No-knead sandwich rolls: sliders to subs, the easy way

With the year drawing to a close, it’s time to give one final shout-out to our 2016 Recipe of the Year, No-Knead Crusty White Bread.

We’ve made the dough from this versatile recipe into artisan loaves, and pizza crust. We’ve created loaves stuffed with cheddar and jalapeño, or studded with golden raisins and rolled in cinnamon-sugar. We’ve even showed you how to freeze the dough — and how to make a version with whole wheat flour.

And now, with holiday parties looming, it’s time to make a big batch of no-knead sandwich rolls — the quick and easy way, of course.

No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Who can resist crusty bread? No-knead sandwich rolls are the perfect addition to any party! Click To Tweet

There’s no simpler holiday spread than a basket of rolls and a platter of deli meats and cheeses, with an array of complementary condiments and sides. Christmas cookies and your bubbly beverage of choice complete the picture.

Get started with no-knead sandwich rolls

No-knead dinner rolls start with a big bucket of dough in the fridge. It’s best to let the dough chill for several days, so make it ahead, then shape and bake rolls right before you need them. Fresh, warm, crusty, perfect — and perfectly easy.

How to Make No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Make the dough

Combine the following in a large bowl, or the bowl of a 7-quart stand mixer:

3 cups lukewarm water
6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups (32 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast or active dry yeast

Before we start, why the range in volume amounts for the flour?

Because for best results we want you to use the exact right amount of flour, and people have vastly different techniques for measuring flour. If you measure “the King Arthur way,” by sprinkling flour into your measuring cup, use 7 1/2 cups. If you measure flour “heavy,” by dipping cup into canister and tapping to settle the contents, use 6 1/2 cups.

Best bet? Weigh your flour rather than measure it into a cup. Weighing ingredients, particularly flour, takes away all the guesswork and helps ensure consistent recipe success.

Stir everything together until there are no dry/floury patches showing. Place the dough in a large food-safe storage bucket, or large (at least 6-quart) bowl.

How to Make No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Let the dough rise

Let the dough rise, covered, for one to two hours at room temperature. I photographed the dough above after one hour; over the course of the next hour, it rose past the line in the bucket.

Chill it up to seven days

Cover the bowl or bucket securely, and refrigerate the dough for at least two hours, or for up to seven days. The longer you keep it in the fridge, the tangier it’ll get; if you chill it for seven days, it’ll taste like sourdough.

How to Make No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Over the course of the first day or so, the dough will rise, then fall. That’s OK; that’s what it’s supposed to do.

How to Make No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Remove the dough from the fridge

When you’re ready to make rolls, take the dough out of the fridge. Pull a bit away from the side of the container — see those strands? That’s gluten, the elastic network of flour and water that’ll turn the dough into high-rising rolls.

First, decide what size rolls you want to make. Sliders? Sandwiches? “Sub” rolls?

How to Make No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Divide the dough

A 2-ounce piece of dough (a bit smaller than a large egg) will make a nice little slider roll, like that pictured at the top of this post.

How to Make No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Shape the rolls

A 4- to 4 1/2-ounce piece of dough (about the size of an Italian sausage) makes a nice, crusty 5″ to 6″ sub roll. Three ounces of dough, shaped into an oval, risen, and baked, makes a 3 3/4″ to 4″ sandwich roll.

I’ve made an assortment of sizes here, to cover a range of appetites.

Place the rolls on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches between them.

How to Make No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Coat the rolls with flour

Sieve a thin layer of flour over the rolls. This will help keep them moist as they rise, and also enhance their appearance once baked.

How to Make No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Let the rolls rise

Let the rolls warm to room temperature and rise; this should take about 60 minutes (or longer, up to a couple of hours, if your house is cool). They won’t appear to rise upward that much; rather, they’ll seem to settle and expand.

Ready your oven

Preheat your oven to 450°F while the rolls rise. Place a shallow metal or cast iron pan (not glass, Pyrex, or ceramic) on the lowest oven rack, and have 1 cup of hot water ready to go.

How to Make No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Slash the rolls

When you’re ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the rolls, making a cut (or two) about 1/2″ deep. The rolls may deflate a bit; that’s OK, they’ll pick right up in the hot oven.

Bake in steam

Place the pan of rolls into the oven and carefully pour the 1 cup hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath. It’ll bubble and steam; close the oven door quickly. This steam will help the rolls rise high, and add a tiny bit of sheen to their crust.

Bake the rolls for 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.

No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Pull the hot rolls out of the oven

Let them cool slightly if desired — on a rack, or right on the pan. Or rip right into them if you just can’t wait.

No-knead sandwich rolls: a tasty variation

Let’s add crunch and flavor to our next batch of rolls, shall we?

How to Make No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

A seeded crust makes crunchy, yummy rolls. Here’s how the pros in our bakery seed their rolls:

Soak a smooth cotton towel, wring it out, and place a pile of seeds in the center. Add rolls, rolling them gently in the seeds until fully covered.

How to Make No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Here’s my go-to seed blend: flax, toasted sesame, black caraway, midget sunflower, poppy, and anise seeds. GREAT flavor and crunch!

How to Make No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Place the rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and let them rise. Bake as directed above.

No-Knead Sandwich Rolls via @kingarthurflour

Party on!

So, exactly how many rolls does this entire batch of dough make? ONE of the following options:
• 28 small (slider) rolls; or
• 19 medium (sandwich) rolls; or
• 13 large (sub) rolls; or
• An assortment: eight small rolls, six medium rolls, and four large rolls.

