Tried & True Honey Butter Rolls

My favorite roll recipe for dinnertime. This is a recipe to hold onto.

honey butter rolls

Carb overload today.

I have, I don’t know, a MILLION sweet roll recipes on my blog. But no plain dinner rolls. And after today I still won’t have plain dinner rolls on my blog because who wants a plain dinner roll when you can have a warm, honey-buttered, golden brown, soft, tender, luxurious dinner roll? Really. Who?

It goes without saying that these are my favorite dinner rolls. In fact, I may never eat another form of bread again. Until, of course, I make cinnamon raisin bagels next week. I love those!

honey butter rolls

This is an old-fashioned, made-with-love dinner roll. Nothing out of the freezer or worse, out of a can.

The homemade dough is made with basic bread ingredients. I’ve added a few extras like melted butter and honey for comfy cozy sweet flavor and an extra egg yolk for richness. Because of these extra liquids, I use a little more flour to compensate for added moisture. Speaking of flour, we’re using bread flour today. Because we’re making bread! But that’s not all. I use bread flour in my honey butter rolls because it contains more gluten than all-purpose. Extra gluten helps make finished rolls extra chewy and, um, more bread-like. Technical terms here.

2 images of rolls dough in a red bowl and dough cut in half and into balls for rolls

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.

2 images of dough formed into rolls in a glass baking dish before and after rising

There are two rises. The first rise is right after the dough is prepared and takes about 2 hours. The second rise is after you shape the dough into 16 balls and takes about 1 hour. All yeasted dough… no, scratch that. All good yeasted dough takes time to develop its flavor, its gluten, and rise– so don’t expect to breeze through the recipe’s steps. You can rush a lot of things in life, but you can’t rush bread.

This is not a recipe for someone in a hurry.

Because really good, quality-tasting bread cannot be made in a hurry. Though the dough does take time to develop and rise, there is more wait time than work time in this honey butter roll recipe. Which gives you time to actually prepare the main event of the meal! Like creamy chicken noodle soup, healthier macaroni and cheese, and Thanksgiving turkey. (!!!)

And, luckily, you can get started on these rolls in advance. Make-ahead rolls to the rescue! Make sure you read my make-ahead instructions in the recipe.

After the rolls bake until golden brown, slather them with honey butter. I prefer spreading the honey butter on the rolls after they bake as opposed to before they bake. Why? Spreading or brushing butter on top of the delicate, airy unbaked roll weighs them down and encourages them to deflate. Losing puff! We don’t want to lose puff! So, wait until they are golden, warm, and toasty right from the oven. Then, spread on the good stuff and let it soak into each crevice.

These soft and fluffy honey butter rolls. Oh man. You need to bake them right this very second! They will steal the show at any and all future dinners. They will be the talk of the Thanksgiving and Christmas tables. They will comfort you on dark days. They will save your plate full of tomato sauce. They will take over the world!!

honey butter rolls in a glass baking pan with honey butter

Anything but plain.

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honey butter rolls

Honey Butter Rolls

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16 rolls
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These tried & true honey butter rolls are my favorite dinner rolls to make! They’re unbelievably soft, fluffy, and just melt in your mouth.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, warmed to about 110°F*
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Red Star® Platinum yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (84g) honey
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (455g) bread flour (spoon & leveled)

