Soft Dinner Rolls with Rosemary and Black Pepper

by Shawnda on November 17, 2011

in Bread,Christmas,Holiday Favorites,Thanksgiving

Soft Dinner Rolls with Black Pepper and Rosemary

Today we’re sharing our favorite recipe for dinner rolls. If you’re still searching for the perfect soft, white, and fluffy dinner roll, you shouldn’t have to look any further.

The rolls are quite versatile, we’ve used it for hamburger buns, dinner rolls, and slider rolls. When making classic dinner rolls, I add a little more sugar than I would for burger and slider buns. When making a savory dinner roll, I skimp on the sugar and add a generous amount of black pepper and fresh rosemary.

And they’ll be a huge hit with your holiday dinner crowd – I made a double batch last Christmas and had absolutely no leftovers. None. I had been so looking forward to leftover turkey & cranberry sliders using the rolls. I’m planning ahead this year :)

Don’t have the time on Thanksgiving to make bread? You can make these ahead of time and freeze them in the pan – simply take them out and let them thaw and rise on the counter and then bake as directed.

Soft Dinner Rolls with Rosemary and Black Pepper

The perfect soft, white, and fluffy dinner roll. Make savory rolls by decreasing the sugar and adding a generous dose of black pepper and fresh rosemary.


  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 Tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, or olive) plus more for greasing bowl and pan
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbsp - 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper (optional, for savory rolls)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (optional, for savory rolls)
  • Pinch of cinnamon (optional, for classic rolls)
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter


  1. Add warm water to the bowl of your mixer and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let sit 10 minutes, until frothy.
  2. Add the, oil, egg, and sugar to the bowl. If making savory dinner rolls, add 3 Tbsp of sugar, black pepper, and rosemary. If making classic dinner rolls, add 1/3 cup of sugar and a pinch of cinnamon.
  3. Add the flour and mix on medium-low speed with the hook until the dough holds together, about 2 minutes. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl. If not, add additional flour by the Tbsp.
  4. Increase speed to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  5. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough for 20 minutes. Add the salt and mix the dough on low speed for 1 minute.
  6. Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly greased with oil. Cover it with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-1 1/2 hours.
  7. Grease the bottoms and sides of a 9-inch baking pan.
  8. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  9. Divide the dough in half and pinch off 7 pieces of dough the size of a golf ball (2 oz each if you're using a scale) from each half.
  10. Roll into rounds and place in the pan about 1/2-1 inch apart (they should fill the pan after the final riser).
  11. If freezing, wrap the pan tightly in foil and place in the freezer. Remove from the freezer and let thaw on the counter - plan on 2-2 1/2 hours for thawing and rising.
  12. Cover with a damp towel and let them rise for 20 minutes + oven preheating time. The rolls should expand to fill up the entire pan, if you can see more than a couple of spots of the bottom of the pan, let them rise a bit longer.
  13. Preheat oven to 350.
  14. Brush the rolls with half of the melted butter and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove them from the oven and brush with remaining butter. Serve immediately or at room temperature.


Yields: 14 dinner rolls or slider buns (1 9-inch pan of rolls), 8 burger buns

Adapted from The Pastry Queen

Estimated time: 3 hours


{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen November 17, 2011 at 12:40 am

These look delicious. Homemade rolls are one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving. I think I’m going to use that idea for sliders this year for leftovers!


2 Notyet100 November 17, 2011 at 12:46 am

Mm can smell this from here


3 Kathryn November 17, 2011 at 3:14 am

These are perfect looking rolls, I love the colour and they look so light and delicious.


4 Blog is the New Black November 17, 2011 at 4:12 am

Wow, these look soft and yummy! I adore rosemary.


5 Katrina November 17, 2011 at 5:34 am

These are so tasty looking. I bet these are awesome warm with butter :)


6 amanda @ fake ginger November 17, 2011 at 6:52 am

Oh my gosh, I need these today! Definitely making them for the big day – probably a batch of rosemary/pepper and a batch of sweeter ones. Can’t wait!


