Slightly sweet & oh so fluffy Milk and Honey Dinner Rolls are great for weeknights or to serve with your holiday meal! Simple, quick & easy!
Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?! I’m got my Thanksgiving turkey thawing in the fridge and have our menu all picked out.
If you can believe it my kids are already asking for two things – fancy apple juice and these milk and honey dinner rolls. They’ve totally bypassed Hawaiian rolls for these instead. I never thought I’d see the day.
These easy dinner rolls are a no-rise recipe that’s ready in under an hour. Yeah. I call that a holiday win.
You can even make them ahead of time and freeze the dough or let them hang out in the fridge until you’re ready to bake. They may just best the best dinner rolls around!
Bread is my ultimate food love language. It takes a little time and some TLC, but a great bread recipe is one of those wonderful things I’ve always treasured. So it might come as a total shock that I’ve never actually made dinner rolls from scratch… until now.
Growing up my step-dad always made rolls. He has a family recipe and I wasn’t chomping at the bit to make my own if someone was making them for me.
Now that I’ve made this dinner roll recipe I can’t believe I never bothered to do this sooner! Making homemade dinner rolls is right up there with making pie crust for me now. Total food prep therapy happy place.
It’s no surprise I love food blogs. I mean I have one so I should, but way back before I ever started my own site, I was reading food blogs and looking for awesome recipe ideas. The Slow Roasted Italian was one of the first food blogs I really got into all those years ago.
So of course when I got the opportunity to review Donna & Chad’s new cookbook, The Simple Kitchen, I jumped at the chance! Let me tell you, I have a slew of recipes I’ve already bookmarked to make.
If these yeast dinner rolls are this easy to make, I can only imagine everything else is too. Donna & Chad’s recipes are pure comfort food and these rolls are no exception.
What is a dinner roll?
Dinner rolls are a type of bread formed into small smooth bread that’s basically an individual loaf. They’re typically served at dinner time (hence the name) but are great for making sliders or serving with breakfast in lieu of buttermilk biscuits.
Dinner Roll Ingredients
YEAST – You can use active dry yeast or instant/rapid rise yeast for this recipe. You’ll need to adjust the amount depending on what type you use (note about that below), but either will work.
HONEY – I loved using honey in this recipe instead of sugar. It gave a richer subtle sweet flavor to the rolls and it was a big thumbs up for us. I may have even made some honey butter to spread on the rolls. So good!
MILK – I used warm milk instead of warm water for this recipe. It adds some fat to the recipe that makes them richer and helps the rolls get soft and fluffy without the extra proofing time. (Where you wait like an hour for them to double in size.) Bread made with milk will also brown more easily, so keep an eye on your rolls toward the end of the baking time.
How to Make Dinner Rolls
- Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Then you’re going to brush the inside of a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan or dish with melted butter. Set the pan on your stove while the oven heats to keep the butter warm.
- After that, head over to your stand mixer and fit it with your dough hook attachment. Add the yeast, milk, and honey to the bowl and give the ingredients a quick stir. Let that sit for 3 minutes so the yeast can bloom. (It’ll get foamy and smell like yeast.)
*If you don’t have a stand mixer, there are notes in the recipe below to get your started.
- Next, you’ll add 3 tablespoons of melted butter to the yeast mixture along with 3 1/2 cups of flour. Turn your stand mixer to low and mix until smooth. If needed, you can add up to 1/2 cup more flour until a soft dough forms. (I don’t usually need this.)
- Then you’ll add the salt and mix for 3 minutes on medium speed to knead the dough. When it’s ready to dough should have formed a ball and be slightly sticky. (If you press your finger to the dough and pull it away a little will stick.)
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, and roll the dough into a large ball. Cut the ball into 12 even pieces (just eyeball it).
- Form each piece of dough into a roll by pinching the side together until the outer edge is rounded. Turn the roll over so the smooth top is showing. Place the dough ball into your prepared baking dish and repeat with the remaining dough pieces.
- Bake the rolls for 15 to 17 minutes until the tops are golden brown. If the rolls brown too quickly, cover the pan loosely with foil.
- Remove the pan from your oven and brush the remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter over the rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.
You’ll want to store these rolls in an air-tight container to keep them from drying out. They’ll last 2-3 days out on the counter (if no one east them before then).
You can even make them the night before to help with holiday prep. Just uncover and bake the next day.
Tips and Tricks for Making Dinner Rolls
I have received feedback from some readers about these rolls that I wanted to share in case you want to make adjustments to this recipe.
- High altitude bakers may need to bake the rolls longer – up to 20 minutes plus.
- If you need to swap for quick rise/instant yeast, use 2/3 the amount listed (3 3/8 teaspoons), and you won’t need to let the yeast, milk, and honey mixture rest after mixing.
- Some readers prefer to let the rolls rise in the pan for a little bit (maybe like 20 minutes) before baking. You can absolutely let the rolls rise if you prefer. But they are okay to bake immediately.
Why are my dinner rolls hard?
This can happen for a few different reasons. The most common being your yeast was expired or was dissolved in milk/water that was too hot.
Too much flour may have been added giving a really tough dough. (Your dough should feel soft and elastic.)
