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. 🙂

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 crusty 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, 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 homemade bread bowls recipe. See those recipe notes for shaping.

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

Print
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.
  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.

241 Comments

  1. Hi,
    I followed this recipe Exactly,
    and the dough was never firm, it was always runny.
    it did rise.. but it never ever firmed up even at the stage after you added the last bit of flour and turned the mixer back on..runny dough.
    the only option was to pour the dough all over the counter to kneed it. 🙁
    what went wrong? I did not deviate one bit from the recipe.

    1. 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

    2. Jaclyn, I had the same problem! I have now tried the recipe twice and the dough looks like its going to come together and then it becomes runny as you mention. I thought maybe something was wrong with my yeast, but now after reading your post, I feel a little better..I was wondering if it was because I was using a metal bowl– this was the ONLY thing that differed from sally’s video.. Did you have success when you decreased the amount of milk?

    3. I had the same problem! I’m glad to see your comment here. My dough kept sticking to the mixing bowl at the bottom in my stand mixer and had a hard time scooping it into another bowl to rise even after adding a bit more flour. How did yours turn out and was it better after reducing the milk?

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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!

  7. 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!!

  8. I plan on making these for the challenge this month, can I do the rising trick in the oven like I do every time I make your pizza dough? It’s kind of cold here still.

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

  10. I made these and followed the recipe. They were soft and the first time I felt successful with yeast but I felt they lacked flavor and kind of bland. maybe I did miss something in the recipe. But my family thought they were good so as long as they liked them right?

    1. I’m glad you were successful with your first yeast recipe and that your family liked them! Did you brush the tops with the honey butter at the end? That definitely adds some extra flavor!

  11. 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!

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. These are AMAZING! So fluffy and delicious! My husband had gobbled down 2 before I could even sit down with mine. And he’s usually a slow eater!

  16. These rolls came out fabulous! They earned me “best mommy in the world” honors from my boys- thanks!!! One note…I did have to bake them longer than listed – about 35 minutes – to get the tops to have a hint of brown. But well worth the wait! I’ll definitely be making these regularly!

  17. This was the first time I’ve ever made any type of bread and these rolls came out fantastic! Your instructions and advice were amazingly helpful!

  18. Great recipe! These rolls were so easy to make and they came out great! Making them at home is the only way now!

  19. Sally,
    This is such a great recipe! Not hard at all and made the most delicious rolls! My boys helped me make them and loved them–they are excited to bring sandwiches in their lunch tomorrow using the leftover rolls. Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to making them again and try some of your suggested variations.

  20. This recipe worked out great! So delicious with the honey butter. I put the extra baked rolls in the fridge – what is the best way to reheat them? Thanks again for another great recipe!

    1. Hi Lauren! So glad you tried these dinner rolls! I find the best (and easiest) is to just microwave them for 20-30 seconds.

  21. I made these rolls and yummmm !!! Made them with garlic & herb instead of just plain and they were absolutely delicious!
    I used to be so scared of making any recipe that had yeast as an ingredient but you helped me overcome that and lately every time i visit your blog i immediately write “yeast ” in the search box, whether it’s a savory or sweet recipe, working with yeast is so much fun once you get the hang of it!
    Thank you sally ! keep sharing I made these rolls and yummmm !!! Made them with garlic & herb instead of just plain and they were absolutely delicious!
    I used to be so scared of making any recipe that had yeast as an ingredient but you helped me overcome that and lately every time i visit your blog i immediately write “yeast ” in the search box, whether it’s a savory or sweet recipe, working with yeast is so much fun once you get the hang of it!
    Thank you sally ! keep sharing

    1. So so so glad you love these rolls, thank you! The garlic and herb variety is fantastic. Love that extra flavor.

  22. I have made dozens of your recipes and they have never let me down. This rolls recipe is PERFECT! So few ingredients for such an amazing result.

  23. These were so simple to make and they came out perfectly! Soft, fluffy, and delicious! I brushed them with melted butter and a little sprinkle of garlic powder. Next time I want to to try making garlic & herb rolls, but I will definitely make these again!

  24. I just took these rolls out of the oven, brushed with honey butter and they are amazing!! They are the perfect consistency with a big amount of flavor in each bite. Thanks for a great recipe!

  25. I’m sorry but I didn’t find these rolls very flavorful. I had my son try one too and he said it was bland. I followed the recipe to a T and I love the process of making these, the baked roll texture was also very good, but even with the honey butter on top the bread inside lacked flavor (I thought.) Hays mentioned she added garlic and herbs to her ingredients. I think I will try that.

    1. Hi Rebecca! No need to apologize at all, we are all entitled to our own tastebuds’ opinions. 🙂 Did you add more flour to the dough? I find adding a lot more flour will take away from the flavorful ingredients like sugar, salt, and butter. Feel free to add extra salt and a little extra sugar if you decide to try the rolls again. Thank you so much for trying the recipe!

  26. Overall this was a really good recipe. Easy to follow and the steps are clear. The rolls turned out beautifully, lightly crisp and golden on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside. I did have two issues. First, the dough was very sticky and wasn’t pulling away from the bowl. I added some extra flour and that seemed to help it come together better. Second, I thought they were a little lacking in flavor – even with the honey butter topping. I’m wondering if some additional salt might help?

    1. Hi Jennifer! Flour is flavorless and adding more to the dough will weigh down the flavorful ingredients like salt, sugar, and butter. Perhaps you added too much flour? The soft is supposed to be a little soft. Feel free to add extra salt and a little extra sugar if you decide to try the rolls again. Thank you so much for trying the recipe!

1 2 3 4 6

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Sally's Baking Challenge

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe.

View More

Sally's Cookie Palooza

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

Sally's Pie Week

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×