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Small Batch Dinner Rolls might seem like a fairytale, but I assure you: it can be done. This is the perfect recipe to make just the right amount of rolls…so you’ll only eat four one. Plus: they’re done in about 45 minutes AND I’m showing you how to make maple butter too!

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overhead shot of 4 dinner rolls in small cake pan

Why you need Small Batch Dinner Rolls

I love bread. I love it for breakfast. I love it for lunch. For lunch dessert. For dinner. For actual dessert.

It’s a scientific fact: if I have bread in the house I will eat it all. Well, that’s a lie. If I have good bread in the house I will eat it all. {Sliced wheat bread need not apply.}

There is nothing I like more with dinner than a hot and fluffy and fresh dinner roll, especially if we’re having soup or salad. Plus, if we’re having soup (I always make it broth-based and low-calorie) or salad, that means there are calories left for bread. #Fact

Because I have a certifiable bread addiction, it’s really bad for me to make a full recipe of dinner rolls. Since I made 45 Minute Dinner Rolls, they have been super popular. There is only one problem with that recipe, and it’s not because it doesn’t work (#itmostcertainlydoes). The problem is that it makes 12 rolls.

I have 3 people in my family. My husband is weirdly healthy and doesn’t eat bread. #weirdo My daughter and I can eat 12 rolls in one setting!

Table of Contents
  1. Why you need Small Batch Dinner Rolls
  2. Ingredients Needed for Quick Dinner Rolls
  3. What kind of yeast is best for dinner rolls?
  4. How to make Dinner Rolls using Active Dry Yeast
  5. How to make Dinner Rolls using Instant Yeast
  6. What kind of pan is best for making small batch rolls?
  7. Tips & FAQ
  8. Small Batch Dinner Rolls (45 minutes) + Maple Butter Recipe
dinner roll close up

Ingredients Needed for Quick Dinner Rolls

  • Warm Water: think “hot bathwater”
  • Olive Oil: you can also use vegetable oil or melted butter
  • Sugar: helps activate the yeast
  • Yeast: you can make this recipe using active dry yeast OR rapid rise (instant) yeast (see how below)
  • Salt: for flavor
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour for this recipe

What kind of yeast is best for dinner rolls?

There are two mainstream kinds of yeast that you can use for different recipes: Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast (also called Rapid Rise Yeast).

Active Dry Yeast needs to be proofed before adding to the recipe, then requires a double rise after mixing. In contrast. Rapid Rise Yeast is added to the dry ingredients, then only needs a 10 minute rest instead of a full first rise.

Most of the time you need to use what the recipe calls for, but for this recipe I’ve perfected it with BOTH kinds of yeast. However – the methods differ, so be sure and follow the directions for the kind of yeast you’re using.

Because we are speeding up the process of making these rolls, if you’re using active dry yeast, you’ll need to use a full tablespoon (or 2 packets) of yeast.

overhead shot of 4 dinner rolls

How to make Dinner Rolls using Active Dry Yeast

1. Activate the yeast: mix the yeast with some sugar and very warm water. I heat my water in the microwave for about 30 seconds to get it to very warm bathwater temperature. (Remember – all microwaves perform differently.)

2. Rest: You let that mixture sit in the bowl of your stand mixer with some olive oil for 15 minutes. It gets really frothy.

3. Mix in Flour: Then you mix in your flour, slowly, using your dough hook. The dough comes together quite nicely with just a little stickiness. It should somewhat clean the sides of the bowl as it whips around and forms a dough ball. If it’s too sticky (as in, it gets all over your hands and stays there when you try and touch it) you can add more flour, but you shouldn’t need more than an extra 1/4 cup or so.

4. Form: You should be able to handle the dough well enough to separate it into 4 pieces and place it in your pan.

5. Rise and Bake: You let them sit another 5 minutes (place them near the preheating oven), then you bake for 11-15.

How to make Dinner Rolls using Instant Yeast

1. Dry ingredients: whisk 3/4 cup flour, salt, sugar and yeast in your bowl.

2. Heat wet ingredients: heat your water to between 120-130°, then stir in oil. Add to dry ingredients.

3. Stir: add another 3/4 cup flour and mix until smooth, adding up to 1/4 cup more flour so that the dough isn’t too wet.

4. Knead: turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Rest 10 minutes.

5. Form, Rise, Bake: form into 4 dinner rolls and place in pan. Place pan on top of stove (so the heat from preheating can help them rise) and let them rise 15 minutes. Bake 18-24 minutes or until golden.

