Ricotta Herb Bread Rolls - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Bread | Savory

Ricotta Herb Bread Rolls

By Tessa Arias
  |  
June 13th, 2018
4.84 from 12 votes
4.84 from 12 votes

Ricotta Herb Bread Rolls are amazingly soft, tender, and pillowy in texture with tons of rich and earthy flavors. These are bound to become a family favorite!  Download my Free Bread Baking Guide here!

Yield: 15 rolls

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: I just adore the combination of rich slightly sweet ricotta with the earthy fresh herbs.
Texture: Almost marshmallowy soft!
Ease: Straightforward roll recipe, and I included some instructions below for making ahead of time.
Pros: Delicious twist on classic dinner rolls.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? Absolutely.

Ricotta is one of my favorite ingredients that I just don’t use enough. I love to add ricotta onto pizza when ordering out. If you haven’t tried that, you absolutely must next time!

Recently ricotta was on sale at the store so I stocked up to experiment with different ways to use it in baking. I recently saw a ricotta herb bruschetta at a restaurant and loved the idea of combining fresh herbs with ricotta cheese.

Ricotta Herb Bread Rolls are amazingly soft, tender, and pillowy in texture with tons of rich and earthy flavors. These are bound to become a family favorite!

Immediately the idea for Ricotta Herb Bread Rolls popped into my mind. But I wasn’t sure if the recipe would work. I had never added a soft cheese like ricotta added straight into a bread dough and hadn’t seen it done many times in other recipes. I was worried the cheese would weigh the dough down and it wouldn’t be light and fluffy.

That’s exactly what happened the first time I made these rolls. My ratios were all off and the rolls were horribly dense and dry. But I wasn’t giving up!

Ricotta Herb Bread Rolls are amazingly soft, tender, and pillowy in texture with tons of rich and earthy flavors. These are bound to become a family favorite!

After some more tweaking and testing I’m SO happy with the final result of this recipe.

These Ricotta Herb Bread Rolls are perfectly pillowy soft like marshmallows. They’re loaded with flavor and when you smear some quality butter and sprinkle a little flaky sea salt on top… well it’s like you’re dining at an expensive restaurant!

Ricotta Herb Dinner Rolls made with fresh thyme, rosemary, and fresh ricotta cheese. They're crazy soft and tender!

These bread rolls are bound to be a crowd pleaser for any family dinner or celebration. Take a peek at the recipe tips I wrote below if you’re intimidated by homemade bread baking or have a question about the recipe. I tried to answer any you might have! You can also download my free bread guide here.

Ricotta Herb Bread Rolls Recipe Tips

Yeast

This recipe utilizes a short cut ingredient: instant yeast. For this recipe you can also use rapid rise or quick rise yeast. One of the 3 should be available at most grocery stores or you can buy my all time favorite yeast on Amazon. These types of yeast are specifically formulated to allow you to skip proofing (aka the step where you combine the yeast with warm liquid for 5 minutes). You can add instant yeast directly into the mix with all of the ingredients.

If you don’t have or can’t find instant yeast, you can easily use active dry yeast instead. Simply combine it with the warm liquid called for in the recipe and allow it to proof for 5 minutes before adding into the bowl with the other ingredients.

Flour

The exact amount of flour you’ll need will depend on your kitchen environment and even the brand of flour you’re using. Things like humidity and altitude can affect your dough. That’s why I give a range of flour instead of a precise measurement in this recipe. You may very well not end up using the full amount of flour. Add it in gradually just until the dough comes together.

I’d always rather have a sticky dough than add too much extra flour and create dense, tough, or dry bread. As the dough rises the flour will continue to absorb extra moisture and it won’t be quite as sticky when you go to shape the rolls anyways!

Ricotta

Use a high quality ricotta cheese in this recipe. Bring the cheese to room temperature before using.

Kneading Bread Dough

Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook makes easy work of kneading dough. However, if you don’t have a mixer you can knead this dough by hand. Click here to see my step-by-step video on how to knead dough perfectly by hand.

Rising

The ricotta adds some richness to this dough, so it may take slightly longer to rise than other recipes do. If you’re not sure if your dough is risen, conduct the ripe test: Gently stick two fingers in the risen dough up to the second knuckle and then take them out. If the indentations remain the dough is “ripe” and ready for the next step in the recipe. If not, cover and let the dough rise longer until the indentations remain.

Make Ahead

Basically all yeast dough can be made ahead of time and baked off later on! For this recipe, I like to make the dough all the way through to rising once and shaping the rolls. Once the rolls are shaped, cover them and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature as the oven preheats before baking as the recipe directs. If the rolls haven’t doubled in size yet, allow to sit at room temperature until they do.

