As promised, I am posting the recipe for coffee buns aka rotibuns today. Coffee rotibuns are, without a doubt, one of my favorite Korean bread. When these buns come fresh out of the oven, it’s hard to resist biting into the soft buns. The base of the bread is the same recipe used for soboro; only the topping is different. These coffee buns are not only pretty to look at, but they’re also great for dessert, breakfast, or as a snack!





Serves 12


Coffee buns (Rotibuns)

3 hrTotal Time

Yields 12 rotibuns

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  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp warm milk (105-110 degrees F)
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • Coffee topping
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp warm water


  1. In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 tsp yeast with 1 tsp granulated sugar and 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp warm milk. Let sit for 5 minutes or until yeast is activated and the mixture is foamy.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together 3 cups bread flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt. Add the yeast mixture, 1 egg, and 1/3 cup butter and mix to combine. Knead until the dough is smooth. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch down dough and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Place them on a lined baking sheet and loosely cover. Let rise for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Making the topping. Dissolve 1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee with 1 tbsp water. Whip together 1/2 cup softened butter with 1/2 cup sugar with a whisk until well combined. Add 2 eggs and the instant coffee and mix until combined. Sift 1 cup cake flour and add it to the mix. Stir just until combined. Transfer the coffee topping to a piping bag. Pipe the coffee frosting on each roll, making sure the piped lines are touching each other.
  6. Bake rolls for 15-20 minutes or until the topping has set and the rolls are browned. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.


**Helpful tips and common mistakes

I always thought rotibuns were a Korean pastry, but it turns out that they are traditionally Mexican. I think the only difference is that the Korean version is slightly sweeter. Some bakeries stuff their coffee buns with red bean paste or a little butter but I went with the plain version because it’s my favorite.

bread dough

Just by touching the dough, you can tell that it’s going to be a soft bread. This enriched dough has milk, butter, and eggs which help it turn into one beautiful soft roll. Proof the dough for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and let it rise once more for 1 more hour.

mise en place for coffee topping

In the meantime, make the coffee frosting. I could eat this frosting by the spoonful it’s so delicious (although it’s probably not a good idea). Feel free to make the frosting the day before if you want to save some time.

coffee topping

When piping the coffee frosting on the bread, make sure the lines are all touching one another. If you have spaces in between the lines, the frosting will not melt properly to give you a smooth coating; instead, there will gaps where there were spaces.  You can start piping the frosting about 3/4 of the roll down since it will drip down as it bakes. If you don’t have a piping bag, use a plastic bag and cut a small opening in one corner. If you made the frosting ahead of time, let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before piping.

pipe the coffee topping

Don’t worry if the piping isn’t perfect. The topping will melt as it bakes so the lines will disappear. Bake the rotibuns until golden brown, rotating the sheet pan halfway through. Let the buns cool slightly before digging in.

These rotibuns made my kitchen smell insanely delicious just like a Korean bakery! The coffee buns were all nicely coated and looked beautiful. I loved the taste of coffee with every bite with just a hint of sweetness. The bread is best fresh but can be reheated in the microwave.



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