Soft Dinner Rolls Recipe

You only need 7 ingredients to make these dinner rolls. Flaky, soft, and buttery, these fresh dinner rolls outshine any main dish. If you’re a bread beginner, read this blog post to learn more about the yeast rolls recipe, including how to prep the rolls ahead of time. You can also reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs. 

Dinner rolls in baking pan

This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Red Star Yeast. 🙂

  • Do you long to bake homemade bread but are too intimidated to start?
  • Does yeast dough send you running for the hills?
  • Do bread recipes seem overly complicated and confusing?

I’m teaching you how to make homemade dinner rolls. These are the best homemade dinner rolls I’ve ever had and it all starts with a straightforward 7 ingredient dough. I make these rolls whenever I get the chance and even brought a pan to our friends who just welcomed a baby. They’re pillow soft with the most delicious flaky and buttery texture. Everyone will demand you bake them on repeat. Even my toddler’s eyes light up when I pull them out of the oven!! Noelle, you’re a smart girl.

And with this recipe, I guarantee you will finally feel confident baking bread. 🙂

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

Butter rolls in baking pan


Video Tutorial: Dinner Rolls

Let’s start with a video tutorial.


How to Make Homemade Dinner Rolls

  1. Make the dough. Continue below to learn more about this dough recipe.
  2. Knead the dough for 2 minutes.
  3. Cover the dough and let it rise. The dough rises in about 1-2 hours in a relatively warm environment.
  4. Punch down the dough to release the air and shape into rolls.
  5. Let the rolls rise for about 1 hour.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. If desired, brush the warm rolls with a little honey and melted butter for extra flavor.

As shown in the video tutorial, the dough comes together with a mixer. You can use a paddle attachment or a dough hook. You can also make the dough by hand, but it requires a bit of arm muscle. After the dough comes together in the mixing bowl, it’s time to knead. You can simply continue beating the dough with the mixer for this step or you can knead the dough by hand. I chose to knead the dough by hand so you can see me doing it.

If you’re interested, I provide further detail about kneading in my Baking with Yeast Guide. (Which, by the way, is a wonderful resource for all bread beginners!)

Dinner roll yeast dough in mixer

Soft Dinner Rolls Require a Rich Dough

The crustier and chewier the bread, the less fat in the dough. This is known as a lean dough. The softer and richer the bread, the more fat in the dough. This is known as a rich dough. Unlike chewy bagels, focaccia, and my artisan bread, soft dinner rolls require a rich dough. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that the dough is swimming in cash. Rather, “rich” correlates with the amount of fat. For example, this dough has milk, butter, and egg.

You need 7 ingredients total. They’re the same ingredients in my easy cinnamon rolls, which is also a rich dough. (Though I use more sugar for sweeter cinnamon rolls, of course.)

  1. Milk: Liquid activates the yeast. For the softest dinner rolls, use whole milk. Nondairy or low fat milks work too, but whole milk produces phenomenal flavor and texture.
  2. Yeast: You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast. If using active dry yeast, the rise times will be a little longer. I recommend Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast, which is an instant yeast blended with natural dough improvers.
  3. Sugar: Sugar feeds the yeast, increases its activity, and tenderizes the dough.
  4. Egg: 1 egg provides structure and flavor.
  5. Butter: Butter promises a flavorful and soft dinner roll. Make sure it’s room temperature.
  6. Salt: You can’t make flavorful bread without salt!
  7. Flour: You can use all-purpose flour or bread flour in this recipe. All-purpose flour is convenient for most, but bread flour produces chewier dinner rolls. There are no other changes to the recipe if you use bread flour.

Once you make the dough, let it rise:

Dinner rolls yeast dough

After that, punch down the risen dough. Shape into balls and arrange in a baking pan. Don’t worry if they’re not all uniform in size. No one is perfect!

Let the shaped rolls rise before baking. Look how puffy they get after 1 hour of rising:

Shaped dinner roll dough in baking pan

How to Shape Dinner Rolls

You can shape this dough many different ways including twisted rolls, knotted rolls (how I shape garlic knots), cloverleaf rolls, or even hot dog buns. Let’s stick with the basic round shape. Divide the dough into 14-16 pieces. Take a piece and stretch the top of the dough while pinching and sealing the bottom. I do this entirely in my hands and you can watch in the video tutorial above. Some video tutorials show rolling the dough into a ball on the counter. Whichever way you choose, make sure the rolls are smooth on top and sealed on the bottom. I shape hot cross buns the same exact way.

