Best Dinner Rolls Recipe

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The best Homemade Dinner Rolls recipe! These easy, soft & fluffy dinner rolls are, slightly sweet and salty, irresistibly buttery & moist and made from scratch. They turn out perfectly every single time and are a must-make holiday side dish.

front view of 6 homemade Dinner Rolls stacked on each other in a basket after baking


No holiday is complete in my house without these homemade dinner rolls – I make them for every special occasion – Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc.

These fluffy dinner rolls are easy to make and turn out perfectly every single time. Every bite is the perfect combination of sweet, buttery & salty, and they are soft and fluffy but still substantial and so moist.

It took me years of testing and tasting to finally land on this recipe for the best dinner rolls ever. I promise you will love them as much as we do!

up close overhead view of a Homemade Dinner Roll in the pan with other rolls surrounding it after baking

Dinner Rolls Recipe Ingredients & Substitutions

An important note is that all the ingredients (especially the butter, milk and egg) need to be room temperature.

overhead photo of the labeled ingredients in this homemade dinner rolls recipe
  • Whole Milk. I suggest whole, 2% or half and half for the best rolls.
  • All-purpose flour. I don’t recommend substitutions. Try these whole wheat dinner rolls if you’d like to use whole wheat flour..
  • Granulated sugar. white or organic cane sugar are the best choices. You could replace the sugar with honey, if desired.
  • Salted Butter. unsalted butter is a great choice.
overhead/front view of a Homemade Dinner Roll cut in half with a square of butter

How to Make Dinner Rolls

Let’s walk through this dinner rolls recipe step-by-step, and don’t forget to watch the video.

Make the Dough

A common question when it comes to making dinner rolls is, “how do you make dinner roll dough?” Well, we will walk through the process together. And trust me, this recipe yields the softest, smoothest dough that’s very easy to work with!

Begin by proofing the yeast. Mix water, sugar and yeast together and then let it sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

two photos showing how to make dinner rolls - proofing yeast

Then, add the milk, butter and egg and stir to combine.

Important note

Make sure to completely cool the butter/milk mixture so you do not kill the yeast. If the ingredients are too warm (over 105 degrees F), the yeast won’t proof and then the rolls won’t rise.

two photos showing how to make dinner rolls - adding butter, milk, sugar and egg.

Next, add 3 cups of the flour and the salt and mix until the dough forms a loose ball.

It’s important to being with 3 cups of flour so you don’t add too much. So start with 3 cups and gradually knead in more as needed.

two photos showing how to make dinner rolls - adding four and salt and stirring dough

Add flour 1 TBS at a time until a slightly tacky ball forms. It should easily form into a ball but should not feel too dry.

two photos showing how to make dinner rolls - adding more flour & kneading dough

Then, form the dough into a ball.

homemade dinner roll dough shaped into a ball

First Rise

This recipe has two rises. One with the dough in a large ball, and another after the dough has been divided into rolls. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover the bowl with a damp tea towel. Let it rise until it has doubled in size.

How to make dough rise faster: 

To help the dinner roll dough rise faster simply boil some water and put it in a bowl or measuring dish next to the bread that’s rising. Cover the bread and the vessel containing the boiling water with a damp towel and let the magic happen. This creates a warm, moist environment that yeast loves. 

I also recommend putting the dough/boiling water/damp cloth apparatus in your oven with the lights turned on. This creates a warm moist environment that the yeast loves, which speeds up the rising process.

overhead view of risen dinner roll dough in a bowl

Once the dough has doubled in size, flour your hands and punch the dough down to remove the gas.

In order to ensure that all your rolls are exactly the same size, so they baked evenly, I highly recommend weighing the dough.

Start by weighing the entire batch of dough, then divide its weight divide by 12. Remember that answer (write it down) and make sure it is the weight of each dough ball. This particular batch of dough weighed 35 oz, so each dough ball weighed approximately 2.9 oz.

