Homemade Dinner Rolls (a.k.a Preston Rolls)

This recipe for homemade dinner rolls (also known as Preston rolls around these parts) is easy and results in the most heavenly-smelling freshly-baked soft yeast rolls.

A stack of homemade dinner rolls (aka Preston rolls).

I wish, so badly, that you could smell these rolls right now. If you were here, you wouldn’t even have to lean in because my entire house smells like freshly baked yeast rolls. My entire house smells like warm, homemade yeast bread and it is heaven.

These rolls were brought into the family by my mother’s stepsister, Wanda. Wanda married into the Preston family and these were the rolls that the Preston family had at every meal they could. Many old Southern families have a recipe similar (or identical) to this one with various names. No matter what you call it, this easy homemade dinner rolls recipe is revered and loved today for the same reasons it was so loved in the days of the life of a busy farm wife. They are made with a from-scratch recipe but with a shortcut that allows you to make the dough on the weekends and store it in your fridge for up to a week to have fresh, risen yeast rolls even on busy weeknights.

Fortunately, this recipe for homemade dinner rolls is quite easy and versatile. Serve your warm roll for dinner to soak up the sauce on a dish like Southern cubed steak and milk gravy and crispy breaded pork chops with milk gravy. Alternatively, make a batch during the holidays and pile them high with turkey breast and baked ham Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. YUM!

Ingredients for homemade dinner rolls.

Recipe Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour
  • Solid vegetable shortening
  • Eggs
  • Salt
  • Lukewarm water
  • Hot water
  • Three packets of rapid rise yeast

Mix shortening and hot water.

Your water needs to be hot, boiling if possible.

Combine the shortening and hot water and stir until the shortening is melted.

Dissolve yeast packets in bowl with water.

Pour all three packets of yeast into a bowl. Add 1 cup of warm (not hot) water and stir until yeast is dissolved.

Let your yeast sit for five minutes and make sure there are some little bubbles on top. That means your yeast is alive and active.

Add eggs to yeast mixture and then place remaining ingredients in separate large bowl.

After five minutes, your yeast is considerably cooler, so add your eggs and stir really well.

In a separate large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and sugar.

Mix yeast mixture together in large bowl.

Pour the yeast mixture into a large bowl and stir really well until a dough ball is formed.

The Next Steps

Dough in Dutch oven.

Place a lid on this or seal it with plastic wrap and place dough in the refrigerator. Before you go to bed, punch the dough down a bit and punch it down again the next morning.

However, when you punch it down it is not going to be huge because the refrigerator coldness really slows the growth of the yeast, which is why this recipe works so well.

Dough on floured surface.

Two hours before you want rolls, take out as much yeast dough as you like and place it on a floured surface.

This is a little more than half of my dough. This entire recipe makes about two dozen but the beauty is that you can make just a few at a time if you like and have homemade rolls all week long!

Knead dough just a few times by pressing it into a ball and then flattening it a little bit with the heel of your hands. Repeat that twice and you’re good.

Cutting dough into rolls.

Pat it out to about 1/2-inch thickness or as thick as you want. These are closer to an inch because I wanted big old tall rolls. I was also photographing this at 6:00 am and getting hungrier with every picture!

Cut them out with a biscuit cutter or drinking glass.

Place rolls in pan and let sit to rise.

Place on a greased baking sheet or pan, cover, and set aside to rise for two hours.

Two hours later…

Dinner rolls ready to go into oven.

Look at these beautiful rolls! Now you can put them straight into the oven or you can do one of two things:

  • Brush them with melted butter to help them brown a little bit.
  • Brush them with a mixture of one whole egg and a tablespoon of water to get them nice and golden (that is what I did for this post).

Lil’ secret: Sometimes I sprinkle a few grains of coarse salt on top of each dinner roll, too.

Homemade dinner rolls fresh from the oven.

Bake these at 425 for 15 to 20 minutes, or until your baked rolls are golden.

This is the part where I remember to tell you that if you have my first book, this recipe is on page 230.

Let’s talk about how your kitchen smells right now. Like the best granny from the old days has come to visit and spent weeks making fresh homemade bread for you to enjoy, hot from the oven and slathered in freshly made butter, each day. Think I’m kidding? Just try this easy dinner rolls recipe and see.

