With their buttery flavor and soft, fluffy texture, Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls are a crowd-pleaser that can be enjoyed any day of the week, from casual dinners to festive gatherings like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Making these rolls is so simple, and you can get creative with your toppings and seasonings. Add some Italian seasoning to the dough, sprinkle garlic and herb salt on top of the warm rolls just before serving, or even top them with cheese for an extra burst of flavor. The possibilities are endless!

A wicker basket filled with homemade cloverleaf dinner rolls.

Warm, homemade bread is a staple at any dinner table, and Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls are one of my all-time favorites! They have a satisfying chewy texture, and on a chilly day, there’s nothing better than pairing them with a bowl of creamy sweet potato soup.

This recipe yields approximately 12 delicious yeast rolls, but be warned — they’re sure to disappear quickly from the bread basket! If you’re hosting a dinner party or holiday gathering, consider doubling or even tripling the recipe to ensure there’s enough to go around. Trust me, your guests will thank you for it.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Easy to make: even if you’re a beginner, this recipe is a great place to start. With just a few basic ingredients and a bit of patience, you’ll have delicious, fluffy rolls in no time.
  • Versatile dough: shape it into twisted rolls, pinwheels, knotted rolls, or even hot dog buns.
  • Perfect addition to any dinner: they pair well with a variety of dishes, whether you’re serving pasta, roasted meat, soup, or salad.
  • Unique shape: the cloverleaf shape is not only visually appealing, but it also allows for easy separation into smaller portions. Each roll consists of three small balls of dough that are baked together in a muffin tin, creating a pull-apart effect that is perfect for sharing.

Ingredients & easy swaps

Here are a few notes about the ingredients for this recipe: 

  • Flour: this recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but bread flour can be used as well. Be sure to measure your flour accurately for the best results.
  • Milk: for the softest yeast dinner rolls, whole milk is recommended. However, you can use low-fat milk, skim milk, or non-dairy milk as a substitute.
  • Unsalted butter: be sure to use softened butter. Softened butter will leave an indentation when pressed with the back of a spoon.
  • Granulated sugar: honey can be used as a substitute for granulated sugar.
  • Instant yeast: if you don’t have instant yeast, you can use active dry yeast instead. Active dry yeast needs to be activated first, and the rising time will be slightly longer.

See the recipe card below for a detailed ingredient list and step-by-step instructions.

Recipe variations

Here are some variations that you could make to this cloverleaf roll recipe:

  • Make it vegan or dairy-free: use plant-based milk, such as almond, soy, or oat milk, and replace the butter with a plant-based spread or oil, such as coconut oil or vegan butter. 
  • Add herbs: for a burst of flavor, you can add 1 or 2 tablespoons of dried or finely chopped fresh herbs to the dough, such as rosemary, thyme, or parsley. You can also mix the herbs with the melted butter to brush on top of the rolls after baking.
  • Add cheese: you can mix in 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the dough for a savory, cheesy twist.
  • Add toppings: to add some texture and extra flavor, sprinkle a bit of flaky sea salt or garlic salt on top of the warm rolls just before serving.

How to make cloverleaf rolls

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

dough kneaded on a wooden board.
dough in a bowl before first rise.
dough in a bowl after first rise.

Step 1 Make the dough and let it rise. Knead all the ingredients and let the dough rise for an hour or so.

dough divided into 12 pieces.
dough divided into 36 pieces.
dough pieces rolled into balls.

Step 2 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.

cloverleaf rolls in muffin tin before second rise.
cloverleaf dinner rolls ready to be baked.
baked dinner rolls.

Step 3 2nd rise and bake: place the balls, three at a time, into muffin cups and let them rise for one hour. Then bake for 22 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown on top. Right when the cloverleaf rolls come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter to give them a gorgeous, shiny finish.

Helpful tip

Put the dough and 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.

