Lion House Dinner Rolls

There isn’t much more I can say about these rolls than they make an appearance at my dinner table several times a month and are probably only one of two or three roll recipes I make regularly. I usually substitute half the white flour with white wheat flour, but when made with 100% white flour, they are almost indulgent enough to eat for dessert. Tender, buttery, perfect. I love them and it would have to take a mighty good roll recipe to replace these beauties.

Lion House Dinner Rolls

Lion House Dinner Rolls

Yield: Makes about 2 dozen rolls

Lion House Dinner Rolls

Note: The recipe calls for active dry yeast. I always use instant yeast because that’s what I have on hand. To use instant yeast, cut down the amount of yeast to 1 1/2 tablespoons and then there is no need to proof the yeast in the water. Instead, add the yeast and water together with the following ingredients in the recipe and proceed with the directions.

Also, I always used to roll the dough into three circles and cut the rolls into triangles and roll up like crescents; however I saw this tutorial online and it has changed how I roll them out. Feel free to check out the video. I also included a few step-by-step photos below the recipe.

Also, 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.

Lastly, I often use half to 3/4 finely ground white whole wheat flour with good results - and sometimes I get crazy and use 100% whole wheat flour (always finely ground white wheat) but the bread is a bit more dense with 100% whole wheat flour. If using part or all whole wheat flour, add a few minutes to the kneading time to help develop the gluten.


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 5-6 cups flour (see note)


  1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and water. Let stand 5 minutes (no need to do this if using instant yeast – just add the yeast and water together with the other ingredients). Add sugar, butter, salt, dry milk, 2 cups flour and egg. Beat together until very smooth. Add remaining flour gradually (about 1/2 cup at a time) until a soft but not sticky dough is formed. Knead the dough for at least five minutes if using an electric mixer and for at least 10 minutes if mixing the dough by hand. When the dough is smooth, supple and elastic, place it in a lightly greased large bowl covered with greased plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled.
  2. Separate the dough into two portions. Roll each section out to an 11X14-inch rectangle. Brush the top with melted butter. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into two pieces, the long way (see photos below). Then slice the dough into five or six strips across so you end up with 10 to 12 small rectangles. Roll each small rectangle up like a snail and place on a silpat-lined or lightly greased baking sheet with the roll resting on it’s open edge. Repeat with the second portion of dough.
  3. Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap and let them rise until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes until they are nicely browned.


Freezable: I freeze the baked rolls in freezer-safe ziploc bags. I microwave the frozen rolls (about 6 at a time) for 2 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: from The Lion House

Roll out the dough to about an 11X14-inch rectangle.

Brush with melted butter than slice the dough in half the long way.

Use your hand measure in an “L” shape to measure the approximate distance to slice each rectangle for the individual rolls.

Continue with that method until the rectangle is sliced into five or six sections across, giving you 10 to 12 rectangles total.

Roll each rectangle up like a snail.

Place on the sheet pan with the roll resting on the open edge.

185 Responses to Lion House Dinner Rolls

  1. Jaime says:

    I did it, I did it, I did it! Using this recipe, I successfully, for the first time after numerous attempts at making rolls, baked fluffy, delicious rolls! Everyone raved over them, including the neighbors who I took dinner to the other day. Thank you so much, I know I shouldn’t be shouting it from the rooftops but this small success has been hanging over me for a long. You rock! P.S. – Congrats on your newest bundle, I’m so thrilled for you and your family to have a little girl, she is a doll!

  2. Ali says:

    When you make these, do they have a very strong “yeasty” flavor and smell? Mine did. They were still good but made my house smell a bit like a brewery. haha Also, even though I baked on the top rack, they did not brown like yours. 🙁 I know my oven temp is right, I just checked it with a thermometer a week or so ago. Any clue why?! One more thing, can you estimate about how long it takes yours to rise each time? I don’t make yeast breads/rolls too often so an estimate would be helpful. Thank you for sharing!! 🙂

  3. Mel says:

    Ali, you might consider halving the yeast if yours have an overly yeast taste or smell. I’ve kind of noticed that in the past but I like the stronger yeast flavor. The recipe calls for a lot of yeast so decreasing it a bit probably won’t hurt. My rolls usually rise anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of my kitchen.

  4. Ali says:

    Thanks so much, Mel! Will decreasing the yeast affect how they rise? I took the rolls to dinner last night with about 10 good friends and they all gobbled them up so nobody seemed to mind the “yeasty” flavor. haha 🙂 Also, is the “1-2 hours” of rise time EACH time (first 1-2 hours with the dough ball, then 1-2 hours with the rolled rolls) or 1-2 hours TOTAL (meaning each rise will take 30 min. – 1 hr)? Does that make sense? Thank you again!

