Many factors are vital to learning how to bake bread, like the right oven temperature, the correct oven rack position for baking bread, and a good bread recipe. When you’re learning how to make bread, you’ll find that your technique will differ depending on the recipe you choose.
The two major bread categories are yeast breads and quick breads, and we have plenty of homemade bread recipes and tips to guide you for either type. So read on and get helpful tips for baking bread such as traditional yeast bread, banana bread, and artisanal bread.
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Components Used: Enriched Sweet Dough Master Recipe, Egg Wash
Simplify dinnertime and prep this side dish in advance. Make the dough and shape the rolls the day before, then bake them fresh 15 minutes before mealtime. They’re easy enough for a weeknight family dinner but so delicious and special for a holiday meal.
Why I love these make-ahead rolls
- By preparing the rolls the day before, you can eliminate stress when pulling a meal together.
- Homemade dinner rolls are an easy way to kick a simple meal up a notch.
- These rolls are ultra soft and buttery – you’ll want to make them for holiday celebrations and casual family dinners.
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These Dinner Rolls are soft, fluffy, buttery, a classic no fail recipe that requires very little effort to make. The perfect addition to any meal! This is a classic recipe that I’ve been making for many years!
This recipe has been in my cooking/baking repertoire for at least a couple decades which is why I say it truly is a no fail recipe. Every single time I make these, I end up with gorgeous dinner rolls. They’re so good that most of the time they don’t even last until the next day.
There truly is nothing better than homemade dinner rolls. The smell in your house is divine, not to mention that when you pull these babies out of the oven, the satisfaction you get is worth the effort. However, very little effort is required for these dinner rolls.
Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner. So it’s the perfect time to make a batch of these fluffy, pillowy, tender, butter, delicious, soft dinner rolls. They are perfect for enjoying fresh and warm from the oven!
With the base recipe out of the way, there are plenty of ways to flavor and top the homemade yeast rolls, too. Plus, you can decide whether you want regular, small, or even mini rolls. Or choose the rolls’ shape (i.e., in a baking sheet or shaped into a Christmas tree, heart, etc.). They are perfect for any occasion!
These super soft Honey Butter Rolls are the ultimate dinner rolls! Pillowy soft, fluffy, and incredibly delicious.
To make them even better, we brush them with whipped honey butter for that amazing finishing touch. These honey butter rolls are also make-ahead and freezer-friendly.
These honey butter rolls are seriously my weakness. We can finish the entire thing in one sitting, no kidding. They are especially good with whipped honey butter (recipe included below!).
Why we love these dinner rolls so much:
- Super soft, fluffy, and tall: The trick is using the right amounts of bread flour (not all-purpose), whole milk, butter, and eggs. Making a rich dough is essential.
- The perfect balance between sweet and savory.
- Brushed and served with homemade whipped honey butter. It’s the perfect finishing touch!
- Make-ahead and freezer friendly!
Baking bread at home may seem a bit intimidating, but fear not. All you need is time for the dough to rise, and lots of tips and tricks. Today, I’m sharing EVERYTHING you need to know to make the best honey butter rolls at home!
If you’re looking for a beginner bread recipe, make this super easy No-Knead Cranberry Walnut Bread (seriously zero kneading required!). Other soft breads we like: Garlic Herb Dinner Rolls, Apple Cinnamon Rolls, and Cinnamon Swirl Bread.
How to Prepare a Bread Pan
Are you tired of your bread getting stuck in the pan? There’s a simple solution and it requires a well-greased pan.
Once you learn the basic technique for greasing your pan, your loaf of bread will fall right out after it’s baked. The good news is that it’s easy and you probably have everything you need right there in the kitchen.
How to Grease a Bread Pan
Properly greasing the bread pan is essential to getting the baked loaf of bread out after you pull it from the oven. There are a number of items you can use, including shortening, butter, or cooking oil.
To make it even easier, you can coat the pan with a layer of coarse cornmeal. This won’t adhere to the bread because it’s not part of the dough, so there’s no need to worry that it will alter your recipe.
- Grease the loaf pan thoroughly using shortening, cooking oil, or butter.
- Spread it evenly on the bottom and all sides of the pan using your fingers or a folded paper towel. If you are baking a sweet dessert bread, stop here; the pan is ready to be used.
- For white or whole wheat bread, use coarse cornmeal to prevent sticking. Put a handful of cornmeal into the loaf pan and turn the pan so that the bottom and sides are covered.
- After the bread is baked, getting it out of the pan is as simple as turning the pan over. The bread will fall right out.
Skip the Pan
If you get frustrated with your bread pans, you can skip them entirely. They’re not required for most white, wheat, and quick bread recipes that have a thick dough and you will have a perfectly delicious loaf of bread without the pan.
Your bread will not have that signature sandwich-style loaf shape. Instead, it will have more of a rounded artisanal look like the bakery offers. The slices make perfect sandwiches and many people actually prefer the shape over the traditional sandwich loaf.
Rather than a loaf pan, shape your bread dough. After pinching close the seams, place the loaf onto a greased cookie sheet, then let it rise and bake it as you normally would. For this purpose, spray oil works perfectly and there’s no need to include cornmeal because it can’t get stuck in the pan.
- If you are using butter, do not leave clumps of butter in the pan.
- Save your butter wrappers and use them to grease the loaf pan.
- Spray oils will work as well, though you’ll want to ensure that you get even coverage. Use a paper towel to spread it out into a thin layer rather than spraying more than needed.
