Filed Under: Bread | Homemade | Savory | Thanksgiving | Videos

Ultimate Dinner Rolls

By Tessa Arias
  |  
November 1st, 2021
4.93 from 210 votes
4.93 from 210 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, this roll recipe is 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, this dinner roll recipe is way easier than it probably seems. These will become the surprise star of your Thanksgiving dinner table, Easter brunch, 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 homemade 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 dinner roll 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. Place the dough onto a clean surface (not a floured surface). 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 place in the refrigerator 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.

How to Freeze Dinner Rolls

Freeze the dough after it has risen for the first time and been shaped. Place the rolls in a baking dish, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Loosen the plastic wrap and thaw to room temperature. Let rise until an indentation made with your finger into the dough remains. Proceed with the recipe as written.

More Dinner Roll Recipes You’ll Love:

4.93 from 210 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 roll recipe, 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.

November Baking Challenge

This recipe was the November 2021 selection for our monthly baking challenge! Every month you can join the challenge by baking the recipe and snapping a photo for a chance to win prizes! Full challenge details here. Check out everyone’s dinner rolls:

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  

Leave a Comment & Rating

Add a Review or Question

*Please select a rating to complete your comment.

Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Donna Vaughn — April 17, 2022 at 3:28 pm

    I made these for our Easter lunch today and they were delicious! My family loved them! They were very easy to make. I’ll definitely be making them regularly. It was nice that they were somewhat flexible on timing and didn’t fall when I waited a little longer to bake them.

  2. #
    BakerGirl — April 17, 2022 at 8:29 am

    This was a great recipe that was easy to follow and turned out so well!! I made rolls for Easter Dinner and they were a hit. They baked up nice and light and fluffy and were absolutely delicious. My family kept raving about how yummy they were. I brushed the tops of the rolls with honey butter and topped it with sea salt. Soooo good!!

  3. #
    Hilary — April 17, 2022 at 5:58 am

    Very easy roll recipe! I had a hard time getting them all the same size and as a result, the bigger ones were slightly doughy. Next time I will work harder to get them smaller and uniform. Salt on top was a nice added flavour!

  4. #
    Donette webb — January 26, 2022 at 7:47 am

    My family loves these rolls so much..I have made them about 3 times in the last 2 weeks. They have never failed me yet..I add 3 cups bread flour initially ..roll out onto floured board and kned in gently more flour till it forms up nice..thank you for this absolute gem recipe!!!!

    • #
      Emily — January 27, 2022 at 9:46 am

      Wow, that’s incredible to hear! So happy they love them so much, I completely agree and could eat them every day! Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

  5. #
    Brenda — January 16, 2022 at 9:26 am

    Can you make a loaf of bread with this recipe instead of rolls

    • #
      Emily — January 18, 2022 at 10:57 am

      We haven’t tried that! Let us know how it goes if you do 🙂

1 4 5 6

Join the Handle the Heat Community

Cookie Customization Chart
Do you want a more delicious life?
Instead of digging through cookbooks and magazines and searching the internet for amazing recipes, subscribe to Handle the Heat to receive new recipe posts delivered straight to your email inbox. You’ll get all the latest recipes, videos, kitchen tips and tricks AND my *free* Cookie Customization Guide (because I am the Cookie Queen)!
As Seen On....
NPR People Time Glamour Readers Digest The Huffington Post BuzzFeed