Filed Under: Bread | Easter | Thanksgiving

Soft Butter Rolls

Recipe By Tessa Arias
June 20th, 2019
4.91 from 10 votes
4.91 from 10 votes

Golden brown Soft Butter Rolls are fluffy and tender yeast raised dinner rolls stuffed with a sweet butter filling that is heaven on a plate! Download my FREE bread guide here.

Yield: 15 rolls

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Sweet, buttery, and wonderful!
Texture: Soft, fluffy, tender, and slightly chewy.
Ease: A little time consuming and laborious but I find it to be very relaxing and the reward at the end is absolutely delicious 🙂
Pros: Amazing twist on classic dinner rolls.
Cons: Maybe that everyone will want you to make these again and again.
Would I make this again? Absolutely.

The recent popularity of low carb & keto diets has me feeling a little sad.

Mostly because I could never imagine a life without BREAD.

The real deal stuff. The kind that is soft and tender yet when you pull it apart if has a little chewy give that makes your mouth water.

Pan of golden brown buttery dinner rolls

So in my delicious dreams I imagined a bread roll that didn’t need to be smeared with butter because it was already filled with butter inside. Cue mouth watering.

I believe I saw something similar maybe on Instagram or Pinterest, but now that I’ve searched for my original inspiration I can’t find it.

Stuffing bread roll rough with butter

Either way I’m just grateful these rolls turned out as wonderful as they did.

You basically mix together butter, sugar, and cornstarch to make the buttery filling. Scoop that filling into balls then freeze them while you make the dough. At first I thought filling the raw dough with something frozen would completely stop the second rise, but they came out beautiful.

Tray of homemade soft and fluffy bread rolls

The key was to get the butter filling to hold its shape long enough to make it to the oven. Then once inside it melts and becomes a rich ooey gooey explosion of deliciousness.

Make these rolls for any special holiday like Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or for a Sunday dinner to wow your family.

Soft buttery dinner roll on a plate

How to Make Soft Butter Dinner Rolls

How to use instant yeast

This recipe utilizes a short cut ingredient: instant yeast. It’s also called rapid rise or quick rise yeast. These types of yeast are specifically created to allow you add the yeast directly into the mix with all of the ingredients without a need for proofing.

Can I use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast?

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.

How do I make soft and fluffy dinner rolls?

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. You may not need all the flour called for in the recipe. You may need a little more. 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!

Can I knead the dough by hand?

Be sure to knead the dough properly to get rolls that hold their shape and bake up nice and fluffy. I call for a stand mixer to make easy work of kneading in this recipe, but you can also knead by hand. You can see my full tutorial on how to knead dough here.

How do I know when dough is done rising?

After kneading, shape the dough into a ball. Place in a lightly oiled mixing bowl. I like to use glass so I can see how much it’s rising. The dough should be turned over to oil the top so that it doesn’t dry out. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap, foil, or a clean towel. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free location. Ideal rise temperatures are between 80°F and 90°F. Lower temperatures will require more rising time.

The dough is done rising when it’s about doubled in size and passed the “ripe” test. Gently stick two fingers in the risen dough up to the second knuckle and then take them out. If the finger marks remain the dough is ready for shaping into balls. If not, cover and let the dough rise longer until it is.

The same finger test can be done again when the rolls are shaped and getting ready for baking.

How to Stuff Dinner Rolls with BUTTER

Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. You can do this perfectly by weighing the mass of dough then dividing that amount by 15.

Flatten a piece of dough with your hands and place a ball of the frozen butter on it. Pinch and wrap the dough around the butter and seal completely by pinching hard with your fingers. Roll into a smooth ball. Repeat with remaining dough. Place shaped dough in prepared baking pan.

Lightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 1 hour, or until about doubled in size. If some of the rolls show cracks or splits as they rise, don’t worry. They should still bake up just fine.

How to Bake Golden Brown Dinner Rolls

I like to use a metal baking pan for this recipe. If you use glass or ceramic you’ll likely need to increase the baking time. Your rolls may not get as golden in a glass or ceramic pan. The egg wash brushed on top helps to create rolls that are deeply golden in color and shiny in appearance. Don’t skip this step! Sprinkling with the sea salt just before baking also enhances both the look and taste of these rolls.

How to Make Dinner Rolls Ahead of Time

For this recipe, I like to make the dough all the way through the first rise and shaping the rolls. Once the rolls are stuffed and shaped, cover them and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature. This will depend on the warmth of your kitchen but will take a minimum of 90 minutes typically. 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.

Homemade easy buttery dinner roll on a plate

More Dinner Roll Recipes

Download my FREE bread guide here!

4.91 from 10 votes

How to make
Soft Butter Dinner Rolls

Yield: 15 rolls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Rising time 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
Golden brown Soft Butter Rolls are fluffy and tender yeast raised dinner rolls stuffed with a sweet butter filling that is heaven on a plate! Download my FREE bread guide here.


For the butter filling:

  • 10 tablespoons (142 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (16 grams) cornstarch

For the rolls:

  • 1 cup warm whole milk (110°F)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 4 cups (508 grams) all-purpose flour

For the topping:

  • 1 large egg
  • Flake sea salt, for sprinkling


Make the filling:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and cornstarch until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scoop the dough into 2 teaspoon sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer while you prepare the dough.

Make the dough:

  1. Combine the milk, butter, eggs, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 cups of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until absorbed. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, turn to medium-low speed, and gradually add the remaining flour and salt, kneading until a mass of dough begins to forms. Only add as much flour as needed to bring the dough together. Continue kneading on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes until a soft, smooth ball of dough is formed. The dough should feel elastic and slightly tacky to the touch. Only add additional flour if the dough is unbearably sticky.

