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 glass 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.

brushing honey butter topping onto dinner rolls in a glass baking pan


Video Tutorial: Dinner Rolls

Let’s start with a video tutorial.


Overview: 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:

2 images of dinner rolls yeast dough in a glass bowl and formed into a ball

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.

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

2 images of shaped dinner roll dough in baking pan before and after rising

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 rolls in 9x13 inch glass baking pan

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.
  5. Multigrain Rolls – Here is my Multigrain Bread recipe that you can turn into rolls.

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


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.

close up of dinner rolls in a basket

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Dinner rolls in glass 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 (400g) 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 the dough seems too wet to a point where kneading (next step) would be impossible, beat in more flour 1 Tablespoon at a time until you have a workable dough, similar to the photos and video above. Dough should be soft and a little sticky, but still manageable to knead with lightly floured hands. *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. If reheating the whole pan, lightly cover and reheat in a 300°F (149°C) oven for about 10 minutes or until warm.
  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 about 15 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.

882 Comments

  1. I’m not sure why the yeast needs to proof. Almost all bakers say that proofing rapid rise or instant yeast is not recommended. I made the recipe as directed (with bread flour) and found that 400g made a very soft dough. I added an additional 3T of flour but it still was very soft. I think the rolls needed a bit more structure. I would modify the recipe to skip the blooming and add at least an additional 50g of flour.

    1. I’ve made them a few ways now and if I don’t let the yeast proof they are very dense. I’ve never needed even an extra tablespoon of flour.

    2. I have made these twice now, my family devours them. I used ap flour the first time and started with bread flour the second time. I found the dough too soft and sticky. After the 3rd tablespoon of extra flour, I threw the dough away and started again with ap flour. They were perfect.
      I am only using ap from now on.

  2. Sally, all I have is half n half and dry milk. Would either work ?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Terry, half and half will be too heavy. Dry milk may work but we haven’t tested it. Would love to hear how it goes!

      1. Hey I was wondering if I could omit the salt and use salted butter, I don’t usually by unsalted butter?

      2. I wanted to reply that I did use the half n half and water to make one cup. These rolls were delicious. I used regular flour and put it in my bread machine. The dough was easy to work with. I ended up covering them with foil during the last 6-minutes. They came out light and fluffy. Definite keeper!!!

    2. Carol Johnson says:

      You can water down your half and half with water to equal whole milk.

    3. I see that you replied to your own comment- I think that I read that another way you can use half and half, just reduce a little of the butter!

      Also, if you ever don’t have half and half or cream, you can do the opposite, too(milk plus butter, I mean), depending on the recipe of course.

      There is advice on the internet about this 🙂

      I bet that dry milk would have been fine. I’ve read if you do something like that to just add the dry milk with the dry ingredients and use water ( a little less than the milk that was called for) in place of milk then.

  3. This recipe is quite simple to make, but the only complaint I have is that the soft buns turn out to be too dry. I’ve made this recipe tons of times, but it always tends to be dry. Yes, I’ve measured my flour correctly, but I think this recipe tends to be dry due to its low fat content. So if your looking for a bette recipe that stays softer for longer, I recommend ‘joy the baker’s’ Parker house rolls recipe.

    1. I made this over the weekend for my family and they loved it! Thank you for the recipe!

    2. you probably live at a higher altitude try adding 1/3tsp of water to the dough for better results

    3. Did you use regular flour? 1/4 cup of butter and an egg makes a rich dough. Mine were not dry.

  4. Hi Sally, I tried this recipe once & loved it. I was looking for a buttermilk rolls recipe & wondered if it would work in this recipe, substituting buttermilk for the whole milk called for. Thank you

  5. Karen Timmins says:

    This is a great recipe – I used a mix of flours – whole meal and plain. (1 cup
    Wholemeal) and glazed the rolls with milk wash and sesame seeds. The result was light and fluffy. Perfect! I did take a pic but can’t see where to upload to

  6. What a success! Thank you Sally for such a great recipe. As a beginner at bread making your tips and tricks really helped. The only thing I struggled with was trying to guess when the bread was fully baked because it had a nice brown colour on the top but being in the tray I couldn’t take the rolls out and check the bottom. I think they came out OK after 22 minutes and they were really soft and sweet. I’d definitely like to try some more of your bread recipes next.

  7. Superb soft tasty rolls. I halved the sugar (plenty sweet) and put it with the yeast/warm water mix for 20 minutes; omitted (forgot) brushing tops with melted butter, but still soft; dusted with rice flour (tastier crust); divided into 12 X 73gram portions. The recipe us a definite keeper. Thank you!

