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Grandma’s perfect Sweet Dinner Rolls:: A Foolproof Recipe


Sweet dinner rolls

The smell of freshly baked sweet dinner rolls makes my house feel like home.

There is something about it!  Sweet dinner rolls are sweet, yeasty, and savory all at once. In my adult life, I endeavored to cook for my family well and provide the kind of structure with family meals my mom did growing up.  I come from a line of farm women who would cook big meals for the men who did manual labor at the family farm (like a real-life Pioneer Woman).  Hearty food is in my blood and heart…and so are freshly baked sweet dinner rolls.  Of course, it has taken practice to feel like my skills are as effortless as my moms’ appeared, but I have had fun learning.  My family has also had fun eating.

My fondest memory of home-cooked bread was at my grandma’s house in Lincoln long after the days of farming had passed.  My grandma would bake cinnamon rolls and freeze them to be gifted at family holiday gatherings.  My grandma’s cinnamon rolls were a marvel.  It seemed impossible to my teenage self that anyone could take flour, sugar, and yeast to bake bread.  Our bread came from the store. Sweet dinner rolls appeared like food made only by incredibly elite bakers.

If this is you, I’m living proof that all you need to make bread is follow a recipe! Let me assure you that this sweet dinner rolls recipe is foolproof.  

Sweet Dinner Rolls

When my mom passed on her family recipes to us, we came across this recipe. It is a sweet, hearty melt-in-your-mouth dinner roll recipe. My grandma used it as a base for her cinnamon rolls, but it is just as good (maybe better) as a dinner roll.

Fun fact: I once baked 6 dozen of these dinner rolls for a bunch of college students.  It freezes very well for up to a month once cooked. Let me know if you do try it!


Grandma Irene's Sweet Dinner Rolls
Yields 24
An easy sweet dinner roll recipe
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
32 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
32 min
To activate yeast
  1. 2 packages Rapid Rise Yeast (or 41/2 t)
  2. 2 1/2 cups warm water
  3. 1 T Sugar
All other ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup melted butter
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 2 eggs, beaten
  4. 8 cups of all purpose flour
  5. 2 1/2 t salt
  1. Put yeast, water and 1 T sugar in a bowl. Wait 5 minutes until yeast is bubbly.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients to yeast mixture. Beat with a hand mixer. If you have a dough hook use it but it is not necessary.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it is doubled in size.
  4. Shape into balls and let double again.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes (I think 12 is perfect).
To make into Cinnamon Rolls
  1. Follow above recipe through step 3. After dough is doubled the first time, roll out onto a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. Mix together 1 stick of softened butter, 2 t ground cinnamon and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Spread evenly over the entire dough leaving 1/2 inch at one end of the dough. Roll up so it looks like a long skinny log (jelly roll style) and slice 2 inch sections with floss. Cover with a towel and let rise until double. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. When slightly cool, frost with a mixture of 1 T milk and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.
Pro tip
  1. You want to undercook these slightly as opposed to over cooking them. They will melt in your mouth if they are not cooked too long.
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