Easy Rosemary Pull Apart Rolls

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These pillowy-soft buttery dinner rolls with salted rosemary sprinkled over the top are the perfect touch for your holiday dinner. The baked-in fold makes them so easy to pull apart for a tiny sandwich.

A spatula is lifting a rosemary pull apart roll from the 9x13-inch baking pan it was baked in.

Dinner rolls are an essential part of any festive family meal at our house.

We don't simply enjoy them as a side dish, my husband loves to use them to make tiny sandwiches out of whatever entree I'm serving for the special meal.

Whether it's a slice of Easter ham, a Christmas roast beef, or savory bit of Thanksgiving turkey, I've watched as he makes his little holiday sandwiches at the table using whatever dinner roll I'm serving.

To make his task even easier, I discovered this fantastic folded dinner roll method which bakes up crispy-topped buns with soft insides that pull apart easily to form little sandwich buns.

The kids and I are just as happy to crack open a dinner a roll and slather it with a little more butter or dip them in gravy.

The fresh rosemary gets tossed in a bit of melted butter before being sprinkled over the top of the rolls before baking. They get crispy and roasted in the oven and add an amazing pinch of flavor to an otherwise simple roll.

You could skip the rosemary if you prefer but we've found it complements almost any traditional holiday meal.

Jump to:

Why This is the Best Recipe

If you have never made homemade dinner rolls before, you're going to quickly see that this is the best rosemary pull apart roll recipe because:

  1. Quick Prep: Mix the dough up in minutes using a stand mixer. You could knead it together by hand if you wanted, but this makes it so fast and easy.
  2. Forgiving Shaping: Roll the dough, fold it, and cut it into squares for the baking pan. If your rolls aren't perfectly shaped, they'll adjust in the rise and baking. No fancy bread shaping skills required.
  3. Delicious and Buttery: Butter on the inside, butter on the top, it's hard to beat the flavor of these rolls but that roasted rosemary puts them right over the finish line. SO GOOD!
  4. Perfect for Beginner Bakers: If you're new to bread baking, this is a very forgiving recipe.
  5. Freezer Friendly: You can prep these in advance of a holiday dinner and freeze them. Just warm them in the oven before serving and you're ready to go!

Ingredients

The ingredients to make the homemade dinner rolls are on the counter.

The ingredients for these butter rolls are fairly simple. You probably have most things you need in your pantry.

The unique items you may have to pick up include:

  • A packet of instant yeast: You can use individual packets for ease but if you think you'll enjoy doing a lot of baking in the next 3 - 6 months, invest in a full jar of instant yeast and simply measure 2 1/4 tsp of yeast for this recipe. Store the remaining jar in your fridge or freezer for the longest keep.
  • Fresh rosemary: dried rosemary is not a good substitute here, you'll really want the fresh herbs so they can properly roast in the oven
  • Kosher salt: I use this for all my baking but it is especially important in this recipe because it has the perfect texture for sprinkling over the top of the rolls

The remaining ingredients include:

  • All-Purpose Flour: Bread flour would also work if you have it and prefer it.
  • Brown Sugar
  • Butter
  • Whole Milk: It's ok to use 2% milk but don't try fat-free or skim milk. You need the bit of creaminess for the dough to have the buttery soft texture.
  • Egg
  • Olive Oil

Tools You'll Need

While I absolutely adore our bread machine, this recipe is best made using a simple stand mixer.

The dough comes together completely in the mixer with the paddle and dough hook attachments and then is baked in a 9 x 13 pan in your oven.

Other kitchen tools you may find handy:

  • Pizza wheel for cutting portions of dough
  • A pastry brush for spreading melted butter over the rolls
  • A baking mat and rolling pin for rolling out the dough

Make the Dough

Mix the flour, yeast, brown sugar, and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Place 3 tablespoons of butter in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds or until melted. With the mixer on LOW, slowly drizzle the butter into the flour mixture.

Whisk together the whole milk and the egg in a microwave-safe dish and heat on HIGH for 1 minute or until steaming hot. With the mixer on LOW, slowly pour the milk mixture into the flour and stir to combine.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and scrape down the paddle attachment. Add the dough hook attachment to the mixer and knead for 6 - 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and soft.

The bowl of the stand mixer has the dinner roll dough and the dough hook is ready to knead it.

While the dough is being kneaded, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil into a large mixing bowl and brush it all over the inside of the bowl.

With floured hands, form the dough into a ball and place it inside the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm spot for 1 ½ hours.

The dough ball is in a bowl ready for the first rise.

Shape the Pull Apart Rolls

Brush 1 tablespoon of melted butter all over the inside of a 9 x 13 metal baking pan. Set aside.

Melt an additional 4 tablespoon of butter and place near your working area for assembling the rolls.

The dough should be nice and puffy at this point, look how high it rose:

The dough has risen and almost fills the bowl.

On a floured surface, divide the dough ball into 4 equal pieces. A pizza cutter works great for this.

Working one portion of dough at a time:

Roll the dough out to a 4 x 12-inch rectangle.

Brush the top of the dough with butter and fold over in half long-edge to long-edge, forming a 2 x 12-inch rectangle.

