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Dinner Roll Recipe

4.8 from 5 votes

posted: 10/21/22

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Dinner Rolls that come together in about an hour are basically magic. These homemade dinner rolls are easy to make, light and fluffy, and perfect for weeknight dinners or holiday meals!

an oval baking dish with a cloth napkin and then piled high with dinner rolls

Dinner Rolls are a staple for any holiday meal, but with this easy recipe that comes together in just an hour, you will make them far more often. Even a completely inexperienced baker will be able to make these amazing rolls with confidence.

My friend Rebecca Lindamood from Foodie with Family wrote a book a year or two ago. It is full of delicious bread recipes. The title makes me love her more than I already did, if that’s possible. “Ready, Set, Dough!” is full of so many amazing recipes you will have trouble picking just one.

This recipe for dinner rolls came out of the first section of her book that are all breads made in about an hour. They are perfect for the holiday season and after my husband had one bite he declared them the new go to in our house. And then my kids vacuumed up the rest.

overhead photo of the cookbook, "ready, set, dough"

Ingredients for Homemade Rolls

I love that the ingredients for this dinner roll recipe are always on hand in my house. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post to get all of the measurements.

  • All Purpose Flour: Read below on my tips for measuring flour correctly.
  • Instant Yeast: Read below on the difference between this and dry yeast. You will want to be sure to use the correct one in this recipe.
  • Sugar: The small amount of sugar in this recipe gives the rolls a hint of sweetness without making them sweet and helps the yeast grow.
  • Salt: I use kosher salt in this recipe. If you want to use table salt, I would recommend starting with about half the amount the first time you make this.
  • Unsalted Butter: If you use salted, you will want to trim the amount of salt in this recipe as well.
overhead photo of a jar with flour, a bowl with sugar, a bowl with yeast, a bowl with kosher salt, and a stick of butter

Measuring Flour for Homemade Dinner Rolls

Just with any baking recipe, we want to be mindful of how we measure flour so that we don’t use too much. Following these steps will ensure your flour does not pack and you have the correct amount.

  1. Whisk the flour. In whatever container you store your flour, give it a light whisk to loosen it up.
  2. Grab a dry measuring cup. These are the cups that are made out of metal and plastic and aren’t see through.
  3. Spoon the flour from the container it is stored in into the measuring cup. Do not use the measuring cup as a scoop.
  4. Level the flour off with the flat edge of a spatula.

The Difference Between Instant and Active Dry Yeast

The major difference between instant and active dry yeast is in their proofing. Both need warm water and food for the yeast to feed off of (like sugar) to grow. But instant yeast can be thrown in with the other dry ingredients and allowed to rise. Active dry yeast needs proofing time on it’s own in warm water before it is added to the recipe.

You can read more about the differences between the two here.

For this recipe you want to use instant yeast. This recipe will work with active dry yeast, but you will find that it creates a more dense dinner roll. You will enjoy this recipe much more if you use instant yeast.


Instant Read Thermometer

Quickly ensure that the temperature of your water is correct for growing yeast with this great thermometer.
Product Image

How to Make Easy Dinner Rolls

These homemade dinner rolls come together so quickly. Even a novice baker can tackle this recipe.

Start by combining flour, dry yeast, sugar, salt, and warm water in a bowl. Just like in my pizza dough recipe, the key is to make sure the water is hot enough to activate the yeast but not so hot that it kills it. I loved using a thermometer when I started baking. You can see it linked above.

Use a stiff wooden spoon to stir it until a shaggy dough forms. It should look like this.

an overhead picture of a bowl of dough just starting to come together

Now use your hands to form it into a nice smooth dough ball on your clean counter top. This should take about four minutes. It will seem like it’s not happening, like you need more water. You don’t! Hang in there.

It should look like this.

an overhead picture of a smooth ball of dough to be made into homemade rolls

Now let it rest and rise in a nice warm place for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces. (Do your best, they will taste great even if not perfectly equal.) To form the pieces into balls, gently tuck the edges of the piece underneath, working your way around until it forms a nice smooth ball.

Place the 20 dough balls into four rows of five, evenly spaced in a greased 9 by 13 inch pan. The pan you see here is my very favorite for baking.

an overhead picture of a metal 9 by 13 inch baking dish filled with 20 dough balls for easy dinner rolls

Put the prepared pan of dinner roll dough balls into a cold oven. Put a rimmed baking sheet with hot water in it underneath the dough. Turn the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 35 minutes. (That is right, we are not preheating it.)

After 35 minutes, remove the rolls, brush with 1/4 cup melted butter. Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy.

an overhead picture of baked dinner rolls in a metal baking dish resting on a wire rack


I find it unlikely that these won’t all disappear as quickly as you made them.

That said, you can store these rolls for up to three days in an airtight container. They taste best in the first 24 hours, but my kids were still devouring them 3 days later.

a hand holding an easy dinner roll with the rest of the pan blurred in the background


Why are my dinner rolls not light and fluffy?

Most likely the culprit is too much flour. Be sure that you are measuring the flour correctly (see my section above) and also make sure not to add more in step two.

Another possibility is that you used the wrong type of yeast. Read the differences in instant yeast vs. dry yeast here: The Difference Between Instant and Active Dry Yeast.

What is the best flour for making dinner rolls?

All purpose flour. Flours vary a great deal in the amount of protein they have depending on the type of flour it is. This recipe calls for all purpose flour and you shouldn’t use a substitute (like bread flour).

Can I make dinner roll dough the night before?

This recipe should only be made the night before if you are going to bake it completely first and then store them in an air tight container after they have cooled.

Can these dinner rolls be made gluten free?

