Soft Dinner Rolls Recipe

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. Even my toddler’s eyes light up when I pull them out of the oven!! Noelle, you’re a smart girl.

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 for 2 minutes.
  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. No one is perfect!

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. Some video tutorials show rolling the dough into a ball on the counter. Whichever way you choose, 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.

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 Star Yeast: 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

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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: 14-16 rolls
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


You only need 7 ingredients to make these dinner rolls. Flaky, soft, and buttery, these fresh dinner rolls outshine any main dish. See recipe notes for freezing and overnight instructions. You can also reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs. 


  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, warmed to about 110°F
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Platinum yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (390g) all-purpose flour or bread flour (spoon & leveled)*
  • optional topping: 2 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter mixed with 1 Tablespoon honey


  1. Prepare the dough: Whisk the warm milk, yeast, and 1 Tablespoon of sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining sugar, egg, butter, salt, and 1 cup flour. 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 you do not own a mixer, you can mix this dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle!*
  3. Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes. (See video tutorial above if you need a visual of kneading dough by hand.)
  4. 1st Rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size. (I always let it rise on the counter. Takes about 2 hours. For a tiny reduction in rise time, see my answer to Where Should Dough Rise? in my Baking with Yeast Guide.)
  5. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan or two 9-inch square or round baking pans. You can also bake the rolls in a cast iron skillet or on a lined baking sheet.*
  6. Shape the rolls: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Divide the dough into 14-16 equal pieces. (Just eyeball it– doesn’t need to be perfect!) Shape each piece into a smooth ball. I do this entirely in my hands and you can watch in the video tutorial above. Arrange in prepared baking pan.
  7. 2nd Rise: Cover shaped rolls with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise until puffy, about 1 hour.
  8. Adjust oven rack to a lower position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). (It’s best to bake the rolls towards the bottom of the oven so the tops don’t burn.)
  9. Bake the rolls: Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through. If you notice the tops browning too quickly, loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven, brush with optional honey butter topping, and allow rolls to cool for a few minutes before serving.
  10. Cover leftover rolls tightly and store at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


  1. Freezing Instructions: Prepare recipe through step 6. Place shaped rolls in a greased baking pan, cover tightly, and freeze for up to 3 months. Once frozen, the dough balls won’t stick together anymore and you can place them in a freezer bag if needed. On the day you serve them, arrange the dough balls in a greased baking pan, cover tightly, then let them thaw and rise for about 4-5 hours. Bake as directed. You can also freeze the baked dinner rolls. Allow them to cool completely, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then reheat as desired. If reheating the whole pan, lightly cover and reheat in a 300°F (149°C) oven for about 10 minutes or until warm.
  2. Overnight Instructions: Prepare the recipe through step 6. Cover the shaped rolls tightly and refrigerate for up to about 15 hours. At least 3 hours before you need them the next day, remove the rolls from the refrigerator, keep covered, and allow to rise on the counter for about 1-2 hours before baking. Alternatively, you can let the dough have its 1st rise in the refrigerator overnight. Cover the dough tightly and place in the refrigerator for up to 12 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.


  1. I made these rolls for my kids and they loved them better than any store bought dinner rolls. Luckily I froze half the batch (after step 6 like you suggested) and we had freshly baked dinner rolls AGAIN a couple weeks later. Perfect!

    1. I’m trying to post a picture to your facebook page to enter the April Baking Challenge but it won’t post for some reason. I will email it to you. I love your unique, easy to follow recipes and I’m addicted to Sally’s Baking Addiction! 🙂

  2. I made these rolls for the first time today and they are SO good. I basically didn’t eat anything but them for supper – honey does count as 1 of my 5 a day, doesn’t it?! Another fab recipe Sally, thank you!

  3. These rolls were a huge hit at our Easter dinner. I made 3 batches and there were only 3 left! So soft and a great flavor. Because .not great at shaping I baked them in muffin tins and they came out perfectly.

  4. Angie Teeters says:

    I made these rolls yesterday. I love how easy your recipes are to follow. They turned out great.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Angie!

  5. Sally, just wanted to let you know I have make these rolls from scratch and with my bread machine. They were perfect both ways. I do like making from scratch when I have time, but good to know I can use my bread machine too. Thanks for another great recipe!

  6. What is the best way to re-heat these rolls if you bake them the night before you need them?

    1. Hi Danielle! Best way to reheat is to loosely cover them in a 300°F (149°C) oven for about 10-15 minutes.

  7. Hello Sally how are you? Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe, I baked these dinner rolls or buns as they’re called in Zimbabwe and I have to say I did pretty good. I was dreading this challenge at first but your recipe has just given me confidence to baked more yeast breads. Thanks again

  8. Hi Sally! I made these dinner rolls today, my first dinner rolls… and they are delicious, amazing! It was a succes!!!The recipe is so easy to follow, thank you so much!
    I’m sorry for my english… I’m writing from Italy!