If you don’t have a food scale (I seriously recommend getting one, the one linked here is only $9!) you will have to use your own judgement/feeling to make the rolls as close to equal in size as possible.

photo showing how to make homemade dinner rolls

Once you have all your math done (phew), weigh out the dough and make each portion into a smooth ball. It’s helpful to do this step on a well floured surface with floured hands.

photo showing how to make homemade dinner rolls

Second Rise

As you form the rolls, place them in a 9×13″ baking pan, spaced evenly apart. I suggest using parchment paper to line the baking dish to ensure that the rolls are easy to remove from the pan to serve.

overhead view of a pan of 12 dinner rolls dough balls before rising

Once the homemade dinner rolls are formed and placed in the baking sheet, let them rise again until they are doubled in size (30-60 minutes).

Be sure not to let the damp towel touch the tops of the rolls, otherwise the dough might stick to the towel, resulting a quite a mess.

The unbaked dinner rolls will touch. As you see in the photo below (and the video), the rolls will touch each other after they have risen. That is good and results in extraordinarily moist dinner rolls.

overhead view of a pan of dinner roll dough after it has risen

Bake the Dinner Rolls

While the dough is rising a second time, preheat your oven. After the dough is risen fully, bake in the preheated oven until the tops are golden brown and the rolls sound hollow when you gently hit them with a wooden spoon. Or, until the internal temperature is 190 degrees F in an instant read thermometer.

Baking Time variation

Please note, every oven bakes a little differently. Please watch your dinner rolls carefully and check them at the beginning of the recommended baking window to avoid over-baked rolls.

front view of a pan of Best Homemade Dinner Rolls after being baked

Butter & Salt the Tops

As soon as the dinner rolls are removed from the oven, brush them with melted butter and add a sprinkle of coarse or flaky sea salt. This is the final touch that makes the rolls extra special.

overhead view of a pan of 12 Best Homemade Dinner Rolls recipe after being baked

Serve

I recommend serving these homemade dinner rolls fresh from the oven. In order to do this, I will often prepare the rolls in advance and “slow” the rise by storing them in the fridge until I’m ready to bake.

They stand alone perfectly because they are just that good. Or you can make a batch of cinnamon honey butter to spread on top – we almost always do this.

They also make amazing leftover turkey & cranberry sandwiches after Thanksgiving.

Store

Store leftover homemade dinner rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or, you can freeze baked rolls in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 2 months.

front view of a hand removing one Best Homemade Dinner Rolls from the pan

Dinner Rolls Recipe FAQs

Can you freeze these homemade dinner rolls? 

You can make these homemade dinner rolls ahead and freeze them for up to one month. Simply cover them tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil or a lid after you have placed the divided rolls onto a prepared baking dish (before they have risen the second time).
To bake: Remove the dinner rolls from the freezer, cover and let them come to room temperature and rise fully before baking.

Can you bake dinner rolls from frozen? 

If you don’t have time to let them come to room temperature and rise, you can bake these dinner rolls from frozen by baking at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes, then increasing the baking temperature to 375 and baking for 10 minutes more.

How do you make soft dinner rolls? 

Fat in in the dough. Both the fat from the whole milk and butter preserve the freshness of these soft dinner rolls and keeps them soft for a days. The fat keeps the rolls from drying out!
Butter brushed tops. The butter on the top of the dinner rolls also helps seal the rolls and keep them nice and soft.
Baking close together. This lowers the amount of browned “crust” on the rolls, which yields an overall softer texture!

How do you make yeast rolls light and fluffy? 

These light and fluffy dinner rolls are that way because they rise twice. They rise a tad more in the oven after the second rise, but you don’t want to risk them being too dense by being hasty and not letting them rise.

How do you reheat dinner rolls? 

If you need to reheat these dinner rolls to serve to company, just cover the baking pan with tin foil and place them in your oven turned on to warm (about 200 degrees F).

front view of a basket with 6 Dinner Rolls stacked on top of each other

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Best Homemade Dinner Rolls Recipe

Laura
The best Homemade Dinner Rolls recipe! These easy, soft & fluffy dinner rolls are, slightly sweet and salty, irresistibly buttery & moist and made from scratch. They turn out perfectly every single time and are a must-make holiday side dish.
5 from 119 votes
Course bread, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 12 dinner rolls
Calories 181.9
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Rising time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Topping

Instructions 

  • Line a 9×13” baking pan with parchment paper, set aside.

