French Bread Rolls

(Update 11/10): I originally posted these rolls nearly three years ago and had been making them a couple of years prior to posting them, which basically means they are one of my longest standing roll recipes, which is saying a lot because I swear I try a new roll recipe out at least monthly. These rolls are exactly what their name implies – a little nugget of french bread goodness in roll-form. Really, they are scrumptious. They continue to be one of the easiest, no-fail roll recipes around. Not only that, but I use them in every recipe I own that needs a roll perfect for sandwiching delicious ingredients in the depth of the rolls, like these meatball subs, this Italian beef recipe, sloppy joes, BBQ pulled pork, and the list goes on and on.

Here’s an awesome video tutorial on how to shape these little babies into perfectly round dinner rolls.

Can you tell I love them? Oh yes I do, and I know you will, too!

French Bread Rolls

Yield: Makes one dozen rolls

French Bread 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. Also, here's a video tutorial on how to shape the rolls. Lastly, I often use whole wheat flour for all or part of the white flour in this recipe with great results. The finished bread is slightly darker in color and perhaps a bit more dense, but because we are used to the taste/texture of whole wheat breads, we hardly notice. If using whole wheat flour for part of the flour amount, add a few minutes to the kneading time to help develop the gluten and as always, take care not to overflour. Most often, I use 3 parts whole wheat flour to 1 part white flour or just throw 100% whole wheat (finely ground white wheat flour) in there. If you are just starting out using whole wheat, I'd suggest using half wheat/half all-purpose and experimenting from there.


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3/4 tablespoon instant yeast (or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, give or take a few tablespoons (see note)


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl by hand, combine the warm water, yeast, sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour (if you are using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, let the yeast proof in the warm water and sugar for about 3-5 minutes until it is foamy and bubbly before adding the oil, salt and flour). Begin mixing and continue to add the rest of the flour gradually until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Judge the dough not by the amount of flour called for in the recipe but in how the dough feels (see a tutorial on working with yeast here). The dough should be soft and smooth but still slightly tacky to the touch.
  2. Knead the dough in the stand mixer or by hand until it is very smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer or 8-10 minutes by hand. Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it has doubled (this usually takes about an hour).
  3. Lightly punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly greased countertop. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form the dough into round balls. Place the rolls on a lightly greased or silpat-lined baking sheet about an inch or two apart. Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap taking care not to pin the plastic wrap under the baking sheet or else the rolls will flatten while rising. Let the plastic wrap gently hang over the sides of the pan to fully cover the rolls but not press them down. Let the rolls rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.


*Freezable Option: I almost always make a double or triple batch of these rolls. Once they are baked and cooled, I place them in a zipper-lock freezer bag and put them in the freezer. I either take them out a few hours before I need them or I take them out frozen and microwave them for about 2-3 minutes on 70% power.

Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

298 Responses to French Bread Rolls

  1. lacey says:

    Just made these, they are terrific! I think i may put an egg wash on top before i bake them the next time just so they look shiny on top.
    Thanks for such an tasty yet simple recipe!

  2. Holly says:

    I am excited to try these rolls. Do you think I could use coconut oil in place of the canola oil?? Or olive oil? I prefer not to use canola oil. Thanks!

  3. Thank you! Once again you don’t disappoint. I decided to try and make these for hamburger buns.. (I’m a hamburger bun snob and hate store bought nasty ones). I usually just use costco size rhodes rolls to make buns and while they are good they just aren’t quite dense enough.. I have attempted buns from scratch before and they were way too dense.. I was scared but gave these a try anyway.. AMAZING! I couldn’t wait until dinner and tried one dipped in BYU creamery ranch. Soooooo good!

  4. Patty Moreno says:

    I tried these using 3/4 white whole wheat and the rest all purpose. They are good but for some reason they taste a bit bitter. Also, they looked pretty just out of the oven but the ones in the middle of the cookie sheet got sort of wrinkled once cooled. What did I do wrong? Help!! I really want to get these right and I know I must have done something.

    • Mel says:

      Patty Moreno – If they are wrinkling quite a bit, you can try baking them a minute or so longer. Mine actually get slightly wrinkly on top and softer than when they first pop out of the oven so that is slightly normal (but super duper wrinkly probably isn’t). Also, if you want crispier crust, you can try baking them in the oven alongside a baking pan filled with water. The steam can help get that crunchy exterior. Have you tried the whole wheat version of these rolls?

  5. Megan G says:

    Would love to see a tutorial on making hoagie/sub rolls with this dough. I’ve done it twice now but I’m never sure the best way to shape the dough and how big each one should be for a nicely sized finished product.

  6. Debra says:

    I just took a batch of rolls out of the oven. They look fantastic. Cannot wait to have one. Using it with your “The Best Sloppy Joes” recipe. Dinner will be fantastic.

