The Best Dinner Rolls
These Dinner Rolls are soft, fluffy and easy to make from scratch! This is the perfect dinner rolls recipe for your holiday meal or Sunday dinner.
Every home cook needs a go-to dinner rolls recipe, and this is mine. These homemade dinner rolls have the perfect soft, fluffy texture and rich, buttery flavor. They bake up beautifully golden brown and are guaranteed to be the hit of the meal.
Whether you’re new to baking with yeast or you bake bread all the time, you’ll find this recipe simple to follow and the results delicious. I’ve also included a few extra tips below to help make sure your dinner rolls turn out perfect, every time. But be warned: once you try this recipe you’ll have a hard time buying rolls at the store again. These homemade rolls are just too good to settle for store-bought!
I like to make these dinner rolls for Thanksgiving, and I’ve included optional make ahead instructions to save time on the big day. My family also requests these rolls whenever we have soup, Baked Pork Chops or Instant Pot Beef Stew for dinner. They make the meal feel extra special, and are especially irresistible spread with some Honey Butter.
Dinner Rolls Ingredients
- Milk and Water: Using milk in addition to water makes the dough richer and more flavorful. I recommend using whole milk for the best texture and flavor.
- Active Dry Yeast: The yeast is what makes the rolls rise so that they become light and fluffy. Regular active dry yeast works well in this recipe, but you can also use instant (rapid-rise) yeast.
- Granulated Sugar: The sugar adds a touch of sweetness to the rolls. It also helps to activate the yeast when combined with the warm milk and water.
- Salt: Salt is essential in bread baking because it brings out all of the flavors. Don’t forget the salt!
- Egg: An egg adds richness to the dough.
- All-Purpose Flour: For dinner rolls with the softest, lightest texture, use all-purpose flour.
- Butter: To make these the best rich and buttery yeast rolls, we’re adding butter to the dough and also brushing the rolls with melted butter after baking.
Find the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.
How to Make Dinner Rolls
Using a stand mixer makes mixing up the dough especially quick and easy. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can mix and knead the dough by hand.
First, proof the yeast. This simply means to combine the yeast with warm milk and water, plus a little sugar, and let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Once you notice some bubbles on top of the mixture, you are ready to proceed with making the dough.
Make the dough by combining the yeast mixture with salt, egg and flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed. Once combined, add the softened butter cubes and mix on low speed until the butter is incorporated.
Knead the dough using the dough hook attachment. Knead on low speed for about 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth. It will be slightly sticky to the touch.
Let the dough rise by transferring it to a lightly oiled bowl, covering it with a clean kitchen towel, and letting it sit at room temperature until doubled in size. This usually takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
To shape the rolls, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead it by hand a few times to release any air bubbles. Cut the dough into 15 equal sized pieces. Shape each piece into a ball by tucking the edges of the dough ball underneath itself. Then place the dough ball on a clean work surface and, cupping your hands around the ball, use your palms to spin it on the work surface until it becomes a tighter ball. Place the rolls into a lightly greased baking dish.
Cover the rolls and let them rise for 20 minutes. Then uncover and bake at 375° F for 19-23 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the centers are baked through. Brush the warm rolls with melted butter and serve.
Dinner Rolls Recipe Tips
- When baking with yeast, you want the temperature of the liquid (in this recipe milk and water) to be between 110-115° F before stirring in the yeast. If the liquid is too hot, it can kill the yeast. If it’s too cool, the yeast may not activate. I recommend using an instant read thermometer to measure the temperature of the milk and water for best results.
- When proofing the yeast, if the mixture doesn’t start to foam or bubble after 10 minutes, it could mean that your yeast aren’t alive and thus won’t make the dough rise. If this happens, you should start again with new yeast.
- After kneading, the dough should be slightly sticky to the touch but not so sticky that it is unworkable. If it is very sticky, you can add a few tablespoons more flour. Be careful to not add too much flour, as this can make the rolls dense instead of light and fluffy.
- If your kitchen is cool, you can create a warm environment for the dough to rise by preheating your oven to 200° F and then turning it off. Place the covered bowl with the dough in the warm oven. Just be sure the oven is off before you place the dough inside. If your kitchen is warm, you can let the dough rise on the counter.