Proof the Yeast

  • Add sugar, water and yeast to the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

Make the Dough

  • Once yeast is foamy, and the butter, milk and egg and stir to combine.
  • Add 3 cups of flour and ½ tablespoon salt and knead with dough hook. Add more flour gradually, as needed until a slightly-tacky ball forms.
  • Grease a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  • Once dough has doubled, flour your hands and squeeze it to remove the gas.
  • With floured hands, form 12, equally-sized dough balls. (use a food scale to weight full batch of dough, then divide that number by 12 and make sure every dough ball is the same weight).
  • Roll them until they’re smooth balls.
  • Place the dough balls into the prepared baking sheet evenly spaced into 4 rows of 3.
  • Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 30-60 minutes) – do not let the towel touch the top of the rolls.

Bake

  • When the rolls have risen about halfway, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Bake the risen rolls in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the rolls are golden-brown on the top and sound hollow when tapped with a wooden spoon, or reach an internal temperature of 185-190 degrees F when measured with an instant read thermometer.
  • Remove the dinner rolls from the oven and immediately brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Let cool slightly, then serve warm.

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substituions
  • Whole Milk. I suggest whole, 2% or half and half for the best rolls.
  • All-purpose flour. I don’t recommend substitutions. Try these whole wheat dinner rolls if you’d like to use whole wheat flour..
  • Granulated sugar. white or organic cane sugar are the best choices. You could replace the sugar with honey, if desired.
  • Salted Butter. unsalted butter is a great choice.
Make Ahead & Freeze
Portion out the dough, roll it into balls and place them in the baking pan. Then, cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil or a lid (before the second rise). Freeze for up to 1 month before baking
To bake the rolls after freezing: remove the baking pan from the freezer and let the rolls come to room temperature and rise fully before baking according to the recipe instructions,.
Or you can bake the dinner rolls from frozen by baking at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes, then increasing the baking temperature to 375 and baking for 10 additional minutes (so a total of 35 minutes baking).
Store
Store leftover rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or, you can freeze baked rolls in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 2 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1roll | Calories: 181.9kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 4.8g | Fat: 7.6g | Cholesterol: 35.3mg | Sodium: 357.9mg | Potassium: 113.4mg | Fiber: 1.4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




212 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is only my 2nd recipe I tried. This is so easy with your COMPLETE instructions. Got a question. Can I freeze the dough in the pan and then take them out & bag them. I am crunched for freezer space. Thanks guys! You are wonder!

  2. 5 stars
    This was super easy to follow and make. The rolls were a hit and turned out light and fluffy, looking forward to having a roll with my lunch today. I will be making these again.

  3. I made these today and during the 2nd rising, they became mammoth. I should have made the dough into 24 buns, not 12. Why would they get so huge?
    Judy

    1. They are large dinner rolls. If you prefer smaller rolls, you can definitely make a larger number with this dough.

  4. 5 stars
    MADE THEM GLUTEN FREEEEE!!
    I made these dinner rolls for my husband and me and ended up taking them with us to visit two of his brothers! They are amazing! Most of my inlaws, and my husband, are gluten intolerant so I did have to substitute out the flour for my own mix. I used about 1 1/2 cups of Grain Place Organic Kamut Flour, 1 cup of Grain Place Organic Corn flour, and then 1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill White Rice flour. The Grain Place flours are amazing and I really love using their product (they also have Organic Wheat Flour). Bob’s is good too, it’s just costly. The rolls are light and fluffy compared to other baked goods that you try to make homemade. I’ve grown up on wheat flour so it doesn’t have the same texture or taste as gluten-full baked goods. As I have found out, using the GF flours I do need to use a little bit more than the recipe calls for. So in this case in order to get the right consistency of dough I used about 4 1/2 cups instead of 3-4 cups. I also used honey instead of sugar so that may have played into the extra flour being needed!
    All in all, these were delicious, and will definitely make them again!