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

89 Comments

  1. Can this recipe be doubled or should I made 2 batches?  I’d like to be generous and account for 3per person. Cause you need 1 more to wipe the gravy off the plate!!

    1. When it comes to bread, I always recommend making two separate batches. More volume of dough could produce problems/unideal texture.

  2. Can these be made with a bread machine on the dough cycle? Thanks!

  3. These rolls are amazing!  Perfect for Thanksgiving, they were light, fluffy, delicious and easy to make ahead per your instructions.   Thank you for an excellent recipe!

  4. I made these rolls for thanksgiving and they were such a big hit, I made another batch the next day! You were not lying when you said tried and true!! Such a great recipe, I will be making this recipe for years to come, thank you for sharing!

  5. You were right. The best rolls ever. At least that’s what my boyfriend says!!! And I have made many different recipes but he claims this one is the best. Thanks for another great recipe!!!

  6. I made these rolls for Thanksgiving dinner and they were absolutely AMAZING!!! The best rolls I have ever had! I should have made a second batch because my family gobbled these up in a second. This was my very first time working with yeast making bread and it was a success! Thanks Sally for being so thorough in your instructions for us newbies!

  7. These were truly delicious.  I can’t wait to make them again.

  8. These were incredible – I ate about 10 of them! One question – if I follow the make ahead instructions will they turn out just as good?

    1. Yes, of course!

  9. I have made these rolls 3 times now and they have been a hit every time! My mom said that they just melt in your mouth! Thanks for such great recipes. They always come out perfect and delicious.

  10. Hi Sally! I just recently stumbled across your blog as well as your books! All of the treats I have made with your recipies come out wonderful! Especially these rolls I made about 20 minutes ago! Thank you for your wonderful recipies!!

  11. Hi sally … can i make these into bigger buns for lets say burgers ? if so any pointers on anything i should change ? baking time etc.. also how many rolls would they make if they were slightly bigger

    1. You sure can– I wouldn’t change anything, just divide into less portions when shaping. The bake time will be a few minutes longer to ensure they cook through.

  12. Made these today!! Love these! Fluffy, sweet … everything as promised! You are the best Sally!

  13. Cecilia marquez says:

    Thank you so much  for this delicious recipe , my rolls turn out so good, rolls are light, fluffy , and delicious. Now I know how to make this wonderful rolls for the next coming holidays. Thanks again!!!

  14. Nicole Nilsen says:

    Hi Sally! For the second rise, should the rolls be placed in a warm environment like the first rise? Or should the second rise be done at room temperature?

    1. Hi Nicole! A warm environment is best.

  15. Made these today for our thanksgiving lunch….. Was planning on doing a fresh baking of bread, but on a whim, I decided to try these. Was a risk…. Being thanksgiving and all. And, I had my regular bread recipe down pat, this was something new. Am I ever glad I tried these! The recipe is going directly into my recipe book as a keeper! I used fresh yeast and used a tablespoon of it. It didn’t take as long for both rises. First one took an hour and a half. Second took forty minutes. The results? These were the best, hands down, rolls I have ever had or made! Loved them! Thank you so much!!!

  16. Hi Sally! I’ve made these rolls several times and each time it has been a SUCCESS. My guests would clear out the whole pan of rolls before even considering eating the main course! They turned out so fluffy yet chewy with the perfect amount of sweetness. And that honey butter topping… Ermygawd

    This time I want to make the dough ahead of time. Usually I never ever deviate from your instructions and your make ahead directions say to do the first rise (in the oven, ~2 hours) and then refrigerate before punching and shaping the dough for the second rise (~1-2 hours). My question is that I read on red star’s website (their platinum yeast is unreal!) that if refrigerating the dough, then the first rise should be done in the fridge and then punch down and shape the dough for the second rise. Do you think it will over proof the dough if I do the first rise tonight in the oven and then let it refrigerate overnight for about 24 hours before shaping the dough and letting it tide for the 1-2 hours?

    Thank you so much Sally for the amazing recipes!

    1. I don’t think it will overproof the dough. I think the rolls will be just fine! I’m so glad you enjoy the recipe Nancy 🙂

  17. Kristin Hawkins says:

    Made these rolls tonight, and my family and I loved them! They are so light and fluffy and have a delicious flavor. Both rise times went much faster for me. The dough doubled in size in an hour for the first rise, and once they were shaped into balls, took 40 minutes. I also love that you included make ahead instructions. Those tidbits of information are so helpful. This is definitely a keeper! Thanks for a great recipe, Sally!

