls.

Baking the bread

Once your dough has risen, it’s time to shape it into individual rolls and let them rise once more. As they bake in the oven, your home will be filled with the irresistible scent of freshly baked bread, promising a taste of Guyanese tradition with every bite. When they emerge golden brown, brush with melted butter, and then it’s ready to eat.

What to serve with it

Typically, the go-to paring for tennis roll is with cheese, specifically New Zealand Cheddar or what’s known as Guyanese cheese.  It can be enjoyed with a variety of jams, eggs or just simply with butter.

guyanese bread on a sheet pan

Tips for Storing Bread

  • Choose the Right Storage Method: Selecting the appropriate storage method can significantly impact the shelf life and quality of your bread. While it may be tempting to leave bread out on the counter, it’s best to store it in a cool, dry place to prevent mold growth and staling.
  • Avoid Refrigeration: Contrary to popular belief, refrigerating bread can accelerate staling by causing the bread to dry out faster. Unless your bread contains perishable fillings like cheese or meat, it’s best to avoid refrigeration.
  • Opt for Airtight Containers: Store-bought bread bags or airtight containers are ideal for preserving the freshness of bread. Make sure to seal the container tightly to prevent exposure to air, which can lead to moisture loss and staleness.  Bread bags with twist ties helps keep it fresh.
  • Freeze for Long-Term Storage: If you’re not planning to eat the bread within a few days, consider freezing it. Wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing it in a freezer bag. Bread thaws relatively quickly. Thaw frozen bread at room temperature or reheat it in the oven for a freshly baked taste.
  • Slice Before Freezing: Slicing bread before freezing allows for easy portioning and prevents the need to thaw the entire loaf at once. Simply separate the slices with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together.

Guyanese bread recipes to try

Guyanese tennis rolls on the stove

Get the Recipe Guyanese Tennis Rolls


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup warm milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
  • 3 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 drop lemon extract(optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Let rise for 35 minutes.  
    Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush with melted butter.
  • In a large bowl place warm water, milk and sugar then sprinkle yeast on top. Stir then let sit for 10 minutes allow the yeast to proof.   
  • To a bowl mix flour, salt and lemon zest together. Add yeast mixture, melted butter and vanilla and lemon extracts.   Knead for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth and no longer sticky.   A stand up mixer with the dough hook attachment would be an excellent alternative to hand kneading the dough.
  • Punch down the dough to release the air, then place on an un-floured surface. Form into a bowl then cut into 10-12 equal pieces.
  • Roll each piece of dough to form a ball. Place on a greased sheet pan, cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • When oven is hot, place tennis rolls into the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter. Allow to cool on a baking rack.


Author: Jehan Powell