Dinner Rolls

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My favorite Dinner Rolls are made easy with only eight ingredients! If you’ve never made homemade rolls before, don’t worry – I’ll walk you through each step with lots of detail. Plus, I’ll provide all the tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years.

Serve these soft Dinner Rolls alongside some of my favorite dinners: Shepherd’s Pie, Crock Pot Roast, or Spaghetti Bolognese. Or use them to complement a soup recipe: Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Creamy Vegetable Soup, or this Tortellini Soup.

Photo of a bowl filled with warm Dinner Rolls.

This recipe for Dinner Rolls has been a couple of months in the making. Finally, I’m sharing what I consider the ultimate Dinner Rolls! They’re soft, flavorful, and perfectly buttery. 

Below are step-by-step photos and detailed instructions, so you can make these — even if you don’t have much baking experience. If you get a chance to try these, let me know what you thought in the comment section!

How to make Dinner Rolls

Image of the yeast and milk in the mixing bowl for this Dinner Roll recipe.

Step One: Warm the milk and proof the yeast.

  • Warm the milk to 105 – 115 degrees F. 
  • Next, we proof the yeast, which means that we activate it. To do this, add the yeast and sugar on top of the warm milk and let it stand for 5-10 minutes.
  • Activated yeast will have a bubbly foam on the surface, just like the picture below on the left. If you don’t get the foamy yeast, you’ll need to start again or you’ll end up with dense homemade dinner rolls. The two most common reasons for the yeast not activating are old/bad yeast, or the milk was too hot. 

QUICK TIP

Why do they call it ‘proofing’ the yeast? Just think about it: yeast that doesn’t rise won’t make good bread. So, when you put the milk, sugar, and yeast together, you’re proving that it’s all fresh. And that’s proof! To be grammatically correct, we should probably call this process ‘proving’ instead of ‘proofing!’

Image of an egg being added to the mixing bowl for these easy Dinner Rolls.

Step Two: Add in softened butter, egg, sugar, and part of the flour.

  • Once the yeast is activated, add in the softened (not melted and not cold) butter, egg, and remaining sugar. Stir to combine.
  • Add in 1 cup of flour and salt. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
  • The picture below and to the left shows flour that has been spooned and leveled. If you press a measuring cup into a bag/container of flour and scoop it up, you’ll have too much flour. Instead, spoon flour into the measuring cup and then level off the top with the back of a table knife.

Image of the spooned and leveled flour being added to the mixing bowl for this Dinner Roll recipe.

Step Three: Beat to combine the ingredients.

  • Using a stand mixer, beat everything together until it forms a dough that gathers around the dough hook. If your dough isn’t collecting, you likely need a bit more flour. Add flour slowly— tablespoon by tablespoon– until it pulls together. 
  • One of my tips for the best dinner rolls? Resist the urge to add more flour; this will take away from the softness of the Dinner Rolls. The dough should be slightly sticky and tacky. Yeast rolls end up dense because of inactivated (dead) yeast, too much flour, and/or not enough rise time.

Image of the mixer forming the dough for these easy Dinner Rolls.

Step Four: Knead the dough.

  • Knead by hand for about 2 minutes to get the dough into a nice round ball. Since the dough should be a bit sticky, lightly dust the table and your hands with flour to knead. Very lightly dust the surface so you aren’t adding in too much additional flour.

Image of the dough being kneaded into a ball for this Dinner Rolls recipe.

Step Five: Let the dough rise.

  • Gently form the dough into a ball and place in a large, greased bowl; I like to use a little bit of vegetable oil. Cover and let rise until doubled; about 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours in a warm, draft-free environment.
  • Ideal rise temperatures are between 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher temperatures might kill the yeast and keep the dough from rising while lower temperatures will slow the yeast activity (which will increase rise time).
  • While the dinner rolls will arguably have a better flavor the longer they have to rise, there are a few ways to speed up the rising process. The dough will rise faster in a warm (not hot!) environment. Either put the rising dough in front of a fireplace on low heat or heat your oven to 170 degrees F, turn it off, place the bowl of dough on the oven rack and keep the oven open just a crack.

Images of the dough before and rising.

Step Six: Divide the dough to form rolls.

  • Punch down the dough to release the air.
  • Now separate the dough into 15 to 16 equal pieces. I use a food scale to ensure all the dinner rolls are the same size.
  • If you have a food scale, aim for each roll to be 1.9 ounces.

