The Best Soft and Fluffy Honey Dinner Rolls

There’s something about soft, warm, fresh dinner rolls that makes them nearly impossible to resist.

They’re so irresistible that I could happily and easily make a dinner out of dinner rolls.

The Best Soft and Fluffy Honey Dinner Rolls - Soft, fluffy rolls brushed with sweet honey butter! Truly the best dinner rolls ever. They disappear so fast at holiday meals & parties!

Until these rolls, I had never made dinner rolls, but they turned out to be the best dinner rolls I’ve ever had. They’re going to be a very tough act to beat and even though my search for the perfect end-all-be-all chocolate chip cookie recipe isn’t over, I think my dinner roll recipe search is. Rarely does recipe karma strike so perfectly that the first attempt at a recipe is the one I want to live with forever, but in this case, I struck dinner roll gold.

Recipes for dinner rolls are like chocolate chip cookies. There are so many and they all promise to be the best. In chocolate chip cookies, among other variables, the ratios of brown and granulated sugars, butter, flour, baking soda or powder, dough chilling, baking times and temperatures all vary from recipe to recipe.

In dinner rolls, making the dough with water or milk, using butter or oil, including an egg or not, sweetening the dough and to what degree and with sugar or honey, kneading or no-knead recipes, are among the many wild cards.

The Best Soft and Fluffy Honey Dinner Rolls - Soft, fluffy rolls brushed with sweet honey butter! Truly the best dinner rolls ever. They disappear so fast at holiday meals & parties!

Before making these, I read dinner roll, honey dinner roll, honey wheat dinner roll, and Parkerhouse dinner roll recipes like it was my job. Having a slightly sweet dinner roll was a priority, and one sweetened with honey was even better. Honey is used twice in these golden puffballs, both in the dough and it’s brushed on top of the rolls just before baking them using a honey and melted butter mixture.

The resulting rolls are slightly sweet and the flavor of the honey is present and discernible. Sometimes when I bake with honey it gets lost, but not in these. The final sweeps of honey-butter brushed on the rolls before their stint in the oven goes a long way to enhance the overall honey-butter punch. As a bonus, whatever mixture pools in the bottom of the pan creates a slightly caramelized and chewy honey-butter crust on the base of the rolls. If could pick off just those golden sticky bases from all the rolls in the pan, I would, just like I pick off muffin tops.

I used oil in the dough rather than butter. In my mind, butter-based doughs are reserved for pie crust,  brioche, or decadent cinnamon rolls and even though I wanted a buttery, soft, tender roll, butter wasn’t the way to that goal; oil was. In doing research about bread-making, I’ve learned that oil keeps bread dough softer and more pliable than butter, much like using oil instead of butter in cakes keeps them moister and more tender, too.

The rolls are soft, tender, supple, moist and the glorious honey-butter mixture brushed on the rolls before baking provides plenty of buttery flavor.

The rolls are light, but not feather-light, and retain enough density for some hearty chewing. Bread flour, rather than all-purpose flour, is used exclusively, and because of it’s higher gluten and protein content, it creates marvelous chewy texture. It’s always better to chew your food rather than just inhaling it, and these have just the right amount chew-factor; enough so that you don’t mindlessly inhale three in three minutes as is the case with feather light, flaky croissants.

It’s rare for me to say, but the rolls are fabulous plain and don’t actually need butter. But twist my arm, cinnamon sugar-butter or honey butter won’t hurt. Scott is a major bagel-and-cream cheese guy, and with cream cheese smeared on them, the dinner rolls have an almost bagel-like aura.

If you’ve never made bread using yeast before, these are not hard at all. The rolls can be made, from start to finish, in about three hours. Making the dough is a snap and it comes together in just minutes, about the same time as it takes to make cookie dough. Using a stand mixer is easier, but making without is completely viable.

After making and kneading the dough, it’s placed in a bowl and allowed to rise for about 90 minutes. Because the dough is made exclusively with white bread flour, and because I used Red Star Platinum yeast, there is almost no way to screw up the rising with this recipe. In fact, my dough rose so well it almost blew the plasticwrap off the top of my bowl. When canning, the sound of a sealing jar is music to my ears and in bread-making, a big bowl of high rising dough is one of the most beautiful sights ever. Not worrying that the dough didn’t want to rise is a moot point with this recipe.

After the first rise and the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead it gently for a minute or two. Then, allow it to rest for ten minutes, which makes shaping the dough into rolls easier because it gives the gluten a chance to relax a bit. Then, from the big wad of pillowy dough, form one dozen rolls and place them in a pan and allow them to rise for about thirty minutes. Immediately before baking, brush the rolls with honey-butter and bake for fifteen minutes.

They bake up very fast and are baked in a very hot oven because that blast of really hot oven air helps contribute to them rising well, known as oven spring. Because of the high heat in conjunction with the honey and the butter, they can also burn as the baking time draws to a close. I recommend hanging out in the kitchen while these bake because things can change quickly and you don’t want burnt buns.

Just think about what a star you’ll be when you place a basket of these on the Thanksgiving dinner table, and they can be made in advance. As is the case with most any bread, you can make a batch of the rolls from start to finish, freeze them, and then on the big day or on any day for breakfast, a snack, or to eat with dinner, just pull out one or four or two dozen, and allow them to thaw. Warming them gently in a low oven immediately prior to serving them gives them that just-baked quality, with zero work on the day-of, which is my kind of recipe for Thanksgiving or on a busy Monday night for dinner. Effortless and stress-free at crunch time keeps the cook, and everyone around her, much happier.

Although I haven’t tried it, I would also venture to guess that after the first rise of ninety minutes, and after the dough has been shaped into rolls and placed in the pan, you could cover the pan and refrigerate it overnight, and bake the rolls off the next morning; a loose interpretation of the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day principles. I have a recipe from that book coming later this week. It’s been carb-tastic here.

The Best Soft and Fluffy Honey Dinner Rolls - Soft, fluffy rolls brushed with sweet honey butter! Truly the best dinner rolls ever. They disappear so fast at holiday meals & parties!

These dinner rolls are every single thing I could ever want in a white dinner roll recipe. Light and fluffy balanced with chewy and hearty. Moist, soft, and tender and the slightly caramelized crust that forms on the base from the honey-butter is dreamy. They’re generously sized, too. One is probably all you need, but needs and wants can vary when the sweet smell of bread baking has been tantalizing you.

Scott is a white carb freak, from potatoes to rice to pasta to bagels and bread, and he said these were the best dinner rolls he’s ever had. I agree.

The Best Soft and Fluffy Honey Dinner Rolls - Soft, fluffy rolls brushed with sweet honey butter! Truly the best dinner rolls ever. They disappear so fast at holiday meals & parties!

The Best Soft and Fluffy Honey Dinner Rolls - Soft, fluffy rolls brushed with sweet honey butter! Truly the best dinner rolls ever. They disappear so fast at holiday meals & parties!

The Best Soft and Fluffy Honey Dinner Rolls

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 1 dozen generously-sized rolls, one 9-by-13-inch pan

Time investment includes the first rise of 2 hours, the punch down and resting time for 10 minutes, the second rise for 30 minutes, and the baking time is 15 minutes. From start to finish, you can knock these out in 3 hours. They are worth every minute - consider making a double batch and freezing half for later.

The rolls can be made ahead of time - make a batch from start to finish, freeze the rolls, and pull them out as needed for dinner, brunch, snacks, a special meal, or holiday gathering, allowing them to unthaw and gently reheating in a low oven immediately prior to serving if desired - also see notes below.

These are the best dinner rolls I've ever had. They are lightly sweetened from honey in the dough and are then brushed with honey-butter prior to baking, which lends both a golden color to the rolls and infuses them with a subtle sweetness. They are light and fluffy, yet have enough density, chewiness, and richness to be satisfying and hearty. They are not difficult to make and are a 5-gold stars recipe that I know I will make over and over, for years to come.

Ingredients:

1 cup water, warmed to 120 to 130F for Red Star Platinum yeast (or 105 to 115F for most other yeast, or according to package directions)

2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet, I use Red Star Platinum)

1 large egg

1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

3 3/4 to 4 cups bread flour (I use King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons honey

Directions:

Add water to a glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power to warm it, about 30 seconds. Testing with a thermometer is highly recommended, but if testing with your finger, water should feel warm but not hot.

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the water and sprinkle the yeast on top of it. Beat on low speed for about 10 seconds, just to combine; let mixture stand for 10 minutes.

Add the egg, 1/4 cup honey, oil, salt, and mix until well-combined, about 2 minutes on low to medium-low speed. Add 3 cups flour and beat until a sloppy, wet, loose dough forms. Scrape off any dough bits stuck to the paddle, remove the paddle attachment, and put on the dough hook.

With the dough hook attached, turn mixer on low speed, and slowly sprinkle in remaining 3/4 cup flour. If necessary to obtain soft, smooth, non-sticky dough, sprinkle in the full 1 cup flour that remains (for a total of 4 cups flour, rather than 3 3/4 cups, noting that the more flour used, the denser the finished rolls will be). Knead dough for about 8 minutes. It will be firm, smooth, not sticky, and elastic. Turn dough out onto a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or floured work surface and knead dough by hand for 1 to 2 minutes, just to get into the nooks and crannies with your fingers the dough hook may have missed and make sure dough is very smooth and uniform in texture. Place mounded ball of dough in a cooking sprayed or lightly greased large bowl and cover with plasticwrap. Place bowl in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. Tip - Preheating your oven for 1 minute to 400F, then shutting it off (make sure you shut it off), and quickly sliding the bowl in so the hot air doesn't escape is one way to create a warm environment; think 85 or 90F summer day warm environment. A cooler environment simply means dough will take longer to rise.

