Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

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The perfect meal always includes delicious bread. And, boy, oh boy, are these amazingly delicious.

There is just something special about homemade bread. Whether it’s homemade Country White Bread, Rosemary and Sea Salt Foccacia Bread, Cornbread, or Southern Biscuits, it’s just comforting and so delicious. These dinner rolls are no exception. We love serving them for any holiday feast, but they are so easy to prepare, they’re also perfect for a quiet dinner at home. Bread perfection.

A close-up view of a basket lined with a blue cloth and filled with cloverleaf dinner rolls.

How To Make Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

Homemade dinner rolls are just special. Your guests will be so impressed when you pull these from the oven and place them on the table.

You can also easily double the recipe if serving a crowd.

 

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The Ingredients You Will Need

The ingredients for these rolls are very pantry (and budget) friendly.

Yeast – Active Dry or Rapid Rise
Sugar – Granulated, divided
Butter – Melted, for baking and for topping
Milk – Whole
Salt – Kosher
Flour – Bread flour and all-purpose (See EXPERT TIP)
Egg – For brushing rolls
Toppings – Toasted sesame seeds and poppyseed

EXPERT TIP: Bread flour has a higher protein count than just all-purpose flour, and will yield fluffier rolls. You can use only all-purpose flour and still have great results. Be sure to let the dough proof in a warm, non-drafty area until doubled in size. This can take anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours.

Two shots of dough with the first one being before the ball of dough rose and then the other one after it doubled in size.

Tips For Perfect Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

Make Sure Your Yeast is Active – This is the most critical part of ensuring your rolls are light and fluffy. Check the date on the package, if it’s old, discard it. After you’ve added it to the warm water (105 – 115°F) and 10 minutes later it hasn’t become foamy, then you’ll need to start again with new yeast.

Give Enough Time for Proofing – Another key factor for perfect rolls is to allow the yeast and gluten to do their work and allow the dough to rise. For the first rise (proof), cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm, non-drafty area. If your oven is completely cool (it hasn’t been used in several hours), place the covered dough on the middle rack and turn on the light. The dough should come close to doubling in size. This usually takes about 1½ hours, but could be as quick as 1 hour or as long as 2 hours. For the second proof, loosely cover with oiled plastic wrap, and again allow to rise another 30 to 40 minutes.

Egg and Butter Give Color and Taste – Brushing the tops of the uncooked rolls with an egg (combined with 2 tbsp of water) will ensure the rolls turn out golden and beautiful on top. After they are baked, brush melted butter over the tops to add an amazing depth of flavor.

EXPERT TIP: After you turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface, it’s time to form the small doughs that will create the cloverleaf roll. Do your best to evenly cut the dough into thirds. And then pinch enough dough to form a small dough to fill the buttered muffin pan. You will have enough dough to fill either a 12 to 18-cup pan. Measure out the dough balls accordingly.

A person using two hands to place a small ball of dough into a muffin pan with other dough balls in the pan, too.

How To Serve and Store

The rolls are absolutely heavenly fresh out of the oven. They are decent-sized rolls (slightly larger than your standard dinner roll), but they are so good, guests will probably want more than just one. Depending on how many you are serving, you may need to double the recipe, or at least make two batches.

Be sure to have plenty of softened butter to serve with warm rolls.

EXPERT TIP: The rolls can be made up to 24 hours in advance of serving. Once they are out of the oven, wrap them tightly in foil and then reheat them for about 20 minutes in a 350°F oven.

A muffin pan filled with freshly baked cloverleaf dinner rolls sitting on a wire baking rack.

Other Bread and Baked Goods Recipes

Baking can be a little intimidating for a beginner baker. These recipes are easy to follow and are some of our favorites. Give them a try!

Homemade Country White Bread
Irish Soda Bread
Cheesy Stuffed Garlic Rolls
From Scratch Monkey Bread
Grandma’s Cinnamon Rolls
Basic Dinner Rolls
Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
Zucchini Bread
Banana Nut Bread

In the meantime, aren’t you craving these incredible cloverleaf dinner rolls? Did we mention how delicious they are with a little (or a lot) of butter smeared on them? Wow!

A person using a butter knife to smear softened butter on the inside of an opened dinner roll.

There truly isn’t anything much better than homemade bread, and these rolls are no exception.

