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French Bread Rolls Recipe

These French Bread Rolls are a delicious and fluffy, pull-apart dinner roll. They are the perfect addition for a weeknight meal or holiday. The French Bread Rolls are buttery, tender and delicious!

French Bread Rolls- Why you’ll love this French Bread Roll Recipe

This French Bread Roll Recipe is so easy! The recipe takes a few hours prep, but you work in steps so you aren’t in the kitchen the whole time. Most of the time spent on this recipe comes from letting the yeast activate and the dough to rise. 

This recipe can be made using a stand mixer or your hands. I love using my KitchenAid Stand Mixer with the dough hook because I can start it and forget it. Either way you choose to make these rolls, they are sure to delight!

What do You Need to make French Bread Rolls?

With just a few ingredients, you’ll be able to make these French Bread Rolls in no time.

  • Warm water- Make sure your water is warm, not hot or cold. The warm water helps your yeast activate properly. 
  • Active Dry Yeast- If you’ve never baked with yeast, don’t be scared. It really is so simple and opens up a variety of items you can make. You can use a packet of yeast or the jar of yeast. One packet of yeast is 2 ¼ tsp of yeast.    
  • Sugar- Sugar is always a must when using yeast in a recipe. The sugar feeds the yeast and helps it to grow.
  • Oil of Choice- Avocado oil works great in this recipe but any oil like olive oil will do, it’s simply a matter of preference.  
  • Kosher Salt- Salt is important when using yeast because it strengthens the gluten to make the dough stronger.  
  • All Purpose Flour- Make sure to get All Purpose or bread flour and NOT Self Rising.  

You’ll also need a few kitchen tools.

  • A glass measuring cup is handy when activating yeast. It’s not necessary, but it’s nice to see the foamy top to make sure you’ve got good yeast to start your recipe.  
  • We love a stand mixer because you can let the mixer do the kneading but this is optional. You can certainly hand knead if you don’t have a stand mixer.  
  • You’ll also need an 11 X 13 pan for baking your crusty French Bread Rolls.  

How are French Bread Rolls different from Regular Dinner Rolls?

French Bread Rolls are similar to a loaf of french bread but in roll form–think round balls. These delicious rolls have a harder crunchy exterior than a regular dinner roll. The inside of these French Rolls is soft and tender, so don’t let its hard exterior fool you.

Crusty, chewy and warm, you’re going to love these French Bread Rolls!

Tips for Baking with Yeast

If you’ve never baked with yeast, there are some important things to know.  

  • Make sure that your water is warm and not hot. Hot water will kill the yeast.  
  • Know what kind of yeast you’re using. Dry active yeast needs to be activated with warm water but instant yeast can be added right into your recipe. This recipe works best with dry active yeast.
  • Don’t put salt directly in contact with the yeast. You can add sugar and water and oil to your yeast but salt will counteract the yeast. Make sure to add salt once your yeast mixture is added to flour. 
  • Sugar feeds yeast so you need a small amount to activate your yeast.
  • If you choose you use a yeast packet, one .25 ounce packet is equal to 2 ¼ tsp of dry yeast. 
  • Yeast likes to be warm; it thrives between 70-80 degrees. Sit your yeast in a sunny window or near a warm oven.  
  • Store your yeast in the freezer for a longer shelf life.  

How to make French Bread Rolls

To make French Bread Rolls is fairly simple. Working with yeast is the biggest learning curve but once you recognize what active yeast looks like, you’ll be on your way.

You’ll start with your warm water, yeast and sugar in a bowl. I always start my yeast in a glass measuring cup so I can see the bubbly top. You’ll let your mixture sit for a few minutes, and it’ll get a nice foamy top.

The warm water and sugar are the key to a good foamy rise. If you’ve got the foamy top, you’re good to proceed. If you don’t have a foamy top, toss it and start over. 

As noted above, water and room temperature is super important when working with yeast. If your yeast doesn’t activate, check those two things first.  

Once your yeast has a foamy top, pour the yeast mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and add in the salt, oil and 2 cups of flour. You can knead it by hand, but the stand mixture makes it super easy to mix. 

Add in your third cup of flour while your stand mixture is on low. Your dough should start pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Add the next half cup of flour to your dough. Continue adding the flour until you have a soft dough that’s a little sticky. 

You’ll want to knead it for 5-10 minutes depending on whether you’re using a stand mixer or your hands. Don’t overmix your dough as it will make your finished roll a bit more tough.  

A good way to test your dough is to try rolling it into a ball. If you can roll your dough into a ball without a big mess, you are good to go. 

If the dough ball is still sticky, add a couple tablespoons of flour into your dough, mix and try again. Keeping some flour on your hands is also helpful to combat sticky dough.  

Once you’ve gotten your dough to the soft sticky texture, you’ll place it in a sprayed mixing bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel or a piece of greased plastic wrap. Your dough will rise for about an hour in a warm place. You want your dough to double in size.  

After an hour, you’ll punch the center of the dough to deflate it. Sprinkle your work surface with some extra flour and place the dough on your floured surface.  

Now it’s time to make the little dough balls! You’re almost there! Keep going!

Divide your dough into 12 equal pieces and shape them into a ball. Place your dough balls into a 9 X 13 baking dish and cover again with a tea towel or your greased plastic wrap. Let your rolls rise another 30 minutes or until they’ve doubled in size.  

Bake the rolls for 15-18 minutes in a 375 degrees f oven. You can brush the top of the dough with an egg white wash before baking to give them a little shine. This step is optional but the end result makes a beautiful presentation–that golden brown glow!

