These buttery Homemade Dinner Rolls are so light, so fluffy, with SO much heavenly buttery goodness. Who needs dinner when you’ve got these dinner rolls?? I could eat the whole batch. My Aunt Shirley is basically the baking queen. This is her famous dinner roll recipe! Originally published June 14, 2016.
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We’ve got all KINDS of buns going on today. Not just the yeasty kind…
The baby kind too. ( ^^12 weeks. This was about a month ago.) Here’s the already-waddling oven in which the bun bakes:
Yay! Eric and I are SO excited for baby #3, and don’t even get me started on the kids. Charlotte wants a girl and Truman wants a boy (of course). We find out in a few weeks.
(Any guesses? I’m clueless. I didn’t get the gender-intuition-gene. I thought Charlotte was a boy and Truman was a girl.)
So now you know why I have been almost completely absent the last couple months. I get super sick for my first trimester. Like, the-thought-of-food-makes-me-actually-hurl kind of sick. I basically lived on milk and cereal for months. (I’m not exaggerating. Some days me and the kids would go through an entire half gallon of milk. Baby won’t be hurting for calcium…)
When food makes you sick but your entire job revolves around food, you are kind of forced to take a break, hence the radio silence going on here at The Food Charlatan.
When I drove from Sacramento to Philadelphia, I was still feeling pretty awful. But by the time I got home and left for Seattle, I was mostly better, with just a few setbacks here are there. Now I’m almost completely back to normal, if not fitting into any of my clothes by 19 weeks is normal. Hallelujah!
We are due on November 8. Guess when our multi-family Disneyland trip was scheduled for? November 14. Ooooops. Sorry family. (We managed to reschedule for October. Will they give me a wheelchair at 35 weeks pregnant you think?? Please say yes.)
Who already knew I was pregnant?? Come on, some of you ladies guessed, right?
What makes these the Best Dinner Rolls
My cousin Amber brought her mom’s dinner rolls to our Easter get together this year, and I literally ate nothing else. If you think I’m exaggerating, then you have never had morning sickness before. It really is possible to ignore ham, asparagus, jello salad, and all kinds of other amazing food when faced with queasiness and an entire pan of dinner rolls.
I begged for the recipe and now you lucky kids get to try them too! I love them because they have 2 full tablespoons of yeast and are SO fluffy and light. The flavor is just amazing. My Aunt Shirley uses Crisco in her recipe, but if that’s not your thing, I’m sure butter would work too. The shortening makes them SOOO soft though, and I used butter-flavored Crisco, so no flavor sacrifices.
Dinner Roll Recipe ingredients
Here’s a quick shopping list to help you gather your ingredients. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients and instructions!
- Active dry yeast
- White sugar
- Kosher salt
- Butter-flavored shortening (or butter)
- Butter (for brushing)
How to make dinner rolls
I’ve got all the step-by-step instructions you need to make these a huge success!
- Proof your yeast to make sure you don’t kill it. There is so much yeast in this recipe that you have to move fast before it overflows the bowl!
- When the dough has been kneaded, it should still be pretty sticky. You want to be able to work with it, but don’t dry it out with too much flour.
- Don’t run errands during your one hour rise, because you will be late and this will happen.
- Separate the dough into 24 pieces and shape them by gathering it and pinching with your fingers, then make the pinch the bottom of the roll.
I’m fussy and like to use a scale. Each roll should be about 2 ounces. On the right you can see just how fast these rolls rise. Both of these weigh 2 ounces, but you can kinda see that the one on the right has started to puff a little, even though it had only been a couple minutes.
- Here’s the spacing situation when you use a 9×13 inch pan.
This is a 2 quart casserole dish, so the rolls are more squished, but it worked great.
- Pull them out of the oven when they are a nice golden brown all over the top! If you make these, I’d love to see them! Tag #TheFoodCharlatan on Instagram!
How to serve the Best Dinner Rolls
Warm, with a great deal of butter. Also, with any nice meal you’re serving. Here are some of my favorite dinners that pair just perfectly with a boatload of buttery rolls.
Shepherd’s Pie Recipe with Cheese Topping << gravy soaked beefy goodness, just begging for a dinner roll to soak up the sauce.
Easy Salisbury Steak Recipe (30 Minutes) << another favorite of mine with lots of delicious sauce! Comforting homey food.
Pork Chops in Creamy Mushroom Sauce << something about pork chops just screams Sunday dinner am I right??
1770 House Meatloaf (Ina Garten) << think you don’t like meatloaf? Think again.
Old Fashioned Beef Stroganoff << absolute crowd-pleaser right here. So easy!
