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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

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

Scale
  • 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

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.

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. So fantastic. Filled our home this Christmas with the unmistakable fresh dinner roll smells of my childhood. Thank you.

    1. Sally,
      First, thank you for your wonderful, easy-to-follow, no -fail recipes….I would bet my house that I am the biggest fan of your strawberry cupcakes!!! Two quick questions: which mixing speed is best for kneading, and can I simply double the recipe without substitutions (I’m especially unsure about the amount of yeast to use if doubling recipe). Thank you very much for all of your time and effort, and have a healthy and happy New Year!

      1. Hi Ellie! We’re so thrilled that you’re enjoying our recipes, the strawberry cupcakes are a favorite. Low-medium speed is usually best for kneading, unless otherwise noted in the recipe.For absolute best results, we recommend making two batches instead of doubling. Happy baking!

  2. Awful! Made twice they taste like hockey pucks! I’ve made a lot of bread and have worked with yeast. Rolls raised perfectly, shrunk while cooking. Tough, didn’t brown and are dense.

    1. Hi L.M. Thank you for trying this recipe. If the dough rose but they shrunk while baking, it sounds like they were over proofed. Over proofed dough will quickly collapse when it’s baked. It’s an easy fix if you ever decide to try them again.

      1. I had the same thing happen – rolls looked great going in to the oven but then collapsed. You mentioned over oroofing is an easy fix. What is the fix?
        Thank you.

      2. Hi Dave, Over proofed dough means that the dough rose for too long. If you try again, try shortening the rise time. The first rise the dough should double in size which usually takes anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on the type of yeast, temperature of your water, and air temperature. And the second rise the rolls should puff up which usually takes about an hour but keep your eye on them.

    2. Made these rolls today. They came out perfect! Love this recipe. Thanks!

  3. These turned out great. Will certainly be a staple in our house! Used the prescribed amount of flour and kneaded with my stand mixer.

    1. Fabulous! I used to make Pepperoni Rolls, but lost my recipe. I’ve tried several others with no luck. This recipe is perfect. When shaping the rolls, I punch a hole and add pepperoni, cheddar and diced jalapeños, pinch closed and shape. They were perfect, thanks to this recipe.

    2. Super tasty, loved it! I was a little worried that I’d mess up, since this was my first time baking dinner rolls on my own. But they turned out to be just great But next time I think I should add additional salt because it wasn’t salted. Thank you, Sally!

  4. Great basic roll recipe which I made twice this week… the second time I doubled the recipe. Instant yeast does not need to be hydrated, and it is not as heat sensitive either so you can use “warm” or “very warm” liquids. I just mixed all the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl then heated the milk and butter together in the microwave and added them and the egg to the dry ingredients. I had to use 45 grams more flour to get a soft tacky dough, one that cleans the sides of the mixer bowl but sticks to the bottom. I had no problem baking in a metal 9×13 on the middle rack. The honey butter is a lovely touch.

    1. Hi Mary! I also love this recipe. May I ask – when you doubled the recipe did you also double the yeast? I have read in other recipes on this site that doubled recipes require less yeast. I am curious as these are a favourite around here. I would like to double, and then freeze, half the dough balls.

  5. Fantastic! I made these buns twice in the past week. First time I made them, they were alright. Second time, amazing!

    I don’t have a lot of experience making bread/rolls, and the first time I made them, I didn’t let the dough rise in a warm place. (I let it rise on the counter only for 2 hours for 1st rise) the second time around, I wised up and let the dough rise on top of the oven while it was set to 200 degrees. The dough doubled in size in less than an hour. I did the same for 2nd rise. I know this can compromise flavour, but they turned out great! 5 stars.

  6. Well I am going to add gridded cheese to the risen dough then rise before baking. I will let you all know how it turns out

  7. Best homemade rolls ever! Made a batch (15) these rolls on Xmas Eve and had made another two batches by noon on Boxing Day! Over beat the 2nd batch a little but that didn’t alter how quickly they were devoured!!! Went back to precisely following the recipe for batch 3 and they were just as good as the first ones. My tip is to follow the steps and knead & proof iaw instructions! Thankyou for a great foolproof recipe !

  8. Absolutely delicious rolls and a great easy recipe. Have made double batches twice this week for family and friends. Thank you!

  9. Best rolls I’ve ever made and I used Fleischmann’s rapidrise yeast.

  10. This recipe worked really well for me, and I really can’t bake! My partner doesn’t like crusty rolls so he is delighted I’ve finally been able to make some soft bread that he likes!!

    Just a few thoughts- I noticed the dough was very sticky/ spiky and not like a smooth “traditional” bread dough when it went in for the first prove, I decided to go with what the recipe said timing wise as opposed to making the dough look the way I thought it should. Perhaps this was the right thing to do, or perhaps I should have mixed it that bit longer?

