Dinner, Lunch, Snack

Prize Winning Dinner Rolls

White Dinner Rolls Blog

My quest for the perfect dinner roll recipe began after entering classes in the Iowa State Fair baking competition in 2010.  I had only baked cinnamon rolls, loaves of honey wheat bread and French brioche up until that point but when I saw the yeast roll clusters being judged during the King Arthur Yeast Rolls competition, I knew I had to try to enter the next year.  Fast forward to 2013 and I did win the overall in that competition with Crusty Sourdough Rolls, overall third with Onion Herb Cloverleaf dinner rolls and the sweepstakes award which is given to the person within the division of classes who earns the most first place ribbons.  It is my first purple ribbon, I’ve never had the time to enter enough classes to go for the sweepstakes award.  I had great help from a fellow baking friend named Jessica the night before the competition.  She helped me so much by doing my dishes, helping with ingredients and the OVERLY annoying recipe cards, tags, stickers and everything else that accompanies an entry to the Iowa State Fair.  I will expound upon contest baking entries later but I can say that the actual baking of the entry is effortless compared to the organization and paperwork needed to successfully enter any contest.

Prize Winning Dinner Rolls

Back to perfect white dinner rolls.  This recipe is my favorite nostalgic comfort food.  I love to serve them warm with various flavored butters, savory and sweet. This year at the Fair I entered variations (swapping out ingredients and changing the formula) of this recipe and won:Prize Winning Dinner Rolls

1st place in the King Arthur Yeast Rolls-White Dinner Rolls

1st Place King Arthur Flour Yeast Rolls-Potato Pan Rolls

1st Place Overall Brass Armadillo Nostalgic Comfort Food Competition

1st Place Overall Foods Made with Honey-Breads and Rolls

So I can promise you that these are for real.  They are beautifully springy, luxurious to taste and one of a kind.  The addition of mashed potatoes makes the dough light, the Baker’s Special Dry Milk is like an ultrafine nonfat dry milk powder and makes a nice risen product.  The use of King Arthur All Purpose flour is vital.  It is sold in most grocery stores, at a premium but it is completely worth it.

TIPS: My number one tip is to make sure you let your shaped rolls rise longer than you think they should.  The recipes always say to let the shaped rolls rise to double their original size, I think it is more like triple.  I weigh each piece of dough for competitions, leaving the center roll in the cluster slightly larger (.5 oz) so the cluster almost looks like a flower.  Testing the internal temperature is very important to get just the right texture and doneness of these rolls, but don’t kid yourself, you can make them beautifully without that tool.  I use the “Thermapen” and I purchased it at the King Arthur Flour website. I have millions of other tips for this recipe but seriously, let’s get to the point!

Happy Baking to you!


Perfect Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Servings: 18 rolls
Author: Cristen



  • 4.5 t Instant Yeast
  • 1/4 C Warm Water 115 degrees
  • 1 t Honey
  • 5 1/2 C Flour King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose
  • 3/4 C Mashed Potatoes Dutch Baby, seasoned with butter and salt
  • 1/4 C Dry Milk Baker's Special, or sub nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 2 t Salt
  • 4 T Unsalted Butter softened
  • 1 1/4 C Buttermilk warmed in microwave 40 seconds


  • 2 T Butter softened
  • 1 clove Garlic large, peeled, germs removed
  • 1/4 t Salt


  • Proof yeast in ¼ C warm water with honey, until creamy. Combine all of the dough ingredients in stand mixer or in a bowl and combine until a smooth dough forms. Knead in mixer or by hand 8 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap and set in warm, draft free area to double in bulk.
  • Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface. Let rest 5 minutes to relax gluten.
  • Divide the dough into 18 pieces. Roll them into balls with your palm on top of dough against clean work surface in a circular motion.
  • Lightly butter two 8″ square or round cake pans. Place 9 rolls in each pan.
  • Cover the pans, rise until doubled. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350F and make garlic butter. (Garlic Butter: Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat, strain off white solids off of top of melted butter, discard. Set clarified butter aside. Mince garlic finely, add salt to pile of garlic on cutting board and drag back of knife over it until a smooth paste forms. Stir into melted butter.)
  • Remove plastic and bake in oven for 22 to 24 minutes, until golden and 190 degrees internal temperature.
  • Remove the rolls from the oven, and brush with the garlic butter. After a couple of minutes, turn them out of the pan onto a cooling rack.
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  • Reply Anthony August 6, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Can I use bread flour or regular AP Flour Because I buy 50lbs at a time of each.

    • Reply Cristen August 7, 2015 at 4:36 am

      Hi Anthony! I use A/P to keep the rolls fluffier and softer. BF does have too much gluten I believe, as the rolls don’t feather as well when tearing a piece away. Happy baking!

  • Reply Sara Alexander April 22, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Can I use instant potatoes

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