How to store Homemade Dinner Rolls
These rolls need to be covered so they won’t dry out. I just put them in a big tupperware container or in a ziplock bag. If you have leftovers, they freeze very well; just let them cool and then pop them into the container of your choice. They’re fine to pull out anytime in the next 2-3 months. Just let them come to room temperature on the counter or warm one up in the microwave whenever you need a roll.
Dinner Rolls Recipe FAQs
A dinner roll is small enough to set on a plate with your meat and potatoes. It usually includes milk and butter, as well as sugar, meaning that it’s soft, sweet, and tender. It can be buttered or not (it’s already buttery). It’s meant to be torn off and buttered, one piece at a time. Contrast that with, say, a loaf of crusty bread–it doesn’t include milk, butter, and sugar. It really DOES need to be spread with a little butter, and if it’s a bigger loaf, the slice might not fit as neatly on your plate. I’m not knocking crusty bread by any means here, but it’s no surprise that a dinner roll is a popular companion to a nice meal.
Dinner rolls will stay soft overnight as long as they’re kept in a tightly closed container. I recommend a Tupperware container or a sealed ziplock bag. Since they’re made with an enriched yeast dough (meaning that there are dairy ingredients in the dough), they’re best within the first 2-3 days. If you’d like to make them further in advance, just freeze them as soon as they’re cool and they’ll last for 2-3 months.
There are a few reasons that your dinner rolls may not be coming out light and fluffy. Here are some possible problems you might be encountering (and what to do differently next time):
You used too much flour. I always recommend the fluff and scoop method. Use a spoon to fluff up the flour in its container, then use that same spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup. No packing it down! Level off the top and add it to your dough.
You killed the yeast. Hot water kills yeast!! We want to get that water lukewarm, not hot. If you’re not sure you can temp it with a thermometer. 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit is what you’re going for.
You used old yeast. I store my active dry yeast in the freezer, where it stays fresh a LOT longer. If you have a little jar of yeast, and you’re keeping it in the fridge, it’s only good for four months. Write on it with a Sharpie when you open it so you know when it’s time to buy a new jar.
You didn’t let the rolls rise in a warm place. If your house is really cold (I know this happens to me sometimes!) you’re going to need to create a sort of “proofing box” by using your oven. Turn it on to 350 for a minute or two, then turn it off. Put your covered, shaped rolls inside the turned-off oven. Now they have a nice warm place to puff up!
More delicious yeasty delights:
Imagine eating these rolls with a little pot of this Cinnamon Honey Butter. HEAVEN
Easy Fluffy One Hour Dinner Rolls << For when you need rolls STAT!
Buttery Sweet Potato Rolls << Delicious for a different flavor
Big Fat Crescent Rolls << Bad picture. But these are amazing rolls.
Homemade Dinner Rolls Recipe
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 2 cups milk
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 & 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 cup butter-flavored shortening , OR real butter
- 1 egg
- 5-6 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled**
- 4 tablespoons melted butter, for brushing
- In a small bowl or coffee mug, microwave the 1/2 cup water for 20-30 seconds, until it is lukewarm but not hot.
- Add the yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar and stir. Let this mixture sit for 5 minutes. Watch it so it doesn’t overflow!*
- In a glass measuring cup, microwave 2 cups milk for 1-2 minutes until it is warm but not hot.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, add 1/3 cup sugar, kosher salt, and shortening, and 2 cups of the flour. Stir together with a wooden spoon.
- Add the warm milk, yeast mixture, and 1 egg. Mix well and let rest 5 minutes. At this point I started using the dough hook on my mixer.
- Add 4 cups of flour, one cup at a time, mixing in between. Use your best judgment to continue adding flour until the dough is smooth and pulling away from the sides of the bowl, up to 5 or even 6 cups. Don’t add so much that the dough becomes stiff. It should be soft and rather sticky, but still workable. The less flour you use, the more tender your rolls will turn out. See notes.
- Once all the flour has been incorporated, knead for 5-6 minutes, using your hands or the dough hook.
- Grease a large bowl well with oil or butter. Scrape all the dough into the bowl, shape it together, then turn it over so that the top is greased.
- Cover loosely with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch down the dough. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball (pinch one end with your fingers).
- Place the rolls in 2 well-greased pans. I used one 9×13 pan and one 2 quart casserole dish.
- Cover the pans with tea towels and let them rise in a warm spot for another 30-45 minutes, until doubled in size. When they are almost done rising, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown all across the top.
- Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter.
- Eat hot!