Sweet Dinner Rolls (Grammie’s Recipe!)
Breads and Muffins | Published Oct 6, 2020 | Updated Oct 6, 2020 | By Tawnie
This sweet dinner roll recipe holds a special place in my heart because it is the recipe my grandmother made for our family growing up.
She would make this not only during the holiday season but for any occasion. It was her signature recipe!
Some of my favorite memories are coming home from school and smelling her freshly baked rolls in the house. Mmmm…the BEST!
Table of contents
I am so thankful my mom suggested my grandmother to write the recipe down so we could all be blessed with her delicious sweet dinner rolls!
These homemade dinner rolls are…
- Pillowy soft
- Delicious with butter, of course.
- Perfect for beginners and advanced bakers alike – YOU’VE GOT THIS. I BELIEVE IN YOU.
- Only requires 7 ingredients
- Not limited to dinner time: Transform these rolls into bread for sliders, breakfast sandwiches, to dunk in soups, enjoy with salad, etc.
Ingredients you will need for sweet dinner rolls:
- Active dry yeast: (not rapid rise or instant yeast) – In active dry yeast, the cells are alive but dormant because of the lack of moisture. So, when mixed with warm water (105°F- 115°F) the cells become active. This process is commonly known as “activating the yeast.”
- Whole Milk: The milk also helps to activate the yeast. Heat milk , but be sure it is no hotter than 110°F.
- Butter, unsalted: The butter helps to result in a higher rise
- Salt: salt adds flavor and helps to tighten the gluten structure
- Flour: All-Purpose Flour works well in this recipe. I have not yet tested using bread flour.
- Sugar: Sugar essentially provides “food” to the yeast, enhances the flavor and gives the crust a nice golden color.
- Eggs – Provide structure and flavor
How to make Sweet Dinner Rolls:
- Activate the yeast.
- Heat the milk and add butter to the milk, allow to melt.
- Add activated yeast to the milk and mix.
- Mix dry ingredients. Combine the flour, sugar and salt together in an 8QT bowl. (very large bowl!)
- Pour yeast/milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir.
- Stir in the egg last. Stir.
- Dough will be sticky. Fold dough over itself ~8 times by gently lifting and folding the edge of the dough toward the middle.
- Cover with plastic wrap. Rise for 2 hours. Dough will become doubled in size.
- Shape into knots, and let rise again, uncovered, for 30 minutes AKA the final proof.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. If desired, brush the tops of the warm dinner rolls with melted butter or honey butter.
Be sure to watch the video of making the dough. Homemade dinner rolls can be intimidating but this recipe is for beginners and advanced alike! All you need is a little love, patience and time!
How to shape dinner rolls into knots
Using lightly floured hands, pull a piece of dough off from the bowl and measure out 75g.
Shape into a ~6-inch long strand of dough on a lightly floured surface. (like a snake or rope!)
Gently tie the dough into a simple knot.
Tuck the ends of the dough or leave the dough as a “tail.”
Watch the video for extra guidance.
Note: You can shape dough into any shape you prefer! ♡
Homemade bread rolls tips & tricks
- Watch out for the temperature of the water & milk: Warm is key! The milk should never get too hot, if it does wait for it to cool to 110°F. If the water or milk being added into yeast gets too hot (120°F+) it can kill the yeast and your dough won’t rise). The sweet spot is 105°F-115°F so 110°F always works perfectly!
- Using all-purpose flour yields consistent results. I have not tested this recipe using any other flour variety.
- Be sure you are using active dry yeast. Baking with yeast can make you turn away from a recipe but wit my clear steps I am confident you will make the most delicious sweet dinner rolls!
- This is a wetter, more sticky dough. This “wet” dough creates a lighter dinner roll but it can also be challenging or frustrating to work with. Use a lightly floured surface and lightly floured hands to work with the dough.
- No kneading, just folding. You will not have to knead this dough, but instead fold the dough ~8 times. Essentially, you are picking up the dough, lifting it up and folding towards the center.
- Folding is a tried and true method of gently continuing to develop dough strength, and is particularly useful when dealing with wet dough.
- I recommend using a digital kitchen food scale to make sure every dough roll is the same size ~75 grams will yield 25 rolls.
- Leave the dough balls/knots uncovered for the final 30 minute proof.
