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Easy Fluffy One Hour Dinner Rolls

Yields 12 rolls     adjust servings

Super easy, fluffy dinner rolls done in ONE hour! And no instant yeast necessary, regular active dry yeast is what I use. These rolls are soft and pillowy and full of buttery flavor! This is my favorite recipe to make for dinner on a weeknight because it is so easy to put together!


  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast*
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, to activate yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 tablespoon butter, to grease pan
  • 1 tablespoon butter, to top finished rolls


  1. To proof the yeast: In a small bowl or coffee mug, add 3 tablespoons warm water. It should be lukewarm but not hot. It should feel like pleasant bathwater and not sting your finger at all. If you want to get technical, it should be between 105-110 degrees F. 
  2. Add 1 tablespoon yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar and stir. Let this mixture sit for 5 minutes. The yeast should dissolve and start to bubble.**
  3. To make the dough: Meanwhile, in a large bowl or stand mixer, add 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 3 tablespoons shortening, and 1 cup of the flour called for in the recipe. 
  4. In a glass measuring cup, microwave 3/4 cup milk in 30 second increments until it is warm but not hot, the same temperature as the water. Add it to the flour mixture.
  5. Stir together with a wooden spoon or beat with the paddle attachment. (I actually just use my hand to stir using the dough attachment because I'm a weirdo and don't like getting 2 attachments dirty.)
  6. At this point the yeast should be dissolved and bubbly. Add it to the flour mixture.
  7. Add 1 large egg and beat well until combined.
  8. Add the remaining flour in increments, mixing in between. You might not need all the flour, and you might need a bit more. Bread is finicky like that. Use your best judgment to continue adding flour until the dough is smooth and soft, but still sticky. It will not pull away from the sides of the bowl completely. You need to add enough flour so that the dough comes together, but the less flour you use, the more tender your rolls will turn out. See photos.
  9. Once all the flour is incorporated, use the dough attachment to knead the dough for 5 minutes. (If you are doing this by hand, you will need to knead for about 8 minutes on a floured work surface.) The dough is still quite sticky at this point. See photos. 
  10. Scrape the dough onto a well floured work surface, shape into a ball, and cover with your grandmother's 90 year old tea towel. (Or any tea towel will do I suppose). Let rest 5-10 minutes.
  11. To prepare the pan/skillet: Meanwhile, turn your oven on 375 degrees F. It's only going to be on for 2-3 minutes.
  12. Add 1 tablespoon butter to a 10-inch cast iron skillet OR a 9x13 inch baking pan. Place in the preheating oven until the butter is melted and the skillet/pan is hot. Turn the oven off. Use a pastry brush to swirl the butter around to coat the interior, making sure you grease the sides. Leave the pan in the hot oven until you are ready to shape your rolls.
  13. To shape the rolls: Press down the resting dough and get out any air bubbles. Divide the dough in halves until you have 12 equal pieces (They should be about 2 ounces each if you want to measure.) Shape each piece into a roll shape by rounding the dough with your fingers on one side, then bring them around to pinch the dough on the other side. See photos. Place in the hot pan/skillet, pinched side down. There should be a little bit of space between each roll.
  14. Cover the rolls with a tea towel. Open your turned-off oven and gauge the temperature. It should be warm but not too hot. If you can put your finger on the rack without burning yourself, then put your covered rolls in the oven and shut the door. If the rack is too hot to touch, place the rolls in the oven but leave the door open so that it continues cooling off a bit. We don't want the rolls baking yet. 
  15. Leave the rolls in the warm oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from the oven (place on top of the oven or in another warm place to continue rising) and preheat the oven back up to 375 degrees F. 
  16. Let the oven preheat and the rolls continue rising for another 10-15 minutes. The rolls should have doubled in size, and the total rising time after the rolls have been shaped should be at least 25 minutes.
  17. Remove the towel and bake the rolls at 375 for about 12 minutes. The tops should be a deep golden brown all across the top. A thermometer should read at least 190 degrees at the center of a roll. 
  18. Remove the rolls from the oven and immediately melt 1 tablespoon of butter on top of the rolls, using a pastry brush to spread it around.
  19. Let the rolls set for about 5 minutes before digging in! Eat with lots of melty butter! Or even better, this Cinnamon Honey Butter!