The Best Yeast Rolls Recipe

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Remember late nights at a sketchy diner with friends, gossiping about the bar you were just at, tucking in to all kinds of greasy foods to sop up all the sins… and the best part is always those fluffy, perfect diner-style yeast rolls they bring out first?

Yeah… these easy baked rolls will bring you right back there – foil-wrapped butter not included.

picture of yeast roll stacked in a pile
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picture of yeast roll with butter on it

Easy Baked Yeast Rolls

These rolls are perfect for the holidays, they’re light, fluffy and buttery, but have enough structure to eat at your meal, and serve as buns for leftover sandwiches!

Once you get the hang of yeast rolls these will be your go-to rolls. Follow my step-by-step instructions for perfect rolls every time!

Serve these rolls with Easy Bacon Butter Spread, or with Perfect Spatchcocked Turkey, Perfect Creamy Mashed Potatoes, and Classic Green Bean Casserole for Thanksgiving, or with The Best Easy Prime Rib, Perfectly Broiled Lobster Tails, and The Best French Onion Soup for Christmas!

These rolls are light, soft, and great for sandwiches – they are incredibly delicious and don’t require any special equipment or baking experience.

picture of yeast roll with butter on it

How To Make Yeast Rolls

Yeast rolls are known for their light, pillowy texture and soft feel – they are incredibly simple to prepare, when following steps below in order.

To make this recipe, we will need:

  • Unsalted Butter. Butter gives us a perfect fat content for rolls, allowing the rolls to be light and flaky, with a rich and creamy flavor that is classically comforting.
  • Granulated sugar. Granulated sugar gives a touch of sweetness to dinner rolls without making them too sugary – that iconic diner roll flavor that is just a touch sweet is from a bit of plain white sugar!
  • Kosher salt. Kosher salt has a perfect salty flavor and light crunch, without additional sodium like table salt, making it perfect for baking.
  • Whole milk. For this recipe, we’re relying on the fat content in whole milk and butter to provide a perfect base for bread dough that won’t dry out, and instead give a perfect, moist crumb.
  • Active dry yeast. Since we’re relying on yeast to make these rolls, using the right kind of yeast is critical to get the proper lift, so your rolls are light, airy, and soft. Opt for active dry yeast to get perfectly puffy, never dense yeast rolls.
  • Egg. To give our rolls a bakery-style perfect shine, we’re giving them an egg wash – this helps the top develop a lovely caramelized brown hue and picture-perfect glisten!
  • All-purpose flour. As these rolls rely on yeast for their lift, all purpose flour is perfect for this recipe. Self rising flour will rise too much, and bread flour’s gluten profile will be off.
  • Vegetable oil. Vegetable oil is just used in this recipe to keep your dough from sticking to the bowl as it rises – you can swap for another oil if you prefer (go for something with a neutral flavor profile – olive oil might have too much of a flavor unless you use an incredibly mild olive oil.)
picture of flour, yeast, sugar, egg, water on a table

It is important to follow each step in order so that the dough properly sets up – don’t rush the rise, let the dough rise fully each time as it will get you the perfect texture!

  • Make the dough base and activate yeast.
  • Allow the dough to rise.
  • Punch it down.
  • Measure and weigh balls.
  • Let them rise.
  • BAKE!

The steps are actually pretty simple, but we’re going to outline them in detail below after many requests to do so by readers:

  1. Take half of the butter and slice it as thin as you can, add the slices to the bottom of a stand mixer. Add the sugar and salt to the mixer.
  2. Warm the milk in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave. I like to do this in 15 second intervals. Temp the milk, it should be 105-110°F (do not warm to over 110°F). Pour 1 cup of the warm milk into the bowl with the butter, no need to stir, just let it sit.
  3. Add the yeast to the remaining milk and give it a stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy. Add this mixture to the mixer. Add in the egg and stir everything to combine.
  4. Using the hook attachment, start stirring in the flour 1 cup at a time, scrape down the sides as needed. Do this until you add 3 & ½ cups of flour. Once the mixture resembles a dough, turn the speed to medium-high and start to knead it. If it doesn’t start to clean the sides of the bowl, add a little flour at a time (up to a half cup) until the sides of the bowl are clean, if the dough is still attached at the very bottom of the bowl that’s okay. Knead for 3 minutes.
  1. In a large bowl, add the vegetable oil. Take the dough out of the mixer and add it to the bowl with the oil, turn it around in the oil so it is coated. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
  2. Melt the remaining ¼ cup of butter. Brush a 9×13 baking dish with some of the butter, you will only need a small amount, set aside.
  3. Punch down the dough to release the air bubbles. Divide the dough into 15 sections. I like to weigh the dough then divide by 15 to see how many ounces each roll should be.
  1. Take each dough ball with your hands and stretch it out, tuck the ends of the dough around itself to form a smooth ball and pinch the seams together, gently roll it between your hands to form a ball. Place the ball seam side down into the prepared baking dish, 5 rows of 3 rolls. Cover again with plastic wrap and let them double in size, about 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Take the plastic wrap off the baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and when tapped the rolls sound hollow. Immediately brush the rest of the butter all over the hot rolls. Let cool and serve.
picture of yeast roll stacked in a pile

Tips to Perfect Rolls & FAQs

Light and fluffy, super buttery rolls, simply the best alongside any meal! Follow these tips for a very slightly sweet, perfect dinner roll.

