There is something about the months of November through about February that make me want some form of warm carbohydrate to accompany every meal I consume. My problem with most yeast breads is that I don’t realize I want to eat them until I’m pulling everything out an hour or so before dinner to start prepping. Homemade dough can be a big, long process and recipes that involve multiple risings and 2-3 hour windows, require some planning- which is why I usually only make them on special occasions. So this recipe is what I use on those easy weeknights when I just want to throw something together quickly and have it done in an hour ready to dunk into a warm bowl of soup. If you’re not a bread-maker, this recipe is totally for you. You don’t have to proof yeast, you don’t have to let the dough rise more than once, and you don’t even need to worry about shaping it nicely. This is as easy as it gets, and they’re done in about an hour (I always allow just a little longer).
I actually based this quick rolls recipe off of our Everyday Cinnamon Rolls, and it remains very, very similar. One of the reasons that cinnamon roll recipe is so popular is because it’s quick! Many One-Hour Roll recipes you’ll find involve very limited ingredients, namely flour, water, salt, and yeast. That’s because things with fats and proteins, like milk, eggs, and butter, slow down the yeast activity. However, I played around with things and found I could use milk (I purposely use non-fat), a little butter, and a single egg, and still get quick results, with way more flavor than the basic recipes. So if you’re craving fresh bread, no fear. It’s only about an hour away.
First place some milk, butter, and sugar in a microwavable container. If you’re out of milk, water will work fine, too. You want the temperature to be between 120-130; in my microwave that’s just about exactly 2 minutes.
While that’s warming up, mix the dry ingredients. One of the tricks of quick rolls is to use “rapid rise” or “quick rise” yeast. “Bread machine yeast” is usually the same thing as well. There’s no proofing involved here, (that’s when you mix the yeast with warm water until it’s foamy) you can just put the yeast directly into the flour and stir it up. I usually keep a jar of yeast on hand, so I’m calling for a tablespoon here, but know that if you don’t make bread very often and you have little packets of yeast and don’t want to open more than one, this will work just fine with a packet.
In fact I made this very batch I’m photographing with a single packet (which is 2 1/4 teaspoons, so less than the tablespoon called for in the recipe) and it’s just fine.
You need the milk mixture to be between 120-130 degrees. It needs to be at least 120, and anything over 140 will damage the yeast, so I usually shoot for right around 125. If you have a digital thermometer you can pop in there quickly, it will save you lots of guess work.
Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture. If you’re using a stand mixer (I could sing the praises of my KitchenAid all day long), just turn the beater on and slowly pour it in. I also like to add an egg, but you can leave out the egg if you want and replace it with 1/4 water. I find the egg gives the rolls a bit more structure. Without the egg, the rolls are just as delicious, it’s just a little bit different texture. It is important to note, however, that you’ll want to let your egg sit in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes to bring it to room temperature. Otherwise, when you put the chilled egg into your dough with that warm milk, it will bring the temperature down.
Then add a little more flour. This dough will be very soft and sticky, so don’t start thinking it needs way more flour and go dumping it in. Or if you do, don’t come back and leave me comments saying your rolls were dense and gross. It should just barely come away from the bowl when you’re beating it, but still be sticky to the touch. I add just a little less than 4 1/2 cups, usually more like 4 1/4, and then I put the last 1/4 cup on the surface where I’m rolling out my dough.
The trick here is to get that nice flour-covered surface, and then gently scrape the dough onto it using a spatula. Once it’s all plopped on out, use the flour on your board to sprinkle all over the dough so it doesn’t stick to your hands. Don’t knead the flour in, just use it to coat the outside of the dough. Use light hands and form the dough into a smooth-ish shape.
I like to then score my dough with a pizza cutter, it helps to get even sized rolls. For dinner rolls, I do 24.
Then just grab the portions and lightly form into balls. And I use the term “ball” loosely here. As you can see, you don’t need to spend very much time perfecting little dough spheres. Just lightly round them and plop them in there.
You’ll need to set them aside to rise now, and I have a few more tricks for you. One of my favorite features of my Thermador ovens is that they have a “proof” setting, which warms up the oven to a cozy 100 degrees.
But I have a couple of other ways to create the best environment for rising dough. If you’ve got double ovens, you’ll want to preheat one of them to actually bake the rolls, but with the other, you can turn it on to the very lowest temperature setting (that’s usually 170-200) when you start prepping the dough. Leave it on for about 5 minutes and then turn it off and that should warm things up nicely.
Another favorite trick, which I actually still use, even with that proof setting on my oven, is to create a little steam room. Place your pan of rolls in the oven (the oven is turned off) and place a pan underneath it. Pour boiling water into the extra pan and then immediately shut the oven door. The steam will not only warm up the space, but it also creates moisture that will help the dough stay elastic and not dry out on top.