Topping

  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 2 Tablespoons (42g) honey

Instructions

  1. Pour warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Or, if you do not own a stand mixer, a regular large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar on top of the milk. Give it a light stir with a spoon and allow to sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should be frothy after 5 minutes. If not, start over with new yeast.
  2. If you do not have a mixer, you can mix by hand in this step. With the stand mixer running on low speed, add the honey, egg, egg yolk, melted butter, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, then add remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Beat on low speed for 1 minute as it all combines. The dough should be thick, yet soft. And only slightly sticky. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl as it mixes. When it does, it is ready to knead. If, however, the dough is too sticky to handle– add more flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time. Make sure you do not add too much extra flour; you want a soft, slightly sticky dough.
  3. Form dough into a ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes, then place into a greased bowl– I usually just use olive oil or nonstick spray. Turn the dough over to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm environment to rise until doubled, about 2 hours. For this warm environment, I preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C) then turn the oven off and place the bowl inside the warm-ish oven.
  4. Once doubled in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down again to release any more air bubbles if needed. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half. Cut each half into 8 equal pieces for a total of 16 pieces that are about 1/4 cup each– golfball size, give or take. They don’t need to be perfect! Shape into balls as best you can and arrange in a greased 9×13 baking pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size and puffy, about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Bake the rolls for 18-21 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the edges of each roll look cooked. While the rolls bake, mix the topping ingredients together to make a creamy honey butter. Remove the rolls from the oven when they are done and brush or spread a generous amount of honey butter onto each warm roll. Serve with any remaining honey butter.
  6. Cover leftovers and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Warm up in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Overnight Instructions: After dough has risen two hours in step 3, punch down the dough inside the mixing bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days, then remove from the refrigerator and continue with step 4. OR freeze for up to 2 months, then allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and continue with step 4.
  2. Bread Machine: I’ve gotten some questions about these rolls being made in a bread machine. The answer is yes, on the dough cycle.
  3. Milk: Lower fat milk or water can be substituted, but the rolls won’t taste as soft and rich. They’ll be more chewy, dense, and bread-y.
  4. Don’t leave off that honey butter topping! The rolls will be lacking a little flavor without it. I prefer spreading the honey butter on the rolls after they bake as opposed to before they bake. The reason is because spreading or brushing butter on top of the delicate, airy unbaked roll weighs them down and encourages them to deflate. Best to spread on the honey butter right after baking.
  5. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.

Keywords: honey butter rolls, dinner rolls

264 Comments

  1. HI Sally, I have had great success with this recipe in the past. For my son’s bar mitzvah I wanted to make a homemade Challah. Have you ever made this as a braided loaf? Do you think that would work?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dana, We have never tried braiding this dough so I’m unsure of the final results. Please let us know if you try it!

  2. Do you think you could do this with a milk substitute, or water? I’m lactose intolerant so I generally use oat milk, but I don’t know if that would work.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elle, You can use a non-dairy milk here, but the texture of the rolls will slightly change. They won’t taste as fluffy and rich. Hope you enjoy them!

  3. I want to make these for a Valentine’s Day dinner. I was thinking of either dusting them with flour over a heart-shaped stencil or attempting (yikes!) to score heart shapes in the top of each with my bread lame. Which do you think would be better? or do you have another idea? Thanks Sally!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Trish, Those are both super cute ideas! Scoring the rolls may be the tastier option, but we’ve never tried it so I’m not sure how perfectly the heart shapes will turn out. You can also try making biscuits if you have a heart shape cookie cutter as they keep their shapes pretty well. Let us know what you try!

  4. Hi! Can you use all purpose flour?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Bread flour is best!

  5. If you freeze after baking should you wait & put honey butter on after defrosted & serve warm? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Anne, yes, that is what we would do. Enjoy!

  6. For anybody wondering, I made some substitutes and they still turned out flaky and delicious!!
    -unsweetened soy milk instead of whole milk
    -AP flour instead of bread flour
    -MAPLE SYRUP (I’m Canadian…) instead of honey
    Delicious! Thanks sally!

  7. Sally,
    These rolls are amazing, my family couldn’t get enough of them! They will be a staple in our household. I truly enjoy your website, everything I’ve made from your sight has been fantastic. Thank you for all your details they have made me become a better baker. I’m in my happy place when I’m baking !

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you for the kind note, Robin! We’re so glad you enjoyed these. Thank you for making and trusting all of our recipes!

  8. My go to rolls that my adult children request. I have braided knotted and clover leafed them. We raise bees so my husband is thrilled when i find receipes with honey. Thanks for all the receipes you post

  9. I love these rolls! They are fantastic, and I’ll definitely be making them again. Just wondered how well they freeze?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, you can absolutely freeze these. See recipe notes for freezing dough, or, you can freeze baked rolls for up to three months. Hope this helps!

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