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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. 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. 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 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*
  • 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. hi, so i made my first batch a while ago and they were super tough and biscuit like but i’m sure i just over kneaded them lol, but i have a question i made another batch and froze it today i took them out around 11 and got prepped to put them in the oven around 6 but the tops of the bread were super hard so i rerolled them and let them rise for an hour and their not rising any idea why this might be ?

    1. Hi Madison, we’re happy to help troubleshoot. Over kneading, as you mention, often creates a tough dough. As for the rising, make sure your yeast is fresh and that the milk is not too hot when you combine it with the yeast. If it is, it can kill the yeast and make it ineffective. This Baking with Yeast Guide might also be helpful to review. Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try!

      1. My rolls came out more gritty… what did I do wrong?… Thank you

  2. Hello! If I wanted to make larger rolls, how would that affect the bake time? (Sat maybe 10 rolls instead of 14-16)

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Glosette, we’re unsure of the exact bake time but that should work just fine. Let us know how they go!

  3. Good recipe but if you’re using bread flour instead of ap the bread flour needs to weigh 408g. Otherwise the dough will not pull together

  4. After years of trying to bake a decent serving of bread, using many different recipes and techniques, I finally did it with this recipe. I used all-purpose flour as I always do and the same instant yeast. The only changes I made were the milk, I used evap and water. The other change I made was adding 1/8 t-spoon of baking soda for the first time. This turned out to be the lightest, flakiest and fluffiest rolls I have ever made. Thank you.

  5. I have made these twice with a hand mixer, using dough hooks, and bread flour. I put in two extra tablespoons of flour when mixing as Sally instructs to do if needed. They are delicious and make me feel like the queen of the kitchen!

  6. My rolls came out so light and fluffy, but flavorless I used active dry yeast and did the first proof for right at an hour, but the instructions said active dry may need more than the recommended 2 hours to rise. The dough had doubled and was nearly filling the bowl by the first hour, however. I’m not really sure what to do differently except maybe a slow rise in the fridge next time. Otherwise this recipe was perfect!

    1. I had the same problem – good texture but flavorless. I guess I’ll try more salt?

      1. You can try doing the first proof overnight in the fridge to give the yeast time to develop more flavor. I haven’t tried it with milk-based bread, but it may help! More salt also won’t hurt, up to double the recommended amount.

      2. I doubled the salt based on previous experiences baking buns, it helps massively with the flavour.

  7. Sally! These were amazing, and the perfect base for Cheesymite scrolls (an Aussie childhood staple)! I followed your instructions, but instead of shaping the dough into rolls, I rolled it out, spread it with Vegemite and coated with shredded cheese, then rolled them up and cut them as you would with cinnamon scrolls.
    They were so delicious, and have frozen perfectly too! My hubby is already requesting more xx

  8. Turned out really light and fluffy. I made 12 instead of 14-16. So baking time was on the longer side of the 20-25 minutes. I used active dry yeast. As another commenter noted, I did need a bit more bread flour than suggested in the recipe. I started with that person’s recommended 408g, but needed to add a bit more still for it to pull away from the bowl. My dough was still a bit on the sticky side and didn’t pull away entirely from the sides of the bowl, but it was easy to work with after the rise. And as mentioned above, they baked up perfectly!

    I made a slight adjustment and added a garlic-herb compound butter to the middle. I left the butter to harden a bit after mixing it so that it wouldn’t make a mess when filling the rolls. I did the final rise after they were shaped half in the fridge and the second half on the counter to keep the butter from getting too soft before the bake.

  9. The insides turned out nicely, but the tops were more biscuit-like. Did I not add enough liquid? Also, there was little to no flavor in these rolls.

  10. I’ve made these several times and they are delicious! I used two cups of bread flour and one cup of plain… best yet!

  11. These rolls are the most wonderful, buttery, dreamy delights. I have made them over 20 times, without any failures (I once forgot the salt, woops)
    I highly recommend these, I’ve made them different sizes and they are always a hit.

    Thank you Sally

  12. I have made these 3 times in the past month because my family cannot get enough. Great recipe, followed it exactly and they turn out perfectly every time.
    As the self proclaimed baker, my wife loves when I make any baked goods and these are on the top of the list.

    Thank you!

  13. I used this recipe as my first bun recipe, and it’s wonderful! The buns are fluffy and buttery, and my kids get so excited when I make them. Thank you!!

  14. This recipe was great, I finally managed to make SOFT dinner rolls. I baked for 15 minutes at 230 Celsius, and the rolls had a lovely soft top and the inside was super pillowy. As others have commented, I’d recommend a longer rise and more salt to add more flavour. Other than that, this will be a staple for me now.

  15. I followed Sallys’s recipe to-the-t because I know they always turn out!
    My tip to the home bakers our there- use a weight scale for your flour, butter, ets ❤️
    I do not own a stand mixer at home, so I did these by hand as Sally’s helpful suggestions
    Thank you again Sally!
    @downtownchefbrown – the majority of my baked items on my Instagram are from Sally’s website ✌️♥️

  16. Talk about a fail proof, delicious, EASY recipe. I have made these at least 8 times, even gifted them frozen and they always turn out great. Yeasty, soft, and perfect. I’ve also used flax seed when I didn’t have egg and it was still great. You seriously can’t mess these up. I’m an eye ball measurer and they still work! Thank you so much for my favorite roll recipe!

