Maybe you weren’t planning to make Thanksgiving rolls from scratch this year. Who has the time — there’s a feast to prep! But we have a genius recipe that’s super fast, requires only pantry ingredients, and yields a whopping two dozen absolutely perfect dinner rolls: our Big Batch Quick Dinner Rolls. With this last-minute miracle, baking rolls may be the easiest thing you do all day.
These rolls are fluffy on the inside and have a golden-brown crust on the top; because they gently touch each other during baking, they have a pull-apart effect and super-soft sides. Basically, they’re the platonic ideal of a soft, fluffy, white dinner roll, and the only way to enhance them is with a generous smear of soft butter.
Fast turnaround time
Something that’s not available in surplus on Thanksgiving? Time. There’s turkey to be roasted, drinks to be had, and pies to be eaten. Luckily, Big Batch Quick Dinner Rolls live up to their name: They can be on the table in just 1 1/2 hours, remarkably fast for a yeasted recipe.
The secret to this fast-tracked timeline? Yeast, and a lot of it. The dough uses a whopping 2 1/2 tablespoons (28g) of instant yeast to make the dough rise quickly. If you’re worried the rolls might taste overly yeasty with this quantity, relax. Because the dough only rises for a short time, the rolls taste well balanced while also having a beautiful rise.
Light on your pantry
The other thing you probably don’t have time for when you’re preparing a meal for a crowd? A last-minute trip to the grocery store. The ingredient list for these Big Batch Quick Dinner Rolls is short and simple, calling only for staples you probably already have in your kitchen: In addition to yeast, you’ll need milk, butter, sugar, salt, and all-purpose flour. That’s it! (See the recipe page for specific ingredient quantities.)
This recipe is quite versatile too. In a pinch, I’ve substituted water for milk and oil for the butter and ended up with tender, golden brown rolls every time. For best results, follow the recipe as written, but if you’re short an ingredient or two, make a smart substitution and no harm will come to your rolls.
Most roll recipes yield about a dozen or so rolls — enough for an average family dinner with a few leftovers to spare. This recipe doubles that: It makes an entire half-sheet pan, 24 large (about 3" in diameter) rolls. Think you don’t need that many rolls? I beg to differ. People are going to be eating these up and asking for more, plus they make fantastic slider-sized sandwiches for leftovers the next day.
Big Batch Quick Dinner Rolls can also be frozen after baking if you’re certain you won’t go through the full two dozen. But I prefer to package up six or so at a time and bring them to a neighbor or friend’s house. Sharing is built into this recipe, which is just one of the many reasons to bake it this holiday season.
Room to play
This recipe delivers a classic white dinner roll, but the dough can be spiked with a range of seasonings including Herbes de Provence, Pizza Seasoning, or za’atar. You can also leave the dough plain and top the rolls as you like, sprinkling toppings on some of the rolls before baking.
Brush the rolls with a little milk or egg wash then add seeds, spices, or salt on top as desired. Divide the pan by four and make each quadrant a different flavor, or top every other roll to create a checkerboard pattern. Flavor and flair!
Looking for more recipes you can make when short on time? See our collection of Last Minute Miracles.
Cover photo (Big Batch Quick Dinner Rolls) by Eric Allen; food styling by Liz Neily.