Image of a hand punching down the risen dough and then a food scale weighing out 1.90 oz of dough for one Dinner Roll.

Step Steven: Let the rolls rise (again).

  • Place the rolls in a greased 9×13-inch pan and let rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • Near the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Image of all the rolls in a pan before and after the final rise time.

Step Eight: Bake and brush with melted butter.

  • Bake the dinner rolls!
  • Using a pastry brush, rub some melted butter over the tops of the rolls as they come out of the oven. 

Image of the fresh-baked Dinner Rolls with melted butter brushed over the tops.

Add these dinner rolls to the table alongside these favorites:

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Dinner Rolls

Our favorite easy Dinner Rolls are made with only eight ingredients! This post walks you through each and every step of making this recipe. Plus all my tips and tricks for perfect dinner rolls every time.
Print Recipe

Dinner Rolls

Our favorite easy Dinner Rolls are made with only eight ingredients! This post walks you through each and every step of making this recipe. Plus all my tips and tricks for perfect dinner rolls every time.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American, thanksgiving, Vegetarian
Keyword dinner rolls
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rising Time 3 hours
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 16 rolls
Calories 160kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk warm (heated to 105-115 degrees F)
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 teaspoon white granulated sugar separated
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter softened but not melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 and 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour divided (plus more for rolling)
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (if using table salt, reduce the amount)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Pour warmed milk into the bottom of a stand mixer bowl. If you have a thermometer, ensure the milk isn't heated above 115 degrees F. Sprinkle the yeast in an even layer right on top of the milk and then sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon sugar over the yeast. Do not stir or move. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. The yeast should be very foamy after 5 minutes. (Check photos in post.) If not, your yeast is dead and you'll need to begin again. Either the yeast was bad or the milk was too hot.
  • Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 5 tablespoons softened butter, and large egg to the yeast mixture. Mix on slow speed to combine. Add in 1 cup of flour (136 grams; use a food scale or spoon and level the flour measurement) and the salt. Beat on low speed for about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula. Add 2 more cups of flour (261 grams). Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Increase speed and beat for about 1 minute. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup flour (1 tablespoon at a time) as needed until the dough no longer clings to the sides of the bowl and is wrapped around the dough hook. The dough should still be quite sticky and tacky.
  • Lightly sprinkle a work surface with flour. Tap your hands in the flour and pull the dough from the bowl. Use a spatula to remove all the dough. Knead on the lightly floured surface by hand for about 2 minutes. Form into an even ball.
  • Cover the dough ball with a towel and wash out and dry the mixer bowl. Pour in 3/4 teaspoon vegetable oil and rub it all over the bowl. Place the dough in the bottom of the bowl and rub the remaining 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil to coat the ball of dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.
  • Allow the dough to rise in a draft-free warm environment for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours or until double in size. 
  • Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
  • When the dough has risen, punch it down to release the air. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. I love using a food scale here! Each dough ball should be around 1.9 ounces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball (I just shape it with my fingers, pulling dough around to the bottom until a smooth ball is formed.) and then place in the prepared pan.
  • Cover rolls with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise again in a warm environment. This takes around 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Adjust oven rack to one position below the middle and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (It’s best to bake the rolls towards the bottom of the oven so the tops don’t burn.)
  • Bake the rolls: Bake for 17-24 minutes or until golden brown on top. Rotate the pan halfway through. If the tops of the rolls are browning too quickly, loosely place a piece of foil over the tops. Remove rolls from the oven. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and brush across the tops of the rolls. Allow to slightly cool before using a metal spatula to remove the rolls from the pan.

Recipe Notes

Transfer any leftover rolls into a plastic bag once they are completely cool, and store at room temperature for 2-3 days. Alternatively, store in the fridge for up to 1 week. We like these best the same day they're made.
Nutritional information will vary slightly based on how much extra flour is added and how much melted butter is spread over the baked rolls.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 195mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 151IU | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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6 Comments

  1. I’ll have my oven set for 350 for Thanksgiving. Can these bake at 350 if they stay in a bit longer? Will that cause any issues?

    1. I can’t really say without personally testing, but I think they should be okay, just watch the bake time a little closer with the different temperature! Enjoy!

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