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

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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

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

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

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.
  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.

500 Comments

  1. Hi Sally
    Mine turned out well in terms of taste and softness. Somehow it didnt turn that brown on the top. Couldn’t figure out why. Any Suggestions? I kept mine in the middle rack of the oven.

    1. Hi Harsha! When bread doughs don’t brown in the oven, it’s likely that the dough was proofed too long. That’s an easy fix for next time. Glad you enjoyed their taste! If it helps, for the last few minutes, you can raise the oven rack so the rolls are closer to the heating element and brown a little easier, too.

  2. I made these for the first time for Thanksgiving; they turned out perfect! The directions were easy to follow and everyone loved them.

  3. Is there a multi purpose dough? I’d be looking to make pepperoni rolls and just adding a little pepperoni in the center – would that work with this recipe?

    1. It definitely would, yes! This dough is great for all kinds of rolls.

  4. These look delicious! I’m going to have to step into the bread making… I have made bread in a bread machine twice. Good results; but hard to keep fresh!
    I have a question- Would it be OK to brush the melted butter on BEFORE baking? Or will that make it burn too quickly?
    Also, this is the second page I’ve come to this morning that alludes to a video of how you do your magic; but the video is not showing on the site on my computer. A fix I figured out, is going to the recipe on my (i)phone. The video player is there.
    How odd!

    1. I hope you enjoy these when you try them and yes, you can brush the melted butter on the rolls before baking– however sometimes that deflates the rolls. So be extra careful with that step!

  5. Tried this recipe tonight for burger sliders! I halved the recipe except for the egg, I used the whole one. I reduced the liquid by 20 grams to adjust. Also added in 40 g of mashed sweet potato. It was just divine! Halving the recipe made enough dough to make nine 50g balls that I put in a 8×8 glass baking tray. Will definitely be making this again!!

  6. Melissa Mahon says:

    This is a great roll recipe.
    , always turn out good! Quick question: I have completed the steps,through step 6. They have chilled over night, and I will do the second rise, I realize that I forgot to grease my pan how bad are they going to stick?

  7. Pippa Hutchings says:

    Oh my gosh, I have never had any luck making bread but following your recipes, step by step instructions with video means I have made these rolls and they are the BEST!! Will they make Christmas day or will I have to make a new batch . I have also made the jalapeño bread and the cranberry bread and all are amazing and so much easier than every imagined. Thank you Sally, you are the best.

  8. This recipe was seemingly straight forward but was not clear that the yeast was in fact instant. I then reduced my instant yeast thinking it was regular active. As a result my rolls didn’t rise. Instead of listing a yeast brand – suggest it edited to the yeast type with brand suggested. I love this blog and this is the first time I’ve had a failure! 🙁

    1. Hi Ashton, Thank you for trying this recipe and I’m sorry that this wasn’t clear! There is a numbered list in the above blog post and number 2 states that you can use active dry yeast or instant yeast, but 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.

  9. I have never commented on a recipe and usually kind of just come and go, but this recipe was just so good that I felt I had to leave a review. It’s not only super easy but the bread is soooooooooooooooo so so soft. I’ve made various breads before but they’ve never turned out quite like this one. I’ll be keeping this recipe in my bookmarks for when I need a study break!!!! Thank you so much! ❤️

  10. These are excellent dinner rolls. I feel I’ve tried nearly every recipe out there for a basic dinner roll and nothing comes close to these. They’re very soft and tender as Sally explains. We had them with spaghetti last night and my family practically fought over who got the last one!

  11. OMGEEE!!!! I was always afraid of dough recipes as mine always came out… NOT RIGHT!!! But for the love of all that is holy, these were freaking awesome!!! I’m my son’s new best friend…’these taste like heaven mommy’ needless to say within 30min coming out the oven, there’s was a fight over the last one…and guess what…THIS MOMMY WON 🙂

    1. This is the best recipe I have ever used! The first time they were perfect. The second time I had no milk, so used evaporated milk and I think it was even better! Bread flour is a must. The left over evaporated milk is great for coffee cream.

  12. Wow! This is now my go-to bun recipe. I tried them with ap flour, but bread flour is a thousand times better. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  13. So I know this is my fault for not following the recipe exactly, but I didn’t have access to an electric mixer tonight and tried to make it by hand. When initially mixing all of the ingredients, it was so sticky that I panicked and added more flour until it was knead-able… I realize now as my bread is rising that I should have mixed it with a wooden spoon for a lot longer probably?

    Do you know how this will affect my rolls? Would it be better to make it into a full loaf instead of the rolls? I’m imagining they’ll be a lot less soft. 🙁

  14. Tried this last night and it was amazing! Soft and fluffy and tastes wonderful!
    Thank you Sally 🙂

  15. I Made these today and baked in my cast iron skillet.They turned out Delicious and will try more of your recipes. Thank you so much for sharing your Love of baking!

  16. Fantastic recipe, another winner Sally!

  17. Baking in the oven now. Best recipe ever for dinner rolls. I put all wet ingredients in bottom of bread maker, put in flour and made a ‘well’ for the yeast. Put on dough setting and let the bread maker do the kneading. Let rise until double and shaped the rolls. I have patience for kneading. This is a fantastic recipe.

  18. Loved this super easy recipe, added kosher salt after brushing with melted butter. Huge hit with the family!

  19. Hi…theses look wonderful….could you please tell me if I want to freeze them uncooked and when you say Make thru step 6 …do you mean including the second rise then freeze them or freeze prior to final rise?
    Thanks!
    Karen

    1. Hi Karen! Just through step 6, so you do not have to complete the 2nd rise (in step 7) before freezing. You will complete the 2nd rise when thawing.

      1. I made these recently and they were excellent, my husband LOVED them…have half unbaked ones in the freezer
        Thanks!

  20. Can these be used as Runza rolls?

  21. Colleen Sanders says:

    Hi Sally! I wanted to pop on to tell you how amazing your recipes are. I’ve been interested in baking for sometime. I never understood all the ins and out so I felt incompetent. Well by following your thoroughly explained recipes and guides I feel so much more comfortable baking. I’ve made these rolls twice now with great success both times. I’ve made some other recipes as well with the same results. Your guide to yeast is so thought out and explained so well that I no longer fear yeast. It really is just another ingredient. I love, love, love that you’ve decided to take the time to share your wealth of knowledge with the world and I appreciate it more than you know! You are now my go to for all things baking! You truly are amazing and your teaching skills are simply the best! I hope you have a great day and again I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me! P.S. My other favorite recipe is your pizza crust, oh my goodness! Who would of thought I could make pizza from scratch and impress my family so much!! Big hugs from Louisiana!

    1. Thank YOU so much, Colleen! I appreciate your kind comment and it means so much to know that you are fining my posts helpful and gaining more confidence in the kitchen!

  22. Wyletta Sanders says:

    I loved this recipe. I am gaining more confidence in baking. I will make these rolls every Sunday. You are a God sent.

    1. I’m thrilled that you enjoy them so much, Wyletta!

  23. Hello Sally, I have a great success today to follow your recipe to bake the dinner roll for the first time in life. I like the softness and the texture and more importantly, it is easy to do it.

    If I want the roll to taste more salty or sweet, can I just add in more salt or sugar to modify the taste? What about if I try to mix in a small quantity of dried raisins?

    I am a beginner in baking soft bread, despite I frequently bake baguette, the only bread I know. Your recipe has boosted my confident in trying out other types of bread. Thank you again.

    1. Hi Patrick! I’m so glad you enjoyed these dinner rolls, thank you for leaving the review! You can certainly add more salt and/or sugar to fit your tastes with no other changes to the recipe. You can also add raisins to the dough, too. Enjoy!

  24. I make a roll with water and dried milk powder and they are called Lion House Rolls. They are wonderful and recipe can be found on internet. However, these rolls looks just as wonderful and I will be making them this weekend.

  25. I tried this recipe last year for your challenge and have made them at least 15 times in the past year! Favorite soft rolls recipe ever! Thanks for the consistently great recipes Sally. We love your site.

  26. Your recipes are always foolproof! These are amazing! Soft and delicious, thank you for explaining the difference in doughs as well it helps me to understand baking bread. Thanks for sharing !

  27. Hey Sally, Trying to figure out where i failed in making this recipe for dinner rolls.
    I thought all went well with the dough rising , but they didn’t rise during baking.
    Any ideas why this could have gone wrong?

    1. Hi Becky! A few things and it’s a lot to type out so I’m going to send you to my Baking with Yeast Guide. Specifically, see my What if My Dough Isn’t Rising? section. This also applies to breads rising in the oven. See if any of that helps for next time.

  28. Is it possible to over-knead this type of dough in a stand mixture? Does it make the end result different? thanks!

    1. It is– too much kneading will lead to a dense tasting bread or roll because the gluten has been over-worked.

  29. My 5 year old love this recipe so did I. I made them with cheddar cheese and omg weren’t they fabulous! Fool proof recipe as always Sally . Loads of love

  30. Haniya Hasan says:

    Hi, I am a first-time bread baker and I loved the ease of this recipe. Two things: I cannot see the video anywhere on this page for some reason. Like there is literally no play video button anywhere that I can see. I think it might just be me because other commenters have watched the video.

    Secondly, my rolls are in the oven but they aren’t browning on the top. I preheated the oven for 15 minutes before putting them in. How do I fix that?

    1. Hi Haniya, Do you see the sentence “Let’s start with a video tutorial.” and directly under that is a horizontal photo of the rolls. In the center of that photo there is a triangle that is the play button which you can click on. You might have to disable your ad blockers.
      How long were your rolls in the oven? Mine take 20-25 minutes before the tops being to brown.

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