  8. My first time trying to make yeast rolls, as I like to think I’m a wonderful cook, but not a great baker… absolute perfection! I did need to add a bit more flour as you recommended if the dough was too wet to knead. I am so thrilled! My mom and mother in law can’t wait to try! This is a forever recipe for my family and I! Thank you so much! Xoxo

  9. Hi, I was wondering if you can double this recipe. I made them once and they turned out beautiful. Everyone wants the recipe. Thank you for posting!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathy! For the best results we don’t recommend doubling this recipe. For double the amount of rolls, make 2 separate batches.

  10. Cheryl Graham says:

    Wow, made these today and they turned out great. I’m not sure I understand what others mean by saying they are good dry. I found this a great recipe and will make it again and again. Thanks for sharing

  11. How many calories per roll?

    1. Hi Felinda, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

  12. I made this recipe and it was a hit!!!
    I added more honey!!
    Thanks!!

  13. Thank you for this recipe, I made it and the buns were amazing!! I was wondering if you could double this recipe? Thank you again for posting.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathy, for best results, we recommend making two separate batches rather than doubling. Glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe!

  14. I used powdered (dry) whole milk and they turned out spectacular. Chewy, soft, with a hint of sweetness. Thank you for the recipe.

  15. First time making dinner rolls and they turned out PERFECT! Whole family is raving! I added a bit of thyme since I was serving them with soup, and now I think I need to make another batch of plain so we can also make some jam buns! Super easy and clear to follow, probably one of my most successful recipes done on the first try!

  16. Sally, I love your recipes. I’m a home cook that rarely baked anything from scratch, except pies, until about 2 months ago. I ran across several of your bread recipes and they’ve been my go-to recipes ever since. Love these rolls, they turned out great. It’s a lot of fun learning to bake breads, cakes, pastries, etc. Thank you!

  17. Carol Johnson says:

    Made these tonight. I used my stand mixer using the exact amount of flour (400 grams) + 1 tablespoon. Although the dough appeared to be too sticky, I buttered my hands and proceeded to put it into a rising bowl, covered it, put it on top of the gas range, set my oven to “keep warm”, and set the timer. 13 minutes less than 2 hours I formed 13 rolls and again set the timer for an hour. Brushed the tops with butter and baked for 20 minutes. Results are that the new title in my recipe book for these rolls is, My happy dance dinner rolls”.
    They were light, moist, fluffy, and delish. Thank you!

  18. Isn’t 3 cups of flour 375 grams?

    1. 1 cup of spoon & leveled flour weighs about 125g. However— and this can certainly be confusing— it isn’t a simple 125×3 to reach the weight of 3 cups as flour since it begins to pack and weigh itself down.

  19. Michelle Junaid says:

    These rolls are totally amazing! I couldn’t believe how soft and tasty they were. A real triumph! I’ll definitely be making these again. Thank you so much for this recipe. will try some of your many others.

  20. these were amazing!! super soft & yummy! I will be making these again!

  21. Do you think I could adapt these to work as hamburger buns?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Aimee, These will make very light and fluffy hamburger buns and we fear they wouldn’t support the meat very well. Though you can still certainly try it: simply divide the dough into 8 pieces and keep everything else the same. You may want to try this bread bowls dough instead. Let us know if you give either a try!

      1. Can you make clover rolls with this recipe (3 smaller balls of dough in muffin tins)?

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Ragan! We haven’t tested it but don’t see why not. Bake time might be shorter. Let us know if you give it a try!

  22. I am not a new baker but don’t do it as much as I like. I tried this recipe and my rolls did not rise at all. They are still edible but tiny and not real soft.

  23. Lee Suilleabhain says:

    Thank you for this recipe !!! I’m delighted with the results First time ever making dinner rolls and these came out perfectly. Thank you again for sharing.

  24. Hi Sally I love your site and your butter sugar cookies we made last weekend were amazing! These rolls are delicious and my children love them, but I find them a tad doughy in the middle. I checked the temp and it was 190. Do I just need to cover them and cook longer? Or raise temp? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Allie! Yes, just cook the rolls a couple minutes longer if they weren’t quite cooked through. Enjoy!

  25. I am a novice bread baker and these rolls were a total home run! Soft, airy deliciousness!! I will be coming back to this wonderful recipe many times! Thank you!

  26. Hi. Did it and loved it. Thank u so much sally.. but I have a question, how long do u think will the dinner rolls last? And, can I refrigerate them?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Leftover rolls (tightly covered) stay well at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. For freezing instructions, see recipe notes for details. We’re glad you enjoyed this recipe, Hajji!

  27. These came out great! I actually made them with Oat Milk and they were just as fluffy and delicious. I also made the rolls a bit on the bigger side and left them in a little longer. Next time I’ll make them smaller for a faster bake. So good! Thank you for the recipe!

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