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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. 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 StarYeast: 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

See Your Dinner Rolls!

Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂

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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: 1416 rolls 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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. 


  • 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 (390g) all-purpose flour or bread flour (spoon & leveled)*
  • optional topping: 2 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter mixed with 1 Tablespoon honey


  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.


  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.

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. My go-to dinner roll recipe. Easily doubled. Not too sweet, fluffy and delicious. Freeze well too.

      1. Hi Christine! For absolute best results, we recommend making two batches instead of doubling.

    1. These are the best rolls and Sally came through once again!!! Made a testing batch tonight before Thanksgiving and OMG!!!

  2. I’ve made these dinner rolls many times! So so good! I add garlic powder and then I also roast a whole head of garlic to mix into butter and slather on top!

    However this year for Thanksgiving my husband mistakenly bought heavy whipping cream instead of whole milk. Will that impact the rise of the dough or change the texture? Should I try to dilute it?

    1. Hi Allison! Heavy whipping cream will be too thick for this dough – you could dilute it!

  3. I’ve seen water and milk in other roll re it’s, this one only has milk. Is that correct?

    1. Hi Jennifer, correct, we only call for milk in this recipe. Hope you’ll give it a try!

  4. Last year these were a major hit at Thanksgiving – however the bottoms were a little too brown. I baked them in a glass casserole dish. Any tips?

    1. Hi Jenny, While we usually baked these on a lower rack, if your bottoms are getting baked before the tops, feel free to adjust your oven rack up closer to the middle. So glad these were a hit!

  5. Oops! I forgot to add the egg in!!! The dough is rising now and I would hate to start over. Except for the fat content, will these be ok???

    1. Hi BJ, They should still turn out but they won’t be as soft. The texture will be closer to our sandwich bread (which doesn’t have any eggs).

      1. Thanks. I think I will bake these today and then freeze and start a new dough later as I just read not to refrigerate them longer than 15 hrs. Doing them now they will be in the frig much longer. thanks!

    1. Hi Kimberly, We recommend sticking with no more than 15 hours. If the rolls rise too long they may collapse when baked.

  6. Hey! I don’t need to quite double to recipe. Could I do one full batch and one half?

  7. How do you make them look brown on top? Followed the directions and they are ugly and too chewy

    1. Hi Whitney! When yeast breads rise, then fall flat– and/or are pale even after baking– the dough was likely over-proofed or over-worked. Make sure the milk isn’t too hot and that the rise times aren’t extended longer than they need to be. I hope this helps for next time.

      1. Thank you for quick response! I did let them rise well over recommended time. I tried them today as a test run, on the attempt number two .

    1. Wonderful directions…..results were picture perfect and
      The “get recipe” at the top should help if you want to skip the how-to portion of Sally’s great instructions.

    1. I’ve made these several times with 2 percent milk and they come out beautifully

  8. I did a tester batch and they came out ok but were a bit mealy. Any ideas? I may have added too many tbls of flour during the mixing (Kitchenaid) to get it to not stick to sides of bowl. Also I used some in the rolling of rolls process.

    1. Hi Tray! Yes, there could be too much flour in the dough which would result in dense rolls. It’s fine to add a little but be careful!

  9. Happy Thanksgiving! I am wondering if you can sub the milk for buttermilk or if that would change the recipe too much?

    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!

    1. Hi Alyssa, buttermilk may be a bit too thick, but let us know if you try it!

  10. If I am making these into a different shape (rolling them up similar to crescent roll shape), would that change the temperature and cook time? I noticed your garlic knot recipe uses a different temperature, so I wasn’t sure what to do… Maybe a little higher temp and less time?

    1. Hi Lauren, We haven’t tested this dough that way but the oven temperature should be the same. Depending on what size you make your crescents the bake time should be about the same, maybe a minute or two less, so keep a close eye on them!

    1. Hi Allison! Yes, you can use almond milk, though the rolls may be *slightly* less soft and fluffy.

  11. I can’t find the paddle or dough hook attachments for my KitchenAid. I used my whisk and kneaded a bit, but not a full 3 mins. Is that ok? It seems to be rising ok. What will happen if I knead more flour into it to make it less sticky? Will it rise again? Will it be tough?

    1. Hi Heather! We haven’t tried kneading more flour into the dough once it’s already been rising, but you can certainly give it a try. There are a lot of variables that go into the consistency of dough, even down to the weather and humidity in the air. There’s nothing wrong with adding just a little more flour to bring the dough into a less sticky and knead-able consistency.

  12. I’m using active dry yeast and all purpose flour. How long should I knead the dough in a stand mixer? I am anxious about over-kneading. The last time I kneaded the rolls for about 12 minutes. The rolls came out a wee bit dense. I would like them to be more fluffy. Your suggestions would be welcome. Thanks

    1. Hi Patty-Ann! See steps 2 and 3 for approximate kneading times. You’ll do about a total of 5 minutes kneading time. Rise time may be slightly longer with active dry yeast, but kneading time should be about the same. Hope this helps!

