Parker House Rolls

{Update: 03/14}: I originally posted this recipe in 2009 and decided it was high time to update the pictures and include a few step-by-step pictures (below the recipe) since it continues to be one of my favorite roll recipes. The recipe used to have you cut circles out of the dough but I found I wasted too much dough that way (and the rerolled scraps didn’t turn out quite as good) so over the years I’ve modified the method to use all the dough without rerolling.

My Aunt Marilyn (you know you can’t go wrong with her recipes, people!) passed along her favorite roll recipe to me years ago. She’s never been wrong in her favorites. Come to find out this was the first roll recipe she EVER made when she was first married and learning to cook. And just this week (update: back in 2009) she celebrated 25 years with my Uncle Dan. I’m almost positive they’ve made it this far because of these rolls.

Parker House Rolls

The roll dough is soft and tender and a bit sweeter than other roll recipes we love – which has its merits when paired with a smoky ham or salted pork for dinner. I love these rolls because of the traditional Parker House roll style (buttered and folded over). They remind me of the rolls my mom made growing up; they are tender and soft and delicious!

Parker House Rolls

Yield: Makes 36-42 rolls

Parker House 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.


  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 6 – 7 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted, for shaping rolls


  1. Add hot water to sugar and oil and beat with electric mixer (or by hand). Add eggs and salt; beat well. When mixture is lukewarm, add yeast and keep beating. Add flour until a soft dough forms. Do not knead. Let rise in a lightly greased, covered, bowl for one hour or until doubled.
  2. Divide the dough in half. Pat each portion of dough into an 9X14-inch (or so, doesn't have to be exact) rectangle. Brush with the melted butter.
  3. Cut the dough into three long strips (see pictures below) and then cut each strip into 6-7 sections. You'll have about 18-21 little rectangles for each half of dough (so 36-42 total rolls).
  4. Fold each little rectangle about a third of the way down over the butter; flip over and place seam-side down on the baking sheet. Overlap the rolls so that each roll is sitting about 1/3 of the way on top of the roll above it. I place about 6-7 rolls down the short side of a 12X18-inch rimmed baking sheet with a total of 6 rows across the length of the baking pan (the pictures below help illustrate this - it isn't as complicated as it sounds)
  5. Cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Brush tops with additional melted butter, if desired.

Recipe Source: from Aunt Marilyn

A Few Step-by-Step Pictures: See the recipe for specific instructions.
Parker House Rolls

48 Responses to Parker House Rolls

  1. Katie says:

    The first time I made these, they had NO flavor. Like another commenter, I found them very bland. So this time when I made them, I used 2 1/2 tsp. salt instead of the one found in the recipe. It wasn’t too salty, but I probably could have gotten away with just 2. I will definitely do between 1 3/4-2 tsp. from now on. They were fantastic. I made 90 to take to a family party. They made the perfect sandwich rolls, since people could easily pull them in half and made a sandwich–no cutting involved.

  2. Cindy says:

    Okay, I have a silly question about this recipe. When you say to hold the circle by the edges, what are you dipping in the butter… all the way around the edge? Or the just edges that you are not holding? Then what edge do you pinch together, the edge with butter on it? I don’t know what Parker House rolls are, so I can’t get a picture of this in my head. I’m going to make these today, and I want to do it right!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Cindy – sorry for the delay in responding. I hope you were able to figure it out – I just grab one edge of the circle and dip the other half (the half I’m not holding) in butter and then fold the circle in half (with the butter inside) like a half moon.

  3. Rachel says:

    Thank you….I would have never thought to order food from amazon! I will definitely try that out. I can’t wait to see the difference between instant and active dry. I have heard that the instant works a lot better in sweeter doughs as well.

  4. Bri says:

    Rachel, I get my saf instant yeast off of amazon.

    You can find other stuff on amazon and get free shipping if you spend 25 dollars. You can split this yeast with four other people because it’s 4-1 pound bags. It’s a super cheap way to go, and it gets shipped right to you. We buy a lot of groceries off of amazon.