- If you’re using oil, be sure to sop up any puddles that form in the pan. They tend to build up slowly over the first few minutes—especially in the corners and along the edges—as the oil slides down the sides.
- I’ve said this many times before but I’ll say it again and again and again. The secret to making great bread or dinner rolls is the yeast. If using active dry yeast, always make sure you proof the yeast first. This means that you’re proving that your yeast is alive. You usually proof it with warm water or milk, and sugar. When these 3 ingredients are combined, the yeast starts emitting bubbles of carbon dioxide.
- If your yeast doesn’t bubble up, do not continue with the recipe. Your bread or rolls will turn into a brick, it will not rise at all and it will all be a waste of ingredients. Also make sure that your water or milk is not too hot, if it’s over 140 F degrees, the yeast will die, which kind of defeats the purpose of proofing the yeast. The ideal temperature of the milk or water should be between 100-110°F.
- Resist the urge to add more flour to the dough, even if the dough seems sticky. Usually the ratio of flour to water is 2:1, so in this case if you add up all the wet ingredients together, you will get to that same ratio. While adding more flour will make the dough less sticky, you could end up with denser bread or rolls.
How To Freeze Dinner Rolls
If you’re lucky enough to have some leftover dinner rolls, you can freeze them.
How To Freeze Unbaked Dinner Rolls
Make the dough then shape them into rolls immediately. Do not let the dough rise. Place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place the pan in the freezer. Leave them in the freezer until the freeze solid and are rock hard. Take the baking sheet out, place them in a freezer bag and back in the freezer they go. They should last about 2 weeks.
The day you want to serve them, place the frozen rolls on a baking sheet. Cover the pan and let them rise. Speed up the process by placing them in a warm oven. I usually preheat my oven to the lowest setting, then turn it off and let me dough rise in there, all nice and warm.
Once the rolls have doubled in size, brush them with egg or butter, top them with seeds if preferred and bake as instructed.
How To Freeze Baked Rolls
Bake the rolls as instructed. Let them cool completely in the pan, then wrap them tightly with aluminum foil. Do not use plastic wrap as it will make the rolls soggy. Place the foil-wrapped pan in a freezer bag or storage container. Place them in the freezer and store them for up to 3 weeks. I wouldn’t keep them longer than that, as they might start to develop frost and freezer burn.
To thaw the dinner rolls, remove the rolls from the freezer the night before you want to serve them. Remove the foil-wrapped rolls out of the freezer bag or storage container and let them thaw at room temperature overnight. You can serve them like this, but I prefer to reheat them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 300°F.
How to Reheat Dinner Rolls
Once cooled, store any leftover yeast dinner rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days. Or store in the fridge for 5-7 days. Then, you can warm thesm in several ways.
Warm in the microwave in 15-second increments (though they’ll be softer). Slice in half and toast. Or place back in the oven at 200ºC/400ºF until warmed through (around 10 minutes).
Can I use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour?
I’d highly recommend using bread flour instead of all-purpose so you get extra soft, fluffy, airy, and tall honey butter rolls. If you can’t find bread flour, all-purpose will work too, but may turn out a bit denser than desired.
How much flour should I add?
When it comes to baking bread, the exact amount of flour can vary. For this recipe, start with 3 cups of flour, and then add more in ¼ cup increments, mixing and kneading until a slightly sticky, moist, and manageable dough forms. I usually end up using just a little over 3 ½ cups of flour.
How do I know if the yeast is good?
Dissolve the yeast in warm milk and sugar. Let it sit for 10 minutes. If it foams up, the yeast is good. If not, discard and start over with fresh yeast.
How do I know if the dough is done rising?
It should be doubled in size. Alternatively, to be completely sure, try the “poke” test: poke the risen dough with your finger (about 1 inch) and if the indentation stays, it’s ready. If it springs back, it needs more time.
Making these honey butter rolls at home is quite simple actually. This recipe is also make-ahead and freezer friendly. I promise, your house will smell like the coziest bakery in town!
Step 1 | Activate the yeast
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a separate bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar with the warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F). I usually microwave the milk and measure the temperature with a kitchen thermometer. Let it sit for 10 minutes until it foams up at the top. If it doesn’t, discard and start over. This often means the yeast is expired.
Step 2 | Make the dough and let it rise
I use a stand mixer to knead the dough. Set up the dough hook attachment. To the yeast mixture, add the eggs, ¼ cup melted butter, honey, and salt and mix over medium-low speed. Increase to medium speed, and add flour 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time. Add the remaining flour in ¼ cup increments as needed, until a dough forms. Mix over medium-high speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the bowl, about 2 minutes. I ended up using a little over 3 ½ cups. The dough should be slightly sticky, moist, and manageable.
Then, transfer to a floured surface and knead by hand about 3 to 4 minutes, sprinkling more flour as necessary. The dough is ready when it’s moist and springs back slowly when poked. Do not over-knead.
Form into a ball and place on a lightly oiled bowl (olive or vegetable oil), making sure the dough is coated in oil too. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm environment for about 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
Step 3 | Shape into balls and let them rise again
Punch the dough to remove excess air. Using a bench scraper, cut the dough into 12 equal parts. Shape each roll by pulling and stretching the outer edges into the center to form a ball, pinching at the bottom to seal the seams (more details under “How to Shape Dinner Rolls” section below).
Arrange in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan, pinched side down. Cover and let them rise in a warm environment again for 1 hour or until puffed up. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 4 | Brush with butter and bake
Once they are puffed up, brush with melted butter all over the top. Bake the honey rolls for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown on top.
