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 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.

Butter rolls in baking pan

Video Tutorial: Dinner Rolls

Let’s start with a video tutorial.

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:

Dinner rolls yeast dough

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:

Shaped dinner roll dough in baking pan

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 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.

Dinner rolls in 9x13 inch baking pan

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.

Dinner rolls

Dinner rolls in 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 (375g) 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.
  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. Absolutely delicious and super easy to make. I made the garlic herb variation and they were so buttery, flakey, light and fluffy. Yum!

  2. I made a half batch of the garlic and herb variation of these rolls and they were so soft and delicious!!

  3. I made these today and they’re awesome! Your directions are spot on. The only thing I needed to change was add more flour, about 100 g. But that’s probably because I’m in Europe and the flour here often seems to behave differently in recipes, especially when it comes to (yeast) dough, so I just kept adding slowly until I had a dough that released from the sides of the bowl.

    I added the garlic and herbs from one of the flavor options and sprinkled on some extra herbs, garlic flakes and course sea salt just before baking. They were great with a large salad for dinner!

  4. I liked these rolls a lot, but they were slightly too sweet for me. I would love to try one of those variations though because that crumb was PERFECT!!!

  5. Delicious, light and fluffy rolls, but the best part is just how easy this recipe is! I can’t wait to try all the variations!

  6. Made a double batch and loved how smooth and light the dough was. Fun to make and so pretty. I’d add a little more salt next time I make them

  7. This is definitely a go to. Delicious easy fluffy rolls. I made them in the cast iron skillet because my husband took the glass pan i was going to use. They came out so delicious and very addicting. The honey butter topping is a must. Even the three year old approves.

  8. Holy cow Sally! Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe! Pillow soft with just the slightest crunch on the outside, this is a pure taste of heaven, not to mention the lovely aroma it gave the house while baking! An A+ winner!!! Using bread flour, I followed the basic recipe as written, proportions exactly measured. While the basic rolls are perfect as is and needs no adjustments, I’ll definitely try some of the add-inn suggestions and even try the wheat version another time!

    I added all ingredients at once to my bread machine (according to bread machine instructions) and set it to the basic dough cycle to compensate through first rise stage. After that I completed recipe instructions as written by Sally. I brushed it fresh out of the oven with the honey/butter mixture, while that did leave the rolls slightly sticky after they cooled, it added a wonderful, almost Hawaiian sweet bread-like, finishing touch (I’m sure they’d be awesome with just a melted butter brush, which is usually what I do when I bake loaves of bread). Once again Sally’s found me another go to recipe going forward!

  9. My first dinner rolls and they turned out so fluffy and delicious! Thank you, Sally, for making it so easy to make 🙂

  10. These were so much easier to make than I expected, and they were a hit! Everyone loved them! With the ease of the recipe, I could make these for Sunday dinners and not just special occasions.

  11. I’ve already made these rolls 5 times! They are chewy, buttery, and everything that a prefect dinner roll should be! Thank you for another wonderful recipe, Sally!

  12. Made these on a whim yesterday and they are delicious! I don’t bake with yeast very often, but your tips and well written instructions made these easily attainable! I did grease the pan with butter and noticed that the bottoms were a little crisp; next time I might use cooking spray or oil to see if I get a soft bottom that way.

  13. 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! 🙂

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

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

  17. 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

  18. Thank you for this recipe! I used 375g of bread flour, but the dough was extremely wet. Is the specified weight for bread flour correct?

  19. 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!

    1. I’m so happy you tried these rolls and enjoyed them, Veronica! Thank you for following along all the way from Italy!!

    1. Hi Hina! Depending on what you’re stuffing the shaped dough with, it should work! Let me know what you try.

  20. This was my first attempt at baking and the buns turned out great, especially given that I’m just a beginner to baking! The rolls however a little less chewy than I expected and more aerated – any suggestions on how to fix this?

    1. Hi Jay! Thank you so much for trying these dinner rolls. They’re super soft rolls! Use bread flour for a chewier roll and/or switch from milk to warm water.

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

  21. 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! 🙂

  22. I notice in your video tutorial you add olive oil to the mixture but the ingredients list says nothing about oil,
    I’ve made these twice and they’ve turned out a really dense thick dough like a scone. I’ve followed all the steps exactly ?

    1. Hi Anna! I use oil to grease the bowl for the dough– you can use oil, butter, or nonstick spray. For the dense rolls, make sure the dough is adequately rising and you’re not adding a lot of extra flour. Remember, you need a soft dough to produce soft rolls. Make sure your yeast is active. I have an entire separate post on Baking with Yeast if you’re interested in more troubleshooting!

  23. 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?

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally