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.

Golden brown buttery dinner rolls in a pan.
Table of Contents
  1. What makes these the Best Dinner Rolls
  2. Dinner Roll Recipe ingredients 
  3. How to make dinner rolls
  4. How to serve the Best Dinner Rolls
  5. How to store Homemade Dinner Rolls
  6. Dinner Rolls Recipe FAQs
  7. Homemade Dinner Rolls Recipe Recipe

We’ve got all KINDS of buns going on today. Not just the yeasty kind…

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Ultrasound of baby at 12 weeks.

The baby kind too. ( ^^12 weeks. This was about a month ago.) Here’s the already-waddling oven in which the bun bakes:

First-trimester pregnant mother and daughter.
(And there’s Charlotte at her dance recital last weekend. Isn’t she so cute??)

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.)

Brushing butter on homemade dinner rolls.
Overhead shot of glistening buttery rolls.

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.

Close-up of fluffy dinner roll.

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.)

Dinner roll sliced with butter spread on it thickly.

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.

Dinner rolls in serving dish.

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
  • Milk
  • Kosher salt
  • Butter-flavored shortening (or butter)
  • Egg
  • Flour
  • 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!

Yeast rising in a bowl.
  1. 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!
Showing the consistency that dough should be for dinner rolls.
  1. 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.
Rising dinner roll dough, overflowing its bowl.
  1. Don’t run errands during your one hour rise, because you will be late and this will happen.
Forming dough into rolls.
  1. 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.
Dough formed as dinner rolls.

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.

One dozen dinner rolls rising in pan.
  1. Here’s the spacing situation when you use a 9×13 inch pan.
Beautiful dinner rolls before baking.

This is a 2 quart casserole dish, so the rolls are more squished, but it worked great.

One dozen dinner rolls fresh out of oven before buttering.
  1. 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

How are dinner rolls different from other breads?

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. 

How do you keep dinner rolls soft overnight?

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. 

Why are my dinner rolls not light and fluffy?

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.

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Homemade Dinner Rolls Recipe

4.82 from 32 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Rising Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 2 hours 12 minutes
Servings: 24 Servings
These buttery 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.


  • 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!


*If your yeast mixture is NOT getting foamy, then abandon ship! You killed your yeast with too hot water probably. Better to start over now than wind up with sad flat rolls in 2 hours.
**My aunt’s recipe says to use 4-5 cups of flour, and that’s what I had originally published. Dough is finicky, and how much flour you need to add depends on a lot of different factors. But I consistently use at least 5 cups of flour when I make this, and sometimes up to 6 or even 6 and 1/2 cups, so I’ve changed the recipe to reflect that. You are going to have to use your best judgement here. It should be a very sticky dough, but you do want it to come together. Use the least amount of flour that you can in order to get it to form into a workable dough. 


Serving: 1roll | Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 223mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 101IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Calories: 159
Keyword: Dinner Rolls
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. 5 stars
    Yum, turned out pretty good… I feel like they need just a smidge more salt but otherwise very very good recipe thank you!

  2. I can’t knead have arthritis can I use the dough setting on my bread machine for first rise then take out let rise second time

  3. These are the best! I have tried several dinner roll recipes and to date, the Parker House Dinner rolls were my family’s favorite. Tried this recipe and it is our new favorite. Have made them for guests and everyone asks for the recipe before they leave. I find the shortening makes the rolls just a bit flakier, and you are right that the less flour you use the better. 5 cups seems to be the right amount for me. I also use my mixer the entire recipe. SO SO DELISH! Thank you . These rolls are a permanent menu item any time we have special dinner.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe Janice! I agree about the shortening, it’s the best ingredient for rolls! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

    1. Hi Katelyn! After shaping the rolls, flash freeze on a pan for an hour or two then toss in a bag. Take them out and line them up in the pan you want to bake in. Let thaw covered for about 1-2 hours, then rise for another hour. Just wait until they are doubled in size before popping in the oven. Enjoy!

    1. Yes you can Pamala! Flash freeze on a pan for an hour or two then toss in a bag. Take them out and line them up in the pan you want to bake in. Let thaw covered for about 1-2 hours, then rise for another hour. Just wait until they are doubled in size before popping in the oven. Enjoy!

    1. Hooray! So glad we are in agreement Karen. We have so many things in common! ;) Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  4. I have made this recipe 2 times. Everyone loved them. I love using them to make small sandwiches in my toaster oven. They practically melt in your mouth. Thank you Aunt Shirley for sharing your recipe. 

    1. Ooh I would love to turn these rolls into sliders! That sounds so good! Thanks for sharing the idea Jannifer!

  5. Made these tonight after trying many other recipes and by golly these things were the best I used 3 1/2 cups flour and a smidge more sugar ❤️ Thank you so much
    Sass n Frass Boutique 

    1. i’m so glad you loved them Marissa!! A little more sugar never hurt anybody :) Thanks for reviewing!!

    2. I am making these rolls along with your roast recipe and mashed potatoes I was wondering how long in advance should I make them do that they are warm and done about the same time as my roast? I just put the roast on 

      1. Hi Brittany! I would start these about 2-3 hours before your roast is going to finish! Sounds like my favorite meal of all time that you’re putting together… Enjoy!

  6. I know it maybe my bad, I didn’t read past all the advertisements! You have the flour in the recipe half of what you say in notes at the very very end of this recipe! Cut it by one cup maybe but in half! I’ve never seen a anyone do that! I hope they turn out good because now of day’s money is harder to come by! 🥴😡

    1. Hey Becky! I’m sorry you were confused! I’ve updated the recipe to make it more clear. Thanks for your feedback!

  7. This is the closest recipe that I could find to my church’s recipe. I used 1/4 cup of honey instead of the white sugar and real butter instead of Crisco and the recipe came out like our old church dinner! Thank you so much!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that Lois! It’s so nice when you are able to recreate beloved old recipes! Love the honey and butter substitutions, I’ll have to try it out. Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Hello :) ,
    I love your blog its wonderful with all kinds of ideas for me to plan the upcoming holidays, so thank you. I was looking for recipes in google and I came across of the name “Charlatan”. Got my attention right away because in my native country that means a person is very talkative. When I was little my Mom some times use to call me that when I got too talkative :)
    I will definitely do the rolls, and I hope mine looks just like the picture :)
    Thanks again!

    1. Very talkative!! Haha, I have not heard that before! What country are you from? That is so funny! And also an apt description for me, in addition to being somewhat of a fake in the kitchen ;) Let me know how the rolls go Nanci! Thanks for the comment!

  9. My rolls did not turn out with the texture pictured and I’m not sure what I did wrong. They were not soft and fluffy inside like I wanted; the texture was more like bread. I didn’t have a scale so every roll wasn’t exactly the same size. The rolls tasted fine, but not what I hoped they would be. I was hoping I could make them for Thanksgiving, so I may give them one more try. Otherwise I guess I’ll have to buy them at the grocery store.

    1. Hi Mary! I’m so sorry you weren’t happy with the rolls! These rolls should definitely be soft and tender and fluffy on the inside. I’m not sure what went wrong because I wasn’t in the kitchen with you. I hope they turn out next time!

  10. Hi! Just wondering if it is possible to use any substitutes for the sugar? Could I replace the two teaspoons and also 1/3 cup with honey? Thanks!

  11. Is this the same dough that is used for Shirley’s beyond heavenly sweet rolls? Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hi KC! I’m not sure what Shirley’s beyond heavenly sweet rolls are? I know my aunt does use this dough for her cinnamon rolls.

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