Let the good times roll… Parker House rolls

I’ve always loved Parker House rolls.

I mean, what’s not to like about these soft white rolls? Mild, very slightly sweet flavor. Tender, melt-in-your mouth texture.

And butter. Lots and lots of butter.

The one thing I’ve never liked: how you make them.

Here’s what Fannie Farmer says, in the 1933 printing of her The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. You figure, Fannie should know, right?

I was fine with cutting the dough in circles, but it was the buttery fold that got me. Not because it was difficult; but because the darned rolls refused to hold their shape.

Looking like a pair of sealed lips (SSHHH!) going into the oven, by the time 10 minutes had passed those rolls had opened wide, like a diva singing her dying aria – think Mimi in La Bohème.

Try as I might, I couldn’t replicate the Parker House rolls’ authentic folded-oval shape.

Wondering if others had the same problem, I searched Google images for pictures. My real goal was a shot of the rolls served at the Omni Parker House hotel, the current incarnation of Boston’s venerable Parker House (est. 1855), creator of both these rolls, and Boston Cream Pie. (Check out the “original” recipe from the Omni Parker House Web site.)

Bingo! Not only did I find a picture of rolls from the Omni Parker House, but a rather grand version of Boston Cream Pie as well, thanks to a post on Plain and Simple, a blog written by “Libby, a wife, mother, dog lover and quilter trying to find balance between modern convenience and the simple things in life.” Thanks for your permission to use this shot, Libby.

Take a look at those rolls: Do they look like ovals? Don’t think so. To me, they look more like little rectangles.

Little mini-loaves. Like this.

Let’s figure it out.

Whisk together 1 cup milk and 1 large egg. GENTLY heat in the microwave (or on the stovetop) just to lukewarm; about 100°F. Really, all you want to do is take the refrigerator chill off.

Put the following in a mixing bowl:

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup potato flour or 3/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes
3 tablespoons butter

Add the milk/egg mixture.

Stir to combine, then knead. At first, the dough will seem clay-like, and appear rough.

After 7 or 8 minutes, though, the dough should be nice and smooth.

It may stick to the bowl a bit; that’s OK. Just scrape it into a ball…

…and place it in a lightly greased bowl or 8-cup measure (so you can track its rising progress).

Allow it to rise for 90 minutes; it’ll become quite puffy, though it probably won’t double in bulk.

Note that the dough takes quite awhile to get going; after 1 hour, it may seem like it’s barely expanded at all. But during the last half hour, it rises more quickly.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface. Divide it in half.

Melt 3 to 4 tablespoons of butter, to brush on the dough; 3 tablespoons is barely sufficient, 4 is generous. Let your conscience be your guide.

Working with one half at a time, roll or pat the dough into an 8” x 12” rectangle.

Brush the dough all over with a light coating of the melted butter. You’ll have melted butter left over; save it to brush on the other piece of dough, and atop the baked rolls.

Cut the dough in half lengthwise, to make two 4” x 12” rectangles. Whatever cutting tool you use, be gentle if you’re working on a silicone mat; you don’t want to score it.

Working with one rectangle at a time, fold it lengthwise to about 1/2” of the other edge, so the bottom edge sticks out about 1/2” beyond the top edge. You’ll now have a rectangle that’s about 2 1/4” x 12”.

Repeat with the other rectangle.

Cut each of the rectangles crosswise into four 3” pieces, making a total of 8 rolls, each about 2 1/4” x 3”. To make the rolls as similar-sized as possible, measure and notch the dough first.

Notice the rolls on the ends don’t look exactly like those in the center. No worries; as they rise and bake, any differences will disappear.

Place the rolls, smooth side up, in a lightly greased 9” x 13” pan. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough, making 16 rolls in all.

You’ll arrange 4 rows of 4 in the pan, with the longer side of the rolls going down the longer side of the pan. Gently flatten the rolls to pretty much cover the bottom of the pan.

Not exactly a folded oval, but good enough, eh?

Cover the pan, and let the rolls rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until they’re puffy but definitely not doubled. You don’t want them to rise too much; they’ll rise some more in the oven, and too long a rise before baking encourages “popping” – the fold opening up.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes…

…until they’re golden brown and feel set.

Remove the rolls from the oven, and turn out onto a rack. Set the rack over a piece of parchment, if you have it; you’re going to be brushing them with butter, and it’s handy for cleanup.

Brush the rolls with the remaining melted butter.

Folds intact – nice!

Pull rolls apart to serve, in all their glorious, buttery goodness.

Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it? And I guarantee, these rolls will FLY out of the bread basket. Just like they did here at King Arthur, when I put the warm rolls in the kitchen for taste-testing. In fact, they disappeared so quickly I had to make another batch for those who didn’t get a taste.

That on top of the three batches I’d already made trying to figure out the easiest, most effective shaping method.

Alas, it’s a TOUGH job… and I’m lucky enough to do it!

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Parker House Rolls.

Print just the recipe.

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. Kevin R

    This roll looks great, but as I review your previous recipes I look at the instructions that say put it in a mixer boll. My loving wife just bought me a zojirushi bread machine. Can I let the machine mix, knead, and rise the bread, and then let it shape? I think my house is usually too cold for a good rise, I usually need to put it in the oven with hot water for a rise. Thanks for any help you can give.

    Kevin, this recipe is perfectly suited to the dough cycle on your Zo. Go for it! PJH

    1. Angela D.

      I used my bread machine for the dough and shaped it like traditional rolls. Subbed just over 1/2 cup real mashed potato with water and sour cream instead of instant potatoes. Also added a tablespoon of sour cream. Increased the flour by about 1/2 cup. Dough was a little sticky but nice. Shaped into traditional rolls instead of Parker House roll shape. Brushed with butter both before and after cooking.