Every time we serve these rolls, folks can’t stop talking about them and almost always ask for the recipe.

And for a holiday feast, there’s nothing better than to round out the meal with fresh, out-of-the-oven homemade rolls.

An overhead view of two cloverleaf dinner rolls on a small plate with one of them opened up with butter smeared on it.

Ready to take your special meal to the next level with homemade rolls? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of them, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A close-up view of a freshly bake cloverleaf dinner roll sitting in a basket with more rolls.

Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

These rolls are light and fluffy and so delicious. They are easy to prepare and so much better than the store-bought variety.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade cloverleaf dinner rolls, how to make dinner rolls from scratch
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Proofing: 2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 366kcal

Equipment

  • 1 12-cup muffin pan or 18-cup (just make smaller rolls)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp water warm, 105 to 115°F
  • tsp active dry yeast 1 package, or Instant Rise
  • 3 tbsp sugar divided
  • 8 tbsp butter divided
  • 1 cup whole milk warm, 105 to 115°F
  • tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten with 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds preferably toasted
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt

Instructions

  • Melt 6 tbsp butter and let cool slightly.
    8 tbsp butter
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the warm water, yeast, and 1 tbsp sugar. Stir to combine. Let rest for 7 to 10 minutes, until the yeast is foamy. If the yeast doesn't get foamy, discard it, and start again.
    3 tbsp water, 2¼ tsp active dry yeast, 3 tbsp sugar
  • With the paddle attachment, mix together the yeast mixture, with the melted butter, warmed milk, 2 tbsp sugar, 1½ tsp salt, and the bread flour. Mix until combined.
    1 cup whole milk, 1½ tsp Kosher salt, 2 cups bread flour
  • Change the paddle attachment to the dough hook and turn to medium-low, or the "2" setting. Gradually add in the all-purpose flour. Continue mixing for about 10 minutes until the dough has become elastic and not sticky to the touch.
    1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and hook and use your hands to form it into a smooth ball. Grease the inside of a large bowl and place the dough in it, turning it over a couple of times to coat it with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm, non-drafty area for 60 to 90 minutes, until doubled in size.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into three equal parts.
  • Spray the muffing pan liberally with cooking spray. Pinch off 1 piece of dough and form it into a small ball (it will be about 1 tbsp of dough). Place it in one of the cups of the muffin pan and repeat with two more small dough balls. You'll fill 4 cups per separated dough. Lightly oil (or spray) one side of a piece of plastic wrap big enough to cover the muffin pan. Gently lay the oiled side of the wrap over the pan/dough and return it to the warm, non-drafty area for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until the rolls have almost doubled in size again.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Mix the egg with 2 tbsp water in a small bowl. Remove the plastic from the rolls and brush the egg wash all over the tops of the rolls. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds and poppy seeds.
    1 large egg, 1 tbsp poppy seeds, 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until lightly golden on top, turning the pan around halfway through baking.
  • Meanwhile, melt the 2 remaining tbsp of butter. Remove the rolls from the oven and brush the tops with the melted butter. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the top, if desired. Remove from the pan and serve.
    1 tsp coarse sea salt

Notes

See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel.
If you don't have bread flour, you can use all all-purpose flour. Bread flour will make the rolls a little fluffier, but using all all-purpose flour will still yield delicious rolls. 
Remember, if the yeast doesn't get foamy, discard it and start again. Make sure the water and milk are in the range of 105 to 115°F. Warm, but not scalding, and definitely not cool. 
If you want to start these the night before baking, you can allow the first proof (rise) to happen in your refrigerator. Allow at least 12 hours for the rise to happen. Finish the recipe as written about 1 to 2 hours before serving. 
You can also prepare the rolls a day in advance and then cover them tightly in foil and heat them up the following day in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes. 
The rolls will keep covered for about 4 days. In the fridge for up to 1 week. And can be frozen for 2 months. 

Nutrition

Calories: 366kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 841mg | Potassium: 159mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 434IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

2 Comments

  • Oh my gosh. Dallas ISD, when I was growing up, served cloverleaf rolls at lunch with a pat of butter. They were warm and the butter melted instantly. Such great memories.

    • Lili! We’ve had so many folks tell us these rolls bring back childhood school cafeteria days! That is absolutely wonderful! These rolls are so comforting, so, no doubt, you have such fond memories! Thank you for sharing!!! xoxo

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