Wednesday Baking-Basic Rolls

basic yeast rolls from The Frugal Girl

As promised, here’s a very straightforward yeast dough recipe. I decided to start out with a roll recipe instead of a loaf recipe because rolls are more forgiving. If you don’t get the kneading down quite right, or if your dough isn’t quite the proper consistency, odds are that your rolls will still turn out ok. Since they’re smaller, they don’t require quite such a strong gluten development, and it’s also easier to avoid over or underbaking these. In short, I thought these would be simpler than loaves!

These are the rolls that I’m forever bringing with me when we eat at other people’s houses…I think I could probably make them in my sleep by now.

A printable version of this recipe(one picture instead of thirteen!) is here.

Basic Rolls-makes 24 rolls


1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt

2 packages(4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
4 1/4-4 1/2 cups flour

2 eggs

1. Combine milk, sugar, butter, and salt in glass measuring cup or bowl(if you do it in the measuring cup, you’ll save yourself a dish!).

Microwave(or heat on stovetop over medium heat) until the butter is melted and the mixture reaches 120-125 degrees.

2. Combine yeast and 2 cups flour in the bowl of a stand mixer.


3. Add warm milk mixture and eggs and beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of flour and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes. Mix in as much of the remaining flour as you can by hand(well, that’s what the recipe says…I do it in the mixer!). The dough should be relatively thick, like so:


4. Turn dough out onto floured surface,


and knead for 3-5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic.


5. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for one hour(mine is obviously missing the tea towel!)


Risen dough should look like this:


6. Punch dough down, divide in half, and follow instructions below to shape the rolls(just to be extra clear, each type uses half of the dough).

Cloverleaves: Grease a 12 cup muffin pan. Take half of the dough and divide it into 12 pieces. Cut each of these pieces in three(you will have 36 small pieces).

Roll each piece into a neat ball, and place three into each muffin cup.


Knots Grease a large cookie sheet. Take half of the dough and divide it into twelve pieces. Roll each into a 6 inch strip and tie into a loose knot. Place on greased cookie sheet.

Rosettes Follow instructions for knots, but after tying the knot, tuck one end into the middle of the knot and one end underneath the knot to form a rosette shape.

Below you can see the six inch strip, a knot roll, a rosette in progress(so you can see where to tuck the ends), and a finished rosette.

how to make a rosette roll

7. Cover rolls and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

8. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool on wire rack. Serve warm(with butter!).



  1. Tamika says

    Hi Kristen! :) That’s the same recipe I use! Its awesome! :)

    just as an aside, those pics would be with your new lens I’m assuming…*sigh* I’d better start saving my money! LOL LOL LOL

  2. Kristen says

    Yup, all except the one cloverleaf picture are with my new lens. I had pretty good success taking food pictures with my kit lens, though. If you click on the “Recipes” category over on the right side of the page, you can see some(all the ones posted before Christmas have kit lens pictures). Don’t despair…you can do a LOT with the lens you have, especially if you can manage some natural light.

  3. says

    This looks fab – even me, bread phobe is going to have a go!
    One question; do I really need 1/3 cup sugar? That’s a lot of sugar :/
    Thanks so much for such a clear and inspiring blog post!

  4. says

    Mrs. Green-nope, you can use less sugar if you like. They just won’t be quite as sweet, obviously. The recipe does make two dozen rolls, though, so the 1/3 cup of sugar is spread out a fair ways.

    1/3 cup is about 5 tablespoons, and I’d say you could try it with 2 tablespoons without a problem.

  5. says

    That looks a lot like my mother’s dinner roll recipe, and I think I’ll try it this weekend. I have a houseful of white bread eaters, except my husband and me. (Although they’ll all tuck into fresh wholegrain bread when I’ve sliced it and put it on the dinner table.) They like rolls for sandwiches, so if I make some larger ones, that will save a trip to the store for kaiser rolls.

  6. MrsJ says

    Thank you so much for this. My son made some at school and they were really lovely. He keeps forgetting to bring the recipe home though.

  7. says

    @Tamika, as a photographer speaking (more in a previous life before I had to give it up to pay the bills.) I took my best photos with a Zeiss Ikon Nettar folding camera. Nothing special about it and I probably paid $35 for it.

    Your tools don’t matter much. It’s the art. :) I wish I could go back to it full time but there is too much competition and I never liked being forced to take photos.

    Anyway, the rolls look good. I think I need to start a recipe notebook with all these …

  8. says

    You could also cut your yeast in half and let the dough rise overnight in the fridge. They would have a much nicer flavor and you’d use less yeast!!

  9. Kristen says

    Battra, I’d agree with you on that, though with some qualifications. The largest change in my photographs came about before I even got an SLR(I had a glorified point and shoot). There’s a HUGE difference between my beginning photos with that camera and the last photos I took with it. Of course, I’m still no professional, but my pictures are a sight better than they were when I first started.

    Now, my SLR certainly helps me…I’d never want to go back to my point and shoot! But if you have no skills/experience, an SLR isn’t going to suddenly make you a wonderful photographer…you have to have an eye, some knowledge and a lot of practice.