  5. Mel says:

    Rachel – instant yeast is also called rapid rise yeast and I know I’ve seen the rapid rise at Walmart and other grocery stores, but I nearly always buy my instant yeast at Sam’s Club. They carry the Fleischmann’s brand and while I prefer the SAF brand, Fleischmann’s seems to work just as well (and like you, I don’t want to pay shipping). Hope that helps!

  6. Rachel says:

    Mel, I was just wondering if you could tell me where you find your instant yeast. I live close to your area and can not find it in stores anywhere! I had thought to order it from King Arthur Flour but the shipping would cost me more than the actual yeast. Thank you!

  7. Jen says:

    Mel, just wanted to say that I love your blog. I am not even sure what to make next with all the yummylicious food on here. This was my first recipe I’ve tried so far. Now I have to admit that I haven’t had the best of luck with yeast. When I made these, the rolls rose nicely the 2nd time. However, they came out a little flat and they certainly weren’t browned on top (they tasted great though). I noticed on another post you mentioned that you usually cook rolls at 375 or 400 to get the nice browning effect. Do you cook these at 350? Also, when you knead dough in general, how long is a good amount of time? And at what speed on a kitchen aid? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jen – sometimes rolls will flatten as they bake if they have over risen or if they needed just a touch more flour. Also, I usually remove any oven racks above the rack that I’m baking on – it helps rolls and bread brown better. I’ve baked these rolls at 350 degrees but I’ve also baked them at 375 (shortened the baking time a few minute). It just kind of depends on where my brain is that day and what I set the oven to. I don’t have a kitchen aid and I’m not familiar with the settings, so I’m sorry I can’t chime in on that issue. I usually knead most of my roll/bread recipes for about 7-8 minutes.

  8. Valerie says:

    I made these for Easter dinner too – yum. I took the left over scraps and put them in a bread pan. It worked out great – now we have a yummy loaf of bread for ham sandwiches. I made your recipe for ham in the slow cooker – that worked out well too.

  9. Natalie C says:

    Made these for Easter dinner last night and they were absolutely delish!

  10. Bri says:

    Hey Mel, what kind of oil do you use? Also, you said you don’t knead these? Do I gauge if there is enough flour the same way as you do with your other rolls?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Bri – I usually use canola oil. These rolls don’t need to be kneaded – although it wouldn’t hurt them. Yes, just judge the feel of the dough to see how much flour still needs to be added. This is definitely a soft, tender roll dough. Not overly sticky, but soft and pliable.

  11. Heidi says:

    I know, I know you stress the importance of judging how much flour to add by the look and feel of the dough, and with your tutorials, I am getting better at doing that. But, I was wondering what YOU normally add for these rolls. Is it closer to the 6 cups or 7 cups? Your other roll recipes I have made have almost always been close to the reccommended amount, but this is a cup difference and I am a bit scared 🙂 Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Heidi – I hate to say this but I can’t tell you the answer because I don’t even measure my flour anymore – I just scoop it in until the dough looks and feels right. Don’t be worried if it is even a cup difference. When we moved out here to Wisconsin from Utah, the elevation changed drastically and so did the amount of flour I used in all of my bread recipes – sometimes as much as a cup and a half!

  12. Nicole says:

    Made these rolls tonight but I made them into balls. They were flippin’ good and so addicting.

  13. Allie M. says:

    Hey Mel! Just wondering if I can make this dough in advance? Making these beauties for Sunday dinner tomorrow night, and we have the dreaded 1-4 pm church! SO I think I will be really rushed trying to make them after church, but not sure if I make them before church how that will turn out! Thanks girly!

  14. Annette says:

    I have never had much luck with rolls or bread, but these were super easy and turned out great! Yay! They are going on the Christmas dinner table this year. Thanks Mel!

  15. Jalene says:

    Can these be shaped like a traditional round roll and baked the same or do they need to be rolled out and cut to turn out correctly? My husband has something against the shape!

  16. Melanie says:

    Jalene – yes, these rolls can be shaped in any shape, really. So if your husband doesn’t like the Parker House shape, they should work just as well in a crescent shape or a round roll.

  17. Jalene says:

    I always wondered, but have never gotten around to trying it. Thank you!

  18. Judy says:

    I have not baked in years and tried making the rolls. They did rise beautiful the first time but when I shaped them into rolls they did not rise much at all. They did not rise much at all cooking either. Any suggestions what my problem may be?

