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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. 🙂

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. 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. 100% Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
  5. Brown Butter Sage Rolls
  6. 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. And if you love pizza, try these pizza pull apart rolls next!

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 have made this recipe! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos 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 (43°C)
  • 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*
  • 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 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.
  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. 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 have tried the recipe twice and haven’t been able to get them to rise yet HAHA I thought the first time I may have over kneaded them or something, but I think my yeast must not be good even though it says it’s got a year on it to go. I went today to buy some packets of Red Star so FINGERS CROSSED it works this time! ! These look amazing, so I’m determined to make them.

    1. Make sure to proof the yeast – by that I mean in the first step, it’s not frothy in 5 min – give it 10 to see if the yeast just isn’t very active and needs more time. If by then, it’s not frothy – time for more yeast.

      And while I realize Red Star is a sponsor and recommended by the poster – it’s the only yeast I buy. In bulk and freeze. I keep a small (in my case 2 cup) container in the fridge. My yeast is 3 years old now and still VERY active.

    2. I had the same issue but I have tried twice now. Not sure what the deal is!

      1. I don’t think so. It frothed nice but no rise in oven. I have them in the oven right now with Red Star yeast instead of Fleishmans and added a touch of bread booster. Really hoping they turn out! No reason they shouldn’t be rising. I’m not a new bread/ bin maker.. just hitting some bad luck here lol

    3. I’m making it now. I warmed my milk in the microwave for 50 secs. Mixed it to the yeast and added 2 tablespoons of sugar then mixed together/ scrabbled… then waited 5-7 mins until it was bubbly.

  2. There is not much in this world that makes me happier than baking buns that I can be proud of.
    I threw a couple of hand fulls of Italian shredded cheese in with the flour and otherwise followed the recipe.
    Turned out perfect! This is now my favorite bread dough recipe, thanks.

    1. This recipe was super easy and delicious considering I’ve never made bread before. I’m not sure what I did wrong though because mine never browned like they were suppose to even though they were done.

  3. This is a great recipe, my rolls came out super soft and delicious, I tend to like a little more salt in mine so I increased the salt a pinch, and I used the bread flour which was the best for this kind roll! I accidentally did the first rise half an hour longer than I should have (I live in a warm place that usually only needs 50 to 75% of the time in recipes) but it ended up being fine and delicious. I recommend not skipping the final butter step, I did not want sweetness so I kept the honey out.
    I also think that the directions are well written, so if you are a newbie to baking with yeast, this recipe does a good job with walking you through it. Better get baking, you know you want some warm delicious soft chewy rolls!!!!

  4. I’ve been making these rolls for the last couple years, and my whole family loves them! So easy. This is my go to roll recipe for dinner, especially for soup nights, big events like Thanksgiving, or for company. If there are any leftovers, they disappear the next morning at breakfast.

  5. Can these be mixed and go through the first rise in a bread machine?

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

      1. I just used my bread machine. On dough the dough is fabulous the rolls look amazing I put 1/4 cup of sesame seed in the mixing of the dough. Yummm

    2. I made these yesterday and used my bread machine on the dough setting – turned out AMAZING! Just use the order of ingredients recommended by your machine manufacturer.

      In my case, butter, milk and egg in first. Then flour. Sugar\salt along the sides and yeast in a well in the center.

      Once the dough setting finished, I made into balls and put in a buttered 9×13 pan, covered and rose for an hour. Came out PERFECT!

  6. Made a batch today and they were absolutely delicious. I made them larger than small dinner rolls and look forward to taking one for lunch to work. I used maple syrup as we had no honey. They turned out perfectly. Definitely will be making them again

  7. These are some of the best rolls I’ve ever eaten – much less made. I had a big crew helping us move some heavy stuff and wanted yeast rolls to go with the big batch of pulled pork I made.

    I did the dough in my bread machine and used almond milk instead of milk (we just don’t drink it and almond milk lasts lots longer). I greased my 9×13 pan with butter, formed rolls, covered and rose an hour (pre heating the oven with about 20 min to go). It took about 24 minutes to hit the golden brown on top. I brushed with the honey butter at the end.

    There wasn’t a SINGLE roll left and it was the star of the table – even though they were done about 2 hours and fully cooled before the helpers were ready to eat. Right out of the oven must be absolutely divine!

    I will ABSOLUTELY be making these again – and start playing with some variations. And making\freezing for smaller batches when it’s just hubby and I.

  8. Can you do this with a dairy free milk like almond milk or oat milk? I don’t have whole milk

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

  9. This was my first try and the rolls were good fora beginer, however after the rolls got cold they were got hard as if they were over cook. Please help!

    1. Hi Dorothy, over-kneading is usually what produces a tougher roll, so always be careful not to over-work it. If you decide to try it again this is an easy fix. Be sure not to over-bake the rolls either, which can also contribute to drying out / making the rolls a bit harder. Thanks for giving these rolls a try!