After dough has risen and doubled, punch it down to release the air bubbles, and turn it out onto a Silpat or floured work surface. Knead for about 1 minute. Mound dough into a ball, place it back into the bowl, cover it, and allow it to rest and relax for about 10 minutes, making it easier to shape into rolls.

Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking pan by lining it with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

Place dough on Silpat or floured work surface, and using your hands, roll it into a long cylinder shape, about 12 to 15 inches in length, and it will about 3 to 4 inches in girth. Divide the log into 12 uniformly-sized pieces with a dough cutter or sharp knife. Roll each piece into a ball, creating surface tension on the top of the ball by stretching the dough over itself a bit and pinch off the bottom, tucking the dough into itself. Place each piece into the prepared pan, seam side down, uniformly spaced, four rows by three. (Dough may also be rolled into just a simple 'plain ball', without pulling on the top surface of dough to create tension and not bothering to pinch off the bottom a bit, but I find they rise better and are fluffier if they're pinched off rather than just round dough globes)

After all pieces are in the pan, cover it with plasticwrap and allow to dough to rise for about 30 minutes. While dough rises, preheat oven to 400F. A good place for this rise is placing baking pan on the stovetop while oven is preheating for the carryover warmth.

Prepare honey-butter mixture by melting butter in a microwave-safe bowl on high power, about 1 minute. To the melted butter, add 2 tablespoons honey and stir to combine; set aside. After the rolls have risen and before baking, brush tops and sides of dough with the honey-butter mixture, getting into the sides and crevices and with a pastry brush. Bake rolls for about 15 minutes or until golden; they bake up very fast and watch them closely so the honey-butter mixture doesn't burn in this very hot oven. Allow rolls to cool before serving. Serve with Honey Butter or Cinnamon-Sugar Butter

Rolls may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 4 days. Rolls also freeze very well and can be made from start to finish, cooled, and placed in a freezer-safe airtight container or a ziplock for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, unthaw them and if desired, immediately prior to serving warm them in a low oven (~175 to 200F) for a few minutes and just until warmed.

Notes

I highly recommend Red Star Platinum Yeast and King Arthur Bread Flour because they gave great results.

The recipe can be made by hand and kneaded by hand, it will just take you a bit longer. I am unsure if this recipe can be made in a bread machine as I don't have one. I suspect the dough could also be baked in loaf pans; I'd use two 9-by-5 inch loaf pans, but I have not tried it.

The rolls can be made ahead of time, making them from start to finish, freezing the finished rolls, and can be unthawed prior to needing them, and if preferred warming them gently and briefly in a low oven for that just-baked taste is nice. Although I haven't tried it, I would guess that after the first rise of ninety minutes, and after the dough has been shaped into rolls and placed in the pan, you could cover the pan and refrigerate it overnight, and bake the rolls off the next morning.

Recipe adapted from here and here

http://www.averiecooks.com/2012/11/honey-dinner-rolls.html

Related Recipes

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Butter – If you’ve never made bread before, this is a goofproof, foolproof, no-knead recipe that’s perfect for the first-time bread maker. You’ll never have a need for storebought English muffins again, especially because this bread is spiked with cinnamon-sugar and raisins

Outback Steakhouse Wheat Bread {Copycat Recipe} (vegan) – This recipe is based on my love of Outback’s bread and makes two small loaves of hearty, dense, wheat bread. The bread is ever-so-slightly sweetened and is infused with subtle hints of molasses, and a dead-ringer in the flavor department. Serve with honey butter for even more authenticity

Cinnamon Swirl Bread – As close to a cinnamon roll as a bread can get and still be called bread rather than dessert. Rich, sweet, and light. This bread is for the cinnamon lover’s and is abundantly flavored with cinnamon, which is used twice in the bread recipe, and again in the cinnamon-sugar butter I serve it with

Banana Bread with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze – This banana bread recipe is the equivalent to the new dinner roll recipe; everything I could ask for in banana bread and is the one I will turn to, likely forever. For the vanilla fanatics, it’s used four times in the recipe

Cinnamon Bun Pie – Best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever made (to date) and they’re ready from start to finish in less than 30 minutes because they use a shortcut. I’m working on yeast-based cinnamon rolls next

Do you have a favorite dinner roll or dinner roll recipe?

