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Home » Bread Machine Dinner Rolls: A Tested and Approved Classic

Bread Machine Dinner Rolls: A Tested and Approved Classic

Preview: Make these classic bread machine dinner rolls with a bread maker. They are beginner-friendly and taster-approved. No bread machine? No worries! You can still mix the dough in a stand mixer or do it by hand. See the recipe notes for details. Updated 2/13/21.

Does anybody still clip recipes in this day of virtual newspapers/magazines, Pinterest, and gorgeous picture cookbooks?

I clipped this recipe out of our local newspaper back in the ’80s. Whether it was a disgruntled employee or the cafeteria cooks themselves at a nearby school district, I’m so glad they shared their famous recipe for these scratch dinner rolls.

Even though it wasn’t a bread machine recipe per se, the recipe adapted beautifully in my then-new bread machine. I was hooked.

A million and one batches later, I can honestly say this recipe has been “tested and approved.” Proceed with confidence.

My Favorite Classic Dinner Rolls Recipe for a Bread Machine--baked rolls ready to bake

This bread machine yeast roll recipe was published in the early days of this website. When readers complained after it disappeared for a while, I republished it along with a video.

In keeping with my habit of continually tweaking recipes, I applied the Tangzhong technique to this recipe a couple of years ago. Although I think it is even better, it’s slightly more complicated. You can see that recipe here: The Softest Ever Bread Machine Dinner Roll

Ingredients and substitutions

  • FLOUR: Unbleached flour is my first choice for a very scientific reason. It’s what I keep in the flour canister on my countertop making it easy to grab.

    I’ve tried bread flour, white whole-wheat flour, and bleached flour. They all make great rolls.
  • MILK: Whole milk is best. The more fat in the milk, the better. If you have some other milk on hand, go ahead and use it.

    If you aren’t using whole milk, you could substitute 1 tablespoon of heavy cream for 1 tablespoon of milk. The liquid should not total more than 1 cup.
  • EGG: I use nothing but “large” eggs in all of my bread recipes. Make adjustments in the amount of liquid if you use a different size egg.
  • SUGAR: The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of sugar. I often add only 2 tablespoons depending on how tight my pants are feeling that day. Suit yourself.
  • BUTTER: The original recipe specified shortening, aka Crisco. After a few years of that, I switched to butter and never looked back. If you happen to be out of butter, you can use shortening as a substitute.
  • YEAST: Again, the original recipe called for active dry yeast. I quickly exchanged the idea of waiting 10-minutes while the yeast dissolved for instant or bread machine yeast that doesn’t need to be dissolved. As it turns out, active dry yeast no longer needs to be dissolved.
  • SALT: Use table salt or sea salt. If you want to use Kosher salt, add about 1/4 teaspoon more. Salt is an important part of the whole package so please don’t leave it out.

How do you use a bread machine to make dinner rolls?

If you are a bread-maker newbie, be sure to read 6 Bread Machine Secrets You Need To Know . For now, here’s the quick answer.

Use the bread machine DOUGH cycle to mix up the dough, knead it, and let it rise. That means you will dump all the ingredients (except the butter) into your bread machine pan in the order listed in the recipe. Start the machine.

bread machine dinner rolls in a basket

The most important thing you should do when using a bread machine…

Check the dough a couple of times by lifting the lid to take a peek. Do this right after the machine starts in order to make sure the paddles are engaged properly. It’s also an excellent time to add the butter. (See recipe.)

Check the consistency of the dough 10-15 minutes into the dough cycle.

opening the lid to look inside the bread machine
Lift the lid and have a look.
bread machine dough, too wet, too dry, and just right
You want your dough to look like the bottom picture after about 10-15 minutes into the DOUGH cycle.

If your dough is too wet, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.

Conversely, if the dough is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks just right. See the video for another illustration of how your dough should look.

The goal is for the dough to be shiny and elastic. It should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.”

Once the dough cycle ends, remove the dough from the machine and shape into balls. Place the balls of dough into baking pans and cover while they rise again. Bake rolls in your conventional oven.