The dough has been portioned out into 4 pieces and then rolled and folded.

Use your pizza cutter or knife to cut the long strip of dough into 4 equal pieces. Place them in the prepared baking pan.

Repeat with the remaining 3 portions of the original dough ball.

The rolls have been laid into the baking pan and brushed with rosemary butter.

Toss the rosemary leaves in the remaining melted butter and sprinkle them over the top of the rolls. Drizzle any remaining butter from the dish over the rolls.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes.

Baking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt over the top and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown.

The dinner rolls have just come out of the oven and are a gorgeous golden brown with roasted rosemary leaves on top.

Variations

Want to play with the flavor a little? Try these fun swaps:

  • Herb Dinner Rolls: We love the rosemary, but you could try fresh thyme or chopped sage.
  • Spicy Garlic Butter Rolls: Add minced garlic and roasted red pepper flakes to the melted butter
  • Cinnamon Sugar Rolls: Drop the herbs completely and add a cinnamon and sugar sprinkle over the top

Make-Ahead Tips

These rosemary rolls are freezer friendly. You can bake a batch (or two) and let them cool completely before storing in an airtight bag in the freezer.

Let them thaw overnight in the fridge and warm them in the oven before serving.

They also keep well at room temperature for 24 hours. Simply cover them to keep them fresh and reheat in the oven for 2 - 3 minutes before serving.

Serving Suggestions

The dinner roll is being lifted out of the pan by a spatula.

These delicious homemade dinner rolls pair perfectly with any festive holiday meal you plan to serve.

I like to make a double (or triple) batch and freeze them in advance of our Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner.

Pull apart dinner rolls are great for anyone who likes to make little sandwiches out of the main dinner entree.

My husband likes to tuck a slice of roasted turkey, glazed ham, or tender pork loin into the dinner roll like a bun.

The buttered center makes pulling the roll apart in half so neat and easy at the dinner table.

More Dinner Roll Recipes

Looking for more easy dinner rolls to serve for your holiday meal?

You can use my whole wheat hamburger buns recipe and shape them into smaller dinner rolls very easily.

A cheddar bay biscuit comes together quickly and my pan of buttermilk cornbread pairs well with lots of entrees.

Use a bread maker to make quick work of my bread machine crescent dinner rolls, they freeze well, too!

📖 Recipe

A spatula is lifting a rosemary pull apart roll from the 9x13-inch baking pan it was baked in.

Buttery Rosemary Rolls

4.98 from 49 votes
These pull-apart butter dinner rolls are topped with salted rosemary and make the perfect dinner roll for the holiday. Open them up to make small sandwiches from the holiday roast or main dish.
TOTAL TIME 3 hours 20 minutes
PREP TIME 30 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours 30 minutes
COOK TIME 20 minutes
YIELD 16 rolls

Ingredients
  

  • 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet or 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) butter divided
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil for the rising bowl
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
  • Kosher salt for sprinkling on top of the rolls

Instructions

MAKE THE DOUGH:

  • Mix the flour, yeast, brown sugar, and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  • Place 3 tablespoons of butter in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds or until melted. With the mixer on LOW, slowly drizzle the butter into the flour mixture.
  • Whisk together the whole milk and the egg in a microwave-safe dish and heat on HIGH for 1 minute or until steaming hot. With the mixer on LOW, slowly pour the milk mixture into the flour and stir to combine.
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl and scrape down the paddle attachment. Add the dough hook attachment to the mixer and knead for 6 - 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and soft.
  • While the dough is being kneaded, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil into a large mixing bowl and brush it all over the inside of the bowl. With floured hands, form the dough into a ball and place it inside the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm spot for 1 1/2 hours.

FORM THE ROLLS:

  • Brush 1 tbsp of melted butter all over the inside of a 9 x 13 metal baking pan. Set aside. Melt an additional 4 tbsp of butter and place near your working area for assembling the rolls.
  • On a floured surface, divide the dough ball into 4 equal pieces. A pizza cutter works great for this.
  • Working one portion of dough at a time: Roll the dough out to a 4 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush the top of the dough with butter and fold over in half long-edge to long-edge, forming a 2 x 12-inch rectangle.
  • Use your pizza cutter or knife to cut the long strip of dough into 4 equal pieces. Place them in the prepared baking pan.
  • Repeat with the remaining 3 portions of the original dough ball.
  • Toss the rosemary leaves in the remaining melted butter and sprinkle them over the top of the rolls. Drizzle any remaining butter from the dish over the rolls. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes.

BAKE THE ROLLS:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. (If your rolls haven't puffed up at all during the second rise, let them sit right on the stovetop while the oven preheats.)
  • Sprinkle a pinch or two of Kosher salt over the top of the rolls. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown. Serve warm.

REHEAT THE ROLLS LATER IN THE DAY:

  • If you baked the rolls earlier in the day and want to reheat them, simply toast them in the oven at 325°F for 5 minutes.
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Finished baking pan of buttery dinner rolls with bits of fresh rosemary sprinkled over the top.
Image shows a pan of unbaked buttery dinner rolls compared to a finished pan to illustrate the difference in color on the top.

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