    I ended up adding about 2 teaspoons of flour extra but definitely not another cup. My oven is fan and runs hot, so I put this on 155 degrees if this helps anyone.

    I will definitely use this recipe again and I will perhaps tweak here and there to see if I can make the rolls a bit larger next time (they didn’t rise much, perhaps a hotter oven needed- or kneading a bit longer?)

  11. I have made this recipe several times in the in the last month, it is such an easy great dinner roll! I top them with melted butter and a little salt and garlic powder, very popular with my dinner guests! Thanks Sally for this wonderful recipe! Definitely 5 stars!

  12. Thank you for providing weight as well as volume measurements! I am a true convert to weighing everything, and to have to conversion already there is great.
    That being said, these rolls are fabulous! Rolls have always been my nemesis (can you say hockey puck?), but these were easy, tasty, and fluffy. Didn’t take too much time, and I can truly say this impromptu baking session was a great addition to the beef stew that was simmering for dinner. MY FAMILY SAYS THANK YOU!

  13. Ahmazing rolls. We devoured half a pan of these beauties shortly after taking them out if the oven…and there’s only three of us. Will be making these again and again, thanks for a keeper of a recipe!

  14. Oh my God these rolls were easy to make and SO DELICIOUS! I made some garlic butter and brushed them over the tops of the rolls after I took them out of the oven. They’re so flaky, soft and just so good. I’m pregnant and could probably eat half the pan in one sitting lol but I’m trying really hard to practice some self control. My husband loves them too! Thank you for the recipe!

  15. I’ve tried several recipes but found this one to be nice and fluffy, dough is a nice texture and easy to shape. I did use a lower rack but not sure if it was needed. All depends on your oven I think. I topped the baked buns with some natural honey and butter. It didn’t take 2 hours for the first rise but I’m sure it depends on your kitchen, weather and whether or not you use a proofing option on your oven. I like making bread and found this recipe to be very good. A keeper for me.

  16. I made these for the first time for dinner tonight, they were a hit! The rolls were very fluffy and there were no leftovers. This will be my go to recipe from now on!

  17. Can you use this dough for bread also? Or do you recommend another recipe for that? Thanks! I always enjoy your recipes.

    1. Hi Dianna, 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.

  18. Hello Sally,
    I am a HUGE fan of your recipes. I am Gluten Free, but I bake for my husband and he loves bread! Can I use this recipe with GF flour, specifically King Arthur Measure for Measure? Sharon S.

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

    2. I have a great recipe for gluten free rolls that you can’t tell from the “real” ones. I have found that the better recipes add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to what looks like an otherwise regular roll recipe and that is the only difference I see other than there is usually a little more yeast.

  19. Ingredient list says 3 cups of flour, but both times I made these, I used 4 cups (1 cup with the wet, then 3 cups). Turned out great both times, so just wondering is it 3 or 3 plus 1. Also, FYI – set in the microwave with a towel over them for rising, no drafts…

    1. Hi EL! So glad you enjoyed these dinner rolls 🙂 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.

  20. Yes, always end up with an extra tablespoon or so, depending on humidity, but never an entire cup – thanks

  21. Made these today and topped them off with garlic butter. The dough was sticky but manageable to shape. There’s not much flavor in these and when I let my boyfriend tried, he said he would prefer if they were a little sweet. He also said it would be nice as sliders.

  22. First time making bread/buns and these turned out great. Used them for sliders. Thank you.

  23. Made these rolls today. They came out perfect! Love this recipe. Thanks!

  24. This is a great recipe. Easy to follow and pretty much fail proof. The results are so fluffy and tasty.

  25. I won’t rate this recipe because I did a number of things differently, but I will say that I disagree with the advice to bake them on a lower rack. Mine came out burned on the bottom after doing that. All ovens are different, so I would suggest placing the rack according to what you know works for your oven. Otherwise, all the other directions I followed worked out fine.

  26. I have made these a few times. My question though is, can I add more salt? I would like for the rolls to have a little saltier flavor, but I am not sure if I can simply add more salt. As others have said, thanks for the recipe. Homemade rolls have been hard for me in the past and these have always been good. I make them and freeze some so that I have to enjoy later.

    1. Hi Lisa, We’re so glad you enjoyed these dinner rolls, thank you for leaving the review! You can certainly add more salt to fit your tastes with no other changes to the recipe.

  27. Great recipe! I don’t have a stand mixer (or an extra $300 lying around) but I do have a cheap bread maker with a dough setting. The proportions were perfect, and the kneading and first rise takes only 90 minutes because the bread maker maintains an optimal temperature. I will be making this again!

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