November 25, 2008

Easy Homemade Dinner (and Orange) Rolls

I can't believe it, but Thanksgiving is already here. That's not as shocking as the realization that follows- Christmas is coming! With the start of this wonderful season, I'm reminded of one of my favorite things to bake. This roll recipe comes from a family friend and neighbor who happens to be the best preschool teacher in the world. She's infinitely patient but you won't have to be to enjoy these rolls.

Peggy, the best baker I know, sharing her secrets... don't tell her I told!

I learned this recipe when I was about 10 at a church mother daughter activity. It's so simple I never understood people's fear of yeast (I do now though, don't worry). However, with some easy ingredients that are probably in your pantry, a big bowl, and a fork, you can have delicious rolls in no time (making the batter takes less that 10 minutes!)

Even better, they are easily adapted to my other friend's world famous orange rolls. She did mention several times while she helped me make them that there are no calories in orange rolls. Enjoy and hop on the treadmill the next morning.

Dissolve the yeast. Combine melted butter, sugar, and salt.

Add eggs and beat into mixture.

Stir the yeast mixture into the bowl.

Dump in the flour.

Stir with a fork for a minute or two until combined (this picture shows about half way done, don't worry about kneading or anything. These are easy rolls!)

Put the dough into a bowl with a little oil and cover with a dish towel (don't click on that photo, you'll see flour lumps... don't worry though, they disappear later).

Let rise until doubled. It tastes good too, if you aren't too afraid of salmonella, which obviously isn't a worry at my place.

Divide dough into thirds and roll out. Spread with softened butter (go easy if you'd like, or add cinnamon sugar, herbs, whatever strikes your fancy).

Fold over into thirds, cut into strips, and tie each piece into a little knot. Forget to take pictures (and it's probably not such a bad thing considering how messy my hands were!)

Orange rolls are even better (though admitedly more of an indulgence!)

Easy Homemade Rolls
from Rita Lyon

1 cake or 1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
oil for rolling dough and greasing pan


Dissolve yeast into warm water (a little warmer than your body, but not too hot to kill the yeast). Sprinkle sugar on top of yeast and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, eggs, and salt. Mix with a fork until combined. Sir in frothy and dissolved yeast mixture. Add flour and mix together well with a fork for a bout one minute (it should be fairly smooth but don't worry about kneading it). Place in a greased bowl and cover with a dish towel. Let rise until doubled.

For dinner rolls:

1 stick of butter, softened

Divide dough into thirds. Pour a little oil onto your hands, pin, and counter (don't use flour). Roll out one piece into a nice rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Fold into thirds and slice into pieces about 3/4 inch wide. Tie each piece into a little knot, place on a greased or lined baking sheet, and let rise until doubled. Bake at 375 for 8- 10 minutes, until golden brown.

For sweet orange rolls:
from Peggy Leatham

1 stick of butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
zest of 2 oranges
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until a thick paste forms (if too runny, add more sugar). Roll dough into a large rectangle (about 12 x 18) and spread paste over the dough. Roll up (like cinnamon rolls) and slice dough about 3/4 inch thick. Place each piece into a very well greased muffin tin.

Let rise until doubled.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Begin checking the rolls around 12 minutes and watch closely, as they will brown quickly (note the difference of color in the two batches in this picture).

Remove the rolls from oven once they are browned and immediately flip onto a cooling rack place atop parchment paper. Let cool and serve inverted. The juice will drip down to make a nice glaze. Serve warm.


  1. Oh delicious! There's not much better in the world than a nice warm dinner roll, or sweet sticky orange roll. That's a great activity for a mother and daughter. You're giving me an idea..... Have a happy thanksgiving!

  2. I am so glad you posted these! We are making orange rolls tomorrow for the first time. Thanks for the recipe and tips! They look divine!

  3. Oh yum--now I want to add rolls to the ever expanding Thanksgiving menu...

  4. I love orange rolls, but I have never attempted making them at home. You must have read my mind though, because I was thinking about trying them out a couple of days ago. These look like they are foolproof!

  5. Yum! Both the versions sound and look delicious.

  6. Yum! My mother in law makes orange rolls. We haven't been with them for Thanksgiving much, but the time or two we were, the orange rolls were SO good.

  7. Oh my Anne! These are calling my name! I wish you and Peggy were my neighbors! Have a great Thanksgiving!

  8. Wow, these sound amazing. I'm definitely going to give these a try. Thanks so much and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. Yummy!!! These look lovely. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  10. I am so eager to make this! I suffer from fear of yeast and this looks SOO easy! My kitchen is still being renovated but this is going in the top of the "I must make!" file! Love your blog, too!

  11. Holy smokes that looks good! I'm not terribly afraid of yeast... I just get distracted easily so I worry that I'm going to forget that I have something rising somewhere only to discover it when my kitchen has been overtaken by a dough the size of the sta-puff marshmallow man!


  12. Orange rolls are my favorite!!! I can't wait to try this version. Hope you have been doing well - I've been so out of touch with everyone - just wanted to stop in and say 'hi'!!

  13. This sounds easy and good.
    Did you know David Archuleta loves orange rolls for Christmas? Yep