  9. I’ve never did any baking before because I thought it would be to complicated. I made the dinner rolls and the came out perfect! We loved them. Your tutorial was easy to follow. I now feel comfortable to make more of your wonderful recipes.

    1. I’m so happy to read this. Let me know any other recipes you try– especially if they push you out of your comfort zone! 🙂

  10. They turned out absolutely perfect second time around!! Soft, pillows and just the right anount of chewiness! Thank you!!

  11. Id like to use this recipe for larger sandwich/hamburger rolls. How should I adjust bake time? And how to place dough on baking pan?

    1. Hi Leah, I would simply divide the recipe into 8 rolls instead of 15 and keep everything else the same. Enjoy!

  12. I grew up going to a Swedish bakery that had soft Cardamom rolls topped with a little crystallized sugar. Could I just add cardamom to this recipe?

    1. I can’t see why not!

  13. I love this recipe! The rolls are delicious and they rise beautifully, every time! Five stars!!!

  14. Thank u so much sally

  15. Can this recipe be doubled?

    1. I recommend making it twice instead of doubling it. Enjoy!

  16. I’ve made this twice – unsuccessfully. I don’t stock white sugar so I used brown and instead of butter I used coconut oil (at room temperature state – so it’s like room temperature butter in consistency)…the roll is just not “fluffy” as the others have mentioned.
    I usually swap in coconut oil anytime the recipe calls for butter and I’ve never had an issue…but I know bread can be finiky. Any suggestions on how what’s going on and how I can adjust?

    1. Are you using bread flour? It has a higher level of gluten than all purpose.

  17. These are amazing! I have made them several times and even used 75% whole wheat flour one time and they turned out amazing! They are baking now! Happy baking!

  18. Hi Sally! I’m making your dinner rolls but I used Red Star Yeast instead of instant yeast by mistake. Now I understand why it didn’t rise the #1st rise after two hours. How long will the rolls have to rise for the #2nd rise using normal yeast?

    1. Hi Jada! Are you using active dry yeast? The 2nd rise time will be slightly longer around 1 hour, 15 minutes or 1 hour, 30 minutes.

  19. Hi Sally! How do i know if my dinner rolls are cooked through aside from browning the top? This is my second time trying to make homemade roll, the first recipe i tried is a disaster. Thanks in advance for replying. Warm regards from the Philippines!

    1. Here’s a little trick I use with yeast breads– lightly tap the top of a baked roll. If it sounds hollow, they’re done!

  20. Moti Nowrangi says:

    Just took these rolls out of the oven – my oh my the whole house is smelling really good! I followed the recipe as is and they turned out fantastic. Used bread flour and my trusty mixer fitted with a dough hook. I wish there was a way to upload a picture.

  21. Made this recipe for a dinner party and they turned out perfect! I added salted thyme roasted garlic butter to the top of the rolls. In the dough, I added cup of shredded white cheddar, thyme, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Goes great with soup! Thank you for the recipe!

  22. Just baked these and ate 2 already. Easy recipe and they are fabulous. Thank you for taking the time to share recipes.

  23. This was easy and delicious. Just came out of the oven and I ate 3 rolls already… they might not make it for dinner. I added the rosemary and garlic butter on top. On so yummy. Thank you for the recipe.

  24. Can I cook these at prescribed time temp and bottom rack if something else is in the oven above it?

    1. Follow the instructions to a T and these rolls turned out absolutely delicious. Thank you for posting this.

    2. Hi Chris, same oven temperature– but the rolls may take a little longer in the oven if you’re baking something else too.

  25. I made these tonight for the first time, for guests. LOVE THEM. I’ve tried a few dinner roll recipes and this is by far the best. Thank you!

  26. Hi Sally
    Tried these out last night and they turned out OK – more crumbly than chewy – not sure what I did wrong! I followed the recipe exactly, but had to use a pie dish instead of the 9×13 – would have be the cause? They are almost like half way to a scone rather than a chewy dinner roll. I’d love to try again and improve – any advice?

    1. Hi Holly! I’m concerned the rolls tasted like a crumbly scone– were they over-baked? Did you make any ingredient substitutions? Make sure your dough rises high (doubles in size in that first rise) and that the yeast hasn’t expired.

  27. I just made these for the first time and they turned out perfectly! Planning f to bake again and bring to a Friendsgiving. Thanks for another great recipe!!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Tasha!

  28. My first time baking with yeast. Your step by step instructions, photos, and videos gave me the confidence to go for it. The rolls came out great. Thank you!

  29. I am a complete novice when it comes to baking and yet these came out perfectly on my first try! I’ve only ever made cookies and muffins so I was abit nervous to work with yeast but the recipe, instructions and walk through video were so helpful that the rolls turned out fabulously! The USA have sweeter breads in general but these rolls are minimally sweet and better than most you’d find over here in the UK. Hubby was impressed and says I need to make some for subs and hotdogs so it’s definitely a recipe I will be keeping on the fridge 🙂 Thank you Sally!!

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