Classic Soft Dinner Rolls

Difficulty Medium

Can I introduce you to the fluffiest dinner rolls ever? Shiny tops. Sweet, tender interior. The Classic Soft Dinner Rolls of your dreams. Make this crowd-pleasing favorite side dish for dinner or any holiday meal!

Classic Soft Dinner Rolls

Everyone needs a good recipe for Classic Soft Dinner Rolls.

You know the ones I’m talking about. Soft and fluffy rolls that are impossibly light and airy. The ones that pull apart easily with wispy, shaggy ends. And are irresistibly rich and flavorful.

A good homemade dinner roll tastes good with just about everything. And often steals the show at dinnertime. You can’t help but want to keep eating. Just one more roll. YUM!!

The texture of these Classic Soft Dinner Rolls is reminiscent of Japanese Milk Bread. Or the soft and fluffy buns you eat at Hong Kong-style diners — a little sweet with eggy richness.

No more dense, rock-hard dinner rolls on the table! Instead, make moist and fluffy buns that tear apart with ease. Lots of milk, butter, and eggs create a sticky, wet batter. And rich, deep flavor. For soft and poofy dinner rolls you cannot resist!

The portion is quite large — perfect for a holiday meal or potluck. Or for large family gatherings. Freeze leftovers to preserve that soft and fluffy texture.

Ethereal, dreamy, airy, and light — these Classic Soft Dinner Rolls will become your new forever favorite!

soft dinner rolls on a plate with hands

Ingredients:

  • Flour, Sugar, Salt. The dry ingredients.
  • Milk, Butter, Eggs. The wet ingredients. Adds richness, fat, and deep flavor to the dough. Whole, 2%, or 1% milk works best; I don’t recommend skim milk.
  • Instant Yeast. Two kinds of yeast are available at the grocery store: Instant Yeast and Active Yeast. Although both can be used for this recipe, I prefer instant yeast for all my recipes. Instant yeast doesn’t need to be activated or proofed by water first — simply add to dry ingredients. If using active yeast, make sure to activate or proof by sprinkling the yeast on top of the liquid (water or milk). Add to dry ingredients only after it’s been activated by liquid first.
  • Egg Wash. A simple addition — right before baking — creates appealingly shiny tops.
hands tearing apart a soft dinner roll

Instructions:

With a Food Processor:

  1. Place dry ingredients in the food processor. With the machine running, slowly pour in wet ingredients. The end result will be a sticky, shaggy ball.

Without a Food Processor:

  1. In a large bowl, add dry ingredients. Whisk until well combined. Make a well or a hold in the center. Add wet ingredients into the hole. Using a stiff spatula, mix until the dough looks like a shaggy, rough dough ball.

Remaining Instructions:

  1. Knead. Transfer dough to a lightly floured, clean counter. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. 1st rise. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large bowl, preventing the dough from sticking to the bottom. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover. Place in a warm, draft-free place until the dough doubles, about 1-2 hours.
  3. Make into rolls. Transfer dough onto a clean counter. Using a dough scraper or knife, divide into 32 pieces. (I cut the ball into half and then into quarters. There should be 4 quarters in all. Cut 8 balls out of each quarter for 32 pieces.) Roll each piece into a ball. Place in a greased 9×13″ baking pan.
  4. 2nd rise. Cover the baking pan with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, drafty-free place until the rolls are soft, fluffy and doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.
  5. Egg wash. In a small bowl, whisk one egg. Right before baking, brush the egg wash on the tops of the rolls.
  6. Bake. Transfer baking pan into a 350F oven. The rolls are done when they are golden and puffy with shiny tops, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

PRO Tips:

  • Create an ideal rising environment. To create a warm, draft-free area for the dough to rise, preheat the oven to 175F. Once it reaches the temperature, turn off the heat. Store covered dough in this warm, draft-free area.
  • Butter the 9×13 pan. For easier removal. Otherwise, the rolls will stick to the sides.
  • Check the yeast. Yeast is tricky and easy to kill. To make sure it’s alive and active, sprinkle on top of lukewarm water. After 5 minutes, it should be foamy and bloated looking. That tells you the yeast is alive!

Special Equipment:

  • 9×13″ pan. A multi-functional baking pan. Choose one that looks good on the table, to make transferring from the oven to the table easier.
  • Food processor. Not necessary but makes the process easier. Make sure it can hold at least 8 cups of ingredients.
  • Large Bowl. The dough will rise enormously. Use the biggest bowl you have.
  • Cover. Cover the bowl tightly while it rises. Using a cover will ensure a tough skin will not develop on top of the dough. It will also create a humid, moisture-filled environment that’s good for the dough as it rises. Good covers: plastic wrap, a stock pot lid, or a silicone cover . A towel does not work well, as air can flow through to create a skin on the surface of the dough.
  • Pastry cutter. Not necessary but handy for cutting easing into the dough. You can also use a knife if you don’t have it.
  • Pastry brush. For the egg wash at the end. I prefer silicone over a boar brush because it’s dishwasher friendly and you don’t have to worry about bristles that fall into the food.

Serve with:

smearing jam on a soft dinner roll

FAQ:

Can I halve the recipe?

