Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls Recipe

Trying to figure out the best dinner roll recipe for Thanksgiving? 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. Make them on Tuesday and they'll still be soft, pillowy, and ready for butter on Thursday.

Homemade dinner rolls are fantastic filled with the Best Sloppy Joes, or the famous Maid-Rite copycat recipe for Loose Meat Sandwiches. They'd even make a sturdy foundation for Tuna Salad, maybe with a slice of tomato.

A side shot of a pan of soft yeast dinner rolls with a side of butter.
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If you've never learned how to make buns with yeast, roll up your sleeves and get ready to bake up a fluffy new tradition. It's easy...all you need is bread flour, active yeast, and and a handful of pantry ingredients.

Thankfully this soft sweet bun recipe makes 32 rolls, which is great for leftover turkey sandwiches, pulled pork, or baked ham for meals the day after a big feast.

Making Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls for two, or Sunday Supper for 20? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

Is this a no knead dinner roll recipe?

Technically, no. But it is the easiest dinner roll recipe you'll ever make.

Most no-knead soft roll recipes or recipes for homemade rolls without yeast use baking soda or powder. That gives them a denser, biscuit-like texture. Furthermore, no-knead quick rolls don't hold up as well as these do.

Since they're made from scratch dinner rolls, they should stay fluffy and fresh until the last roll gets gobbled up.

Yeast knows how to make bread soft and fluffy, but it requires some labor too. The good news is that the electric mixer takes care of all of that kneading in about ten minutes. They're about as hands-free as you can get.

Once you let the dough rise for one hour, dinner rolls are ready to be portioned, rolled, and baked.

How to make Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls:

  1. First, bloom the yeast. Pour the warm water over the yeast in a small bowl and let it soften for 5 minutes.
  2. Then add the flour, salt, sugar, dry milk powder, butter and egg to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Turn the motor on LOW and slowly drizzle the yeast mixture over the ingredients.
  3. Next, increase the speed of the mixer to MEDIUM and mix the dough until shiny and smooth, about 10 minutes.
  4. That's all there is to it, for kneading. 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. For dinner rolls, one hour.
  5. Once the dough is goes through its first rise in the bowl, you punch it down, 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. Then you can break each of this portions into eight small portions. Each ball of dough should be about 1 1/4 ounce each. It's okay--you can eyeball this.
    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.
  6. Next, gently 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. This might take a little practice!
    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.
  7. One by one, as you perfect the technique, place the rolls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  8. After the dough goes through another short rise in a warm place,  brush the rolls with a beaten egg wash and bake them for 18 to 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven.
    An overhead shot of 20 unbaked soft yeast dinner rolls on a baking sheet.

Can Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls be made ahead of time?

Yes. You can absolutely make these two days before you need them and warm them up just before dinner.

The day before? Make the dough ahead of time, refrigerate it, and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

A week or longer before you need dinner rolls? Freeze them; make the rolls all the way up through the baking step, then let them cool completely. Finally, freeze them in Zip-loc freezer bags.

To reheat frozen dinner rolls, bake them in a low oven until warm.
An overhead shot of 20 baked soft yeast dinner rolls on a baking sheet.

Active dry yeast vs. instant yeast

Unless you're a diehard baker, it's hard enough to find where yeast is in the grocery store, let alone figure out which one to use. (Psst: in the baking aisle, near the flour!)

The difference between the two types of dry yeast is simple: active dry yeast has a larger granule and needs to be dissolved in water before using.

On the other hand, instant yeast, aka bread machine, fast-rising, rapid rise, or quick rise yeast, has a finer texture and can be mixed right into dry ingredients. It's a little more expensive, too. Fortunately you need less instant yeast than active in this recipe.

Only have instant yeast, and need a conversion? 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) = 1 2/3 teaspoons instant yeast

Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls Recipe

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.
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Keyword bread, yeast
Cook Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 32 rolls
Calories 109kcal
  • 4 ½ teaspoons 2 packets Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 ½ cups Warm Water 110-115 degrees
  • 5 ½ cups Bread Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dry Milk Powder
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter softened
  • 1 Egg
  • Egg Wash
  • 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.

Recipe Notes

To create a warm environment ideal for yeast-rising, preheat your oven to its minimum temperature (170 degrees, 200 degrees), but shut it off once the temperature reaches 110 degrees. Place your dough (in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap), on a baking sheet and in the oven. The oven temperature will drop when you open the oven door, but enough residual heat will remain that your dough should steadily rise.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 109kcal

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  1. Barb

    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!

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