Discover the ultimate easy dinner roll recipe that will elevate your meals. Bake delicious, homemade dinner rolls effortlessly and impress your family and friends. Enjoy the simplicity of homemade goodness!
Growing up, one of my favorite parts of any holiday meal or family get together was the dinner rolls. Give me a warm, fluffy, yeast rolls topped with plain butter, roasted garlic butter or even honey butter and I am in Heaven for just a few minutes. They’re amazing alongside of mashed potatoes and gravy too!
My family never made homemade dinner rolls though. Theirs were store bought and we all know that if those aren’t baked just right, they turn out hard and crusty. The internet wasn’t around for most of my childhood so I get it. Easy bread recipes weren’t really accessible to folks who didn’t already have a bookshelf full of cookbooks.
As an adult who loves to cook and bake, I wanted something that had more flavor and a better texture but also wouldn’t take me so long that I couldn’t enjoy my Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
What I discovered was this incredible easy dinner roll recipe. They are simpler to make than most dinner roll recipes I have tried, but come from the oven soft and full of that yummy homemade yeast roll flavor we’ve all come to love.
Once you make your first batch, I am certain you’ll be adding this to the list of new recipe you absolutely adore!
Tips for making easy dinner rolls
These dinner rolls really are a special recipe, but they are not fool-proof or no-fail. You can mess them up.
Ask me how I know.
However, if you follow this easy dinner roll recipe the way it’s written and you use these tips for making homemade dinner rolls, you’ll have a final product that is absolutely amazing.
- The flour you use matters: Dinner rolls are meat to be much more light and fluffy than bread. Because of that, I highly recommend you use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. Bread flour is simply all-purpose flour that has more wheat gluten added to it, but it can make or break a soft bread recipe and these dinner rolls are no different.
- Don’t force flour: This recipe calls for 4 1/4 cups of flour, but you may not need that much flour. Don’t force the full amount of flour into the dough. Instead, only add it until you get a workable dough.
- Don’t overbeat your dough: You absolutely can use an stand mixer with a dough hook on this recipe, however, I tried it once and never again. Instead, use a wooden spoon to do the work. Yes, it takes a few minutes longer and working the dough gives you a great arm workout, but your rolls will taste much better and have a better consistency.
- No kneading: These dinner rolls do not actually require kneading the dough and you shouldn’t be tempted to. Dinner rolls are like biscuits when it comes to how the dough is worked. Less is more. Once your dough is formed, you will be doing everything in the mixing bowl until you move the dough balls to the baking sheet or pan.
- No rapid rise yeast: You’re probably going to be tempted to use rapid rise yeast or instant yeast. Don’t. It simply won’t work well in this recipe. Instead, use good old fashioned active dry yeast and wait for the rise.
- Don’t proof with sugar: It’s common to proof yeast with sugar. I did it once. It wasn’t tasty. Don’t ask me. I’m just the messenger here.
- Use only fresh yeast: if, when proofing your yeast, you don’t get a good proof, use fresher yeast. Old yeast will work, however, your rolls will be heavier and more dense.
What does it mean to proof yeast?
Did you know that yeast is everywhere? Sourdough is made the way it is, with a starter, by allowing yeast from the air to essentially ferment a flour and water mixture.
Baking yeast like the type used to make these easy dinner rolls, is a live yeast culture that has been dried. Typically a tunnel dryer is used to keep the yeast cultures alive without risking the heat of dehydration.
How to proof yeast
When baking, those cultures must be activated or “proofed.” To proof yeast, you simply combine it with warm water and sometimes a couple tablespoons of white granulated sugar.
Once combined, the yeast, warm water and sugar, if you used it, combine to activate the yeast mixture and bring it back to the state you need to bake with. Left alone at room temperature for a few minutes, the yeast will begin to foam up as it activates.
This is how you know you have good, quality yeast that will do exactly what you want it to do. If your yeast does not foam up, you can use it with no issues, however, it’s old and will give you a final product that isn’t as light and fluffy as you’d like.
How to make easy dinner rolls ahead
Once of the reasons this dinner roll recipe is my favorite is that it can be made up to 72-hours ahead of time before baking or freezing. To make the dough ahead of time, follow the recipe below, but stop at step 5.
Cover your dinner roll dough and refrigerate for up to 72-hours. When you’re ready to continue, simply remove from the fridge and pick up at step 6.
This dough can also be frozen for up to 3-months. To freeze, follow through step 6 and roll your dough balls out. Freeze on a cookie sheet. Place in a freezer bag. To bake, remove dough balls from the freezer and the freezer bag. Thaw on a cookie sheet. When fully thawed, begin the second rise cycle and bake as directed.
Easy Dinner Roll Recipe
- Proof yeast with warm water. Do not proof with sugar.
- Once proofed, stir in 1/2 cup melted butter, eggs, sugar and salt and whisk until fully combined.
- Add bread flour 1 cup at a time making sure to mix well after each cup until you get a workable dough. Do not force flour into the dough just to use it all.
- Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap. Chill dough in refrigerator 2 hours.
- Spray 9×13 baking dish liberally with cooking spray and remove dough from fridge.
- Roll dough into 24 evenly sized balls and place them in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and sit in a warm spot.
- Allow dough to rise 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375°F once you have completed the second rise.
- Bake at 350°F for 17-19 minutes or until golden brown.
- During the last 3-5 minutes of baking, brush with melted butter. Serve warm.
- Nutrition information is auto-calculated. Please use discretion if you follow a special diet.
- Do not use bread machine or quick rise yeast.
- Do not proof yeast with sugar.
- If you are freezing the dinner roll dough, divide the dough into equal portions and wrap each one with plastic wrap. Freeze then transfer to a gallon size freezer bag stored inside an airtight food storage container. Thaw completely when you’re ready to use and continue with the recipe as written.
- Dough can be made 72-hours ahead of time. To do so, stop at the chilling step and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge until needed. Continue with the rest of the steps when ready.