Herb & Onion Rolls

Recipe by PJ Hamel

Dried onion adds a pleasantly mild hit of flavor to these soft, buttery herb rolls. Shape them as stand-alone rounds; as soft-sided pull-apart rolls; as cloverleaf rolls, or bake them in a muffin pan for extra height. The dough is extremely versatile and easy to work with.

15 mins
22 to 30 mins
2 hrs 37 mins
12 to 24 rolls, depending on size
Herb & Onion Rolls - select to zoom
Herb & Onion Rolls - select to zoom
Herb & Onion Rolls - select to zoom
Herb & Onion Rolls - select to zoom


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  1. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Combine all of the ingredients, and knead to make a smooth, soft dough. Use your hands, a mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle. The dough will be quite sticky, and probably won't clear the sides of the bowl; that's OK. It'll firm up a bit as it rises.

  2. Cover the dough, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it's almost doubled in size.

  3. Gently deflate the dough. Decide what shape and quantity of rolls you want to make: divide the dough into 24 pieces (for small rolls); 16 pieces (for medium rolls); 12 pieces (for large rolls), or 36 pieces (for cloverleaf rolls).

  4. For large stand-alone rolls: Shape the 12 pieces of dough into rounds, and space a couple of inches apart on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet.

  5. For medium pull-apart rolls: Shape the 16 pieces of dough into rounds, and place in two lightly greased 8" round cake pans.

  6. For small pull-apart rolls: Shape the 24 pieces of dough into rounds, and place in a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan, in six rows of four.

  7. For cloverleaf rolls: Shape the 36 pieces of dough into rounds. Place 3 rounds into the bottom of each cup of a standard-size, 12-cup muffin pan.

  8. Cover the pan(s), and let the rolls rise for about 90 minutes, until they're puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 350°F.

  9. If you're topping the rolls with seeds, gently brush the tops of the risen rolls with the beaten egg/water mixture and sprinkle with seeds. The egg wash will help keep the seeds in place.

    If you're not topping with seeds, brush the rolls with melted butter, if desired; this will help brown their crust, and add buttery flavor.

  10. Bake the rolls for 22 to 24 minutes for cloverleafs, or small or medium-sized pull-apart rolls. Bake 25 to 30 minutes for larger rolls. The finished rolls will be a light- to medium-dark brown, depending on what you've brushed them with.

  11. Remove the rolls from the oven, and brush them with melted butter, if desired; this will give them great flavor, and a satiny finish.

  12. Remove the rolls from the pan, and serve warm. Or cool on a rack, wrap tightly, and store at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • For stuffing-flavored rolls, perfect for Thanksgiving, substitute 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or Bell's seasoning for the herbes de Provence.
  • No potato water? Mix 3 tablespoons (35g) potato flour or 1/2 cup (43g) dried potato flakes with the dry ingredients, and use 1 cup (227g) lukewarm water in place of the potato water.

  • If you'd like to top these rolls with seeds (flax, or your favorites), add the yolk of 1 egg to the dough, and mix the white with 1 tablespoon cold water; brush on the rolls before sprinkling with seeds. This "wash" will make the seeds adhere. Or, knead 1/3 to 1/2 cup flax or other seeds right into the dough, for through-and-through crunch.