These popular, no-fail French bread rolls are light, fluffy and delicious! They are so easy to make; perfect for bread-making beginners and experts alike!

If you want one of the easiest, foolproof, most delicious roll recipes around, this is it.

This French bread roll recipe has been around a loooooong time, and after 10+ years, it is still the roll recipe I probably make the most (that’s saying a lot, because I have a lot of favorite roll recipes).

French bread rolls on a white and blue napkin inside a basket.

A Very Forgiving Dough

The dough for these French bread rolls is straightforward and very forgiving. I usually use my Bosch stand mixer, but many of you make this dough in a KitchenAid mixer and others make it by hand.

Dough ingredients:

  • warm water
  • yeast (instant or active dry yeast)
  • sugar
  • oil
  • salt
  • flour (all-purpose or bread flour)

Mix all the ingredients together until the dough forms a soft, slightly sticky ball of dough that clears the sides of the bowl and doesn’t leave a lot of sticky residue on your fingers.

mixing dough in white Bosch mixer
lifting dough out of stand mixer

How to Make Yeast Dough at Home

Stop stressing about adding the exact amount of flour called for in a recipe! Many, many factors determine how much flour is needed (elevation, humidity, how we each measure flour, etc.)

Judge the dough based on how it feels and how it looks. If you need to add a bit more flour, that’s ok!

For this recipe, grab a piece of dough after the flour has been added. Initially, it might leave a little sticky residue on your fingers.

Try rolling it into a ball without any oil or cooking spray on your hands. If it can form a ball shape without sticking to your hands in a shaggy, horror-movie mess, you are good to go. If not, add a bit more flour (a couple tablespoons), mix and try again.

Adding too much flour can spell death to light and fluffy homemade bread or rolls.

A golf-ball sized piece of bread dough being held between the thumb and middle finger.
A golf-ball sized piece of white bread dough rolled into a ball, being held on the palm of a hand

Let it Rise

I’m lazy and let the dough rise right in the mixing bowl. It is a pretty quick-rising dough.

Once it has doubled in size, it’s ready to get shaped into rolls.

risen dough in white bosch mixer bowl

Shape the Rolls

Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. I usually weigh each piece to make sure they are uniform. Each dough piece usually weighs right around 2.6 to 2.7 ounces.

Cup your hand and roll the dough into a smooth ball (keep the pinky side of your hand against the counter while you roll). Pinch the bottom to seal, if needed.

cutting dough into pieces; rolling dough into balls

Place the rolls in a greased 9X13-inch pan.

For a double batch (I almost always double the batch), I like to place and bake the rolls on a half sheet pan (24 rolls fit perfectly).

unrisen and risen rolls in 9X13-inch glass pan

Bake the rolls until golden and then brush the tops with butter.

Baked French bread rolls in a glass pan getting brushed with butter.

The Perfect Roll for Sandwiches or Subs

Over the years, these French bread rolls have become more than a dinner roll.

These French bread rolls have become my go-to for any recipe that needs a wonderful all-purpose roll or bun.

A french bread roll on a white napkin, split in half with butter spread on the inside.

Whole Wheat Version

I also posted a 100% whole wheat version of these French bread rolls with a few small but important notes/changes, so if whole wheat is more your jam, check that out (although you can definitely add whole wheat flour to the recipe below as I’ve done many a time throughout the years).

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Freezer Friendly

There is not an easier, more perfect roll recipe out there!

These French bread rolls come together fast, and honestly, I haven’t met a single person who wouldn’t fight to the death for one of these fluffy, heavenly rolls.

I always, always at least double (most often triple) the French bread rolls batch, because the baked and cooled rolls freeze amazingly well!

Step by Step French Bread Rolls

French bread roll step-by-step photos and text instructions on how to make the rolls.

Tools for Making French Bread Rolls at Home:

*Affiliate links included below for products I’ve purchased from Amazon; feel free to shop around for the best price!*

A quick note about mixers: I have a Bosch Universal and use it for 99% of the bread recipes I make. Here is a side-by-side (unsponsored) review I did between a Bosch stand mixer and a KitchenAid stand mixer.

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French Bread Rolls

4.75 stars (1098 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar or honey
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, vegetable oil or other neutral-flavored oil (olive oil will work, too)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ to 4 cups (497 to 569 g) all-purpose or bread flour, more or less (see note)

Instructions 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or in a large bowl by hand, combine the warm water, instant yeast, sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups of the 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. Begin kneading the dough for 4-5 minutes in a stand mixer (7-9 minutes by hand).
  • The dough should be soft and smooth but still slightly tacky to the touch. After a few minutes of kneading, stop the mixer and grab a small piece of dough to test if it needs more flour or not. It might leave a little bit of sticky residue on your fingers, but if you can roll it into a small ball without it sticking all over to your hands, it is good to go. If not, gradually add a bit more flour as needed.
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover. Let the dough rise until doubled, 1-2 hours.
  • Lightly punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly greased countertop.
  • Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (about 2.75 ounces each, more or less), and form the dough into round balls (video tutorial here right at minute marker 2:20).
  • Place the rolls in a lightly greased 9X13-inch pan or on a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment or lightly greased. Space the rolls about 1/2- to 1-inch 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 very puffy and doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 15-17 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.
  • Immediately out of the oven, brush with butter.

Notes

Yeast: when I originally posted this recipe over ten years ago, it was necessary to dissolve active dry yeast in water before using. That isn’t the case anymore (as active dry yeast has been reformulated into smaller particle sizes). I’ve edited the recipe to reflect this. I use 1 tablespoon of yeast since I buy it in larger bulk packages, but if you are using packets of yeast (the packets include 2 1/4 teaspoons), you can use one packet for this recipe. The dough might take a bit longer to rise if using the packet vs one full tablespoon.
Tips: as with all yeast doughs, make sure not to over (or under) flour the dough! I’ve given tips in the recipe (and here’s a simple tutorial on yeast). The step-by-step pictures below the recipe are also a great visual.
Tutorial: to get those perfectly shaped round balls of dough, here’s a little video tutorial (minute marker 2:20).
Whole Wheat Version: if you are looking for a whole wheat version of these rolls, here’s the perfect fluffy whole wheat french bread roll recipe. You can also sub part of the all-purpose flour in the recipe below with whole wheat flour, if desired.
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.
Serving: 1 roll, Calories: 140kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 197mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g
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Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
Recipe originally published 12/2007; updated with new pictures, step-by-step tutorial, and recipe notes.

Three white french bread rolls in a basket with a green towel.