The Fluffiest Cheese Buns Ever (Bread Machine)

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Sneak Preview: These fluffy Cheese Buns are a pillowy soft and fluffy Cheddar 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 Pin

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My family thinks these Cheddar 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 homemade bread. Crispy cheese bits form where the cheese meets the pan. They bake up crunchy on top, adding another layer of texture and taste.

Eat these rolls with dinner or use them as slider buns with ham, turkey, or mini burgers to make sandwiches.

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The Tangzhong method is the secret to the fluffiness. If you don’t recognize that word, it’s the technique used to make Japanese Milk Bread or Hokkaido Milk Bread. Keep reading to find out more. (Don’t worry. It’s simple.)

Are you curious about what else my family asks for? The following recipes are all popular: 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 with a wooden spoon. See the recipe notes for directions.



The Tangzhong technique

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

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

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

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, but you will probably need slightly less flour.

    If you want 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, carefully use a fork or spoon to fill a measuring cup 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 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast to compensate 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.
  • BUTTER: Don’t fuss about setting the butter (or eggs) to warm up to room temperature. Here’s a tip: 💡Chop refrigerated butter finely with a dinner knife using the butter wrapper as your working surface. Place the chopped butter into the pan with the other ingredients. The butter will melt into the dough at just the right time.
  • CHEESE: Mild Cheddar cheese is my first choice. It’s less greasy as it melts. Pick a semi-hard cheese if you want to try a different variety of cheese. Gouda, Swiss, or Pepper Jack come to mind. You could also mix in a hard cheese like grated Parmesan cheese.

Tips for making successful Cheddar cheese bread rolls:

1. Hold back some of the flour called for in the recipe, especially the first time you make it.

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 try a new bread recipe. 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. (USA pans do not require this step.) Cheese can stick to the pan like glue, man.

3. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into strips before making rolls.

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

4. A silicone baking mat is my preferred work surface when shaping the dough.

Throw it into the dishwasher when you’re done. Be careful when cutting the dough that you don’t cut the mat by pressing too hard. I’ve been doing it for years without a problem.

5. Sprinkle a few shreds of cheese over the tops of the buns before you bake them.

They will look more enticing and also let people know what’s inside.


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 assemble bread machine cheese buns:

measuring out flour and milkPin
Weigh or measure the milk and flour each into a separate bowl.
measuring and combining the Tangzhong milk and flour pastePin
Add three tablespoons of flour to ½ cup of milk in a microwave-safe container. Whisk until smooth.
making the paste in a microwavePin
Cook the flour and milk for 30 seconds on HIGH in a microwave. Whisk briskly. Cook for another 10 seconds. Stir again. If your microwave is small or old, you may need to keep cooking in 10-second intervals until the mixture thickens.

Don’t worry about a few small lumps–they’ll come out in the wash. But if the paste cooks into a solid cake that is not stirrable, start over. (If you don’t have a microwave, heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook until the mixture gets thick.)
Adding the Tangzhong mixture to the bread pan.Pin
Add the remaining milk and whisk well. Pour the mixture into your bread machine pan.
adding remaining dough ingredients to the bread machine pan.Pin
Add the remaining liquids and dry ingredients into the bread machine pan in the order listed. (Do not add the cheese now.) Select the DOUGH cycle and press START.
What the dough should look like in the first minute of the kneading phase.Pin
During the first minute of the mixing and kneading phase, lift the lid to check that the paddles are engaged correctly, and the dough is coming together into a ball.
The dough should be smooth and elastic at the end of the kneading phase.Pin
Recheck the dough about 12-15 minutes into the kneading phase. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Watch the dough knead; it should stick to the side briefly, then pull away cleanly. The dough should be tacky, and clean the pan. If yours doesn’t look like this, look at this post for instructions about how to fix your dough. It’s not too late.
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The dough should double in volume at the end of the DOUGH cycle. If it has not risen enough, leave the dough in the pan until it does. Then proceed to the next step.

