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.

523 Comments

  1. Can you use a regular baking tin? Would there any adjustments?
    I am excited to try this recipe as we eat a lot of rolls and your recipes always turn out perfect!

    1. Hi Janet! I bake rolls in a variety of baking pans. I usually use my glass 9×13 inch baking pan or 2 round 9 inch glass pie dishes (about 7-8 rolls each) 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.

      1. Ok thanks! I don’t generally use glasswear for cooking or baking, but have lots of ceramic dishes that might work better than metal – do you think?

      2. Ceramic is great!

  2. Sharon Roodhuyzen says:

    Thank you for the detailed video and instructions! Super happy to try another yeast recipe!

    1. Thrilled you find the video helpful! Hope you enjoy these rolls 🙂

  3. I am going to practice this weekend, and then hope to make them again for my family on Easter Sunday! Thanks for this recipe, Sally!! 🙂

    1. Yay! Happy baking!

  4. Karen Southworth says:

    Oh my goodness these are amazing, I made them today and I am so pleased thank you Sally for an amazing recipe ☺️

  5. I like them both! The bread flour yields a slightly chewier roll, but nothing that anyone would notice unless I told them.
    A 6 quart pot is plenty big for the no knead bread and it’s a nice size for most cooking.

  6. Nikki Chirico says:

    I’m making these for Easter dinner!! This is my first year hosting at my house and I think these would be the perfect addition to the dinner table. I may try one practice round ahead of time…I will update once I do. Thank you for a wonderful recipe to try for the holiday!

    1. I hope you love these, Nikki! A welcome addition to your Easter dinner – happy baking 🙂

  7. Hi Sally,
    Liked this recipe..in India we call this pav buns…Can I skip the egg in this recipe? Or do u have any suggestion to replace the egg?
    Thanks
    Lakshmi

    1. Hi Lakshmi! I’m so sorry, but I don’t have any solid recommendations for replacing the egg in this yeast dough. I recommend using a lean dough, which is formulated without egg and most fat. You’ll have much more success with these bread bowls. You can shape into smaller rolls. You skip the egg wash. You can also try my pizza crust dough for making rolls.

  8. Hi Sally! I was wondering if you would recommend halving or doubling this recipe? I’m not sure if it would effect how they come out or not. Thanks!

    1. Hi Caitlin! I don’t recommend halving or doubling this recipe. For best results, make the recipe as written and freeze any extras– or freeze half of the dough. (Freezing instructions in the notes.) For double the amount of rolls, make 2 separate batches.

      1. Hi Catlin, I made sallys honey butter rolls and halved the recipe and had no issues they were absolutely gorgeous!

  9. Hi Sally! Do you know if there is a different outcome in a yeast recipe from using a glass bowl to mix and proof compared to a metal bowl? I only have a metal bowl for my mixer and I tend to find yeast baking very sticky. But I am excited to try these dinner rolls this month.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Danica! Not in my experience. I use glass and metal bowls interchangeably for my doughs. Do you live in a humid area? The softer the dough (like this one!) the stickier it will be. A slightly sticky dough is good!

      1. Thanks Sally. I live in Southern California so not too humid. I’ll let you know how the rolls turn out

  10. Oh my goodness, Sally! This one is a homerun! I will never buy rolls for special meals again. So easy and crazy delicious. My 8 year old requested these for her birthday- haha! This was my first completed challenge and it was so fun, I will definitely keep participating.

    1. I’m so happy your family enjoyed these rolls! Thank you for participating this month! Happy birthday to your daughter 🙂

  11. Darlene Stewart says:

    My mixer is an old Kitchen Aid C-4. It does not have a dough hook or paddle. Only the whisk. Anything special I should do for mixing the dough?

    1. Hi Darlene! Using the whisk attachment will get particularly messy. How about mixing by hand with a wooden spoon?

  12. Thanks Sally for yet another yummy recipe.

  13. HI Sally! Love your récipe and would love to try these out. In Spain they are not as popular as they look to be in the US, but they look yummy, so lovely pics too;) I was wondering if you ever tried to make them with buckweat or something other tan all purpose flower. I’ve been told to cut down on wheat so i’m desperately looking for yummy récipes with buckweat or similar haha. Probably not, but it’s worth a shot asking! Keep up the good work

    1. Hi Ana! I haven’t tested this particular recipe with anything other than all-purpose flour or bread flour. I recommend my whole what dinner rolls recipe if you’re looking for something different!