  10. I’m not that used to making bread but this recipe is so easy (I made them by hand) and delicious! They turned out great! I prefer making them a little saltier so I can eat it with olive oil or garlic butter!

  11. Thank you Sally for all your recipes , they come out perfect all the time .

  12. I have been trying to perfect some kind of bun for years….this recipe did it for me! I’m so happy with the result. i left out the honey butter because we used them for Pulled Pork sandwiches but it’s the perfect bun for it! i made them bigger….and my son who always refuses my buns but loves the ones his babysitter makes, finally gave me a thumbs up and ate 3 LOL….great recipe and instructions. Thank you!

  13. I made these today and they turned out lovely.. Thank you so much for this simple yet beautiful recipe xx

  14. First time making this recipe. My son made them and they were perfect. All went well until after we rolled them in the balls. Second proof they just spread out but didn’t rise. Baked them anyway. Were more like a tough biscuit. Help, what did we do wrong.
    Never a problem with any other of your recipes.

    1. Hi Barb, it’s odd they didn’t rise– I’m going to assume that the yeast you used for that batch was either expired or dead (even if the date wasn’t expired!). Could you try again with a fresh container/packet of yeast? Be sure to give them enough time to rise, too.

  15. I’m new to baking with yeast and have no instant yeast in the house (i’ve been looking around at local grocery stores and simply can’t find any) could I supplement with active dry? I’d assume the rise time would be longer but I’m not sure 🙂

    1. Hi May, you sure can. Rise time will be slightly longer. See recipe notes for more details. Enjoy!

  16. I have never, ever baked bread before, it seems to hard and scary. However, I did these first time! They’re amazing! Thanks to the tiktoker who showed the recipe and proved how easy it was.

  17. Stunning ! So pleased with the result, fluffy, golden bread rolls, made to go with my homemade soup, thank you

  18. Hi there, I make these rolls all the time and they are delicious! I was wondering if I would be able to double the recipe to make a double batch for a family gathering? Thanks!

    1. Hi Ceilidh, for best results, we recommend making two separate batches rather than doubling. So glad you enjoy this recipe!

      1. I made these for Easter last year and they were absolutely delicious! The only issue I had was that for some reason I had difficulty shaping them. They were all a bit wonky and misshapen. If I baked them in a muffin tin would they come out more uniform? Would I need to do anything else differently?

      2. Hi Autumn, we haven’t tested this recipe in muffin pans but other bakers have reported success doing so. So glad you enjoyed these rolls!

  19. I love this recipe!! However I’m knew to making bread, and mine didn’t come out soft, but rather dense, but still taste amazing!! Is there something I’m not getting?

    1. Hi Katlin, thank you for giving this recipe a try! 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!

  20. Yum so good! I had to add about 3 extra tablespoons of flour initially. Don’t skip the honey butter topping!!

  21. These rolls are so freaking good. They came out perfect. Sooo soft. I can’t stop eating. I will be making these for thanksgiving

  22. I’m a relatively new baker, so this was the first time making dinner rolls. The directions were easy to follow and they came out great!

  23. I love these dinner rolls! Such a great confidence building recipe. One question though, I had printed this about a year ago and the flour gram weight was 390. I was using the website to prep the ingredients and saw that the gram weight is now 375. Did you switch at some point?

    1. Hi Sally, it should be 390g– let us see what the issue was. If you try the recipe again, I do recommend 390g. I’m so glad you enjoy these!

  24. Easy recipe. I didn’t have whole milk. I used 3/4 cup of 2% 1/4 cup almond milk. The rolls turned out perfectly. Will definitely make again. The family loved them.
    Thank you for an amazing easy recipe.

  25. Amazing! I moved from NC to the UK about the 9 years ago and I’ve never found any similar breads to our dinner rolls ready to buy. This recipe was spot on, first time! Thank you so much. A little reminder of home was lovely, and the recipe was easy to follow!

  26. I just made these today, with the garlic herb . They are delicious. At first I thought I may not have kneaded long enough in mixer, but everything was AOK. I’ll be making again for sure.

  27. I made these buns for Easter and they were excellent! They were so easy to make. I followed the instructions exactly as written and they turned out perfectly and were my favorite thing I put on the table for our Easter dinner. I found the video showing up to shape the buns was VERY helpful and made them look perfect. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  28. Like it says in the recipe, these can be made in to many shapes. I make this great recipe often but today I divided the dough in to 8 balls, cut each ball in 3, rolled in to long pieces about 20 cm in length and braided. 8 braided rolls for in a 9×13 glass pan that I usually make them in. Then I brushed with an egg wash (1 medium egg and 2 teaspoons of cream) and sprinkled with all dressed bagel seasoning. They were so good!!! Can’t wait to get creative again next soup night 🙂 🙂 🙂

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