And remember, you don’t need to make all the rolls at once. Make some now, some later; the dough’s happy to rest in the refrigerator for up to a week, so it’s ready when you are.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If crusty, European-style rolls are what you like, then yes! They’ve got a nice crisp exterior and a wonderfully soft inside. They’re especially yummy served with some compound butter (like honey butter, herbed butter… the possibilities are endless). Enjoy! Kye@KAF

  1. Lolita

    WWhy the no knead dough is crusty.?
    I love your baking ; recently I made that yeast pumpkin bread. I used partly bread flour and whole wheat bread. It was dense but delicious when toast. When toast it is quite light. I have been following your post.
    Thank you for sharing your recipes.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Fred, we have a great video tip that demonstrates roll-shaping techniques. While it’s not shown specifically with this type of dough, you can use the same techniques with well-floured or well-greased hands. Hope it helps! Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes, they sure do. If you freeze the rolls after they’ve been baked, they will last for about 1-2 months in the freezer in an air tight bag. You can also freeze the dough if you like; we wrote a full article about how to do so most successfully on our blog. Check it out for tips! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re bakers, not nutritionists or doctors, so we don’t typically test breads for nutritional value. We’re more about flavor–and we find that the dough has a pleasant sourdough-like flavor after it has been in the fridge for 7 days. We hope you give it a try! Kye@KAF

  2. Theresa C.

    I made these today and they make the most DELICIOUS meatball subs! I can’t say enough about how wonderful, and easy, they are. Definitely a yummy 5 stars.

  3. maria momeyer

    I made these tonight for dinner and all I can say is WOW. They were delicious. I made 1/2 the recipe and weighted my flour. It made such a difference in the texture. I made 12 rolls and they were crusty on the outside and chewy with large holes on the inside. My husband is not a bread guy, but he had 4 and asked me to make them with Christmas dinner. I made it in the breadmaker with the dough setting and then let rise again in a large bowl till ready to bake. If I wanted to add jalapenos and cheese, when would I do that? Thank you King Arthur!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re glad to hear this recipe was such a success for you, Maria! If you want to add tasty mix-ins (cheddar and jalapeño is a great choice), just follow the instructions in this blog here. It also includes some other ideas for both sweet and savory additions you might want to try. Enjoy! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you click on the recipe link, you’ll see that you can view the ingredients by volume or by weight. Simply click on the “ounces” or “grams” button below the Ingredients header to see the weight of all the ingredients. (It uses 32 ounces of flour.) Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  4. Peter

    The rolls look delicious. I’ve made this bread several times, it is really good and very easy to make. I’m looking forward to making the rolls now and I was wondering if I could use the Harvest Grains Blend instead of the Artisan Bread Topping instead? (seeing I just got two bags of it).
    Thanks and Happy Holidays!

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Sure, Peter; it’ll give you a slightly different flavor, of course, but it should work just fine. Go for it! PJH

  5. Dennis Walsh

    I’m using 14.6 ounces of sourdough starter by reducing the flour by 7.3 ounces and the water by 7.3 ounces. I added the yeast into the warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes and then started adding with the salt last.

    I put it in to the microwave to let it sit for 1 to 2 hours and after 33 minutes it is HUGE, more than doubled in size. I will let you know how it turns out. If it’s a fail, that is okay. Each time I make bread, which is 4 times now, I learn something new.

  6. Karen

    This is my go to recipe for bread. Easy, yummy, and beautiful looking. My friends and neighbors love it also. My husband never wants to share though

  7. Linda from Montpelier

    I just made these tonight with a hearty caldo verde soup. What a lovely combination! These are so easy!

  8. Michelle

    I made a half batch to test out this recipe in advance of Christmas. The rolls were good after 2 days rising and even better after 4 days. They were crispy on the outside and had a terrific crumb and texture. Yum! I have another batch of dough waiting for Christmas now.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      No need to deflate the dough after the initial rise, Mark. Just put the cover on your dough rising bucket and put in the fridge for at least 24 hours. It will fall on its own. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  9. Cathy

    I would like to use these for crab cakes on Christmas Eve. Is there any trick to getting them to be flatter so that the sandwiches won’t be too fat?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Cathy, you can pat the dough out into a large rectangle and cut squares with a knife instead of shaping them into balls. This will give them a more flat appearance; you can also simply press down on the balls after shaping to encourage them to spread outwards. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  10. Karen Silla

    I just made these for the first time. These are amazing. The dough is a little soft but I remedied that by using your giant muffin pans. They made perfect hamburger buns. So easy and less work that all that kneading.

  11. Wendy Alger

    i love baking my own breads and usually use King Arthur flours. However my husband is trying to avoid wheat. I have purchased other flours made from other grains, especially making my own oat flour from grinding oats. I can make muffins and quick breads. But how would i make a bread that uses yeast to rise, like these rolls? Do you recommend any flours beside wheat or have any recipes? I live in VT so maybe I can come down for a non-wheat flour bread making class soon.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We hope you do come take a class at our Baking School, Wendy! We offer gluten-free baking classes from time to time, so we hope you’ll check the class calendar. If you’re looking to make bread and rolls without wheat flour, you should take a look at our gluten-free recipes. We have lots of tasty choices from range from dinner rolls to sandwich bread and more. We hope that helps set you on your way! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Mike, flour brands vary in protein level, which correlates to how much water the dough will absorb as well as how high your bread will rise. Our recipes are all written specifically for the protein content of our flour; if you substitute in another brand you may need to adjust the consistency of the dough with more flour or water. I hope that helps! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This is a very sticky dough, so you may want to coat the rolls with cornmeal (it adds a pleasant crunch), or grease the plastic wrap to prevent sticking if you prefer not to use flour. Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      No need, Angie–the dough will continue to rise, then fall during its time in the fridge. This is normal, and it will pick back up once shaped, and once it hits the heat of the oven. Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Andy, if you’re trying to make half a batch of the dough, you can divide all of the ingredients in half including both the flour and the yeast. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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