This easy Yeast Rolls Recipe makes my family’s favorite homemade dinner rolls. If you're intimidated to bake your own bread rolls, this recipe has two secret ingredients that make the dough easy to work with and the rolls extra tender and fluffy. You’ll never buy dinner rolls again!
I'm definitely more of a cook than a baker. Baking always feels like a science experiment where if I screw up one step, the whole recipe is off. But these Easy Yeast Rolls are made for beginner bakers like you and me.
Trust me; you'll be proud to serve these tender and fluffy rolls at dinnertime.
Why this recipe is perfect for beginners
- The dough isn’t super sticky which makes it ideal for people who aren't used to handling dough regularly.
- All the kneading is done in the stand mixer so no need to worry about your kneading technique.
- Two superhero ingredients make these rolls especially light and airy - instant mashed potatoes and dry milk powder. Both are inexpensive and easy to buy at the grocery store, which means you can make these easy yeast rolls anytime you want!
These rolls are made from a handful of pantry staples:
A few ingredient notes:
- Flour: This recipe was tested using all-purpose flour. I have not tested it using any alternatives.
- Yeast: Instant yeast is my go-to for most baked goods as it's ready to use immediately. No need to dissolve in liquid to activate like active dry yeast.
- Instant potato flakes: An inexpensive ingredient that has a long shelf life.
- Dry milk: A small amount of this powder - not to be confused with malted milk powder - makes all baked goods soft and flavorful. (Want to know more? Read all about how to improve your homemade breads and cakes with dry milk powder in this Epicurious article.)
These rolls take a couple hours to make but that’s because there are two separate rise times: the first for the dough and the second for the formed rolls. The exact rise time depends on the temperature of your kitchen. These rolls rise much faster for me in the warmer months than they do in the cooler ones.
Tip: If I’m in a hurry, I will heat my oven to its lowest setting (100-150°F - no warmer than that) then turn it off and put my covered dough/rolls in there to speed up the rise.
Steps 1-2: Place all ingredients in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Stir to combine and knead on low for 5 minutes. Shape dough into ball & place in greased bowl. Cover & let rise.
Steps 3-4: Dough should be doubled in size. Cut dough into 12 pieces on lightly floured surface.
Tip: I use a bench scraper to cut the dough into pieces. You'll get clean cuts every time. It also makes cleaning up the countertop a breeze because you can scrape all the leftover countertop mess straight into the trash bin. Don't have one? You can also use a sharp knife.
Steps 5-6: Form dough pieces into 12 balls & place in greased 9-inch cake pan. Cover & let rise until doubled in size. Bake or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter immediately.
Dry milk powder is a powerful addition to almost any baked good. When the sugars in this inexpensive ingredient are heated (baked), they caramelize and add rich flavor. The protein in powdered milk also help keep the rolls tender.
They give these dinner rolls a light and fluffy texture. They also add flavor without any extra moisture which can weigh down the rolls.
Since there aren’t any preservatives in these rolls, they will not last as long as the store bought version, but they are still excellent when gently rewarmed the next day (We love them for leftover Thanksgiving turkey sliders!). Store them covered overnight. They will start to dry out after about 2 days.
Expert tips for making this yeast rolls recipe
✘ Once you've opened the dry yeast, store it in the refrigerator and use within the next 4 months. It starts to lose its efficacy after that.
✘ You can prep these rolls a day ahead of time. Mix the dough and allow it to rise on the counter top until double in size. Punch down, cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight. Proceed with the recipe (shape the dough into rolls, allow to rise again, bake) but add extra time for the second rise as the dough comes to room temperature.
✘ Don't have a 9" round cake pan? You can also make these in an 8" square pan.
✘ These rolls are brushed with plain melted butter immediately after you take them out of the oven to soften the tops, add richness and give them that gorgeous sheen. But you can add a sweet or savory twist to these rolls, too:
- Savory: Whisk together 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 finely minced garlic clove and 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary. Brush on top of warm rolls.
- Sweet: Whisk together 1 ½ tablespoons melted butter with ½ tablespoon honey. Brush on top of warm rolls.
✘ These rolls have the best texture the day they are made. If you have to bake them the day before, store the cooled rolls in foil. When ready to serve, warm them in foil in a low oven until just heated through.
You can be sure we’ll be making these rolls on Thanksgiving, along with our Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes, our family’s favorite Wild Rice Recipe, this Cornbread Stuffing with sausage and our Homemade Cranberry Sauce.
Of course, these rolls would also be standout hits with any of our soup recipes like our Split Pea Soup with Ham or Italian Wedding Soup recipe - both made in the slow cooker!
More easy recipes for beginners
Find more easy recipes in our archives.
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Easy Yeast Rolls for Beginners
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup dry milk powder
- ½ cup instant potato flakes
- 5 tablespoons melted butter, divided
- 1 cup warm water, 105-115°F
- Combine flour, sugar, yeast, salt, dry milk, instant potatoes, 4 tablespoons melted butter and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Stir combine and then knead on low for 5 minutes.3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons instant yeast, ¼ cup dry milk powder, 5 tablespoons melted butter,, 1 cup warm water,, ½ cup instant potato flakes
- Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (60-90 minutes depending on the temperature of your home). You can also preheat your oven to 100-150 degrees, turn it off and stick the dough in there to rise. It will obviously rise more quickly at a warmer temperature.
- Once dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 pieces. Gently roll pieces into balls and place in a greased 9-inch cake pan. Cover and let rise again until doubled in size (45-60 minutes).
- About 20 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place uncovered pan in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Immediately brush warm rolls with remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter. Allow to set for 5 minutes for butter to absorb before serving.5 tablespoons melted butter,
- Powdered milk and dry potato flakes add rich flavor to these rolls while also keeping them light, tender and fluffy. Both inexpensive ingredients have a long shelf life and can be found at any grocery store.
- If you don't have a 9" round cake pan, you can also make these in an 8" square pan.
- These rolls are best when eaten the day they are made. If you have leftovers, wrap them in foil. They can be reheated in a low oven until just warmed through.
- You can prep these rolls a day ahead of time. Mix the dough and allow it to rise on the counter top until double in size. Punch down, cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight. Proceed with the recipe (shape the dough into rolls, allow to rise again, bake) but add extra time for the second rise as the dough comes to room temperature.
- Brush the rolls with melted butter immediately after baking to soften the tops as well as add rich flavor and a beautiful sheen. You can also mix in some garlic and fresh herbs for a savory glaze or add honey to butter for a sweet glaze.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.