What kind of pan is best for making small batch rolls?

I baked my rolls in a 6″ round cake pan. Muffin tins would work. So would a loaf pan, or just bunch them together on a cookie sheet.

I made 4 large rolls, but you could also make 8 small ones.

dinner roll cut in half with maple butter on top

Tips & FAQ

  • Rising: it helps if you let the rolls rise in a warm place. The perfect place is near or on the stove top where the heat from the preheating oven can warm them.
  • Water Temperature: this differs between yeast. Active Dry Yeast: 110-115° or Instant Yeast: 120-130°
  • It’s best to use an instant read thermometer to measure the water temperature.
  • Do you have to use a stand mixer? No but it speeds up the process and does most of the kneading for you. The recipe will probably take longer than 45 minutes if you’re doing it by hand.
  • To make maple butter: stir the syrup and extract into softened butter. Store in refrigerator.

Other Yeast Recipes

overhead shot of 4 dinner rolls in small cake pan

Small Batch Dinner Rolls (45 minutes) + Maple Butter

3.58 from 91 votes
This easy dinner roll recipe makes a small batch – just 4 rolls that’s perfect for  small family or one person. Add some maple butter and eat them for breakfast!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 4 Rolls
Serving Size 1 roll

Ingredients
 

Rolls with Active Dry Yeast

  • 1/2 cup warm water 30 seconds in the microwave; think hot bathwater (110-115°)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Rolls with Instant Yeast

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour up to 2 cups
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 packet Instant (rapid rise) yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
  • ½ cup warm water 120-130°
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Maple Butter

  • 1/4 cup salted butter very soft
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon maple extract optional

Instructions

Rolls with Active Dry Yeast

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 6” round cake pan (or other similar sized pan) with cooking spray.
  • Place the water, olive oil, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes. It will be very frothy when your timer rings!
  • Mix in the salt and flour using the dough hook. Start on “Stir” for a few seconds, until the flour starts to incorporate. Switch to “2” for about 30 seconds and then kick it up to “3” until the dough completely comes together. You know it’s done when all of the dough will join to form a ball and the sides of the bowl are almost clean (no dough left). If your dough is too wet, add an additional tablespoon or two of flour.
  • Place dough on a lightly floured cutting board and section into 4 balls. Place the rolls prepared pan. Let rest for 5 more minutes.
  • Bake for about 11-15 minutes, or until the tops start to get golden.

Rolls with Instant Yeast

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 6” round cake pan (or other similar sized pan) with cooking spray.
  • Whisk ¾ cup flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Heat water to between 120-130°F. Add oil then add to dry ingredients. Mix with dough hook until wet and combined then add ¾ cup flour and mix until dough forms, adding up to ¼ cup additional flour so that dough is soft but not wet.
  • Turn out dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Let rest 10 minutes. Form in to 4 balls, place in prepared pan. Let pan sit in a warm place to rise 10-15 minutes.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden on top and cooked through. Serve warm.

Maple Butter

  • Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. Store covered in refrigerator, best served at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

  • You can mix by hand or using a hand mixer.
  • Use an instant read thermometer for best results measuring water temperature.
  • Use a loaf pan, 6-inch round cake pan, or just bake rolls on a cookie sheet.
  • You can make 4 rolls or 8 smaller ones.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1roll | Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 292mg | Potassium: 60mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 2mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Author Dorothy Kern
Keyword bread, dinner rolls

If you’re as in love with small batch recipes as I am, be sure to try out my small batch brownies, chocolate chip cookie, and blondie recipes. Or even small batch confetti cupcakes or small batch snickerdoodles!

Sweets from friends:
Whole Wheat Lion House Rolls by Something Swanky
2-Ingredient Pizza Dough by The Slow Roasted Italian
White Sandwich Bread by Roxana’s Home Baking

overhead shot of 4 dinner rolls in small cake pan

Learn how to make a small batch of dinner rolls in about 45 minutes! This is the perfect small batch recipe for a smaller family or when you want homemade dinner rolls!

Last Updated on January 1, 2022

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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113 Comments

  1. I have used this recipe several times . They always come out beautifully. Thank you for sharping your recipe💕

  2. I’ve made the active yeast version several times (and love it!), but I’m trying the instant yeast instructions and wondered why the bake time is 10 minutes longer. Is that correct or a typo?