  14. I used a soft wheat flour from Italy because it is supposed to not affect those of us who are sensitive to wheat. They rose quickly both times, but then deflated somewhat while baking. I baked them in a glass pan and they browned nicely but were not soft and fluffy at all, more coarse and not yeasty and sweet. I used Fleischmann’s Active Dry yeast. I did not hand knead it, just used the dough hook and the dough was moister than what I have made when kneading by hand. Any suggestons?

    1. Hi Beth! Was it a whole wheat flour? Tried to look up more information about the flour you used. Was it 00 flour? Because that may be too fine for this particular dough recipe– that would be the reason the rolls deflated.

  15. Hi! I use white whole wheat flour all the time in place of all purpose or bread. I’ve never had a problem! Just my .02 cents, for what it’s worth

  16. As a basic roll recipe this worked out great, and also converted well to become gluten free hot cross buns with just a few additions. Very happy with the results and these are a great place to start for people who want to branch out and do more things with yeast.

  17. Just made these this afternoon! So excited to eat them!!

  18. Amber Rain Livengood says:

    These are the best dinner rolls I’ve ever made. Easy and the flavor is perfect. Very fluffy and delicious. This will be my new go to dinner rolls recipe.

    1. I’m so happy to read this, Amber! Thank you for your positive feedback 🙂

  19. OH MY GOODNESS! These are so yummy! This is the only bread roll recipe I will ever use! Thank you so much Sally!

  20. These dinner rolls look really tasty, Sally! I think I’ll have to whip up another pot of your chicken chili and bake a batch of these beautiful rolls to accompany it! Love that chili, by the way 🙂 Really good. By far the best chicken chili I’ve ever had!

  21. OH MY GOSH!!! I just ate two of these right out of the oven!!!! I can’t believe I made them. They turned out perfect. The tops are slightly crisp and the insides are so tender and flaky. I have spent alot of time and money on rolls at local bakeries and these are way beyond anything I’ve ever bought!! You young lady, have made me a very happy lady! Next, your bread bowls

  22. Jen Simmons says:

    YUM YUM YUM YUM I donteven know what else to say! I made 3 batches for an upcoming dinner party!! replaced 1/3 flour with whole wheat!

  23. Kia Veltkamp says:

    So excited about this recipe! My first attempt came out just a bit flat but I think I rushed the first rise so looking forward to trying again!!

  24. Hi Jaclyn! Are you at high altitude? I’m concerned the dough was runny with 3 cups of flour. Make sure you’re using room temperature butter– not overly soft. If you decide to try again, reduce the milk to 3/4 cup.

    1. Hi Sally,
      Thank you for responding to my comment.
      I live in North Texas, (on the Texas/Oklahoma line) all ingredients were sitting out for 6 hours before I followed recipe. And the house was at a very comfortable 70degrees all day.
      I guess I will try backing off on the milk. They turned out wonderful..I just didn’t like that dough being so runny. I’ve tried 6 different roll recipes..yours is finally the winner. Hands down on taste, texture, visually appealing. Perfect baking. Thank you for this great recipe

  25. Emily Headley says:

    These dinner rolls were so soft just like a restaurant! I can’t wait to make them again!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Emily!

  26. Great recipe! My family loved them! I love that it included an option for freezing as I’ve always wondered how to do that! I froze a few for later, but made 9. Between 4 of us, they were gone!!! I’ll be making this recipe again!

  27. Made these for dinner and they were really good! Soft, flaky and buttery 🙂 My kids loved them! Thank you for a great recipe!

  28. Made the rolls doing the two day method. They weren’t as light and fluffy as I was hoping, although still delicious, so I’m going to make another batch doing everything in one day and see if they’re better. Plus I now have the recommended yeast…. thanks to Amazon because it’s not sold in my market area.

  29. Hi Sally,
    Really liked this soft dinner rolls recipe. The texture simple looks great when you brush it with butter. My rolls were little harder after baking. But will follow your steps and see. Thanks!
    Sadith

  30. These were so soft and fluffy! We loved them!!

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