Garlic Butter Dinner Rolls | Soft & Fluffy!
Is there anything better than homemade bread? These garlic butter dinner rolls are totally life-changing. They are soft, fluffy, buttery, and everyone is obsessed with them. Save this recipe for holidays, dinner parties, and everything in-between.
Homemade dinner rolls are just one of those things that people absolutely lose their minds over. And I’m one of them. Nothing beats homemade bread. I mean, who doesn’t love shoving a butter-slathered roll (or 5) into their face?
So if you really want to impress at holidays or dinner parties this year, make sure to tuck this recipe away for later. I promise, it’s easier than you think and it’s 1000% worth the effort of skipping the bag of grocery store rolls.
Why you need to make this recipe
I spent months learning how to make bread in pastry school. I’m not kidding, I must have made 10,000 dinner rolls. 😅 So let’s just say I have high standards when it comes to a good one. They should be soft, super fluffy, and have a golden, buttery top. Luckily, this recipe hits all the marks.
- This recipe is simple to make – great for beginner bread makers!
- The rolls are light, perfectly squishy, and have a golden brown lid.
- Use them for sandwiches, sliders, or just eat them with salted butter!
- Make these rolls for holidays, dinner parties, or cozy dinners at home.
The ingredient list
- Whole milk – the fat in the whole milk will help tenderize the bread, make it softer, and add some sweetness.
- Active dry yeast – this is the leavening agent in the rolls which makes them nice and airy.
- Sugar – a bit of white sugar will speed up the activation of the yeast. But it also adds that classic hint of sweetness that you expect in dinner rolls.
- Eggs – the fat in the egg will make the crumb softer. It also helps the bread caramelize a bit on the top.
- Unsalted butter – a bit of butter will give the rolls extra moisture and richness. You will also need some to make the garlic butter.
- Salt – bread needs salt! Otherwise, it will come out bland. I use Morton’s Kosher salt.
- Bread flour – since bread flour has higher protein than all-purpose flour, it will help the rolls rise higher and make them chewier!
- Fresh garlic – this will give us that punch of garlicky flavor on top of the rolls.
- Garlic powder – I like to use garlic powder in addition to the fresh garlic to add extra flavor without the spice that fresh garlic can have. Feel free to use all fresh garlic if you prefer!
- Chives – a sprinkle of fresh chives complements the garlic butter and adds a pop of freshness.
- Flaky salt – this is optional, but I like adding a pinch of flaky salt at the end for a little crunch.
Depending on where you live, bread flour is sometimes called strong flour or baker’s flour. Essentially, it’s just flour with higher gluten (12-14%) which helps bread rise properly and makes it chewier! All-purpose flour has a gluten content around 8-11%.
- Butter rolls – feel free to leave out the garlic if you want plain salted rolls.
- Honey – add about 1 Tablespoon (15 milliliters) of honey to the melted butter (either with or without the garlic) to make honey butter rolls.
- Herbs – feel free to use rosemary or parsley instead of chives.
- Cheesy rolls – to make cheesy rolls, add 2 Tablespoons (10 grams) of grated Parmesan to the butter mixture. You may need to add another 1-2 Tablespoons (14-28 grams) of melted butter to help it mix together.
How to make garlic rolls
Make the dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warmed milk, yeast, and a pinch of sugar. Give it a gentle stir.
- Let the mixture sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
- Then, add the sugar, egg, softened butter, salt, and about 1 cup (120 grams) of flour.
- Using a dough hook, mix everything together until the egg is thoroughly mixed in.
To help the yeast activate properly, make sure the milk is warmed to around 110°F (43°C). It should feel warm to the touch. If it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast. But if it’s too cold, the yeast won’t activate!
- Add the rest of the flour to the dough. Mix until the dough is combined and shaggy. Add extra flour, if needed.
- Next, knead the dough for 5-6 minutes. It will be smooth and slightly tacky.
- Cover the bowl with a linen and place it in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2-2 hours.
To test if the dough is properly kneaded, use the knuckle of your finger to give the dough a good poke. If it springs back slowly, it’s ready to go! If the dough springs back quickly, it needs to be kneaded for a couple more minutes. But, if the dough doesn’t fill back in, it’s over-mixed.
Shape the rolls
- Once the dough has doubled, use your fist to punch the dough down and deflate any air.
- Then, use a sharp knife or bench scraper to divide the dough into 15-16 rolls.
- Working one piece of dough at a time, stretch the dough, tucking the ends at the bottom. Turn the dough a quarter after each stretch, shaping until you have a smooth ball.
- Then, pinch the bottom where the ends meet until they’re nice and sealed.
