Parker House Dinner Rolls

Parker house Rolls Video (scroll down for recipe)

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

Dinner Rolls Recipe – Printable!


Parkerhouse Rolls

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4.9 from 9 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 36 1x


  • 1 envelope active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (around 110ºF)
  • 1/4 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:
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky salt


  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 3 1/2 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 1 1/2 hours (may also cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight).
  8. Set oven to 350º.
  9. Brush a 13×9″ pan with melted butter and set aside.
  10. Divide dough into 4 pieces, roll each piece out into a rectangle 12×6″. Cut into 9 rectangles. Brush with butter and fold each rectangle over, leaving 1/4″ exposed.
  11. Arrange in pan, sides touching and overlapping the 1/4″ 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.


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.

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  1. Jen on November 21, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    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!

    • Hilah on November 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      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 on November 25, 2013 at 10:28 am

    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!

    • Hilah on November 25, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      That’s great, Bryan! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my recipes. 🙂 Thanks for writing!

  3. Milan Delgado on November 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    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?

    • Hilah on November 27, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      Hey Milan!
      You could certainly add some spices or herbs to these. Have at it!

      • Milan on December 1, 2013 at 12:18 pm

        Hilah, I just made it, with sugar icing, my family just loved it! We loved your videos too 🙂

        • Hilah on December 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm

          Thanks, Milan! I’m so happy to hear that! 🙂

  4. karina on November 27, 2013 at 1:18 pm

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

    • Hilah on November 27, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      Thank you, Karina! Happy Thanksgiving! Abrazos y besitos!

  5. Kaitlin on November 28, 2013 at 2:16 pm

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

    • Hilah on November 28, 2013 at 8:21 pm

      Awesome! Thanks for the feedback, Kaitlin! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving.

  6. kelli hilgendorf on November 28, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    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.

    • Hilah on November 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      Yay! So glad to hear that, Kelli! What a great feeling. Hope the pie crust goes just as smoothly!

  7. Bill Radetzky on December 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

    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.

    • Hilah on December 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      Oh drat! Well, I am happy you liked them anyway, Bill. They do keep fairly well, too.

  8. Gretta Cox-Gorton on December 24, 2013 at 11:54 am

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

    • Hilah on December 24, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      Yay! 🙂 Merry Christmas, Gretta!

  9. Rob on January 12, 2014 at 11:45 am

    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?


    • Hilah on January 12, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Hi Rob, it should work fine!

  10. Marissa on September 24, 2014 at 7:37 pm

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

    • Hilah on September 26, 2014 at 10:13 am

      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.

    • Beverly Bitagon on November 24, 2018 at 6:20 am

      Hi Marissa, there are egg substitutes for vegan palates:

  11. Amanda on February 22, 2016 at 2:39 am

    Hi Hilah
    Thank you for such a yummy recipe.
    Made it last night n baked it this morning.
    Crispy on the top n soft inside. Doesn’t look neat as I need to practice on the rolling pin. My dog is begging me for it but wouldn’t want to give him much as it contain yeast.
    N hv tried your doggy sardines cookies n he really loves it.
    You r the best that I ever discovered online.
    Thanks again.

    • Hilah on February 22, 2016 at 8:06 am

      Glad you enjoyed the rolls, Amanda! 🙂

  12. Whitney W. on December 6, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Hiya. I found your channel through Steve Ramsey in Home and Garden for Mere Mortals. I’m about addicted to your videos lol. Any who, I just made these rolls tonight and they were delicious. Thank you so much for the great videos with your own bit of comedy to them. I made my first pie crust by your recipe three days ago and made your coconut cream pie for my husband on his birthday. You are great.

    PS. Your son is adorable!

    • Hilah on December 7, 2016 at 7:40 am

      Hi Whitney!
      I’m so happy you found me! I love Steve 🙂 So glad you’ve tried some recipes! Thanks for writing

  13. Derrick Dzurko on January 9, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Hi Hilah, they came out great – the rise was no issue. I did cut back to 3 cups of sifted and hand added more flour during the kneading process. Which provided more control dough since I never made rolls before. I needed to know first hand what it felt like 🙂 My family is up 11:22 at night going crazy. They all said thank you.

    Go Hilah!!!

    • Hilah on January 10, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      Yay! Good for you, Derrick! Nothing says “love” like homemade rolls at midnight 😉

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