    I mostly like to do portraits(well, and food photos for my blog!), so even if I were good enough to go professional, I wouldn’t have to worry too much about competition. People will always need portraits.

  10. Clare says

    Thank you for this recipe. I made them tonight (the rosette shape) and they turned out beautifully. Very soft and light and very pretty. The recipe was easy (and I don’t have a microwave or a standing mixer). I can tell this will become an extended-family favorite. Clare

  11. says

    Mmmm, well they were a LOT browner than yours! Must be the fan oven (even though I knocked 20 degrees and a few minutes off the cooking time). LMG has just eaten 9 however, so I guess they taste ok LOL!

  12. says

    Ohh, do you have a convection oven? I’ve never used one of those, but I understand that they cook things a lot faster than conventional ovens. I’d just try baking them for a shorter amount of time next time…maybe keep an eye on them and take them out when they’re appropriately brown.

    And I’m chuckling about LMG…I think you should take that as a compliment!

  13. Desirae says

    Hey Kristen! I am making these tonight to go with dinner. Does this dough freeze well? My thought is rather than making 24 rolls tonight, I may form them into rolls and then freeze half if possible. :)
    Thanks hun!

  14. says

    I’m officially in love with your recipes. I made these the other day and they were delicious! I made rosettes and my mom, who is an extraordinary cook, was even impressed! She said they looked just like bakery rolls.

  15. Jenn Bradsher says

    just made these for dinner tonight. Turned out fabulous, very fluffy and yummy. I have yeast/kneading phobia, but feel braver after such success! Great recipe, have tried the Joy of Cooking recipe numerous times and never have come close to such fluffy goodness. Thanks Kristen!

  16. Becky says

    Kristen, you do really check the temperature of each recipe? I ask because I don’t have a kitchen thermometer, though it may be helpful to have one. Sometimes I make dough but I just turn on my faucet and let it get as warm as possible, knowing that we keep the high temp. set at 120′. Perhaps this is not the best idea, as I see you have mentioned that sometimes it should be at 110. Your thoughts?

  17. Kelli says

    Hi Kristen, When I go to your site it does not list all your recipes. I am trying to get your recipe for the hamburger buns. Do you have another site that would list them all? Thank and have a great day!

  18. Tracey says

    I’ve made these today and they’ve come out amazing!
    I made the dough last night and left to rise, in the fridge, overnight.
    This had the added advantage of making the dough really easy to handle this morning so I could roll and knot/fold into rosettes (although they did take longer to prove, being so cold)
    They’ve turned out fantastic though. Beautiful sweet, soft taste. They definitely won’t last past today (or very long at all, once the kids get home!)

  19. Christina says

    Help! I followed the recipe exactly and the dough turned out dry and crumbly…not at all like your beautiful pictures. Any suggestions?

    • Kristen says

      Hmm. Did you add all the flour at once? You should start with only the 2 cups initially and then you should add flour until the dough is the right consistency. Go by feel and not be measuring for this. :)

  20. Tiffany says

    My first batch turned out dry and crumbly and I tossed it and started over. I added less flour the second time around and the rolls turned out beautifully! You made it seem easy, and it was!–thanks so much for the step by step pictures and instructions. We’re having the rolls again tonight but a different shape–the rosettes!

    • Gail says

      If you use yeast that you have to proof in warm water, you only want to put sugar in with the yeast, never salt because the salt can kill the yeast if you use too much. I have used itnsant yeast here in this recipe. I use itnsant yeast exclusively because it eliminates the proofing process. When it is dry the salt will not kill it. I have never had a problem this way. Thanks for watching and commenting. Noreen : )

  21. Trang says

    Was inspired by your turtle rolls. My girls and their friend just had a great time shaping the dough into turtles, bears, bunnies… And I just realized I forgot to add the eggs! I hope they turn out ok… Oops!

  22. Jennifer says

    Just had to share that I made these last night and they were fantastic. I recently made your sandwich bread recipe as well and it turned out great. I’ve been searching for good bread recipes for quite some time and these are my new favorites! Thanks for sharing.

  23. says

    Question – I noticed in your basic sandwich bread recipe that you can sub water for milk (if you don’t do dairy or happen to be out). Would that work for this recipe, too? I notice the ingredients are similar, with the exception that this recipe has eggs and the bread recipe doesn’t.

    • Kristen says

      Yep, you can sub water for milk here too. The water will make the rolls a bit less tender, but they’ll still be quite good.

    • Kristen says

      Nope, it’s just fine to use all-purpose flour. Bread flour will work well too, though, so use whatever you’ve got!

  24. Amanda says

    I know this is an old post, but I just jumped online to print this recipe again (I thoroughly wore out my old copy) and had to tell you how much I love these rolls. My family devours them, and we take these or your french bread to gatherings all the time. My sister probably makes them even more than I do, and hers are always a hit with friends and family too. Now, another sister has gotten in on the action. (I come from a family of nine…six girls.) Thank you for sharing your recipe. It’s become a family recipe for us too. :)


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