If you have a single oven, and need to preheat it for baking, I used to do that steam trick in my microwave. If you have a rack, you can place rolls on top and steam on bottom, and if you don’t have a rack, chances are you can fit a drinking glass or mug in the corner (or two) of the microwave and achieve the same thing. After 20-30 minutes, the dough should be nice and plumped up; about double in size (or just a bit less). I usually let them rise closer to 30 minutes. Most one-hour recipes will tell you 20, but that’s almost never long enough for me.
After they’ve grown and plumped, pop them in a preheated oven and bake them until they’re nice and golden .
When they come out of the oven, immediately brush them with melted butter.
If you want to make these into bread sticks, you could roll dough in butter and our Garlic Bread Seasoning, or if you’re like me, you’ll save at least a little to bake a tiny pan of cinnamon rolls. As you can see by this photo, these didn’t even last long enough for me to snap a picture.
And definitely, definitely, make a batch of our Maple Cinnamon butter to go with these, no matter how you make them!
Butter-Topped One Hour Dinner Rolls
Warm buttery dinner rolls in one hour! A carb-lover’s dream come true.
- 1 1/2 cups non-fat milk
- 3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4– 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
- 1 tablespoon rapid rise/quick rise yeast (or if you have packets, one packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) will work just fine))
- 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 1 egg at room temp (place in a bowl of warm water for at least 5 minutes)
- additional melted butter (a few tablespoons) for brushing on at end
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place milk, butter, and sugar in a microwavable container and heat for about 2 minutes. You want this mixture to be between 120-130 degrees, for best results use a digital instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature.
- While the mixture is heating, combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. When milk mixture is heated to about 125 degrees, add to the flour mixture and start to beat. Add egg and continue to beat until everything is combined. Scrape down sides of bowl and then add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time. I almost always add 4 1/4 cups total. The dough will be very soft and sticky.
- Place remaining flour on a cutting board or silicone mat (or additional flour, if you used all of yours in the dough) and very gently scrape out the dough using a spatula. Dust the top of your dough with flour and then using your hands, lightly pat the dough into a rectangle.
- Score the dough into sections (24 for dinner roll size) and gently form portions into balls. Place in a 9×13 pan that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Let dough rest for 20-30 minutes until puffed and almost double in size.
- Bake rolls in preheated oven 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter.
- To accelerate rising, place dough in an oven or microwave that has been turned off, and place a pan of steaming water underneath.
It was already 5:00 when my husband said he liked the idea of potato soup more than the dinner plan I had in mind. I wanted rolls to go with it and remembered that this had been posted today. We were eating by 6:30 and everyone was thrilled with the meal. Thanks OurBestBites! You did it again! Easy to make, delicious to eat – totally what I think of with your recipes.
Best compliment. Thanks Jenny!
I am going to try this. I enjoy rolls but I never think about making them early enough to have them ready for dinner.
I like the idea of making a mini dish of six cinnamon rolls with part of the dough. Do you think you would score and use the same amount of dough for six dinner rolls or do you need more dough for the cinnamon rolls? Thanks! Your recipes are so great. Your cookbooks are always out on my counter since I use them ALL the time:)
You’ll need a little more dough that you would for 6 dinner rolls. I’d probably divide the dough in half and just use half for rolls and half for cinnamon. The cinnamon rolls are super flexible because you can make them big or small, you just need a rolled out rectangle about 9 inches wide and maybe at least about 6 inches the other way.
Pressed this recipe into service as a faux focaccia. Instead of rolling the dough into balls, I spread it in a 9×13 pan, scored it, let rise, dimpled it, and baked at 350. Next time, I’ll add Parm, garlic, and Italian seasoning to the dough and cut the sugar a bit. Great recipe!
Good to know- that sounds super yummy!
Hi! I’ve never deviated from one of your recipes (because they’re all perfectly delicious), but given my dislike of sweet bread , especially sweet dinner rolls,, I was curious how much I could cut the sugar and still have enough to feed the yeast? Thanks!
Ok, so I start out with 3.5 c of flour, and then I’m adding an additional 4-4.5 cups of flour? I’m confused because the list of ingredients says 4-4.5, not 7-7.5 or whatever. I’m a bit confused because I’m at that stage and 4 cups seems like a lot. I guess I’m going to have to wing it!
You ad 4-4 1/2 cups TOTAL. So to start, you add 3 1/2 cups and get it all mixed up, and then add the remaining cup or so.
You use a total of 4 1/4 cups of flour. Start with the 3 1/2 and work you way up. They are really good!
I went through all my cookbooks tonight trying to find a quick dinner roll recipe. No luck, came on here and wolla, quick and easy dinner rolls! Thank you! They are in the oven proofing right now.
These turned out awesome! So delicious!
Oh boy, these look good and easy enough for me to make. That’s a dangerous combo. 🙂
I have to own your baking dish that your cinnamon rolls are in. This is non-negotiable. Where did you purchase such beauty?
