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If you’re looking for an easy homemade roll, then these Cloverleaf Rolls are the perfect recipe for you. My daughter proclaimed these the BEST dinner rolls she’d ever eaten.

multiple dinner rolls in a bread basket.

Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

Dinner isn’t complete without some sort of bread as a side dish. Whether I’m making soup or salad for a weeknight dinner or going full out and making a special occasion meal, I’m always in the mood to make dinner rolls.

This recipe is easy enough to make as a simple side or for your holiday table:

  • Rise time is only 30 minutes
  • You can make them with or without a mixer – I’m showing you how to do it by hand!
  • The recipe makes 12 perfect pull apart rolls!

My daughter said these were the best rolls I’d ever made – and she’s an authority on dinner rolls since I make them so much!

What is a Cloverleaf Roll?

These old fashioned yeast rolls are a simple recipe that resemble pull-apart monkey bread muffins.

The recipe is a standard one for homemade rolls, but instead of just forming buns you cut the dough into 36 pieces and then drop pieces into a cupcake pan for baking.

The result is a puffy muffin-looking dinner roll with pull apart pieces that look like the leaf of a clover plant, which has three lobes.

Best Yeast for Dinner Rolls

As always, yeast matters when you’re making bread or rolls. There are different types and you need to pay attention to which one you’re using.

This recipe uses fast-acting yeast (also called RapidRise Yeast, if you’re using Fleischmann’s brand). Each brand of yeast has its own name for quick yeast so be sure to look for the fine print.

  1. You don’t have to proof the yeast to activate it. Instead, you just add the dry yeast to the dry ingredients.
  2. The first “rise” is actually just a rest period of 10 minutes, cutting off a lot of the time it takes to make anything with yeast.

Making the dinner roll dough

Start the recipe by adding the dry ingredients in a large bowl. I always start with just part of the flour to get the mixture going, then we’ll add the rest later.

For the dry ingredients you’ll need: flour, sugar, salt and one packet of Fleischmann’s® Yeast RapidRise® Yeast.

Then, prep the wet ingredients: milk, water, and butter. The wet ingredients will be added hot to the dry and that heat is what will activate the yeast.

It’s important to get your liquid to the right temperature (between 120-130°) so it’s warm enough to activate the yeast but not so hot as to kill it. You can think very warm water or use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry, along with more flour, up to 2 1/4 cups, stirring until the dough comes together.

You can do this by hand, as I have, or you can use a stand mixer. Your choice!

Kneading the dough

Once the dough comes together and can’t be stirred anymore, it’s time to knead it. (Learn more about kneading techniques here.)

You’re going to knead the dough on a floured surface for about 6-8 minutes. Work the dough back and forth over itself until it forms a cohesive ball.

(It will take longer to do this by hand. If you’re using a stand mixer with the dough hook it cuts the kneading time in almost half.)

You’ll know you are done kneading when the dough forms a ball and will spring back when touched with two fingers.

This dough ball needs to rest for just 10 minutes, thanks to the magic of RapidRise® Yeast.

Forming Cloverleaf Rolls

These rolls are like monkey bread: they have little bite sized pieces of dough that form the shape.

You’ll need to cut the dough into 36 pieces. Here’s a little math help:

  • First, cut the dough into 4 pieces
  • Cut each quarter into thirds
  • Then cut each little third into thirds

Then you’ll have 36 little balls of dough, perfect for forming your Cloverleaf Rolls.

Dinner Rolls in Muffin Pans: I love that these rolls are baked in a muffin tin. It makes them so much fun! Simply spray a traditional, 12-cup cupcake pan with nonstick spray, then add 3 pieces to each one. Then cover and let the rolls rise for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, bake the rolls at 375°F for about 20 minutes, or until they are nice and golden brown.

Once the rolls are baked, I like to brush them with melted butter because melted butter makes everything better.

multiple dinner rolls in a stainless steal muffin tin.

Tip From Dorothy

Expert Tips for Dinner Rolls

  • Be sure to pay attention to the kind of yeast you’re using. This recipe was written for rapid quick yeast – you cannot substitute active dry.
  • It’s important that your water is the right temperature. That’s why I recommend an instant read thermometer.
  • Be sure to read the entire recipe before starting.
  • You can do this by hand or in a stand mixer. The stand mixer will knead the dough for you so you don’t have to do as much by hand.
multiple dinner rolls in a stainless steal muffin tin.

Cloverleaf Rolls Recipe

5 from 8 votes
Cloverleaf Rolls are an easy pull apart homemade dinner roll that's perfect for a weeknight meal or a holiday dinner.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rise Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield 12 rolls
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 2 to 2-¼ cups (242g-274g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
  • 1 packet Fleischmann's® RapidRise Yeast (2-1/4 tsp)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (118ml) milk whole, 2%, 1% OR skim
  • ¼ cup (59ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
  • Additional Butter melted
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  • Combine ¾ cup flour, sugar, dry yeast and salt in a large mixer bowl and stir until blended.
  • Combine milk, water and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on HIGH in 15 second increments until very warm but not hot to the touch (120° to 130°F). Test the water temperature with an instant read thermometer, if you have one. Note: butter won’t melt completely.
  • Add wet ingredients to flour mixture.
  • Without a mixer: stir mixture with a wooden spoon until you can’t stir anymore, adding just enough flour (about 1 – 1 ½ cups more) so the dough will come to a ball, getting your hands in there once you can’t stir anymore.
  • If using a mixer: Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1/4 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in just enough of the remaining flour (1 to 1-1/4 cups) so that the dough will form into a ball.
  • Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic and springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cover with a towel; let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Cut dough into 36 equal pieces. (Do this by cutting the dough into 12 pieces and cutting each of them into three pieces.) Roll each piece into a ball.
  • Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place three balls of dough in each muffin cavity.
  • Cover with towel; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes .
  • Bake in preheated 375ºF oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan carefully and brush with additional melted butter, if desired. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

You can double this recipe easily to make 24 rolls for a larger gathering.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 52kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 102mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

Cloverleaf Rolls are sure to impress anyone you bake them for! The rolls are soft, easy to make and only take just over an hour. The best simple side!

This post was sponsored by Fleischmann’s® Yeast in 2020.

Last Updated on October 21, 2023

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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Recipe Rating


  1. They were easy to make and definitely saves time. The only thing I would change is the amount of salt. I would increase it to 1 teaspoon instead of 1/2 teaspoon.

  2. Hi! If I’m using active dry yeast, do I still need to warm the rest of the liquid after proofing the yeast before mixing? Was hoping to make these today! They look delish!!!

    1. To use active dry yeast you will need to proof the yeast with the warm ingredients (heat the butter/liquid mixture to 110°) and let it sit until it’s foamy. Then you’ll need to do a longer first rise – about an hour, instead of the 10 minute rest. Let me know if you try it, I have not made these with active dry yeast.