Yes, absolutely! This recipe makes a large amount. To make a smaller portion, halve all the ingredients and bake in an 8×8″ square or 9″ cake pan instead.

Can I freeze Soft Dinner Rolls?

Yes, there are two ways to freeze soft dinner rolls — after they are baked OR before they are baked.

AFTER they are baked, cool completely. Then transfer to a ziploc baggie and store in the freezer. They should stay good for 1-2 months. To reheat, bake in a 350F oven until soft and warmed through.

BEFORE they are baked, roll into balls and place inside the 9×13″ pan. Cover tightly with saran wrap and transfer to the freezer. When ready to bake, simply remove from the freezer and let stand at room temperature until defrosted and puffy, about 1-2 hours. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes, as per usual.

Help! My dough won’t rise!

Working with yeast is notoriously tricky. If your dough is not rising, it’s probably because of the yeast. Some common problems:

  • Old, dead yeast. To determine if your yeast is active and alive, sprinkle on top of warm water. After 5 minutes, it should be foamy and bloated. That tells you its alive. If not, it’s time to buy new yeast!
  • Over-heated yeast. To make sure you’re not accidentally killing the yeast, add lukewarm liquid (110F).
  • Yeast that’s in a cold, drafty area will be slow to rise. Cover tightly and transfer to an oven that’s been preheated to 175F. Don’t forget to turn off the oven though — you only need the residual heat! And be patient — the suggested time for rising depends on many factors and can range from 1-2 hours.

More Side Dish Inspiration:

More recipes with yeast:

baking pan full of brown, shiny dinner rolls

Classic Soft Dinner Rolls

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
The softest, fluffiest dinner rolls. The BEST side dish, hands down! Make a big 9×13" pan and enjoy Classic Soft Dinner Rolls for dinner or any holiday meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rising Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Bread, Side
Cuisine American
Servings 32 small rolls
Calories 118 kcal

Equipment

  • Food processor (optional)
  • 9×13" Baking Pan
  • Large Bowl
  • Cover — plastic saran wrap, stock pot lid, or silicone cover
  • Bench Scraper (or knife)

Ingredients
  

Dry Ingredients:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp (instant) yeast *see note below if using active yeast

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup milk, warm (whole, 2%, 1% all work; I don't recommend skim milk)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg, beaten well

Instructions
 

Food Processor Instructions:

  • Attach the dough blade to a food processor. Place dry ingredients in the bowl: flour, sugar, salt, instant yeast (if using active yeast, see note below).
  • Combine wet ingredients in a large measuring cup: milk, eggs, butter. (A 2 cup measuring cup will be very full. A 4 cup measuring cup is better, but not everyone has one.) As the machine runs, carefully pour the wet ingredients in a slow and steady stream until a rough ball forms. Let dough rest 2 minutes. Then pulse for 30 seconds more. The dough will be sticky and rough looking.

Regular Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, add dry ingredients. Whisk until well combined. Make a well or a hold in the center. Add wet ingredients into the hole. Using a stiff spatula, mix until the dough looks like a shaggy, rough dough ball.

Remaining Instructions:

  • Knead. Transfer dough ball to a clean, lightly floured counter. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes.
  • 1st Rise. Transfer to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap, lid, or silicone cover. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  • Make into rolls. Transfer dough onto a clean counter. Using a dough scraper or knife, divide into 32 pieces. (I cut the ball into half and then into quarters. There should be 4 quarters in all. Cut 8 balls out of each quarter for 32 pieces.) Roll each piece into a ball. Place in a greased 9×13" baking pan. They can be lightly touching each other.
  • 2nd Rise. Cover the rolls and until fluffy and doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven. While the rolls are rising for a 2nd time, preheat the oven at 350F.
  • Egg wash. Right before baking, brush each the dinner rolls with egg wash.
  • Bake. Bake until the rolls are golden and the tops are shiny and brown, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Notes

*1 To mix the dough by hand, combine wet ingredients in a large measuring cup and sprinkle yeast on top. Let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast dissolves and foams. Place remaining dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add wet ingredients. With a spatula, mix wet and dry ingredients together until shaggy. Dump onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes.
*2. ACTIVE YEAST — If using active yeast in the food processor, I suggest blooming the yeast in the warm liquid first. Then pour it into the flour mixture while the food processor runs. Make sure to scrape down all the liquid yeast mixture with a small spatula.
*3 The dough is very sticky. Feel free to sprinkle the dough ball and kneading surface with flour from time to time if it gets too sticky.
**Yeast is finicky. There are many ways to kill yeast. Yeast can also die if it’s too old. To determine if your yeast is still active, sprinkle a small amount (a pinch) over warm water. If it foams, it’s still good. If it doesn’t foam, then you may need to get a new batch.

Nutrition

Serving: 1rollCalories: 118kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 3gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 179mgPotassium: 53mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 129IUVitamin C: 0.003mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Dinner Rolls, Soft
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2 Comments

  1. Lis, can you freeze these? They look delicious, but not sure that my family of little ones could finish a whole pan at once and unfortunately company is out of the question right now.. ๐Ÿ™

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