Make Ahead Instructions
You can make these dinner rolls a day ahead and refrigerate them overnight before baking. You can also freeze the baked rolls and then reheat them when you’re ready to serve.
- To Make Ahead and then Bake: The day before you plan to serve the rolls, complete steps 1-9 of the recipe: make the dough, do the first rise, and shape the rolls. Then cover the shaped rolls with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours. About 1 hour before you are ready to bake the rolls, take them out of the refrigerator. This gives them time to warm to room temperature and rise a bit. Then bake the rolls as directed in the recipe below.
- To Freeze: Cool baked rolls completely and then wrap airtight. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw and warm rolls in a 350° F oven, covering as necessary to prevent over-browning.
- To Store at Room Temperature: Rolls will keep at room temperature, tightly wrapped, for 2 days.
More Bread Recipes
These dinner rolls are one of our favorite homemade bread recipes. Here are a few more bread recipes that you might enjoy.
- Garlic Knots
- Honey Yeast Rolls
- Biscuit Recipe
- Cornbread Recipe
- Garlic Bread Recipe
- Whole Wheat Bread
- Brioche Buns
For the rolls:
- 1 cup milk (whole milk is best)
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast* (or one packet)
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 large egg
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature, cut into cubes)
- 1 tablespoon melted butter (for brushing on rolls after baking)
- Combine the milk and water and heat until the mixture is 110-115° F. (I usually combine them in a glass liquid measuring cup and warm in the microwave. You can also warm them in a pot on the stove.)
- Pour the warm milk and water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the granulated sugar and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Whisk gently to combine. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, until the yeast starts to foam and/or bubble.
- Add the salt, egg and all-purpose flour. Mix on low speed using the paddle attachment. Once combined, add the 4 tablespoons of softened butter and continue mixing until the butter is incorporated.
- Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough on low speed until it is smooth and only slightly sticky to the touch, about 8 minutes. The dough is supposed to be slightly sticky, but if it is very sticky you can add a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Avoid adding too much flour, because this will make the rolls more dense instead of light and fluffy. The dough should stick to your finger a little bit when you touch it but not be so sticky that it won't be workable.
- Transfer the dough to a large lightly oiled bowl and turn once to coat all sides of the dough ball with oil. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Lightly grease a 13x9-inch rectangular baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times by hand to release any air bubbles.
- Cut the dough into 15 equal sized pieces. To do this, first cut the dough into 3 equal pieces. Then cut each of the 3 pieces into 5 pieces. The dough balls should be approximately the same size, but they do not need to be exactly the same. (If you have a kitchen scale you can divide the total weight of the dough by 15 for an approximation of how much each roll should weigh.)
- To shape the rolls, first make each piece of dough into a ball by tucking the edges of the dough ball underneath itself. Then place the dough ball on a clean work surface and, cupping your hands around the ball, use your palms to spin it on the work surface until it becomes a tighter ball. Place the rolls into the prepared baking dish.
- Cover the rolls in the dish with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375° F.
- Bake the rolls, uncovered, for 19-23 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the center rolls are baked through.
- Remove rolls from the oven. Brush the 1 tablespoon of melted butter on the tops of the warm rolls. Serve warm.
- Both regular active dry yeast and rapid-rise yeast will work in this recipe. Use 2 1/4 teaspoons from a jar or 1 packet of yeast. If you buy a jar of yeast, store it in your refrigerator after opening. Always check the expiration date to be sure the yeast hasn’t expired.
- To create a warm environment for the dough to rise, preheat your oven to 200 degrees F and then turn it off. You can place the covered bowl with the dough in the warm oven. Just be sure the oven is off before you place the dough inside. If your kitchen is warm, you can let the dough rise on the counter.
- Storage Instructions: Rolls will keep at room temperature, tightly wrapped, for 2 days, or in the freezer, wrapped airtight, for up to 2 months. Thaw and warm rolls in a 350 degree oven, covering as necessary to prevent over-browning.
- Make Ahead Instructions: You can prepare the rolls a day ahead and refrigerate overnight before baking. Make the dough, do the first rise, and shape the rolls. Cover the shaped rolls and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours. Take the shaped rolls out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before you are ready to bake them. This gives them time to warm to room temperature and rise a bit. Then bake the rolls as directed.
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