Buttery Parker House rolls have been a Thanksgiving tradition since the 1900s when the famed Parker House hotel in Boston, Massachusetts unveiled these gorgeous, fluffy dinner rolls. Since then, buttery Parker House rolls have become a glorious bread-basket staple on America’s dinner table, especially during the holidays. It’s of interest that in 1855 the Parker House hotel also created the original Boston Creme Pie. Today, the Omni Parker House still serves its guests these tender, airy hallmark rolls.
You’ll love to know that these mouth-watering golden beauties are very easy to make. But as with most yeast recipes, you’ll need to set aside enough time for the dough to rise twice. Believe me – it’s so worth the wait! Because it’s basically the same amount of time, I highly recommend making two batches of buttery Parker House rolls. You’ll be so glad you did. So let’s get started making a fresh batch of these scrumptious dinner rolls. Here are all the ingredients you’ll need: all-purpose flour, instant mashed potato flakes, granulated sugar, instant yeast, salt, softened butter, milk, and one large egg. For garnishing: melted butter and Sea Salt Flakes.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the milk and egg. Microwave briefly to eliminate the chill. We don’t want the liquid hot or warm, just room temperature! This encourages the yeast to dance around and do it’s magical thing. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, instant mashed potato flakes, sugar, instant yeast, salt, and tiny pieces of softened butter. Briefly mix these ingredients together with a spatula until combined. Add the milk and egg mixture to the bowl and mix until incorporated. Attach the dough hook to your mixer. Knead the bread dough for 8 minutes. If you’re kneading the dough by hand, simply knead it for the same amount of time. The dough will be nice and smooth, not ragged or ruffled. If the dough seems a little dry, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of milk over the dough and briefly knead until the liquid is incorporated. Transfer the dough to a generously buttered bowl. Turn the dough within the buttered bowl so that the dough is lightly buttered up on all sides. Cover the bowl, set it in a draft-free place and allow it to rise for 1.5 hours. The dough will relax for the first hour, then it’ll finally wake up, stretch and slowly start rising within the final 30 minutes. Much like I do when my alarm clock goes off in the morning.
Don’t expect this yeast dough to double in size – it’s simply not an overachiever in that department. After the dough has risen, divide the dough in half. We’re going to work with one piece at a time! On a pastry board, roll out the first piece of dough into a 12×8-inch rectangle. Because the dough is so smooth and buttery, you won’t even need to lightly flour your pastry board – which is great as extra flour would just weigh the dough down. You want your buttery Parker House rolls to be light, fluffy and airy, not heavy and compact.
Brush that 12×8-inch rectangle of dough with melted butter, then slice it in half to create two 12-inch x 4-inch rectangles. Now here comes the fun part! To capture the look of the original Parker House rolls, fold the long end of your first rectangle upwards, leaving about 1/2-inch of the bottom portion of the dough showing. Cut the dough into four equal pieces. So now you have 8 dinner rolls. Place them close together on a lightly-buttered baking tray. Time to grab the second piece of dough and repeat the process.
If you’re like me and like to mix things up, after rolling the second piece of dough into a 12×8-inch rectangle, brushing it with butter and cutting it in half to create two 12×4-inch rectangles, you can do something different. Slice each 12×4-inch rectangle into four equal pieces. Instead of folding the dough up, roll the 8 pieces into coils like a cinnamon roll. For further fun, you can also make some bite-size nibbles by slicing a few of those coiled up pieces in half – which is what I did for my second batch of buttery Parker House rolls. Those are the little cutie pies you see sitting right on top and smiling for the camera in the images of my bread rolls served on a plate.
And when you’re cutting, folding and/or rolling up the rolls – don’t worry about perfection! Each dinner roll will be special and unique, which will make your entire batch of buttery Parker House rolls look absolutely stunning. Cover the baking sheet and allow the dough to rest for 45-60 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the rolls are just lightly golden brown and look and feel done. If you’d like, go ahead and sample the rolls just to be sure. Pick out a pretty one, smear a little butter on top, sprinkle it with a bit of flaky sea salt and take a savory bite. So yummy, right? If anyone’s watching just let them know this is the most effective method to determine if the rolls are done, or if they need a few more minutes in the oven.
As soon as you take the rolls out of the oven, brush them with melted butter and sprinkle the whole batch with flaky sea salt. Ahhhh…Just look at how light, airy and scrumptious they look. And they taste absolutely heavenly! To serve, simply pull the dinner rolls apart.