Tips for bread machine dinner rolls:

#1

Weigh the flour.

weighing flour on a digital scale

Weighing is more accurate than using a measuring cup. Since I started measuring, I rarely need to add more flour or liquid to my bread dough.

If you don’t have scales, fluff up the flour with your scoop or spoon. Spoon flour into a measuring cup with a delicate hand. Level. Please don’t be a “scooper.” This practice inevitably leads to too much flour and heavy rolls.

#2

Measure the liquid carefully.

The proportions of liquid to flour is important in bread making. If you add too much liquid, you will have to add extra flour. If you add too much flour, you will have to add more liquid.

This also applies to the egg. Using a size larger or smaller will change the proportions.

#3

Add softened butter after you start the bread machine.

This is a little-known secret I stumbled upon a couple of years ago. Now I do it with almost all of my bread recipes. Add the butter after you have started mixing all the other ingredients together.

After your machine has been running for about 1 minute, open the lid. Add the softened butter (important that it is neither melted nor hard) a tablespoon at a time to the dough.

The other ingredients get a chance to dissolve and mix together before the fat coats everything.

If you don’t do this or forget, no problem. Dumping everything in at once will still result in extraordinary dinner rolls.

#4

Use a silicone baking sheet as your “floured surface.”

using a silicone mat as a "floured surface"

Silicone mats are the best platform for rolling out dough. Why? Because the mat is easy to wash. Throw it into the dishwasher.

Also, it doesn’t take as much flour to keep the dough from sticking. Try it and you’ll see what I mean.

Speaking of flour, if the dough is too sticky for you to manage, add flour to your hands and more to the surface. Try coating your hands with a little butter when shaping the balls to prevent sticking.

#5

Use colored pans to get a nice crust on the bottom of your rolls.

My pans of choice are the gold-colored pans. After that, I would choose a pan with a dark non-stick surface. The heavier the pan, the better.

Lightweight aluminum pans or disposable foil pans are slow to brown. If it is your only choice, place the rolls onto the lower rack of your oven.

#6

Check for doneness with a thermometer.

Some of you may be thinking, “I never saw my grandma use a thermometer.” I didn’t either. Experience can take the place of a thermometer.

But if you’re a beginner or you like to try new recipes, a thermometer can save you a lot of disappointment. It doesn’t have to be a fancy one. A quick-read thermometer with a long and skinny probe (paid link) works best.

When using a thermometer, delicately poke the probe from the side of the rolls into the middle to find the lowest temperature. Your rolls should reach 190˚F when they are fully baked.

#7

Don’t leave the rolls in the pan longer than 10 minutes after they come out of the oven.

Because these rolls are so soft, you will need to leave them in the pan for just a few minutes to cool and let them “set.” However, remove them after about 10 minutes or they will become soggy.

Place them onto a paper plate, a plate covered with a paper towel or a cooling rack. After about 20 minutes, I pull the rolls apart and pile them into a basket lined with a towel.

By this time, you will have people gathered around wanting to taste-test for you. I let them! Everyone will appreciate your efforts more when they are hungry.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I make this dinner roll recipe ahead of time?

Yes. Go ahead and shape the rolls and put them in the pan you plan to use to bake them.

The next day, take the rolls out of the fridge 1-2 hours before you plan to bake them. Let the cold rolls come to room temperature and rise a little bit. When they are puffy, bake them in a preheated oven until golden brown.

Can I make a double batch of yeast rolls when using a bread machine?

Doubling a bread machine recipe is rarely a good idea unless you are actually mixing the dough with a stand mixer or by hand. A bread maker has a limit to how much flour it can knead properly. The size of most machines limit the recipe to around 4 cups of flour, but some are even less.

When making a double batch, there are two options.

#1 Option: If you should happen to have two machines, use them both. My second machine is old and was never good at baking bread, but it can still knead. Make one batch in each machine.

#2 Option: Make two batches in the same machine.

