This simple recipe for dinner rolls gets a fun twist with some flakey sea salt.
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 3/4 cup warm water (100–110 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in half
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (use 1.5 teaspoons if using table salt)
- 3 cups (360g) all purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons flakey sea salt, for topping (we love Maldon salt here!)
MAKE THE DOUGH & FIRST RISE (1 HOUR)
- Add yeast, honey, and warm water to a large bowl. Let stand 5-10 minutes until yeast has bloomed and mixture is foamy.
- While the yeast proofs, melt half of your butter. Set aside.
- Add melted butter, egg, salt, and flour to bowl. Use your hands or a stiff spatula (you could also use the dough hook of a stand mixer) to stir until dough all ingredients have combined and dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. PRO TIP: The most important thing here is to make sure the flour is completely incorporated – if you see any dry spots or small pockets of flour, keep mixing until they disappear! It’s ok if the dough doesn’t look smooth and elastic (it should be a little bit shaggy and tacky – it will smooth as it rises and as we shape it!)
- Drizzle dough with a splash of olive oil and turn the dough over inside the bowl to lightly coat it with oil.
- Cover dough with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm place for one hour or until doubled in size.
PREP THE BAKING DISH (5 MINUTES)
- When your dough is just about doubled in size, it’s time to prep your baking dish.
- Melt the remaining half of your butter.
- Use a pastry brush to brush a light layer of melted butter (no more than half of your melted butter!) over the interior of a large casserole dish (we use this 3 qt. Baking dish – it’s about 8×10 inches). Set remaining melted butter aside.
CUT & SHAPE THE DOUGH + FINAL RISE (30 MINUTES)
- When dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Fold dough over on itself 3-4 times to push the air out, adding a sprinkle of flour if it’s too sticky.
- Use a knife or a bench scraper to cut dough into 12 equal-sized pieces.
- Grab a piece of dough and pull the corners into its center, then flip it over and tuck any loose ends underneath to form a small ball.
- Place the dough ball into your baking dish and repeat with remaining dough. Make sure to leave 1/4 inch or so between each roll so they have space to rise.
- When all rolls have been placed in the baking dish, cover the dish with a clean tea towel and let rise for 20-30 minutes while you preheat the oven.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
BUTTER, SALT, & BAKE (30 MINUTES)
- Brush remaining melted butter over the tops of your rolls, then sprinkle each roll with a pinch of flakey sea salt (we love Maldon salt here!)
- Bake rolls at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes until tops turn a toasty medium brown.
- Remove rolls from oven. Let cool for at least 15 minutes right in the baking dish for easy serving or use a spatula to lift them out of the dish and let cool on a wire rack. Serve within 2-3 hours of baking for best results.
These rolls are relatively light and have a fairly crispy exterior. For richer rolls, use warm milk in place of the warm water. For a softer outer layer, wait to brush rolls with butter and sprinkle with salt until after baking. For a softer, glossy exterior, brush rolls with an egg wash instead of melted butter.
Additions and Substitutions. Substitute 1 cup (120 grams) of whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the all purpose flour if you like. We don’t recommend using additional whole wheat flour as it can change the texture of the rolls. Omit the flakey sea salt if you like. Use warm milk in place of warm water for a richer flavor. Use granulated sugar or agave syrup in place of honey if you like. We have not tested this recipe with self-rising flour, gluten-free flour, bread flour, or instant yeast.
Mix-Ins. This dough is very forgiving! Mix a few tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs, dried rosemary, roasted garlic, fresh cracked pepper or shredded cheese (we love parmesan, asiago, or cheddar) into the dough for extra flavor. Add 2-3 extra tablespoons of honey if you’d like a sweeter roll.
Make-Ahead Tips. Measure ingredients a day or two in advance and keep them in individual airtight containers (keep cold ingredients like eggs in the fridge!) until you’re ready to use them. Alternatively, mix dough a day in advance and let it do its first rise overnight in the fridge (instead of on the counter). When you’re ready to bake, let dough come back to room temperature and proceed as instructed.
Storing and freezing. Store rolls in an airtight container on the counter for 2-3 days. For tips on how to freeze these dinner rolls, click here. If you’re planning to store rolls for more than a day or two, we recommend leaving off the salt as it can draw out moisture and make the top of your rolls a bit soggy over time. We don’t recommend storing rolls in the fridge – it can dry them out!
To reheat dinner rolls, microwave in 8-10 second intervals on a microwave-safe plate until warmed through, or heat in a 300 degree oven for 5-10 minutes until warm.
Ingredients and Equipment. We like Fleischmann’s or Red Star Active Dry Yeast. Maldon salt or Jacobsen Sea Salt are perfect for topping these rolls. Use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, or mix by hand in a large bowl with a sturdy spoon or spatula. Use a basic kitchen scale to easily measure flour and a good bench scraper to cut through bread dough. A silicone pastry brush is great to spread melted butter. We used a 3qt., 8×10 casserole dish for this recipe, but you can also use a large cast iron skillet, a cake pan, or a muffin tin. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the cooking time with a different pan style (rolls baked in muffin tins or on flat cookie sheets will bake more quickly – start checking for doneness around 10-15 minutes!)
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Keywords: baked, bread, thanksgiving, holiday