  19. Melanie says:

    Judy – the only things that come to mind that sometimes hinder dough rising is if the dough has too much flour in it and a stiff consistency or if the temperature was too cool in the kitchen and they needed more time. I’m sorry they didn’t work out for you!

  20. Melanie says:

    cupcakefitz – oh, I’m sorry these didn’t turn out for you. Is there any way you might have forgotten the salt? That is the only way I can think that they would be bland because with the sugar and salt in the recipe, this dough doesn’t turn out bland (at least when I have made them). I guess my only suggestion would be to up the salt by 1/2 teaspoon next time. Again, I’m so sorry they didn’t work out!

  21. cupcakefitz says:

    Hi Melanie,
    I just made these rolls and they were VERY bland. Is something missing from the recipe? They looked and smelled amazing but they were not delicious. Help?

  22. The Mendoza Family says:

    Mel! I made these (and they looked nothing like yours) but my whole fam loved them!! We ate them and ate them for a couple days with every meal. They were a huge hit. Can’t wait to make them again! Thanks!

  23. Sara says:

    Oh, I love parker house rolls! These look so good. I bet they are delish with a bit of butter. Yum!

  24. Pam says:

    I had to do a double take here for a few minutes… When you mentioned your Aunt Marilyn and her 25 year marriage to your Uncle Dan… I have an Aunt Marilyn and she is married to Uncle Dan, too! I was about to wonder if we are related through opposite sides of the family, but when I looked it up, my aunt and uncle were married in September, and they will be celebrating 28 years this year. So it’s just coincidence, and thats a good thing, too, cause I was about to get mad at Aunt Marilyn for not sharing her best recipes with me! Whew! This recipe looks good…

  25. AmandaS says:

    Okay, I think we need a picture and a little write-up about “Aunt Marilyn”, don’t ya think??? Just so we can make sure she is really a real person, and not some figment of your imagination!

  26. grace says:

    those’re some mighty fine and fluffy rolls! i love the curled-over shape and the awesome browning. delicious.

  27. megan says:

    I just found your blog through tasty kitchen and I am officially addicted! You have awesome pictures and recipes on here. I will definitely be back – I already bookmarked at least 5 recipes that I want to try! 🙂

  28. Amy and David Ziehl says:

    When ever Melanie makes these we are in HEAVEN!! These are my favorite rolls ever!!

  29. Leslie says:

    I love Parker House rolls. I made them for Easter and I dream about them!

  30. Krystal says:

    looks awesome!

  31. Valerie says:

    These look so good and maybe easy enough for me to do!

  32. Bunny says:

    I’ve made Parker House rolls and they’re fantastic, I absolutely love homemade rolls!!

  33. Libby says:

    I have heard of these but have never made them. They look delish!

  34. Anonymous says:

    I made these tonight and they were fabulous! I would consider myself a pretty good cook, but yeast dough has never been my friend. I thought I would give them a try and they worked! my new favorite roll recipe. Thanks!

  35. the Robinsons says:

    I love your website, I’ve made the french bread rolls a few times and everybody loves them! I wanna try these rolls tonight, they look yummy!

  36. Melanie says:

    Pam – what a hilarious comment. At first I was thinking “Hey, am I related to someone named Pam??” and then I read the rest of your comment. Too bad we aren’t related! Thanks for giving me a good chuckle.

  37. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – so glad you liked this recipe and they worked out for you. Yeast breads aren’t terribly hard once you get a little practice and it seems like you are probably a pro already!

  38. Melanie says:

    the Robinsons – how did the Parker House rolls turn out? Glad you like the french bread rolls, they are definitely one of my favorite roll recipes.

  39. Melanie says:

    Hey Megan – welcome! Hope you find some good recipes to try. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

  40. Anonymous says:

    These look delicious!

  41. teresa says:

    ooooh, gorgeous and delicious! these rolls are fantastic!

  42. East Meets West says:

    How I wish I was your cousin – your Aunt Marilyn is awesome!

  43. Hornsfan says:

    These look really beautiful – funny, I have an Aunt Marilyn who has some delicious recipes too!

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