These buttery Parker House rolls could also be called “Disappearing Dinner Rolls” because that’s exactly what happens when you set them on the dinner table. It’s at this time you’ll be so glad you made that second batch!
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When it comes to making homemade bread, I love using my time-saving KitchenAid stand mixer. It does all the kneading for me! For baking these buttery Parker House rolls, it’s helpful to use high-quality baking sheets so all of the dinner rolls bake evenly. My heavy-duty USA baking trays are non-stick, so I reach for those every single time. Which kitchen tools do you use most? What items are on your wish list?
Buttery Parker House Rolls
Yield 16 dinner rolls
- 1 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 3 + 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 + 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 + 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened and cut into tiny pieces
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted (for brushing on dough & for brushing on baked rolls)
- Flaky sea salt for garnishing
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, whisk the milk and egg together. Microwave the liquid just briefly to take the chill off. You don't want the liquid to become warm or hot - just room temperature!
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the flour, instant mashed potato flakes, sugar, instant yeast, salt and 4 tablespoons of softened butter pieces. Using a wooden spoon or your clean hands, mix these ingredients together until combined. Pour the egg/milk mixture over the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl. Mix again until just incorporated.
- Connect your mixing bowl to your stand mixer and use the dough hook. Allow the machine to knead the dough for 8 minutes. If kneading the dough by hand, simply knead it for the same amount of time. If the dough seems slightly dry, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of milk over the dough and knead briefly until the liquid is incorporated. Transfer the dough to a clean, generously-buttered bowl. Turn the dough over several times within the bowl so that all sides are lightly buttered. Cover the bowl with a clean, dry kitchen towel and set it in a draft-free place where it can rest and rise for 1.5 hours. Note: the dough won't actually start to rise until the final 30 minutes.
- Gently punch down the dough and divide it into two equal pieces. Place one piece of the dough on a pastry board. With a rolling pin, roll it out into a 12x8-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with melted butter, then cut the dough into half to create two 12x4-inch rectangles. For original-style buttery Parker House Rolls, fold up the long end of each of the two rectangles so that about 1/2 inch of the dough from the bottom is showing. Cut the dough into four equal pieces. Place the rolls close together on a lightly-buttered 9x13-inch baking tray. Repeat this process with the second ball of dough. Cover the tray with a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to rest for 45-60 minutes.
- NOTE: You can also change things up! After rolling out the first piece of dough into a 12x8-inch rectangle, brushing it with butter and then cutting it in half to create two 12x4-inch rectangles, cut out 4 pieces of dough from each of the two 12x4-inch rectangles. You will now have 8 smaller bread-roll-size rectangles. Take each of those individual pieces and roll them into a coil-shape, just like if you were making cinnamon rolls. For making bite-sized rolls, cut each coil into two pieces. Repeat the process with the second piece of dough. Or just divide all of the dough into 16 pieces, roll them into little balls, brush them with butter and place them on a baking tray close together. Cover the tray and allow the dough to rest for 45-60 minutes. All of these methods will yield yummy, buttery Parker House rolls!
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the rolls are lightly golden brown and look and feel done. In some ovens this may take 25 minutes. But keep a careful eye on your oven at the 15-minute mark!
- As soon as you pull your beautiful Parker House rolls out of the oven, brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle them with flaky sea salt. Pull the rolls apart to serve. Mmmm... enjoy!
Dough Rising Tip #1: Just before starting your yeast recipe, warm up the exterior of your mixing bowl by placing it under warm running water, then dry it off. This will take the chill off your bowl and give the yeast a nice cozy place to do its magic!
Dough Rising Tip #2: If your kitchen is cold during the fall and winter months, remove your top oven rack leaving the bottom rack in place. Prop open your oven door a bit and set your oven to 200 degrees. Allow your oven to heat up for just 2-3 minutes and then turn the oven off. You don't want the oven rack to get hot or the oven to get hot. What you'll be creating is a slightly-warm cozy space that's draft-free for your stainless-steel or ceramic mixing bowl to sit while the yeast is rising. Never put a plastic mixing bowl in the oven!
Courses Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Dinner, Holidays
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BUTTERY PARKER HOUSE ROLLS > YOUR THOUGHTS
Have you ever tried buttery Parker House rolls before? What do you think about this easy dinner roll recipe? What will be in your family’s holiday bread basket this season? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!