World’s Best Dinner Rolls

Is there anything better than warm bread smeared with melty butter? Thousands of people across the country have fallen in love with these dinner rolls, and for good reason- they truly are THE BEST! They are beginner friendly, so if you’re nervous about working with yeast, don’t be. This recipe makes two full pans of rolls and will definitely fill a standard Kitchenaid mixer to the absolute brim, so feel free to cut it in half if you are feeding a smaller crowd.

Ingredient Notes

  • Milk – Whole milk is best. You can use 2% in a pinch, but avoid 1% or skim.
  • Yeast – This recipe calls for active dry yeast. I have not tried using rapid rise yeast, where the first rise is replaced by a 10 minute rest of the dough. If you feel like experimenting feel free to give it a try, just know it hasn’t been tested for this particular recipe. If you’re nervous about working with yeast, check out this post on tips for working with yeast dough.
  • Eggs – You’ll notice the recipe calls for beaten eggs. Why should you beat your eggs first? Same reason you should combine your dry ingredients before adding them to moist ingredients when making cookies and cakes–it ensures everything is well-mixed and can be evenly-distributed through your dough or batter. If you add the whole eggs, your dough may not be as consistent.

How to Make the World’s Best Dinner Rolls

Ready? Awesome. You’ll need whole milk, all-purpose flour, yeast, sugar, salt, butter, and eggs. Nothing fancy.

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  1. Combine milk, sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. It’s salty. It’s sweet. Yum.

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sugar butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. It’s salty. It’s sweet. Yum.

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butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. It’s salty. It’s sweet. Yum.

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and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts.

2. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm. I usually rub some ice cubes along the sides of the pan or pop the entire pan in a sink full of ice cubes to cool the mixture down because this step can take forever. This step is really important because if the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.

3. While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes or until the yeast is very bubbly and the mixture has risen significantly.

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Before:

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10 minutes later:

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If the yeast hasn’t bubbled, you’ll need to repeat this step–moving on with yeast that hasn’t been activated properly will only end in heartache.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups of flour and milk mixture.

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Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes.

5. Crack your eggs and give them a good whisking (this little heart whisk is one of my favorite tools for jobs like this). Add to dough mixture and mix until well combined.

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6. Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough.

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This dough should be very soft–it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your finger when you touch it. Don’t worry, it will firm up during the rising process. Part of what makes these rolls so good is that they’re so soft and light; if you add too much flour, they will be heavy and dense.
7. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise 1 hour.

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8. Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface

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and turn dough out onto surface.

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Divide in half.

9. Spray 2 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces.

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I like to use a pizza cutter because it has a blade on each side (a plastic bowl scraper is also fantastic), so it cuts right through dough without sticking to the blade. This dough should be very easy to work with, almost like playdough. Shape each piece into a ball and place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan.

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Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go (depending on your oven), preheat oven to 375.

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10. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown.

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When done, remove from oven. Rub a stick of cold butter over the tops of the rolls. You must now eat one. Now. While it’s hot. Then pop the rest into a bowl and no one will ever know that you cheated.

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P.S. Using this cinnamon roll filling or these cinnamon or orange roll fillings, this dough makes fabulous cinnamon or orange rolls. Just bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Related Recipes

Short on time? These One-Hour Dinner Rolls are on the table in a flash.

These French Rolls or this Easy No Knead Overnight Artisan Bread are other great alternatives to traditional rolls.

For Sweet rolls, check out these Overnight Cinnamon Rolls or Everyday Cinnamon Rolls.

FAQs

  • Can I make these ahead and freeze? While I do think rolls are best fresh and hot the day you make them, you can in fact prepare these ahead of time. Make dough through the roll-shaping step.  Place your shaped rolls on parchment paper in a single layer and place in freezer. Once frozen solid you can place them in a bag together.  When ready to cook, leave at room temperature, lightly covered with a piece of plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick spray.  They will need to defrost and then also have time to rise (think store-bought rhodes rolls) so you will want to leave plenty of time for that (I’m guessing 3-5 hours). You can also cook the rolls, cool completely, and then freeze immediately.

Did You Make This?

I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture and tag me on Instagram, and then come back and give this recipe a rating!

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World’s Best Dinner Rolls


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Description

These reader favorite dinner rolls are soft and fluffy. Perfect for holiday dinners!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk (if you’re in a pinch, you can use 2%, but whole is best. Don’t use 1% or skim)
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.)
  • 2/3 cup warm (105-115-degree) water
  • 89 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 beaten eggs

Instructions

  1. Combine milk, 1/2 cup sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm. I usually rub some ice cubes along the sides of the pan or pop the entire pan in a sink full of ice cubes to cool the mixture down because this step can take forever. This step is really important because if the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
  2. While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. If the yeast hasn’t bubbled, you’ll need to repeat this step–moving on with yeast that hasn’t been activated properly will only end in heartache.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes.
  4. Add beaten eggs.
  5. Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be very soft–it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your finger when you touch it. Don’t worry, it will firm up during the rising process. Part of what makes these rolls so good is that they’re so soft and light; if you add too much flour, they will be heavy and dense. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise 1 hour.
  6. Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half.
  7. Spray 2 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. I like to use a pizza cutter because it has a blade on each side, so it cuts right through dough without sticking to the blade. This dough should be very easy to work with, almost like playdough. Shape each piece into a ball and place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan.
  8. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go (depending on your oven), preheat oven to 375.
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown.
  10. When done, remove from oven. Rub a stick of cold butter over the tops of the rolls.

Notes

  • MAKING AHEAD: We have received tons of comments and emails asking about making these rolls ahead, or freezing the dough, etc. Note that we have never before tried any of these methods so we can’t give you an answer for sure. You can try freezing the dough after they have been shaped (but before the second rise) and you can certainly try cooking and cooling completely and then freezing. Just keep in mind we only make these fresh and eat them hot from the pan so that’s all the info we can give you.
  • Prep Time: about 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 15-18 minutes
Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I have been searching for a really good yeast roll recipe ever since I went to famous restaurant. Their rolls were very large, soft and had a strong yeast flavor. This recipe is amazing, I have made them every thanks giving for the past 8 to 10 years

  2. I’ve been making this recipe for years for my family and we absolutely love it. Have you ever tried making this gluten free with 1 to 1 flour?

  3. I made these today and they are beyond wonderful….
    How do they compare with your ONE HOUR DINNER ROLLS?
    lots off work today, and worth it, but ONE HOUR sounds better.
    thanks
    Happy Thanksgiving
    Phyllis






  4. These turned out wonderfully. I just think they are a bit on the bland side for me unfortunately. I did eyeball the amount of salt used so maybe that was the issue for me. I will try them again for sure.