7 Heather Taylor @ Kids in the Sink November 17, 2011 at 8:20 am

I really need to make these soon. I’ve been waiting to get my Kitchen Aid mixer to start making my own bread and it should be coming in soon. Have you ever tried to do it without a mixer? Making bread by hand seems so time-intensive and a bit overwhelming.


8 Chelsea November 17, 2011 at 9:59 am

Sounds wonderful! I definitely want to give this a try!


9 Erin November 17, 2011 at 10:59 am

I always want to make dinner rolls, but I rarely cook for more than 1 or 2 people, so making rolls sees silly. I need to find an excuse though because these look yummy


10 Jessica November 17, 2011 at 11:20 am

Ummm yes please! I’ll take the whole dozen! Fresh baked bread makes me weak in the knees…


11 Ann P. November 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm

rosemary and pepper in a roll is a guarantee for deliciousness :D Those look amazing, and very do-able too! It looks like I even have the same round 2-inch-deep cake pan!


12 foodfashionandflow November 17, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I love homemade rolls! Rosemary is one of my favorite spices because it just makes everything taste amazing. I can imagine what your house smelled like after making these. They look amazing! I can’t wait to try making them!


13 Sara@ home is where the cookies are November 17, 2011 at 8:04 pm

OMG. These look delicious. Can’t wait to try them.


14 Joanne November 17, 2011 at 8:13 pm

My pumpkin rolls were a HUGE hit last year but I’m looking for something a little different this time around…this one sounds like the perfect recipe! I’m all about rosemary lately. Can’t get enough!


15 Maria November 18, 2011 at 12:02 am

I was looking for a dinner roll recipe and this one looks great!


16 Anna November 18, 2011 at 2:43 am

Simple dinner rolls are a sure hit by themselves…Double blast for dinner rolls with extra flavor. This is an excellent combination. Since dinner rolls can be a perfect match for anything, a little more flavor will do wonders…LOve the recipe! Yum!Yum!


17 Sally November 18, 2011 at 5:31 am

There is NOTHING better than fresh, warm bread with rosemary, smeared with butter. These look AMAZING!!


18 Debs @ DKC November 18, 2011 at 6:52 am

Wow, your rolls look so light and delicious. I’m gonna have to make some very soon, thanks for sharing.


19 Erin @ Texanerin Baking November 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I need to make dinner rolls for 20 people on Thanksgiving. I think I’ll try this out beforehand. Thanks for the recipe! They look beautiful. :)


20 Angie@Angiesrecipes November 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Those dinner rolls look fabulous! Love the use of black pepper and rosemary.


21 Mandy November 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Do you think these can be baked in advance and rewarmed in the oven just before serving? They look so good!


22 foodiebride November 19, 2011 at 8:05 am

I actually baked two pans this week and froze the rolls when I realized that I needed them for Friday night and not Thursday morning. I let the rolls cool in the pan for 10 minutes, ran a knife around the edge, and turned them out on a rack to cool completely. I then put the ring of rolls into a gallon freezer bag (I had to remove a side of 3 rolls to get it to fit) and froze them. I left them sealed in the bag on the counter to thaw completely and then served them at room temp. If I were going to reheat them, I’d put them back in a pan, brush with a little melted butter, cover with foil so they don’t dry out, and then heat them for ~5 minutes or so.


23 Cathy @ Savory Notes November 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm

These are happening in my house tonight. And this weekend for “early Thanksgiving” with friends.


24 Liz November 19, 2011 at 7:19 am

I am making these now, the first batch is resting the required 20 mins. ;-). I have a question for you, I am going to make another batch and would like to do this one as wheat, what are your thoughts on substituting some wheat flour in? I know you do this in other recipes but I have learned sometimes, the recipes doesn’t support the conversion/substitution. Thank you in advance.


25 foodiebride November 19, 2011 at 8:02 am

I typically sub up to 1/2 of the flour with wheat without batting an eye. To keep the rolls soft & fluffy, I would look at just substituting 1/3 of the flour with wheat in this recipe and planning on letting the formed rolls rise a little longer. When I sub wheat for white, I typically also add 1 Tbsp of vital wheat gluten to the recipe – not necessary but it does help a half-wheat bread keep that “white bread texture.”