- Lastly, place the roll seam-side down. Form your hand into a C-shape, and roll the dough in a circle until the roll is round and the bottom is sealed. Repeat with the rest of the dough. (To see the full process, check out the video in the recipe card!)
Don’t worry if the size of the rolls aren’t perfect – just do your best! If you do want rolls that are the same size, just weigh the dough on a scale and divide the weight by 15 or 16 (depending on how many rolls you want). Then, cut the rolls, weighing each piece to make sure they’re even. (For example, my dough came out to 915 grams, so I cut 15 rolls that were 61 grams each.)
Bake & finish the rolls
- Place the shaped rolls in a 9×13 pan. Then, cover the pan and let the rolls rise in a warm spot for another hour or so.
- Once the rolls are nice and puffy, brush them with egg wash and bake until they’re golden-brown.
- Meanwhile, combine the melted butter, grated garlic, and garlic powder.
- Brush the baked rolls with garlic butter right out of the oven. Sprinkle them with chives and flaky salt. Serve warm with salted butter. Enjoy!
A tip for rising dough
If your kitchen is especially drafty (or cold), here’s a quick tip for creating a proofing box using just your oven. I use this trick and it works every time!
- Turn the oven to the lowest setting (mine is 170°F or 76°C). Let it heat for about 4-5 minutes, and then turn the oven off. (Don’t worry if it doesn’t reach the set temperature. We want it to be around 100°F or 38°C.)
- Meanwhile, start boiling some water in a kettle or small saucepan. Place a heatproof pan (cake pan, baking dish, etc.) on the bottom rack of your oven.
- Once the oven reaches about 100°F and the water is boiling, place the bowl of dough (or pan of rolls) on the top rack of the oven. Pour the boiling water into the pan on the bottom rack.
- Close the oven so that the mixture of heat and boiling water creates steam. After 1-2 hours, your dough should be perfectly risen!
These rolls are amazing with all kinds of side dishes, but you can also use them for sandwiches! Here are some of my favorite ways to use them:
- Slather the rolls with high-quality salted butter, honey butter, or sage apple butter.
- Use the rolls to make sliders – beef sliders, meatball sliders, BBQ, etc.
- Make deli sandwiches with different meats, cheeses, veggies, and condiments.
- Serve the rolls with brandy beef stroganoff, red wine pot roast, or braised pork ragù.
- Make little breakfast sandwiches with eggs, bacon, and cheese. So good!
Storing, freezing, & reheating
To store leftovers, place the rolls in an airtight container. Refrigerate the rolls for up to 3 days. Usually, I wouldn’t recommend refrigerating the rolls since the moisture in the fridge can dry them out a bit. But, since they’re topped with garlic butter, you’ll want to keep them chilled!
To freeze the rolls, place them on a sheet pan and freeze firm, about 1-2 hours. Then, place the frozen rolls in a freezer-safe airtight container or zipper bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost them for about 2-3 hours at room temperature before reheating.
When you’re ready to reheat the rolls, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Place the rolls on a sheet pan and warm them for 5-10 minutes. Or, heat them in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
These rolls are a lovely make-ahead recipe! You have a couple of options here – either refrigerate them for the first rise or the second rise.
- First Rise: Make the dough, cover it tightly, and let it slow-rise in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to assemble the rolls, remove the dough from the fridge and let it warm up for about 1 hour, until doubled in size. Shape the rolls and finish according to the recipe directions.
- Second Rise: You can also shape the rolls, tightly cover the pan, and refrigerate them for the second rise for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to bake the rolls, remove them from the fridge and let them warm up until they’re puffy, about 1 hour. Bake and enjoy!
- Kitchen scale
- Stand mixer
- 9×13 baking dish
- Bench scraper
- Pastry brush
I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to measure out the ingredients. This is the best way to make sure that the rolls come out soft and fluffy every time. If you don’t have a scale, measure the flour by first fluffing it with a whisk. Spoon the fluffed flour into a measuring cup and level it off without packing the flour in.
- This recipe is super easy to double. Just bake the rolls in 2 pans and you’ll have rolls for a crowd! You can also double the recipe and freeze half for later.
- The rise time will depend on the warmth of your kitchen and the altitude you live at. If your kitchen is cold, it will take longer for the dough to rise and vice versa. Also, if you live at higher altitude, the dough will rise faster than at sea-level.
- If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can make the dough by hand. You might just need to knead the dough for an extra few minutes.
- For those golden-brown tops, bake the rolls on the rack just above the middle of the oven. This will give you golden-brown tops with soft, fluffy centers!
- The tops of the rolls may feel a bit crusty when you take them out of the oven. But don’t worry! Once you brush the butter on top, they’ll soften and get squishy.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Can I make these without garlic?
