Homemade Yeast Rolls or Bread Recipe

I’ve been making this Homemade Yeast Rolls or Bread Recipe for years now and it’s never failed the multiple times I’ve made it.

To me, there’s not much better in the food indulgence realm (outside of desserts, of course) than freshly made bread, still just slightly warm from the oven and topped with a good helping of creamy real butter.  I’m sorry if you now have to buy a new keyboard from all of the drool. 😉  Since yesterday I shared 15 yeast and bread making tips, I thought it was only fair that I now share my favorite Homemade Yeast Rolls or Bread Recipe.

Homemade Yeast Rolls or Bread Recipe

I’ve tried a variety of Homemade Yeast Rolls or Bread Recipes and some were okay but still rather meh, or a complete fail, but this recipe has been just about perfect each time I’ve made it – which is likely on average of twice a month for the past couple years.  Yeah, it’s that good.  My favorite part of the recipe is that it doesn’t use fancy flours – just regular all-purpose flour that most of us always have on hand.  My second favorite part is that it is a truly versatile dough.  I’ve made a variety of rolls, and loaves as you can see above, and even boules and cinnamon rolls (with an added egg and some extra sugar).

Homemade Yeast Rolls or Bread Recipe

I’ve successfully made this Homemade Yeast Rolls or Bread Recipe completely by hand many times, but I do now use my stand mixer since I have one.  I’m sure it would also work great in a food processor with the dough blade.  Note that the recipe looks super long, but I’m going into specific details for the first timers.  I promise this recipe isn’t as overwhelming as it may seem. :)  I’m also including pictures of certain steps at the bottom. You can bake your rolls in a 9×13, cake pans, cast iron skillet, etc. I usually use a half-sheet pan lined with a silpat for easy cleanup, plus the sides of the outer rolls get more of that beautiful golden color.