  18. If you don’t have Red Star brand yeast, what kind of yeast should you use? Instant? Active dry?

    1. Either instant or active dry will work, though active dry will be a slower rise time for the dough.

  19. Tender , delicious and addicting. Did I say tasty too. Saved out half for tomorrow might make pecan rolls with the rest. Thank you for the great recipe. This will be my go to recipe.

  20. Catherine Cook says:

    I made these tonight as I was tired of my regular roll recipe. They were amazing! I can not get over how perfect they were. Definitely making these again and again. I made your cornbread with gluten free oat flour for my husband and he loved it. Several of your recipes I’ve adapted to gluten free with great success. We are huge fans of your Apple crisp and almond butter cookies.

  21. Hi Sally!

    Have made these rolls many times over the past few weeks! Thank you for a great recipe!

    I have a quick question – I know in your notes it says to freeze the dough prior to step 4 (separating the dough into balls). My question is – could you separate the dough into balls, freeze it in a disposable aluminum pan, and then thaw/proceed with the recipe? What would (potentially) change between step 3 and step 4? I ask because it’d be nice as a busy mom of 3 to just pull a pan out the night before and defrost/bake the next day.:-)

    Thanks again for a great site!

    1. Hi Kat! I’ve never attempted it that way before, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. Make sure the dough balls are super securely covered tight when freezing.

  22. Patricia Miller says:

    Took these to a Thanksgiving potluck and they were a major hit! The pan was cleaned out in no time. Everyone raved about how fluffy and soft they were. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  23. I made these for our Christmas Eve dinner tonight and they were a BIG hit!!! I am a novice bread maker and a couple of times made “quick” or 30 min roles that used yeast but did not need to rise. They were not good at all. I had decided I wasn’t going to try again. But I saw your recipe the other day and decided, ok one more try. I got bread flour and even found the platinum yeast. They were awesome!! Thanks so much!! Merry Christmas!

  24. Beautiful rolls!  The first rise took 1.5 hrs in a warm oven. Then a second rise for an hour per the recipe.   They smelled wonderful baking and were a hit at our family dinner tonight. There were none left over for tomorrow!

  25. Hi Sally!
    Can you make these without the honey to make them less sweet? Thanks!

    1. Hi Lily! I wouldn’t leave it all out, but you can reduce down to 1 Tablespoon.

  26. I can’t have milk, so can almond milk be used and still get the soft and rich taste?

    1. Hi Pam! You can use almond milk, but the texture of the rolls will slightly change. They won’t taste as fluffy and rich.

  27. Hello Sally! Can i use pure maple and butter instead for the toppings?! Thanks!

    1. Yes, absolutely!

  28. Sandra Daniel says:

    I’ve made these delicious rolls many times to perfection. However the last three times they have been dry. What am I doing wrong? I stopped making them because I was so disappointed in myself

    1. Hi Sandra! That’s so interesting and I’m sorry you’re all of a sudden experiencing trouble. Are you doing anything at all different? Even as simple as a different baking pan? The recipe hasn’t changed. If you’re still experiencing problems, try adding another 2 Tbsp of warm milk.

  29. Sandra A Daniel says:

    Thank you for replying. I’ve done nothing different. Its very disappointing because my entire family loves this recipe. Thank you for it. They turned out a little dry again today! I don’t understand it. Could I be adding too much flour or something? However next time I ll try more milk. My dough is pretty wet though. Do you have a video to show the consistency of yours? Don’t wanna try another recipe because I know this one is delicious.

    1. Too much flour could definitely be the culprit. A sticky soft dough is ideal– that means the rolls will be soft and moist. I don’t have a video for these rolls at this time, but I hope to eventually. Thank you!

  30. Sandra Daniel says:

    Thank you. I was wondering the same thing about too much flour but I’ve always went strictly by recipe. I all try less next time though. I even wondered if it was because I used red star yeast before but can’t find it anymore so settled for cheap Fleischman’s active dry yeast. It was $1 for 3 packs. But I think your right about too much flour. Hope you can get a video though. I’m 51 years old and am not a baker. However my first three batches were outstanding. Gonna keep reading your recipes .they yummy.

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