  5. Mel says:

    Ali – for me, it is about 1 to 2 hours for each rise but again, that will vary for each person just a little. If you decrease the yeast, it may take a bit longer to rise so just keep an eye on the volume to make sure the dough doubles in size. Glad they were still a hit with your friends!

  6. Jill says:

    I have been trying out roll recipes to find the perfect ones to make this year for Thanksgiving. I tried a few others from other recipe blogs that looked good, but they all had slight “problems” with texture or flavor. Then I remembered your “the best recipe” list. DUH! I don’t know why I didn’t try that first, because these rolls really are the best! The dough was beautiful and easy to handle, this way of shaping rolls is not too tricky, they rose amazingly well, and they were absolutely delicious! Not to mention that my house smells like heaven after baking them! I did alter the method just a bit–I like my rolls on the smaller side, so I rolled the dough out a little thinner (probably a rectangle that was 11×16 and about 1/4 inch thick) and cut 14 rolls out of each half of the dough. Perfect!

  7. […] was looking for a basic dinner roll – one we can slather with butter and devour – so these basic rolls caught my eye.  If they’re great, I’ll make them more often.  They seem to be a […]

  8. Adrienne says:

    Oh Mel,
    You’ve done it again. Brought these to Thanksgiving tonight and no one could believe they were homemade. Thanks for the recipes I can always count on!

  9. […]  Lion House Dinner Rolls.  These tasted amazing, but their appearance left something to be desired. I used instant yeast […]

  10. Kari H. says:

    Substituted the 2 cups water with 2 cups whole milk (warmed to 100 degrees) and left out the powered milk. I took time to watch the tutorial; it was simple to follow and gave the rolls a flare. Used all organic ingredients for this recipe – incredible rolls, thank you for posting!

  11. Emily says:

    I made these with the autumn minestrone like you suggested- perfect! I love these rolls and I am going to make them again!

  12. Traci P says:

    Hi Mel- I have tried sooo many of your bread recipes and have loved them all! The front runner in our family so far is the Lionhouse Roll. My boys devour them. I think we like the fact that they are so, so soft and have just a touch of sweetness. My question is, if I’m looking for a roll to make them little sandwiches on that is similar to the Lionhouse, what do you reccomend? We like the french bread rolls too, but they still prefer Lionhouse. I was actually wondering if I could make the Lionhouse recipe and just shape it differently so it was more conducive to making sandwiches on? Thanks!

  13. Mel says:

    Hi Traci – I’ve never tried shaping these differently but I think it’s worth a try!

  14. Boedee says:

    Will I ever succeed at making rolls?! First try I used wheat and white flour….hardly rany rise. This time only white and then I think I added too much flour! Can you just make all my rolls for me?! 😉

  15. Alyssa Pruitt says:

    I think I have found my blog soul mate! These rolls were amazing! Perfectly fluffy and seriously tasted better than store bought! I would rather make bread than buy it anyway and these were such a hit at my dinner party, I will be making them again and again! I can’t wait to try out your ciabatta bread next! Thank you so much for all that you do and have a very merry Christmas!!

  16. miffy-mad says:

    Hi from across the pond! I’ve just been introduced to your site today and would love to try your rolls as they sound yummy! Please can you convert cups to metric/ imperial please! I’m looking forward to trying them out! thanks and have a fab Christmas!

  17. […] decided to bake up two different roll recipes today. I have wanted to make both for some time now and being indecisive, I […]

  18. Michelle Garringer says:

    These were SO good and SO easy.. Thank you Mel for posting these and many other of my new favorite recipes!

  19. Glenis says:

    For anyone who had success using regular milk instead of dry milk, did you just use 2 cups of warm regular milk in place of the warm water and dry milk? Thanks a lot!

  20. Glenis says:

    I got my own answer from the video on making rolls that comes with the Lion House Bakery book. They said to go ahead and use 2 cups of milk but to scald it first because milk has an enzyme that can affect the yeast.

  21. Jackie says:

    If I substitute actual milk for the milk powder – do I eliminate all of the warm water (2 cups) or is there a different ratio? So excited to try these but have never used dry milk and the only boxes my grocery store had were huge! A big investment for an experiment.

  22. Lori says:

    Hey Mel! I am a HUGE fan of your rosemary bread recipe, as well as everyone who I have ever made it for (specifically the same crowd I’m feeding for Thanksgiving. That bread is the only type of bread I’ve ever tried to make, but rolls are more traditional, right? I’ve already made one batch of these rolls and they’re rising right now. I am going to make a second batch and had the thought of adding some rosemary in with it? How do you think that would turn out? What amount would you recommend adding in? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Lori – I think adding rosemary to these rolls would be absolutely delicious! I would probably add a couple teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary to the dough and then a bit more finely chopped rosemary to the tops right before baking. Good luck!

