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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. 

This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Red Star Yeast.

Dinner rolls in glass baking pan
  • 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 homemade 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 Platinum Yeast from Red Star, 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 Platinum Yeast from Red Star instant 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: Platinum Yeast from Red Star 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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I use ALL her recipes!!! She never let’s me down and I look like a Rockstar! Thank you so much for your amazing easy, full proof recipes!!! Your #1 fan

  2. The flavor of these was delicious! Mine were soft on the inside but had a crust on the outside. Not sure if they weren’t close enough together in the 9×13 or maybe I overbaked them. Any ideas? I’d love for them to be soft like these look in the pictures!

    1. Hi Shelby! Keeping them close together and baking for a shorter time should keep the exterior soft! It’s also possible that your oven runs a bit hot – have you run into similar issues in the past? We always recommend using an in-oven thermometer for most accurate baking, but you can also try turning your oven down by 10-15 degrees F. Hope this helps for next time!

    2. Hi, do you know how long you can keep the mix (milk, yeast and Sugar) in the fridge to use it again some other time?

  3. I just made these and they were amazing. It was my first time making homemade rolls…. They were a hit with everyone. I will never buy dinner rolls again. Thank you for such an easy to follow recipe.

  4. This recipe is amazing! It went into my own personal recipe stash. My husband loves rolls, and these are now his favorite. At least twice a week we make these now. Delicious, thanks so much for sharing!

  5. My rolls turned out a little more dense – still had the look of being fluffy but not the taste. Could you guide me to what step I maybe messed up on to cause this? I’m also using a gas oven so the bottoms are seeming to cook faster than the tops.

    1. Hi Avery, too much kneading will lead to a dense tasting bread or roll because the gluten has been over-worked – or perhaps your dough didn’t rise enough before baking? You may find our Baking with Yeast Guide very helpful! You can move your baking pan away from the heat source in your oven to prevent uneven baking. Hope these tips help for next time!

  6. Hi Sally. Love this recipe!! But I wanted to ask if you could please post a recipe for Potato Rolls? Please that would awesome 🙂

  7. Incredible! I’m not great with yeast or breads in general but these rolls turned out amazing. I used bread flour (only because I had it on hand) and Fleischman’s regular dry yeast. These were soft, fluffy, and the perfect vessel for pulled pork. I wish I would have made a bigger batch! This will absolutely be my go-to rolls recipe.

  8. Made these rolls exactly as written and they came out perfect! I needed about 2 extra tablespoons of flour. This recipe made me look like a rockstar at a dinner party. I got so many compliments and was even told they rival Texas Roadhouse’s rolls 🙂

  9. I just made this recipe and the rolls are delicious! I cooked them in an air fryer for 10 minutes at 320 degrees. Perfect. Thank you so much for your recipe. First yeast rolls I have ever made.

    1. you always have the easiest recipes to follow. i have made these a dozen times and each time is perfect!! thank you 🙂

  10. I just baked these and they came out rock hard. Any idea of what I may have done wrong?

    1. Hi Amanda, Over-kneading is usually what produce a tougher roll, so always be careful not to over-work it. If you decide to try it again this is an easy fix.

      1. Thank you! The only other thing I noticed is that when I was kneading the dough, it was noticeably wet – or at least more wet than other doughs I’ve worked with. It made it hard to knead – perhaps that’s why I overlooked it. Do you know why the dough may have been so wet?

  11. I just tried this recipe out for dinner today. The dinner rolls were pillowy soft and you have given me the confidence to bake bread. I really really love your recipes and have tried so many of them.

  12. Hi Sally! Thanks so much for always sharing these amazing recipes, but for specifically building confidence in anyone who tries them! It’s so very appreciated. I had a question – any thoughts on how to know when the milk gets to the correct temperature, without having a baking thermometer?

    1. Hi Holly! You want the milk to feel warm to the touch, but not hot/scalding.

  13. I haven’t tried these rolls but plan to. I was wondering if you can use the bread machine to make the dough? Thank you.

    1. Hi Rosa, we don’t have a bread machine to test it, but a few readers have used one with success for this recipe.

  14. Such an easy fool proof recipe! Thanks Sally! This has been my go to recipe! I offer to make them all the time and love to share them with other!❤️

  15. Hi! When I made this previously, the rolls would come out fine, but they wouldn’t be flaky or buttery. Do you know what I did wrong? I’d love to make these again! Thank you so much! Love your recipes!