Feel free to link up your favorites. Like chocolate chip cookies, there are zillions of recipes for white dinner rolls, honey dinner rolls, honey wheat rolls, Parkerhouse rolls, and endless combinations on a similar theme.

I feel like my search for white honey dinner rolls is over because these were an ultimate success right out of the gate and a huge hit with the family. I love the recipe so much that I already tweaked it and used it as a jumping off point for another (whole-grain) dinner roll.

Thanks for the An Edible Mosaic Cookbook Giveaway and Special K Gift Basket Giveaway entries

   

139 Responses to “The Best Soft and Fluffy Honey Dinner Rolls”

  1. #
    51
    Monica — June 27, 2013 at 3:41 am

    I made these the other day…I was so shocked by how good they were!! I couldnt believe it!!! they tasted just like the ones you buy in a bakery (and it was my first time making bread as well!)!! I will definetely make them another time! The only problem I had was that they turned brown on top quite quckly, what can I do to prevent this? Also I baked them in the middle rack in the oven, should bake them at the lowest instead?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — June 27th, 2013 at 5:20 am

      Glad to hear they were a big hit for you – and that it was your first time baking bread! If they’re browning too quickly, either turn your oven down by about 25F degrees OR place a sheet of foil over the top of the pan in the 2nd half of cooking. Should do the trick!

      Reply

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    52
    Amanda — July 28, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Wow, these are fantastic! I made them tonight and I will definitely be making them again soon. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe :)

    Reply

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    Jen — July 29, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Made these this evening- so good! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Sadly, I do not own a standing mixer and I was a little worried about the kneading times, but they came out wonderfully moist and fluffy and I got a good workout in. My closest store did not have the Red Star Platinum yeast, but the Red Star instant yeast seemed to do the job. I ate 2. By myself. For dessert. So good. I’m typing this in an effort to keep me from eating a third :)

    Reply

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    Bret — November 26, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I am going to make these for Thanksgiving but bought King Arthur Unbleached Flour opposed to the bread flour, do you think that will be okay? I confused it with your Soft Buttery Breadsticks recipe.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 26th, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      You will be just fine with regular all-purpose (good job on getting K.A.). You may need closer to 4 cups rather than 3 1/2 since bread flour is more ‘absorbent’ than AP for lack of a better word. Then again, if you live in a dry climate you may only need 3 1/2. Dough should be easy to work with and not sticky – add flour til you get there. LMK how it goes!

      Reply

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    55
    Shannon Faraone — November 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Any special notes on doubling the recipe? I am making these now! :O)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 27th, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Not really! I’ve never doubled this one b/c it makes plenty of rolls for my small family but for the holiday, good call :) LMK how you like them! They’re my fave dinner roll on my site!

      Reply

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    Avra Williams — January 12, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    I made these today and they are wonderful! I usually make my bread and roll doughs in a bread machine , but with the use of a stand mixer, these are not much more difficult. Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes – I have my eye on the Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin bread!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 12th, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Thanks for trying them and glad you loved them and found them not to be any more of a big deal than using your bread machine. Great!

      The Cinn Raisin Eng Muffin Bread is SO EASY. You don’t even have to knead it. You just plop it in a bowl and that’s it! :)

      Reply

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    stacey lundy — February 14, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    OMG these look divine!!! Do you think these would work with EVOO? I love the taste of olive oil, and its health benefits :)

    Reply

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    Kyla Mahoney — February 23, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    I made the dough today with the bread machine and they turned out great! It’s so cold here and my apartment lacks counter space so I pretty much had to cheat. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — February 23rd, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      So glad to hear it worked with a bread machine! You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do and just good for you for making bread from scratch :)

      Reply

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    Spinnin' Jenny — March 1, 2014 at 7:23 am

    I’m going to have to try these soon.

    Not to be too picky but my mom drilled proper spelling into me. The opposite of thaw is freeze. To “unthaw” something is to freeze it. So when taking out the baked, frozen rolls, you’re going to just thaw them. Sorry, but this was a little confusing when I first read the recipe.

    Also, bread making was done for hundreds of years by hand before the invention of mechanical bread makers and the fabulous electric mixer. The history of bread making is a fascinating subject. Every culture in the world has some type of bread.

    I’ve bookmarked your site for a future visit.

    Reply

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    Jambo — April 4, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Amazing, just pulled them out of the oven. Just beautiful. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — April 4th, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      Glad you love them as much as I do! Thanks for LMK they turned out beautifully!

      Reply

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    Brandi — April 15, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I’m super excited to try this recipe! I’m not a good baker but plan on changing that. I think this will be a great roll to start with. Can’t wait to try my hand at these, they look heavenly!

    Reply

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