You’re going to love these garlic dinner rolls. Beautifully soft and fluffy, topped with parmesan and then generously brushed with a garlic butter mixture, they’re the perfect side dish for any special occasion, especially a holiday meal like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Completely made from scratch, this is a really easy bread dough. It turns out perfectly light, soft and totally squishable bread rolls every time and is lightly seasoned. The flavour boost comes from the parmesan that turns golden and nutty in the oven and that really easy garlic butter layer on top. The garlic is lightly cooked in the butter first so that it still gives a punchy garlic flavour without the raw heat.

You’ll definitely love this no knead rosemary parmesan bread too.

Top down view of the baked garlic dinner rolls with garlic butter brushed over.

Ingredients you’ll need

These garlic butter dinner rolls are made from very simple ingredients and you probably keep most of them on hand already.

Ingredients for garlic butter dinner rolls on a baking tray.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

  • Yeast: Start with instant yeast, also known as instant dried yeast. You can also use active dry yeast in the same quantity with no other changes to the recipe. If you use rapid rise, you may find your dough rises much quicker.
  • Milk: Use whole milk for the best flavour in this recipe though other types of milk will work, like hilo (2% milk), soy milk, almond milk etc.
  • Sugar: We add just a little sugar even though these are a savoury bread. The sugar actually feeds the yeast and allows it to grow and in turn rise the bread.
  • Bread flour: Use bread flour if possible as it gives the best texture for breads. If you don’t have it on hand and want to make them right now, plain flour (all purpose flour) will work.
  • Eggs: Two Large eggs add richness and moisture to the dough and a shiny golden top.
  • Oil: Just use a neutral flavoured oil here. There’s no need to use your expensive extra virgin olive oil here as a lighter flavoured version is just fine.
  • Parmesan: Please use parmesan shredded from the block yourself. Don’t use the shelf stable variety.
  • Butter: I just use an unsalted butter here. You can use salted but the parmesan topping already adds some salt so it’s not necessary. As it’s just melted and brushed over, you can use margarine or plant-based spreads too.
  • Garlic: You must use fresh garlic cloves here for the very best flavour. Not the jar in the fridge and not garlic powder.
  • Parsley: Parsley and garlic are just made for each other. It adds a lovely freshness to the rolls and makes the rolls look gorgeous too.

How to make garlic dinner rolls (step by step)

There is something really satisfying about making bread from scratch and these garlic butter dinner rolls are no exception. It’s a really easy dough to bring together, it’s easy to handle and turns out so beautifully soft and fluffy. If you want the best garlic rolls, start with this dough.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

Showing how to mix the dough.
  1. Activate the yeast: You don’t actually have to activate instant yeast however you do need to activate active dry yeast. I always use instant but I still take this step as you can make sure the yeast is working before adding all the other ingredients and potentially wasting them. Just mix the yeast with the milk and sugar then let it sit for 5-10 minutes to get puffy (photo 1). If yours doesn’t puff up, it could just be that your milk was cold but if not, it’s time to buy a new container of yeast as the old stuff is no good.
  2. Mix and knead: Mix the dough roughly (photo 2) then knead it in the stand mixer for about 6-7 minutes until it’s soft, elastic and smooth (photo 3).
Showing how to rise and shape the dough.
  1. The first rise: Remove the dough from the bowl and pour in a little oil. Roll the dough around in it to lightly coat all over (photo 4), then cover with a plate or plastic wrap to rise until doubled in size (photo 5).
  2. Shaping the rolls: Divide the dough into 15 pieces as evenly as possible (I use a kitchen scale to get them exact). With each piece of dough, sit it in one hand, then use the other hand to pinch the sides into the centre (photo 6) until the side against your hand is looking pretty smooth. You can smooth it out even more by placing it onto the benchtop and cupping your hands under it, then dragging towards you until it’s round and smooth (photo 7).
The rolls rising in a pan before baking.
  1. The second rise: Place the balls of dough into a well-greased baking dish (photo 8), cover with a tea towel and let them rise until doubled again (photo 9) (about 45 minutes).
  2. Top and bake: Brush the tops of the bread rolls with egg wash, the sprinkle over parmesan (photo 10). Bake for around 22 minutes until golden on top and just cooked through.
Brushing garlic butter onto the dinner rolls.
  1. The garlic butter: We’re going to slightly cook the garlic to take the raw heat out of it so add it to a pan with the butter. Let the butter come to a bubble, then let it sizzle away for 1-2 minutes. You don’t want the garlic or the butter to brown so stop before it gets to that stage or if you see it turning. Stir in the parsley then brush the melted butter mixture all of it over the tops of the hot dinner rolls.

The garlic dinner roll dough is actually a great base for adding any flavours to as it is unflavoured itself aside from a little seasoning. Don’t feel like garlic one time? Leave it off. Want to add some sundried tomatoes? Go for it.

Top down view of the rolls right after baking.
Closeup of the rolls ready to serve.

