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Homemade Dinner Rolls

Homemade Dinner Rolls – Originally posted here on Real Country Living ~ August, 2009

homemade dinner rolls

Ready to go in the oven…keep scrolling to see how to make them!

These are the homemade dinner rolls I make for every holiday or special event. This is actually a simple white bread recipe, which makes up into a classic dinner roll.

homemade dinner rolls

Fresh from the oven!

Makes about 35 large rolls

How to Make Dinner Rolls

Learning how to make dinner rolls was challenging for me as a young wife just learning how to cook! I hope to make this a fool-proof and easy to follow guide so that even first timers will have great success!


  • 2 Packages Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 Cup Warm Water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 2 Cups Lukewarm Milk (scalded then cooled)
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Shortening
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 7-8 Cups Flour


Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Not too warm though…you don’t want to cook the yeast…that’ll kill it and your dough won’t rise. I just test with my finger…should be lukewarm to the touch.

dissolve yeast in water

The yeast looks like this when first added to warm water.

Give that yeast time to dissolve fully and bubble up a bit.

bubbled yeast in water

Now the yeast is dissolved and bubblilng a little...it's working!

Stir in milk, sugar, shortening, salt and 4 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth.

OK, this is where I depend on my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for help! Using the regular paddle, I beat this mixture for several minutes on about speed #4. Yeast needs to be “worked” extensively so that it will rise properly. I missed this critical step during my first attempt at homemade dinner rolls 28+ years ago! If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use an electric hand mixer or just use a wooden spoon and beat the heck out of your mixture. Get the kids to help if you get tired!

Don’t have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer? I promise, you will not ever regret purchasing one!

yeast dough

Here is what your mixture should look like at this point. Very smooth! Don't cut corners on this step if you want light and fluffy dinner rolls.

Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

Easy to handle” means you should be able to work with the dough without it sticking to your hands.

If you don’t have a stand mixer with a dough hook, you will use a heavy-duty spoon to stir in these remaining cups of flour. I again use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer instead, with the dough hook, for this step. The next two photos show how the dough looks when the first of the remaining flour is added.

The dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, which means I have to add more flour. Just have your measuring cup full of flour and gradually add a little at a time as the dough hook goes around. The dough will then “grab” the flour from the sides of the bowl and the hook will mix it in. Keep doing that until the dough is “easy to handle“.

yeast dough

The dough is still sticking to the sides...keep adding flour just a little at a time.

Shown below…now the dough has enough flour…don’t add any more to avoid dry, tough rolls.

yeast dough

See how the dough is smooth and no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up.

If you have added the remaining flour by stirring with a spoon, you will need to follow this step and turn the dough onto your surface for hand kneading ~ 10 minutes.

When using a stand mixer with a dough hook, the “kneading” is already done for you. Mixing in those remaining cups of flour should have taken you about the same 10 minutes, which leaves the dough properly “worked“.

Watch me hand knead dough in this very short video. Even though I kneaded with the stand mixer, I still like to turn my dough out and “hand” knead it a few times to get it very smooth before placing in the bowl.

Just give your bowl a covering with cooking spray and then do the same on top of your dough after placing it in the greased bowl. Next, you will dampen a dish cloth and place over the bowl for rising. Using a damp cloth keeps the dough from sticking to the fabric.

yeast dough

Cover dough with a damp cloth to let rise

Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour. (Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.)

Punch down the dough. Use a sharp knife to cut pieces from the dough to shape into homemade dinner rolls.

Shaping Rolls ~ An Important Step in Achieving Perfect Homemade Dinner Rolls

My mother taught me her method for shaping rolls when I was fairly young (Thanks Mom!). She had learned from her mother, who probably was shown how by her mother, and so on. I have never come across anyone who shapes homemade dinner rolls the same way we do.  I’m not sure why since it works really well!

Its hard to explain how to do this in words, so you can watch the videos below! Use the outside edges of the palms of your hands to stretch the dough into the shape of a ball.  Rolling and stretching, rolling and stretching. Hmmm…I might have to write an ebook on this method and spend some time putting words to the motion!

Excuse the dog barking in the video….and my squeaky floor!

Shaping Homemade Dinner Rolls

Now, a view from above…and maybe a little slower…

Place shaped rolls in a greased pan. This one is 11″ X 15″ and holds this recipe perfectly (7 rows with 5 rolls each).

Dampen your cloth again and place over the rolls. Let rise until double…about 30-45 minutes. They will be touching each other at that point.

Bake Them Into Light and Fluffy Yeast Rolls

Prepare the dough correctly and you will create good-looking, fluffy and delicious yeast rolls every time. All that’s left now is the baking!

Bake rolls on center rack in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes. The tops will be golden brown. Test by tapping the rolls with your fingernail. If they sound “hollow“, they are done!

Cool pan on a wire rack. Brush tops of rolls with butter, if desired.

These homemade dinner rolls freeze really well. Make a few days ahead of time, wrap in tin foil and place in freezer. Thaw them out for about an hour and place in a 350 degree oven (still wrapped) for about 15 minutes and they are just like fresh!

Homemade Yeast Rolls Don’t Need to Be Difficult

There is nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread in a country kitchen ~ or any kitchen, for that matter!

I hope that trying your hand at homemade yeast rolls will be painless with the help of this guide. Making rolls may be time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be difficult!

Homemade dinner rolls are the ideal addition to a special meal, like Thanksgiving or any time you have a large crew to feed.

Got a Hankerin' For More?


  1. Laurie Laurie
    April 3, 2012    

    Hi, after searching the internet looking for a light dinner roll recipie that i can make in my mixer i am very pleased to say i found this one.
    I comliment you on this better than excellent page of information, just about to watch the movies in it then will see what i can do.
    Many thanks, and all the best from queensland Australia.

  2. April 7, 2012    

    So how did your rolls turn out? I hope the videos were helpful! I like to give as many details as I possibly can when posting recipes, so I’m glad you appreciated the information. Let us all know how your attempt turned out…I’m sure they were really good!

  3. karen parrott karen parrott
    November 18, 2012    

    hi- thanks for a helpful recipe! The only thing i was uncertain about was how close to place the rolls in the pan. I don’t have a pan the same size as yours so i tried to make the same number of rolls and use 2 pans that probably are about the same total size. In the oven now, so we’ll see!

  4. April 29, 2013    

    How did they turn out! I hope they were delicious!

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