Stack of homemade dinner rolls.

These are wonderful anytime. However, my favorite time to have a deliciously soft dinner roll is as soon as they are just cool enough to get out of the pan without burning the tar out of yourself, while steam is still rising from the bread and the kitchen is filled with the smell of hot yeast bread, fresh from the oven.


  • This dinner roll dough will last covered in the refrigerator for up to one week, so you can enjoy freshly-baked homemade dinner rolls all week long.

Recipe Notes

  • I use Red Star rapid-rise yeast for this rolls recipe. I have never had good luck with Fleishman’s (the yellow packet). It only works for me about 50% of the time (although some people do swear by it), but I’ve never had the Red Star not work, so I just thought I’d throw that out there in case you had a choice.
  • When dealing with yeast bread recipes, it is important that your water be warm but not hot. A good rule of thumb is to think “baby bath water”, that is the temperature you are going for. If you’ve ever given a baby a bath, you know exactly what I’m talking about! If you haven’t given a baby a bath before, go for good and warm but not hot; just a little above lukewarm.
  • Okay, now let’s talk about this amazing biscuit/roll baking pan I’m using for this recipe. This is one of my favorite pans for rolls as it fits a dozen perfectly. This is an enamel quarter sheet pan, 7.5 x 10 that you’ll actually find in the art department. However, it is porcelain coated and perfectly safe for food. Other pans like this you’ll find in the kitchen department. I learned about these from food stylists who worked on my first book and you’ll see them in Come Home To Supper. You can also see this tray back on a post for my Amish Revel Bars that I did in 2013. I bought this one on Amazon for less than $10 with free shipping. To see it, click here

Recipe Variations

  • For garlic-flavored bread rolls, add a teaspoon of garlic powder to the dough or brush the rolls with a combination of minced garlic and butter before baking.
  • You could also add 1 to 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh herbs, like rosemary or parsley, to the bread dough.
  • For cheesy dinner rolls, mix 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese into the bread dough. You could also add parmesan cheese to the dough and then sprinkle some on top of the rolls five minutes before they’re done baking.

You may also like these bread-based recipes:

Jordan Rolls (Southern Family Recipe)

Ten Minute Rolls

Easy Challah Bread with Honey

Soft Unleavened Bread

Easy Dutch Oven Bread Recipe

How To Make Hot Water Cornbread

Homemade Dinner Rolls

This recipe for homemade dinner rolls (also known as Preston rolls around these parts) is easy and results in the most heavenly-smelling freshly-baked soft yeast rolls.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: rolls
Servings: 2 dozen rolls
Calories: 203kcal


  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3 packets Rapid Rise Yeast I use Red Star
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


At least a day before you want the rolls

  • In a bowl or 2-3 cup measuring cup, place the shortening and pour boiling water over. Stir until shortening is melted. Allow to cool slightly while you do the rest.
    1 cup boiling water, 1 cup shortening
  • In a separate medium-sized bowl, stir the yeast and lukewarm water together until yeast is dissolved. Set aside.
    3 packets Rapid Rise Yeast, 1 cup lukewarm water
  • Mix the eggs into the yeast mixture. Once the shortening has cooled a bit, pour that into the yeast mixture as well and stir well.
    2 eggs
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add in the yeast mixture and stir until a dough is formed. Cover this and place it in the refrigerator. Before you go to bed, punch it down and punch it down again in the morning.
    6 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt

Two hours before you want the rolls

  • Remove the amount of dough you want to use and place it on a floured surface. Knead it just a few times (by pressing it into a ball and then flattening with the heel of your hand, then repeating two more times) and then pat it out to about 1/2-inch thick. Cut out the rolls with a small biscuit cutter or drinking glass. Place on greased baking sheet and cover, allowing to rise for two hours.
  • Bake at 425 for 15 to 20 minutes.

If you'd like your rolls to appear more brown on top, brush them with melted butter or a mixture of 1 whole egg and 1 tablespoon of water. This is purely optional.

    This dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.


      Calories: 203kcal
      Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


      When a child learns to walk and falls down 50 times, he never thinks to himself,  

      “Maybe this isn’t for me.” 


