Filed Under: Bread | Homemade | Thanksgiving | Videos

Ultimate Dinner Rolls

Recipe By Tessa Arias
  |  
November 1st, 2021
4.92 from 135 votes
4.92 from 135 votes

This simple recipe for homemade ultimate dinner rolls makes beautifully golden brown rolls with a soft and fluffy texture! Tons of baking tips, video for how to shape rolls, and make ahead instructions included.

Yield: 12 rolls

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Buttery with the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness.
Texture: Soft, fluffy, and tender with a golden brown exterior.
Ease: If you’re not familiar with making homemade bread, these rolls are a great place to start!
Appearance: Who could resist one of these big beautiful golden rolls?
Pros: Easy, relatively quick, delicious, perfect for Thanksgiving or a special dinner.
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? Absolutely!

There’s absolutely no need to be intimidated by homemade yeast bread baking. Especially with a practically foolproof recipe like this one for the best ever Ultimate Dinner Rolls.

I promise, it’s way easier than it probably seems. These will become the surprise star of your Thanksgiving dinner table… or just your Sunday night family dinners!

I actually originally developed this recipe in 2013 after testing tons of tweaks on dinner rolls for my Ultimate Dinner Roll Guide post here. I learned exactly what made dinner rolls fluffy or hard, tender or crusty, and compiled my favorite tweaks to create this recipe for Ultimate Dinner Rolls!

Over the years, I’ve continued to tweak and improve the recipe to make it even more soft, fluffy, and flavorful.

I hope you give this recipe a shot soon. If you’re still freaked out by working with yeast, get my *free* Beginner’s Quick Guide to Bread here.

How to Make Dinner Rolls

Ingredients for Dinner Rolls

  • Warm milk – whole milk produces the absolute best flavor and texture. We don’t recommend using a nondairy or low-fat milk unless you absolutely must.
  • Unsalted butter – a little inside the dough lends richness and flavor! Plus, even more brushed on the freshly baked rolls because YUM.
  • Eggs – also add richness and flavor. Two eggs go inside the dough and one gets brushed on top for an ultra shiny and golden brown exterior.
  • Granulated sugar – just a touch, not too much, to help make the rolls tender and golden brown.
  • Salt  – fine sea salt or table salt is an absolute must in the dough, but I also love sprinkling the freshly baked and buttered rolls with flaky sea salt for even more flavor.
  • Instant yeast – more on this below.
  • Bread flour – bread flour has a higher level of protein content than all-purpose flour, which helps create tall dinner rolls with a nice chewy, fluffy texture. If you don’t have bread flour, use the same amount of all-purpose flour. Your rolls may just be slightly shorter and less chewy.

Which Yeast Is Best to Use For Dinner Rolls?

This recipe utilizes a short cut ingredient: instant yeast, also called rapid rise or quick rise yeast. One of the three 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. Add it right in with the dry ingredients like instant yeast, just know the dough will take about 20% more time to rise. Or, to speed up that rise time slightly, simply combine it with the warm water and milk called for in the recipe and allow it to proof for 5 minutes before adding into the bowl with the other ingredients.

Can I Knead the Dough By Hand?

Yes! 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 to Tell When Dough Is Risen

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. I’ll even snap an iPhone picture of the dough before rising so I can compare later. The dough should be turned over to oil the top so that it doesn’t dry out. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, foil, or a clean kitchen 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 passes 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. Here’s what my dough looked like before and after rising:

How to Shape Bread Rolls

Once the dough is risen, press it down to deflate it slightly. Use a bench scraper to section the dough into 12 equal pieces. Don’t worry if they’re not perfectly equal in size. However, if you’re a perfectionist you can actually weigh the entire mass of dough, divide that number by 12, then portion each piece perfectly by weight.

As you’re shaping each piece into a round, make sure to pinch the dough into one central point to create a tight ball. This will help the rolls rise beautifully. Don’t flour your work surface when shaping the rolls because you want some resistance to roll them into taut balls.

how to shape dinner rolls

You can also get creative with the shapes! Check out my article for 5 Ways to Shape Bread Rolls here.

How to Make Dinner Rolls Ahead of Time

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.