Tips and tricks

  • Weigh the flour: Weighing ingredients will always give you the most accurate result since there is no room for a measurement error this way. If you scoop flour directly from your flour container, you’ll likely end up with quite a bit more than if you use a spoon to spoon it into your measure. Even one tablespoon can make a huge difference. If you love your baking, grab yourself a kitchen scale. You’ll get the closest result by spooning the flour into the cup and then levelling it off with the back of a knife without tapping it down.
  • A stand mixer makes kneading the dough much easier. You can knead by hand but just be prepared for about 10-15 minutes of elbow grease.
  • If your dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl and feels too sticky, just add a tablespoon of flour and knead that in. This could happen if you didn’t accurately measure your flour but also different brands of flour often have different moisture-absorbing properties.
  • Rising time will depend on the ambient temperature where you leave the dough to rise. If you have a proving drawer or an oven with a dough rising setting use that. In cooler months, I used to sit my dough under the rangehood light or in front of a sunny window.

Storing your garlic bread rolls

While this recipe is written to make 15 rolls, you can certainly stretch the dough to 16 or even 18 smaller rolls. On the other hand, you can make them bigger too!

Making the dough ahead: You can make the dough and shape the garlic dinner rolls then cover well with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge overnight. Leave them at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking the next day.

Freezing the rolls: You can also bake the rolls, let them cool then freeze for up to 3 months. Gently warm them in the oven again before brushing over the garlic butter and serving “fresh” and hot.

Leftover rolls: Leftovers can sit at room temperature for 1-2 days in an airtight container. They’ll fluff up nicely if you just give them 12 seconds in the microwave on high.

The garlic dinner rolls all piled up in a baking pan.

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A baking tray with 15 baked dinner rolls.
5 from 2 ratings
These garlic dinner rolls are soft, fluffy, golden and so delicious. Topped with parmesan and slathered in garlic butter they're perfect straight from the oven.

Ingredients

FOR THE DINNER ROLLS

  • 1 ¼ cups warm milk, around 45C/110F, not hot (310ml)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons instant dry yeast (or active dry yeast)
  • 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar (notes 1)
  • 455 g bread flour (3 ½ cups / 1lb)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup neutral flavoured oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded parmesan cheese

FOR THE GARLIC BUTTER

  • 57 g unsalted butter (¼ cup / 2oz)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley (notes 1)

For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • MAKING THE DOUGH:
    In the bowl of a stand mixer (or see notes) combine the milk, sugar and the yeast. Mix and set aside to bloom for 5 minutes.
  • Add the flour, salt, 1 of the eggs and oil then give it a mix up.
  • Attach the dough hook attachment to the stand mixer and mix the dough on low speed for 5-6 minutes until mostly smooth and elastic looking. It should be sticking to the bottom of the bowl a little but not stuck to the sides. If it’s too sticky, just add a tablespoon of flour and mix again until it looks right. See notes for kneading by hand.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl using a dough scraper, then rub a little oil around the bottom and place the dough back in.
  • Cover with a plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature (or in a warm place if your home is cold) for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size. If you have a proving drawer or dough setting on your oven, use that.
  • ASSEMBLING THE GARLIC BUTTER ROLLS:
    Grease a deep 9×13 inch baking pan / cake pan well with butter.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean work surface (you shouldn’t need to add any flour but, sprinkle a little over if it’s sticking).
  • Divide the dough into 15 small portions – you can weigh them if you want to get them perfect so they all rise equally. Just weigh the whole batch and divide by 15.
  • One at a time, take a portion of dough into the palm of on hand and with the other hand, pinch the sides into the bottom, over and over until you have a little ball. Place it pinched side down on the bench and cup both hands around it and drag towards you a few times (this second step is optional but makes them nice and round and smooth on top).
  • THE SECOND RISE:
    Place the dough balls straight into the prepared pan, cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow them to double again – about 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan forced) / 350F.
  • Beat the second egg, then brush over the top of your rolls. Sprinkle the parmesan all over the top.
  • Bake for around 22 minutes until turning golden brown. If you have a digital thermometer, bread is cooked when it reaches 90C / 195F in the centre.
  • THE TOPPING: While the bread bakes.
    Place the butter and garlic into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and it starts to bubble, cook for 1-2 minutes making sure not to let the garlic burn. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley.
  • As soon as the rolls come out of the oven, brush the melted garlic butter over the top and serve. Feel free to sprinkle over a little flaky sea salt.
  • Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.

Notes

  1. Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
  2. All ovens vary – always check your bakes 2-3 minutes before the recipe suggests.
  3. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and cocoa. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  4. Yeast: You can use instant or active dry yeast. If you use rapid rise, your dough may double in size quicker.
  5. Flour: While bread flour gives a better texture, you can use plain flour / all purpose flour in it’s place.
  6. No stand mixer? You can make the dough without a stand mixer, just make sure to knead until it is smooth and elastic – about 10-12 minutes.
  7. Nutrition details are approximate only – scroll below the recipe to find the full nutritional information.
MORE GREAT SIDE DISHES!
Have you tried this recipe?Don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below and let me know how it was! I love hearing from you. Nutrition information is approximate and derived from an online calculator. The brands you use may cause variations.
Nutrition Facts
Garlic Dinner Rolls
Amount Per Serving
Calories 200 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 36mg12%
Sodium 184mg8%
Potassium 80mg2%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 192IU4%
Vitamin C 0.5mg1%
Calcium 43mg4%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.