Don’t have a mixer? Do it by hand. You can also stir/knead the dough by hand, you will need more flour to keep your work surface floured. Do steps 1-3 the same way except use a large bowl instead of a stand mixer. Stir the flour in with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed. Then, place the dough on a clean floured work surface and knead the dough by hand for about 3-4 minutes until it is smooth. Go on to the next steps as stated.

Add more flavor! You can add seasoning, cheese, chopped jalapenos, and more directly into the dough before kneading to mix up the flavors!

Make them ahead. Keep any leftovers in an airtight container on the counter for up to 5 days. These freeze beautifully and defrost in the fridge overnight. Warm them for a few minutes in the oven. 

picture of yeast rolls in a baking dish

FAQs

What temperature do you bake yeast rolls at?

Bake yeas rolls in a well preheated oven set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long do yeast rolls bake?

Rolls take about 20-25 minutes to bake.

When are yeast rolls done?

Rolls are done when they are light, airy, and browned on top and sides.

How long do yeast rolls last?

You can store yeast rolls in an airtight container or bread bin for up to five days in a cool, dry place.

picture of soft dinner roll on a plate

Other Side Dishes You’ll Love

If you’re planning a dinner party and looking for other delicious, easy side dishes, find the rest of our easy side dish recipes.

Some of our favorites, like Crispy Roasted Potatoes, Garlic Butter Sausage and Mushroom Stuffing, The Best Easy No Knead Bread, Easy Roasted Beets and Sweets, Mini Sweet Potato Pies, Easy Baked Tomato Pie, and The Best Easy Whole Roasted Cauliflower make for knockout holiday dinner side dishes.

For more delicious easy sides, check out some of our favorite recent recipes below:

You can find the rest of our favorite easy side dishes here.

picture of yeast rolls in a glass dish

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The Best Yeast Rolls Recipe

The Best Yeast Dinner Rolls Recipe are game-changers. Try these fluffy and irresistible rolls for your next family meal!
Course Breads
Cuisine American
Keyword baking, bread, dinner roll, roll, side dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 15 rolls
Calories 138kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter divided
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 & 1/4 cup whole milk divided
  • 2 & 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 3 & ½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Take half of the butter and slice it as thin as you can, add the slices to the bottom of a stand mixer. Add the sugar and salt to the mixer.
  • Warm the milk in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave. I like to do this in 15 second intervals. Temp the milk, it should be 105-110°F (do not warm to over 110°F). Pour 1 cup of the warm milk into the bowl with the butter, no need to stir, just let it sit.
  • Add the yeast to the remaining milk and give it a stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy. Add this mixture to the mixer. Add in the egg and stir everything to combine.
  • Using the hook attachment, start stirring in the flour 1 cup at a time, scrape down the sides as needed. Do this until you add 3 & ½ cups of flour. Once the mixture resembles a dough, turn the speed to medium-high and start to knead it. If it doesn’t start to clean the sides of the bowl, add a little flour at a time (up to a half cup) until the sides of the bowl are clean, if the dough is still attached at the very bottom of the bowl that’s okay. Knead for 3 minutes. 
  • In a large bowl, add the vegetable oil. Take the dough out of the mixer and add it to the bowl with the oil, turn it around in the oil so it is coated. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
  • Melt the remaining ¼ cup of butter. Brush a 9×13 baking dish with some of the butter, you will only need a small amount, set aside.
  • Punch down the dough to release the air bubbles. Divide the dough into 15 sections. I like to weigh the dough then divide by 15 to see how many ounces each roll should be.
  • Take each dough ball with your hands and stretch it out, tuck the ends of the dough around itself to form a smooth ball and pinch the seams together, gently roll it between your hands to form a ball. Place the ball seam side down into the prepared baking dish, 5 rows of 3 rolls. Cover again with plastic wrap and let them double in size, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Take the plastic wrap off the baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and when tapped the rolls sound hollow. Immediately brush the rest of the butter all over the hot rolls. Let cool and serve.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 92mg | Sugar: 4g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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1 Comment

  1. Sue says:

    Great rolls; even greater instructions for a newbie to yeast baking like me. Thank you! I’ll make them again and again.