Easy Light and Fluffy Homemade Dinner Rolls

Oftentimes, the hallmark of a special meal is the basket of fluffy dinner rolls passed from hand to hand. Thankfully, these easy yeast rolls for beginners only require a handful of ingredients. I promise it’s a great start to using yeast!

Contributed by Shannon Stonger in June 2017; this post has been updated.

white bowl of lightly browned dinner rolls.

If there’s secret to making a meal better, it’s this: Homemade bread. These amazing dinner rolls don’t require much hands-on time and yield that wonderful aroma that draws everyone to the kitchen. 

This recipe, in particular, is one to keep in your back pocket for potlucks or festive occasions alike. A very short kneading time gives them incredible tenderness while a bit of melted coconut oil makes these hand made dinner rolls a rich flavor

These soft dinner rolls are delicious enough to be a treat but easy enough for everyday. 

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ingredients for making rolls: flour, sugar, yeast, salt

Ingredients for Vegan Dinner Rolls

Requiring just 5 ingredients (one of which is water), you can pull these rolls together from a well-stocked pantry. 

Bread flour – With a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, bread flour provides the stretch and elasticity we all love in bread. If you do not have bread flour on hand, you can substitute all-purpose flour and it’s unlikely anyone will notice. 

Sugar – The sugar in bread recipes is food for the yeast. When yeast consumes sugar, it expels the gasses that make bread rise. I prefer to use organic cane sugar but use what you have in the pantry. You can also use honey.

Coconut oil – The classic dinner rolls recipe calls for melted butter, but this one uses coconut oil to make a wonderful dairy free dinner roll. But trust me when I say: Even omnivorous diners will love these easy rolls. You can, of course, substitute butter instead.

Yeast – This is the ingredient that gives rise to these soft pull-apart dinner rolls. Use active dry yeast and allow it to proof before adding it to the flour. No yeast? Try these easy biscuits!

Making Homemade Dinner Rolls

As with most bread recipes, the active time for making the dough is much less than the rising time. You’ll just need to plan ahead a bit.

This recipe results in wonderfully fluffy dairy free dinner rolls that are also vegan, with coconut oil standing in for butter. (And yes, if you don’t have coconut oil on hand, you can use butter instead.)

Fresh out of the oven, these soft rolls will make any dinner look good, but there’s nothing like fresh rolls to perk up boring leftovers!

steps to making rolls: shaggy dough, risen dough, formed rolls in pan

Making the Dough and Forming the Rolls

Allow the sugar and yeast to proof in a portion of the warm water for five minutes. Add remaining water.

Stir in the coconut oil, bread flour, and salt and mix until the flour is hydrated. With oiled hands, gently knead the dough right in the bowl until you have a shaggy dough.

Cover the bowl and let proof until doubled in size.

I find the best way to divide the dough then is to start with thirds, then split each of those into five pieces.

Grease a casserole dish and form each piece of dough into a taught ball. Nestle into the prepared dish.

Again, cover and let rise in a warm place while the oven preheats.

Bake the rolls until golden on top. Let rest in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing.


pull apart roll on a wooden spatula with a pan full in the background


How do I know my yeast is fresh?

Sometimes we have the best of intentions when purchasing ingredients, and then forget to use them up. This recipe has you proof the yeast on its own, rather than adding it straight to the flour. In this way, you will see if the yeast is active before proceeding. You should see foaming and expansion of the yeast as it consumes the sugar. Then you are ready to proceed.

Are these dinner rolls vegan?

Yup! I love that simple bread can fit into a lot of diets. I used coconut oil, but you can always use softened butter if you aren’t keeping vegan. You may also use honey in place of the granulated sugar – it will dissolve nicely into the warm water. Do keep in mind that when using honey in baking the rolls might brown a lot quicker, so keep an eye on them.

What’s the best dish for baking rolls?

In these photos, you can see I used a 9×13 baking dish. This allows the rolls to touch, and they will then have soft sides from baking “together” much like when you think of store bought buns or rolls that you have to tear apart. If you prefer rolls with smooth sides all around, you can bake these spaced out on a sheet.

Serving Dinner Rolls

Of course, these are perfect for any dinner, whether it is your average weekday or a special holiday. 

I love to serve warm with butter and jam. Another great alternative to jam is a nice thick layer of apple butter!

Once you’ve mastered these rolls, you’ll have the confidence to move on to classic Soft French Bread or these potato hamburger buns.

dinner rolls served in a white bowl


★ Did you make these homemade dinner rolls? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★

white bowl of lightly browned dinner rolls.