Step 5 | Make the whipped honey butter and brush
While the bread is baking, make the honey butter by whipping softened butter with honey over medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Once the buns come out of the oven, brush them with some of the prepared honey butter. Let cool slightly and serve with more of that delicious honey butter on the side.
Develop The Gluten
While these rolls can be made “no knead” by just dumping all of the ingredients in a bowl and stirring them, the purpose of kneading is to develop gluten. By developing this gluten, your dough will rise nicely and you’ll end up with gorgeous high rolls instead of dense ones.
Here are helpful notes about each ingredient I used, for reference. As always, the specific ingredient quantities can be found in the recipe card down below.
- Whole milk, warmed to 110 to 115 degrees F (use a thermometer). Do not use non-fat or low-fat milk.
- Active dry yeast: You’ll need a standard 0.25 ounce package, equivalent to 2 ¼ teaspoons.
- Granulated sugar: Adds a touch of sweetness to the dough, and is also used to activate the yeast.
- Eggs: Add richness to the dough. You’ll need 2 large eggs.
- Unsalted butter, melted and cooled. Just like the eggs, butter adds richness and flavor.
- Salt: Helps to balance out the sweetness and bring out all the flavors.
- Bread flour: With bread flour, the bread will turn out exceptionally better than if you use all-purpose flour.
- For the honey butter, you need softened unsalted butter and honey to brush over the rolls and to serve.
Make Ahead Instructions
As with most bread recipes, these honey butter rolls take some to prepare because they need to rise for about 3 hours total. We’re all busy and sometimes it’s hard to find the time. Luckily, you can make these honey rolls in advance!
Here’s how: Once the rolls are shaped and arranged on the baking pan (before the second rise), cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature until puffed up. Then, gently brush the tops with melted butter and bake as directed.
As a bonus, while the honey butter rolls refrigerate, flavors develop even more, resulting in extra delicious bread. it’s a win-win!
Shape the dough into balls and place them in the baking pan. Cover tightly with foil and freeze for up to 2 months.
When ready to make, let thaw and rise at room temperature until puffed up. This should take a few hours. Once risen, brush with melted butter and bake as directed.
Quick tip: Once they are frozen, you can also remove them from the pan and freeze each roll individually in a resealable bag. This is great if you only want to bake a few rolls at a time.
Whip softened butter with some honey to taste over medium-high speed until evenly combined and fluffy. Spread the prepared butter over the rolls once they come out of the oven, and use more of it for serving later. Hey, these are honey butter rolls after all!
If you forgot to take the butter to soften at room temperature, pop it in the microwave oven 10 seconds at a time until softened. Make sure it doesn’t melt though.
Other Homemade Dinner Rolls To Try
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These Dinner Rolls are soft, fluffy, and buttery, a classic no fail recipe that requires very little effort to make. The perfect addition to any meal!
- active dry yeast ((1 package) or instant yeast)
- (warm to the touch, between 100 and 110 F degrees)
- (lightly beaten for brushing rolls)
- Activate yeast: To the bowl of your mixer add the yeast, the 1 tbsp of sugar and the warm milk. Gently whisk it all together and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. After this time, if the yeast is good, it will froth.
- Make dough: Add the butter, sugar, egg yolks, salt, and flour to the yeast mixture. Mix with the dough hook on low speed, until it’s all incorporated. Increase to medium high speed and knead for another 5 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky but still soft to the touch.
- Prepare baking dish: I normally use a 9×13 inch baking dish for these, so lightly grease your baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
- Form rolls: Dust your work surface with a little flour, place the dough then press it down so that it deflates. Shape it into a ball. No need for additional kneading. Divide the dough in 16 equal pieces. To shape each piece into a roll, take a piece and flatten it with your palm or fingers. Fold it up into a ball by pinching the sides together, turn it over and roll it briefly. See video. Place the roll with the smooth side up onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough pieces.
- Second rise: Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise again until it’s doubled in size, another 30 minutes or so.
- Prepare oven: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Brush rolls with eggs: Remove the plastic wrap or kitchen towel and brush the rolls with the egg white, so that they end up nice and shiny. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds, if preferred.
- Bake: Bake the rolls for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- INSTANT YEAST: If using instant yeast, no proofing is required. Simply add the yeast along with the rest of the ingredients.
- Always check the expiration date on your yeast and make sure it hasn’t expired. All your yeast products whether it’s in a jar or a package should be stamped with a “Best if Used by” date. Always make sure you check this date, even when you purchase the yeast, who knows it could have been on the shelf past its expiry date.
- To keep your yeast fresh and longer lasting, unopened yeast packages or jars should be stored in a cool or dry place such as your cupboard. However, you can also store your yeast in the fridge or freezer. If you do store it in the freezer and need to use yeast for your baking, make sure you take out the amount you need and let it sit at room temperature for at least half hour before using.
- Once your yeast package or jar has been opened, you must refrigerate the yeast or freeze it in an airtight container.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.
Baking Artisanal Breads
To get the crisp, chewy-brown crust desired in these old-world-style breads, replicate a wood-fired oven in your own oven.
Select a Bread Recipe
When choosing a bread recipe, consider what complements the rest of your menu or use ingredients you have on hand to inspire your bread choice.
Step 2. Make Oven Adjustments
Adjust two oven racks’ positions for baking bread so one is in the lowest position and the other is in the middle of the oven.
Bread Baking Tip: Place a broiler pan on the bottom rack while the oven preheats. When the pan is hot, carefully add about 1 cup hot tap water. The steam helps create a crisp, crackly crust.
Step 3. Bake the Bread
You can bake the bread on a baking sheet, pizza pan, or directly on a bread stone. If using a bread stone, the best oven rack position for baking bread is the middle. Preheat it for 30 minutes. Use parchment paper to transfer the dough to the bread stone (leave it on the parchment). Once the bread is in the oven, you can spray water to mist inside the oven and on the loaves. This also helps to give your bread a nice, crisp crust.
Test Kitchen Tip: A bread stone replicates a hearth, especially when used with steam. Artisanal breads are usually formed into freestyle rounds or loaves, so no loaf pan is used.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Active Dry Yeast – Make sure to check the expiration date on your yeast. You can also use instant yeast if that’s what you have on hand, but you won’t need to activate it first.
- Sugar – I used granulated white sugar to feed the yeast and sweeten the dough a bit. Cane sugar will also work.
- Milk – You must use warm milk that is between 100°F and 110°F (38°C to 43°C). I like to use whole milk, but whatever is in your fridge will work.
- Butter – Always use unsalted butter to control the amount of added salt. The butter needs to be melted for this recipe.
- Egg Yolks – Used to add richness to the dough.
- Salt – A touch of salt is important to help develop the delicious flavor of the dough.
- Flour – Simple all-purpose flour is all you need.
- Egg White – Used to make an egg wash that gives the rolls a nice glossy finish and adheres the seeds to the dough.
- Seeds – It’s optional, but I like to top my rolls with poppy seeds and sesame seeds.
How to Bake Quick Breads
Instead of using yeast, quick breads (think muffins, scones, and corn bread) use baking soda and baking powder as leavening agents. These breads don’t take as long to prepare and don’t require proofing time.
Grease the Pan
Even if your loaf pan is nonstick, grease it to ensure the quick bread dough bakes evenly and doesn’t stick. Use a clean pastry brush to lightly spread vegetable shortening over the bottom and slightly up the loaf pan’s sides (about ½ inch). The ungreased portion allows the bread to maintain its height as it rises.
Test Kitchen Tip: Always grease pans with shortening unless the recipe specifies butter. Shortening is all fat, but butter has some water, which might cause sticking.
Prepare Your Recipe
Combine the ingredients necessary to make your chosen quick bread. (Our zucchini bread or pumpkin bread recipes are favorites.) When making quick breads like banana bread, the recipe will instruct you to prepare the dry and wet ingredients separately. Be careful not to overmix the batter once you combine the two bowls—too much mixing can make your loaf heavy and uneven.
Check for Doneness
Take a quick look at your loaf 10 to 15 minutes before the minimum baking time. If it’s browning too quickly, cover it loosely with foil. Remove the foil once the baked loaf is placed on a cooling rack.
Test Kitchen Tip: The center is the last part of a quick bread to cook. Insert a wooden toothpick near the center; your loaf is done if it comes out clean. The very center will firm up while the bread is cooling.
Let the loaf rest for 10 minutes on a cooling rack so the bread can set up before it’s removed from the pan. Run a spatula or butter knife between the pan sides and the loaf to loosen the loaf. Invert the pan to remove the baked bread. Allow quick bread to cool completely before storing in an airtight container or bag.
Allow Your Dough To Rise 2 Times
Most doughs require two rises. The first in the bowl and the second after shaping. These dinner rolls can be made the night before up until you shape them and place them in a baking pan. You can then cover them and place them in the fridge overnight. The rolls will continue to rise in the fridge but at a slower pace. The next morning, simply take them out from the fridge and let them come to room temperature before baking.
More Bread Recipes You Might Enjoy
- white bread flour cups; or all-purpose flour, for slightly denser, chewier rolls
- and a bit extra to butter the bowl for the dough and to brush over the baked rolls
- Tbsp; or coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey.
Check the blog post for flavor variations and optional toppings!
- When ready, mix the flour and yeast mixture by hand (with a wooden spoon to begin) or use the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer to form it into a rough dough.
- Add the eggs and mix before adding the butter incrementally, mixing all the while.If mixing the dough by hand, it’s best to whisk the eggs in advance. Though it isn’t 100% necessary if using a stand mixer.
Knead and Allow the Dough to Rise
- Butter or grease the baking dish you plan to bake the homemade rolls in, then arrange them into the baking dish, placing them near one another but not touching.I used a 9×13 baking dish. However, you could also use other shaped dishes (like a round) or shape them into various bread roll shapes, like a heart, Christmas tree, wreath (perfect for placing baked Camembert or dips in the middle), twist them into knots, etc.
- Cover the dish with a clean kitchen towel and set it aside in a warm area for a further 40-60 minutes to rise again.
Bake the Rolls
- Towards the end of the second proofing, preheat your oven the 350ºF/180ºC.
- Bake the soft dinner rolls on the lower rack or the oven at 350ºF/180ºC for 20-25 minutes (or slightly less for mini dough balls) until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway. If they’re browning too fast, tent the rolls with aluminum foil while baking.
- Once ready, remove the rolls from the oven and optionally brush them with a little melted butter for shine, then leave to cool (at least until just warm).
- Measure the flour correctly: Fluff up the flour in its bag, then use a spoon to transfer it to the measuring cup before using the back of a knife to level the top. This will ensure you don’t add too much to the dough to this yeast roll recipe.
- Adjust the roll size: With this recipe, you can make regular rolls, small rolls, and mini rolls simply by dividing the dough into more pieces. If you’re making a shaped loaf (like a wreath), make another half batch for a bigger shape.
- Make sure the yeast is in use by date: Otherwise, the dough won’t rise. If it doesn’t bubble when activating, you’ll need to get new yeast.
- Use the right temperature milk: Too hot and it will kill the yeast. Too cold and it won’t activate properly.
- Rise time may vary: Based on the temperature of the area and if there’s a breeze, etc.
- For even-sized yeast rolls: Weigh the dough and each dough ball to ensure they’re even-sized.
- For the sheen on top: Don’t forget to brush the homemade dinner rolls with melted butter after baking them.
Can I Use Instant Yeast?
Absolutely! It will even make your job easier since no proofing is required. That is basically the only difference between instant yeast and active dry yeast, no proofing required. Simply add the yeast to the rest of the ingredients and mix. Yes, you still need to add the milk, since that is most of your wet ingredients.
How To Make Dinner Rolls
Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl of your mixer and mix until the dough comes together and is pulling away clean from the sides of your bowl. The dough will be a little sticky, but not too much.
You can let the dough rise in the bowl of my mixer or in another bowl. Just cover it with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm environment until doubled in size.
Shape Into Rolls
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down with your fist to deflate it a bit, then divide it into 16 equal size pieces. Shape it into rolls (watch video to see how) and place them into a baking dish.
Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise a second time until doubled in size. It should take another 30 minutes or so.
Top With Seeds And Bake
I like to brush my dinner rolls with a bit of egg to make them nice and shiny then sprinkle them with seeds such as poppy or sesame seeds. However, you can also brush the rolls with some melted butter. Bake the rolls in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes at 375°F (191°C) or until golden brown.
How to Shape Dinner Rolls
- Divide the dough into 12 equal parts. I usually divide it into half first, and then each half into 6 pieces. It’s just easier, I think.
- Take each piece, and pull and stretch the outer edges into the center to form a ball, pinching at the bottom to seal the seams. The top should be smooth. This step adds some air inside, resulting in light and fluffy rolls.
- Place the pinched side down on the baking pan.
Fresh Baked Bread Tools and Tips
Not sure if you have the right bread baking supplies? Here are some general tips on the right tools, oven temperature, and bread baking times to ensure you have everything ready.
Choose the Right Bread Baking Pan
Artisan-style bread, dinner rolls, French bread, and round loaves can usually be made on a baking sheet. But for standard loaves, you’ll want to use a loaf pan ($13, Kohl’s). A loaf pan helps shape the bread and encourages even browning, a crispy crust, and a tender interior.
Standard loaf pan sizes are 9×5-inches and 8×4-inches. Nonstick pans make it easier to remove the bread and require less fat for greasing. Heavy-duty, quality aluminum pans will last longer and perform better than less expensive pans. Glass pans can get too hot and overcook the bottom of your loaf. If using an inexpensive or glass pan, lower the oven temperature by 25ºF.
Bread Baking in the Oven
If the oven temperature is too hot or too cool when the bread goes in, you’ll end up with a dense loaf. To avoid errors, preheat your oven to the temperature given in your recipe. Use an oven thermometer ($6, Crate and Barrel)to make sure your oven temperature is accurate. If needed, adjust the temperature until it’s correct.
How Long to Bake Bread
Use these new skills and you’ll have professional-looking loaves out of the oven in no time. After you’ve mastered these bread baking skills, learn how to make sourdough bread (and the starter!) from scratch. Or try baking a cake or your own donuts for breakfast.
Why You’ll Love These Dinner Rolls
- Simple Recipe! This is an easy 8-ingredient dough that comes together in a matter of minutes! And with the help of a stand mixer, there is very little effort involved or cleanup.
- Soft Delicious Rolls! These delicious classic dinner rolls are rich, buttery, super soft inside, and bake up perfectly golden brown every time.
- Dinner Ready! Dinner rolls go well with any meal from pasta or roasted meat to soup or salad. You can even make a batch and freeze them so they are ready at any time.
How To Store Leftover Dinner Rolls
Let the rolls cool completely. I usually place them on a cooling rack, and let them rest there until they come to room temperature, should take a couple hours. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap, tightly all around.
If you use a plastic storage bag, push out all the excess air from inside, the air will dry the bread quicker. You can keep them at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. If you refrigerate them, they will dry out at a faster rate.
Dinner Rolls Ingredients
All you need for the best dinner rolls are 7 simple and inexpensive pantry staples.
- Flour: White bread flour is best for the lightest and fluffiest rolls. General all-purpose flour or a 50/50 all-purpose and whole wheat flour blend will also work (for slightly denser, chewier results).
- Salt: I recommend using sea salt/kosher salt for the best flavor.
- Eggs: It’s best to use room-temperature eggs. These provide structure to the bread.
- Butter: Use room temperature butter. Unsalted is best, but if you must use salted, then decrease/remove the added salt from the ingredients. This fat helps to create the enriched dough that makes for super soft and rich dinner rolls.
- Milk: Whole milk (full-fat milk) is best for the softest rolls. It should be lukewarm at around 100-110ºF/38-43ºC (to help activate the yeast). Buttermilk would also work.
- Dry yeast: Use either active dry yeast or instant yeast. It’s important to note that the rising time may be less with the Instant version.
- Sugar: To help feed the yeast in this bread roll recipe. Any sugar will work, including unrefined granulated sugar like coconut sugar, maple syrup, or honey.
To make vegan dinner rolls, use high-fat plant-based milk, like canned coconut milk, plus dairy-free butter.
Can I substitute gluten-free flour?
