As Easy As Apple Pie

Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

These Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls are soft, fluffy, buttery, and SO delicious!

They are the perfect rolls for every occasion, from weeknight meals to small dinner parties! They’d be great for Thanksgiving and Christmas too! 

A wicker basket filled with homemade cloverleaf dinner rolls

Dinner roll recipe

Cloverleaf rolls are one of my favorite types of dinner rolls to bring to the table. They have a satisfying chewy texture, and they’re perfect with a bowl of sweet potato soup on a chilly day!

If you’ve ever been intimidated by the idea of making rolls from scratch, don’t be! This recipe is so easy to make, and you only need six everyday staple ingredients.

Ingredients & substitution suggestions

To make homemade dinner rolls, you will need:

  • All-purpose flour: I’ve tested this recipe only with all-purpose flour. It may work with others, but I can’t say for sure.  If you try this recipe with different flours, please let us know how it goes!
  • Milk: For the softest dinner rolls, use whole milk. However, you can use low-fat milk, skim milk, or non-dairy milk too.
  • Unsalted butter: It lends richness and flavor to the dough.
  • Granulated sugar: It adds just a hint of sweetness and can be replaced with honey.
  • Instant yeast: You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast. If using active dry yeast, rising time will be a little longer.
  • Salt: For flavor.

How to make easy dinner rolls

This bread roll recipe comes together easily with the help of a stand mixer.

  • Make the dough and let it rise – Knead all the ingredients and let the dough rise for an hour or so.
  • Divide and shape the rolls – Once the dough has risen, simply divide it into twelve parts, then divide each part into three equal-sized pieces and roll each piece into balls.
  • Let the rolls rise – Place the balls, three at a time, into muffin cups, and let them rise for one hour.
  • Bake – Bake for 22 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown on top.
  • Brush with butter – Right when the cloverleaf dinner rolls come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter to give them a gorgeous shiny finish.
  • Serve warm – And enjoy!

The dough is quite versatile. Shape it into twisted rolls, pinwheels, knotted rolls, or even hot dog buns.

Here I’ve included step-by-step pictures for this easy rolls recipe to show you the consistency of the dough and how I shaped the cloverleaf rolls

Tips for the best dinner rolls

  • Yeast: I used instant yeast. It can be added straight away to the dry ingredients; it doesn’t require any proofing. If you want to use active dry yeast instead, activate it first. Dissolve it in 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water + a pinch of sugar, let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or until frothy and bubbly, and add it to the remaining ingredients. 
  • Milk: It should be lukewarm, not hot, or it will kill the yeast.
  • Dough: The dough will be soft and slightly sticky. Do not be tempted to add extra flour!
  • Proofing: How quickly the dough rises depends on temperature and humidity. In a warm place, this takes about 1 hour; if your kitchen is very cold, it might take a little longer.
  • Shape: I used a kitchen scale to get equal size balls. Each ball weighed 17 grams (0.6 oz.). Making the rolls the same size ensures even baking.

Put the dough + a bowl of hot water in your oven with the light turned on. This creates a warm, moist environment that speeds up the rising process.

brushing the bread rolls with melted butter

Recipe variations

Here are some variations that you could make to this dinner rolls recipe:

  • Make it vegan or dairy-free: Use plant-based milk and replace the butter with extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or vegan butter.
  • Add herbs: Add 2 tablespoons of dried or finely chopped fresh herbs to the dough or mix the herbs with the melted butter to brush on top of the rolls after baking.
  • Add cheese: Mix in 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Add toppingsSprinkle a bit of flaky salt, garlic salt, or sesame seeds on top of the warm rolls just before serving.

Storage,make-ahead

With this recipe, you will get approximately 12 yeast rolls. If you are having guests, double or triple the recipe as they will quickly disappear from the bread basket on your dinner table.

Reheat: Homemade rolls taste best when you serve them warm. If you’ve baked them ahead of time, wrap them in aluminum foil and place them in the oven at 150 degrees C (300 degrees F) for 10-15 minutes. 

