The Fluffiest Cheese Buns Ever (Bread Machine)

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Sneak Preview: These fluffy Cheese Buns are a pillowy soft and fluffy cheese-infused dinner roll with a chewy, cheesy crust. This is a bread machine recipe, but you can make these rolls without one. See the recipe notes for details.

Piping hot cheese buns

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My family thinks these cheese buns are the best dinner rolls on the planet. They always win extra points with my youngest grandson. I wish you similar results.

Nothing beats unrolling hot-out-of-the-oven cheese rolls to find melty Cheddar cheese combined with soft, flaky bread. The crispy cheese bits formed where the cheese meets the pan and bakes up crunchy on top adding another layer of texture and taste.

Eat them with dinner or use them as slider buns with a piece of ham or turkey.

The Tangzhong method is the secret to fluffiness. Keep reading to find out more. (Don’t worry. It’s simple.)

These are the most requested rolls in my bread recipe repertoire. Giving them close competition are My Favorite Cinnamon Rolls, Bread Machine Monkey Bread: A Savory Version, and Crusty French Bread Mixed in a Bread Machine.



Can I use a stand mixer instead of a bread machine to make these rolls?

The answer is a resounding YES! This recipe is designed for a bread machine. I think a bread-making machine does the best job of kneading the dough.

However, you can use a stand mixer or even make them by hand if you prefer. See the recipe notes for directions.



The Tangzhong technique

(Skip this section if you are not into the details. Just follow the recipe.)

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The Tangzhong technique is a simple modification that improves the texture, taste, and freshness window of homemade bread.

Baked Cheese Dinner Rolls in a pan. brushed with butter.

A small amount of flour is whisked into milk or water and heated to thicken the mixture. This “magic pudding” can be made quickly in a microwave. Add more liquid to cool down the temperature immediately. Pour into your bread machine along with the remaining ingredients.

This process makes it possible to use less flour and more liquid. In other words, the percentage of hydration is higher.

If you like the results of the Tangzhong technique, I also use the same method in these recipes: A Tangzhong Bread Machine Recipe for the BEST Dinner Rolls Ever and Terrific Tangzhong Cinnamon Rolls from your Bread Machine


Ingredients and substitutions:

  • FLOUR: The recipe calls for unbleached wheat flour. You can substitute bread flour if you prefer, but you will probably need slightly less flour.

    If you want to use whole wheat flour, I recommend you use no more than 1 cup. Make up the rest with unbleached flour.

    The recipe calls for unbleached wheat flour. You can substitute bread flour if you prefer, but you will probably need slightly less flour.
    If you want to use whole wheat flour, I recommend you use no more than 1 cup. Make up the rest with unbleached flour.

    The recipe includes weight measurements as well as cups. Weighing the flour is much more accurate.

    If you don’t have scales available, use a fork or a spoon to fill a measuring cup carefully before leveling the top. Using your measuring cup to scoop up the flour will usually result in using too much flour. Bye-bye fluffy rolls!
  • YEAST: Instant yeast or bread machine yeast (same thing) is always easier, so that’s what I use. However, if you can’t get it or don’t have it, use regular active dry yeast instead. There is no longer any need to dissolve it according to King Arthur Baking.com. Add an additional 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast to make up for the slower rising capability.
  • EGGS: I always use the large size. If you have a different size, compensate with more or less liquid.
  • SALT: The recipe is written for table salt or sea salt. Add an extra 1/4 teaspoon if using Kosher salt.
  • MILK: Any milk you have on hand will work. However, the higher the fat content (whole milk is the best), the richer and moister your rolls will be. The milk does not need to be warmed. The friction of the bread machine paddles will warm the dough in a hurry.
  • CHEESE: Medium or sharp Cheddar cheese is my cheese of choice. If you want to try something else, pick semi-hard cheese. Gouda, Swiss, or Pepper Jack come to mind.
Cheese rolls cooling on a wire rack

Tips for making successful Cheddar cheese bread rolls:

1. Always hold back some of the flour called for in the recipe.

For example, if the recipe calls for 3 cups of flour, only add 2 and 3/4 cups of flour initially. Check your dough and add the remaining flour as necessary (1 tablespoon at a time).

I recommend doing this ANYTIME you make homemade bread, especially if it’s a new recipe for you. Environmental variations (some beyond your control) and user techniques can make a difference.

2. Spray the bread pans with an oil/flour mixture like Baker’s Joy.

This is especially important if your pans do not have a high-quality non-stick finish. Cheese can stick to the pan like glue, man.

