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.

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.
  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

Print
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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 (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. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes. *If you do not own a stand mixer, you can do this in a large mixing bowl and in the next step, mix the dough together with a large wooden spoon/rubber spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle. A hand mixer works, but the sticky dough repeatedly gets stuck in the beaters. Mixing by hand with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula is a better choice.*
  2. Add the remaining sugar, egg, butter, salt, and 1 cup flour. With a dough hook or paddle attachment, mix/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.
  3. Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 3 full minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 3 full 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.

911 Comments

  1. Found it was really wet and had to add nearly a cup more flour even though put the right amount of milk and butter in, but they turnt out great, lovely and soft.
    Will definitely be making again, do you think the recipe will work as a bread recipe ?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karla! We’re so glad you enjoyed these rolls. They’re a favorite. For a loaf, we recommend leaving out the egg. (That’s what we’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 we recommend, our sandwich bread recipe.

      1. I just wanted to affirm your comment Sally. I follow this recipe for buns and your bread recipe for making bread. Both are saved to my favourites on line.
        Both bread and buns come out great every time.

        thank you

      2. After making this recipe as rolls for ages, I tried it as a sandwich loaf last weekend. Followed the recipe here as written (including the egg) through the first rise, then the shaping, second rise, and baking steps from the Simply Sandwich recipe. Turned out perfectly!

  2. Hi Sally thanks for your great guide to the rolls. How many hot dog rolls would you make from these quantities?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shirley! These will make very light and fluffy hamburger or hot dog buns and we fear they wouldn’t support the meat very well. Though you can still certainly try it. You may want to try our bread bowls dough instead. We’re unsure exactly how many either recipe would make, so let us know if you try it!

  3. thanks for the speedy reply Trina! I’ll let you know if I try them 🙂

  4. Has anyone ever made these with gluten free flour? One of those measure-for-measure ones? I love this recipe but want to make it for my gluten-free guests this weekend!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Courtney, we haven’t tested a gluten free version of this recipe. If you try anything let us know how it goes!

  5. these were a little bland for me, could definitely benefit from doubling or tripling the salt. also, they were very pale… should i brush them with an egg wash before baking? other than that, texture was incredible and very easy to make!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lynn, We don’t typically brush these with an egg wash. They tend to deflate when you brush them with anything prior to baking. So glad you loved them!

  6. Cynthia Pugh says:

    When you say allow the dough to rise 1 to 2 hours that’s a lot of time difference ,,,what am I you looking for ? double in size or more?
    Thanks Gail Pugh

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, you want the dough to be doubled in size during the first rise! The rise time depends on the type of yeast you use and also the temperature of where your dough is rising, which is why there can be a large range. I hope this helps!

  7. The make-ahead instructions are life-changing!
    Sally, you’ve saved us all once again.

  8. Made these for the first time and they came out great. Made 8 bigger rolls so they took a little longer to cook (about 30 mins) will 100% make these again mabe after getting a good mixer though, did this entirely by hand so my arms are killing me

  9. Planning on trying out this recipe soon. Wondering if anyone has tried adding some potato starch? I have some on hand, and I’m looking for places to use it. Thanks in advance.

  10. Cynthia Pugh says:

    Best I’ve made so far and I’ve tried probably 6 or 7 recipes
    But nowhere do I see a cooking temperature I Realize oven temps very but I would like to know your recommended cooking temperature please.
    Thank you

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cynthia, see Step 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.)” Hope you enjoy these dinner rolls!

  11. Came out great thank you for the recipe.

  12. I finally was able to make dinner rolls I can be proud of thanks to your recipe!! The recipe was simple and easy to follow and I appreciated the video tutorial since shaping the dinner rolls has always been a struggle for me! Will only use this recipe from now on!

  13. This recipe is awesome!!!
    Have already made it 6 times. Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  14. Overly complicated. I make yeast rolls twice a month. Skip the egg, it’s not needed in any way. Skip the double rise. Make your dough, knead, form into a ball. Split the ball in half, run it out lengthwise, cut into equal pieces, into a buttered dish, cover and let rise, once is all it takes. Water works fine for the vegans and vegetarians. If you use any kind of nut milk the taste will knock off the taste of your rolls.

