Brown Butter Dinner Rolls are flaky, soft, and fluffy with a slightly sweet flavor from the caramelized browned butter and honey. You only need a handful of ingredients, and you can have them ready in about four hours (including rise times). They are absolutely perfect for a simple dinner of soup, stew, chili, or with any dish. You will also love them as a snack anytime.
Many people are afraid to make homemade bread because it seems daunting. But it is not difficult at all. The only issue is the waiting time which can be overwhelming for some. For these absolutely delicious honey butter dinner rolls, all you need are a few ingredients including butter, flour, yeast, egg, milk, honey, and a few seasonings.
These dinner rolls are easy to change to make them your own. You can add different herbs and spices, use another kind of flour, or add other flavorings that you like. Top them with sesame seeds or poppy seeds, add some more sweeteners, or even use some hot spices. Your family will give it a recipe rating of five stars! Happy baking!
To make this brown butter dinner roll recipe, gather the ingredients listed below. Then, scroll down to the bottom of the page to find our recipe card with the instructions and measurements.
- Bread flour: Spooned and leveled.
- Large egg: At room temperature.
- Honey: Divided.
- Instant yeast: We used platinum yeast.
- Whole milk: Warmed to 110 degrees F.
- Unsalted butter: Cut into eight pieces.
- Fresh thyme leaves
- Kosher salt
Optional – for finishing:
- Sea salt: Or any kind of flaky salt.
How to make brown butter dinner rolls from scratch?
- Brown the butter: First, using a light-colored skillet or saucepan (check our recipe notes at the bottom of the page for more information), melt the butter over medium heat, whisking or stirring constantly. Once it is melted, the butter should begin to foam. Continue stirring constantly and keep an eye on it. In about five to seven minutes, you should start seeing brown specks at the bottom of your pan and it will start to smell nutty. Let it continue to brown until it is a golden brown color before removing it from the heat. Pour into a heat-safe bowl immediately, scraping any brown bits into the bowl with it. Let it cool for 10 minutes.
- Proof the yeast: Then, whisk together two tablespoons of honey, yeast, and warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cover loosely and let it sit for 10 minutes until it is foamy on top.
- Mix the dough: Now, add the rest of the honey, egg, thyme, salt, one cup of flour, and six tablespoons of brown butter. Keep the remaining brown butter for brushing the top of the rolls. Use a paddle attachment or dough hook on low speed, mixing for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then add the rest of the flour. Beat on medium for two minutes or until the dough starts to pull away from the sides. If it still seems too wet, beat in one more tablespoon of flour at a time until it is workable. The dough should be a little sticky, but still able to knead with lightly floured hands.
- Knead the soft dough: After, beat the dough for an additional three full minutes. Or you can knead it by hand on a lightly floured surface.
- Let the dough rise: Next, lightly grease a large bowl with nonstick spray or olive oil and put the dough into the bowl. Turn it so all the sides are coated in oil. Then, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, plastic wrap, or aluminum foil. Set it in a warm place for one and a half to two hours or until it has doubled in size.
- Prep the pans: Just before the time is up, oil a 9×13-inch cake pan or two nine-inch pans. Or you can use a cast iron skillet or greased baking sheet.
- Punch and separate: After the time is up, punch it down to release the air and then use a sharp knife to divide it into 14 to 16 equal pieces shaped into smooth balls. Place them in the prepared pans or on a baking sheet two inches apart.
- Let them rise again: Then, cover again and let them rise for about another hour until they are puffy.
- Preheat oven: Now, set the oven rack to its lowest position and preheat to 350 degrees F. Once it is hot, bake for 25 minutes or until they are golden brown on top. Rotate the pan after 12 minutes. If the tops are browning too fast, tent with aluminum foil.
- Brush with butter: Last, remove the rolls from the oven and heat the remaining brown butter in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds. Brush the warm rolls and sprinkle with flaky salt.
- Cool and serve: Finally, let them cool for just a few minutes and serve warm with butter.
- Make them sweeter: Add one tablespoon of granulated white sugar to the mix for sweeter rolls.
- Buttermilk: Warm buttermilk can be substituted for whole milk.
- Whole wheat or grain: Feel free to change the flour to whole wheat or whole grain for healthier homemade dinner rolls.
- Richer dough: For a richer and saltier flavor, add a tablespoon of parmesan cheese to your dough.
- Add herbs and spices: You can also add your favorite herbs and spices like rosemary, basil, cilantro, or oregano.
- Spicy rolls: For spicy food lovers, put a teaspoon of red pepper flakes in your dough.
How to serve:
There is nothing better than a warm homemade roll with a slab of butter. Whether you are serving these for a holiday meal or just for a snack, your family will love them! Try one of these serving ideas or share one of your own in the comments below:
- These rolls are perfect for Thanksgiving dinner with the family. Set them on your Thanksgiving table with the turkey, stuffing, and other sides.