  7. Ann says:

    Hi Mel! I just took these rolls out of the oven, and they look fantastic to go along with our old-fashioned goulash tonight. I watched your tutorial for making round rolls and I am just curious. Why do the rolls in your photo look like they were pulled apart from each other? You may have answered this somewhere, but I don’t have time to go through the 250 plus comments. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your blog! It’s my favorite!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Annie – usually when I make these and place them on the pan, they rise and bake with the sides connected so after they have baked, they have to be pulled apart to get a single roll off the pan. It’s probably a matter of how far apart or close you put them on the pan. Hope that helps!

  8. Ashlee T says:

    Mel! I made these and they are oh so good! After I form the dough into balls, can I freeze them, then thaw and cook them later? I’m thinking for thanksgiving prep. I’m in charge of rolls!

  9. Jessica says:

    Have you ever made these with herbs? Trying to find a simple herb roll recipe without milk!

  10. Nancy says:

    I just made these rolls and they turned out flat. I bake a lot of bread but for some reason they did not work. They looked more like biscuits. We have had quite a bit of rain lately could the humidity affect the outcome of these rolls. I had just purchased my yeast and the expiration date isn’t until March 2015. My flour was a bread flour. I am at a loss for what happened. Any ideas?

    • Mel says:

      I think the humidity can definitely play a factor; was the dough overly sticky? If so, it may not have enough structure to rise up (I’ve had them flatten while baking a time or two when I have under floured them).

  11. Allie says:

    Just made these and they turned out amazing! It was my first time making bread and it looked so daunting, but it was super easy peasy. Ours cooked for 14 minutes and I think they were still a tad undercooked (probably needed a minute or two more), but they still taste amazing, and are light and fluffy. This recipe is a keeper!

  12. Gill says:

    Hi how big is a us cup in ml? I am in uk. Also are they the same for liquids and dry goods? Thanks

  13. Michelle says:

    These rolls are such a hit with my family! Thanks for the recipe Mel! I’ve even got my dad making them since they’re so simple and yet so delicious! He likes to mix it up sometimes and uses 2 cups of white flour and 2 cups of wholewheat flour for a chewier roll.

  14. Michelle says:

    Thank you for the recipe! These rolls were so easy to make which is very important to a baking novice like me! They looked amazing coming out of the oven and their appearance and texture were right-on. However, the taste was completely bland, which the family also pointed out :(. I don’t understand what went wrong and why they had no flavor whatsoever. I used the exact quantities and steps listed in the recipe.

  15. Melanie says:

    Yuuuuuuum! I made these last night, and they were incredible. I ended up using slightly less than 3.5 cups flour only; I’m guessing because my flour is from a bag and not “homemade”, so it’s more compacted. Anyways, I made them into hamburger buns and buttered and grilled them as you suggested. That was insanely good. My “I could eat cow for every meal of the day” husband almost preferred the bun to the burger! (I used your grilled burger recipe too, it was good). In conclusion, I have loved making your yeast recipes so much that I went out and scored a used Bosch on ebay yesterday for $200. The Kitchenaid just wasn’t cutting it. Thanks Mel!

  16. Liz says:

    After much experimenting and failure with various no knead recipes, I made this one this afternoon … YOWZA – just what I wanted for sandwich rolls, hamburger/hot dog buns. Wonderful taste and texture. I used about 1/2 cup whole wheat and the rest white AP (Wheat Montana hard flours) …don’t know exactly how much. I’m comfortable with kneading, etc. so stopped when I thought all was good.

    And really, there is not very much hands on time and I used my hands, no mixer. I am SO happy. Thanks so much Mel for all of the details and recipes and tutorials.

    Sometimes I call my neighbor to see if they need anything when I run to the store as we are rural. He often asks me to pick up a package of the Kings Hawaiian rolls. Well, I am going to make them a batch of these this weekend and see what they think!

  17. LORRAINE says:

    I made these for supper tonight to go with the one pot creamy tuna and shells. They turned out really good and they were super easy to make! They are so soft ! I think I found my go to dinner roll recipe. Thank You so much Mel for all your work you put into your recipes. This is the first place I go to find a meal when i don’t know were to start. Thanks !

  18. Kristi says:

    Mel I just had to tell you, I made these for pulled pork sandwiches for Easter yesterday, and the rolls were great but what killed me was I watched your video tutorial on how to make them and I realized it was the first time I had ever heard your voice. Here I was, a faithful follower for six years now and I had never watched a video, ha ha! Thanks for another great recipe, it had never occurred to me to weigh my dough before either. Now I am hooked πŸ˜‰

    • Mel says:

      Haha! You are too cute, Kristi! I always enjoy seeing your comments pop up (you’ve been a loyal follower for a long time!) and I’m happy that you loved these rolls.

  19. Amy says:

    I made these for dinner tonight and they were perfectly delicious. My son immediately called dibs on a roll for his school lunch tomorrow:) Thank-you for sharing your recipe, I look forward to trying other recipes from your site!

  20. Ashley says:

    Hi Mel,

    If you are doubling or tripling a bread recipe like this, do you need to also double or triple the kneading time?

    Thank you for your recipes….I just love every single one, and am slowly getting more comfortable with baking my own bread! You are awesome!!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Ashley – that’s a good question but no, you don’t knead to double or tripe the kneading time. If I’ve doubled a recipe I might add just a minute onto the kneading time but only if my mixer is really full of dough.