  15. Martha Fearon says:

    Hi Sally, i love this recipe. Absolutely fab. Making it again tomorrow, as the ones i made are all gone. Thank you!

  16. Is that specific yeast important or can you use a different kind?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leia, any instant or active dry yeast will work. See recipe notes for additional details.

  17. I love these!!!!!! I just have one question. I love the sweetness from the honey and butter glaze/topping. But I was wondering if there was anyway I can make the bread itself more sweet as well. Could I add more sugar or maybe honey to the mixture before baking??

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rose, You can certainly add more sugar to fit your tastes with no other changes to the recipe.

  18. Pauline Tan says:

    Hi Sally. I just made the rolls today and they are very soft and nice. Love it. Followed the recipe exactly. Will be making again.
    Thanks for sharing.

  19. can i add raisin into them and shape them in a long oval shape instead?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Veronica, yes you can add 1 cup (140g) raisins. Add them in step two when it says “add the remaining flour.” We haven’t tried other shapes, but you certainly can. We recommend keeping them somewhat like rolls — we tried it as one large loaf, and because the bread is so soft, it didn’t keep its shape very well. Let us know what you try!

  20. I live in Denver so high altitude makes bread baking a challenge. I have found that using bread flour helps slow the rise and gave great results! My sisters both live in PA so it’s nice we have found a recipe that we can make together. Thanks for all your amazing recipes!!

  21. Caryn Moxey says:

    Do you think you could use this dough to make a loaf? These old fashioned rolls are my husbands favorite and he asked if I can make sandwich bread the same way. Also I have been using your recipes for a couple of years and EVERYTHING I have tried has been the best version I have ever made. Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Caryn! We’re so glad you and your husband enjoyed these rolls. They’re a favorite. For a loaf, we recommend leaving out the egg. (That’s what we’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 we recommend, our sandwich bread recipe.

      1. Teresa Laird says:

        Hi! If you leave out the egg and make a loaf, do you also need to adjust the baking or rising time?

  22. joanne cooper says:

    Ok I’m a dummy when it comes to baking especially working with yeast but these where so easy to make and the best buns I ever had. Thanks for the recipe

  23. Looks really great!
    I wanted to make this for dinner but wanted to know what main dishes go well with these rolls.
    Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi El! We love to enjoy these rolls as sliders, breakfast sandwiches, with salad, or with a pasta or soup. Or here are even more dinner ideas if you need some inspiration.

  24. Amanda Obrien says:

    I followed the recipe and I noticed the rolls co.e out a little hard on the top and generally stay very light tan. I’m using a convection style oven so I’m wondering if that could be the difference?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda, All of the recipes on this site are written for conventional settings. Convection ovens are fantastic for cooking and roasting. If you have the choice, we recommend conventional settings when baking cakes, breads, etc. The flow of air from convection heat can cause baked goods to rise and bake unevenly and it also pulls moisture out of the oven. If you do use convection settings for baking, lower your temperature by 25 degrees F and keep in mind that things may still take less time to bake. Hopefully this helps for next time!

  25. Hi, Im from Malaysia and ths is my first time baking buns. Thnk you for your wonderful recipe.Can I add. Choco chips and cocoa powder to ths recipe pls. My kids love choco buns

  26. Hi can I put little smokies in them and make them like a sausage roll?

  27. Mwayi Kuyama says:

    Perfect recipe I have tried this recipe two times and both times it came out perfectly. Thankyou for sharing

  28. UnicornCook says:

    Love this recipe for sure! Just curious about doubling it, or if it should be mixed in separate batches… thanks!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      So glad you love these dinner rolls! For the best results we don’t recommend doubling this recipe. For double the amount of rolls, make 2 separate batches.

  29. Martin Connolly says:

    I tried this, and other recipes, but my ‘soft fluffy’ rolls come out like rock cakes
    I’ve followed the recipe as closely as I can
    The dough rose nicely in the 1st rise, but not much in the 2nd rise
    Help!?

  30. Paddy Redmond says:

    I have never baked in my 70 years – and this recipe worked incredibly well. Great result – I’m really chuffed and so was my wife.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re thrilled you enjoyed this recipe, Paddy!

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