I’ve been using this roll recipe for years, thanks to my sister-in-law who got the recipe from her sister (and hey! the great thing is they are both sisters from The Sisters Cafe). I alternate between this roll recipe and the Lion House Rolls. The last time I made these, I tried the cloverleaf variation and loved the change – and also how they pull apart into sections so easily. These rolls are delicious – light and tender and flavorful, thanks to the buttermilk. They take a bit of time because the dough sponges for a few hours before adding the rest of the ingredients – but the trade-off is you can leave the dough in the fridge for up to a week and pull off what you need each day to have hot and fresh rolls.

Buttermilk Cloverleaf Rolls

Buttermilk Cloverleaf Rolls

Note: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.


  • 3 cups buttermilk at room temperature (here is a guide for making your own buttermilk)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon yeast dissolved in ¼ cup warm water (let it proof for 2-3 minute)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups flour, more or less
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Mix the buttermilk, flour and yeast/water mixture together thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Let stand at room temperature until double in size, about 2 hours. Add sugar, eggs, salt, flour, oil, and baking soda. Mix well and knead for 7-10 minutes. Roll out the amount of dough you want and place the rest in the refrigerator, covered. The next time you want fresh baked rolls, take from the bowl what you want and again put the rest back in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to seven days.
  2. Shape the dough into rolls. I either do crescent shapes (roll dough into a circle and cut into triangles) or cloverleaf (roll dough into small balls, about 3/4-inch in diameter and place three balls in each cup of a greased muffin tin).
  3. Let rolls rise until double in size, 1-2 hours. Dough taken from the refrigerator will take longer because the dough is cold. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes.

Recipe Source: from Erin and Melanie

53 Responses to Buttermilk Cloverleaf Rolls

  1. Jayme says:

    Just found your blog and love it! I’m making your sloppy joes tomorrow. I’m putting your link on my blog, hope you don’t mind.

  2. Sophie says:

    Very tasty — especially with the buttermilk, it’s perfect for rolls!

  3. laurielclewis says:

    I saw your blog off a friend’s link and what a great find! Thanks for all these great ideas! I’m in a serious cooking rut and I need new ideas! I’ll be following closely.

  4. Delectable Dining says:

    Mmmm… sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to make these. It might have to happen today! :)

  5. Kara@ Creations by Kara says:

    I don’t think I have ever tried yeast bread with buttermilk. I am very intrigued and can’t wait to give them a try. Every recipe I’ve made from here has been awesome, so I’m sure these will be too!

  6. cindy says:

    Just made these yummy rolls–they were a hit! I think I will make cinnamon rolls with caramel icing with the remaining dough. This recipe is a keeper!

  7. Heidi says:

    I’ve made a much more complicated cloverleaf roll. I will give these a try next time :)

  8. Amy and David Ziehl says:

    These are totally DELISH!!! They also taste great with homemade strawberry jam. YUMMY!

  9. teresa says:

    Well, if these are what you use next to the Lions House rolls, which are the best rolls in the world, then they must be fab. I love how pretty they are!

  10. Erin says:

    I can’t wait to try the cloverleaf next time I am making these rolls. Yum!

  11. Melanie says:

    Jayme – I don’t mind at all. I just made the sloppy joes tonight – great timing! I hope you like them.

  12. PheMom says:

    I know I will be making these soon. They look perfect!

  13. ~Carole says:

    Ohmigosh, those look fabulous. I think buttermilk makes everything taste better.

  14. Elyse says:

    These rolls look fantastic! I love a nice tried and true recipe that always yields delicious desserts. What great looking rolls! I’m definitely going to try out this recipe soon.

  15. Abby says:

    Seriously? You can leave it in the fridge? I have never heard of such and it makes my heart sing to hear it now. Gotta try these.

  16. Netts Nook says:

    I always make the Lion House I will have to give this recipe a try. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Melanie Anne says:

    Yes this is my all time favorite roll recipe! I like your cloverleafs–very nice! I almost always make the dough into the crescent shape. I should branch out!

  18. Melanie says:

    Cindy – thanks for trying them so quickly! I’m so glad you liked them and your idea of caramel icing sounds divine. Let me know how it goes!

  19. Bunny says:

    I absolutely love making rolls for dinner, I ‘ve never made the cloverleaf though. I ‘m bookmarking to try these they sound so good!!

  20. Sara @ Our Best Bites says:

    These look soooo good. That picture makes me drool!

  21. grace says:

    i do love the glistening, buttery sheen. soft rolls slathered in butter almost make me weep with joy. :)

  22. Marisa says:

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmm! When your blog opened and I saw that picture, I was seriously salivating. These look fabulous. I am such a sucker for carbs :-). I’ll for sure be trying these!

  23. Elizabeth says:

    Yum, those rolls are my favorite. I’ve been trying to figure out how to make them for years!

  24. from my motorhome to yours says:

    love your blog, just found it!!

  25. Jen says:

    I just tried these last night and loved them! This morning when I opened the fridge the dough was almost coming out of the bowl, it had risen so much (I just kept it in my kitchenaid bowl.) Is this normal? I just punched it down, but wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to do. I’m kind of a newbie when it comes to baking with yeast!

  26. Melanie says:

    Jen – I’m glad you liked these rolls! Yes, sometimes when I make them, I open the fridge and the dough has expanded over the bowl. I’ve started using a really, really big bowl to prevent that, but either way, it’s fine to punch it down and cover it again.

  27. Anissa says:

    Hi Mel,
    So I’m going to attempt to use these for a wedding dinner (only 50 people, buffet style). I LOVE the fact that I can make the dough 2 or 3 days in advance. PERFECT. So the question is, when I go to shape and cook the rolls the day of the wedding, what is going to be my fastest method for shaping? The cloverleaf or the the crescents or can I do just a standard roll shape?
    Thanks so much!!!

    • Mel says:

      Anissa – good luck with the wedding dinner! Sounds like a lot of work, but fun, too. As for these rolls, if it were me making that many, I would go with the crescent shape. More work than a standard roll but the presentation is much nicer, plus they are less work than the cloverleaf, in my opinion (and I think overall the crescent shape is the most beautiful for a wedding dinner). Just keep in mind that if you’ve had the dough in the fridge, it doesn’t roll out very well cold, so I like to let it sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes, if I have the time, to take the chill off and make it easier to roll out. Good luck!

  28. Anissa says:

    Thank you so much for the great tips Mel. You’re awesome!

  29. Megan says:

    These are awesome. I have a similar recipe…but in mine I have to scald the buttermilk so it’s nice to skip that step! Yeah that I can have fresh rolls again this week!

  30. Cori says:

    How many rolls does this make? I want to make them for 11 people.

  31. Cori says:

    Thank you!

  32. Nicole says:

    These do look sooooo divine! I’m making them tonight with my other favorite of yours- the basil stuffed chicken. Anyways I REALLY loved your tutorial on the 2 types of yeast, especially because I tried your divine breadsticks before and they didn’t turn out and after I found out I was using the wrong yeast they were perfect! So my question is- which type of yeast am I suppose to use for this one since you didn’t specify?

  33. Mel says:

    Nicole – you can use either active dry or instant yeast in this recipe since it is dissolved and proofed in water before proceeding with the recipe (I always use instant but that’s because I have it on hand).

  34. Maria says:

    Hi there! I am excited to try these tomorrow, but I have one question- how long would I knead it in the stand alone mixer? Thank you in advance.


  35. Mel says:

    Hi Maria – I make these in my electric stand mixer and knead for about 5-6 minutes. Good luck!

  36. Karen says:

    Hi Mel, what kind of oil do you use? Could you use all or part butter?
    I hope all is well in your new home.

  37. Mel says:

    Karen – I use canola oil. I’ve never used butter but it’s probably worth a try!

  38. Denise says:

    Thank you so much, Melanie! I made these rolls the other day and love that the dough can stay in the fridge for up to a week! We had fresh baked rolls several times this week because of this wonderful recipe! Pure Genius, thanks for sharing!

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  40. Abby says:

    I am one of your biggest followers, but never comment! I comment to my mom and my sisters and everyone else in the world! Anyway, I’m not sure if you will get to my question in time but do you not cover the first mix that stands for 2 hours?

  41. Keri says:

    Mel….these rolls were absolutely delicious!! I can’t believe how easy it is to actually make them (although a bit time consuming) and they are 100% better than store bought. I’m going to bake up other half of dough and freeze for Thanksgiving. Thanks so much!

  42. Kimberly Abrams says:

    OMG! Made this recipe & I’m in love! Used it to make rolls and cinammon rolls. Make sure you give it the rise time it needs for best results. I’m so hooked.

  43. HH says:

    Hi Mel,

    Just wondering. Its a total of 8 cups of flour right? 3 cups plus 5 more?

    • Mel says:

      I always add flour based on texture but the 8 cups is a general guideline. This makes a lot of dough so yes, the 8 cups is correct.

  44. HH says:

    Thanks for the confirmation. & yes, i will see how the dough works out to and gradually will add up to 8 cups – if required at all! Im so excited to make these!

  45. Ali says:

    If you were to cut the recipe in half, would you make any changes to rising times? Looks good!

  46. HH says:

    I finally tried making the rolls…wow. This one is a keeper. I usually use the Tangzhong method for soft fluffy bread-which is AMAZING, but this recipe is a contender. I live in Singapore where it’s superbly humid. I had to use 9 cups of flour in the end as it was way too sticky to shape with 8 cups. All turned out good in the end. Thanks so much for posting this recipe. Please do know that my family and i appreciate all your hard work in providing great recipes that we all can count on!

  47. Kat says:

    I love, love, love this roll recipe. It’s so nice to be able to have fresh rolls so easily. One of my favorite ways to dress them up is to brush with melted butter and sprinkle with rosemary before baking. So divine. And as if the dinner rolls weren’t delicious enough, this dough makes the most light and heavenly cinnamon rolls of all time. ya. amazing.

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