Homemade Dinner Rolls

These vegan dinner rolls are light and fluffy and delicious. While you'll need to plan ahead to allow a little rising time, there's minimal hands on effort to make these!
4.74 from 15 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 15 servings
Author: Shannon Stonger


  • ¼ cup granulated sugar or honey
  • 1 ½ cups warm water divided
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • cup coconut oil softened, but not hot
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons sea salt


  • Combine the sugar, 1/4 cup of the warm water, and active dry yeast in a medium mixing bowl. Stir to combine and leave to proof for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles begin to form. Add remaining water.
    ¼ cup granulated sugar, 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • Stir in the coconut oil, bread flour, and salt and mix until the flour is hydrated. Gently oil your hands and knead the dough in the bowl for 3-5 minutes or until a soft but still slightly shaggy dough forms, reapplying oil as needed to keep dough from sticking.
    1/3 cup coconut oil, 4 cups bread flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Cover bowl with a plate, lid, or plastic wrap and leave to rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch down the dough and divide it into three equal pieces. Divide each piece of dough into fifths, forming fifteen total pieces of dough.
  • Generously grease a glass 9x13" pan. Shape each piece of dough into a ball by folding and stretching the dough over itself until a smooth surface forms. Place roll into greased pan and repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
  • Cover pan a lid or greased plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled, approximately 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375.
  • Once oven is hot, bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes or until golden on top. Allow to cool for five minutes in pan before removing. Serve warm with butter or homemade jam.


  • If you don’t have coconut oil on hand, you can use butter instead.
  • With a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, bread flour provides the stretch and elasticity we all love in bread. If you do not have bread flour on hand, you can substitute all-purpose flour. 


Serving: 1roll | Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Sodium: 390mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 0.001mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @attainablesustainable or tag #attainablesustainable!
freshly baked roll on a plate, halved and spread with jam

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About the author: Shannon Stonger is the founder of the blog Nourishing Days, where she shares her family’s journey towards sustainability. She is the author of The Doable Off-Grid Homestead, Traditionally Fermented Foods, and the sourdough baking book 100% Rye. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and lives with her husband, five children, and various farm animals on their five-acre homestead in Texas.

13 comments… add one
  • Miss Cellaneous Sep 14, 2022 @ 20:56

    The best, FLUFFIEST abd softest rolls I have EVER made (and bread is a STAPLE in my house! I used 1/4 cup honey in place of honey. I got away with a little less than 1/4cup the 2nd time around. Tip: if you use honey, add all the water and honey at the same time to activate the yeast. If you add 1/4c honey and 1/4c water to the yeast it won’t foam properly.

    • AttainableSustainable Sep 20, 2022 @ 11:39

      Good to hear the honey worked for you, and a good tip, thanks!

  • Lindsay Apr 8, 2020 @ 15:12

    Thank you for this recipe. I do enjoy cooking but had never made rolls until today. My husband ate four at supper and my four year ate two. They were a huge hit.

  • Ann Apr 2, 2020 @ 10:56

    I think your rising time can be shorter for first proofing if you use your instant pot. It must have a yogurt button tho.

    • Christine Springis Apr 2, 2020 @ 13:58

      Hello Kriss. I tried to purchase your Sustainable book for the first of April. Corona virus 19 closed the store before I could purchase it and have it delivered before store closed. As soon as they reopen I look forward to purchaseing The Sustainable Book to add to my home library. Christine S.

      • Kris Bordessa Apr 12, 2020 @ 13:51

        Yes, this virus has made it difficult to find at many local booksellers. I hope you’re able to find it soon.

  • Kathleen Rago Apr 2, 2020 @ 10:19

    The recipe sounds easy and the rolls look yummy. I am curious to know whether you could use the base recipe, except for the flour, and substitute wheat or rye, etc. flour and come out with satisfactory rolls?

    • Kris Bordessa Apr 12, 2020 @ 13:52

      I’ve had luck replacing up to 1/2 the all-purpose flour with heavier flours like wheat and rye. It will still *work with the whole flours, but the rolls will be very dense.

      • Susan Nov 21, 2023 @ 6:09

        The recipe says “bread flour.” Is that correct or should it be all-purpose flour?

        • AttainableSustainable Nov 30, 2023 @ 6:38

          Bread flour is a bit stretchier so I prefer it, but you can use either. If you do not have bread flour on hand, you can substitute all-purpose flour and it’s unlikely anyone will notice.

  • Crystal Dec 21, 2018 @ 9:36

    Hi Shannon,

    How do you fold and stretch the balls?

    Thanks for the recipe! Crystal

    • Kris Bordessa Dec 27, 2018 @ 16:14

      I don’t know if Shannon will see this — she has a new baby! — but let me give it a try. It’s kind of like playing with play dough. You basically want to turn the edges under the dough, so the top is smooth. I feel like if you give it a try, you’ll get the hang of it quickly!

  • Michelle Mar 24, 2018 @ 18:17

    Great recipe. Easy to make.

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