  13. I followed your recipe with very awesome and great tips/ingredient switches were perfect. My only suggestion I followed your oven low placement to not burn the top so I set to the second lowest, however top slightly brown didnt look at the bottom until I took them out much darker, not burnt, but I suggest middle rack placement to watch both

  14. Will these come out ok if prepared the night before and than baking in the morning? Should I keep it at room temp or refridgerate it?

  15. I’ve used this recipe twice now and it’s a solid standard dinner roll recipe. The first time I made it with Bobs Red Mill dry active yeast and the rising times quoted were spot on. The second time I made them with Red Star Platinum as Sally suggests and the first rise time was only about an hour. Second rise probably would have been faster too but I placed them in the fridge overnight and allowed them to come to temp/finish rising the next morning.

    Great recipe, but remember rise times are only a guideline and you should keep an eye on your dough so not to over-proof it.

  16. I bake bread quite often and this is my fit first attempt with your recipe. I found the dough to very wet after the first two minutes of mixing. It was still very wet and sticking to the sides after a additional 2/3 cup of flour. I salvaged as much as I could and am waiting on the first rise. Any opinions on why this dough was so wet? I’ll add on after I get them baked with results. Thank you!

    1. Hi Toby! There are a lot of variables that go into the consistency of dough, even down to the weather and humidity in the air. There’s nothing wrong with adding just a little more flour to bring the dough into a less sticky and knead-able consistency.

  17. Just made these for Thanksgiving and they were a huge hit! I got distracted and forgot to add the egg. Still came out great!!

  18. I’ve made these several times and my goodness they are fool proof and delicious! My only suggestion is to sprinkle the top with Maldon flaky sea salt. It’s TOO DIE FOR. Make sure you don’t leave off that honey butter mixture.

  19. Great recipe! The rolls taste great and the possibilities are endless. Mine didn’t brown on the bottom and they didn’t rise as much as they should have..I know how the bottoms didn’t get brown but not sure where I went on the rise. I followed the recipe and timing to the T.

    When the rolls prove are they suppose to rise up to the edge of the glass pan?

    Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving

  20. Once again, these rolls came out with perfection! I love to cook, but am very overwhelmed when it comes to baking (especially bread). My mother is the queen baker of our family, so I was very proud to show she and my mother-in-law my success! Thank you so much for the amazing tips and how to’s. Also…. my French Silk Pie from your site is almost set! I will send pictures ASAP!

  21. I made these today. Directions were clear and accurate and the rolls were amazing. I did not have a ceramic baking dish of the correct size and used a metal pan on a rack in the middle of the oven. Bottoms were fine.

  22. Turned out great! Easy, soft, full of flavor. The extras will be great to use for sliders or sandwiches.

  23. Made and shaped the dough last night and cooked them today for Thanksgiving, and wow. I’ve never successfully made a soft bread before, so I’m not a super-experienced baker, but these came out amazing, although I did make some adjustments(/mistakes).
    First of all, I mostly halved the recipe. Since it calls for one egg, and I didn’t want to try to halve an egg, I still used the full one. I also forgot to halve the sugar. And I didn’t scoop and measure my flour. Since I weighed it out, I just scooped it directly from the package and sifted it. I did not use a mixer of any kind.
    The dough was super sticky and did require a few more spoonfuls of flour to become somewhat manageable. Even after adding flour, it was very sticky and difficult, but I didn’t want to end up with a dry roll, so I persevered hand kneading, cursing my lack of dough scraper.
    After the initial rise I weighed out and shaped the dough balls (I like very evenly divided baked goods) into a buttered pan, wrapped it up, and put it in the fridge for an overnight rest. I took it out when I starting cooking, and the dough balls rose beautifully on the stove, warm from the turkey cooking in the oven underneath.
    Since my oven was taken, I cooked the rolls in my toaster oven, turning them after 10 minutes. They browned very quickly, probably partly because I halved the recipe and probably partly because of the high sugar content — perhaps also partly due to the proximity of the hot toaster oven walls. I covered them with foil after about 15 minutes and took them out after maybe 18 or 20.
    All that to say, these were amazing, soft, fluffy, buttery, and so fragrant. I will definitely make them any time I need a soft roll in the future.

  24. Tried the rolls was not happy done everything like it said rolls came out too dense and heavy

  25. These had excellent flavour!! I brushed the top with butter and some spices and it was really good. They got kinda hard really quickly though, is there a way to keep them soft?

    1. Hi Jade, we’re so glad to hear these rolls were a success! If they got a bit too hard, it sounds like they may have been slightly over baked. For next time, try taking them out of the oven just a minute or two earlier. Hope this helps!

  26. Hi! I must be a little slow, because I don’t see in the video where you hand-knead the dough? Maybe I misunderstood where to look. Just wondering if I am kneading by hand, how long to do so? Does the “windowpane test” factor in with this? I’ve worked with sticky doughs before, but when kneading for a while, I’m never sure if the dough is supposed to transform into a less sticky structure, or if I should add more flour. Thanks for any response!

    1. Hi Kayla! The video is closer to the top of the page, under the heading “Video Tutorial: Dinner Rolls.” It will look like a photo with a play button — if you click there, the video will start. You’ll want to knead for about 3 minutes. Hope this helps!

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