Yeast Dinner Rolls or aka Mama’s Dinner Rolls

These beautiful and tasty yeast rolls have been a long time family tradition in my home.  My grandmother made them for every holiday, my mother and sister make them and I not only make these, I adore them!  For me, the best part about making them all year long is that they freeze amazingly well.  Individually wrap them in plastic wrap and then place them in a gallon sized freezer bag.  Every time we have grilled tri-tip, these rolls are always on the plate.  A lot of people shy away from anything that has to do with yeast.  Don’t be afraid, it is quite easy.  Let’s get started!

First we are going to heat up one cup of milk (whole works best), 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup butter and a pinch of salt.  Microwave for about 3 minutes and 30 seconds.  Stir.  Let cool for about 15 minutes.

Once the liquids have cooled start to proof your yeast.  In a small bowl add your 2 tablespoons of yeast, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/3 cup warm (not too warm, you don’t want to kill your yeast).  When the water is uncomfortable to the touch, that’s about right.

I am using my Kitchen Aid electric mixer.  I start out using the paddle and then I switch to the dough hook.  I’m not sure why, it’s just what I’ve always done!
Now place two eggs into the bottom of the mixing bowl….oh my, look out behind you, your yeast is growing…..

It’s ALIVE!!!!  See all those little bubbles…it is eating the sugar we put in with the yeast and the warm water snapped it out of its funk!  Now it’s nice and puffy (it takes the yeast about ten minutes or so to puff up), ready to be put into the mixing bowl with the eggs and then put the cooled milk mixture into the bowl.  Give it a quick stir and start adding your flour.  Here’s where making bread gets tricky.  Sometimes I use 3 1/2 cups of flour, sometimes it takes a little more.  Tonight I used about 4 1/2 cups.  You don’t want it too dense or too sticky.  Just nice and elastic looking.

Kind of like this.  (My wrist looks like it is about 800 years old…what’s up with that?)

On a lightly floured surface shape it into a ball.  Lightly coat a glass bowl with Pam cooking spray.  Place the dough in the bowl, and cover and let it rise for about 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

You need to find a nice, warm, draft free place for your dough to rise.  Place a clean dish towel over the bowl of dough.  Here I have put a bowl of hot water in my microwave next to the dough.  This is the warmest place in our house tonight!

45 minutes later….See how the dough has doubled in size.  Just look at the side of the bowl and all the air pockets.  Perfection!!  Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and give it a little attention and knead it around a couple of times.  Form into a ball.

With a rolling pin roll it out, not too thin, about 1/4 inch thick or so.

Until it looks like this.  Now get your pizza cutter out or a very sharp knife.

Cut it like you would a pizza until you have 16 slices.

Roll the dough up from the thickest end to the thinnest end.  The dough in my hand is what it should look like.

Place eight rolls per baking sheet.  These need to rise again, about 30 more minutes.  Cover with a clean dish towel and try to find a warm place for them.  While they are rising for the second time, preheat your oven to 350 degrees f.

The rolls won’t get a lot bigger, but they will expand a bit.  After about 30 minutes place one baking sheet at a time into the preheated oven.  Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until nice and lightly golden brown.  Every oven is different, so keep a close eye on them.

Right after you take them out of the oven top with a little bit of butter.  You can use melted butter and brush it on or just take a stick of butter and go for it.  This step is purely optional, but it sure is a tasty one.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.  Thanks mom for such a great recipe!


Yeast Dinner Rolls or aka Mama's Dinner Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sides/Bread
Cuisine: American
Serves: 16
  • 1cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I just used a pinch since I use salted butter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons dried yeast
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3-4 (or so) cups of all-purpose flour
  1. In a microwaveable safe bowl microwave the milk, sugar, butter and salt together until scalded, about 3 minutes 30 seconds. Let cool to lukewarm.
  2. Place the two eggs into the mixing bowl.
  3. In a small bowl add the yeast, warm water and 2 teaspoons sugar and let the yeast proof. When it puffs up add the yeast mixture to the egg and then add in the milk mixture. Give it a quick stir and then start adding in your flour, one cup at a time, until you form a ball.
  4. With floured hands and surface, knead the dough for about 2 minutes.
  5. Grease a glass bowl and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Make sure that you let it rise in a warm place.
  6. After the dough has risen, punch down and place on a floured surface. With a rolling pin roll dough into a large circle.
  7. Cut the dough as if you were cutting a pizza until you have 16 slices.
  8. From the larger end of the triangular cut dough roll it ending with the small end.
  9. Place rolls on a baking sheet. Place a towel over the rolls. Let rise for an additional 20 or 30 minutes
  10. meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for about 9 minutes or until just golden brown on top. Brush with butter and serve. Makes 16 rolls.



  1. Melissa, these look wonderful! I’m on a quest to find a fluffy roll for the hubby (OK, for me too). What I’ve been looking for is a round roll, but I want to try these this weekend. BTW, I find it so interesting the things we’re “afraid” of – yeast doesn’t frighten me, but gelatin does. I shy away from those recipes that use gelatin. Isn’t that interesting? Going to now spend the next bunch of minutes looking at all the rest of your recipes. Thanks so much, Diane

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Well, I thought I would have to take a bread baking class, but your pics and explanations make it simple – now I have to go to store & buy eggs so I can get started on this wonderful recipe. Thanks.

  3. thank you for the post. i will try this recipe. i love dinner rolls and the way you made them, they look so pretty, so i will surprise my husband. my mother-in-law was from the south, and she made dinner rolls every sunday, and i made cornbread from jiffy mix. lol. thanks again, i will start practicing.

  4. Could I subscribe to your blog by giving you my email address? Thanks.


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  6. I’m going to make these now and freeze them for a book club luncheon later. What’s the best way to heat them? Do you thaw them first?

    I have put frozen rolls in a large Dutch oven (with lid) and placed them in a 300 degree oven. But it’s so easy to turn them into hockey pucks, and I want these to taste fresh from the oven.

    I just know you’ll know exactly how to do it. Thanks so much ~ Dixie

  7. Boy, you have me stumped. I would definitely thaw them before I warm them up, but I have to admit I have never done this before. What I have done in the past is make the dough a day in advance and put it in the refrigerator, then roll them out and let them rise and pop them in the oven right before my guests arrive. Your house will smell divine and they will be perfectly fresh.

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