Homemade Rustic Dinner Rolls

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Looking for fluffy yet dense, semi-sweet yeast Homemade Rustic Dinner Rolls to compliment tonight’s dinner? I’ve got you covered! These dinner rolls make enough for a crowd and can keep for over a week tasting as fresh as ever.

Old School Rich Hot Dinner Rolls

Rich hot dinner rolls are a staple in this house. Really any bread component can be counted on at least once a day. But there is just something magical about a hot, fluffy dinner roll coming out of the oven that I will gladly burn my hand for.

This particular recipe came to me from a barn sale in the deep back woods of Maine. From a cookbook that was clearly loved beyond measure. Held together with tape and a simple title written on the binding labeled, Bread Book. Pages are missing, many pages. But in there place are also many hand written notes of adjustments to recipes, how to make it better, and other sticky notes with cursive and ingredients from a time much simpler than ours.

Bringing this dinner roll recipe back to life is an honor and a treasure. There is a reason this book was well loved and I’m glad to share it with you. The description of these rolls say, “light, tender, rich, delicious.” And I couldn’t agree more.

What makes a rich dough?

Wondering what makes these rolls different and better than the others made in the past? One word – fat. For a rich, fluffy dough you need fat. And this recipe has all the good kinds of it! Whole milk, shortening, and yes even the eggs will provide an extra layer of fat you want in a roll to make it soft in texture and rich in flavor.

How to make Homemade Rustic Dinner Rolls

Start with warming the milk on the stovetop or in the microwave. You don’t want to boil it, but you do want to get it quite warm to start breaking down the fat in the shortening and to be able to dissolve the salt and sugar. Next add a bit of flour. I use a whisk attachment here but you can use a paddle attachment as well. Don’t worry about getting out all the lumps but get out as much as you can without overmixing the dough.

Next add in the yeast and the eggs. Use the whisk or dough hook to combine, but then switch to the dough hook before adding in the flour. Add in the rest of the flour about a cup at a time to keep it from spilling out. Your dough is ready for the first rise when it is sticky, but still can pull away from the sides of the bowl like the image you see below.

After the first rise in a greased bowl, turnout onto a floured surface. Divide and roll into balls. Place in your baking vessel and cover, allowing to rise a second time before baking. These rolls need just 15 minutes to bake when formed at the right size. The ones pictured here were quite a bit larger and required more time to bake. And that’s it! Easy, simple, and oh so delicious!

Can you make these ahead?

Yes! You can make these up to a few days in advanced. Follow the steps all the way until the second rise. Cover the baking dish with greased plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator. The day you’re ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature and perform the second rise. This can take 3-5 hours depending on the weather, etc. So if you want them for lunch, it’s best to take them out in the morning. You can also freeze them in a baking dish and then pop them into a ziploc bag as individual rolls. But please don’t do this in your cast iron.

Can I use Instant Yeast?

Yes you can. Instant yeast requires no proofing and will be added right in with the dry ingredients. Click here for more tips and tricks about working with yeast.

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Homemade Rustic Dinner Rolls

Course Bread
Cuisine American
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 24 rolls
Light, tender, rich, delicious – all perfectly describe these homemade rustic dinner rolls. Make them in a 9×13 casserole dish or in a couple of skillets. Perfect for make-ahead meals and keep fresh for about a week.


  • 9×13 casserole dish or 12-inch deep skillet
  • Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer


  • 3/4 cup milk whole
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast 2 packages
  • 1/2 cup warm water 110-120F
  • 5 cups flour all-purpose, sifted
  • 2 eggs


  • Microwave or scald the milk and add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the shortening, sugar, and salt. Use a whisk attachment to mix. Note that not all of the shortening needs to be dissolved.
  • In a separate bowl add yeast to a bowl of warm water (110-120F) and allow to proof for 5 minutes.
  • Add 1-1/2 cups flour to the milk mixture and whisk until combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the dough hook.
  • Add the eggs and yeast mixture to the dough. Turn the mixer on low and begin to combine. As the mixture comes together, slowly add the remaining flour. Dough should pull away from the wall of the bowl but still be sticky. Beat for 5 to 8 minutes on medium low speed.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and spray the bowl with non-stick spray. Return the dough to the bowl and toss to be fully, lightly covered in the non-stick spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Once doubled, turnout onto a lightly floured surface. Divide and shape into rolls. Place into a cast iron casserole dish or deep skillet, allowing some room between. You may need multiple cast iron pieces. Cover and again let rise until about doubled and nestled in the cast iron. About 45 minutes.
  • Bake at 375F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.


Serving: 1roll | Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 108mg | Potassium: 65mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 32IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

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