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If there’s something I look forward to every Thanksgiving, it’s Parker House dinner rolls.
These buttery rolls bake up golden brown and fluffy. And with a generous brush of butter and sprinkle of sea salt, they’re totally irresistible.
The first time I had a Parker House roll I thought I had literally gone to heaven! Many people say that they’re the best thing on the Thanksgiving table.
I’m going to show you how to make foolproof Parker House dinner rolls, step by step. Throw your other dinner roll recipes away – these are the only rolls you’ll ever need!
What are Parker House Rolls?
The traditional Parker House roll is made from a yeasted dough that is flattened, brushed with butter and then folded in half. Then it is brushed with butter on top too. So there’s butter inside and butter on top. Oh yes.
They get their name from the Boston Parker House Hotel and date back to the late 1800s.
Classic Parker House rolls are made with milk and a little bit of sugar or honey for sweetness.
What’s in these Parker House Dinner Rolls
We drink nonfat milk in our house, so that’s what I use in most recipes. I don’t think it matters what kind of milk you use, so use what you have.
Same thing for the butter. Unsalted butter is what we have in the house, so it’s what I used when testing this recipe. If you want to use salted butter, just reduce the salt in the recipe by 1/2 teaspoon.
How to make Parker House Dinner Rolls
This Parker House rolls recipe deviates from the original style of folding the dough in half. I tried that method for years, and they never puffed up big enough for my liking.
So instead of the fold, we are going to roll the dough up instead.
Here are the steps:
Make the Dough
Start by activating the yeast in very warm (almost hot) water. It’s very important that the water be between 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit in order to activate the yeast.
Then, combine the activated yeast with flour, salt, sugar, warm milk and an egg.
You’ll want to let the dough rise in a greased bowl until it doubles in size. Depending on how warm your house is, this will take 1-2 hours.
Roll out the Dough
Imagine making cinnamon rolls. This is like making cinnamon rolls, only not.
Roll the dough into a rectangular shape. If you have a ruler or measuring tape, use it to measure a 13″-15″ rectangle. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but shoot for these general measurements.
Then, brush the entire surface of the dough with melted butter.
Form the Rolls
Slice the rectangle in half from long end to long end, so it’s easier to work with. Now you should have 2 smaller rectangles.
Roll the rectangles up from long end to long end, jelly roll style.
Then, cut the long jelly roll into pieces and line them up in a baking dish. Be sure to leave space between each roll, because they will expand during rising and again during baking.
Do the Second Rise
Allow the rolls to rise for another 30 minutes, and then they’ll be ready to bake.
Bake the Rolls
Bake the rolls until they are golden brown. As soon as they come out of the oven, brush the warm rolls with more melted butter and give them a generous dusting of sea salt.
The result is a super puffy, slightly sweet, very golden and buttery dinner roll that is perfect for any holiday table.
See the recipe card below for full instructions.
Can you make Parker House Rolls ahead of time?
You can definitely make these homemade rolls ahead of time and get great results. Just refrigerate!
Refrigerating dough will stop (or very much slow) the rising process.
So once you’ve formed the rolls and arranged them in the baking dish, cover them with plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge. They’ll stay that way until you’re ready to bake them, even as long as overnight.
If you decide to completely bake these Parker House Dinner Rolls ahead of time (not recommended, but still okay to do), just reheat them a little in the microwave before serving.
You’ll love unraveling the swirls of buttery, salty dough as you dig in to your turkey and gravy.
How to Store Parker House Rolls
Store any leftover dinner rolls in a large Ziploc bag or an airtight container. If you plan to enjoy them the next day or day after, it’s okay to keep them at room temperature. Reheat in the microwave just to soften them up a bit.
If you’d like to keep these rolls for longer, consider freezing them. When you want to enjoy them again, allow them to thaw at room temperature and reheat in a warm oven.
When you make this Parker House roll recipe, I’d love to hear what you think! Drop a rating or leave a comment down below. And enjoy!
For more yeasted dough recipes, try these:
For more holiday recipes, try these:
Best Parker House Rolls (Fluffy Dinner Roll Recipe)
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 egg room temperature
- 10 Tbsp. unsalted butter room temperature, divided
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup warm water 110-115 degrees
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- flaky sea salt for finishing
- Dissolve yeast in the warm water, about 10 minutes.
- Combine 4 Tbsp. butter, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
- Warm the milk gently in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir the warm milk into the butter mixture.
- Whisk in the yeast mixture and egg. Then stir in the flour.
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 7-8 minutes until a soft dough forms. (Alternatively, knead the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment on low speed).
- Place dough into an oiled bowl. Cover with a wet dish towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 90-120 minutes.
- Punch the dough down and dump it back onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll dough out into a rectangle measuring 13"x15". Melt 4 Tbsp. butter and brush it onto the dough. (There should be some butter left over for finishing)
- Divide dough in half, cutting down the middle crosswise, so there are two smaller rectangles. Roll each rectangle from long end to long end, jelly roll style. Cut 10 equal pieces in each rectangle, for a total of 20 pieces.
- Use the remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter to coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking dish. Arrange the rolls in 5 rows of 4, leaving 1/2" of space between each roll. Cover with a dish towel. Let rise 45-60 minutes. (the rolls will expand slightly, but will not double in size)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden. Brush with remaining melted butter and sprinkle generously with sea salt.