  23. Seth says:

    These are the best rolls I have ever made or ate; First I tried a mix then got the Recipe off line, very fancy taste soft rolls. I made the roll up kind then the rose rolls and people just caved the taste and look of these tender rolls. Now I’m a Pastry Chef by trade so I bake a lot of breads, cakes, ect….So anyone wanting a Great soft fancy dinner roll try theses. Great Job Mel and thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Signed Chef Seth.

  24. Nancy says:

    I LOVE your tutorial on these rolls–it has changed my life. 🙂 I saw on your Thanksgiving prep schedule post something about doing the rolls ahead but I have a more specific related question. I’m bringing rolls (4-5 dozen) to a family gathering on Christmas Eve. I’m trying to avoid the “spending all day in the kitchen” scenario. Would you recommend making the dough the day before and baking the day of or baking the day before and just try to rewarm the rolls before serving? If you make the dough the day before, do you shape them? I’ve just had such success with your recipe but I’ve always done the whole kit and caboodle in one stretch of time. I don’t want to jinx the success by trying to stretch it among a couple of days but spending all of Christmas Eve just baking rolls seems unrealistic. Any chance you would be willing to post a “how-to make rolls ahead of time” tutorial? 🙂 Thanks for your website. Yours is one of two sites that I look at daily because it is just the best!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Nancy – so glad you love this recipe! I won’t have time to post a tutorial on making these rolls in the next little while but I’d love to offer my two cents. If it were me, I’d make the dough, let it rise, then shape the rolls and place them on the sheet pan and cover with greased plastic wrap. Pop the sheet pans in the refrigerator and take them out on Christmas Eve to rise and bake (it will probably take 2 hours for the rise/bake). Good luck!

  25. Viktoriya says:

    How long do you let it rise?

  26. viktoriya says:

    Why didnt mine brown on the top at all? I did everything exactly like it said…

    • Mel says:

      Viktoriya – Sometimes it depends on where the oven rack is placed in your oven; in my particular oven I notice that my rolls brown best in the top third so that might be worth a try.

  27. Deb says:

    Loved these! Made them with 2 cups white whole wheat and the rest all-purpose flour. Great flavor and texture. Thanks Mel!

  28. Kim says:

    My family absolutely Adores these rolls will a capital A! I just have a little tip. I am the designated roll bringer for family functions and was having a hard time with making two batches because of timing, etc. I decided to try and make them half sized (since they really are ginormous anyway) and I’ve never gone back. I just roll them out like I would for full-sized rolls. I still cut the dough in half horizontally but then I double cut them the other way. So instead of having 5 wide rectangles across, I end up with 10 really narrow ones (for a total of 20 per rolling, 40 per batch). They are still a great size and we love it that way! I love that the kids can easily eat them and it’s prefect for taking “just one last roll” without overdoing it.

  29. […] I found out about them only recently through Pinterest.  I was led  to a recipe on one of my favorite blogs where Mel’s photos almost had me breaking a finger when trying to grab one through my […]

  30. Suzanne says:

    Can you substitute milk for the dry milk? I never have that on hand.

    • Mel says:

      Suzanne – Yes. Other commenters have omitted the water and dry milk powder and just used warm milk (in place of the water) with success.

  31. Jama says:

    Well written recipe. First timer baking Lion House Dinner Rolls and they turn out very well!


  32. Gail says:

    These were, hands down, the best dinner rolls I have ever made. Just perfect!
    Thanks, Mel.

  33. danielle johnson says:

    I’m thinking these would make fantastic cinnamon rolls…

  34. Tracy says:

    After many failed attempts at other roll recipes from youtube and allrecipes these have never failed me. Even when I substitute for whole wheat, coconut oil, earth balance dairy free butter, and no milk powder these rolls are always fluffy and delicious. Due to the humidity in my area I usually need to hold back on some of the water and yeast. People always ask me about these. And my toddlers light up when it’s time to make these rolls together. Although theirs look more like crinkly brown stones. Sorry, “delicious” crinkly brown stones.

  35. Christina says:

    Hi – I made these last night, although I use “made these” loosely haha.

    I think I under-floured my dough. It turned out more like batter, even after the first rise. Because I didn’t want to waste the dough, I added ~1/2 – 3/4 cup flour to the risen dough, rolled the dough into balls, and proceeded to let them rise and bake (forgot the melted butter on top – oops!). They turned out so soft and tender and delicious!

    Anyway, I’d like to be able to actually roll them out next time and create the spiral look. Any tips for if they end up under-floured again and I don’t notice it until after the first rise? Can you just put it back in the mixer, add more flour, and let it rise again?