3. Use a pizza cutter to cut the strips.

It’s quick! Otherwise, use a large kitchen knife.

4. My preferred “floured surface” is a silicone baking mat.

Throw it into the dishwasher when you’re done. Just be careful when you are cutting the dough and not also cutting the mat. I’ve been doing it for years without a problem.


Can I make these ahead of time?

Yes. Make the dough, let it rise, and shape it into rolls. Refrigerate. When ready to bake, allow the rolls to come to room temperature and rise until almost double before baking.

Because the recipe employs the Tangzhong technique, these rolls will remain amazingly fresh for another day or two or three after baking. How to form the rolls and add the cheese.

How to assemble fluffy cheese buns:

showing the finger test for assessing if the dough in the bread machine has proofed enough
When the dough has risen enough, you can push two fingers into the dough and the holes will remain.
two dough balls
Empty the dough from the bread machine pan onto a floured surface. Divide dough into two equal portions. Shape each into a ball.
Rolling out the bread dough on a silicone mat
Roll each portion into a 13 x 10-inch rectangle.
Covering dough with shredded cheese
Sprinkle with shredded cheese. I like medium Cheddar cheese, but feel free to substitute your favorite.
Cutting dough with a pizza cutter
Use a pizza cutter or large knife to cut the rectangle into 8 strips.
8 strips of dough covered with cheese
How to roll up cheese roll
Roll each strip starting from a narrow end.
showing how to roll a cheese bread roll
rolls before they have risen to double in size
Place rolls into an 8 or 9-inch pan in a spoke fashion. Cover loosely with a tea towel or a cheap shower cap.
raw cheese bread rolls (doubled in size) ready to bake
Place rolls in a warm place until they are almost doubled in size. (The rolls pictured above are ready to bake.) Sprinkle a little cheese on top. Bake in a preheated 375˚oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. The internal temperature should reach 190˚F.

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula

Cheese Buns Recipe

Fluffy cheese buns are light and fluffy dinner rolls with melty cheese on the inside and crusty cheese on the outside.
5 from 26 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Mixing & Rising Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 15 mins
Course Bread
Servings 16 rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (divided) - 227 gr
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, (divided) - 360 gr
  • 1 egg (large) - 50 gr
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream or 1 egg yolk - 14 gr
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (granulated) - 24 gr
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt (table or sea salt) - 7 gr
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter - 113 gr
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast - 6 gr
  • 2 cups Cheddar cheese (8 oz. shredded) - 226 gr

Instructions
 

Making the dough:

  • Tip: It's easier to measure out the total amount of milk and flour (as directed in step #1) you will need before you get started.
  • Measure out 1 cup of milk. In a separate small bowl, measure out 3 cups flour.
  • Make flour paste by stirring 3 tablespoons of the flour you just measured out and half of the milk (1/2 cup) together in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Cook on HIGH in the microwave for 1 minute, stirring every 30 seconds. If necessary, ook an additional 15-30 seconds, until the milk-flour mixture is as thick as pudding.
  • Add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk to the cooked milk/flour mixture and whisk energetically. It’s OK if there are still a few lumps. They will disappear in the mixing process. Add to the bread-machine pan.
  • Add egg, heavy cream or egg yolk, sugar, salt, softened butter, remaining flour (hold back about 1/4 cup), and yeast to the pan and select the DOUGH cycle. Press "Start."
  • After about 10 minutes, open the bread machine lid and check the dough. If too wet, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time. If too dry, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
    bread machine dough, too wet, too dry, and just right
  • When the DOUGH cycle finishes, check to see if the dough has risen to double its original size. If so, remove it to a floured surface. If not, allow the dough to remain in the machine until it is doubled.

Making and Baking the Rolls:

  • Remove the dough from the bread machine onto a floured surface. I like to use a silicone mat because clean-up is easy (dishwasher).
  • Divide dough in half. Form each half into a neat ball, flouring the surface as you work to prevent sticking.
  • Use a rolling pin to roll one dough ball into a 13 x 9-inch rectangle.
  • Evenly distribute 1 cup of the cheese over the top of the rectangle.
  • Divide into 4 equally-sized strips long-ways, then divide each strip in half short-ways. You should have 8 total strips. Roll each strip starting from either of the short ends.
  • Place rolls into a greased (spray with Baker’s Joy for best results) 8 or 9-inch pan in a spoke fashion.
  • Repeat steps 2-6 with the other half of the dough.
  • Cover pans with a tea towel or cheap shower cap and set aside to rise again until almost double. This will probably take an hour, plus or minus, depending on the room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F when you think the rolls are almost ready to bake.
  • Place rolls on the middle shelf of your oven. Bake for 14-17 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Run a plastic knife around the edge to loosen any cheese stuck to the edge. Turn rolls out onto a cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes. Brush all over with melted butter.
  • Tip: If you leave rolls in the pan too long after baking, they will sweat and become soggy on the bottom.

