Coffee buns (Rotibuns)

As promised, I am posting the recipe for coffee buns aka rotibuns today. This bread is another one of my favorites sold at Korean bakeries. 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, they’re great for dessert, breakfast or as a snack!
coffee buns
coffee buns
coffee buns
coffee buns
Coffee buns (Rotibuns)
Yields 20
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Total Time
3 hr 30 min
Total Time
3 hr 30 min
  1. Dough (recipe on
Coffee topping
  1. 150g butter, softened at room temperature
  2. 200g sugar
  3. 150g eggs
  4. 150g cake flour
  5. 1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
  6. 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  7. 1 tbsp warm water
  1. Prepare dough according to the recipe up to step 7.
  2. Meanwhile, making the topping. Cream the butter and sugar by beating until fluffy and pale, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs and beat together. Strain the butter mixture through a sieve and add to the flour.
  3. Dissolve the instant coffee with the water. Add the vanilla. Add the coffee mix to the flour mix and stir to combine. Transfer to a piping bag and chill until ready to use.
  4. Let the frosting sit at room temperature 5-10 minutes before using. Uncover the rolls after rising and pipe the coffee frosting on each roll, making sure the piped lines are touching each other. Let the rolls rise another 30 minutes in a warm area.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Bake rolls for 15 minutes or until the topping has set and the rolls are browned. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.
Adapted from Hungryatmidnight
Adapted from Hungryatmidnight
Cherry on my Sundae

**Helpful tips and common mistakes

I always thought coffee buns 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. 
Since the dough itself doesn’t have much sugar, I added a little extra to the coffee topping to bring out the sweetness. For tips on how to make the rolls, check out the Soboro bread post.
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, you will be able to see the gaps after baking.  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. Letting the frosting come to room temperature makes it easier to pipe out.
coffee buns
These coffee buns made my kitchen smell insanely delicious, like it was a real bakery! The buns were all nicely coated and looked impressive. I loved the taste of coffee with every bite with just a hint of sweetness. The breads are best fresh but can be reheated in the microwave. 
coffee buns

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  1. The coffee buns were once pretty popular in Los Angeles among Asians. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to try it. I am glad to find your recipe. I would love to make them at home.

  2. Trish

    Hey there,
    could I use 1 tbsp of coffee instead of the 1.5 tbsp of instant coffee?

    • cma0425

      I haven’t tried using coffee but I don’t see why not. Although depending on how strong your coffee is, it could change how strong the flavor will be in the bread.

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