When nothing but homemade bread will do, try these easy Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls. They are perfect at your holiday table, piled with any kind of meat, or on the side of Sunday Supper.

A pan of soft yeast dinner rolls with a side of butter.
Table of Contents
  1. Ingredient notes
  2. Step-by-step instructions
  3. Recipe tips and variations
  4. Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls Recipe

Ingredient notes

  • Active dry yeast: Sold in little packets or jars at the store in the baking aisle. If you already have some, make sure it’s active and hasn’t expired. If you buy the jar, store it indefinitely in the freezer after opening.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. To activate (bloom) the yeast, pour the warm water over the yeast in a small bowl and let it soften for 5 minutes.
Yeast blooming in warm water and sugar in a glass bowl.
  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the dough hook, add the flour, salt, sugar, dry milk powder, butter, and egg. Turn the motor on low and slowly drizzle the yeast mixture over the ingredients. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and mix the dough until shiny and smooth, about 10 minutes.
Bread dough on a dough hook in a standing mixer.
  1. Turn the dough out onto a dry surface and shape into a ball. Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Dough before and after proofing.
  1. After the first rise, punch down the dough, let it rest for a few more minutes, and turn it out onto a clean, dry work surface. Cut the dough into four equal portions. Divide each of this portions further into eight small portions. Each ball of dough should be about 1 ¼ ounce each.
Irresistible, easy Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls may seem like a lot of work, but they're anything but, thanks to your stand mixer and a dough hook.
  1. Roll each of the small portions of dough into a ball. Shape each portion into a round ball by gently pushing and rolling the palm of your hand in a circular motion against the countertop. Place the rolls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
Irresistible, easy Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls may seem like a lot of work, but they're anything but, thanks to your stand mixer and a dough hook.
  1. Let the dough rise in a warm place until the rolls have doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Brush the rolls with a beaten egg was.
An overhead shot of 20 unbaked soft yeast dinner rolls on a baking sheet.
  1. Bake them for 18 to 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven.
Baked soft yeast dinner rolls on a baking sheet.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Blooming yeast: In this recipe, you add yeast to 1-½ cups lukewarm water (110-115 degrees). At the end of 5-10 minutes, the yeast should look foamy. If it does not, the yeast isn’t alive and should be discarded. Yeast activates at 40 degrees and dies at 140 degrees.
  • Proofing the doughTurn your oven on to the lowest temperature it will go, usually 200 degrees. Once it reaches 110 degrees, turn the oven off. Place the dough in the oven and close the door. Opening the oven door will lower the heat a bit, and that’s okay (you’re aiming for 75 to 85 degrees).
  • Make ahead: Store cooled rolls in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days at room temperature, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Freezer: Place on a baking sheet or plate and put in the freezer until frozen solid. Transfer the individually-frozen rolls to a freezer-safe plastic bag, then bag again (I like the double-bag method for best results). Freeze for up to one month. Thaw for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Delicious main dishes

Soft yeast dinner rolls on a baking sheet.

Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls

When nothing but homemade bread will do, try these easy Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls. They are perfect at your holiday table, piled with any kind of meat, or on the side of Sunday Supper.
5 from 2 votes
Cook Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Servings 32 rolls
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Calories 104

Ingredients 

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (2 packets, see note 1)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water 110-115 degrees
  • 5 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry milk powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened (½ stick)
  • 1 large egg
  • Egg wash (1 whole egg + 1 tablespoon water whisked together)

Instructions 

  • Soften (bloom) the yeast in warm water for 5 minutes.
  • In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, salt, sugar, dry milk powder, butter, and egg. With the motor running on low, slowly drizzle in the yeast mixture.
  • Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until shiny and smooth, about 10 minutes.
  • Turn out the dough onto a dry surface and shape into a ball. Place into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees, see notes) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Punch down the dough and allow to rest a few minutes for the gluten to relax.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Turn out the dough onto a dry surface. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into 4 equal portions and then divide those into 8 equal portions (about 1 ¼ oz each). Shape each portion into a round ball by pushing and turning the palm of your hand in a circular motion against the countertop and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  • Cover the shaped rolls with a clean kitchen towel and place the baking sheets on top of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and proof the shaped rolls until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  • Gently brush the tops with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Serve warm or allow to cool, place in Ziplock bags, and freeze for another night.

Notes

  1. Active dry yeast: Sold in little packets or jars at the store in the baking aisle. If you already have some, make sure it’s active and hasn’t expired. If you buy the jar, store it indefinitely in the freezer after opening.
  2. Blooming yeast: In this recipe, you add yeast to 1-½ cups lukewarm water (110-115 degrees). At the end of 5-10 minutes, the yeast should look foamy. If it does not, the yeast isn’t alive and should be discarded. Yeast activates at 40 degrees and dies at 140 degrees.
  3. Proofing the doughTurn your oven on to the lowest temperature it will go, usually 200 degrees. Once it reaches 110 degrees, turn the oven off. Place the dough in the oven and close the door. Opening the oven door will lower the heat a bit, and that’s okay (you’re aiming for 75 to 85 degrees).
  4. Make ahead: Store cooled rolls in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days at room temperature, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  5. Freezer: Place on a baking sheet or plate and put in the freezer until frozen solid. Transfer the individually-frozen rolls to a freezer-safe plastic bag, then bag again (I like the double-bag method for best results). Freeze for up to one month. Thaw for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 104kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 4gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 223mgPotassium: 44mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 56IUCalcium: 8mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

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Comments

  1. I have always had bad results with making yeast bread. It rises to much or not at all, to sweet or not enough sweetness (I know its me). But I have {at 70 years old) decided to try again. Since I cook gourmet with no problem, I needed instructions like your post to help me. I look forward to letting you know how it turns out.5 stars

  2. Hi Meggan, these rolls look delicious and I like that they are relatively simple to make. I’m curious though what the purpose of the dried milk powder is. Can it be left out without substantially changing the rolls? I don’t keep dried milk in my pantry and am hesitant to buy it when only one tablespoon is needed. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

    1. By the name and picture of your rolls, I must have done something wrong. Mine were hard as rock straight from the oven. Admittedly, I did put them in muffin cups. I baked them as instructed for only 15 of the 18-20 minutes instructions. But, I baked them in my daughters fancy oven. (Was it calibrated correctly?) I sifted the flour before measuring, so it wasn’t too much flour. So has anyone else had this problem or is it just me, a retired Home Economics Teacher?

    2. Hi Marie, this is our dinner roll recipe from culinary school and we made it for so many dinner services (thousands and thousands of these rolls). But you have some experience cooking so I don’t walk to chalk it off to your mistakes. I think it’s probably a case of, recipes that get baked in muffin tins are different than this one. I looked at a few like that and they have different ingredients and ratios. And, the baking time is shorter (the most popular recipe recommends 9-12 minutes baking time). So, I think if I were going to be baking my recipe in a muffin tin, for which it has never been tested, I would be very cautious and attentive. As I’m sure you know, baking is a science, not an art, and you cannot just make random changes (like changing the vessel in which a recipe is made) and accurately predict what might happen on the first attempt. So, I think they were probably baked too long for starters, and for another the recipe might just be totally wrong for a muffin tin (could be a difference in hydration or just the combination of ingredients). I’m really sorry you had troubles. If we get a chance to spend some time with this recipe, we can try to see how it would be modified to work in a muffin tin. Thank you. -Meggan