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.

best dinner rolls

  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!

World's Best Dinner Rolls

5 from 1 vote
These reader favorite dinner rolls are soft and fluffy. Perfect for holiday dinners!
Servings24 rolls

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
  • 8-9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 beaten eggs

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Add beaten eggs.
  • 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.
  • Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown.
  • 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.
Author: Our Best Bites
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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 know everyone has said it…but these really are the world's best rolls. This was my first attempt ever at making anything bread (I was chosen to make the rolls for Thanksgiving…I know, right?) and it was so easy (thank goodness for the pics) and soooo delicious! Kate & Sara – thank you so much for your site. It is such a joy to go through all your recipes.

  2. Dear Lord, I've done and gone to bread heaven! I opted to cut the recipe in third so I wouldn't have to deal with the 1½ egg thing. I was gonna do cinnamon rolls, but after all the goodies I've had in the last two days, the last thing my hips need is something else sweet!

    Here it is for one-third of the recipe:

    2/3 c. whole milk
    2T and 2t + 1 t sugar, divided
    2 T butter
    2/3 t Kosher salt
    1 1/2 t preferably bread machine yeast
    3 ½ T warm (105-115-degree) water
    2 2/3-3 c. all-purpose flour
    1 beaten egg

  3. Kate, Do you really mean the dough doesn't need to be kneaded with the dough hook for any length of time? Just stir in the flour and that's it — no "kneading"?

  4. Do you think I could refrigerate it before doing all those things and then finish it in the morning, or would that be bad?

  5. Mary, Just roll the remaining half of the dough into a rectangle about 6 inches high and 18 inches wide. Spread the dough generously with very soft butter and then generously sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll the rectangle up tightly into a log and then use dental floss to cut the long into 12 slices. Place the slices, spiral side-up, into a greased 9×13" pan and then cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise for 30 minutes and then bake in 375 degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until they rolls are golden-brown. Remove from oven.

    Make a glaze with 1 c. powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. almond extract, and enough milk to reach your desired consistency. Drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls.

    You have officially made me hungry. 🙂

  6. Kate, I was just about decided to only make half of the recipe when I saw your comment about halving 3 eggs being difficult. Okay, if you twist my arm and I make half for rolls and half for cinnamon rolls, can you give me a quick idea of how to turn the other half into cinnamon rolls for the next morning? I plan to make these tomorrow afternoon for my thanksgiving part II. Thanks!

    Mary

  7. Wow. This is indeed the very best dinner rolls,
    I ever came across! I have made plenty. This beats
    Grandma 40 plus year recipe. I made this for thanksgiving
    And my hubby was blown away. He request them again for Christmas dinner, easter, july 4th, etc. Thank you for this amazing recipe.

  8. I just made these today for Thanksgiving. This was my first attempt at making rolls from scratch. They turned out perfect, and both my kids said they were the best rolls they have ever had. Thank you for making me feel wonderful today!!

  9. i am sad to say that i failed at making these today. :/ it's no surprise because i am terrified of making fresh bread. the thought of having to use yeast freaks me out! anyway, my dough turned out to be one big sticky mess. did i not add enough flour? just want to know where i went wrong because i would like to attempt these again! 🙂

  10. I have a much simpler way of making these rolls.

    To begin with, I store my yeast in the freezer and do not worry about proofing it. I use SAF instant yeast, which, while buffered by dry ingredients, can handle the heat of quite hot liquids. I begin by mixing 8 C of flour, the salt, all 5 T of sugar and the yeast with the flat blade of my KitchenAid mixer. During this time the milk, water and butter are heating. When they are quite hot, and the butter is melted, I add them to the flour mixture. I stir the mixture briefly, then stir in the beaten eggs. At this point I switch to the dough hook and proceed as directed, adding additional flour as necessary in order to get a nice dough that is cohesive and clears the sides of the mixing bowl. I like washing fewer pans, so I bake all of them on one half-sheet pan (a jelly roll pan).

    These are so delicious, and are truly fast and easy to make with this method.

  11. I have a much simpler way of making these rolls.

    To begin with, I store my yeast in the freezer and do not worry about proofing it. I use SAF instant yeast, which, while buffered by dry ingredients, can handle the heat of quite hot liquids. I begin by mixing 8 C of flour, the salt, all 5 T of sugar and the yeast with the flat blade of my KitchenAid mixer. During this time the milk, water and butter are heating. When they are quite hot, and the butter is melted, I add them to the flour mixture. I stir the mixture briefly, then stir in the beaten eggs. At this point I switch to the dough hook and proceed as directed, adding additional flour as necessary in order to get a nice dough that is cohesive and clears the sides of the mixing bowl. I like washing fewer pans, so I bake all of them on one half-sheet pan (a jelly roll pan).