How to Make Yeast Rolls Ahead of Time

The rolls require around 3 hours of rising. Not everyone has 3 hours to spare, so let’s discuss another option! Prepare the dough, let it rise, and shape the rolls. Cover the shaped rolls tightly and refrigerate for up to about 16 hours. At least 3 hours before you need them the next day, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and allow to rise on the counter for about 1-2 hours before baking.

And here’s how to freeze dinner rolls: Follow the make-ahead instructions and instead of refrigerating overnight, freeze the rolls in a baking pan. Once frozen, they won’t stick together anymore and you can place them in a freezer bag. Let them thaw and rise for about 4-5 hours, then bake. You can also freeze the baked dinner rolls. Therefore, if you want a smaller batch, you can make the entire recipe and bake only a few fresh rolls at a time.

These make-ahead options are especially helpful if you want fresh-baked rolls for Easter brunch, Thanksgiving dinner, or on Christmas.

Dinner rolls

Dinner Roll Flavors

How about some pizazz? Mix in these ingredients when you add the flour.

  1. Rosemary Dinner Rolls – 2 Tablespoons fresh or dried chopped rosemary.
  2. Cheddar Dinner Rolls – 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Other cheese varieties work, but avoid super soft cheeses.
  3. Garlic & Herb Dinner Rolls – 2 teaspoons each: dried rosemary, dried basil, & dried parsley, along with 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
  4. Whole Wheat Rolls – Here is my Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls recipe.

This dough is not ideal for a big loaf of bread. Instead, I recommend using a leaner dough, such as my sandwich bread recipe.

Dinner rolls in 9x13 inch baking pan

3 Success Tips

  1. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide, which answers many common yeast FAQs.
  2. Make sure your yeast isn’t expired. Expiration date is on the package.
  3. Directly from the pros at Red Star Yeast: Measuring flour correctly is key to avoiding a dense dough, which leads to heavy (not soft!) rolls. Spoon and level your flour, do not scoop it out of the package.

My final piece of advice? Don’t limit these rolls to suppertime. They’re welcome anywhere, with any meal, any time of day. Use for sliders, breakfast sandwiches, soaking up your favorite tomato sauce, alongside salad, or dunking into a bowl of creamy chicken noodle soup. Above all, don’t doubt yourself because you, too, can become a bread baking pro.

Dinner rolls

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Dinner rolls in baking pan

Soft Dinner Rolls Recipe

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 14-16 rolls
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

You only need 7 ingredients to make these dinner rolls. Flaky, soft, and buttery, these fresh dinner rolls outshine any main dish. See recipe notes for freezing and overnight instructions. You can also reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs. 


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, warmed to about 110°F
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Platinum yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour or bread flour (spoon & leveled)*
  • optional topping: 2 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter mixed with 1 Tablespoon honey

