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Classic Soft Dinner Rolls

Classic soft dinner rolls: those warm, fluffy rounds of goodness that have graced dinner tables for generations. They’re iconic on American holiday tables and a must-have for all the big feasting days, from Thanksgiving to Christmas to Easter. They may look simple, because, well, they are, but they are loaded with comfort, nostalgia, and flavor in each bite

Bread rolls in a basket on a wooden table.

Why You’ll Love This Dish

The beauty of classic dinner rolls lies in their simplicity and versatility. Soft and fluffy, they go perfectly with a range of dishes, from hearty roasted meats and stews to lighter salads and steaming bowls of soups begging for something to dunk.

Plus, that smell that wafts through your home while they’re baking? Doesn’t it smell just like Grandma’s kitchen at the holidays? I love to make these rolls for the big feasting holidays, but let’s be honest: they’re just too good—and too easy to make—to reserve for special occasions.

The ingredients for a recipe for buttermilk pancakes are shown on a white marble table.

Ingredients You Need

Making this dinner roll recipe is straightforward, but choosing the right ingredients is key. There are only a handful and you likely already have all of them on hand!

  • Sugar: Just plain granulated sugar works best here.
  • Yeast: Using instant yeast or rapid rise yeast helps the dough rise quickly, cutting down your prep time. You can substitute active dry yeast if that’s what you have on hand, but it will require a longer rising time.
  • Warm milk: Use whole milk and warm it up to between 100°F and 110°F. You can substitute dairy-free milk alternatives if you want to make the rolls dairy free.
  • Flour: You can use all-purpose flour here, or bread flour if you happen to have it.
  • Salt: I prefer to use kosher salt or any additive-free sea salt for clean flavor.
  • Butter: Go for unsalted butter. Cut the butter into small pieces, which will ensure even distribution throughout the dough. If you’re going dairy free, make sure you swap this out for a dairy-free butter substitute.
  • Melted butter and garlic salt for topping: These are optional but they add some additional great flavor and the melted butter makes the rolls look especially nice, too.

How to Make It

Creating these homemade dinner rolls involves just a few simple steps and a little bit of patience.

  1. Start by combining the sugar, yeast, and warm milk in a mixing bowl. Wait for it to foam; this takes about 5 minutes.
  2. Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture and mix well. You can do this in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or by hand using a wooden spoon.
  3. Incorporate the cut-up butter. If the dough feels sticky, add a bit more flour in 1/4-cup increments.
  4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes.
  5. Place the dough in a bowl, cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Set the bowl in a warm spot and let it rise for about 45 minutes. The dough should nearly double in size.
  6. Separate the dough into 15 even pieces and roll them into balls. Arrange them in a greased baking pan or casserole dish.
  7. Let the dough balls rest for another 45 minutes in a warm spot.
  8. Preheat the oven and, if you like, brush the rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic salt.  Bake until golden brown on top.
Bread rolls in a basket on a wooden table.

What to Serve With It

These fluffy dinner rolls can work with such a wide range of menus—what can’t you serve them with?

They’re obviously perfect alongside a roast turkey, mashed potato casserole, Instant Pot cranberry sauce, and brussels sprouts salad with maple dressing for a classic Thanksgiving Dinner. Or how about serving them with Instant Pot ham for either Christmas dinner or Easter Brunch? I love to serve them alongside Instant Pot duck confit for an out-of-the-ordinary holiday meal.

They’re also perfect with soup—try them with curry pumpkin soup, mulligatawny soup, or Instant Pot chicken pot pie soup.

These rolls are also delicious warm from the oven and spread with honey butter. Or rosemary and hot pepper butter. Or a drizzle of maple syrup.

A plate of biscuits on a wooden table.

Classic Soft Dinner Rolls

Robin Donovan
These classic dinner rolls are the perfect easy side to any dinner! They will be a staple at holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. They’re also great for game day parties and potlucks. The smell of the dough rising and baking will fill your home with a deliciously comforting aroma.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rising time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course bread, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 15 rolls
Calories 139 kcal


  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 ⅓ cups warm milk between 100°F and 110°F
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading if needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter optional, for topping
  • Garlic salt optional, for garnish


  • Mix together the sugar, yeast, and warm milk in a bowl, let sit for at least 5 minutes, it should foam.
  • Add in 2 to 2 ½ cups of the flour, salt and mix until everything is well combined.
  • Add in the cut up butter and combine with the rest of the dough, add more flour ¼ cup at a time until dough is just slightly sticky to the touch.
  • Knead for 10 minutes.
  • Let sit in a warm place for at least 45 minutes, it should just about double in size.
  • Separate into 15 even pieces, roll into balls, place evenly in your casserole dish, let rest in a warm place for at least another 45 minutes..
  • Grease your casserole dish and preheat your oven to 375℉.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes
  • Brush on the melted butter and garlic salt, if using, before enjoying with your favorite dinner!


These rolls store well at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. If possible, don’t add the melted butter on top of ones you’re planning on saving for later. They will still save well with the melted butter, but will look better if you don’t add it before storing them. You can always add the butter before reheating the rolls for serving.


Calories: 139kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 3gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 200mgPotassium: 57mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 176IUCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg
Keyword classic dinner rolls, dinner rolls, soft rolls
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on October 31st, 2023
Photo of Robin Donovan

About Robin Donovan

Robin Donovan is the creative force behind All Ways Delicious. She's a writer, recipe developer, photographer, and cookbook author with more than 40 books to her name, including the bestselling Ramen for Beginners, Ramen Obsession, and Campfire Cuisine. Her work has been featured in major publications, both print and digital, including MSN, Cooking Light, Fitness, Buzzfeed, and Eating Well. More about Robin

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5 thoughts on “Classic Soft Dinner Rolls”

  1. 5 stars
    The last time I made bread buns, it didn’t turn out good but huge thanks to this recipe I got to perfect it this time! I made beautiful and fluffy buns plus the flavor was fantastic!

  2. 5 stars
    I have never made dinner rolls before and I was a little nervous to make them, but this recipe was easy to follow and they came out soft and fluffy!

  3. 5 stars
    Definitely a classic. Simple to make, they bring back nostalgic holiday vibes. My family loved them. Cant wait to make them again on the holidays.

  4. 5 stars
    I’m in love with these Classic Soft Dinner Rolls! I baked them recently, and they came out so wonderfully soft and delicious. Huge thanks for sharing this fantastic recipe!


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