I haven’t tried this recipe with gluten-free flour. Though it may work if using a good gluten-free flour blend like Bob’s Red mill or King Arthur’s.
Can I make a loaf with this recipe?
No, this enriched soft dough isn’t sturdy enough to bake a large loaf. You may, however, enjoy my homemade soft brioche bread.
How can you tell when dough has risen enough?
Along with doubling in size, you can also use the knuckle test. Gently press two fingers into the dough up to the second knuckle, then remove them. If the dough completely bounces back, it needs more rising. If the marks remain, the dough is ready to shape into balls.
How to Make Quick Dinner Rolls
First, mix the salt and flour in a large mixing bowl. Then, in a separate bowl, combine the warm milk, yeast, and sugar. Stir well and set aside for about 5 minutes for the yeast to activate (become foamy/bubbly).
If you plan to use a stand mixer, you can prepare the yeast mixture directly into the bowl of a stand mixer.
When ready, mix the flour and yeast mixture by hand (with a wooden spoon to begin). Or use the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer to form it into a rough dough.
Then, add the eggs and mix before adding the butter incrementally, mixing all the while.
If mixing the dough by hand, it’s best to whisk the eggs in advance. Though it isn’t 100% necessary if using a stand mixer.
Knead the dough, stretching and folding it until it’s smooth and slightly tacky. About 10-13 minutes by hand on a lightly floured surface, or 7-10 with a mixer.
What should well-kneaded dough feel like?
It should be pliable, bounce back when prodded, and feel slightly tacky but not sticky. If it’s sticking to your hands or the sides of the bowl, add in more flour. Just one teaspoon at a time – too much flour will make dense rolls.
When ready, grease the large bowl/mixer bowl with a bit of oil or butter. Place the dough in it, covering it with a lid, clean kitchen towel, or plastic wrap.
Transfer the bowl to a warm, draft-free area to leave the dough to prove for between 1-2 hours until it doubles in size.
You can place it either near a heater/stove or inside an oven that just has the light on. Or use the oven’s proof mode (which keeps the temperature to 80-95ºF/26-35ºC).
After proofing, punch the dough down to release excess air. Separate it into 16 rolls (or 24, if you want small rolls), either by hand or weighing the dough for exact rolls.
My dough weighed about 48oz (1.36kg), so I divided it into 16 large rolls of 3oz/80g each. For 24 rolls, 2oz/60g would work. If you want very small, “mini” rolls (more like dough ball size), use about 1.4oz/40g. Keep in mind that the smaller the rolls, the faster they will bake.
When making the dough balls, pinch and seal the bottom, ensuring they have a smooth top.
Butter or grease the baking dish you plan to bake the homemade rolls in. Then arrange them into the baking dish, placing them near one another but not touching.
How To shape dinner rolls?
I used a 9×13 baking dish. However, you could also use other shapes (like a round baking dish). Or shape them into various bread rolls shapes, like a heart, Christmas tree, or wreath (perfect for placing baked Camembert or dips in the middle). Or twist them into knots, etc.
Cover the dish with a clean kitchen towel and set it aside in a warm area for a further 40-60 minutes to rise again.
Bake the Dough
Towards the end of the second proofing, preheat your oven the 350ºF/180ºC.
How Long to Bake Dinner Rolls
When ready, bake the dinner rolls on the lower rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes (or slightly less for mini dough balls) until golden brown. Rotate the pan halfway.
If they’re browning too fast, tent the rolls with aluminum foil while baking.
Once ready, remove the rolls from the oven. Optionally brush them with a little melted butter for shine. Then leave them to cool a bit (until warm, not hot).
And this is all you need to know for how to make yeast rolls.
Make sure to tightly wrap the bread with plastic wrap to avoid any freezer damage. Then freeze the homemade rolls for up to 3 months, allowing them to thaw in the fridge overnight.
What to Serve with Dinner Rolls
There are plenty of ways to enjoy these dinner rolls. Especially on special occasions like Christmas or Thanksgiving (alongside mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and gravy). Or even part of an Easter brunch. Enjoy them as part of an appetizer, with a cheese board/charcuterie board, or as part of a larger meal.
I love using them with meals that require dunking/dipping, like soup, stew, pasta, etc. (optionally slathered with a bit of butter). However, you can also use them as general rolls to fill with sandwich fillings and spreads, like cream cheese and jam. Or make this crispy chicken sandwich, etc.
If you’re planning to serve them as an appetizer/party food option, I recommend accounting for 2 dough balls per guest.
What If I Don’t Have A Stand Mixer?
No mixer, no problem. All you have to do is knead everything by hand. After you proof the yeast as instructed, if using active dry yeast, just add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl and start by stirring everything with a wooden spoon until you can’t do it anymore. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead by hand until all the flour is incorporated and you end up with a dough that is slightly sticky but soft to the touch.
Tips for Success
- Make sure the milk is between 110 to 115 degrees F warm. Use a thermometer. If it’s too cold, the yeast will not activate. If it’s too hot, the yeast will die.
- Activating yeast: If the yeast doesn’t foam up in step 1, it means it’s no longer good. Discard and start over with fresh yeast.
- The amount of flour can vary, but should be between 3.5 to 4 cups. You’re looking for a dough that is slightly sticky and moist, yet manageable. Always measure the flour by spooning into a measuring cup and leveling it.
- Allow the dough to rise in a warm environment. I use the “microwave method.” See notes in recipe card below for instructions on how to do this.
- How to shape rolls: Pull and stretch the outer edges into the center to form a ball, pinching at the bottom to seal the seams. The top should be smooth. This step adds some air inside, resulting in light and fluffy rolls.