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dough: Whisk the warm milk, yeast, and 1 Tablespoon of sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining sugar, egg, butter, salt, and 1 cup flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour. Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. *If you do not own a mixer, you can mix this dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle!*
  3. Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes. (See video tutorial above if you need a visual of kneading dough by hand.)
  4. 1st Rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size. (I always let it rise on the counter. Takes about 2 hours. For a tiny reduction in rise time, see my answer to Where Should Dough Rise? in my Baking with Yeast Guide.)
  5. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan or two 9-inch square or round baking pans. You can also bake the rolls in a cast iron skillet or on a lined baking sheet.*
  6. Shape the rolls: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Divide the dough into 14-16 equal pieces. (Just eyeball it– doesn’t need to be perfect!) Shape each piece into a smooth ball. I do this entirely in my hands and you can watch in the video tutorial above. Arrange in prepared baking pan.
  7. 2nd Rise: Cover shaped rolls with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise until puffy, about 1 hour.
  8. Adjust oven rack to a lower position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). (It’s best to bake the rolls towards the bottom of the oven so the tops don’t burn.)
  9. Bake the rolls: Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through. If you notice the tops browning too quickly, loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven, brush with optional honey butter topping, and allow rolls to cool for a few minutes before serving.
  10. Cover leftover rolls tightly and store at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Prepare recipe through step 6. Place shaped rolls in a greased baking pan, cover tightly, and freeze for up to 3 months. Once frozen, the dough balls won’t stick together anymore and you can place them in a freezer bag if needed. On the day you serve them, arrange the dough balls in a greased baking pan, cover tightly, then let them thaw and rise for about 4-5 hours. Bake as directed. You can also freeze the baked dinner rolls. Allow them to cool completely, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then reheat as desired.
  2. Overnight Instructions: Prepare the recipe through step 6. Cover the shaped rolls tightly and refrigerate for up to about 15 hours. At least 3 hours before you need them the next day, remove the rolls from the refrigerator, keep covered, and allow to rise on the counter for about 1-2 hours before baking. Alternatively, you can let the dough have its 1st rise in the refrigerator overnight. Cover the dough tightly and place in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and allow the dough to fully rise for 2 more hours. Continue with step 5.
  3. Baking Pan: I prefer baking the rolls in a glass 9×13 inch baking pan because I find they brown a little too quickly in metal. As long as you bake the rolls on a lower oven rack and keep your eye on them, any pan is great.
  4. Yeast: Red Star Platinum yeast is an instant yeast. You can use Red Star Yeast active dry yeast instead. Rise times will be slightly longer using active dry yeast. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
  5. Flour: You can use all-purpose flour or bread flour. All-purpose flour is convenient for most, but bread flour produces chewier dinner rolls. The rolls are still soft and fluffy no matter which you use. Either flour is fine and there are no other changes to the recipe if you use one or the other.

Adapted from Homemade Bread Bowls and Honey Butter Rolls

Keywords: bread, rolls, yeast rolls

 

This post is sponsored by Red Star Yeast. Thank you so much for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction and the brands I genuinely love.

501 Comments

  1. Sasha Gerber says:

    I am not a seasoned yeast baker (third time baking with yeast) but these rolls turned out PERFECT! I made a mistake and let them rise too much the second time causing them to form one huge dough mass. No problem! Re-shaped and let them rise again (for a shorter time) before baking and they are soft, fluffy, and delicious! Thank you Sally!!!!

    1. Thank you Sally for this recipe! I have always wanted to try dinner rolls but was somewhat intimidated. This is no longer the case as this was as simple as you said it was and the result was fantastic; soft and tasty rolls. My husband was quite impressed. Thanks again!

  2. Can I add raisins to the dinner rolls?
    If yes, how much should I add?
    At which step do I add the raisins? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Sarah, Yes you can add 1 cup (140g) raisins. Add them in step two when it says “add the remaining flour.”

  3. These are amazing. The look on my son’s face when he took his first bite was priceless. I will be keeping these in my rotation for sure. They were super simple to make also. Great recipe with easy to follow directions.

  4. Sarah M. Reifeis says:

    This is my go to recipe for dinner rolls or even as slider buns … I am going to attempt this recipe as a loaf this time is there anything that you would do drastically different to make this a loaf? My kids enjoy these as dinner rolls so much that I figured I should give it a try. Also, what is the best way to store the rolls? I feel as if mine start to get hard after a day.

    1. Hi Sarah, For a loaf, I recommend leaving out the egg. (That’s what I’ve been doing lately when making a loaf from this recipe.) This will also help the loaf be a little sturdier and crispier on top. You can also try, and I recommend, my sandwich bread recipe.

      1. SARAH M Reifeis says:

        I’ll try that thank you so much!!! Love all of your recipes! And I have all your books!

  5. I absolutely love this recipe! My first attempt at making proper soft rolls, and it worked a charm! Thank you

  6. Tarnya Cook says:

    If I do not have a hook attachement, can this be done by hand?

    1. If you do not own a mixer, you can mix this dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle!

  7. Just made these rolls and they are so light and fluffy. I do have a question though please…… they taste very yeasty, almost to the point of unpleasantness. I followed the recipe exactly, and was very careful when measuring out all the ingredients. What did I do wrong? Please help.