  2. sailortitan

    I made these *exact* rolls for Xmas this year, even in that exact same pan. X) They were a HUGE hit. I think they’ve replaced the buns from the KAF cookbook as my go-to recipe for family dinners.

  3. milkwithknives

    Oh, lovely! These are quite similar to the Lion House Rolls we have here in Salt Lake. I made a giant batch for Christmas (six cups of flour) and we MOWED through the whole thing. I cut ours into 2×4 inch strips and rolled them up like little carpets. I’ve been meaning to make them again using buttermilk instead of regular milk, but your recipe looks wonderful, and I’d like to try it next time I’m commissioned to make rolls. There is just nothing like hot, buttery, soft rolls right out of the oven. Thanks for the excellent shaping demonstration, and I’ll let you know how it goes when I make some.

    We’ll look forward to hearing from you after your next batch. And thanks for the buttermilk suggestion – I’ll give it a try for sure. PJH

    1. bennie

      About that hard to do crease in the traditional parkerhouse rolls, the secret to a perfectly creased roll is not to fold it in half. You want to fold it way over the bottom part overlapping it. This will allow the top of the roll to rise but not open completely up. Try it.

  4. lnfb

    No mixer, no bread machine. Can I do this by hand?? I am not very experienced with yeast baking, should I try something else?

    Sure, this is as good a recipe as ever to get your feet wet with yeast baking. Understand your rising times may be quite a bit longer, given reliance on your hands for kneading. But it should work. Enjoy! PJH

    1. jeanne mccann

      i made this twice, but only JUST saw this note about longer rising times if kneading by hand. I so wish this had been in the directions! Both times I could not figure out why my rolls didn’t rise. 🙁

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re sorry to hear that you’ve had trouble with this recipe, Jeanne. We find it’s a good rule of thumb to always use rise times as a guide, rather than a hard and fast rule. There are so many factors that can affect the timing, including the way you’ve kneaded your dough, the kind of yeast you’ve used, how warm your kitchen is, etc. that it’s much more reliable to judge how fully risen your dough is on look and feel instead. You’re looking for dough that appears light and puffy and holds an imprint when pressed like a doorbell. It may also help to watch the beginning of this video for a few more visual cues. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

  5. Shannon M-M

    This look gorgeous! I love this blog. It keeps me thinking of new things to make. I’m so jealous of all of you! Best job on earth!

  6. nelll

    Any chance of a whole-wheat (I don’t mean white whole-wheat) version? Or at least partially whole-wheat? I’m getting so I don’t like ‘just plain white flour’ things anymore… What kind of substitutions would I make to get rolls that are still light, but have at least some whole-wheat goodness?

    Try substituting whole wheat flour for half the AP; that should be a nice balance between light/moist and “hearty/healthy.” Wondering why you don’t like white whole wheat? It’s nutritionally and in every way the same as traditional red wheat – but without its somewhat tannic flavor… PJH

  7. biobaker

    Bulk shaping for Parker House rolls — now how much sense does that make! Sensible and pretty, too. A question: I customarily bake my rolls in a hotter oven — around 400 — but you’re baking these at 350. Is the cooler oven to keep the rolls soft, rather than crusty, and/or because the rolls are so tightly packed in their pan that they mimic one whole loaf?

    I like to bake “rich” rolls (higher butter/sugar) at a lower temperature, as it helps them bake all the way through, remain moist/soft, and not brown too much. You could try 400°F, but I’d bake them in the middle of the oven and watch closely for how fast they’re browning… PJH

  8. gaitedgirl

    They look so good, I could almost eat my computer screen! Quick question, could you freeze these rolls? If so, at what point would you freeze them? Thanks so much and keep the recipes coming!

    Yes, you could freeze them after they’re baked; after they’re shaped, allowed to rise for about 30 minutes, but not baked; or after they’re par-baked, for about 15 minutes or so until set but not browned. PJH

    1. ELZ

      So, if you freeze them after they’re shaped and allowed to rise for about 30 minutes, but not baked, what’s the next step once they come out of the freezer? Do they have to sit for a period of time before baking? Do they go right into the oven for the same bake time as indicated in the recipe? -ELZ

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Allow the frozen rolls to sit in the frig to defrost ELZ. It may take overnight or less time. Once defrosted they may be ready to bake in a preheated oven or they may need more time to rise. They may stay in the frig for a slower rise or at room temperature for a faster rise. Your choice! Elisabeth@KAF

  9. batopchef7589

    I have been looking for a ‘good’ yeast roll recipe for years. I’ve tried recipes with water and recipes with milk all with varying results. Until today. OMG my search is over! These Parker House rolls are by far the very best I’ve had in a long time. The texture is what I wanted and the flavor is out of this world. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this recipe! Sister Schubert ain’t got nothing on The King!

    🙂 PJH

  10. fhodges52

    Hi PJ. Happy New Year! Love the recipe and can’t wait to try it. I noticed the pan that you are putting your rolls in. Why do they now have ridges in the bottom? I noticed in the catalog that a lot of KA pans now have those ridges. Just wondering why?


    The “corrugations” lift whatever’s in the pan up off the bottom of the pan just a bit, allowing air to circulate underneath, promoting more even baking. In addition, with fewer contact points (at least for non-wet things like cookies, scones, biscuits, and yeast rolls), the non-stick effect is enhanced. they work like a charm! PJH

  11. emdh

    I made these for dinner tonight and they’re delicious! Very easy and so buttery! They’ll definitely rival my usual KAF white roll recipe from now on. Thanks for the post!

  12. fran16250

    PJ- A tough job indeed that you have. We should all be so lucky at work. When you fold these over, the top is a wee bit shy of the bottom edge. Do you flip them over in the pan so the longer side is now on top? It looks like this is the case in the photos.
    Could I brush the tops with butter before baking and sprinkle with a little dried herbs? Or do you think the herbs would burn?
    Perhaps the best bet is to enjoy the simplicity of the wonderful flavor of the rolls on their own.
    Thanks for the step by step instructions.

    Your instincts are spot on! Flip the individual rolls (the blog states place the rolls smooth side up) so the “seam” is on the bottom of the pan. We think simplicity is best with these rolls as well! Irene @ KAF

  13. Steph

    Just made these with buttermilk (since I didn’t have enough milk and wasn’t going to get any with a blizzard raging) and half white whole wheat flour. Fantastic! I did let the dough sit for 10 minutes after mixing up to allow the whole wheat to absorb the liquid well before the extended mixing/kneading. They are light and delicious. And the pictures on the blog make this a breeze – thank you!!

    And is Boston Cream Pie next??

    I think I’d better make Boston Cream Pie soon… can’t believe the site doesn’t have a classic BCP recipe. I’ll have to go on the Parker House Web site and see what they consider classic, then check Fannie Farmer. Thanks for the reminder, Steph! PJH

  14. fran16250

    What do you think about making up the dough one day, letting it rise the first time, shaping it into the rolls and then putting in the fridge overnight. Next day take them out of the fridge and let them rise a second time and then bake. OR.. do you think they will rise enough slowly in the fridge over night? Thanks for your input.

    I think either way you propose would be fine, Fran – you might want to experiment with letting them rise for a certain amount of time, shaped, before sticking in the fridge. 30 minutes, maybe? An hour? That would shorten their rising time the next day. PJH

  15. ericrx

    Hi PJ, I have a question for you. My goal is to one day know enough about working with bread dough and sour dough to where I won’t even have to ask this kind of question but I am still at the beginning phase of learning such things. How would this recipe be adapted if I wanted to use a longer ferment or active dry yeast instead of a quick version. Maybe with a sponge or refrigerator rise? How would you, personally, do that? Thanks.

    For active dry yeast, dissolve it in a couple of tablespoons of lukewarm water in the recipe first; let it sit for 10 minutes or so, then continue with the recipe, reducing the milk by 2 tablespoons. Your rising times will probably be longer, but other than that the process will be the same. This recipe isn’t well-suited to pre-ferments or extended rising, due to its milk/egg/butter; all of those are not really happy to sit around for hours at room temperature. You could definitely try an overnight refrigerator rise; let the dough rise in the bowl for about 30 minutes, then refrigerator overnight. Next day, continue with the recipe as written, understanding that, again, your rising time will be longer due to the dough having to come to room temperature. You could also shape the rolls, let rise 30 minutes, and refrigerate them, shaped, overnight, then bake the next day. Hope this helps- PJH

  16. "Mike Nolan"

    PJ, with regards to Boston Creme Pie, be sure to read Greg Patent’s ‘origins’ article from Gastronomica Fall 2001, carolinorygun has a link to it in the Boston Creme Pie thread in the Desserts area of the (new) BC.

    I think it’ll give you a lot of historical background to work with.

    I know I intend to try a chocolate fondant based topping on one fairly soon. (It gives me an excuse to make a batch of fondant, too.)

    But that miniature one in the picture in your blog article is fascinating.

    Thanks for the info., Mike. I’ll check Greg’s article out form the community link. I had no clue that the original was so complicated – fondant & chocolate icing, the almonds on the sides, etc. I want to make it EXACTLY as the recipe says, and blog it – should be fun! PJH

  17. fran16250


    Good show, Fran – thanks for sharing your results here. PJH

  18. Swathi


    I tried this recipe, used 75% bread flour, 25% whole white wheat flour, skipped egg reduced butter and used mashed potato instead of flour as I don’t have it in hand.Rolls came out really soft and delicious. If you get some time take a look at this link.
    I am in love with roll next i will try with 100% whole white wheat flour. Looking forward to many more delicious recipes.

    Loved seeing your blog – the pictures are gorgeous! Thanks for highlighting these rolls, with your own spin- PJH

  19. Beverly Mc Alister

    King Arthur,


    You’re welcome, Beverly. We’re all part of this great community – and “commune” is what we all do best! 🙂 PJH

  20. Lucinda

    Hi, I have a question about a somewhat similar recipe for rolls that I’m working on, but don’t have anywhere else to turn to, and it’s becoming very distressing so I hope someone here could help me.

    The recipe I have calls for pretty much the same ingredients, only at different ratios; it also uses active dry instead of instant yeast so the dough requires two rises. What I’ve done is I’ve followed the recipe through the end of the first rise, then I reshaped the dough and keep it in the fridge, planning to form the rolls and bake them the next morning. However, this was two days ago, and I’ve been so busy that I’ve absolutely forgotten about the dough. To make it worse, I won’t be able to bake it until tomorrow night, making the total time the dough spends in the fridge a little more than three days.

    After a bit of researching on the Internet, I’m now terrified that my dough may have over risen or dried out. I wonder if anyone could give me some advice as of what to do to fix these problems, or whether I should just throw the dough out and start a new batch. Thank you.

    Parker House Roll dough does not hold over. It will have soured by now. You’ll need to begin anew. Sorry. Frank @ KAF.

  21. rhonda taylor

    well it seems the odds were stacked against me, but these rolls were still delicious.
    i began making my dough this morning, only to discover that my bottomless pit of a teenager had left me with 1/4 cup of milk in the fridge 🙂 i decided to press on, mixing milk water and heavy cream. then the fun part, we are in the netherlands for a few months renting a house, and my kitchenaid is in storage in the u.s. I decided i could do it by hand, man this is a tough dough to knead by hand!!! Also, one other issue, the closest i could find to instant potato flakes here was something labeled dried potatoe puree, i used the 3/4 cup, but i really feel like i should have cut way back on it. the potatoes were not in flakes as normal instant potatoes, it was a very very fine dense powder. anyway besides all my mess ups, i put these on the table with supper tonight, and NOT ONE was left. they really were delicious despite all . . . Cannot wait to try them again in May when we get home and i have my mixer. Thank you for the excellent recipe and instructions.

    Rhonda – you should be proud! Kind of like paddling up the Amazon without a map (or a paddle), eh? Glad they were a success, despite the odds- think how easy they’ll be when you’re back in your own kitchen. 🙂 PJH

  22. jagreen77

    I made the parker house roll recipe Saturday. I have read Jeffrey Hamelman’s book “Bread, A Bakers Book of Techniques and Recipes”. In his book he instructs that anytime milk is used, it should be scalded to 190 degrees. Why does your recipe not scald the milk?

    So, I scalded my milk, and added the 3/4 cup of instant potato flakes to the milk, as I wanted the flakes to have a chance to moisten up completely- well they absorbed most of the milk! I added the potato/milk to the measured (by weight) dry ingredients anyway- and mixed w/ the kitchen aid paddle/hook just to see if it would still come together. The dough was sooo dry and shaggy that I had to add some water. Maybe my dough would not have been so dry had I not added the flakes to the milk???, but I doubt it. Next time I make this recipe I am only going to use 1/4 cup of potato flakes. Anyway – I think that you need to decrease the measurement of the dry potato flakes in the recipe. Have you tried to make the recipe with potato flakes instead of flour?

    I am giving up on parker house rolls – no matter what I technique I try, they still flop open! My husband said they looked like lazy-boy chairs!

    I am sorry to hear of your difficulty. We did not find scalding the milk to be required in this recipe, just enough to take the chill off. All of the ingredients should be put together at once and a shaggy dough brought together. Yes, we have tested the recipe with both potato versions. Both work fine. Have you had a chance to see the Parker House Roll blog? https://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2011/01/09/let-the-good-times-roll-parker-house-rolls/ Frank @ KAF.

  23. porsha

    Hi there, I don’t have potato flour, but I have sweet potato flour, do you think that substituting that instead would work?

    Yes, I think it would lend the rolls a nice, golden color, too. Give it a try, let us know how it comes out – PJH

  24. ladydy

    I would love to make this recipe as a loaf instead of rolls. As a plain loaf and also one with cinnamon and sugar and maybe some raisins…what would be the procedure for that, plus the cooking times. Also, I have an old gas stove, you dont mention what rack level you bake the rolls on…plus the loaf please. Thank you for your help in advance!!…P.S. I’ve been using KA flour exclusively for years and wouldn’t think of using any other kind…I think it’s my secret ingredient for my Amish Bread I make every Christmas, friends and family can’t get enough of it, nor duplicate my recipe…until I tell them my secret…the flour, and weighing NOT measuring!

    I do not suggest using this dough for loaves. It is very tender and may not be able to set it’s structure in loaf form. For rolls or loaves, I prefer to use the lower 1/3 of the oven. Frank @ KAF.

  25. thefiverogers

    Thanksgiving was celebrated in our home with extended family for many years. As nephews and nieces are starting their own families they want me to bring my “Grandma’s Hot Rolls” (parker house rolls). Do you have any suggestions for doing this with several hours of car travel time? Of course at home they were the last thing out of the oven before we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner. If I cook them in advance it would have to be the day before since we leave early Thanksgiving morning. We always enjoyed left over rolls for breakfast the next morning but not really what you want on the dinner table. Maybe I should just opt for a more sturdier bread?

    They should be fine the next day. Put then on a pan, tent lightly with aluminum foil, and reheat in a 350°F oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. Brush with melted butter when you take them out of the oven. I guarantee they’ll be close enough to fresh-baked that no one will complain! PJH

  26. thefiverogers

    I made up a batch to test the recipe for taking to Thanksgiving dinner. Compared to my usual 2 1/2″ diameter folded rounds these are quite a bit bigger. I really like the ease and the absence of scraps not to mention the neat little closed loaves appearance. I measured the rolled dough to exactly 8 x 12 and the rolls fit neatly in a 9 x 13 pan. Do you think that I could divide the dough into 3 pieces (instead of 2) and roll into say 6 x 11 or maybe even still 12? Then cut each third into 8 smaller rolls? Then have 24 smaller rolls but still rectangular? I know there must be a way to calculate square inches to see if this would pan out (ha!).
    You could definitely give it a try! I have not tried it myself, so I can’t give you an exact answer, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. And there’s still time to practice before the big Turkey Day! ~Mel

  27. krystinamarie

    I want to make these for Thanksgiving, but am worried about having oven space for 20-25+ minutes that day.

    Could I parbake them (say, 10-15 minutes until the tops are not golden brown, but set) and bring them to my mother-in-law’s house, then finish them in the oven for 10 minutes before dinner?

    Also, can/should I double the recipe, or prepare 2 distinct batches?

    Thanks in advance for your answers! You guys are the best, I send all of my aspiring baker friends to this site 🙂

    Krystina, you can make these in one big batch; don’t double the yeast, but double the rest of the ingredients. And bake them all the way at home. Simply reheat just before serving for about 10 minutes in a 350°F oven, lightly tented with foil; they should be just fine, especially if your brush them with melted butter when they come out… Enjoy! And thanks for helping us spread the word about our site. PJH

    1. Marivita

      I made these for Easter, a double batch but I doubled every ingredient. They came out a bit heavy. Was it too much yeast or too much potato flakes (the 3/4 c seems like an off equivalent to the 1/4 c potato flour. Also my Kitchen Aid stand mixer was smoking hot towards the end so I kneaded by hand to finish! Help me!

    2. MaryJane Robbins

      It sounds like the dough needed more liquid to compensate for the extra absorption from the potato flakes. If your mixer can’t handle the dough, it’s definitely too tight and needs more water. ~ MJ

  28. annkev1

    When to freeze or put in the refrigerator?

    I know this has been asked and answered but just a little more clarification for a nervous baker. Using your fabulous instructions above, at what point can I put them in the refrigerator? After you say “Not bad for a folded oval” or after the next step and before you would cook them? I want to make them today for tomorrow.

    Thank you and I love your site and flour.
    You would put them in the fridge after the first rise and shaping. They would have their second rise in the fridge overnight. ~Amy

  29. marja111

    OMG! These were the best rolls ever. I made a double batch of these Wednesday night and Sunday there was one left and it was still soft just the like the day I made them. This receipe has replaced my old staple recipe that I’ve been using for years. I did mine in my ‘Z’ machine. After reading everyone’s posts I did cut the flour down to just a little over 2-1/2 cups and I added a little vital wheat gluten (I use it in every bread recipe) and they were PERFECT! Please post on how the buttermilk substitution comes out. THANK YOU

  30. gregoryfraley

    Want to make for xmas. Can you use lactose free milk? Also, if you use buttermilk, do you need to add baking soda?

    Yes, Gregory, go ahead and use lactose-free milk. For buttermilk – no baking soda needed, your rolls will simply taste a bit tangy, like sourdough. Enjoy! PJH

  31. jowolfe

    I am looking for your old Parkerhouse Roll recipe, the one where you do make rounds, place a pat of cold butter in the center of the round and then fold it into a half-moon shape. I know they are a pain to make but I actually preferred them that way, as do my family. Do you still have a copy of the old recipe? As a minor quibble, I do realize that you occasionally change/improve recipes, and that’s great, but is it possible to keep the old unimproved versions of recipes too? I try the new/improved versions, but sometimes find that I liked the original ones better, but can no longer find them on your site. Thanks!
    I will see what I can do, Sandra. The recipe may just be compressed so I will contact our Web Team. Somehow, we will get one to you! Elisabeth

  32. melho03

    I baked this yesterday and we had it for dinner, it is so delicious that my husband packed some to work this morning, we love it. Thank you for the recipe.
    Thank you for trying it and providing the feedback! Elisabeth

  33. Second12

    I made these rolls today and I must say they were delicious. They were easy to make. I shaped them into crescent roll and Lion House Roll shapes. They came out beautiful. I will be making these rolls again.

  34. Reemy

    Hi, I am so eager to try this recipe. Can I use corn starch instead of potato flour? I cannot find potato flour in the supermarkets around me. Thank you very much.

    Hmmm…never tried cornstarch, but it should work fairly well, Reemy. I’d give it a try – and let us know how it goes, OK? Good luck – PJH

  35. mtgirl

    I would like to make these over two days as I am not sure I am going to have time to make the recipe all at once the day of my dinner. Which do you recommended?

    (1) the first rise overnight in the fridge with shaping and final rise and baking the next day

    (2) allow for first rise followed by shaping then refrigerating with final rise and baking the next day

    If the latter, I assume the rolls would rise some overnight. Should I then just let them come to room temp and bake?

    Thanks for your help. You all are the best!!!

    Either choice is fine – there shouldn’t be any difference in the final result. It just depends how much time you want to spend on day 1 vs. day 2. If you go with the second choice, the rolls will rise some (though not a lot) in the fridge overnight; so let them rise about halfway before refrigerating. Next day, remove from the fridge, and let come to room temperature and continue to rise until they’re as puffy as you want; then bake. Enjoy – PJH

  36. veganWay

    Fantastic rolls! Being a vegan I substituted 1/2 of a medium banana
    for the egg, coconut milk for the dairy milk, and Earth Balance
    spread for the butter. The finished rolls looked just like the pictures
    and tasted fantastic! Great job King Arthur Flour!

  37. mtgirl

    Follow-up to my 11/19/12 post. I ended up shaping the rolls and refrigerating. I allowed plenty of time the day of baking for the dough to come to room temp and then finish rising (about 90 minutes altogether). The rolls baked up beautifully but the texture was not as light as I expected. I thought my dough, though very smooth after mixing, was a bit dense. I measure by volume but even at that, I think I perhaps I needed a bit more liquid. I will try again to get a better feel for the dough. I love the shaping technique! So easy!!!! A much better shape than my cloverleafs for mini turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving.

    Glad they worked fairly well for you. Suggestion: if you measure flour by weight rather than volume, I’m betting you’ll get the lighter roll you prefer… PJH

  38. mtgirl

    One last comment! Actually, I did measure by weight (mistake in my message). Since your recipes have the easy conversion I always use my digital scale. I’ll certainly try again! It’s a great, easy recipe and the flavor of the rolls is wonderful. Thanks for all your help.

  39. Pete

    I’ve been making up a batches using my Zoji machine to knead and 1st rise. I do everything by weight on a scale so it’s just dump, zero the scale and dump again. Really easy and they come out perfect. The problem is my family goes through a batch in about 1 minute. I’ve lost count of how many batches I’ve made now. I was feeling bad about all that butter and so have been making them with mostly olive oil in the dough and using butter just for the brushings and that also works very well, tastes even better according to my wife. I’m making a double batch for Christmas dinner. Thanks very much for the recipe.

    Pete, I’m a fan of olive oil, so this sounds wonderful to me – next time I make these, I’m definitely going to try the oil. Thanks for sharing here – PJH

  40. Anna

    How would you modify this recipe for high altitude baking? ~5200 ft. Using the dry active yeast packets?
    Thanks in advance. Looks amazing, can’t wait to try!

    I would check out our high-altitude baking page. It should help a lot!-Jon

  41. rebecca

    Was looking for soft melt in your mouth burger buns will these work? If so how much dough per bun?

    Rebecca, melt-in-your-mouth Beautiful Burger Buns are the top-ranked recipe on our site – I’d suggest you try them. While Parker House Rolls also make a nice bun, you might as well use a recipe that’s specifically for burgers. Enjoy – PJH

  42. April

    I tried your recipe. They did not look at all like your finished rolls when complete, other than the fold. No light fluffy texture. Dense and gluey like little rocks. We are at over 6000 ft and if you have any suggestions to help, I would appreciate it.

    I would strongly suggest to take a look at our high-altitude baking page, it should greatly help with your baking.-Jon

  43. Peter

    Hi, I want to try this recipe. But need some advice from the KAF experts.
    1. If I have to make only 8 rolls, do I just halve the ingredients, including the yeast?
    2. Is it ok to use 2% milk? Or should I use whole milk?
    3. If I want to use boiled mashed potatoes, what changes should I make?
    Thank you.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Peter, I’m going to take some educated guesses here, since I haven’t tested this:
      1. Yes, you can halve the recipe. I’d suggest using 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast.
      2. Yes, 2% milk is fine.
      3. Try using 1/4 cup mashed potatoes, and 1/3 cup milk; adjust with additional milk if necessary.
      Good luck! PJH

    2. Peter

      Thanks for such a quick reply.
      I just noticed that the recipe requires 1 egg. Haha…how am I going to halve that to make 8 rolls….. May be bake an egg, beat it and use the half of it. Again thank you, PJH.

    3. PJ Hamel, post author

      Peter, an extra half-egg won’t bother the dough any – just throw it all in. But if you really want to be persnickety (isn’t that a great word?), use 7/8 ounce beaten egg – which is half a large egg. Have fun – PJH

  44. Ellie

    I made these rolls a month ago and they came out delicious. First time and proud of my self. I would like to make these rolls for Thanksgiving but would like to make the dough ahead of time so all I have to do is just put them in the oven to bake. Do you have any recommendations on preparing them ahead of time?

    Thank you for all your help.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Your best option is to make these rolls a day in advance. Shape the rolls per the recipe and allow them to rise 8-12 hours in your refrigerator. From here they can be baked the day of! Jon@KAF

    2. Peter

      Hello KAF,
      From your response to Ellie’s question (11/18), I understand that the first rise will happen overnight in the refrigerator. Is this correct? Also how the dough should be stored in the fridge? Tightly wrapped in shrink wrap?

      When do we let the dough sit for second rise? Or is second rise not necessary?

      Thank you. Sorry too many questions. I have never made the dough in advance and would like to try it out.

    3. PJ Hamel, post author

      Peter, you want to prepare the dough to where it’s shaped and in the pan – mix, knead, let rise, shape, put in the pan. Then you tent the rolls with greased plastic wrap; if you have a shower cap large enough to fit the pan, that’s a handy thing to use. You don’t want to wrap the rolls too tight (shrink wrap), as they’re going to be rising a bit in the fridge, and you don’t want them to potentially hit and be hindered by the wrap. Depending on how long they’re in the fridge, and how cold it is, they may or may not rise sufficiently overnight. My advice is to check them out early Thanksgiving morning; if they look sufficiently risen, take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to bake them. If they look like they need to rise some more, take them out and let them warm to room temp., then rise. Good luck! PJH

  45. Haley

    Hi! If I freeze these after they rise for at least 30 minutes, do I need to let them defrost before putting them in the oven? Or can they go straight into the oven from the freezer?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      I’d let them defrost, Haley – that way you don’t run the risk of them burning on the outside before they’re fully cooked inside. Good luck – PJH

  46. Francis

    I have made this recipe many times with potato flour and they came out great. After noticing that the potato flour expiration date had passed I decided to use instant mashed potatoes. The dough was far from wet and slack as when made with the potato flour. I should have followed my instincts and added more milk.

    The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of potato flour OR 3/4 cup instant mashed potatoes. I used the leading brand of instant mashed potatoes. Any idea where I went wrong?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Francis, you used dry instant mashed potatoes, right (not prepared)? Sounds like the correct proportion; could be the brand of instant? Maybe they were buds, not flakes? Lots of variables… you might want to call our baker’s hotline, 855-371-2253, so you can discuss this with someone. Back-and-forth is often easier than trying to figure things out here in blog comments. Good luck – PJH

  47. BMGordon

    I made these rolls today and it was my first time ever making rolls. I think they came out pretty good. They look just like the picture and taste just like the ones at Parker House. Will definitely make these again!

  48. Linda

    I would like to make these Parker House rolls but I don’t have the instant mashed potato flakes. Can I sub with mashed potato and how much?
    Yes, you can used mashed potatoes; it partly depends on how wet they are. I’d go for a third of a cup, and decrease the amount of milk in the recipe by 1/4 cup. Check the dough; you may need to adjust it with a little more liquid or flour. Susan

  49. Linda

    In you Parker House roll recipe, is the 3 tablespoons of butter that goes into the dough softened or melted?

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Soft butter is just fine Linda. If you do melt it, make sure it’s cooled before you add it. ~ MJ

  50. Michelle Medley

    So many Parker House roll recipes call for shortening. What does shortening do for the dough?

    Are you better off just using butter – as PJ talked about when she compared butter and shortening pie crust to all-butter pie crust. Shortening makes sense in pie dough for its higher melting point. Just wondering if a yeast roll benefits from it.
    Hi, Michelle. So many recipes from the 30s and 40s onward call for shortening, it’s easy to wonder what’s up. There’s no reason that shortening has to be in a dinner roll recipe. It’s a holdover from the times when food manufacturers were the ones writing most recipes, and if they were selling shortening, that’s what they called for. Before that, shortening was more of a generic term for any fat that would shorten the strands of gluten in a yeast bread. So butter is both better for you and tastier. PJ, smart lady that she is, went there. Susan

  51. Michelle Medley

    Thanks Susan, butter it is. In your expertise, can these rolls be par-baked and then frozen, to be re-baked just before serving? Thinking about folks who want to bring rolls to a gathering and are traveling. If finished off with a short bake at the event, they’d still be freshly warm – without the hustle and hassle of making, baking and taking, or doing it all in someone else’s busy kitchen.

  52. Elle Jay

    Thanks so much for the perfect recipe – easy, delicious & picture perfect! didn’t have potato flour on hand so I substituted with an equal amount of cornstarch. I can’t imagine they could have been any better, but next time I will use the potato flour. I also doubled the recipe, but used only 1.5 times the yeast. I needed a rapid rise & the ratio was just fine. I also let them proof until the rolls touched which produced perfect, moist, pull apart rolls. This is my new go to dinner roll recipe. I’ll be making 6 batches next week for a family party!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I know it will be hard to believe, but they are even better with the potato flour! Enjoy and happy baking. Jon@KAF

  53. Michelle Medley

    A question about active dry versus instant yeast. I’m an instant yeast baker, and your Parker House roll recipe calls for it. I came across this from SAF: Instant Yeast is not recommended for use in refrigerated or frozen dough baking methods.

    Please clarify – is the manufacturer just taking a cautious route? What does King Arthur find in its recipe testing (because I do prefer the instant approach and need to teach others that if they want to hold the shaped rolls overnight or freeze them, they’ll be OK).
    Hi, Michelle. We’ve done lots and lots of refrigerator doughs with instant yeast, with no ill effects at all. I suppose if you did two doughs side by side with the two different yeasts and froze them both for a week, then baked them, you’d see a slight difference, but I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to do any refrigerated dough with instant. Susan

    1. Michelle Medley

      Susan, thanks for clearing that up. I did a side by side test with dough baked the same day and baked the next day – using SAF instant yeast (and a recipe from yeast-maker Fleischmann’s). The result? I preferred the rolls held overnight. The added time in cool fermentation gave them a lighter, fluffier feel. So you are spot on – no need to abandon the instant yeast. Thank you for the excellent responses on my Parker House roll questions. Now it’s time to play with King Arthur’s recipe featured here!

  54. Marilee Means

    I have for years been regretting not learning the Parker House roll recipe from my grandmother whose rolls were legendary in our family. I remember watching her make them as a little girl and your recipe seems very close. I made them with your recipe and was amazed at how close they were to what I remembered. However, I think hers were just a little bit sweeter. Could I add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of sugar without harming the recipe outcome just to see? PS This is the first time I have attempted this recipe and loved the use of the bread dough hook in my mixer, the quick instant yeast, and the simpler faster way to shape the rolls.

  55. Robert Pace

    Tried these and they came out flat and dense. Followed recipe pretty good. What could have happened? All fresh ingredients and plenty of proof time.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Robert – It sounds like the dough consistency may have been heavy and dense rather then soft and smooth even somewhat sticky. If the dough is too heavy it will not rise well which is what you experienced. It may be that you are measuring a heavy cup of flour. For better results please take a look on our site for a tutorial on Measuring Flour. If the dough still seems on the heavy side add some extra liquid by a teaspoon at a time as the dough comes together. We hope you will try again! Elisabeth@KAF

  56. Jane M.

    If I wanted to bake enough rolls for a 10½ x 15-inch pan, should I increase the ingredients by a third or a quarter so it will fit the larger pan?

  57. kittyd7926

    I made these today to take to easter dinner, they were delicious, but they grew way more than your pictures. Huge. A few days ago I made your hot cross buns recipe. Same thing — they really grew! My husband couldn’t finish one for breakfast. Had to,split them in half.

    Both were delicious but ridiculously large.

    What am I doing wrong.

    FYI I live at 5000 ft in a very dry climate.

    I think PJ Hamel,should spend a winter here baking so she could tell us dry high bakers what to do. Maybe across the street from me…? Think of the great high altitude cookbook KAF could publish. I’d buy it!!!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Check out our link for high altitude baking on the Learn page. I also suggest supporting your local bakery! Bakers are generally pretty generous people, and may share great tips for baking in your particular climate. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  58. Ellie

    I have made these rolls several times and each time I make them they taste even better. I foundnyour recipe backnin 2012. My family loves them. Just the other day my husband made a joke and said that I should try and make kolaches out of them. I was wondering if this is possible? Would I be able to add the Franks after I add the butter for them to rise and put them in the fridge for the second rise over night and then cook them in the morning? Sorry for all the questions I am just curious if it would work. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Happy baking:)

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      An excuse to eat hot dogs for breakfast! We haven’t tried to hold them overnight filled with dogs, but you could give it a whirl. It might be better to let the dough rise in the fridge overnight, then fill and bake in the morning. Laurie@KAF

    2. PJ Hamel, post author

      Ellie, I think that would work just fine. The hotdogs are pre-cooked, right? Good luck – sounds delicious! PJH

  59. member-pamelaquiz1

    I tried this recipe a few days ago and the result was horrific. I contacted KA ‘s help line and was advised that perhaps I didn’t use the correct techique for dry ingredients measuring, as my dough was dry and the rolls never rose. I made a second attempt based on the advise on the help line. This time the results were very good. I did modify the instant mashed potatoes measurement — used half a cup rather than 3/4 cup.

  60. Alanna in NH

    So grateful for another insightful post, PJ. I’m not using this recipe but rather the Gluten Free On A Shoestring recipe for Parker House rolls. I just put my young son on a gluten-less diet, and we’re seeing amazing results. Thanksgiving is coming quickly, and I want to be able to offer my bread-loving child an alternative to all the yummy rolls we’ll see at our relatives’ houses.

    Anyway, the GF recipe didn’t come with illustrations — just a prose description of how to shape them. So I set out in search of a tutorial — with the help of my good friend Google — and when I saw your post in the results, I knew I’d have to look no further. You’ve helped me too many times to count. My many thanks.

  61. Sue C. in NH

    I would like to try these rolls for Thanksgiving but would like to bake, then freeze them. Hopefully that would shorten the oven time just before dinner. How would I reheat them if they are totally baked then frozen?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I wrap my rolls in aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until the buns are soft and hot. Jon@KAF

  62. Robin Brady

    I really like the technique in this recipe and it was successful. After making it, I realized that I used active dry yeast instead of instant yeast and it did affect the results.
    I also reviewed my grandmother’s handwritten instruction for making rolls and her recipe is a little different. Same ingredients (little less salt and a little more sugar) and she used crisco instead of butter (I’ll stick with butter.) But she put in one-third of the flour and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. I am going to make this again tomorrow and follow her recipe and your technique for folding and cutting.
    She was born in 1900 and lived to be almost 106 and made these a million times. I have been intimidated and never tried to master them until your blog on the way to keep them closed.

    1. Susan Reid

      HI, Robin. The technique of using some of the flour and letting the dough rest while the yeast acclimates is a good one. Thanks for sharing! Susan

  63. Pam

    the original Parker House rolls did not use potato flour, so why is it used here and what is the difference it makes? Thanks

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Some potato in a yeast bread recipe helps hold the moisture, making the baked end-result softer. Happy Baking to all, whichever Parker House Roll recipe you use! Irene@KAF

  64. wendy

    I have NEVER been able to make bread. Just not sure why, but they always came out hard and we always called them death biscuits! I tried this recipe with very low expectations and wow. I MADE ROLLS!!! I could not believe how easy it was and we were all fighting over them at dinner. I will be making these again. Thanks for all the great recipes you create!

  65. sarah

    I just tried this recipe, I have no mixer. I had to throw out the entire batch…sad. the rolls never rose, they were parker house rocks any suggestions? I will try this again if I can get a mixer tomorrow black friday. Any suggestions for a mixer/processor? I enjoy this site and the blogs . I apologize for my blah writing I am tired…..Long day but Happy Thanks Giving to all

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re sorry to hear about your disappointing experience, Sarah! There are a number of reasons that yeasted doughs like this might not rise (before or even during baking). For a run through some of the most common reasons, take a gander at our blog article entitled “My Bread Didn’t Rise”: http://bit.ly/2g0hMCZ If you still have questions about which of these factors (or others) may apply in this case, feel free to give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE. Our bakers are here seven days a week and happy to help troubleshoot. As for mixers, there are a lot of good options out there, but we rely most on the Kitchenaid Pro-Line 7 Qt Stand Mixer (http://bit.ly/17FiPsv). It’s the only mixer we use in our Baking Schools and the only one we’ve chosen to sell through our site. Hope this all helps make for some happier baking! Mollie@KAF

  66. Jeff

    OH man… OUSTANDING! These were a home run for Thanksgiving and now prepping more for Christmas. Let my 6Q KitchenAid stand mixer handle the kneading.

    It’s well worth the time and effort. This was a great walkthrough blog with these rolls and I’ve learned a lot from it.

    Got to run, buttery goodness calling my name!

  67. Pattie

    Just made these rolls. They are fabulous!! Would post a picture but don’t know how. Easy to make if you have a stand mixer. Can’t imagine doing this all by hand. My new go to roll.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      As a general rule of thumb, most yeast bread recipes can be easily doubled, including this recipe for Parker House Rolls. Be sure you’re using a large enough mixing bowl to give yourself room to work with the dough. You can simply multiply all the ingredients, using anywhere from 1-2x the amount of yeast called for in the original recipe. The amount of yeast used can vary depending on your preference, with more yeast leading to a faster rise but less flavor development, and less yeast leading to more flavor development but a longer rise. Choose your ingredients based on what you’re looking for. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can split this process into two days, Kathryn! Our favorite technique is to make the dough, allow it to rise, deflate it, then divide, shape, cover, and refrigerate overnight, without any rising at room temperature — the dough will gradually rise in the fridge and be ready to bake in the morning. It’s also possible to mix and knead dough in the evening, then refrigerate overnight for its first rise. Take the dough out in the morning, gently deflate, divide, shape, cover, and let rise until ready for the oven (this will take longer than usual since the dough starts out cold). Either way, you’ll have yummy fresh rolls! Kye@KAF

  68. Christine

    The pictures are fabulous! I’ll admit I was a little confused on the folding process, but seeing how it’s done has got me ready to try making them.
    Thank you for a very informative blog, and please keep up the good work!


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