More bread recipes to love:
Sweet Dinner Rolls
To activate the yeast:
- 3/4 cup water
- 3, (1/4 oz.) packets active dry yeast* (3/4 oz. total or 21 grams)
- 3 tsp. sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 8 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
- Heat the water in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat until water reaches 110°F. (this will only take a minute or two)
- Remove water from heat and add in the sugar and yeast. Gently whisk and let sit for 10 minutes. You will notice the yeast begin to foam – this is good!
- Meanwhile, heat the milk on the stove in a medium-sized sauce pan until milk is between 105°F-115°F. Milk will only take 1-2 minutes to reach this temperature. Melt the butter in the lukewarm milk.
- Add the activated yeast into the milk and stir to combine.
- In an extra large bowl (I use an 8QT sized bowl), combine the flour, salt and sugar together.
- Pour the yeast/milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir.
- Mix the eggs in last. Dough will be sticky. That's OK! Use lightly floured hands to help.
- Fold dough over itself ~8 times or until it comes together by gently lifting and folding the edge of the dough toward the middle. Essentially, you are picking up the dough, lifting it up and folding towards the center. (read more in notes below)
- Cover with plastic wrap. Rise for 2 hours. The dough will double in size.
- Shape the dough: using lightly floured hands and a lightly floured surface, pull a piece of dough off from the bowl and measure out 75g on a food scale.
- Shape into a ~6-inch long strand of dough on a lightly floured surface (like a snake or a rope). Gently tie the dough into a knot. Tuck the ends of the dough or leave the dough as a “tail." Place dough balls on a lined baking sheet*. Continue until dough is gone. (~25 rolls)
- Let the dough rise again for 30 minutes, uncovered (this is the final proof).
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for 14-15 minutes or until tops of bread rolls are golden brown. If desired, brush the tops with melted butter/honey butter and flaky sea salt while bread is warm.
- 1 packet yeast = 1/4 oz. in weight or 2 1/4 tsp in volume so in total you will need 3/4 oz (21g) or 6 3/4 tsp. yeast. Be sure to use active dry yeast, not instant yeast or rapid rise.
- If the milk gets too hot, let cool until it reaches 105°F-115°F. Adding extra hot liquids to yeast may kill the yeast. Think “warm” not “hot.”
- When folding, dough may be challenging to work with. Lightly flour your surface and hands to make handling the dough an easier process. Wet dough = good dough! The folding is a tried and true method of gently continuing to develop dough strength, and is particularly useful when dealing with wet dough.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mats if desired.
Hi, I’m Tawnie!
Welcome to my tiny “korner” on the Internet! I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who loves cookies as much as kale. (OK, maybe I like cookies a little bit more but shh, don’t tell anyone). I am so glad you’re here! Follow along for hassle free, realistic and approachable recipes.More about Tawnie
Delicious !! but why not instant yeast?
Thank you so much! I used my Grandmothers recipe so this is how hers was written 🙂
First of all these are amazing!
I had a question for you. How can we store this dough if making ahead of time?
Thank you so much Valerie! I have never made the dough in advance but u might be able to. I would prepare the recipe through step 11. Cover the shaped rolls tightly and refrigerate for up to about 15 hours. At least 3 hours before you need them the next day, remove the rolls from the refrigerator, keep covered, and allow to rise on the counter for about 1-2 hours before baking. I hope this helps! – Tawnie
I made a half batch of these for Thanksgiving dinner and the whole family loved them. The sweetness level was great. I pulled them out of the oven after 13 minutes and I actually think I could have baked them even a minute less— it’s possible my oven temp isn’t 100% accurate! Otherwise they were perfect. Thanks for the recipe! 🙂
Hey Cassidy – thank you SO much! Glad they were a hit! Hope you had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving! xo, Tawnie
Wow, these are absolutely amazing! My mom and I needed a new dinner roll recipe and this it it!
Hi Nicole – I am so glad you love them. Thank you!!
Sweet dinner rolls are so easy to make. I love making garlic knots with my daughter.. Next time, I am going to try this out.
This is probably the easiest dinner rolls recipe I’ve ever come across with. I will definitely try this one!
These rolls look perfect and so simple to make! I can’t wait to try them.
These look so good! And little kneading!!! I am sold trying this weekend.
I made these sweet dinner rolls today and they were awesome! So yummy. So delicious. This is the perfect recipe for the holiday season.