    1. Hi Debbie, did the dough over-proof at all during the process? If so, they will have an unpleasany aftertaste.

      1. Hello, thank you for replying. I’m not really sure of the “signs” of over-proving, but I followed the times mentioned in the recipe (2 hours first prove, then an hour once shaped in to rolls). The house is cold (it’s raining here), and just left the dough to prove on the kitchen counter.

  8. Can I use regular salted butter and just not add salt?

    1. Hi Lesa, if you use salted butter you can try simply cutting the added salt in half. Enjoy!

  9. What a wonderful recipe! I can’t even count the sacks of flour that I have used, in search of the holy grail bread. I sure wish that I had found your recipe first. It seems like every other recipe I’ve made had some flaw, usually texturally lacking, or morphing into the dreaded heavy hockey puck as soon as it was an hour old. These inferior breads usually tasted ok, but they were lacking in that billowy, fluffy ethereal quality that I was in search of. Now my expensive and time consuming search is over. For the record, I do use half and half, instead of whole milk, and they bake up beautiful, the texture is always phenomenal, and the taste…..never have I eaten rolls so delicious. The prep is laughably easy and foolproof, and I have learned to adjust the sugar if I am wanting to make sweet rolls. Dependably excellent results, every time. I have been using King Arthur Special Patent flour, and I don’t know if that has made a difference, but no matter what I “adjust”, I am always rewarded with delicious rolls.

    Thank you so much for your relentless searches for the best recipes. I am so impressed with your generous sharing and your ability to explain what sometimes can be mysterious to even experienced cooks, that I promptly ordered your baking book from Amazon.

  10. Best recipe ever!!

  11. I made them today. Followed your recipe step by step. Added fresh herbs from my garden, basil and rosemary.

    Came out absolutely perfect. So very proud of my first attempt ever.

  12. These were great, despite me having a few issues. Either the dough is very forgiving or I stumbled into fixing whatever was wrong.

    I made the dough using the dough cycle on my bread machine. I also used almond milk instead of whole milk .

    I weighed the flour and 375 grams only came out to a little over 2 cups – either my scale was wrong, I read it wrong or something – because that was definitely not enough flour. Luckily, I checked on the dough while the machine was kneading and saw it wasn’t coming together so I slowly added more flour until it came together and was no longer sticking to the sides. I also wound up using a combo of plain flour and bread flour as I had less plain flour than I expected. After the first rise, the dough was incredibly sticky and hard to work with. I tried to gently incorporate a bit more flour but didn’t want to over-knead it and it was still sticky. So I had a hard time shaping the rolls and wound up with only 8 big rolls. Both rises were as expected though, despite the sticky sticky dough, so I was optimistic.

    After the second rise, the dough no longer felt sticky and the rolls baked up beautifully. Texture was excellent and I will make them again (but using the volume measurement for the flour to start).

    1. Tricia Ready says:

      I’m so glad I read your comment while making these! I think the dough must be forgiving. I made the dough with a mixer and 375 grams of AP flour. My dough never came together, never pulled from the side. After 6-7 minutes I finally just dumped it into a bowl to see if it would rise. It rose fine. After punching down, I dumped a fair amount of flour on top and pulled off pieces to shape as well as I could. It was sticky so I just rolled each piece in flour and shook off the extra. Second rise was fine, though the dough rolls looked pretty loose, like dough blobs. All that said, the rolls baked fine and were fluffy and beautiful! Nice outcome for my first attempt at rolls. Thanks.

    2. Absolutely delicious

  13. I used my bread maker. Added the ingredients in the order listed by my machine’s manual. Used the dough cycle and added 10 minutes to the rise. Worked fine though my dough was very sticky but I think that was due to flour quantity, not the machine.

  14. Hi Sally. The ingredients in this recipe are identical to the ingredients in the recipe that came with my bread machine, except for the flour. The other recipe calls for 4 cups of flour. It was for 16 rolls. I used that recipe yesterday, as I have before. I used the machine for the mixing and first rise. The rolls were good, and they rose really well, but they were not light and fluffy. Could it be the difference in the amount of flour used? I really want light and fluffy rolls. I found your recipe after I had made those.

    1. Hi Sue, It certainly could be as more flour will weight this dough down. If you try this recipe let me know!

  15. This is delicious! I didn’t have Red Star Platinum yeast, so I just used instant yeast without blooming it. I also needed it by hand instant of using a stand mixer, and needed it for about 10 minutes instead. The rolls turned out so soft and fluffy and delicious. Next time, I might add a little bit more sugar or honey to give it a sweeter taste. Totally recommend!