Isn’t that cute? I got it at Tai Pan, but I’ve seen them at places like Ross and TJ Maxx, too. I bought 6 of them in all different sizes, shapes and colors and they were only like, 3 bucks each. Such a deal!
OH MY! These sound so yummy right now. We will be having these with dinner, soon. Thanks for sharing.
can u put this all in a loaf pan and make sandwich type bread?? hoping 🙂
thanks, love your blog and app
Happy Thanksgiving to both of your families…
You could try, but I don’t think this is the best dough for sandwich bread. You need a little more structure, which will come from longer proofing and rising. But you could experiment!
I loved all the recipes so much on the post that I went out and bought the book. Thanks Sara & Kate! I can’t wait to start cooking! The green beans are the MUST TRY recipe for me…Yes, something green must be on every plate in our house. Unless it’s enchilada’s, then its okay. And when it’s spaghetti & meat sauce, then its okay too… And when….JK. I just love veggies!
Hooray! I can’t wait to try these – I always want rolls for dinner when it’s too late to make traditional ones.
Can these be frozen and stored for eating later? Wondering if I could save some time and make a large batch or use these for my freezer meal exchange.
Yes, you just roll them into balls and then freeze in a single layer. Once frozen, you can put them in a container or ziplock bag. To use, just leave out like you would a Rhodes Roll, they probably need 4-ish hours to thaw out and then rise. I froze some of this very batch to test, and it works, however they don’t puff up nearly as much as they do when fresh. They do taste great, though.
thanks for posting the reply, I wanted to freeze them ahead of time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, this looks easy to do
wondering if these can be made in advance and then baked right before dinner? Or even made the night before and then baked the next day??
If I use the microwave to let the dough rise, do I put the microwave on a low low setting or just put inside and let it ris? I am in Bonita Springs, Fl. and of course have airconditioning and so no place really warm in the house.
This recipe looks awesome and I am anxious to give it a go.
No, do NOT turn on the microwave- just use it to contain the steam 🙂
I love carbs at every meal and same thing – never think of it in time for “proper” bread making – I’ll have to try these in place of my usual scones/biscuits!
These look great! How would you turn this dough into cinnamon rolls?!!!
It’s very similar to this recipe- just use the filling you see here!
I’m excited… yesterday I wished I made rolls (though I probably didn’t even have an hour, and dinner required the oven). I tried a “30 minute” roll recipe a few times, and while it was bread, it was kind of weird. Definitely going to try these.
Definitely an improvement on my previous “30 minute” attempts, though I think the texture would have improved if they rose a little more. I’m not sure if my liquid was too hot or if my ambiguous yeast wasn’t quite right for the job (it says active, fast-rising, says I can use it like instant yeast… hmmm). It was a little sweeter than I like – so like others, I’m wondering if it would hurt the speedyness if I reduced it?
I have a son with a milk allergy, so I’m going to try using soy milk and soy butter.
Judy, you could probably also use water and oil. Hope you enjoy!
Tasted okay. I might try coconut oil next time. Without real butter there’s less flavor, but they’re still good.
We have the same problem with homemade rolls at my house. I always plan for them right before dinner time! I am going to give these a try! My family thanks you!! Pinned!
Just one question – why the non-fat milk as opposed to whole milk?
She said in the post that the fats slow down the yeast, so just allow more time for rising if using higher fat content-enjoy!
I have dry active Yeats. Would I just need to proof it first?
Yes, you would need to proof it and it would take longer for the dough to rise.
You can use whole milk, you might just need to allow a little extra time for rising.
The recipe remains the same- all of those little tricks are just ways you can accelerate things even faster! If your house is particularly cool, you might place the rolls on top of an appliance like the fridge, or in the laundry room when your dryer is going. Sounds weird, but it helps!
Wow! One hour definitely going to have to try this recipe for dinner rolls 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
Yay!!! Too bad I didn’t have this recipe yesterday afternoon about 4:00, but I’m so excited I have it now! I always want rolls on Sunday afternoons, but with 1:00 church, it just never happens. I’m so excited to try this – I think I’ll make them tonight! I love the taste of milk in rolls, but if I only have 2% milk, should I decrease the butter a tad? Like 2.5 tbls maybe? Or just not worry about it? Maybe I’ll just experiment. 🙂 Also, the recipe calls for 4-1 1/2 cups flour, which I’m sure means 4 1/2 cups, but thought you might want to fix it. 🙂
Nah, 2% is fine 🙂
I’m making these right now – they look great so far! I’m assuming they are baked at 350 degrees, but I don’t see the temperature anywhere in the recipe!
Yep- good assumption!
I’m glad it’s not only me that wants some sort of bread with my dinner. I looked at my plan this week, and there’s at least 2 bread-ish meals…and we had like 4 last week! I will have to remember these rolls when I’m in a pinch!
My little proofing trick is to live in Southern Arizona. Then you can set just the rolls outside where it is a cozy 100 degrees. 😉