- Serve the brown butter rolls with some amazing homemade corned beef and veggies.
- If you love bread, you can eat these plain while they are cold, right out of the fridge. You may eat the whole pan, so make extra.
- You could also use these to make sliders or sandwiches for your next brunch with the girls.
- Add poppy seeds or sesame seeds on top for something different.
- You could also sprinkle some shredded cheese on top while they are still warm.
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between active dry yeast and instant?
Instant yeast is ready as soon as you open it. There is no need to activate it or proof it. Active dry yeast has to be activated. You will need to add warm water or milk and sugar to get it to work. Platinum yeast is a whole different type of instant yeast made with extra dough strengthened. These are interchangeable in any bread recipes.
What is the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour?
The name says it all. All-purpose flour is used in all kinds of recipes that call for flour including cake, cookies, bread, muffins, and rolls. Bread flour has more protein which helps it hold its structure better and makes it chewy. The extra gluten in the bread flour makes the texture elastic and light which makes bread unique.
What are the nutrition facts in this recipe?
Each serving of these rolls has 240 calories, 49 grams carbs, and 2 grams fat with 1 gram saturated fat. It also has 314 mg sodium and 1 gram sugar. On the other hand, you also get 2 grams fiber, 8 grams protein, and 3 mg iron as well as 65 mg calcium, 203 units vitamin A, and 122 mg potassium.
How to store leftovers:
- Store: Let your leftover brown butter dinner rolls cool to room temperature before putting them in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to five days.
- Freeze: To freeze baked rolls, let them cool to room temperature and wrap them in plastic wrap. Then place them in a freezer bag or another freezer-safe container. They can stay in the freezer for up to 90 days.
- Thaw: Let frozen rolls thaw in the fridge overnight or on the counter for several hours.
- Reheat: To reheat, place rolls on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and cover them lightly with aluminum foil. Then, bake at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes or until they are warm.
- Using a light-colored pan is important so you can see when the butter starts to brown.
- If you do not have a stand mixer, use a large bowl and a hand mixer with a dough hook. Do not use regular beaters for this because the sticky dough will keep getting stuck in the beaters. Mixing by hand with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon is a better choice.
- It is best to bake the rolls at the lowest point in the bottom of your oven, so the tops do not burn.
- Baking time will differ depending on the size of the rolls and the temperature of your oven. Not all ovens cook at the same temperature. It is good to test yours using an oven thermometer.
- If you do not have fresh herbs, you can use dried instead but cut the amount in half.
- No bread flour? You can use all-purpose flour, but the rolls will not be as chewy.
- For make-ahead instructions, you can also freeze them before cooking. Just put the dough balls in a greased baking pan and cover them tightly. They can stay frozen for three months.
Serv: 16 rolls
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup whole milk, warmed to 110°F
2 and 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast, 1 standard packet
4 tablespoons honey, divided
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, optional
3 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
Brown the butter:
Add the butter to a light colored pan or skillet. The light color will help you see better when the butter is browned.
Melt the butter over medium heat, and stir constantly. It will start to foam, continue to stir, until it begins to brown about 5–7 minutes, you’ll notice lightly browned specks forming at the bottom of the pan.
Keep stirring, while watching it carefully. The color will deepen, from yellow to golden to golden-brown, and once it’s a light caramel-brown color, remove it from heat immediately and pour into a heatproof bowl, including any brown solids. Cool for 10 minutes.
Prepare the dough:
In a large bowl, whisk the warm milk, yeast, and 2 tablespoons honey together. You can also do this in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Allow to sit for 5–10 minutes until foamy and frothy on top. If the mixture is not foamy, discard it and repeat this step.
Add the remaining honey, the egg, 6 tablespoons of the warm brown butter (reserve the rest), the salt, thyme, and 1 cup bread flour.
With a dough hook, mix on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, add the remaining bread flour and beat on medium speed until combined. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl.
If the dough is too sticky and wet, beat in more flour 1- 2 tablespoons at a time.
Beat the dough for 3 more minutes and after transfer it to a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise in a slightly warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
Make the rolls:
Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set it aside.
Punch the dough to release the air and divide it into 14–16 equal pieces.
Shape each piece into a ball and arrange them into the prepared baking pan.
Cover the rolls with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise for about 45–60 minutes.
Adjust oven rack to a lower position.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bake for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through.
If the tops start browning too quickly, cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil.
Once baked, remove the rolls from the oven.
Microwave the remaining browned butter to melt and brush the mixture all over the warm rolls. Sprinkle the tops with fresh herbs or sea salt if desired.
Cool for a few minutes and serve.