  16. Leena sharma says:

    What a great simple easy and informative recipe!! The rolls came out amazingly and delicious!! We dont have a mixer so had to do everything by hand and for some reason my mixture needed more flour so i was closer to 4cups (maybe its the flour in japan?) Nevertheless thank you!!!

  17. Tried out this dinner rolls a few weeks ago and they are super simple to make and super delicious. Now we have to make them every time we’re having soup for dinner because we can’t get enough of them. Just like all your other recipes, this one is a winner!!

  18. Wonderful recipe..Delicious , light and fluffy . Thank you Sally.

  19. Not sure where I went wrong but my rolls do not look like the pictures. I put it in the fridge after the 1st proof to bake later in the afternoon. Took them out and let them sit on my counter for 2 hours; they looked like they had doubled in size so i put them in the oven (It’s the summer and the internal temp is about 82 degrees) The tops did not brown after 25 mins and there is crust that has formed around each of the rolls. The insides could be fluffier. They don’t taste bad but not what I expected. Maybe i didn’t let them proof long enough after taking them out?

    1. Hi Lisa, it seems like the rolls were indeed ready to bake. I’m going to guess that they simply could have used longer in the oven, especially if they haven’t fully browned and are dense inside.

  20. I followed this recipe exactly and the dough looked perfect, but after cooking they turned spongey and not as golden as yours. Do you have any idea what could’ve gone wrong?

    1. Hi Lara, it sounds like the rolls could have used a little more time in the oven. A few extra minutes would help fully cook the centers and brown the exteriors.

    2. Thank you…they came out perfectly

  21. Hello Sally, thanks again for this amazing recipe, I’m trying one right but I have a concern, I have tried all I can but my bread rises beautifully before, during and I take it out of the oven. I’ve checked my heat level, I have added steam, I have tried to measure my ingredients carefully and yet I always end up a very delicious and perfectly balanced flavour but FLAT BREAD. Please help

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bel! I’m happy to help. Deflating breads and rolls could be the result of over-proofing. During either of the 2 rises, the dough may be rising too much which often results in deflating as the bread/rolls bake. Adding steam to the oven isn’t necessary for these rolls and could be why they’re deflating too. You really want to save that for crustier breads made with a lean dough, such as artisan bread. See our Baking with Yeast Guide for more information, too!

  22. The rolls are so delicious (don’t skip adding the honey butter, as it really takes them to the next level)! There are only 4 of us in the house (2 young kids), so I used half of the rolls for dinner and made cinnamon rolls for breakfast the next day (refrigerated overnight after first rise and after shaping) with the other half of the dough. Yum! They came out soft and delicious. Highly recommend this versatile recipe!!!

  23. I tried these today and it turned out great!! Dont miss the butter on top after backing.
    One of the most moist rolls i made ever
    Thank u Sally for sharing ❤️

  24. Hi Sally,
    Been trying to bake soft bread rolls but none came out as good as this one! thank you so much for the recipe! I just have a few questions should i want to add Nutella inside it, at which step should i put it in? Also if i want the plain rolls just a little bit sweeter, is it possible to add more sugar? Will it affect the way the dough rises by adding more sugar to it?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Stephanie, You can try adding a small amount of extra of sugar in step 2 although we haven’t tested it. Don’t skip the honey butter on top as that adds a delicious layer of sweetness! We haven’t tried adding Nutella directly to the dough but you can certainly pipe some inside the rolls when they are finished baking. Let us know what you try!

  25. I have tried several recipes for yeasted dough and had massive failures!! I made these rolls and your cinnamon rolls yesterday and they were perfect. Every recipe I have tried of yours always turns out perfect.

  26. Randa S Anthony says:

    HI, Can you use this recipe to make sandwich buns? I don’t like hamburger buns recipe , they are to dense for me. If I can use this recipe to make sandwich buns that are soft and fluffy, that would be great, but how many sandwich buns would this make? thank you

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Randa, Definitely. The bake time will be longer since the rolls are larger. How many rolls you get will depend on how large you shape them.

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