This recipe has not been tested with gluten free flour. If you make this gluten free, please be sure to use flour that is meant to replace all purpose flour one for one.

side view of a pan full of a dinner roll recipe, baked and golden brown on the top

Making Sliders Using this Recipe

This is a great recipe to use to make sliders! Allow the buns to cool completely. Then using a serrated knife, gently cut through the whole batch at once.

I have a few slider recipes that would be great for this.

If you make this dinner rolls recipe for your holidays, leave me a comment and let me know! I love knowing that my recipes are part of your holiday traditions.

side view of a pan full of a dinner roll recipe, baked and golden brown on the top
4.8 from 5 votes

Dinner Rolls

Serves: 20 rolls
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Dinner Rolls that come together in about an hour are basically magic. These homemade dinner rolls are easy to make, light and fluffy, and perfect for weeknight dinners or holiday meals!


  • 6 cups all purpose flour 1 lb 9.5 ounces (or 723 grams) by weight
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast 24 grams (read more about yeast here)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar 25 grams
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt if using table salt, reduce to 1 1/2 teaspoons (9 grams)
  • 2 cups warm water (about 120 degrees F or 50 degrees C)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted and divided (120 ml)


  • In a large bowl, mix the flour yeast, sugar, slat, water, and 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the melted butter together using a stiff wooden spoon until a shaggy dough begins to form. (See photo in the blog post.)
  • Continue to knead the dough by hand (or using a machiene) until it becaomes smooth. It will seem as though it is not coming together and then it will! This will take about four minutes.
  • Return the dough ball to the bowl and cover with a clean towel and let rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.
  • Spray a 9 by 13 inch with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces. Roll the dough into balls by gently pulling the edges of the dough down and tucking it under the bottom. Turn the dough 1/4 turn and continue this process until you've made a dough ball.
  • Place the dough balls into the pan with the tucked side down. You should have four rows of five that are evenly spaced in the pan.
  • Place the pan of prepared rolls into a cold oven on the middle rack. Place a rimmed baking sheet that has hot tap water below it. Close the oven and set the temperature to 400 (200 C). Bake for 35 minutes.
  • Remove the rolls from the oven and brush generously with the remaining 1/4 cup melted butter. Place the pan on a wire cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before serving the rolls. To use the rolls for sliders, allow them to cool compltely.
Serving: 1roll Calories: 181kcal (9%) Carbohydrates: 28g (9%) Protein: 4g (8%) Fat: 5g (8%) Saturated Fat: 3g (19%) Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 12mg (4%) Sodium: 169mg (7%) Potassium: 13mg Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 30g (33%) Vitamin A: 39IU (1%) Calcium: 1mg
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
side view of a pan full of a dinner roll recipe, baked and golden brown on the top

did you make this

Dinner Rolls

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


    Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you & seeing what you made!

    Rate This Recipe:

  1. Kathy Carpenter says

    5 stars
    Love ur website, I’ve gotten so many great recipes from it, the best part is that their so easy, and delicious,will definitely keep on enjoying them.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Thank you so much Kathy! I hope you have a great holiday season!

  2. Bonnie says

    When you say to put the dough in a warm place, where would that be? How warm does it have to be?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I just did it on my counter top, but made sure that it wasn’t next to the cold window since I live in the frigid midwest.

  3. Karen says

    Hi, Lisa– Could you tell me whether this recipe can be halved or, if not, whether the rolls will freeze well? Also, I see that the recipe calls for sugar. Do the rolls taste sweet, and, if so, can they be made successfully by cutting out some of the sugar?



    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Karen! Yes, it should work fine to cut the recipe in half. I haven’t tried freezing these rolls but I think it would be fine. The rolls do not taste sweet, I do not recommend taking out the sugar as it works in conjunction with the yeast.

  4. Sherrie says

    These were simple but my oven browned the tops too much should I foil them

    • Lisa Longley says

      It definitely depends on your oven. If you can’t put them on a lower rack, you might want to foil them for the last 10 minutes of the recipe.

  5. Sharon says

    Came together quickly with dough hook in mixer. A little dense. Wonder if I rushed the first rise ( only made half recipe)
    Any suggestions for more soft & fluffy rolls.

  6. Sharon says

    4 stars
    I made half recipe & was on time crunch so I put in warm bowl on warmer on stove top. Wonder if I rushed the ride as the rolls are not very light.
    Willing to keep trying.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Sharon! So I’m wondering if the time crunch plus the dough hook is what did it. The dough hook might have over mixed them and then they might not have had enough rise time.

  7. Earlyne says

    Hi! I am definitely not a baker but I had an inkling to make rolls for supper. I swear this recipe is the simplest recipe I have ever made! Thank you so much for posting it. I must say, I had some outdated yeast in the fridge, was scared the buns wouldn’t rise, well, they certainly did! Also I wasn’t sure if unsalted or salted butter was used in your recipe but I only had salted so therefore left out the salt called for. I was going to add a bit but forgot to. This recipe is so so easy and will be my go to bun recipe from now on. Thanks again for making my day! 💞

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so happy that you liked them!

  8. Karen says

    5 stars
    Love it 😊

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m glad to hear it, Karen!

  9. CarolLynne says

    Place a rimmed baking sheet that has hot tap water below it.?? I don’t understand this…how can I have hot water below it without dough getting wet? This does not make sense to me

    • Lisa Longley says

      You are placing the rolls in a baking dish, such as this one: https://amzn.to/3Eym2Dj. That goes on the middle rack of the oven once the rolls are in it. Then you put a rimmed baking sheet, like this one: https://amzn.to/3U02bCH on the lower rack. They are on two separate racks of the oven, so they don’t ever touch.

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners