Dinner roll recipes: 9 ways to a Thanksgiving bread lover's heart

Who doesn’t love the annual Thanksgiving feast?

The impressively large turkey with its crackling-crisp mahogany skin. The family heirloom bowl heaped high with mashed potatoes. Perfect gravy in an actual tureen. Green bean casserole – with or without the cream of mushroom soup.

And pumpkin pie. Apple pie. Pecan, chocolate cream, strawberry, creamy coconut – whatever your pie preference, Thanksgiving’s the time to indulge it.

But Thanksgiving baking’s not ALL about pie. For those of us with a yen for yeast (and a long, LONG list of must-try bread recipes), Thanksgiving’s the perfect occasion to leaf through our favorite recipes for The Best Dinner Roll.

I used to be totally enamored of Golden Pull-Apart Butter Buns, a light-textured, soft white roll and the one thing I HAD to make every Thanksgiving. But over the past couple of years my taste has changed; now I prefer a firmer, denser, heavier roll, one with a foundation of earthy mashed potatoes. So Amish Dinner Rolls have kicked those Butter Buns out of the top spot.

To each his own, though, eh? Herewith I give you a selection of nine dinner rolls, each bearing its own unique attributes. We trust you’ll find something here you’re dying to make come Thanksgiving. And if not – go ahead, check out our favorite pie recipes; we don’t mind!

Dinner Roll Recipes via @kingarthurflour

1. The all-purpose, gotta love it, original soft white roll

Soft White Dinner Rolls are a combination of the simple ingredients that all good soft dinner rolls possess: flour, salt, sugar, yeast, milk, and butter, with a touch of potato for moistness. Make these when your audience isn’t after anything fancy or cutting-edge, but simply wants the epitome of comfort food: the squishy white roll.

“Works like a charm… these are the ‘lunch lady rolls’ of my childhood and are ridiculously simple to make. The dough is very easy to work, shape and roll, and the flavor is outstanding… I opted to slather them in melted butter as soon as they came out of the oven, to give that same look and taste that I remembered. This recipe is a keeper and should be a part of any baker’s repertoire! Thanks KAF!!!!”  furrychef – KAF Community

Dinner Roll Recipes via @kingarthurflour

2. The classic restaurant-style fold-over dinner roll

Parker House Rolls mimic the ingredients in the soft rolls above – but take things one step further. Instead of just shaping a plain dinner roll, the baker first brushes rolled-out dough with butter, then folds it over on itself and cuts it into “folded” rolls, each harboring butter at its center. An additional brush with melted butter once the rolls are baked makes these our “butteriest” rolls.

“This is my favorite roll recipe. Tender, buttery, utterly delicious. This is the roll that makes people comment on your culinary prowess. No need to tell them that the recipe is so well-written it’s easy.” Paula – Seattle, WA

Dinner Roll Recipes via @kingarthurflour

3. When bread simply isn’t bread unless it’s sourdough

Attention, sourdough fans: Buttery Sourdough Buns will rock your world. Cloaked in the lovely tang and aroma of sourdough, but with the soft texture of a typical milk-and-butter roll, these gems also sport a buttery spiral inside.

“Had no idea making soft, mouthwatering, buttery rolls was so easy. This recipe is so versatile. I’ve made them with KAF Vermont Cheese Powder, and herb and garlic Artisan bread flavor. I’ve used this recipe for cinnamon rolls and even for Blueberry Cream Cheese Rolls. Wonderful use of sourdough starter. The buns are just so light and tasty. They’ve been well received every way I’ve made them.”  Susan – Winchester, VA

Dinner Roll Recipes via @kingarthurflour

4. When you need to make rolls for a crowd – fast

Believe it or not, you can have these Big Batch Quick Dinner Rolls on the table in just over an hour, start to finish. When you need 2 dozen substantial soft rolls – and time is of the essence – this is your bun of choice.

“Easy, foolproof recipe. Made it for the first time today (Thanksgiving) only hours before dinner… It was easy; with the 20 minute rise, they tasted great. They would’ve made great leftover turkey sandwiches, but there were no leftover rolls! Definitely will use this recipe again.”  Jennifer – Chatt, TN

Dinner Roll Recipes via @kingarthurflour

5. For the sturdy, gravy-sopping, plate mopping roll aficionado

Ah, Amish Dinner Rolls – where have you been all my life? A full cup of mashed potatoes in the dough gives these rolls their signature moist, dense, yet still tender texture. Eggs add light gold color and additional richness.

“Unbelievably easy recipe with fantastic results. I can’t wait to be invited to someone’s house for dinner so I can bring these and knock their socks off! I am an experienced baker but have never come close to making such a delicious roll.”  betsyros – KAF Community

Dinner Roll Recipes via @kingarthurflour

6. For crusty bread purists – we’ve got you covered.

Attention, artisan bread lovers – yes, you know who you are. You’ll gladly exchange the nursery comfort of soft dinner rolls for rolls with crackly crisp crust and wonderful chew. If you enjoy the quintessential hard roll with the nuanced flavor that only a long rise and four simple ingredients – flour, water, yeast, and salt – can offer, these Crusty European-Style Hard Rolls are for you.

“I’m from Germany where these rolls are a daily breakfast staple. These rolls are a bit time-consuming, but so very well worth it! They taste just like our Wasserweck in Hessen. My husband loves them for his lunch, and I eat them warm with butter and jam – or liverwurst. The taste takes me home to my Oma & Opa’s table for breakfast.”  Marianne – northern Virginia

Dinner Roll Recipes via @kingarthurflour

7. Whole wheat fans, unite! This one’s for you.

You’ve always loved whole wheat. Or maybe you’ve decided you want to add fiber and nutrition to your baking whenever possible. Whatever the reason for choosing whole wheat dinner rolls over white, you won’t go wrong with our Honey Wheat Rolls.

“I made these rolls to serve in addition to the KAF Golden Pull-Apart Butter Buns for the holidays. Since my husband and I no longer eat white bread, I thought we deserved to have rolls for the holidays, too. Even the friends and family members who normally eat white bread only loved these! The texture is wonderful and the slight sweetness is just enough to keep them from being a little too much like a dessert bread. Soft, moist, light & wonderful!”  janetpbenson – KAF Community

Dinner Roll Recipes via @kingarthurflour

8. Gluten-free dinner rolls? Absolutely.

When you stopped eating gluten, did you despair of ever enjoying a soft dinner roll again? Those days are over – these golden, high-rising rolls are both buttery and delicious. With texture that falls somewhere between yeast roll and biscuit, Gluten-Free High Fiber Dinner Rolls are the perfect accompaniment to turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and Gluten-Free Stuffing. And, of course, a wonderful prelude to Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie.

“Wow. These were fantastic. My gluten-eating friends said if I hadn’t told them they wouldn’t have realized these rolls were gluten free… I’m definitely taking these to my in-laws for the holidays. I’ve always been the one to bring rolls to the holiday dinners because no one else can make them. For the last 3 years (since I was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity) I’ve had to watch while everyone else had lovely, buttery gluten-filled rolls that I made. No more! I may just make all gluten-free rolls this year and not tell anybody. Ha!”  Rachel – Kentucky

Dinner Roll Recipes via @kingarthurflour

9. When they want store-bought – but you’re not buying it.

With a touch of both brown sugar and pineapple, these Hawaiian Buns mimic the soft, golden slab of packaged rolls you get at the supermarket. The recipe, developed by my fellow blogger Gwen Adams, came as the result of a trip to Hawaii. Gwen was able to compare these to “the real thing” – and we think they’re even better!

“I was SO excited to find this recipe. I was obsessed with King’s Hawaiian rolls when I was a kid, and these did not disappoint. In fact, they’re way, way better… They turned out great, and I’ll definitely make them again.” Ailie – Houghton, NY

Did we miss your favorite dinner roll recipe? Please share with all of us in comments, below.

PJ Hamel
About

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!

comments

  1. Carla Kesling

    Our favorite rolls are Oatmeal Dinner Rolls. These often requested by friends and family.
    2 c. water
    1 c. quick cooking oats
    3 Tbsp. butter
    2¼ tsp. instant yeast
    1/3 c. warm water
    1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
    1 Tbsp. sugar
    1½ tsp. salt
    4¾ to 5¼ c. KAF All Purpose Flour
    In a small saucepan, bring water to boil. Add oats and butter; cook and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; cool to lukewarm.
    In a mixing bowl combine 4¾ c. flour with rest of ingredients. Beat until smooth. Add enough flour to form a soft dough. Knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic – about 6-8 minutes – or with the dough hook by mixer about 4 minutes.
    Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled – about 1 hour. Punch down and let rest about 10 minutes.
    Shape dough into 18 balls (or 24 for smaller rolls). Place into 2 greased 9” round pans. Cover and let rise until doubled – about 45 minutes.
    Bake at 350° about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove to cool on wire racks.

    Reply
  2. martibeth

    My favorite is the soft white dinner rolls, but for someone who is nervous about kneading dough, look at the wonderful no-knead cheeseburger buns, and just make them smaller.

    Reply
  3. Maureen

    James Beard’s sweet potato rolls :

    2 pkgs yeast

    ¼ cup sugar

    ½ cup warm water

    3 tbsp. melted Butter

    1 tbsp. Salt

    3 eggs

    Flour

    ½ cup mashed sweet potatoes

    something to glaze rolls – egg, cream, milk …

    Proof the yeast with 1 tbsp. Sugar and warm water.

    Add sugar, butter, salt, and 2 eggs and stir

    Stir in the sweet potatoes and then the flour

    Knead until the dough springs back, and shape into a ball

    Place in a buttered bowl, cover and let rise

    When risen, punch down and shape into golf-ball sized rolls or any other shape you like

    Place on a buttered baking sheet, cover and let rise again

    Brush with the remaining egg

    Bake in preheated 375F oven for about 20 minutes

    Reply
  4. Diane

    Thanksgiving for me is “pumpkin”. I love Pumpkin Honey Dinner Rolls from Donna Elick. I make cinnamon honey butter to put on them. They really go with a turkey dinner! Find the recipe on Donna’s site at The Slow Roasted Italian. Per Donna’s daughter and I totally agree “they don’t taste like pumpkin, they taste like “fall”.

    Reply
  5. jan

    I am making two pans of rolls and will travel over Thanksgiving. I will bake on arrival. When is the best time to freeze the dough? I planned to form rolls in pans, then freeze prior to rise. Thank you.

    Reply
  6. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez

    I’m not happy with last bread posts i see here at This blog. They seem like a common place, nothing new, always lots of compilations of past recipes is what we see here. I’m very disappointed with last bread posts at This blog.
    We only see a variation of some BASIC standards like pies, Scones, muffins i think that King Árthur have abandoned that searching for breads from other countries and focuses only on Sourdough breads, glúten free, no Knead and another american standardized breads…nothing really new!! I’m absented from here, because i see not more that enthusiasm from the past…i’m really disappointed…only compilations!!! Lots of repeated recipes!!!
    Let’s bake something really new!!!!
    Excuse-me my sincerity!!!!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Ricardo,
      I’m glad that you took time and told us how you’re feeling about some of our posts. You’ve been a big part of our baking community for many years now, and we sincerely appreciate your honest feedback. I will certainly share this with my fellow bloggers. As always, we are open to new ideas and we rely on you, our fellow bakers, to let us know what you’d like to see on our pages. All the best to you, thanks again. ~ MJ