  21. Catherine says:

    New to your site! Your bread recipes are awesome! I use whole wheat, olive oil or coconut oil over canola and everything turns out great. I’vehad better success with your recipes and techniques. All way better then I imagined! So excited πŸ™‚
    Looking forward to trying many more. Making the roasted potatoes today.

  22. zella says:

    I just made these again and realized this recipe is the one that brought me to your blog long, long ago. Aah….that was a great day! Should one be sentimental about food?
    Thanks for all the recipes you’ve shared ever since!

  23. Rose says:

    I just made these and they are so good. Super soft and fluffy. I was a bit of an idiot and I forgot to knead the dough, but they still worked well. Thank you for another great recipe! πŸ™‚

  24. Chava says:

    Hi Mel!

    Since I discovered your blog, I’ve gotten excited about cooking again and itching to try new things. I just made these rolls. They flopped a bit because I didn’t factor in humidity (and then my 2 year old daughter flattened more than half of them right before I put them in the oven). They still tasted great (and looked almost great πŸ˜‰ ).

    Question though: on your tutorial, you said 2.5 oz of dough for a dinner roll, 3 for hamburger buns, and 2 for hotdog buns. What would you suggest for sliders or child size dinner rolls?

    (PS my 4 year old son gobbled up 2 sloppy joes made with these buns after throwing a tantrum that he didn’t like any of the ingredients I put into the sloppy joes! I was flabbergasted. If my pickiest eater loved these, they’re a winner in my book πŸ™‚ )

  25. Grace says:

    Yum! I am deciding between making these and your regular French bread recipe. Which would you suggest? What is the taste and texture difference between the two recipes? Obviously besides that these are rolls and the other recipe is a loaf…

    • Mel says:

      I think either are great – they are fairly similar in taste and texture. Maybe start with the bread and see what you think. πŸ™‚

  26. Jo-Anne says:

    I don’t normally comment on blogs but I needed to after making these rolls. OMG, these were so good, my guests thought these were store bought! I have tried numerous roll recipes and they’ve all tasted overly yeasty – not these ones. These were amazing! Soft, fluffy and delicious! I may have to make more today and freeze them. Thank you for my new go-to roll recipe!

  27. I just made this. A Sub roll version, I got four 10 inch rolls. I needed to use 5 cups of flour before it would stop being overly sticky…was still rather sticky. but I was able to continue with a greased bowl and well greased countertop. Thanks for the recipe!

    I think that there should be a note somewhere that these come out hard shelled, but soften as they cool. Or is this common knowledge among breadmakers?

    Thanks again! I can’t wait to try your monkey bread.

  28. NAnderson says:

    I’ve lost count of how many times I made these beauties. They are so easy to work with and produce such a great flavor. I love the tip on getting them perfectly round. This recipe is also the reason I bought a scale and can’t remember how I ever lived without it! I store them in the freezer and pop them in the microwave when we’re ready to eat them. Delicious!

  29. Julie says:

    So I tried to make these rolls and the tops got done, but the center and bottom was doughy. Do you know what I’m doing wrong?

  30. Julie says:

    I just made these rolls, and the top got golden brown but the center and the bottom was doughy, do you know what I did wrong? My dough was a little sticky, so maybe I need to add more flour or do you think I should lower the rack in the oven. This happened to me when I made your homemade pizza dough also. Maybe I’m not meant to make breads. Ha ha!!

  31. Lynn says:

    perfect and delicious! My 5 yr old daughter watched the shaping tutorial with me, and she helped me make the buns.

  32. Madison says:

    These were so lovely and simple! My three year old even helped roll the dough into balls. The dough was so easy to work with. We had French dip sandwiches on them and they were perfect.

  33. Jenny L. says:

    I love your blog! I’ve made this recipe a few times and every time they turn out flat. They expand out rather than up. I’ve tried adding more flour and being very careful to not squish the rolls when they are rising the second time. Any tips?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jenny – hmm, you’re pretty certain the dough has enough flour? That’s the main reason I’ve seen these rolls want to spread out instead of up. Also, how close are you spacing them on the baking sheet? Another thing to keep an eye on is making sure the ball you roll them into is very, very tight – it shouldn’t be squishy at all, it should be very firm and taut when they are rolled and then of course the get nice and light and squishy as they rise.

  34. Melanie Machado says:

    I’ve tried out a lot of your recipes (mostly the dessert ones) but this has to be one of my favourites! This was my first time actually making bread and they turned out lovely. I’ll definitely try to venture out of the dessert world a bit more now πŸ™‚

  35. Sara says:

    Is it necessary to cover with plastic wrap or can we bake it uncovered?

  36. April says:

    Have you used this recipe for sandwich bread in a loaf pan?

  37. Melinda says:

    It’s a good thing I don’t have to tell you in person how incredibly amazing these rolls are–as my mouth is really busy right now (with roll No. 2). I have been making bread machine rolls and French loaves for years, but today I ventured into the world of manual dough making via your recipe. And I’m over the moon with the results! Thanks for another rock star concoction.

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