Tips for success

  1. The key to avoiding dense and heavy rolls is measuring the flour correctly. Make sure to spoon and level your flour instead of scooping it out of the package.
  2. I used instant yeast for this recipe, which can be added straight away to the dry ingredients without any proofing. However, if you prefer to use active dry yeast, activate it first by dissolving it in 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar. Let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, or until frothy and bubbly, before adding it to the remaining ingredients.
  3. Lukewarm milk is essential for activating the yeast properly. Avoid using milk that is too hot, as it can kill the yeast, or milk that is too cold, as the yeast may not activate. You can test the milk’s temperature using a cooking thermometer and make sure it falls within the range of 110-115°F.
  4. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Resist the temptation to add extra flour, as this can result in dense rolls.
  5. How quickly the dough rises depends on the temperature and humidity. In a warm place, proofing typically takes around 1 hour, but if your kitchen is very cold, it may take a little longer.
  6. I used a kitchen scale to measure the dough and create equal-sized balls to ensure even baking. Each ball weighed 17 grams (0.6 oz).
brushing the bread rolls with melted butter.

How to make ahead, store leftovers, and freeze

Make ahead: you can easily prepare these easy dinner 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.

Leftovers: keep your dinner rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 or 4 days. For longer storage, freeze them.

To reheat: dinner 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 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 10-15 minutes. 

Freezing: you can freeze them before or after baking.

To freeze after baking — first, let the baked rolls cool completely. Then, place them in a large ziplock bag, seal it tightly, and put it in the freezer. When you’re ready to reheat, simply let them thaw on the counter and pop them in the oven for a few minutes until warm. They’ll taste just as fresh as when you first baked them!

To freeze the unbaked buns — place the rolls in the muffin pan and allow them to rise for 20 minutes. Then, wrap the pan tightly and freeze for up to 4 weeks. To bake, thaw the rolls overnight in the fridge, then bake them as directed in the recipe.

Recipe FAQs

How to ensure even-sized rolls?

Use a kitchen scale. Weigh the dough and divide the total weight by the number of rolls you want to make. In this recipe, each roll should weigh around 17 grams (0.6 oz.).

Can I double the recipe?

Yes, simply adjust the serving size in the recipe card to the desired number of rolls. The ingredient amounts will automatically update accordingly.

Why didn’t my yeast rolls rise?

Several factors can affect the rising process. Here are some common reasons:
1. Expired yeast: make sure your yeast is fresh and not past its expiration date.
2. Water temperature: the water used to dissolve the yeast should be lukewarm (around 110-115°F). If it’s too hot, it can kill the yeast, and if it’s too cold, it won’t activate.
3. Kneading: don’t over-knead the dough as it can cause it to be dense and not rise properly.
4. Temperature: if your kitchen is too cold, it can slow down the rising process. You can place the dough in a cold oven with a pan of boiling water underneath to create a warm and humid environment.

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

More ideas for your bread basket

Have you tried these pull-apart rolls yet? Did you make any modifications or put your own spin on it? Share your feedback with us in the comments below. We can’t wait to hear from you! And if you have any questions, we are always here to help!

How To Make It: Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

(5 stars) 90 ratings
With their buttery flavor and fluffy texture, cloverleaf dinner rolls are perfect for every occasion, from weeknight meals to small dinner parties! They are incredibly simple to make and can be easily customized. Top them with cheese for extra flavor, add some Italian seasoning to the dough, or sprinkle garlic and herbs salt on top of the warm rolls just before serving.


For the dough:

  • 3½ cups + 2 tablespoons (440 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons (275 ml) whole 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


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. 

1st Rise

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

Shape the rolls

  • 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.

2nd Rise

  • 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.


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


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


  • Nutrition information: please note that substituting any ingredient may change the posted nutrition information.
  • To make a larger batch, simply adjust the number of servings in the recipe card. The ingredient amounts will automatically update.
  • Yeast: I used instant yeast, which doesn’t require proofing and rises a bit quicker. If you prefer to use active dry yeast, you’ll need to activate it first.
  • For a dairy-free or vegan version, use non-dairy milk and replace the butter with extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or vegan butter.
  • Shaping the rolls: I used a kitchen scale to get equal-sized balls. Each ball should weigh around 17 grams (0.6 oz).
  • Make-ahead: you can prepare the rolls ahead of time by covering the dough before the final rise and placing the muffin tin in the fridge overnight. When you’re 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: after baking the rolls, let them cool completely before storing them in a large ziplock bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw, and warm before serving.
  • To freeze unbaked rolls, shape the dough and place it in the muffin pan. Wrap tightly and freeze for up to 4 weeks. To bake, thaw the dough overnight in the fridge, then unwrap and bake as directed.


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
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