  7. Susan

    Or, you could go for whole wheat AND crusty AND sourdough, which is what I’ll be doing. I’ll admit, I do enjoy using buttermilk for some of the liquid…

    Reply
  8. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez

    There are a lot of fantastic breads from many countries that are iconic and deserves a glimpse at this blog such Pan de Sal from Philippines, Ayuya or Hallulla from Chile, Barbari from Iran, Polar Bread from Sweden, delicious milk baguettes Viennoises from Áustria.
    Potatoe breads are rarely explored here and they are amazing.
    Cinnamon baguetes from Venezuela called Pan Andino Venezolano, Piadina Romagnola from Emiglia Romana, Italy, Wrap breads in general, Aussie bread with dark Cocoa.
    At Brazil we have delicious regional breads like Pão Delícia or Delicious Bread from Bahia Northeast made with egg yolks, butter, condensed milk and topped with parmesan cheese and all of the tourists who visit Bahia State love a lot such rounded soft breads with tasty of salty and sweet in one bread alone. There is another Coconut Baguette from Northeast state of Ceará called Pão de Côco Cearense that is a must have at local Easter season. We have here lots of tropical and exotic fruits that are delicious at breads like Açaí, Acerola, Cajá, Cashew, Kiwi, Persimon, i bake here delicious breads with them. Brazil have a nice ingredient that is common here all over the country, The Tapioca and all the best we can do with it, like Tapioca Cake, Tapioca gum fried and filled with lots of salty and sweety delicious foods, i bake here some delicious own creations such a bread made with coffee and blended with instant coffee, amazing. A bread of Star Fruit we call here Carambola, a soft bread of Pumpkin with Cashew nuts and dehydrated bananas.Yesterday i won a second place, silver medal at National Bakery Contest sponsored by local bread magazine called Padaria 2000 with an amazing Potatoe bread with parmesan and Herbs like thyme, oreganum or Provence Herbs.
    We have some magical pastry specialities that are still among best wishes here such egg yolks pudding called Quindim, another delicious with egg yolks we call here Fios de Ovos ( Egg Wires ), Chuvisco an egg yolks rounded sweets, Brazilian Northeast traditional Rounded Cake filled with Guava Jam called here Bolo de Rolo, amazing Sweet Bread common at Southern Brazil called Cuca de Banana. Cuca is a simples Sweet Bread baked at rectangular pan and that rises well like Focaccia. Then we pick holes with a knife all over The dough and spreads a mixture of heavy cream and condensed milk exactly such you do with Tres Leches Cake and then we cut rounded slices of rippened bananas and pull down inside the dough and make a cinnamon crumble for topping generously all the bread surface…it’s really fantastic!!!!
    We have here Broa Aerosa or Aired Broa made of corn dough prepared like that profiterolis technic Seasoned with anise seeds. It comes out of the oven aired like popovers and is really delicious.
    Try to Google images of all of these breads and pastries i told you about here!
    So as you can see Sky is a limit. I think King Arthur baking center must do an extra effort to go to old times when you gave us better recipes with passion and not only from inside US but from everywhere in the world. Hope i could have been OK to you with my opinion. It’s because i admire you, as always!!!!
    And i’m sure it will not be in vain!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Ricardo, Thanks for sharing your great ideas for future blogs! These regional favorites sound delicious and so interesting! I’m sure our readers would appreciate these recipes. Thanks for taking the time to offer the names and descriptions of some of your favorites! This is exactly the kind of information we need to begin to incorporate more international recipes on our website. I have shared your ideas with our web team. Barb@KAF

  9. Carolyn Easley

    I once had a roll recipe from you that called for 10 cups of King Arthur Whole wheat flour. Please help me find it again.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Carolyn, we’ve polled some of our long-time bakers here and we can’t seem to recall any recipe of ours that ever used that much flour. We do, however, have a number of whole wheat roll recipes, which we hope meet your needs. There are some tasty recipes in the group! Kye@KAF

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