Assemble and start the first batch. When the kneading stops and the bread maker goes quiet after about 20 minutes, remove the dough to a large bowl. Cover it and move it to a warm place where it will continue to rise.

Clean out the bread machine pan and assemble a new batch in your bread machine. You can allow the second batch to complete the DOUGH cycle. Remove the dough and continue as usual.

If you are in a hurry, remove the dough from the second batch to another large bowl. Cover and set the bowl in a warmer place to rise. Oftentimes, my second batch will catch up to the first batch and they will both be ready to shape at almost the same time.


Variations

Because they are plain, basic, classic dinner rolls, the dough is versatile. Make cinnamon rolls, raisin rolls, and more with the very same dough.

Change the flour and make white whole-wheat rolls. Add rosemary and brown the butter to make a wreath with the balls for a holiday meal.

Because I never quit tweaking my recipes…

I adapted this super simple recipe by adding the Tangzhong technique. In my opinion, it’s even better because the rolls are flaky and stay fresh longer. The secret is in a liquid/flour paste that allows the baker to use less flour. However, it is slightly more trouble. You can see the recipe for my Favorite Dinner Rolls with the Tangzhong method here.


How to shape bread machine dinner rolls:

I hope these pictures will give you an idea how to transform the dough into dinner rolls. There is more than one way to make a dinner roll.

Some people like to roll the balls on a floured surface. Others roll them between their hands. But I like the method shown in the video. Once you get the hang of it, it goes much faster.

My best kitchen secret for shaping…

“Don’t worry about making perfect dough balls. If they are too perfect, people will think you bought your rolls from the grocery store.”

dough in bread machine pan at the end of the DOUGH cycle
After the dough cycle ends in your bread machine, the dough should be doubled in size.
forming dough into a ball after removing from bread maker
Remove the dough from the bread machine pan to a floured surface.
Dividing the original dough ball in two with a bench scraper, then dividing each ball into 8 pieces
Divide the ball in half. Divide each half into 8 equally-sized pieces.
showing how to form each piece of dough into a ball with your fingers
Make each piece of dough into a ball by pulling the dough from the sides and pinching underneath. (This is hard to describe. See the video.)
covering dough balls with a cheap shower cap
Arrange in an 8 or 9-inch greased pan and cover.
Dough balls after second rise and ready to bake
Let rise until almost double in size.
Finished bread machine dinner rolls before removing from the pan to a cooling rack
Bake at 350˚F for about 12-14 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Internal temperature should reach 190˚F.

More Bread Machine Recipes and Tips


Did you try this recipe and enjoy it? Consider helping other readers (and me) by returning to this post. Leave a rating on the recipe card itself underneath the picture. No comment required.

If you have a question or tip to share, please leave it in the regular comments after the recipe so I can answer back. Or email me: paula at saladinajar.com.

Thank you for visiting!
Paula



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Yield: 16 rolls

Classic Bread Machine Dinner Rolls

Classic Bread Machine Dinner Rolls

This recipe produces a light and airy slightly-sweet dinner roll you can mix up in your bread machine. Shape by hand and bake in your conventional oven for the best of both worlds.

Prep Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 57 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm milk (227 gr)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (5 gr)
  • 1 egg (room temperature) (50 gr)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (36 gr)
  • 3 cups unbleached flour (360 gr)
  • 2 teaspoons bread-machine or instant yeast (6 gr)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened (not melted) (57 gr)