How to shape cheese buns by hand:

Pull the dough out the bread machine at the end of the DOUGH cycle.Pin
Pull the dough out of the pan onto a lightly floured surface. I like to use a silicone mat because clean-up is easy. Shake it out in the sink and throw it in the dishwasher.
dividing the dough into two equal parts.Pin
Compress the dough and shape it into a ball. Divide the ball into two equal portions. Shape each portion into another ball. Set one ball aside (covered).
rectangle of dough ready to make rolls.Pin
Roll each portion into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle with a rolling pin.
Sprinkling cheese over the rectangle of dough with fingers.Pin
Sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded cheese. I like mild Cheddar cheese, but feel free to substitute your favorite.
Cutting strips with a pizza cutter.Pin
Use a pizza cutter or large knife to cut the rectangle into eight strips.
rolling up the strips with your fingersPin
Roll each strip starting from an outside edge.
Rolls arrange in a circular pan and covered with a cheap shower cap.Pin
Place rolls into an eight 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 bakePin
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.
Cheese rolls cooling on a wire rackPin
Bake in a preheated 375˚F (190˚C) oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. The internal temperature should reach 190˚F. Let the rolls cool on a wire rack to prevent soggy bottoms.

FAQ about Cheese Buns made with a bread machine:

Can I store baked rolls in the freezer?

Yes. Be sure to double-wrap them. Use within three weeks to a month for the best flavor.

Can I make these without cheese?

Absolutely. Often, I make one pan with cheese and one without. It’s easy to do since you will roll out two dough rectangles. If you like, coat one rectangle with melted butter instead of cheese. I’ve made one pan of cheese buns and one pan of cinnamon rolls.

Can I make this dough into a burger bun?

Yes. Instead of rolling the dough out thin, knead the cheese into the dough by hand. Portion the dough according to the size of buns you want. You can make sixteen small balls or eight large-size buns. Let them rise a final time. Smash the buns before baking so the rolls look more like a burger bun. Bake as directed. Cut in half horizontally to use for sandwiches.

Parting thoughts: If you like these rolls as much as we do, the following recipes also incorporate the Tangzhong technique: Tangzhong Cinnamon Rolls, and Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls.

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


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Cheese Buns Recipe–Bread Machine

Paula Rhodes
Fluffy cheese buns are light and fluffy dinner rolls with melty cheese on the inside and crusty cheese on the outside.
4.66 from 29 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Mixing & Rising Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 15 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 16 rolls
Calories 194 kcal

Video

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 chopped cold 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 you will need (as directed in step #1) before you get started.
  • Measure out 1 cup of milk (227 g). In a separate small bowl, measure or weigh out 3 cups of flour (360 g).
  • Make a flour paste by stirring 3 tablespoons of the flour you just measured and half of the milk (1/2 cup) together in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Cook on HIGH in the microwave for 30 seconds. Whisk briskly. Cook another 15 seconds and stir again. If necessary, cook an additional 10-20 seconds, or until the milk-flour mixture is as thick as pudding. Whisk again.
  • Add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk to the cooked milk/flour mixture and whisk energetically. It's OK if there are a few lumps. They will disappear in the mixing process. Add to the bread-machine pan.
  • Add 1 egg, heavy cream or egg yolk, 2 T sugar, 1¼ t salt, 4 T butter, the remaining flour, and 2 t of yeast to the bread machine pan and select the DOUGH cycle. Press "Start."
  • During the first minute, lift the lid to make sure the paddles are engaged and working correctly. Dough should start to clump and begin to form a ball.
  • Recheck the dough 12-15 minutes later. It should stick to side, then pull away cleanly. If it's too wet, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Allow time for all of the flour to be absorbed before adding more. If the dough is too dry, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time with enough time between each tablespoon for the milk to be absorbed,
    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.
  • While the machine is doing all the hard work for you, grate the cheese so it has time to come to room temperature.

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 12 x 9-inch rectangle.
  • Evenly distribute 1 cup of shredded cheese over the top of the rectangle.
  • Divide into 4 equally-sized strips lengthwise, then divide each strip in half across the width. You should have 8 total strips. Roll each strip starting from the outside ends.
  • Place rolls into a greased (spray with Baker’s Joy for best results) 8 or 9-inch pan in a spoke fashion.
  • Repeat the shaping instructions with the other half of the dough.
  • Cover the pans with tea towels or cheap shower caps 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 onto 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 wire rack for another 10-15 minutes. Their tops should be up so their shape is not affected. 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.

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

Serving: 1roll | Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 306mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 283IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword bread machine recipe, Cheddar cheese dinner rolls, Tangzhong bread, Cheesy Japanese white milk bread, yeast rolls
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Recipe Rating




51 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!

  30. Hi, could these be made to the point of baking and then frozen? Defrost and bake when needed? They’d be perfect to make ahead for Christmas if I can.

    1. Hi Erin,

      I am not usually a fan of freezing dough or rolls ahead of time. Seems like they just aren’t as good and usually don’t rise as much. However, I decided to really test this with this specific recipe. The rolls are in the freezer as I write this. I’ll get them out of the freezer in about three days and see how they turn out. I’ll get back to you.