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        1. Hey Vicki! I sure hope you see this. You don’t have to sift the flour if you’d rather not. It’s fine.
          As for your other question, You’ve commented four times on my blog so far and your comments are most welcome! However, each time they have asked the same question and I’ve answered that each time as well. It seems like you’d come back and check since you want to know the answer but it may be that you are forgetting to do so (we are all so busy so it is easy to do!). I’m pasting all of your other comments and my answers below in hopes that you will see them this time

          From 2019/04/19 at 11:28 am:
          I need nutritional facts on all of your recipes…. especially carbs ..

          My reply: Hey Vicki, None of my recipes have nutritional facts because, especially with recipes like this there are so many substitutions that folks make and I can’t determine what your serving size is so it is difficult to know how many servings a batch will yield. I always tell folks that the amount of servings depends on how hungry you are :). There are a lot of apps that allow you to figure macros for yourself if that is something you need to do. I always recommend myfitnesspal.com

          From 2019/10/23 at 1:49 pm:
          recipe does not have nutritional facts !!! I gotta know before I cook it……Also , how many servings???

          My reply: I’m sorry, I don’t offer that on my recipes but you can use many free services on the internet (my favorite is Myfitnesspal.com) to calculate whatever you need. Have a great weekend!

          From 2019/10/26 at 9:39 am:
          Where are the nutritional facts????

          My reply: Good afternoon, Vicki! Hope you’re having a great weekend. I answered your question the first time you commented asking it. You’ve asked the same thing three times now so maybe you missed it? Please see that post as the same answer applies to all of my recipes and I think it will be helpful to you. Thank you!

      1. I made this roll dough early in the week and baked the rolls yesterday for Thanksgiving. They were fabulous! Will make again!

      2. One question. You have said you like to use White Lilly flour. I like it too, for tender baked goods. Do you use a higher gluten flour for yeast rolls? Or do you stick with White Lilly?

          1. Excuse me for asking, but did you use self-rising flour for THIS recipe? If so, maybe that is why your rolls are so much higher than the ones in the picture in the cookbook on your site where this recipe appeared.

            If you did use self-rising flour for this recipe, maybe you should modify the list of ingredients in your recipe?

            1. I’d like to know this also! I used the AP flour called for & mine were fluffy but pretty flat compared to the picture.

            2. Hey! I did not use any ingredients or deviate from the recipe as I shared it. Rolls will be higher depending on how thick you pat them out and if you bake them close together. I tend to put mine closer together so they rise pretty high that way because there is no room to spread sideways -the only way to go is up! I also love using that pan I recommend in this post because it is just the perfect size for really high rolls.
              The photo in my cookbook was done by my publisher with a food stylist doing the baking rather than me. I wasn’t even there for that one.
              I always share just as I make them, ingredients and all. 🙂 I hope your rolls tasted wonderful!
              Have a great holiday season!!

      3. When I opened this Friday’s Gazette I swear I could smell all the wonderful breads. What a joy to look at. I’m sure the flavor will be scrumptious. You inspire me. May I leave a really short recipe for Naughty Butter. Not sure if it’s ok. Thanks!

          1. Naughty Butter
            2sticks of ROOM temp butter
            1/3 c sweetened condensed milk
            1 t karo syrup
            1 t cinnamon (more or less to taste)
            Whip together all ingredients and enjoy on some of christy’s lovely breads.
            I use a food processor to combine but a hand mixer is fine.

      4. Which roll recipe do you like best, your Preston or Jordan? I want to make one of these for thanksgiving. I love your recipes and your inspiring stories. Thank you.

      5. I made these and I didn’t care for the fact that they had no flavor. Probably due to the shortening. It was not something we enjoyed. I mean they were fluffy and super duper soft,but I was not ok with the flavor. How ever I had a lot of the dough left and knew i didn’t want to eat it. So i saw a recipe for the giant cinnamon roll I was going to make the next day and instead of going thru all that again. I decided to turn your rolls into the cinnamon rolls and I have to tell you they were the best thing ever!! Omg, they were so soft,fluffy and full of goodness!! Oh my God!! I am a fan for life and now when I find something is not to my taste , I will always look for another way. And while I’m sad I didn’t get the roll I wanted. I am more than willing to try them again, with butter. And I used fleischman yeast and had no issues with rising or fluffiness!!

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