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients but the butter into your bread machine pan in the order listed. Select the DOUGH cycle.
  2. After about a minute or two, open the lid and add softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. 10-15 minutes into the DOUGH cycle, lift the lid and check your dough again. It should barely stick to the sides and then pull away cleanly. If too wet, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time. If too dry, add additional water or milk one tablespoon at a time.
  4. When the dough cycle finishes, the dough should be doubled in size. If not, leave the dough in the bread machine a few more minutes until it you can punch two fingers into the dough and it fills in gradually. If it doesn't fill in, it has risen too much. If the dough bounces right back and the dough fills in immediately, then it needs to proof (rise) a little bit longer. (This may happen if your kitchen is cold.)
  5. Pull dough out of the machine and onto a floured surface. Knead the dough and form it into one large ball. Divide in half, making 2 balls. Divide each of those balls into 8 equally-sized lumps.
  6. Make a ball from each piece of dough by pulling the dough toward the bottom while turning the dough. (See video.)
  7. Arrange balls in 2 well-greased 8 or 9-inch round or square pans (non-stick is better) and cover with a tea towel or a cheap shower cap. Place in a warm spot until doubled. (I put mine in the microwave where I have already boiled a cup of water for 5 minutes to make it warm and steamy.)
  8. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  9. Bake in the oven until golden brown, usually about 12-15 minutes. Rotate to get even browning. Internal temperature should reach 190˚F.
  10. Within 5-10 minutes, dump baked rolls out of the pan and let cool on a rack or paper plate so they won’t get soggy from the steam they produce.

Notes

Alternate Mixing Instructions:

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. Using a dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and 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 and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that 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 dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.

Please note: You can substitute active dry yeast for instant or bread machine yeast. There is no longer any need to dissolve it. Be aware that it may be a little slower acting than instant yeast, but it'll get there.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1 roll

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 176mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

Did you make this recipe?

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Susie

Saturday 13th of February 2021

I've made these rolls probably six times now with varying outcomes, but always delicious. I generally split the dough and make one pan of 8 rolls and one pan of 8 cinnamon rolls! Yum. The one situation I always have is that the dough is very sticky when I remove it from the machine, without the substance generally found in other yeast doughs so I find myself using a lot of flour to ease handling and forming. I must be doing something wrong. I weigh my flour (thank you for this great tip!) and the dough looks correct while kneading and proofing. Regardless, this is a great recipe. Any ideas?

Paula

Saturday 13th of February 2021

A couple of possibilities: Are you using bread flour by any chance? Sometimes you need to add more flour because of the additional protein. Whenever your dough is over-proofed, it is often sticky to work with. When you poke your finger in the dough to check if it has risen enough, the hole should fill back in slowly. If it fills in quickly, it needs to rise more. If it doesn't fill in at all, then it's likely the dough has over-proofed. Push the dough down and let the dough rise again, but this time not as much.

Another thing could be your work surface. Have you tried spraying a little oil on the surface and also your hands? It works like a charm and you don't have to use any flour.

Does any of this sound possible?

Cherie

Friday 12th of February 2021

I made these last week and they tasted great! I will be making them again not only because we enjoyed them but clearly...I need practice forming dinner rolls. Thanks, Paula

Paula

Friday 12th of February 2021

Yes, a little practice is all you need. Thankfully, the shape doesn't normally affect the taste.

Diane Morgan

Friday 29th of January 2021

When I'm making dinner rolls I don't want the angel food cake buttin in.

Hallie

Thursday 19th of November 2020

Made these a couple of hours ago and I'm making a second batch now. My partner and I ate more than we should've given we wanted to serve them to his parents for dinner tomorrow! These are delicious!! Now that I'll have many more rolls than needed, I'm wondering how long they'll stay fresh for? Also, do they freeze well?

Paula

Friday 20th of November 2020

Hi Hallie,

Glad you liked the rolls. Now you know why they are a family favorite. These rolls have no preservatives so they are best the day they're baked and pretty good the next day, too. If you freeze them, I would probably slice and toast them for the best flavor. You might be interested to know that this recipe for Tangzhong dinner rolls is the same recipe with the Tangzhong technique applied. These rolls stay fresh for a good three days and taste even better. The recipe has one added step that's not hard. Might be the best solution.

Cheryl

Thursday 24th of September 2020

I am in the process of making rolls for my second time.. they came out perfect the first time ~ a week ago. Was my first time to use the “dough” feature on my machine. Thanks so much for all the tips, and recipes.

Paula

Thursday 24th of September 2020

Hi Cheryl,

You're welcome, So glad to have you on the "Dough Cycle" team. Hoping for a rerun of last time.