Parker House Dinner Rolls

dinner rolls

As far as dinner rolls go, Parker House rolls are the only ones I know of that have their very own special name. They were invented at the Parker House Hotel in Boston in 1855 (this was the same hotel that invented Boston Cream Pie, BTW. Man, what a chef!). Parker House rolls are characterized by their extra buttery dough, toasty exterior and signature “pocket” that makes it easy to apply more butter to the insides table-side and also easy to tuck leftover turkey or ham slices in them to make tiny sandwiches.

This recipe was adapted from the Fanny Farmer cookbook. If you want to use shortening instead of butter (I really don’t know why you’d want to do that) you may. The rolls can also be baked on two baking sheets and arranged so that they are not touching if you want more crispy exteriors. Don’t skimp on the melted butter glaze before and after baking, though. That’s kind of a deal breaker.

Dinner Rolls Video

Dinner Rolls Recipe – Printable!

4.8 from 6 reviews
Parkerhouse Rolls
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 36
Ingredients
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
  • ¼ cup warm water (around 110ºF)
  • ¼ cup soft butter (plus more for topping)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed to around 110ºF
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • For topping:
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon flaky salt
Instructions
  1. Whisk yeast and warm water together in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Add butter, sugar and salt and whisk.
  3. Whisk in warm milk until butter is melted.
  4. Add egg and mix well.
  5. Stir in 3½ to 4 cups of flour until a ball forms.
  6. Turn onto floured board and knead dough for 5 minutes until smooth.
  7. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise 1½ hours (may also cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight).
  8. Set oven to 350º.
  9. Brush a 13x9" pan with melted butter and set aside.
  10. Divide dough into 4 pieces, roll each piece out into a rectangle 12x6". Cut into 9 rectangles. Brush with butter and fold each rectangle over, leaving ¼" exposed.
  11. Arrange in pan, sides touching and overlapping the ¼" edge.
  12. Brush with butter and sprinkle with salt.
  13. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.
  14. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until golden.
Notes
Shaped rolls may be frozen. Arrange folded dough - not touching - on a paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer rolls to freezer bags. When ready to cook, arrange in pan overlapping and brush with melted butter. Cover loosely and let rise at room temperature 1 hour. Bake as directed, adding additional 5-10 minutes.

parkerhouse rolls

Comments

  1. I love Parker House Rolls. I have a very similar recipe except you use an herb compound butter instead of plain butter to brush on the inside and outside of the dough. Have you ever tried multiplying your recipe by 1.5/2/more? I am having a big dinner party for Christmas this year and want to make these but not sure if a single batch would be enough for all my guests so I was thinking of doing a batch and a half. I love your suggestion of forming the rolls and then throwing them in the fridge for a few hours for the second rise. I can do everything up to that point the morning of my party and let them hang out in the fridge until half an hour before dinner is ready, then throw them in the oven to bake so I don’t have to try and time the rising of the dough to time up with everything else. Thanks for sharing, Hilah!

    • Wow, Jen, that compound butter spread sounds amazing! I wouldn’t have thought of that. Thank you!
      I haven’t tried doubling the recipe, but I think you probably could. Usually doubling is okay; it’s tripling that causes me problems. Doing 1.5 would be tricky because of the single egg, I think.

  2. Bryan Fields says:

    I made these last night and they were great! My family loved them. I also froze some for later. I might even make another batch today to freeze. The convenience of being able to grab a few rolls out of the freezer for dinner will save me a lot of time. Thanks Hilah! This is about the fourth recipe of yours I have tried. Your recipes are great and videos are very entertaining!

  3. Milan Delgado says:

    Hey Hilah, I am just wondering if you could add some flavors in your roll, like cinnamon or sugar, or use some glaze on top of it?

  4. Happy Thanksgiving!!thank you for all your great help on teaching how to make it simple and correct. Besitos

  5. I made these for Thanksgiving, and they were delicious and a lot easier than I expected. :) Thanks Hilah!

  6. kelli hilgendorf says:

    Made these last night and cooked them today for Thanksgiving. A hit!!! I was so nervous to make them but they were fantastic and so easy to make. Loved, loved, loved. Thanks. Now I gotta tackle the pie crust. Gonna try that next. Thanks again.

  7. Bill Radetzky says:

    I made these last night. They were finished too late for dinner. That was my mistake. I need some practice with a rolling pin. They were very good.

  8. Gretta Cox-Gorton says:

    Heya Hilah! I’m like, way excited for these rolls. Our Christmas table is gonna be so happy, thank you!

  9. Hey there Hilah,

    I’m getting ready to make these rolls but I was wondering if I definitely need whole milk. I generally buy 2%, would that work?

    Thanks!

  10. Im trying to adapt these to a vegan recipe. Do I have to use the egg and can I use rice milk pr almond?

    • I really can’t be sure about these changes. I suggest if you leave out the egg that you add an extra tablespoon of margarine or whatever vegan sub you are using for butter. I think a non-dairy milk will work okay. The egg is the main thing I am concerned about.

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