Raise your hand if you're a fan of old-school, pillowy-soft dinner rolls. Me too. What's not to love about tender, buttery rolls that you pull apart with your hands? These versatile dinner rolls are scented with fresh herbs and have sharp cheddar cheese in not just one but two places: Cheese is both kneaded into the dough and sprinkled generously over the top to form that golden-brown toasted cheese flavor we all know and love so much. These dinner rolls are worth the effort — trust me on this one.
These yeasted dinner rolls come together easily with the help of a stand mixer and your stove to warm up the milk and butter. Once the dough's kneaded together, mix in cheddar cheese by hand — the cheese tends to clump and not mix well into the dough if you use the mixer. After it's had time to do the first rise, shape it into rolls, a fun activity for your arms, and then let them rise one more time before brushing with more butter and doing a final sprinkle of cheese.
These rolls are delicious on their own, but don't miss out on using them as small sandwich or slider buns. They're also pretty darn tasty filled with leftover turkey and dipped in gravy, so keep this recipe in mind when the holidays roll (ha!) around.
Tip for Rising Dough
If your kitchen runs on the cool side like mine does, make your own warm, cozy spot for doing the first rise in the microwave! Just microwave a mug of water until the inside of the microwave is warm and steamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Take the mug out, pop your covered bowl of dough in, and shut the door. The yeast loves this toasty environment and will rise in no time!
Buttery Cheddar Herb Rolls
Makes 20 (3-inch) rolls
finely chopped fresh sage or thyme leaves
(1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 3/4 teaspoons
unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), divided
1 1/4 cups
cold whole milk
large eggs, lightly beaten
shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 cups), divided
Vegetable oil or cooking spray, for coating the bowl and plastic wrap
Place the flour, sugar, sage or thyme, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Mix on low speed until combined; set aside.
Melt 8 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the milk and heat until the mixture is warm to the touch but not hot (between 105°F and 115°F on an instant-read thermometer), about 1 minute more. Pour over the flour mixture and add the eggs. Mix on medium speed until just combined, about 1 1/2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese and use your hands to knead it evenly into the dough — the dough will still be slightly sticky.
Lightly coat a large bowl with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turn to coat in oil, and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
Place the dough on a work surface and divide it into 20 pieces (about 2 ounces each). Cover the pieces loosely with a piece of oiled plastic wrap. Working with one piece at a time, form into a small roll by cupping your palm and rolling the dough on the work surface into a round, tight ball.
Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough pieces, spacing them about 3/4-inch apart. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until they are just touching one another and have doubled in size, about 1 hour. About 30 minutes before the rolls are risen, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and let cool slightly. Uncover the rolls and brush with all of the butter. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet from front to back and continue to bake until the bottoms and tops of the rolls are golden-brown, 12 to 15 minutes more. Let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Serve immediately, or transfer the rolls to a wire rack to cool completely.
Storage: Cooled rolls can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.