Video

Notes

Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:
  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer:  Add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on LOW to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Then, using a dough hook, turn the speed to 2 or 3. Continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand: Combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading will likely take 10-20 minutes, depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Cheese Buns Recipe
Serving Size
 
1 roll
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
194
Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
9
g
14
%
Saturated Fat
 
5
g
31
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
35
mg
12
%
Sodium
 
306
mg
13
%
Carbohydrates
 
21
g
7
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
2
g
2
%
Protein
 
7
g
14
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keywords: bread machine recipecheddar cheese dinner rollscheese rollsyeast rolls
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Recipe Rating




49 Comments

  1. Mmm… cheese and rolls – very comfort food-ish! They also look so light and fluffy. Must be the “baker”. Are these going on your Easter table? I’m planning on popovers… but maybe these might show up instead!

  2. These look fantastic and are a must do! Love them with the cheese! Thanks!

  3. Emma qins says:

    It looks very fantasitc.May be the best cheese rolls on the planet!

  4. Your blog makes me soooo hungry! These look delicious! I want some right now.

  5. Crystal's Cozy Kitchen says:

    Everything is better with cheese! These look so fluffy and delicious.

  6. The Dutch Baker's Daughter says:

    Wow! Your rolls are beautiful….and I love the little cheesy bits left over for the cook.

  7. WOW! They were delicious!!!!!! We saved them to feed to our volunteer help on Saturday and everyone LOVED them! Thanks for thinking of us…and thanks for posting the recipe so that I can make them now too!

  8. These look wonderful! Cheese+bread=perfection! That’s all the math for today:)

  9. so the flour that you use here is what kind? all purpose? or bread flour?

    1. I have used both successfully. I usually use all-purpose, unbleached just because it’s what I keep in the canister on the counter.

  10. Donna Browning says:

    I just made these. They are wonderful and not too difficult to make. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  11. i’m going to make these at school for a practical i sure do hope they are winners and i can clearly see that they are already 🙂

    1. Hope they turn out for you. We totally love them! pr

  12. Just wanted to say I love your blog!! Keep up the good work! Your videos are awesome and now I can make perfect dinner rolls!! 🙂

    1. Thanks Jennifer,
      Glad to hear it!

  13. Doris McCoy says:

    I am thrilled with your instructions and recipes for rolls, the cheese rolls especially. The pictures are so real looking, you feel that you can pick up a roll and eat it.

    I am making a note of your website and will return to it often to see “What’s cooking.”

    Doris

  14. If I don’t have a stand mixer, what do you recommend? Can I mix it all by hand?

    Also, I made these once before and they got too brown on top without being all the way cooked inside. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hi Daneka,
      Yes, you can make these rolls by hand. It will be a little more work but should taste just as yummy. Not for sure why your rolls got too brown. Possibilities: Rack too close to top heating element. Move down. Your oven temperature could be calibrated or mistakenly runs too high. Have you checked it in awhile with an oven thermometer? If you continue to have a problem, set your timer for half way through baking time and cover loosely with foil to prevent further browning, if necessary. I frequently have to do this with loaves of bread but not with rolls. What kind of pan are you using? If using a lightweight aluminum pan or foil pan (cheap?), the rolls may not bake right and have a nice brown crust so they will get too brown on top while you are waiting for that to happen. Good luck! Glad you wrote. paula

  15. Can you make this recipe into a loaf of bread? If so how long would you bake it?

    1. Kathleen,
      The dough for these rolls is very soft so I wouldn’t advise it for a loaf of bread. paula

  16. VIVIAN SIMPKINS says:

    5 stars
    All my Thanksgiving guests gave these rolls rave reviews. They are to-die-for delicious.

  17. Alison McDonald says:

    Best cheese buns ever! Way better than store bought!