4.9 from 33 reviews
Homemade Yeast Rolls or Bread Recipe
This easy bread recipe is so tasty, you may just want to make it every day.
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: American
  • 1 packet of dry yeast (or 2¼ teaspoons if you like to buy bulk yeast like I do; I've always just used regular active yeast, but rapid should make it rise faster)
  • ¼ cup warm water - not hot, should be around 105-115°F or comfortably warm to stick your finger in for several seconds
  • 1 cup milk (I use whole because if I'm going to the trouble to make homemade bread, I want to be sure it tastes the best it possibly can)
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter (You can totally use 4 if you have a half stick to use up)
  • 1 large egg, beaten (I suggest doubling this for cinnamon rolls)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey (sugar can be used instead; again i suggest doubling for cinnamon rolls)
  • ¾ teaspoon table salt (I usually use kosher or sea salt and use 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup + 2 cups all-purpose flour + more for kneading
  • Oil or non-stick spray
  1. Set a stick of butter out to warm up so you have spreadable butter when your bread is done - nothing worse than forgetting and not having spreadable butter! ;)
  2. Add yeast to the warm water - again make sure it's not too hot or your yeast will die.
  3. Stir until yeast is mostly dissolved and allow to bloom (or sit) 5 minutes. The mixture should have bubbles on the surface - otherwise your water was too hot and killed the yeast, or your yeast is dead and you need to start with a fresh batch, but at least you found out at the beginning! (See photo #1 below.)
  4. While the yeast mixture sits, place milk, butter, honey/sugar, and salt into a mircowave-safe bowl/cup or saucepan. Microwave for around 1 minute accrding to how powerful your microwave is or heat over low heat on the stove. I like to cut the butter into small pieces before heating to make sure it all melts without the milk getting too hot. If the mixture is over 115°F or feels hot to the touch, you'll need to let it sit a few minutes to cool down.
  5. While the milk mixture cools down, add 1 whole egg and 1 cup flour to the yeast mixture and stir/mix on level 2 with dough hook to combine. It doesn't need to be mixed perfectly like a cake batter, it will look shaggy.
  6. Once the milk mixture has cooled enough, add it to the flour/egg/yeast mixture. Add another cup of flour and mix with a spatula or on level 2 with a dough hook.
  7. Then add a 3rd cup of flour and mix in. This should make the dough wet and sticky and still shaggy, yet pliable enough to start kneading (by hand or in the mixer). See photo #2 below.
  8. Flour your kneading surface lightly if kneading by hand - I like to use a silicone mat to help the dough stick less and have things be easier to clean.
  9. Knead the dough 6-8 minutes (4-6 in mixer), adding a small amount of flour to the surface and/or your hands when the dough starts to stick. The amount of flour this will take will depend on the humidity of the day and even the flour you are using. Around the 6-8 minute mark, the dough should be noticeably smoother and be elastic (springs back when pulled). The dough should be soft and still slightly sticky. For mixer kneading, the dough should be forming a ball that clears the sides of the bowl - once done it should be elastic when you pull on it. If dough is overly sticky when you do this, you need to add a bit more flour, about 2 tablespoons at a time.
  10. Take your clean rising bowl and coat with cooking spray or oil. Form the dough into a smooth ball by tucking the seam around a few times to the base. Place the bread "pretty" side down to coat with oil and then flip it so this side is now on top. This is so the dough doesn't dry out. When using the mixer, I just pat the dough down evenly and let it rise there - hooray for less dirty dishes! See photo #3 below.
  11. Cover the dough with a clean towel (you may want to slightly dampen if it's a really dry day) or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm area for around an hour until doubled. If your house is cold, turn your oven on the lowest setting a few minutes while kneading, then turn off and add your dough container to rise.
  12. At this point, if you're not ready to use the dough once it has risen, you can either punch it down and let it rise again until you're ready, stick it in the fridge punching down as needed for up to 2 days, or freeze.
  13. After the dough has doubled, it's time to punch it down. Just make a fist and "punch" the dough until all the air is out.
  14. Shape the dough as desired - classic yeast rolls, clover-leaf rolls, a loaf, boules, etc. The classic roll is easiest and is what is pictured so that's what I'll explain this time
  15. If you want rolls that are absolutely equal shape and size, you'll want to pat or lightly roll out the dough and then cut it into even square shapes. I'm lazy and imperfect so I expect the same of my rolls and just pinch off the dough in sizes as similar as possible. ;)
  16. Take the piece of dough, grab an edge and fold it down to the bottom, repeating on all sides until you have a roundish shape with a smooth top. Place the roll in the pan with the unsmooth or "ugly" side down.
  17. A note on pans and crust - If you like softer crust, I suggest placing them in a glass dish with high edges, like a 9x13. If you like a crisper crust, I suggest a metal sheet or pan, like a half-sheet so the edges are more exposed during baking. Either way, make sure you leave about ½ to 1 inch between the rolls so they have room to rise and expand, with just enough space so that they will touch when fully risen. This will help them rise nice and tall and create that flaky pull-apart yumminess we all love.
  18. Repeat the above step until all dough is used.
  19. Once all rolls have been made, cover the pan(s) with another clean towel or plastic wrap and let rise until double in size.
  20. Make sure your oven rack is set to the middle of your oven so the top and bottom can brown evenly. Preheat your oven to 350°F about 15-20 minutes before you're ready to start baking.
  21. Take off the towel or wrap on your rolls and place in the oven and bake until done. Exact time will depend on how large you made your rolls and how hot your oven actually heats. Mine usually take 20-25 minutes. Other shapes and sizes will vary, loaves will take 40 - 60 minutes depending on your oven (I make just one loaf out of this recipe.) To be sure, you can use an instant-read thermometer and aim for at least 190°F.
  22. Once done, take your rolls out, allowing the pan to cool a minute and then immediately remove rolls from the pan so the bottoms don't get soggy. While waiting, you can melt some butter to brush on top, if desired. I usually use regular butter, but you can spice things up with garlic, onion, honey cinnamon or whatever sounds good to you. Remember if you're using these for sandwiches or sliders, you'll want to let them cool completely for slicing success - and always use a good bread knife!
  23. You're finally done and can enjoy your yummy masterpiece. Just don't blame me if everyone scarfs them down in minutes and you're looking at this recipe again tomorrow. ;) Enjoy!
First time working with yeast or making bread dough? Check out my 15 Yeast and Bread Making Tips: http://www.smartsavvyliving.com/15-yeast-homemade-bread-making-tips/.

 Homemade Yeast Rolls or Bread Recipe


Now that you’ve made this homemade yeast rolls or bread recipe, what’s your favorite thing to top it with?

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  1. Bethany says

    This bread was amazing! It was my first time making any homemade bread and your instructions were perfect and it turned out amazing! My husband and I ate almost a whole loaf! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  2. Woman says

    We’ve made these twice this week and both times they came out perfect. Hubby has been looking for yeast roll recipe for a while that meets certain criteria, this is the closest we’ve gotten. Thanks!