26 Erin @ Texanerin Baking November 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I’m all about making everything 100% whole grain but I would definitely follow this advice. I made them yesterday, used all whole wheat, forgot the wheat gluten and they weren’t nearly as good as the next batch that I made, which I made as written. So don’t go wild with the whole wheat! Thanks for the recipe. They were delicious and fluffy. :)


27 Liz November 20, 2011 at 6:37 am

Thanks much! I have 28 rolls frozen and ready to thaw and bake on Thursday.


28 Pam November 20, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Perfect recipe right in time for Thanksgiving dinner! Wow these sound utterly scrumptious. Thanks.


29 Mandy November 20, 2011 at 7:22 pm

One more question: I want to double the recipe. Can I just straight double all the ingredients? Will that work ok?


30 foodiebride November 20, 2011 at 8:44 pm



31 Danmy November 20, 2011 at 9:38 pm

I thought I had my carbs all figured out for Thanksgiving (pumpkin dinner rolls from the LA Times) but your recipe has convinced me to change my mind :) Thanks for posting this!


32 Lee November 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I am so going to try it now! And I do not have a mixer so I am going to try using my hands. Wish me luck!


33 foodiebride November 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Good luck – and you’ll be fine :)


34 Lee November 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm

It’s in the oven now, smelling awesome!


35 Lee November 21, 2011 at 7:38 pm

It came out beautiful. But I think I want more rosemary in it!


36 Laura November 21, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Oh wow, what an amazing flavor combination. They look great, Shawnda!


37 Curt November 24, 2011 at 11:10 am

Nice! I think I would go with the savory and the classic ingredient options. That sounds like an awesome flavor for rolls.


38 Taylor November 25, 2011 at 9:38 am

These dinner rolls– I made the classic version– are the best I’ve ever tasted. They were the hit of Thanksgiving dinner yesterday! The longer you let them rise, the better! Double batch is a definite must. I’m thinking about making more today…

Thanks for a wonderful recipe!


39 Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes November 28, 2011 at 10:27 am

Going to have to try these! They look perfect. And I’m glad the family loved the apple pie on Thanksgiving. Hope you had a great one!


40 Leigh November 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I made the savory version for our Thanksgiving meal and the were amazing. They are so soft and flavorful. I think they are going to be my go to dinner roll recipe from now on!


41 Courtney November 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Eric made these a few weeks ago, and we fell in love with them. Can’t wait to have them again at Christmas!


42 Amy April 7, 2012 at 6:49 am

I’m trying to make these for easter and I’m tuning into a couple of problems. First, my yeast never got frothy. I tried it twice with active and instant yeast but neither worked. I moved on and after the give minutes of kneading, out cleared completely from the sides but was still sticky. I’m not sure what I am doing wrong.


43 Lucy Mayflower Events June 12, 2012 at 3:40 am

Hi Foodie Bride! Thinking of doing this for my husband’s birthday tonight – did you use regular flour or a special bread flour?



44 foodiebride June 12, 2012 at 8:24 am

Regular all-purpose flour!


45 Kelly November 20, 2012 at 11:27 am

These are on my list for Thursday! Wonderful recipe, thanks!


46 LYO-Town December 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I tried this recipe today… had to add a little sugar to my yeast and water mix to get the yeast going (not sure what was wrong), but otherwise this recipe came together just as written!! It could have used a touch more rosemary and a sprinkle os kosher salt after the final brushing of butter, but overall these were delish!! Great recipe – will make it again!


47 Melissa April 14, 2014 at 8:07 am

I’ve made these before with great results but I want to make them for Easter this year. I want to freeze them before baking but can I get more specific directions on that? Do I just put them in the freezer before they rise in the pan? And then how long do I let them thaw at room temp before they’ve risen enough, approximately? Thanks for a great recipe!


48 Shawnda April 14, 2014 at 10:23 am

Form the dough balls, put them in the pan, and then wrap the pan with foil and stick in the freezer. Let them sit on the counter for ~2.5 hours to thaw and rise – you’ll know they’ve risen enough when you can’t see the bottom of the pan in more than a few places between the rolls.


49 Melissa April 16, 2014 at 7:41 am

Yay! Thank you so much!!


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