Another tip is to turn off your oven after the rolls are finished and leave them to sit for 5 minutes. This will give you an extra crisp crust without over browning.   

Once removed from the oven, brush with a little melted butter and a drizzle of honey on the top of each roll if you’re feeling sweet. I also love to finish with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt or garlic powder!

Steaming your French Bread Rolls

Adding steam to your French Bread Rolls is a great way to soften the outside of the roll. You don’t have to have a fancy oven to get this tender crumb, you can use this little trick.

When you place your French Bread Rolls into the oven, toss a little ice water into the bottom of the oven, or onto a baking sheet on the lowest rack. Shut the oven door quickly so the steam stays in the oven. This steam will create a softer shell on your French Bread Roll.  

How do You Serve French Bread Rolls?

French Bread Yeast Rolls are the perfect finishing touch on your dinner presentation. These French Bread Rolls pair lovely with our Instant Pot Lasagna recipe. An easy summer dinner is our Layered Pea Salad Recipe with a grilled protein and French Bread Rolls. Actually, French Bread Rolls go well with any dinner dish. Who doesn’t love a little roll with dinner?  

We love to use the leftovers for a sandwich the next day. To make a yummy sandwich, slice the French Bread Rolls and add a little butter and toast in a cast iron skillet. Add turkey or ham and your favorite toppings for a fancier version of your cold sandwich lunch.  

Also, you know those yummy ham + rolls you see all over Pinterest? These French Bread Rolls are perfect for those types of recipes. We made a pizza version and it was very tasty! 

To make sure your French Bread Rolls don’t get soggy from any sauce, simply toast the cut sides of your rolls before assembling. The toasted roll acts as a barrier to the sauce. Look, nobody wants a soggy roll, am I right?

Personally, I just love French Bread Rolls with a little butter and a drizzle of honey after dinner. Serve the French Bread Rolls with soups, as a side or even as a snack with some butter and jam. French Bread Rolls are a good idea any time.  

Can I save my Leftover French Bread Rolls?

We are bread lovers, so we may or may not eat this whole recipe! However, if you do have leftovers, it’s best to save your French Bread Rolls in a paper bag. The paper will absorb any moisture left in the rolls. 

If you use a plastic zip top bag, your rolls might get soggy and soft. An airtight container could also work.

How long will my French Bread Rolls Last?

French Bread Rolls don’t last long at my house! But, if you do have leftovers they’re good for 4-5 days. Reheat at 200 degrees for any leftover rolls.  

Can I use the French Bread Roll Dough for other recipes?

We love using this recipe to make breadsticks. Simply divide the dough out and roll in thin strips, give them a little twist and bake according to the recipe. You can make a garlic butter to brush on or even add some Italian Seasoning before baking.

You can also make this recipe into baguettes. You’ll need a baguette pan to bake them to make the bottom crispy.  

Can you Freeze French Bread Rolls?

ABSOLUTELY! You can save the baked rolls or you can save the dough.  

The French Bread Rolls are so easy to freeze. Double or triple your recipe of French Bread Rolls and bake them. Once cooled, toss them into a zip top bag and freeze. Simply set them out on the counter to thaw then warm them in your oven when you need them.  

If you want to freeze the dough, you’ll want to freeze them after you shape them into balls.  Place the French Bread Dough balls on a cookie sheet in the freezer. 

Once the dough balls are frozen (this normally takes an hour or so), add to a zip top bag and store in the freezer.  To thaw, grab a few dough balls and set out on a cookie sheet—I like to spray my dough balls with a little water or cooking spray.  Once thawed, bake as normal.  

These French Bread Rolls are such a great addition to your recipe book. There really is no substitution for fresh home baked rolls, my whole family can vouch for that!

French Bread Rolls Recipe

These French Bread Rolls are a delicious and fluffy, pull-apart dinner roll. They are the perfect addition for a weeknight meal or holiday. The French Bread Rolls are buttery, tender and delicious!
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 12


  • 1 ½ cups Warm water
  • 1 tbsp Dry active yeast
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil or oil of choice
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt
  • 4 cups All-purpose flour


  • In a large kitchenaid mixing bowl (you can also knead by hand), combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Your water will need to be warm, but not too hot. The sugar will help to feed the yeast and cause it to grow. Stir it all together and let it sit for a few ninutes. If you have a bubbly top after a few minutes, you can proceed with the recipe. If not–start over. You must activate your yeast with the warm water and sugar in order for your rolls to rise.
  • Once your yeast is activated (has the bubbly top), add in your oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour.
  • Turn your mixer on low and slowly add in a third cup of flour. Once the third cup of flour, slowly add in another half of a cup. You will want your dough to slowly pull away from the sides of the bowl. You may not end up needing all of the flour that the recipe calls for. You want your dough to be soft to the touch with a slight tacky feeling.
  • Turn the mixer on low and let it run for around 5 minutes. If you are kneading by hand, you’ll want to knead for around 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, spray the bottom with cooking spray. Place the kneaded dough into the bottom of the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel or greased piece of plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for around an hour. You are wanting the dough to double in size.
  • After an hour, punch the center of the dough to deflate it. Lightly flour the counter top and put the dough on top of it.
  • Divide the dough up into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball.  Grease a 9×13 baking dish and place the dough balls evenly into the 9×13 dish.
  • Cover the rolls again with a clean tea towel or lightly greased plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise for another 30 minutes or until they have doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake the rolls for 15-18 minutes or until they’re lightly golden on top.  Remove them from the oven and coat the tops generously with butter. Enjoy!

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