    1. Hi Alison,
      So glad I’m not the only one who thinks so.

  18. Absolutely the best! I’ve made cheese buns before but nothing compared to these…is it the tangzhong method? You squeeze them in any direction and they spring right back. The mouth texture is so nice too. I’m now looking for a whole wheat recipe that uses the tangzhong method as well. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Yes. I think so. Makes a difference.

    2. @Paula, I DID make a whole wheat loaf using tangzhong and it worked beautifully. Hallelujah! That was three days ago and the bread is still fresh, the texture like the white loaves and buns I’ve made. Such a neat technique…lucky to have found it on youtube: Japanese milk bread and your site too, of course. Thanks, Paula.

      1. Way to go, Vivian. Wish we were neighbors so I could come over and help you eat it. Have a great week!

  19. Made these beauties this morning.
    Not only I didn’t have to hold back any amount of flour, I need to add 4 additional tbsps.
    Thanks to Paula’s note on how to know I’ve gotten the ‘perfect’ dough – stick to the wall of pan and pull away – I wouldn’t know what to do 😇😇😇

    1. Hi Ju,

      Sounds like you’ve got the hang of adjusting your dough! HIGH FIVE!

  20. Thank you for such a great page Made them yesterday Didn’t have milk so used Powdered Milk but compensated by using more butter Next time will wrap them in an all beef wiener

    1. Trent,

      High-5 for your brilliant substitution. Please let me know when you wrap a beef wiener inside these rolls. I will come and help you eat them.

  21. Gwynette in NWArkansas says:

    We love beef and cheese sandwiches. After making these rolls, I added thinly sliced left over rump roast and home made bread and butter pickles. No extra cheese needed! We have out of state friends who have a little cottage near our home and will travel here in three weeks. When I make different kinds of rolls, l always freeze 6 of each kind so we can have a delicious variety of rolls for our brunches. Thanks for another “keeper” recipe, Paula! Wishing you and yours a happy and safe holiday!!

    1. You have some lucky friends. My husband LOVES to eat any kind of meat with mustard and bread and butter on a dinner roll–using it as a bun.

      p.s. I would love to have a peak in your freezer. I bet it’s super interesting.

    2. Gwynette in NWArkansas says:

      @Paula, we try to keep it stocked in this unsettled time and it’s a ways to the grocery store. I’m counting on not having to do a lot of baking right at Christmas. Still have biscotti to make for gifts and looking forward to dipping it my orange spice tea! Your recipes are the absolute best.

  22. Sandra Boone says:

    5 stars
    I was a bit skeptical about the method of adding some flour to the milk before the bread machine setup but I’m a believer now! These were the fluffiest rolls I’ve ever gotten! Hallelujah! This will be my new standby with or without the cheese.

  23. Pingback: Cheese Rolls Recipe - Sweet Cheese Rolls - Woman Scribbles
  24. These were fantastically fluffy. My family adored them!

    I did notice that some of the cheese would fall out when I rolled up each bun. Any ideas how to prevent the cheese loss?

    1. Hi Becky,

      Hmmm. Practice maybe? We actually love when the cheese falls out and gets brown and chewy or crunchy. Glad you liked the rolls.

  25. Rita E Mallory says:

    I love your site,
    and the recipes, but why don’t the picture’s of the breads or rolls print out with recipe?
    I make my own loose leaf cookbooks of different things and a picture is always nice with the recipe.

    1. Rita,

      Well, Rita, you are the first person to ask for them. So I changed my settings to include the picture. Although you may not see the change right away, it should be there within 24 hours. Thank you for writing.

  26. Patti Orr says:

    Your recipes and site are so appreciated. The pictures make it so easy to make and they always turn out perfectly. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Patti. Your kind words are motivating!

  27. These cheese buns turn out absolutely wonderful. The recipe and instructions are so precise and easy to follow.
    I also tried stuffing them with roasted red peppers and garlic butter along with a little bit of cheese and the result was delicious. My family just cannot keep their hands off of them.
    Thank you for all the wonderful recipes.

    1. Your idea to add roasted red peppers and garlic butter sounds wonderful! I want to try that myself. My grandkids go crazy for these rolls, so I’m not surprised that your family also loves them. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your variation.

  28. Mary and Bob Hopley says:

    They are delicious and easy to make thanks

    1. Thanks so much for coming back to say so.

  29. Can you make these without a microwave?

    1. Hi Barry,
      Yes, you can make the Tangzhong mixture on top of the stove. Use low heat and stir often to avoid scorching. Hope you love them!