World’s Best Dinner Rolls

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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!

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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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. You didn’t say in ur instructions if it needed to be kneaded. Most recipes that have yeast needs to be kneaded. i made them for birthday party to have with the beef and barley soup and they were a hit. ( i did knead them for 7-8 mins)

  2. after mixing the 3 cups of flour, milk mixture, yeast mixture and eggs I add the remaining flour mixing by hand. I add 1 cup at a time but the 7th cup I just sprinkle a little bit at a time. Sometimes I use it all sometimes I dont. Hope this helps.

  3. At what speed do you mix after adding the flour? Even on the lowest speed, I have dough that went clear to the top of the hook and into the mixer. I had to throw some away as it had the black oil from the mixer on it. How much flour do you add at a time? I know you’ve clarified some of the directions but it gets very difficult to understand at that point especially to someone new to breadmaking and using a Kitchenaid mixer.

  4. I’d love to try these, but I don’t have a stand mixer or a bread machine to mix the dough for me. Ordinarily I’d just do it by hand, but I’m a little leery of trying to mix the beaten eggs in by hand without overkneading the dough in the process. Anybody do this without mechanical help? How did it turn out? Any tips?

  5. Made these again tonight! Delish as usual! Had to make them one more time before the baby comes in two weeks and I swear off bread forever:) I always eat way too many of these. Finally didn’t undercook them and they turned out great!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing… Made them they came out great.. This recipe is a keeper… Thank you

    Jessica

  7. This rolls were great!

    I’m wondering if I could just put the dough into a bread pan and have
    a loaf of bread rather than rolls? Seems like it would work. Has anyone
    done this?

    Lourdan

  8. The heavens parted and the Angels sang! I have tried 10-15 recipes looking for the roll from my cafeteria childhood and thanks to you I have found it. I made a half recipe and it made 12 huge rolls. My husband said “these are better than cafeteria rolls”. Thanks to you I can check the perfect roll off my bucket list. THANK YOU!

  9. I can’t find a “PRINT” this recipe… button? when i copy and paste to print the background is turquoise and the measurements are all wonky?
    help!!!
    Kari

  10. I am looking for a recipe that I can use in place of Rhodes when frying scones for breakfast or navajo tacos. Would this work? Do I fry before the second rise? Thanks!

    1. Sally, do you have our cookbook? We have the perfect recipe in there for scones and navajo tacos!

  11. I have been making yeast rolls for years, but this, by far is the best recipe I have ever used. The rolls are feathery light and just delicious. Several postings have asked about freezing them before baking. I have done this with previous recipes, but have not tried it with this particular one. I do plan to do this with the next batch I make. However, I did bake the rolls until they were just starting to brown, removed them, and after cooling, froze the rolls. Then I just remove them a few at a time from the freezer, let them thaw out for about 10 minutes, and bake. This is a quick way to have freshly baked yeast rolls in just a few minutes. What a special treat to have after coming home from a hard day at work!

  12. So easy, and so delicious!! I made 48 smaller rolls, baked them in 2 pie plates and 2 round cake pans. I’m going to make pecan sticky buns with the next batch!
    Bravo for another great recipe!!

  13. I made these rolls and they really are the BEST rolls ever!!!I also froze them after they baked and cooled and when i defrosted them and ate them they were still soft and perfectly delicious…thank you so much for this recipe

  14. You may have trouble with these if you use salted butter. The salt will do you in every time. Use unsalted butter and add a bit extra with the flour = )

  15. I saw a few times where this question was asked but never saw an answer. Can I make the dough in my breadmaker on the dough cycle? If so what do you suggest I do about the amount of flour added?

    1. I’ve never had much success with breadmakers, so I sold mine about 5 years ago and have never tried it with these rolls–sorry I can’t be of more help!

  16. These dinner rolls are the best…the recipe is simple and easy ..i will keep this recipe in my book….thank you

  17. Can you say “rocked my world”? These are incredible! We made sandwiches out of them with some shredded BBQ chicken. Hubby said that these were the missing piece to our holiday dinners! Definitely going on this year’s Thanksgiving/Christmas menu!

