Buttery Parker House Rolls

updated Dec 18, 2023

These buttery, tender Parker House rolls are perfect for your holiday bread basket.

Serves12 to 18

Makesmakes 36

Prep40 minutes

Cook40 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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There are few things in life that are as alluring as a batch of feather-light, soft, and buttery Parker House rolls. With a unique folding process to give them their signature shape and rich flavor, Parker House rolls make a superior bread basket. To make these tender pull-apart rolls extra fluffy, I use instant potato flakes, a common pantry ingredient that helps yield the most perfect crumb.

Like the Boston cream pie, Parker House rolls were made famous by the Parker House Hotel in Boston. There are several versions of the origin story, but they all involve a disgruntled pastry chef who put unfinished rolls in the oven, leading to their dented appearance. They were initially created by the hotel in the 1870s, quickly gaining popularity and cropping up in cookbooks only a decade later.

How to Make Parker House Rolls

The original Parker House roll recipe called for dough cut into circles, dipped in butter, and folded over. This process is messier and a little more tedious, so I opt  for shaping the dough into a rounded square shape, brushing with butter, then folding it over — similar to how the hotel in Boston bakes them today.

  • Bloom the yeast. Sprinkle active dry yeast over warmed milk and set aside until it’s foamy.
  • Knead the dough. This dough is smooth enough to knead by hand, so there’s no need to get out the stand mixer. The whole process takes five minutes.
  • Let dough rise. Set the dough aside to rise somewhere that’s room temperature, but not particularly warm. This will (slightly) slow the rising time, giving the dough more time to develop flavor.
  • Cut and fold the dough. Working in sections, you’ll baste the dough with butter and cut into rectangles. Then, fold the rectangles in half to make square rolls.
  • Bake the rolls. Shingle the squares in a 9×13-inch baking dish so they overlap a little, baste with more butter, and bake until golden brown. Brush them with even more melted butter and finish with a sprinkle of flaky salt.
Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

If You’re Making Parker House Rolls, a Few Tips:

  • Make it your own. Brush the insides with a flavored butter for an extra special touch. Chopped chives, honey, or minced garlic add a boost of flavor.
  • Serve them fresh. You can make the dough ahead of time, let it rise in the refrigerator, then bake; the rolls are best served fresh.
Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Parker House Rolls Recipe

These buttery, tender Parker House rolls are perfect for your holiday bread basket.

Prep time 40 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes

Makes makes 36

Serves 12 to 18

Nutritional Info


  • 3 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 3/4 cup

    instant mashed potato flakes

  • 1 cup

    whole milk

  • 10 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided, plus more for serving

  • 1

    (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 3 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    vegetable or canola oil

  • Flaky salt


  1. Place 3 cups all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Place 1 cup whole milk and 4 tablespoons of the unsalted butter in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted and milk is just warm to the touch (110ºF and 115ºF). Pour into a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and stir to combine. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add 1 large egg and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture and stir until a slightly shaggy dough forms.

  4. Lightly dust a work surface with all-purpose flour. Transfer the dough onto the surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 minutes. Coat a large bowl with 1 teaspoon vegetable or canola oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until roughly doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

  5. Melt 4 tablespoons of the unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Lightly brush a 9x13-inch baking dish with some of the melted butter. Punch the down dough, then divide into 4 pieces (about 8 ounces each).

  6. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 12x6-inch rectangle with a longer side closer to you. Cut lengthwise into 3 (2-inch wide) strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 (4x2-inch) rectangles. Brush each lightly with melted butter, then fold in half (butter on the inside) to create 2x2-inch squares.

  7. Place 1 dough square in the corner of the baking dish with the folded edge against the short side of the dish. Shingle the remaining rolls in a single row across the baking dish. Repeat with remaining dough to create 4 rows of 9 rolls. Brush with the remaining melted butter.

  8. Cover the baking dish in plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until the rolls have puffed, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

  9. Uncover and bake the rolls until golden and puffed, rotating the baking dish halfway, 25 to 35 minutes total. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Brush over the rolls. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Serve warm with more butter if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dough can be made ahead, covered, and left to do the first rise in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then shape and bake as directed.

Storage: Store rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.