More Dinner Roll Recipes You’ll Love:

November 2021 Baking Challenge

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November 2021 Baking Challenge

4.92 from 135 votes

How to make
Ultimate Dinner Rolls

Yield: 12 rolls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Rising time 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
This simple recipe for homemade ultimate dinner rolls makes beautifully golden brown rolls with a soft and fluffy texture! Tons of baking tips, video for how to shape rolls, and make ahead instructions included.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 cup warm milk (100 to 110°F)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted plus more for greasing
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups (572 grams) bread flour

For egg wash & finishing

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Melted butter
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Combine the water, milk, 1 tablespoon of the melted butter, eggs, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. 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 the remaining flour, kneading until a mass of dough begins to form. 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.

  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 hour to 90 minutes at room temperature or until the dough is big, puffy, and about doubled in size.

  3. Grease a 9x13-inch or similarly shaped baking pan with butter. Gently deflate the dough. Use a bench scraper, knife, or pizza wheel to divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan. Lightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for about 1 hour, or until about doubled in size.

  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  5. Brush the rolls gently with the beaten egg. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm. Store leftovers in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.

Recipe Video

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dinner rolls, homemade rolls

If you’re interested in improving your bread baking skills, check out my FREE guide:

This recipe was originally published 10/2013 and recently updated in 2021 with new photos and more baking tips! Photos by Joanie Simon.

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. #
    Jorjean Murphy — November 26, 2021 at 7:59 am

    I am usually too lazy to make my own rolls, but these were so easy to make. So good! The addition of eggs makes such a tasty roll. I will be making these again! Yum.

  2. #
    Claudia Ulloa — November 26, 2021 at 7:37 am

    This is my second time I ever made rolls. I saw this recipe and decided to give it a try since the one before I tried was blah! Let me tell you: this is a winner! Everyone loved them. They were soft, pillowy and so darn tasty. I felt like a true seasoned baker! Thanks for sharing!

  3. #
    Cassie — November 26, 2021 at 5:30 am

    Awesome, quick recipe. Great for a beginner!

  4. #
    Fithria — November 26, 2021 at 2:52 am

    Yummy dinner rolls

  5. #
    Ella — November 25, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    These were delicious! I made them for thanksgiving and my family loved them <3

  6. #
    Persis — November 25, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    Best dinner rolls ever!

  7. #
    Angie — November 25, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Great rolls. I’d make them again.

  8. #
    Julie — November 25, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    This dough was a dream To work with and came together so quickly. I choose to top it with garlic oil which was delicious and guest approved!

  9. #
    Michael — November 25, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    Super simple and very delicious. Will probably use this recipe for every family dinner!

  10. #
    Kiersten Kilczewski — November 25, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    This recipe was easy and delicious!

  11. #
    Renee Walton — November 25, 2021 at 6:28 pm

    I love a good roll or biscuit recipe. Made these dinner rolls for Thanksgiving! This recipe is simple, yummy, and a perfect addition to a nice dinner.

  12. #
    Adam Breitbach — November 25, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    This is a very easy recipe to follow, and the rolls are delicious.

  13. #
    Andrea Schmidt — November 25, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    I made this recipe once before but this time around it tastes so much better. This is definitely my go-to dinner rolls. I even had some dough leftover.

  14. #
    Meagan Bylski — November 25, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    So good and easy!

  15. #
    Maria — November 25, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    Did the over night proof on this recipe and they were perfect for baking the next morning. Delicious addition to my Thanksgiving meal. Thank you.

  16. #
    Ellie Coffey — November 25, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    Delicious fluffy rolls! Huge hit for the holidays

  17. #
    Joanna Cole — November 25, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    These yeast rolls are awesome. They are ao eaay to make…I have never made them before either. They were enjoyed by all.

  18. #
    Josh Lawrence — November 25, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    Seriously, SO fluffy! Simple to make, but a massive crowd pleaser

  19. #
    Alisha — November 25, 2021 at 11:44 am

    Delicious and very easy to make!

  20. #
    Jessica — November 25, 2021 at 11:43 am

    Excellent dinner rolls and really very easy to make. Thanks for the great recipe.

  21. #
    Haley Jordan — November 25, 2021 at 11:18 am

    So tasty and fun!

  22. #
    Nell Reiman — November 24, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    These rolls were so easy to make! An absolute family favourite in our house ☺️

  23. #
    Shaynah Anderson — November 24, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    So so so good! Worked out amazing and turned out so nice and fluffy!