    Thanks in advance for your help 🙂

    • Christina says:

      Oh, and I JUST realized that I used a full 2 Tbsp of instant yeast. No wonder my apartment still smells like yeast! Haha I swear I’m not new to baking!

    • Mel says:

      When you were making the dough in the mixer, did it clear the sides of the bowl while mixing? I’d suggest stopping the mixer, getting a bit of dough in your hands and rolling it into a ball – if it is so sticky it can’t be rolled, add more flour then (before you take it out of the mixer to rise).

      • Christina says:

        Thanks for responding!

        It definitely didn’t clear the sides and definitely could NOT be rolled. *shifty eyes* Oops!

        I’ll be trying again though. AND I’m making french bread sub rolls for your meatball sub recipe this weekend – I’ll let you know how that goes 🙂

        • Christina says:

          French Bread sub rolls turned out AMAZING. I’m re-making the Lion House rolls for Thanksgiving and I’m SO looking forward to them.

  36. Elizabeth says:

    Have you frozen these rolls with much success? I’ve made this recipe a ton of times and think they would be perfect for Thanksgiving, but with all the other cooking going on, I just don’t think I could get fresh rolls made. I am wondering how they would reheat.

  37. Barbara says:

    All great ideas and hints. Have you ever frozen these after they are all rolled out, but before you bake them. I would like to take them out of the freezer and put in over for the fresh roll serving on Thanksgiving Day.

    Thanks in advance for your reply

    • Christina says:

      I just made these rolls last night (Sunday), for Thanksgiving on Thursday — I took them out of the oven *just* when they started to turn brown. My plan is to bake them for another 5 minutes right before we eat.

      To test this out last night, I let the rolls cool and then baked one (in a toaster oven) for about 5 minutes. It turned out perfectly.

      Essentially, I par-baked the rolls and they will bake up the rest of the way right before we eat, just like frozen / pre-packaged rolls, but so much yummier!!

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t done that, Barbara. Usually I bake them, cool them and freeze. They thaw and warm up great (although someone else just left a comment on underbaking just slightly so you might follow her suggestion).

    • Sara says:

      I have made these and frozen them just as you said. I roll them out, cut them and then roll them up just as the directions say. Then I put them on a waxed paper covered cookie sheet and put them in the freezer for about an hour. Kind of a par-freeze, I guess you could say. When they are pretty firm I put them in a freezer bag and throw them in the freezer.

      On the day that I want to bake them, I take them out of the freezer in the morning and follow the rest of the directions for how close together to put them on the pan and let them do their thing.

      IIRC, if I take them out of the freezer by 9am they are ready mid to late afternoon.

      I hope that helps!

      Mel- Great recipe! By far the best I’ve ever found! Thank you for letting us into your life.

      • Barbara says:

        Hi Sara:
        Thanks for this great info. As it worked out, I never had time before dinner to make them ahead, so just made them in the morning and baked for Thanksgiving dinner at 2. Truly they were delicious and very easy to make. I did substitute 2 cups of fat free half and half for the water and dry milk. I would also cut them smaller next time as another person had suggested. Even the left overs today taste great. I might just make a batch and freeze for future dinners.
        Thanks to all.

      • Mel says:

        Thanks for the tips, Sara!

  38. Barbara says:

    Thank you both for your reply. I will let you know which I do and how they turn out. Happy Thanksgiving.

  39. Kandel says:

    Hi! Can you tell me if the sugar in this makes them sweet? If so, I may reduce the amount. Thanks so much! Love your recipes!

  40. Melissa says:

    I made these rolls for the first time yesterday for Easter and they were AMAZING! I tried it with the instant yeast and it was SO easy! Everyone loved them and I will make them again for sure! Thanks!

  41. hayley says:

    I make these all the time and love them, and always double the recipe….but I never can remember how much yeast to use and have to search through your comments to find the answer….if you ever have time you should put that in the notes in your recipes! Thanks for this fabulous blog.

  42. Salem says:

    I know this is probably a silly question, but have you ever made these using your round dinner roll technique where you split them into twelve balls and roll them into a perfectly round ball? I need to take some to a church dinner tonight, and when I do the rectangle and roll them up, they never look uniform…I always have some big and some little and some sideways ones. But I do better with the round ball. Does it even matter?! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      I think you could roll these however you want, Salem! So go for the round ball technique (that’s my vote). Just be sure to let them rise long enough once formed – part of the reason the Lion House Rolls are so delicious is because they are so light and fluffy. Good luck!

  43. Jenifer says:

    Have you ever used Eikorn flour to make these?

    • Mel says:

      No, but I’ve used Einkorn wheat in my every day bread recipe and it’s amazing so I’m guessing it would work pretty well here.

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