This Dinner Rolls Recipe is the best. They are soft, tender and fluffy. I spent the 6 years testing and retesting until I came up with this recipe. They're a little buttery and not too sweet, perfectly fluffy like a pillow- even better than from the bakery!
Dinner Rolls are popular year-round, but even more so in the winter months and especially during the holiday season. In my family, no Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is complete without dinner rolls.
Try them for the perfect side dish with pot roast and our Pot Roast Seasoning or Crockpot Chicken Potatoes and Green Beans. For another fun bread recipe, try our Easy Baguette Recipe. Try it with our Candied Yams.
How to Make the Best Dinner Rolls
Proof the Yeast: Mix together the warm water, yeast and a teaspoon of sugar in a liquid measuring cup (making sure you have plenty of room for the yeast to grow) and let it stand for 5 minutes. The water should be 110-115° F. After 5 minutes, it should start to foam.
While the yeast proofs, put the milk, butter, sugar and salt into a microwave safe bowl. Put in the microwave for one minute, then stir. If the butter still hasn't melted after stirring, return to the microwave for another 30 seconds. It's important not to get this mixture too hot, or it will cook the egg and kill the yeast. Once the butter is just melted, whisk in the egg. Pour liquid into the bowl of a bread maker or stand mixer. Start with 3 ½ cups of flour and put on top of liquid. Bread flour is better, but all-purpose works great! Pour the proofed yeast on top of the flour and start kneading/ press start on the dough setting on the bread maker.
Knead for 5 minutes or so, then check for texture. It should be quite sticky at this point, only just pulling away from the edges of the bowl. See pictures below.
Knead another 10 minutes. As it finishes kneading, the dough should be stretchy and soft. See pictures below:
Cover the dough (or leave in bread maker) and let rise for one hour. Until about doubled in size.
Forming the Rolls
Punch down the dough. It will be stretchy and smooth and elastic-y. It will also be slightly sticky to work with. Spray your hands with a non stick spray when the dough starts to feel sticky.
I like to use a kitchen scale and make my rolls about 55 grams each. I don't worry about them being a gram or 2 off. It's fine not to weigh your dough as long as you're careful to keep them close in size so that they bake evenly.
Form the dough into little mini rectangular rolls, tucking any stray ends into the underside to create a smooth exterior. See pictures below:
Place the rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet about ½" apart.
Preheat oven to 375° F. After forming all the rolls, brush the tops lightly with water to keep them from drying out. Allow to rise for 20-30 minutes. Then bake for 17-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Upon removal from the oven, get a cold stick of salted butter and rub over the tops to butter them. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Learn From Us
For years, I shied away from using bread flour, and I can't remember why! I loved my rolls but was disappointed that after about a day they felt a little dry. As I researched, I decided to try bread flour. It worked like a charm! I can't tell a huge difference in a fresh roll when using all-purpose or bread flour, but 2 day old rolls I can feel a huge difference. The ones where I used bread flour retain that delicious pillow soft yet moist texture. The ones made with all-purpose flour are still soft, but lack the tenderness and moisture.
How to Store Dinner Rolls
These are great frozen! I like to make a bunch and freeze them to pull out for dinners. In my opinion it is easiest to freeze the finished roll than the dough.
Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze leftovers from Thanksgiving.
Reheat in the microwave for 8 seconds.
The most important factor in making the softest, fluffiest rolls is not adding too much flour. Your dough needs to be very soft and stretchy when you're done kneading it. Even 2 Tablespoons too much flour can make the rolls dry and tough. Follow the directions and pictures we have listed and if you are unsure err on the side of less flour.
Best Dinner Roll Recipe
- ½ cup warm water 110-115°F
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast 1 packet
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 6 tablespoons butter sliced into 6 or more pieces
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 egg
- 3 ½- 4 cups bread flour all-purpose works too, see notes below
Proof the yeast:
- Combine warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Make sure the yeast has plenty of space to grow. If it is not growing and foaming, repeat this step.
Make the rest of the dough:
- Put milk, butter pieces and salt in microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 60 seconds. Stir. If butter doesn't melt while stirring, return to microwave for additional 30 seconds. Be careful not to get it to hot, or it will cook the egg or kill the yeast.
- In another bowl, whisk the egg.
- Place liquid mixture and egg in the bowl (mixing bowl, bread maker bowl, stand mixer bowl, etc). Add 3 ½ cups flour, pour proofed yeast on top.
- Knead for 5 minutes then check dough. It should be sticky and pulling slightly away from the edges. Add more flour if necessary, but be careful not to add too much! See pictures above for reference
- Knead an additional 10 minutes. Dough should be soft, stretchy and elastic, again see pictures above for reference.
- Let rise one hour until doubled.
Forming the rolls and baking:
- Punch down the dough. It will be stretchy and smooth and elastic-y. Spray your hands with a non stick spray when the dough starts to feel sticky.
- Form the dough into little mini rectangular rolls, tucking any stray ends into the underside to create a smooth exterior (see photos above).
- Place the rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet about ½" or slightly less apart.
- Preheat oven to 375* F. After forming all the rolls, brush the tops lightly with water with a pastry brush to keep them from drying out. Allow to rise for 20 minutes. Then bake for 18-23 minutes, until golden brown.
- Upon removal from the oven, get a cold stick of salted butter and rub over the tops to butter them. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
A dinner roll is a type of bread product, baked in pieces around the size of your fist. The are generally soft and fluffy, topped with butter and served with dinner.
I always use parchment paper for my dinner rolls. It ensures that they will be easy to remove from the pan and prevents the bottoms from over baking.
The classic shape is probably the best. Round and a little rectangular. These will provide even baking. If you are someone who likes the center rolls as opposed to the edges, this gives you lots of centers and fewer edges as opposed to other shapes.
I like to use bread flour. It won't make a huge difference in fresh from the oven rolls, but makes a big difference in stored rolls. When using bread flour they will retain their soft and tender texture. Rolls made with all-purpose flour are a little dry and less tender as they sit.
Reheat in the microwave for 8-10 seconds for a single roll. For 12 rolls, place in the microwave at 50% power for 30 seconds, rotate the rolls then microwave an additional 30-40 seconds.