Homemade dinner rolls are easy to make with flour, yeast and milk. Try this recipe for Thanksgiving or any holiday meal.

homemade dinner rolls in glass baking dish. corner roll golden brown and shiny

The holidays call for heartwarming meals with comfort food. Homemade dinner rolls are easy to make from scratch and taste better that way! They go well with any family meal especially Thanksgiving.

Why this recipe works: Dinner rolls require only a few basic ingredients. They are made in a stand mixer or by hand with a little elbow grease. It’s also a recipe that can be made the night before the big meal!

ingredients to make dinner rolls in bowls

Overview: How to make dinner rolls

  1. Make the dough: Whisk warm milk, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup flour, butter, egg, salt and remaining sugar. Mix until combined.
  2. Knead the dough: Add remaining flour and knead on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes. Dough should be soft and not sticky.
  3. First rise: Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and turn the dough until it is lightly coated with oil. Cover and let dough rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  4. Shape the rolls: Cut the dough into quarters and cut each quarter into four pieces. Use your hand to shape the dough into balls (it doesn’t have to be perfect.)
  5. Second rise: Place rolls in a well greased pan and cover. Let rolls rise for 1 hour.
  6. Bake the rolls: Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake rolls for 20 to 24 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with butter and serve.

Can you make dinner rolls without a mixer? Yes. Use a wooden spoon to combine ingredients and once the dough comes together, start using your hands to knead the dough for 5 minutes.

photo collage demonstrating how to make dough for dinner rolls in the bowl of a stand mixer
photo collage showing first and second rise for homemade dinner rolls

Helpful tips

Use a high protein flour such as King Arthur flour. The dough will hold their shape better, which is helpful with the higher fat content from the butter, milk and eggs. If you’re baking at high altitude, use bread flour. Be aware of the texture of the dough while kneading. If the dough is too wet while kneading, add more flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too stiff, add another tablespoon of milk. Aim for a soft dough that is not dense or sticky.

How to shape dinner rolls

Divide the dough into 15 or 16 pieces. Take a piece of dough and use your hands to gently roll it into a ball. Pinch the loose ends underneath the ball so the top is smooth. The shape doesn’t have to be perfect. You can watch the recipe video for a visual on this step.

Make ahead instructions

After shaping the rolls, cover them tightly (I like to use a glass pan with a lock lid). Store the rolls in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Three hours before serving, bring the rolls to room temperature to rise (it will take longer to rise since they are cold). Bake according to instructions.

13x9 glass baking pan with golden dinner rolls

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make dinner rolls soft: Use whole milk and soft butter. The fat helps make a soft dinner roll. Also, weigh your flour using a kitchen scale. Too much flour will lead to a dense dough.

How to reheat dinner rolls: Preheat oven to 350 F. Place rolls on a baking sheet or pan. Heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until warm.

Can you freeze dinner rolls? Yes, baked dinner rolls can be frozen. Once cooled, wrap the dinner rolls securely in aluminum foil (or plastic wrap) and place them in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature or reheating.​​​​​​​

What to eat with dinner rolls

Homemade dinner rolls are typically served with a home cooked meal (think beef stew, meatballs or Thanksgiving dinner). But honestly you can serve the dinner rolls whenever! I like to use them as buns for hamburger sliders or I warm them up in the toaster oven to enjoy with butter and jam.

hand holding butter knife spreading butter on a dinner roll cut in half

Homemade dinner rolls are easy to make at home and are perfect for Thanksgiving dinner or any family meal. What occasion are you making dinner rolls for? Let me see on Instagram! Tag @ifyougiveablondeakitchen and I will share my favorites.​​​​​​​

golden dinner rolls side by side in a glass baking pan

Homemade Dinner Rolls

Homemade dinner rolls are the perfect side to any home cooked meal. They can also be used as buns for sliders or served on their own with butter and jam!
5 (2 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk,, warm (about 110° F)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast*, (1 packet)
  • 2 Tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar,, divided
  • 1 large egg,, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (60 g) unsalted butter,, room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour

Instructions 

  • Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together warm milk, active dry yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes (it should foam up a bit). Add remaining tablespoon of sugar, egg, butter and 1 cup flour. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and mix ingredients on low speed until combined, about 1 minute.
  • Knead the dough: Add remaining 2 cups flour and knead the dough on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. You want a soft, pillow-y dough. If it's sticky and not pulling away from the sides of the bowl, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is no longer sticky.
  • First rise: Grease a large bowl with oil and transfer the kneaded dough to the bowl. Turn it a couple times so the ball of dough is coated. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in size. I usually leave the bowl on the counter near the stove.
  • Shape the rolls: Punch the risen dough down and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Use a knife or bench scraper to dive the dough into 4 equal parts. Divide each part again into 4 more parts for a total of 16 pieces of dough. The size doesn't have to be exact, but if you're aiming for perfection use a kitchen scale. Shape the dough into a ball and tuck any loose ends underneath the ball of dough (refer to video for visual).
  • Second rise: Generously grease a 9×13 glass baking pan (or two 9-inch round or square pans) with butter. Place the rolls in the pan not touching each other. Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Allow rolls to rise for 1 hour.
  • Bake the rolls: Preheat oven to 350° F. Wait 10 minutes so the oven is nice and hot, then uncover the rolls and bake them for 20 to 24 minutes or until golden brown. Check the rolls around 15 minutes and make sure the tops aren't brown too quickly (if they are, cover the pan with aluminum foil). Cut and serve rolls immediately.

Notes

Yeast: You can also use instant yeast, but it doesn’t need to proof in warm liquid. Simply add it with the first cup of flour and continue with the rest of the recipe. Rising times will be quicker with instant yeast.
Make ahead instructions: After shaping the rolls, cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil (I like an airtight lid). Immediately place rolls in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Before baking, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and allow them to rise at room temperature for 3 hours. Bake according to instructions.
Store dinner rolls in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days or individually wrap them and freeze the rolls in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature.
High altitude adjustments (Denver CO, altitude: 5,820 ft): Use bread flour instead of all purpose flour. If the dough is too stiff, add an extra 1-2 tablespoons warm milk. Rising times will be quicker. Look for the dough doubled in size and rolls to be puffy.
Suggested tools: Kitchen scale, stand mixer with a dough hook, bench scraper and baking pan.
Serving: 1roll, Calories: 135kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Sodium: 121mg, Potassium: 65mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 127IU, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg

References: Sally’s Baking Addiction and The Stay at Home Chef

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