By Cassie Johnston
1 hour, 45 minutes
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I’ve mentioned it before here, but it’s worth mentioning again – I am very fortunate to be in a family of incredible cooks. Like, not to toot our horn or anything, but we’re bordering on gourmet at times (and then at other times, we make chili dogs, but whatev). I can’t think of a single adult in my family who isn’t supremely good in the kitchen (or on the grill or the smoker). It is a wonderful gift to get to enjoy so many delicious meals prepared by the people that I love the most. We eat gooooooddd.
So keep this in mind when I tell you this little tidbit—we almost always eat frozen dinner rolls with our Thanksgiving dinners. You know the little balls of dough that come 4,000 to a bag in the freezer section? You plop them into a baking dish and let them rise while you cook dinner, and then you bake them, and everyone oooohhs-and-aaaahhhs over your perfectly fluffy and buttery dinner rolls while you try to hide the bag in the trash so no one knows you’re actually afraid of baking with yeast. Yeah, those. Those little balls of dough have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
Well not anymore, friends, not anymore.
I took it as my personal mission to conquer the simple dinner roll this year. I wanted the most perfectly fluffy, light, buttery dinner rolls. And I wanted them to be easy. Almost as easy as plopping frozen balls of dough from a bag onto a baking sheet.
I wanted them to be so simple that everyone felt like it was something they could confidently bring to their Thanksgiving shindig. I can do this. You can do this. We can all do this. We can make buttery yeast rolls that everyone will flip over. Yes we can!
I know a lot of folks find baking with yeast intimidating (especially when you’re doing it for guests), but once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder why you were ever afraid. There are a lot of hardcore bakers out there that will give you very specific rules and requirements about working with yeast—it can definitely be a science—but I honestly don’t think it has to be that complicated.
My suggestions when it comes to working with yeast are pretty simple:
(a) Make sure your yeast is fresh—I like to store mine in a closed canning jar in the fridge or freezer and get a new package every few months. Honestly, if you keep it in the freezer, it’ll last pretty much indefinitely.
(b) Don’t kill your yeast with hot water—yeast will do its thang at room temperature or even in cooler temperatures (albeit much more slowly that at warm temps), but very hot water will kill the yeast. Err on the side of too cool.
That’s it. Really. Yeast isn’t scary. It’s actually kinda cute.
When it comes to rising yeast dough, there are lots of ways to both speed up or slow down the rising (depending on what you need). If you’re pressed for time and need that dough to rise quickly, here are a few options:
If you need to slow down the rising (as in, maybe you only have time to make the dough before work, but you want to serve rolls for dinner later), try this:
And, of course, to bring this full circle, you can freeze up these rolls in the dough stage (before they rise), pop ’em in a bag, and have them ready for a meal whenever you need some bread for sopping. Just freeze them flat on a parchment paper covered cooking sheet, then once frozen, store in a labeled zip-top freezer bag. To bake, place the frozen dough balls in a greased baking pan, about a 1/2 inch apart, and then let rise in a warm area until defrosted and at least doubled in volume. Bake as you would if they were fresh.
I almost always do all my dough-making in my stand mixer, but just in case you aren’t madly in love with a red KitchenAid like I am, I’ve also included directions for making these buttery yeast rolls both by hand and in a bread machine. Enjoy!
4.5 from 2 reviews
Think working with yeast is scary? It isn’t! This recipe for EASY Buttery Yeast Rolls will make you the star of Thanksgiving dinner!
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Rate this recipe
Mhmmmmmm, these look delish!!
fab, love all your tips! i mentioned this in a comment before but even though i’ve been baking with yeast for a couple years now i haven’t been very adventurous with straying from the recipe in any way (including adjusting rising times, etc). and i don’t know how it never occurred to me to make extra rolls and freeze the dough for future use…brilliant!!
I just whipped up a batch of these to go along side some beef stew, and they’re amazing! Thank you so much for posting the recipe!
So you don’t dissolve the yeast first?
I tried this recipe using bread flour, and A.P. flour, and followed the rest of the directions to a tee… and the rolls were just ok. They seemed a little tough, like they needed a second rising time to make them fluffy. The taste was really good with the A.P. flour, much better than bread flour. My bread-loving son said that these were just ok, but ate 3. I’ll try again with a second proofing to see if that makes a difference in the rolls density.
It tasted good but nearly biscuit. I made it yesterday and mother in law thought it is biscuit and i told it is rolls. :( i followed the recipe and yeast dough rises.
Is the honey just for flavor?
Do you use salted or unsalted butter?
I wouldn’t use this recipe again,
The rolls didn’t get large and fluffy.
They are somewhat hard and wouldn’t brown lightly.
Sad I tried your recipe for such a special Holiday as Thanksgiving. :/
How long do these rolls stay good after baking?
These were wonderful! Followed recipe to the “T” & turned out so delicious!!
Just made these and took them out of the oven. I did do two rises, once in the bowl covered in oil, and once again when I made them into rolls. These are excellent, double rise people!!
My mom is thrilled, thanks!
I was skeptical that they would be so easy and delicious. I’ve always struggled with yeast bread but these came out amazing. They didn’t brown at all but still yummy!
Made these tonight for dinner and they turned out amazing for my first time making dinner rolls thank you
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