- Be sure to brush buns with melted butter before baking so they turn out golden brown. Also, brush with whipped honey butter (recipe below) as soon as they come out of the oven so they get that shiny top.
These super soft honey butter rolls are seriously the best! They are soft, fluffy, and delicious, with the perfect balance of sweet and savory. Easy to make, and make-ahead and freezer friendly. Make it for the holidays or the weekend!
- warm whole milk – warmed to 110 to 115 degrees F
- 0.25 ounce package active dry yeast – equivalent to 2 ¼ teaspoons
- – at room temperature
- unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3 ½ to 4 bread flour, spooned and leveled
- Olive oil or vegetable oil – for greasing the bowl
- Melted butter for brushing – plus more for greasing the pan
- Set up the dough hook attachment in the stand mixer. To the yeast mixture, add the eggs, ¼ cup melted butter, honey, and salt. Mix over medium speed until evenly combined.
- After it’s doubled in size, punch down the dough and transfer to a clean non-floured surface. Cut into 12 equal parts. Tip: I like to cut the dough in half, and then each half into 6 equal pieces.
- Shape rolls: pull and stretch the outer edges of the dough into the center to form a ball, pinching at the bottom to seal the seams. Arrange on a lightly greased 9×13 in baking pan, pinched side down.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it rise for another 1 hour in a warm environment, until puffed up. While the dough is rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, make the whipped honey butter: In a mixer, whip the softened butter with honey over medium-high speed until fluffy and combined.
- Once the buns come out of the oven, brush them with some of the prepared honey butter. Let them cool slightly and serve with more of that delicious honey butter on the side. Enjoy!
- Kneading by hand: If not using a stand mixer, you can totally knead it by hand on a floured surface (be careful not to overuse the amount of flour though). Knead with the bottom of the palm of your hands until it’s smooth and elastic, but still slightly sticky and moist.
- How to shape rolls: Pull and stretch the outer edges into the center to form a ball, pinching at the bottom to seal the seams. The top should be smooth. This process adds some air inside, resulting in light and fluffy rolls.
- Freezing: Shape the dough into balls and arrange on a baking pan. Cover tightly with foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size. Bake as directed.
Substitutions and variations:
Disclaimer: Nutritional values (per serving) are approximates only.
Dinner Rolls Flavors
Learning the base dinner roll recipe is just the beginning of the fun you can have with these easy yeast rolls. Next, you can take things up a notch with toppings and fillings to suit every mood and event. Here are just a few of my favorite variations.
- Garlic, herbs, and cheese dinner rolls. Combine 1 teaspoon garlic powder with 2 tablespoon of dried herbs, like basil, rosemary, oregano, parsley, or even Italian seasoning. Also, optionally add shredded hard cheese.
- Rosemary dinner rolls: Add 1-2 tablespoon dried rosemary to the flour and salt mixture. Simple but so aromatic.
- Chili flakes: To add heat to these easy dinner rolls – best with other herbs.
- Sun-dried tomatoes & olives: Finely chopped. This also pairs well with the cheese option.
- Cheese dinner rolls: Add between 1/2-3/4 cup of shredded hard cheese, like cheddar cheese.
- Melted butter & honey (for subtle sweetness),
- Honey alone,
- Melted butter with garlic and herbs,
- Poppy seeds, or sesame seeds, or omega seed mix,
- Everything bagel seasoning,
- Italian seasoning (to sprinkle over the top),
- Parmesan cheese (to sprinkle over the top in the last 5-8 minutes of baking, optionally with dried oregano).
How to Make-Ahead Soft Yeast Rolls
The key to preparing these dinner rolls ahead of time is to refrigerate the unbaked rolls overnight and bake them fresh the next day.
PROOF THE YEAST
Warm the milk to about 110-115°F/43-46°C. Transfer the warm milk to a large mixing bowl and stir in the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until bubbles and foam start to form.
*This step is called “proofing the yeast.” While option, it’s a good way to test the yeast to make sure it’s active before using it in the recipe. If you do not see any bubbles or activity after 10 minutes, then your yeast is dead or your milk is too hot. Start the process over with fresh yeast and/or cooler milk.
Place all of the dough ingredients into a large mixing bowl, including the milk/yeast mixture. (The order in which everything is added/combined doesn’t make a difference.) Mix together in a stand mixer, or with a wooden spoon, spatula, or your clean hands.
KNEAD THE DOUGH
Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. This takes about 8-10 minutes by hand or 6-8 minutes with a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
While kneading the dough, add more flour as needed. Stop kneading the dough when it’s still slightly sticky to the touch but feels smooth and elastic. It should stand tall when rounded into a ball.
Shape the kneaded dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Turn to coat and cover with a piece of plastic wrap, a damp cloth, or clean shower cap (my preference) to bulk ferment until doubled in size – about 1 hour for quick rise yeast and 2 hours for active dry yeast. To speed up the process, place the covered bowl in a warm place in your kitchen.
After proofing, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and divide it into 12 equal pieces. I like to use a bench knife and a kitchen scale to ensure they are all the same size. Working with one piece of dough at a time, shape the rolls. Pull down on the sides of the dough, creating a seam at the bottom.
Place the piece of dough seam-side down on an un-floured part of the countertop. Cup your hand over the dough and roll it under your palm until a smooth piece of dough forms.