Make-ahead: You can easily prepare these bread rolls ahead of time. Before the last rise, wrap the muffin pan with cling film and place it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let them sit on the counter for 90 minutes or until puffed.

Freeze: You can freeze these after baking. Allow the baked rolls to cool completely, put them in a large ziplock bag, and seal tightly. To reheat, let them thaw on the counter and just popped them in the hot oven for a few minutes before serving. They will be as good as freshly baked!

A basket full of soft dinner rolls, fresh out of the oven, ready to be eaten.

Serving suggestions

These pull apart rolls would be delicious for the holidays served with

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze dinner rolls?

Yes, these dinner rolls are freezer friendly. See the instructions in the “Storage/Make Ahead” section.

Will active dry yeast work for these rolls?

Yes! Just make sure to activate the yeast first according to package instructions.

Why didn’t my yeast rolls rise?

It could be for a number of reasons.
1- Your yeast could be old and past its prime. Double-check the expiration date before using it.
2- Make sure that the water you used wasn’t too warm to dissolve the yeast—it shouldn’t exceed 115°F
3- Knead only until the dough is smooth. Over-kneading can cause dense dough.
4- Maybe your kitchen is too cold. In that case, just pop the dough in a cold oven (do not turn it on!) and place a pan of boiling water on the rack underneath. 

If you make this easy recipe, please leave a feedback and rating in the comment section below. I always love hearing how it turns out for you!

More ideas for your bread basket

close up of cloverleaf dinner rolls
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
(5 stars) 24 ratings

Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

Soft, buttery Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls are a must for the holidays! They are super easy to make, they can be prepared in advance, and leftovers freeze nicely. Perfect for your Thanksgiving table!

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 3½ cups + 2 tablespoons (440 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons (275 ml) full fat milk lukewarm
  • 4 tablespoons (55 g) unsalted butter softened
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • teaspoon salt

You will also need:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Instructions

Make the dough

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the ingredients and mix until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl (about 6-7 minutes).
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to form a smooth, slightly sticky ball. 

Let the dough rise

  • Place the ball in a greased container and cover it with cling film. Let it rise until double in size (this will take approximately 60-90 minutes)
  • Brush a 12-cup muffin tin with 1 tablespoon of melted butter and set aside.

Divide and shape

  • When the dough has doubled, punch it down and divide it into 12 parts.  Divide each part into 3 equal-sized pieces and roll each piece into tiny balls.
    You can also use a kitchen scale to make equal size balls.
  • Place 3 balls, seam side down, in each muffin cup. Cover the muffin tin with lightly greased plastic wrap, put it in a warm spot, and let the rolls rise for another 60 minutes.

Bake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Remove the plastic wrap and bake the cloverleaf rolls until golden brown, about 22 minutes.

Brush

  • Remove the rolls from the oven and brush immediately with melted butter.  After 5 minutes, carefully transfer them to a rack. 
    Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • Yeast: I used instant yeast. It can be added straight away to the dry ingredients, it doesn’t require any proofing, and it rises a bit quicker. If you want to use active dry yeast instead, activate it first. 
  • To make the dinner rolls dairy-free or vegan, replace the milk with non-dairy milk and the butter with extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or vegan butter.
  • ShapeI used a kitchen scale to get equal size balls. Each ball weighed 17 grams (0.6 oz.). 
  • Make-ahead: Cover the rolls before the last rise and place the muffin tin in the fridge overnight. When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let them sit on the counter for 90 minutes or until puffed.
  • Bake and freeze: Bake the rolls as directed and let cool completely. Put them in a large ziplock bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and warm before serving. 
Here I’ve included step-by-step pictures for this easy rolls recipe to show you the consistency of the dough and how I shaped the cloverleaf rolls

Nutrition

Serving: 1 roll, Calories: 177 kcal, Carbohydrates: 29.9 g, Protein: 4.4 g, Fat: 4.4 g, Saturated Fat: 2.7 g, Cholesterol: 12.1 mg, Sodium: 300.1 mg, Fiber: 1.2 g, Sugar: 3.2 g
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Leave a comment or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #aseasyasapplepie. We’d love to see what you come up with!