Refrigerating basically stunts the rise time and can actually allow more flavor to develop!

The rolls are best served the day they’re baked. However, you can easily reheat the rolls briefly in the oven or toaster oven at 300°F until warmed through to refresh.

Super soft Ricotta Herb Dinner Rolls are a family favorite!

More Bread Recipes:

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

4.84 from 12 votes

How to make
Ricotta Herb Bread Rolls

Yield: 15 rolls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Ricotta Herb Bread Rolls are amazingly soft, tender, and pillowy in texture with tons of rich and earthy flavors. These are bound to become a family favorite!  Download my Free Bread Baking Guide here!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm whole milk (100 to 110°F)
  • 1 cup (246 grams) part skim ricotta cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for coating
  • 2 whole eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups (445 to 508 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Flake sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, cheese, 1 tablespoon of the oil, eggs, sugar, salt, herbs, and yeast. Add 2 cups of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a rough, shaggy mass. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, turn to medium-low speed, and gradually add 1 1/2 cups more flour, kneading until a mass of dough begins to forms. Continue kneading on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes until a soft, smooth ball of dough is formed, adding more flour only as needed. The dough should feel elastic and slightly sticky to the touch. Avoid adding too much additional flour.
  2. Lightly coat large clean bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 1 1/2 hours at room temperature or until the dough is big, puffy, and about doubled in size.
  3. Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Gently deflate the dough. Use a bench scraper, knife, or pizza wheel to divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle generously with flake sea salt. Lightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 45 minutes, or until about doubled in size.
  4. MAKE AHEAD: At this point the shaped rolls can be covered and allowed to rise in the fridge overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  6. Bake the rolls for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm. Store leftovers in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.
Course : Side Dish
Cuisine : American
Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Lydia — November 24, 2022 at 7:39 am

    Can I use water instead of milk?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 28, 2022 at 10:05 am

      Hi Lydia! We haven’t tried that, but the rolls definitely won’t be as rich and flavorful without the milk.

  2. #
    Freda — November 15, 2022 at 9:57 am

    Can you refrigerate the shaped rolls for more than 24hrs? I’m hoping to store them in the fridge for 3 days before baking.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 16, 2022 at 1:01 pm

      Hi Freda! Refrigerating this dough more than 24 hours ahead may result in dried out or over-proofed rolls that then deflate when baked. You can try the make-ahead-and-freeze method Tessa outlines in her Ultimate Dinner Rolls – but we haven’t tried this technique on the Ricotta Herb rolls, so I can’t promise it will work as well. Let us know how it goes!

  3. #
    Suzi — November 12, 2022 at 7:55 am

    After bringing the ricotta to room temp there was water in the bottom of the bowl. Do I use that water or discard it?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 14, 2022 at 12:37 pm

      Hi Suzi! You can discard that separated liquid! I hope you enjoy these rolls 🙂

  4. #
    Jamie — October 17, 2022 at 11:39 am

    I was thinking about trying this recipe with my sister’s homemade ricotta, but her ricotta isn’t a true ricotta – it’s made with lemon juice instead of whey. She said that the moisture content could be different because of that. Do you know if it would still work with this recipe, or would I have to use a true ricotta made with whey?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — October 19, 2022 at 6:59 am

      Hi Jamie! I’m sorry, but we have never tried using anything other than store-bought ricotta. You can definitely give these a try with your sister’s homemade version, but I cannot say how they will turn out! If you do give that a try, let us know what happens!

  5. #
    Sylvia Phoon — February 10, 2022 at 3:26 am

    I made this with 4 cups of flour but added 4 extra tbsp of warm water. Not bad for my first try. The bread is flavourful

  6. #
    Mad — November 22, 2021 at 8:15 am

    How bad do you think this would be to knead without a stand mixer?

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 4:26 pm

      Hi there! We call for a stand mixer to make easy work of kneading in this recipe, but you can also knead by hand. Check out Tessa’s full tutorial on how to knead dough here. Let us know what you think of this recipe!

  7. #
    Shauna — October 20, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    Yum! Thank you for the recipe. It was a great way to use up a cup of ricotta that was staring at me accusingly in the fridge. And they were yummy as is, but I felt the need to dip them in olive oil and basalmic vinegar. I used dried herbs and soaked them for about 10 minutes before making the dough.

    • #
      Emily — October 21, 2021 at 11:42 am

      LOVE your idea of dipping the rolls in oil and vinegar, yum!! So happy you enjoyed this recipe, Shauna, thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. #
    Margie — September 15, 2021 at 10:02 am

    These are wonderful! I’ve made them twice now and my husband loves them! I only need 3 1/4c of flour to get the dough right. They are flavorful and stay fresh well for a couple of days!