    These are so delicious, and are truly fast and easy to make with this method.

  12. Is it possible to use Lactaid milk with this recipe? I'm lactose intolerant so that's the only type of milk I keep on hand.

    Thanks, Hollie 🙂

  13. April–You could do a few things. I wouldn't actually recommend cutting the recipe in half because it's tricky to divide 3 eggs. So you could…

    –Make 24 rolls and freeze the uneaten ones.

    –Bake 12 rolls. Shape the other 12 rolls, place in a prepared pan, wrap tightly, and freeze the whole pan up to 3 months. When you're ready to bake them, let them stand on the counter for several hours to thaw and rise.

    –Bake 12 rolls and make the remaining 12 rolls into cinnamon rolls.

    Hope that helps!

  14. Hi! I have already "tried" to make these once. I know I added too much flour so they came out more like biscuits instead of light rolls. If it is just me and my fiance… what are your recommendations for making a smaller batch? Do you have a different recipe or do you recommend freezing the dough? Thanks!

  15. I just made these rolls for my family and all 23 have disappeared (I popped one in my mouth before setting them out..hehehe). These are TRUELY THE BEST IN THE WORLD!! Yummmmy in our tummies…the only problem is, I'm expected to make these all the time now!! LoL~ Thank you!! Can't wait to try all your other recipes!!

  16. I made the dinner rolls two days ago, and right now I am making the orange roll version…not fun getting up at the "crack of dawn," but I have a feeling it is going to be super delicious!!!! Thanks!!

  17. You weren't kidding when you named these rolls! They are fabulous. I just made them for the third time; each batch has been lighter and tastier as I get a better feel for how much flour to use. Yum. Thanks so much for this recipe!

  18. Sarah, I honestly can't say, although I wish I could! I have whole wheat bread recipes and white recipes but I don't feel like I'm experienced enough with whole wheat baking to adapt recipes for white flour, you know? I imagine you couldn't do 100% whole wheat, but you may be able to replace half of the white flour with whole wheat flour.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help!

  19. I glanced through the comments but didn't see anyone ask about using whole wheat with this recipe. Do you think that would work or would it ruin your perfect recipe?

  20. These were delicious! And I even forgot the salt and the extra Tbs sugar! What can I say, prego brain! I used half the dough for rolls and made the other half into cinnamon rolls. It was an easier recipe than my regular cinnamon roll recipe, so thanks!

  21. TIP: use ur glass meas cup to heat half the milk in microwave (not stove). heat to just OVER the temp your finger can tolerate, then add cut-up butter. Then sugar, salt. When butter is melted, add rest of milk cold – this will cool it faster.

  22. These rolls look fabulous!! Hopefully soy milk will work instead of whole milk. I haven't found a good substitute for cream yet – do you have any tricks you can share with a food loving lactose girl =) Thanks in advance!!

    1. Tracy-My husband is allergic to milk and milk proteins so try these substitutes. First use Moca Mix non dairy creamer (do not use any other brand because they all have milk in them) and then add an extra egg. Or Try Rich’s Whip, this is in the freezer section by the deserts. Both of them you will need to warm slightly but don’t cook them on the stove like you so the milk. I use these substitutes in almost every recipe I make and I bake a lot!

  23. Made these for dinner tonight and they were awesome! Thanks so much for a great roll recipe. All my guests thank you as well. 🙂

  24. In case anyone else had the same question I did about halving the recipe, I just tried it and it turned out AMAZING! I couldn't believe that _I_ made something so awesome! 🙂 thanks for the great recipes!

  25. Tonight I just made your original recipe of these rolls and they turned out amazing and I totally impressed my mother in law. So my question is, which do you prefer? This recipe, or the original one?

  26. Crystal–I probably wouldn't. These rolls *can* be a little tempermental. Also, self-rising flour has baking soda in it and that might add a weird texture or flavor to the rolls.

    Hope that helps! Happy baking! 🙂

  27. these look so amazing and will totally feed my carbohydrate addiction! lol! i have a question though…would using self rising flour mess up the recipe since it calls for all purpose? wasn't sure myself so thought i would ask! thanks so much!

  28. Hey, new to the blog, but your recipes seem awesome. I really want to try this one, but I just moved to Taiwan last year and they aren't big on ovens here. Most people don't have one at all. What I have is the largest toaster oven I could find. It works perfectly for most things, the only problem is the size. I cannot do two pans at once. I've never really cooked with yeast before, so I'm not sure, but my question is: Can you cook one pan while the other sits, then cook the second pan? will the wait time be a problem? Or, can the recipe be halved? not sure how that would work either. Thanks for the help! I'm looking forward to trying a lot of your recipes.