Totally! Just brush the finished rolls with plain butter instead of garlic butter. Just don’t forget a sprinkle of salt at the end!
How can I upgrade these rolls even more?
Feel free to add grated parmesan, honey, or rosemary to the garlic butter. You can also sprinkle the rolls with everything seasoning, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds before baking.
Should I brush the rolls with butter before or after baking?
You’ll want to brush the rolls with butter after baking to soften the tops and add a lovely buttery flavor. But, we will brush the rolls with egg wash before baking to get those shiny golden-brown tops.
Should I use all-purpose or bread flour?
In this recipe, I would definitely recommend bread flour. I’ve tested the recipe with all-purpose and even though they were good, they weren’t quite as chewy and soft. For super soft, fluffy rolls, invest in some good bread flour. It’s worth it, promise!
Why are my rolls hard?
If your rolls came out dense, it could be for a few reasons.
- First, you may have used too much flour. Make sure you’re measuring it properly with a scale!
- It could also be that the yeast you used was dead so the dough didn’t rise. Always use fresh yeast!
- Lastly, it could be that you over-kneaded the bread. Over-mixing the dough will develop the gluten too much, making the rolls tough.
Can I make these without yeast?
Sorry but no! This recipe definitely needs yeast to help the dough rise properly. It’s a key ingredient!
Is this a high-altitude friendly recipe?
Yes! I’ve made this recipe at 4,500 feet and it works great. Just keep an eye on the dough while it’s rising, because yeasted doughs rise faster at higher altitudes. If you live at very high altitude, you may need to decrease the yeast a bit.
More cozy sides
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Garlic Butter Dinner Rolls
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk (295 milliliters)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided (26 grams)
- 2 room temperature eggs, divided
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened & cut into cubes (56 grams)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 4 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more as needed (480 grams)
- Neutral oil or unsalted butter, for greasing
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (28 grams)
- 1 large garlic clove, grated (3/4 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- Flaky salt, to taste
- Kitchen scale
- Stand mixer with dough hook
- Bench scraper
- 9×13 pan
- Pastry brush
- Activate the yeast: Start by warming the milk in the microwave or on the stove until it's about 110°F (38°C). Pour the warmed milk into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the active dry yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Gently stir the mixture and let it sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Make the dough: Once the yeast is foamy, add the rest of the sugar, 1 egg, unsalted butter, salt, and 1 cup (120 grams) of bread flour. Using the dough hook attachment, stir on low until the egg is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the rest of the flour and stir on low until the dough is shaggy and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is very wet and sticky, add flour 1 Tablespoon at a time until it is tacky and workable. (Avoid adding too much flour or the rolls will come out dense. The dough will be a bit sticky.)
- Knead the dough: Knead the dough on medium speed until it's smooth, about 5-6 minutes. To test if the dough is properly kneaded, use your knuckle to poke the dough. If it springs back slowly, it's ready to go! If it springs back quickly, knead it for another 1-2 minutes. Or, if the dough doesn't spring back at all, it's over-mixed.
- First rise: Remove the dough and grease the bowl with neutral cooking oil. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a clean linen or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled, 1 1/2-2 hours.
- Grease a 9×13 baking dish with softened butter or neutral oil. You can also use a large cast iron skillet.
- Shape the rolls: Punch down the dough and turn out on a lightly floured surface. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, divide the dough into 15-16 equal pieces depending on how many rolls you need. (Don't worry, it doesn't have to be perfect.)
- Working one piece of dough at a time, stretch the dough out and under, tucking the ends of the dough at the bottom. Turn the dough a quarter after each stretch, shaping the dough until you have a smooth ball. Then, pinch the bottom where the ends meet to seal it well. Lastly, place the roll seam-side down. Form your hand into a C-shape, and roll the dough in a circle until the roll is round and the bottom is sealed. Repeat with the rest of the dough pieces.
- Second rise: Arrange the rolls in the prepared baking dish. Cover with a clean linen or plastic wrap and rise until puffy, about 1 hour.
- Bake the rolls: Adjust an oven rack in the upper-middle section of your oven. Preheat it to 350°F (177°C). Then, whisk the remaining egg with 1 Tablespoon of water to make egg wash.
- When the rolls are ready to bake, use a pastry brush to gently brush 2 layers of egg wash on the rolls. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the tops are golden-brown but the centers are still nice and soft. If the tops start to brown too much, tent the pan with tinfoil.
- Make the garlic butter: While the rolls are baking, whisk the melted butter, grated garlic, and garlic powder until smooth. Brush the warm rolls with garlic butter.
- Garnish: Sprinkle the rolls with the chives and flaky salt. Serve warm with salted butter. Enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
Song of the day – Good Luck by Broken Bells