Line a sheet pan (or cookie sheet) with parchment paper or lightly grease a 9×13-inch (23×33-cm) baking dish. Place the dough balls evenly spaced onto the sheet pan or into the baking pan. Cover the rolls tightly with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate Overnight (optional)
To make these make-ahead rolls, refrigerate the pan of shaped rolls for up to 18 hours. For holidays, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, I like to prep these rolls ahead so I’m not dealing with flour all over the counter while making other recipes.
The next day, remove the pan of rolls from the refrigerator about 90 minutes before serving. Keep them covered and let stand for about 75 minutes before moving onto the next step.
If you’d like to skip the refrigerator slow rise, let the rolls rise at room temperature for about 45 minutes (if using quick rise yeast) and about 75 minutes (if using active dry yeast).
Whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash. Remove the plastic wrap from the pan and brush the egg wash on top of the rolls. The egg wash gives the rolls a shiny, golden top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. While still hot, I like to brush melted butter onto the rolls and garnish with a sprinkle of flaky salt. Serve warm.
This recipe calls for active dry or quick rise yeast. Quick rise yeast is also known as instant yeast or rapid-rise yeast.
These unbaked dinner rolls can be refrigerated for up to 18 hours before baking. Remove from the refrigerator an hour and a half before serving. Let them stand for about 1 hour 15 minutes before baking.
I don’t recommend baking the rolls in advance. Dinner rolls are best served fresh from the oven.
You can use either all-purpose flour or bread flour in this dinner roll recipe. You do not need to make any other changes to the recipe if you are using bread flour. All-purpose flour will give you light and tender rolls while rolls made with bread flour will be slightly chewier.
Room Temperature: After baking, let the rolls cool completely. Store any leftover rolls in an air-tight container at room temperature. They are best enjoyed within 24 hours of baking.
Freezer: After baking, let the rolls cool completely. Once cool, wrap in aluminum foil and place the foil package in a zipper bag – freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to serve, let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator and place into a 325°F/163°C oven for 10-15 minutes until warmed through.
If you enjoyed this make-ahead recipe, you might like to try these other recipes that can be prepped in advance.
Give Your Rolls A Shiny Top
To get that nice golden, shiny top, brush your rolls with egg white or butter. Also, don’t be afraid to top them with your favorite seeds, such as poppy seeds, pepitas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, etc.
Secrets to Soft, Tall and Fluffy Rolls
There are 4 key things to remember in order to make the softest, fluffiest, and tallest honey butter rolls ever:
- Use bread flour rather than all-purpose, as it has a higher protein content, which produces more gluten. This is what gives bread that beautiful texture and height. Bread flour is readily accessible at grocery stores.
- Use whole milk, not skim or 2 percent. Whole milk, plus melted butter and eggs will make a rich dough, which is essential for flavor and texture.
- Give it enough time to rise. During the 2-3 hours it needs to rise, amazing flavors develop and the yeast does its magic to ensure the bread turns out soft and airy.
- Do not over-knead the dough. Over-kneading develops too much gluten, which will make your bread chewy and tough.
More Bread Recipes You’ll Love
If you love baking easy bread recipes at home, give these a try! These recipes are great ways to use up any leftover bread flour.
How to Make Dinner Rolls Ahead of Time
There are a couple of ways you can prepare these easy yeast rolls in advance, depending on what fits your needs.
The raw dough: Rather than leaving the dough to prove in a warm location (for the first or second rise), you can cover it with plastic wrap. Then transfer it to the fridge to prove overnight, up to 48 hours in advance. When you want to continue, place it on the counter. Wait until it comes to room temperature and doubles in size (between 1-3 hours), then continue with the recipe.
The rolled dough balls: Get the dough to the point of being ready to bake. Then freeze any dough rolls you don’t plan on baking immediately. First, flash freeze them on a tray, not touching, then transfer them to a Ziplock bag for 2-3 months. Next, place them on the baking dish and allow them to thaw and slightly rise for between 4-5 hours before baking.
How to Bake Yeast Bread
Lightly grease the whole pan, even if it’s a nonstick pan. You might also see instructions for baking bread on a sheet pan ($36, Kohl’s) sprinkled with cornmeal, which helps keep the bread from sticking.
Prep the Bread Dough
While some loaves go into the oven with no embellishment, others get an egg wash or butter brushed on and a sprinkle of seeds or herbs.
- Egg Wash: Whisk an egg or egg white with 1 tablespoon water, and brush it on the loaf just before baking for a shiny, golden crust.
- Butter or Olive Oil Brush: Brush softened butter or olive oil atop the loaf before baking to add flavor and color.
- Milk Bath: Brushing a loaf with milk before baking gives the baked bread a tender, golden crust. For a sweet bread recipe, sprinkle with sugar if desired.
- Toppers: The egg wash helps toppers adhere to the loaf when added before baking. Seeds such as poppy or caraway seeds, crushed dried herbs, or rolled oats make tasty and attractive baked bread toppers.
The key to yeast bread is “oven spring,” which is the yeast’s final burst of expansion or fermentation. Once this occurs, the loaf sets up and starts to brown, creating the crust.
Test Kitchen Tip: If you bake several loaves at once, use one extra-large baking sheet instead of two smaller ones. Or bake one pan at a time, placing the second sheet in the refrigerator until 15 minutes before baking time. If you bake two smaller pans at once, not enough air will circulate around the bread, causing uneven baking.
Tap yeast bread lightly with your fingers to test for doneness. It will sound hollow when it is done. If the loaf is browning too fast but doesn’t sound hollow, cover the bread while baking by creating a tent out of foil to help prevent burning. Yeast breads containing butter and/or sugar often need this step.