  17. Followed this recipe to a T a few times before and it always turns out amazing! I tried buttermilk with these this time and I am excited to see the results.

  18. These are so good! The whole house smells like fresh bread now
    I cheated and halved the rising time by preheating the oven to 50°c fan and left the fan on but turned the temp off (both rising times). I used the steam whatsit on our oven (recommended for bread baking). This is definitely a keeper recipe

  19. Ive got a problem with making the rolls. I’ve tried about 10 times and it’s not looking or taste as described. After my dough has risen, I noticed that it had little holes around the dough. I didn’t think of it much the first few times so I kept going. I cut my dough into 15 pieces and the little dough balls got a little hard. Like skin almost. I let it rest for an hour but, it didn’t rise as it’s supposed to. When it finished baking, it wasn’t soft and flaky, the top as hard and crunchy. The inside of the roll left like it had already expired. It looked like a cake almost. I used the red active dry yeast and bread flour. I kneaded well. Was it the milk? (I used whole milk) I need to know what I’m doing wrong.

    1. Hi Anelia! Did you cover the rolls for the second rise? If you don’t cover them, they rolls will form a dry skin and dry out while rising. Also, dry and crumbly bread/rolls are often the result of under-kneading. Try kneading it for extra time next time. And always make sure to spoon and level your flour when measuring (or use a scale) to avoid over-measuring. Too much flour in the dough can result in dry rolls as well. Our baking with yeast guide may be a helpful resource in the future. We hope these tips help for next time!

  20. I like soft “wheat” bread for toasting and sandwiches. A soft butter roll recipe works just dandy for that. Replace 25% of the flour with wheat flour. Soak 1-2 tablespoons of wheat seed. Mix, kneed, (degass etc) and raise in a regular bread pan or hamburger bun pan. GREAT!!! Now if I could just find my lost bread book. This looks like it’ll work just fine though. 🙂

  21. I’ve made these rolls several times and love, love. love them (“almost’ as much as your Simply Sandwich Bread, which is my favorite of all of your recipes and a weekly staple in my kitchen)!!! My only issue is that the bottoms of the rolls always seem to brown, even when I use a glass pan (although I think I’m the only one who notices as they do not taste “burnt”). Do you have any suggestions to avoid over-browning the bottoms? Thanks Sally. Your website is my “go-to” resource for ALL recipes. I know the site focuses on baking products, but the savory recipes are equally satisfying 🙂 THANK YOU, Ellie M

    1. Hi Ellie! Thanks so much for your kind note. 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. We appreciate you making and trusting our recipes!

  22. Recipe turned out great. I didn’t have the instant yeast and used regular, still turned out to be some of the best yeast rolls I’ve ever made.

  23. Holy cow we’ve found the perfect dinner roll! I’m new to the whole bread dough scene. We got a pizza oven and have been practicing making pizza dough, but wanted to try a hand at a dinner roll and yowza these are perfect.

    Followed the recipe to the letter, including knead time and a 2 hour rise on the counter. They were stunning – light and fluffy, really good rise, soooo soft and yummy. We’re currently making another batch for the family after they got a taste. Thanks for the recipe!

  24. When it was too late, I realized I failed to add egg. I decided to go ahead and bake them. Instead of dividing into 14 to 16, I divided into 8 and made hamburger buns. Surprisingly, they were absolutely delicious. They were absolutely perfect. I will forever be making these dinner rolls without egg from now on. I have never made such good bread before. Thank you for the recipe.

  25. Hi Sally! I do not have a dough hook. I will only knead it by hands. Is it okay to melt the butter? Instead of mixing it at room temperature? As I dont think it will mix well if I do not have the dough hook. Thank you!

    1. Hi Lally, For the best texture and results we recommend sticking with softened butter and not melted butter in the dough. Use a large mixing bowl and a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle but it will come together!

  26. I made it wrong and it still turned out incredible! For a start I haven’t baked in awhile and I’m terrible with bread so I gave it a shot. My first mistake was the wrong yeast, it needed 24 hours and I gave it about 10 minutes lol. Then I mixed in the wrong order. By the time I realized I was terrified it would turn out badly! When it finally came out of the oven it was golden brown and smelled like heaven. Turns out I made yeasted biscuits! It was a hit with my entire family. I really recommend this recipe as it’s apparently fool proof to making something delicious!

  27. I absolutely love this recipe! This is the first yeast bread recipe I have ever succeeded with. All i had the first time I made them was pizza yeast and honestly they turned out amazing! I am also dairy intolerant so I use Becel vegan margarine and rice milk, and they still turn out so fluffy and light! Ive tried with coconut milk but they came out more biscuit like and even in a pinch, I wouldn’t do again. This is such a good recipe!

  28. I don’t know how Sally does it, but this is another 10/10! I divided these into 8 like another baker suggested and it was the perfect hamburger bun size. I sprinkled some sesame seeds on top then baked in a 9×13 pan. Perfect!

  29. Perfection. These were great. Also, do you know how many calories is in one roll by chance? I made 15.

    1. Hi Annalisa, The whole wheat flour may weigh down the dough and change the texture a bit but should work. Let us know if you give it a try.

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