  24. #
    Melissa Lankheet — November 24, 2021 at 3:40 pm

    Amazing smell, oh so fluffy and tasty and just beautiful! Perfect for Thanksgiving!

  25. #
    Ashlee Maas — November 24, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    So easy to make and absolutely delicious! Haven’t anyways had the best luck with Brad rolls but these are AMAZING! We sampled one before Thanksgiving because they looked and smelt so good! Didn’t disappoint!

  26. #
    Stephanie Joslin — November 24, 2021 at 11:23 am

    Any recommendations for adjustments if I use a bread machine to mix/knead & only have active dry yeast? Thanks for the recipe, excited to try it.

    • #
      Emily — November 24, 2021 at 4:35 pm

      Hi Stephanie! There shouldn’t be any adjustment needed as long as you’re only using the knead function on your bread machine and not letting the rolls rise in the machine. I hope that helps!

  27. #
    Theresa Kucinski — November 24, 2021 at 10:22 am

    Easy to make and rolls look gorgeous straight out of oven. Kept the formed dough in the fridge overnight and it worked great!

  28. #
    Maddie — November 24, 2021 at 8:19 am

    If I make these ahead of time, how long do you think it would take for the rolls to come to room temperature or double in size after being in the fridge overnight?

    • #
      Emily — November 24, 2021 at 9:18 am

      Hi Maddie! It completely depends on the temperature of your kitchen, but typically about 1-2 hours. To be safe, you could lean towards taking them out 3 hours before you need them to ensure you have plenty of time for them to rise and bake. Let us know how it goes!

  29. #
    Gina — November 23, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    Made these today to prep for Thanksgiving but was in between two different recipes and doubled the yeast while following this recipe. They are huge and delicious. Tonight we will use as hamburger buns.I’ve made another batch for Thanksgiving following this recipe and so far they are perfect!

    • #
      Emily — November 23, 2021 at 2:43 pm

      Oh no haha! Glad you’re able to use them for dinner tonight, they would taste incredible with burgers! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving 🙂

  30. #
    Betsy — November 23, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    Can you substitute all purpose flour for bread flour? I have trouble getting bread flour.

    • #
      Emily — November 23, 2021 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Betsy! You can, just keep in mind that your rolls may be slightly shorter and a little less chewy (still delicious though!). You can find out more details as to why we prefer bread flour in this recipe in the pink tip box above the recipe.

  31. #
    Susan Hoffman — November 23, 2021 at 9:48 am

    This recipe is super easy. I will admit my first attempt failed as I wasn’t paying attention. But second attempt was great. I didn’t have sea salt flakes but did add kosher salt on top. Making two batches for Thanksgiving.
    Mow I know why my granddaughter lives your recipes.

    • #
      Emily — November 23, 2021 at 10:59 am

      Yay! I’m so happy your second attempt went perfectly 🙂 Please tell your granddaughter thanks from us for sharing our recipes with you!

  32. #
    Laurie Betts — November 23, 2021 at 8:05 am

    Okay, so my husband was drooling over these! They are amazing! I used half whole wheat flour, and they came out wonderful! They freeze beautifully and make wonderful rolls for sandwiches. We had them with soup initially, and I froze the rest and then made pulled pork/coleslaw sandwiches with them. Delicious! Thank you for the recipe!

    • #
      Emily — November 23, 2021 at 11:39 am

      So happy your substitution worked perfectly! You’re making me hungry, pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw on these rolls?! YUM! Thanks for the rave review, Laurie 🙂

  33. #
    BRENDA M HARMON — November 23, 2021 at 7:42 am

    Love these. I made them for family nd friends and they loved them. I’ve made others before but these came out much better.

  34. #
    Cristina — November 23, 2021 at 1:28 am

    This is a great recipe! It’s easy to make and the result is amazing!

