Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser with their buttery flavor and soft, fluffy texture! Enjoy them any day of the week, from casual dinners to festive gatherings like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This step-by-step recipe is easy to follow and produces delicious results every time!

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! With a satisfying chewy texture, they pair perfectly with a bowl of creamy sweet potato soup on a chilly day.

This recipe makes about 12 delightful yeast rolls, but watch out—they tend to disappear fast from the bread basket! If you’re hosting a dinner party or holiday gathering, double or even triple the recipe. Trust me, your guests will thank you for it!

Why you’ll love these cloverleaf rolls

  • Easy to make: even if you’re a beginner, this bread 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: You can shape the dough into twisted rolls, pinwheels, knotted rolls, or even hot dog buns.
  • Flavorful: Get creative with toppings and seasonings! Add Italian seasoning to the dough, sprinkle garlic and herb salt on warm rolls just before serving, or top with cheese for an extra burst of flavor.
  • Perfect for any meal: homemade dinner rolls are a versatile side dish that pairs well with a variety of dishes, from pasta and roasted meat to soup and salad.
  • Unique shape: the cloverleaf shape is not only visually appealing, but it also allows for easy separation into smaller portions.

Ingredients & substitutions

Here are some helpful notes about the key ingredients for these buttery rolls:

  • Flour: all-purpose flour works well, but you can also use bread flour for a chewier roll. Measure your flour accurately for the best results.
  • Milk: whole milk will give you the softest bread rolls. However, low-fat milk, skim milk, or non-dairy milk are good options.
  • Unsalted butter: soften the butter to room temperature before using.
  • Granulated sugar: You can replace it with honey.
  • Instant yeast: if you don’t have instant yeast, you can use active dry yeast instead. Just be sure to activate the active dry yeast before using it, and the rising time will be slightly longer.

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

How to make homemade cloverleaf rolls

This dinner 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. After the dough has risen, divide it into twelve parts. Then, take each part and divide it into three equal-sized pieces. 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 three dough balls into each muffin cup and let them rise for one hour. Then bake for 22 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown on top. Once the cloverleaf rolls come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter to give them a shiny finish.

Recipe variations

  • Vegan or dairy-free option: opt for almond, soy, or oat milk, and replace the butter with vegan butter or oil.
  • For a burst of flavor, add 1-2 tablespoons of dried or finely chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or parsley, to the dough. You can also brush the rolls with a mixture of melted butter and herbs after baking. Or sprinkle a touch of flaky sea salt or garlic salt on the warm rolls before serving.
  • For a cheese twist, mix in 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the dough.

Tips for success

  1. Measure the flour correctly. This is important to avoid dense and heavy rolls. Spoon and level your flour instead of scooping it out of the package.
  2. Activate the yeast properly. Add instant yeast directly to the dry ingredients, but dissolve active dry yeast in 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar before adding it. Let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, or until frothy and bubbly, before adding it to the remaining ingredients.
  3. Use lukewarm milk. The milk should be between 110 and 115°F. Avoid using milk that is too hot, as it can kill the yeast, or too cold, as the yeast may not activate. Use a cooking thermometer to test the temperature.
  4. Don’t over-knead the dough. 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 in a very cold kitchen, it may take a little longer.
  6. Proof the dough in a warm place. The dough will rise faster in a warm place. If your kitchen is cold, you can put the dough in your oven with the light turned on to create a warm, moist environment.
  7. Use a kitchen scale to measure the dough and create equal-sized balls. This will ensure even baking. Each ball should weigh 17 grams (0.6 oz).
brushing the bread rolls with melted butter.

How to make ahead, store, and freeze

Make ahead: before the last rise, wrap the muffin pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, let the rolls sit on the counter for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.

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

Reheating: dinner rolls taste best when served 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, or until heated through.

Freezing: you can freeze them before or after baking.

To freeze after baking, let the baked rolls cool completely. Place them in a large ziplock bag, seal it tightly, and put it in the freezer. When ready to reheat, simply let them thaw on the counter and pop them in the oven for a few minutes until warm.

To freeze the unbaked buns, place the rolls in the muffin pan and allow them to rise for 20 minutes. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I ensure even-sized rolls?

Use a kitchen scale to weigh the dough and divide it into equal-sized pieces. 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?

Here are some common reasons why yeast rolls don’t rise:
1. Expired yeast: make sure your yeast is fresh and not past its expiration date.
2. Incorrect 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. Over-Kneading: don’t over-knead the dough, as it can cause it to be dense and not rise properly.
4. Cold 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.

Try these ideas for your bread basket next!

Have you tried these easy cloverleaf rolls yet? Share your feedback, variations, or any questions you have in the comments below. We’re here to help!

How To Make It: Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

(5 stars) 91 ratings
Cloverleaf dinner rolls are not only incredibly simple to make but also easy to customize. With their buttery flavor and fluffy texture, they are perfect for every occasion, from weeknight meals to small dinner parties.


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 plastic wrap. 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-sized 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 doubled in size.
  • 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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