    1. Hi Annie, Thank you for trying this recipe. The rolls are not flakey the same way a pie crust or biscuits are – but they should be soft and airy. Is that how they turned out? If you want extra flavor, don’t skip brushing the tops of the warm rolls with melted butter (and honey if you wish!).

  16. Last night, was the 2nd time I made these . The first time I made them, i ended up with the most picture perfect rolls. Last night, they ended up like hockey pucks. I had the yeast bloom, its was fine, set a timer for 3 minutes, I added maybe 3 tablespoons extra of flour..I will try them a 3rd time, I just wondered if anyone has any suggestions.

    1. Hi Stacy! Did the dough rise properly before baking? This baking with yeast guide may be helpful – especially the section titled “What if My Dough Isn’t Rising?”.

  17. hey I really want to try this tomorrow – I made something similar recently but without the egg. Does your recipe absolutely require an egg?

    1. Hi Jel, you can leave the egg 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! & one more thing; if I don’t have a kitchen aid mixer, how do I know when to stop kneading so I don’t over knead?

  18. Sally’s recipes are a go to for me. On this one, I found the bottom of the rolls to be very Biscuit like in texture. I baked them on a Parchment lined sheet. The flavor was good but I didnt really like that crusty bottom.

    1. Hi Dennis, Thank you for trying this recipe. Did you happen to use a very dark color baking sheet? We do prefer baking these rolls in a glass 9×13 inch baking pan because we find they brown a little too quickly in metal, especially if it’s a very dark pan. If you wish to try again you can try using a glass pan if you have one, or using a silicon baking sheet instead of parchment paper.

  19. I just made these for my younger kids. What a wonderful addition to the nightly table. I am off grid and cooking with a wood stove. I can say I never had better rolls. The first time I myself don’t want to tweak it. I am looking forward to sharing these with my wife and older son when they get home. These are going in my index box. God be with you.

  20. My very first time making homemade rolls, and they were an absolute success. I put the honey butter topping on, and it was perfection. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  21. the rolls looks amazing and smells absolutely heavenly.
    I have a question, i made them now for Thursday – I have a party.
    what is the best way to store them? to freeze them or refrigerator?
    also, should i put the topping now or when i serve them?
    Thank so much

    1. Hi Rivka, They should be fine in the fridge for up to a week. If you decide to freeze them, 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.

  22. These look amazing! Just wondering if these can be made in muffin cups as clover leaf rolls? Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Lonán, we haven’t tested it, but other bakers have reported success using this recipe for cloverleaf rolls. Let us know if you give it a try!

  23. I followed the recipe to a T and they turned out perfect. First time making rolls for my husband who loved his grandmother’s rolls. He said these were better! I highly suggest the honey butter brushed on top. Yum! Thank you.

  24. Hello , I made these rolls and loved them but was wondering if you have the calories / nutrition so my partner can try them he has a couple medical problems so we want to make sure we can track them ..

    1. Hi Chelsea, We don’t usually include nutrition information as it can vary between different brands of the same ingredients. Plus, many recipes have ingredient substitutions or optional ingredients listed. However, there are many handy online calculators where you can plug in and customize your exact ingredients/brands. Readers have found this one especially helpful: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076

  25. Overall, these dinner rolls turned out amazing! However, I forgot to add salt. The bread had a taste of rough dough, but for sure it was cooked all the way through. So Sally, does salt take a very big place in the taste of these rolls? I’d like to make them again (with salt) and was wondering if I added salt next time the flavour would stand out more and now just taste like rough dough. Thank you!

    1. Hi Maja, Yes, salt definitely adds a lot of flavor. If you try them again, be sure to use it!

  26. I was really excited about this recipe! I did everything the directions said. When I went to go cook them they wouldn’t turn brown.

    1. Hi Stephanie, 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.

  27. Just made these. I Didn’t have any whole milk so used skim milk and they taste horrible. They taste very doughy and they just don’t have a lot of flavor. Should the milk make that much of a difference?

    1. Hi Bri, Thank you for trying this recipe! Skim milk shouldn’t have changed the flavor. Did you make any other changes to the recipe?

  28. So yummy! I don’t think my yeast was as fresh as it could’ve been but they were still very good!

  29. Very easy recipe to follow. The rolls turned out excellent. Great flavor and soft pillowy texture.

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