  35. #
    Sandra Fee Tinker — November 22, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    I was so stressed out to make rolls for the first time!! But they came out beautifully and are so tasty. Loved all the tips and clear instructions! For the first time we will have fresh home baked rolls at Thanksgiving ! Thank you

    • #
      Emily — November 23, 2021 at 10:35 am

      Woohoo!! Thrilled to hear this, Sandra! There’s nothing better than homemade rolls, especially when you make them yourself! Glad the tips and instructions helped. Happy Thanksgiving! If you’re on Instagram, tag Tessa using #handletheheat so she can see your delicious rolls on your Thanksgiving table 🙂

  36. #
    Jim Faley — November 22, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    for some reason I cannot get the video to load. Is there a problem at your endor is it here? I’ve shut down the ad blocker, can’t find any reason why it won’t run. I’d really like to see it. Thx. Jim

    • #
      Emily — November 23, 2021 at 10:32 am

      Hi Jim! We’ve been having a heck of a time with our videos lately showing up in the wrong section, sorry about that! If you scroll down manually about halfway through the pink tip box, you’ll see our shaping video. It is working ok for me, are you able to try a new browser to see if that helps? Let me know how it goes!

  37. #
    Sarah — November 22, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    Super easy and delicious rolls!

  38. #
    Caroline — November 22, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    Loved this easy, but delicious recipe for dinner rolls!

  39. #
    Tara Wendell — November 22, 2021 at 11:51 am

    I don’t know. I’ve made these twice now and both times found them a little dense and bland. I work with yeast and make bread enough to know I’m not totally messing them up, but I’m not sure what the issue is. I’ve even made two different recipes in the last week to test for thanksgiving and the other one turned out amazing.

    • #
      Emily — November 23, 2021 at 11:47 am

      Hi Tara! Sorry you’ve had issues with your rolls being dense and bland! The most important steps in creating light and fluffy rolls are to use a digital scale to measure your ingredients (or check out this article here on How to Measure Flour) and to ensure that your dough doubles in size for each rise time. I recommend taking photos of your dough before rising and after to compare as it’s hard to tell sometimes And feel free to add more salt, I encourage you to sprinkle the tops with flaky sea salt if you hadn’t already, it’s so delicious! Please give this recipe another try and let us know how it goes, I can’t wait for you to enjoy them how they’re meant to be!

  40. #
    Kimberly — November 21, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    I would like to make these for several family members. How far ahead can I make these and freeze? Should I form balls then freeze?

    Thank You,

    Kimberly

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Kimberly! Yes, you can freeze these in advance. Check out our free Make Ahead Baking Guide here for more details:

  41. #
    Monica Prudencio — November 21, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    Easy. Delicious. What’s not to love? I honestly don’t have much else to say but I wrote this recipe down which means I mean business!

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 12:03 pm

      haha YAY!! So glad you loved this recipe, Monica!

  42. #
    Erin — November 21, 2021 at 11:11 am

    Great recipe! Bread baking is my forte and this is great for beginners or connoisseurs alike. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes to try and this one hit the mark. Thanks Tessa 🙂

  43. #
    Mona — November 21, 2021 at 9:08 am

    Only one tablespoon of butter in the dough?

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 3:38 pm

      Yup!

  44. #
    Meena — November 20, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    Run, don’t walk, to make these rolls! They are so delicious, fluffy, buttery, and definitely hits the spot when craving carbs haha. Easy to make and even easier to enjoy!

  45. #
    Kristi Goodson — November 20, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Turned out great, and I have never made rolls! I did have to let my initial dough rise continue over 2 hrs because it didn’t double yet, but it worked great!

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 3:24 pm

      So glad you not only loved this recipe but that you also followed the sensory indications and not just the timing for your rolls to fully double in size 🙂 It’s different for everyone as everyone’s kitchens/location/climate are different. Thanks so much for your comment!

  46. #
    Jaimie Kemkes — November 20, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    So easy to follow with a delicious result! So light and fluffy! Won’t ever eat store bought roles again!

  47. #
    Ashley — November 20, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    These are so good! I was short one cup of bread flour so I used one cup of AP flour and still they were so fluffy! Plus, this was a straightforward and easy recipe! I will be making these again!!

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 3:29 pm

      Nothing worse than realizing you’re short an ingredient, but I’m so happy it still worked well for you! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  48. #
    Lynne — November 20, 2021 at 9:11 am

    I have a convection oven only. Can I bake rolls in this type of oven? If yes, would time and temperature have to be adjusted?

    • #
      Emily — November 22, 2021 at 2:59 pm

      Hi Lynne! Neither Tessa or I bake with a convection oven, but we don’t recommend using convection for delicate foods like quickbreads as they can develop an a-symmetrical shape due to the windy environment. Are you able to turn off the convection oven setting? More details can be found in this article: Oven 101. I hope that helps!

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