  18. I made these for dinner last night and they were AMAZING! we didnt eat any out of the second pan because there were only four of us and we had lots of other food. So when I was pulling the rolls out of the pan to put them up I noticed the second pan was doughy still especially in the middle. I wonder why this happened since the first pan turne out so great. I cooked them on the same rack in the oven. It was kind of high because we had the other part of dinner cooking at the same time. Should it have been more in the middle of the oven? I will definitely make these again! It was pretty easy even without a stand mixer. And my husband said these were “like the good rolls they served at school that you paid another quarter for to get seconds!” Lol

    1. I have made these a few times and they’ve always turned out great! I wonder if they just needed to be baked all by themselves instead of with the rest of dinner?

  19. I made two half-batches of this dough yesterday. Once to preview it, as it has been years since I last made bread except as pizza dough and the second time to take to a dinner party. I started to try to do the egg split by using the Tablespoon/Teaspoon equivalents after beating the eggs. However, it is almost impossible to get egg to stay inside of a spoon. In the end I just used 1/3 of a cup.

    The first half-batch I made half (1/4 of the recipe as written) as cinnamon rolls by rolling it into a ten inch circle and then covering with a mixture of 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, cutting into 8 wedges and rolling-up. They baked up beautifully in a 9 inch square pan. Very light and tasty. The other half of the dough I made into dinner rolls and baked in a small Corningware dish. Both batches went in at the same time and baked 15 min. The dinner rolls were overbaked a bit and didn’t have the same lightness as the cinnamon rolls, though I promptly ate two of them and two of the cinnamon rolls just for argument’s sake. I am wondering if one reason folks sometimes have trouble with these is due to baking them too long.

    The batch that I made just before leaving home for the dinner party was light and 6 out of ten folks at the party made a special point of saying how much they liked them. I am so glad I did a Google search for Best Dinner Rolls and was lead to your site.

  20. I have been trying to make homemade dinner rolls for years – I’ve had a little bit of success in meeting my very high standard 🙂 but not what I was looking for. Now, I’ve made these rolls three times and tonight’s was the best by FAR! They were SO high and light and incredibly yummy. My bread machine yeast did not proof, so I used fast rise Hodgson Mill dry yeast. I also used White Lily flour, which I think makes a difference in baking and I was not disappointed. I am going to keep making this recipe with these same ingredients and see if I can always get them to come out this way. They were to die for!

  21. I featured this roll recipe on my blog it was so good! I will make this again and again and again, because I will never be able to stop eating them.

  22. This is the best dinner rolls that I have ever made!!! I am so happy to finally have a recipe on hand that I can use to make them homemade 🙂 I’m having so much fun on this site – thank you bunches for your easy-to-understand directions and for the pictures of the recipe from beginning to end.

  23. These rolls freeze extremely well! Just bake and cool completely, I then put mine in a gallon ziploc bag and froze. Took them out of the freezer and defrosted at room temperature then put in foil to re-warm in the oven. Worked great!

  24. My sweetheart and I made these rolls for a dinner party. They were quick and easy, and the dough rose well even in the challengingly wet climate of rainforest Alaska. We forgot to add the eggs but decided to cook them anyway, and they were FANTASTIC! Every person there complimented the rolls.

  25. Is there a place to print it? I can’t find it! They look so yummy – would love to make them – maybe even tomorrow!!!

  26. Just made these, and they are absolutely amazing! I was really concerned that I didn’t have any whole milk (and was too lazy to go to the store and get some) so I tried anyway. They turned out so great, I can’t even imagine how good they are with the whole milk!

  27. My wife just slaved away last night and this morning making cinnamon rolls, orange rolls and dinner rolls, all based on this recipe. I must admit this recipe is appropriately name!!!

  28. I have some leftover bread flour from another recipe. I’m thinking that will work just as well as the all-purpose???

    1. I wouldn’t–bread flour has more protein, so it’s perfect for heavy duty sandwich breads, but I think it might be a little too tough for these rolls. Hope that helps!