    • #
      Emily — September 16, 2021 at 2:45 pm

      So happy to hear you both love this recipe, Margie! Thanks for letting us know 🙂

  9. #
    Megan — March 14, 2021 at 9:08 am

    Finally got around to making these. Sooooo good. Great as dinner rolls. Breakfast rolls. Anytime rolls. Basically I can’t stop eating them and this batch won’t be making it to the freezer cause there are no leftovers. Delicious with a bit of garlic butter.

    • #
      Tessa — March 15, 2021 at 2:13 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed these bread rolls!

  10. #
    Domer82 — February 14, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    I’ve made these rolls multiple times. They’re delicious! The first time I made them was the best. I think I was lucky and got the dough just right. You must follow the instruction about adding the flour very carefully. It is my impression that the amount needed is more than 3 but less than 3 and a half cups. I’ve never used all four cups. I guess a lot depends on the size of the eggs and the moisture of the ricotta you use.

    • #
      Tessa — February 15, 2021 at 3:15 pm

      So glad you tried these rolls out!

  11. #
    Ishika Singh — December 14, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    Is there a substitute for eggs as we are vegan?

    • #
      Tessa — December 15, 2020 at 10:38 am

      I’m not sure, I don’t work with vegan substitutes!

  12. #
    Jim Faley — November 24, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    I just made a test batch of these, but the first thing I noticed was that at about 19 minutes of baking the bottoms were getting too brown. I took them out of the oven, thought they looked done so I cut into one. Pretty good! I only baked 4 of them, shaped the rest of them and froze them. I’m going to try another batch tomorrow at 350 F, watch the time also, see if that keeps the bottoms from overcooking. But the taste is right there, excellent recipe!

    • #
      Tessa — November 24, 2020 at 3:09 pm

      Did you line your baking pan with anything? And were you using a light or dark baking pan? Tinfoil and dark baking pans will cause bread rolls to brown faster on the bottom, while parchment paper can help prevent browning. Let me know if that helps!

  13. #
    Patricia A White — November 23, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Can Dried Rosemary & Thyme be used instead of fresh? Measurement still the same? Thanks

    • #
      Tessa — November 23, 2020 at 4:11 pm

      I would definitely recommend fresh if you’re able to! I haven’t personally tested this recipe with dried herbs, but some other readers have reported success using dried herbs.

  14. #
    Jim Faley — November 22, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    what is “part skin” ricotta? A typo, I would guess, but if not please explain. Thx.

    • #
      Tessa — November 23, 2020 at 4:21 pm

      That should be part skim. Thank you for catching that, Jim!

  15. #
    Zandra Leahy — November 1, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Loved these rolls! They are so soft and fluffy on the inside and had a good crunch on the outside. I made mine a bit bigger (about 95-100 grams per roll) and I ended up with 9 rolls. I baked them for 2-3 minutes more and they were perfect. Great recipe!

  16. #
    Anne Brown-Baker — September 24, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Would be great to be able to easily print a copy of your recipe like other sites. Any suggestions?

  17. #
    Angie — May 14, 2020 at 10:25 am

    Amazing recipe! Thank you so much for this; my family loves them!

  18. #
    Evana — November 16, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    These bread rolls are the best bread rolls I’ve ever made, so delicious I’ve shared with all my friends. They are easy to make, I had my 3-year-old help me! I will try this recipe again and try a loaf instead on rolls.

  19. #
    Rebecca — October 1, 2019 at 9:31 am

    My husband and I both loved these!

  20. #
    Nabewo — January 13, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Good recipe. Makes rich, moist, and dense bread. Used dry herbs because I could not get fresh at that time. I tried making in rolls as well as in a loaf (baked 45 min for a loaf). Both worked great!

  21. #
    Julia Steffee — December 1, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    This looks really good, but I only ended up using two cups of flour and the bread was already really heavy. I’m not sure if that’s correct.

  22. #
    Angela — August 21, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Dear Tessa, I would love to make these. I have a question though. What is “part skin” ricotta? Is it reduced fat ricotta? Could I use full fat?

  23. #
    Love — June 22, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Tessa, these lol so amazing that I have to try them, even though I’ll need to use a gluten free flour mix. I already crave them. I’m wondering if I can freeze them after shaping and before baking.. so I can cook only 3 or 4 at a time and eat them fresh out if the oven. Like I do your cookies ☺️❤️ I roll the dough in logs and freeze so I can cut off however many cookies we want to eat during movie time. I freeze some of your bar recipes after cooking, for the same reason, just thaw 2 or 3 and have a late night treat. I’ve had good success converting to gluten free, but bread rolls will be a new try. Thank you for such wonderful recipes.

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