  2. Lightly spray a large clean bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours at room temperature or until the dough is big, puffy, and about doubled in size.
  3. Spray a 13x9-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. If you have a scale, weigh the entire mass of dough then divide by 15 to get the perfect portion size for each piece.
  4. Flatten a piece of dough and place a ball of the frozen butter on it. Pinch and wrap the dough around the butter and seal completely by pinching hard with your fingers. Roll into a smooth ball. Repeat with remaining dough. Place shaped dough in prepared baking pan.
  5. Lightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 1 hour, or until about doubled in size. If some of the rolls show cracks or splits as they rise, don’t worry. They should bake up just fine.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  7. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and gently brush over rolls. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  8. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm. Store leftovers in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade, yeast

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

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!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Kim — June 28, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Can you use gluten free all purpose flour to make these?

  2. #
    Darrell — October 23, 2019 at 9:33 am

    where is the recipe?? Looks great!

  3. #
    Claudia Garner — November 8, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Oh my gosh I have never made rolls before. I did it! They turned out so wonderful and beautiful. My husband loved them and I am making for a family Thanksgiving Dinner. You are amazing. You have encouraged me to try anything now and not be afraid. I do have a questions. In the recipe for the dough it states 1 1/2 teaspoon of fine salt however in the written portion of the recipe I don’t see if being added. Well I am much much older and perhaps I missed it. Thanks again! You are just so sweet!

  4. #
    Claudia Garner — November 8, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Wonderful, Beautiful and so tasty. My husband loved them and I am making them for Thanksgiving. I do have one question regarding the salt 1 1/2 teaspoons of fine salt in the dough recipe. I see it however in the written part of the recipe I do not see the fine salt being added! Just wondering.

    • #
      Tessa — November 10, 2019 at 11:51 am

      Wonderful!! Glad to hear it. Thanks for pointing out that note re: salt. It’s been corrected 🙂

  5. #
    Claudia Garner — November 11, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    How did you make you butter balls. I tried many ways of measuring and making the balls but yours look much rounder in your pictures.

  6. #
    Dora Harrison — November 15, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    what if you have no paddle attachment, just a hook attachment . Thank you

  7. #
    Ashley — December 3, 2019 at 9:48 am

    The recipe and the make ahead instructions were easy to follow. I made these for Thanksgiving and everyone loved them! I was not a fan of the butter mixture with the sugar and butter (may have been my fault because I just doubled the filling part for my 2 batches of rolls and probably added too much or too little of something), but I would totally make these again!! Homemade rolls are super fun to make so I am so happy to have found this recipe!

  8. #
    Lynda Jacobson — January 4, 2020 at 7:27 am

    I have made many dinner rolls over the years, but these are the best ever! Made them for thanksgiving and Christmas, they were a huge hit. This is now my go to dinner roll recipe! Thank you Tessa!!

  9. #
    Nirupama — January 21, 2020 at 1:50 am

    I was wondering if we could use garlic butter instead for the filling?

    Thank you!

    • #
      Tessa — January 21, 2020 at 3:11 pm


  10. #
    Trish — April 24, 2020 at 8:47 am

    Tessa, you are without a doubt the most amazing teacher in the world. I have made at least a dozen of your recipes and every time – PERFECT! Your helpful tips give me everything I need to know.

    These rolls are literally the most delicious roll my family has ever had. Easy, clear instructions. Incredible taste, texture and presentation.

    Finding you is like finding gold. Thank you for being a shining light and taking the time to teach, explain and do all the behind-the-scenes work to make us great bakers!

  11. #
    Gloria — May 12, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    I have made this and my whole family loved it. However, my fillings melted and spilled out all ..when I opened my roll, just a strong flavor of butter but nothing else left there.. How can I ensure the filling will “stay inside” the roll?

  12. #
    Lucja Falkowski — November 20, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    Can the rolls be frozen and thawed prior to baking? Thanks!

  13. #
    Lauren — November 26, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    Heaven on earth. I’ve never found a solid go to roll but these are for sure it! I will be making these for years to come. Dangerously good!

    • #
      Tessa — November 27, 2020 at 12:52 pm

      This makes me so happy to hear, Lauren!

  14. #
    Adam — January 3, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    Hi there, what if I don’t have a stand mixer. Does a hand mixer work the same?

  15. #
    Shannon — February 9, 2021 at 9:11 am

    My family and I are nuts over these rolls. I’ve made them twice and the second time I used a metal pan and they turned out better than the first batch. Solid recipe, you can’t go wrong!

    • #
      Tessa — February 9, 2021 at 11:38 am

      So glad your family is enjoying this recipe!

  16. #
    AnnKate — April 4, 2021 at 11:48 am

    Any suggestion for if the butter escaped and now there’s no butter ball in the middle of the cooked rolls?

    • #
      Tessa — April 5, 2021 at 2:13 pm

      Hi AnnKate, there won’t be a butter ball on the inside once these are baked, you can see what the inside looks like in one of my above photos. The butter melts and becomes a rich ooey gooey explosion of deliciousness! If your butter completely escaped, next time, make sure you seal the dough completely by pinching hard with your fingers prior to letting it rise that last time.

  17. #
    Courtney — June 2, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    My husband loves these dinner rolls and is always asking me to make them! So good!!

    • #
      Tessa — June 3, 2021 at 10:17 am

      I’m so happy to hear they’re such a hit! 🙂

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