  3. Faith Carol says

    I LOVE these rolls! I have made them so many times for my family, my boyfriend and dinner parties! They are such a good base and easy to make into Italian bread, which my brother request every time he visits. I have the cinnamon roll recipe in the oven for the first time right now. Can’t wait to try!
    Thank you SO much for this!

    • says

      Hi Faith, I’m so glad you love this recipe! I hope the cinnamon rolls are delicious and I’d love to hear how you turn it into Italian bread if you’d like to share. Have a great weekend!

  4. says

    OK, This was a complete fail, not sure why. I did everything the way you wrote it and the first rise was great!! when i punched it down and it was ok. I used cookie sheet to make the sandwich buns i spqced atleast 1/2 apart, I covered them with plastic wrap LOOSELY (i sprayed the wrap so dough would not stick) I left rise 1 hr and they hardly rose much, waited 30 mins more and still not much, but they spread out and when i took plastic wrap off even though i sprayed it, it STILL pulled dough from the top and i had an ugly mess…. I have no idea…what happened. I always TRY to make bread an cinnamon rolls, they ALWAYS rise awesome the FIRST time, the second time they don’t. I am so frustrated.

    • says

      Hi JC,

      I’m so sorry this didn’t turn out for you. :( I have a few questions so we can try to pin point why if you would like. Did you time the first rise or just let it double in size? Also make sure you are thoroughly punching down the dough, getting out as much air as possible. Are you changing the area where you let the dough do the 2nd rise? If it’s in the same area, does that area get warmer or colder or become drafty around the time of the 2nd rise? You may also want to try putting your buns so they are just touching. They won’t spread out as much, so you will want to make them as wide as you want, but it should provide more support for them to rise up.

  5. Cris Friesen says

    Thanks so much for having posted this amazing recipe for buns! I have tried SOOOO many recipes and they’ve never worked it was wonderful to find one that finely did!

  6. Cindy says

    These rolls are absolutely amazing……and very easy. Have made them numerous times since finding your recipe.

    Thanks bunches.

  7. Ali says

    hi Michelle,

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I have never made bread before; I guess I’ve been scared of anything that calls for yeast. Your directions were perfect for a first timer and the rolls came out beautifully! I made some cinnamon butter to go with them and the two together are a match made in heaven.

    Many thanks,

    • says

      Hi Ali,

      I’m so glad they turned out nicely for you! Cinnamon butter sounds like it would go with them so perfectly. Thanks for sharing your experience, I especially love hearing from first-time bread makers. :)

  8. angel says

    I made these and then put them in the refrigerator for 2 days. I’m baking them now and they aren’t puffing up like I expected. I wasn’t sure if I was doing everything right since the dough was cold. I haven’t tasted them yet. They just look different. I’ve never made homemade bread like this before. Maybe you can give me pointers for next time.

    • says

      Hi Angel, I’m sorry they didn’t turn out like you expected. Did you put the dough in the oven while it was still cold? Dough rises much slower when cold if so. The only other idea I have is if somehow bacteria that kills yeast got into your dough at some point.

  9. says

    I am making thsese for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I will be sure to come back and let you know how they turn out! Thank you for the recipe! I’ll be doubling it, no way will one be enough for this family!

    • says

      Hi Margie,

      The number it makes really depends on how large you make them. I generally divide the dough into 12ths (which will fill a 9×13) for good-sized rolls, about fist sized once baked. Hope this helps and please let me know how they turn out if you make them! :)

  10. Stephanie says

    I made these rolls the other day, let me just say it is the best bread/roll recipe I have tried. I did up the sugar by a tablespoon just because we like ours a little on the sweet side. And i used salted butter so I omitted the added salt. I did have to add a considerable amount of more flour, almost another full cup. But these turned out awesome. I didn’t say anything about my thoughts on it until I had my family’s opinion. My husband looked at me and said wow, these are really good!! I can’t wait to try this as cinnamon roll dough. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  11. Karen Swank says

    Thank you soo very much for posting the roll recipe..I just got done baking a batch and they turned out awesome…

    Thank you.

  12. NC says


    I used your recipe and added candy cherry, raisins and walnuts into the dough, the rolls turn out fantastic. I was going to attach a photo in for you to see, but there is no such option. Such an easy recipe, will make it again.

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