Even leaving your rolls in the oven too long can dry them out and give you hockey pucks.
Without being in your kitchen cooking right alongside you, I can’t say what happened for sure. That being said, I’ve never had a problem with this recipe. It’s the best dinner roll recipe to start working up your bread chops.
While I was expecting sweet dinner rolls from the honey, but the sweetness was really subtle. Not in your face at all.
The rolls themselves are fluffy but toothsome and everyone at my house raved about them. I’m all ready planning to make some for our big family Thanksgiving dinner next week.
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time. Prep the dough to the point of baking, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and through it in the fridge. You can refrigerate them overnight or make everything in the morning and bake at dinner time.
So easy and SOOOOO delicious! I may have burned my mouth eating the first one. I just couldn’t wait.
Make the rolls, slather some butter on them, and you’ll be in bread heaven. Promise!
More delicious bread recipes you need in your life!
- Copycat Cheddar Bay Biscuits
- Homemade Bread Bowls
- Bacon Focaccia
- French Onion Sour Cream Biscuits
- Homemade Baguette
- Bacon-Wrapped Breadsticks
- More side dish recipes
Milk and Honey Dinner Rolls
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted, divided
- 4 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast 2 packets
- 1 ¼ cup warm milk (110 -115 degrees F)
- ¼ cup honey
- 4 cups all-purpose flour divided
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Set the dish on top of the stove to keep the butter warm.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the yeast, milk, and honey. Stir the ingredients a little to mix them up and help dissolve the yeast. Let sit for 3 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom.
- Add 3 tablespoons melted butter and 3 1/2 cups flour to the mixer bowl. Stir on low with the mixer until smooth. If needed, add up to 1/2 cup of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Add the salt to the dough and mix for 3 minutes on medium speed. The dough will have formed a ball and have a slightly sticky texture. (If you press your finger on the dough and pull it away a little will stick.)
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a ball. Divide the ball into 12 even pieces. You can just eyeball it, they don't have to be perfectly the same.
- Form each piece of dough into a roll by pinching the sides together in the middle until the outer edge is round. Then, turn the roll over so the smooth top is showing. Set the roll into your prepared pan, pinched side down, and repeat with the remaining dough. It's okay if the rolls touch.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown on top. If the tops begin to brown too quickly cover the rolls loosely with foil.
- Carefully remove the rolls from the oven and brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container.
- You can make these rolls the night before! Prepare the recipe as written. Once the rolls are in the pan, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate. In the morning, take off the plastic wrap, and let the glass baking dish sit on the counter to warm up. (This way it won't shatter in the hot oven. If you're using a metal pan, go right to baking.) Then bake the rolls in a preheated oven for 17 to 20 minutes until golden brown on top and cooked through.
- If you don't have a stand mixer, add the yeast, milk, and honey to a mixing bowl. Let the yeast bloom. Add in 3 tablespoons of butter, flour, and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until you can't stir anymore. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 3 to 5 minutes. Proceed to finish the rolls as directed.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
High altitude baker here; these are in my oven now and are going on 19mins bake time. Nit are if its my oven or other bakers are having to bake longer as well. Anyhow, I can’t wait to have them with my stew
Sue Schaefer says
What an excellent recipe. Have been trying multiple dinner roll recipes and this is definitely the best so far. Simple and quick. Made them to serve crockpot pulled pork on. Delicious. Thanks for sharing.
I’m so glad you enjoyed them Sue! They’re a favorite at my house too!
Can you freeze them?
Julie Espy says
Hi Louise! I haven’t tried freezing the rolls, but I would say you can freeze the dough once it’s in the pan and ready to bake. Then defrost in the fridge before baking later.
I have made lots of bread recipes of different kinds and I absolutely love this recipe!!! I use it all the time. I take it to many events and it is always a favorite of the meal! I recently started trying it for my cinnamon rolls instead of the Cinnabon Copycat recipe I have and my kids love it and is their favorite! Thank you for such a great recipe, I cannot say enough good about it!
These look great, can t wait to make them! Can this recipe be halved? If so, should the yeast be halved as well?
Julie Espy says
Yes, if you’re going to half the recipe, all ingredient amounts need to be halved.
I dont have the dry yeast, I have the quick rise/instant yeast. What would the measurement be for how much instant yeast?
Julie Espy says
Hi Jess! You’d want to use 3 3/8 teaspoons of instant yeast instead of active dry yeast (25% less). You don’t need to let the yeast/milk/honey mixture rest after mixing, just continue right on making the dough. Since these rolls don’t proof before baking, you don’t need to worry about anything else. 🙂
What kind of honey is best to use when making rolls?
Denny King says
Great recipe, but I’ve had he best luck allowing the rolls to rise in the pan a bit before baking
I love this recipe! I make it at least 2x a week!
Julie Kotzbach says
You just made my whole day Susan. Thank you for the note. 🙂
Wow! I’ve been a little afraid to try from scratch bread, as that was something I did not learn from my mom. I decided I wanted to give this recipe a try, and I’m glad I did. The rolls turned out beautifully and tasted great. I made them 4 hours ahead and held them in the refrigerator until time to bake. My family devoured the whole batch, and said I could make them anytime. I can foresee I will making them again and again!