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Parker House Rolls are soft, buttery, and melt-in-your-mouth perfection that are the perfect side to a home cooked meal or just a special treat for the family. And the classic fold-over shape is unfussy, easy to achieve, and great for letting kids help in the kitchen.

Parker House Rolls are heavenly to bite into by themselves. But you can even take them to the next level and lather them up with this delicious Raspberry Butter, Easy Homemade Crockpot Apple Butter, or this Whipped Cinnamon Honey Butter.

Parker House Rolls on serving dish with towel

Aunt Judy’s Rolls

Actually, when I was growing up I always called these “Aunt Judy’s rolls” rather than Parker House Rolls because my mom’s youngest sister always made them for holiday dinners like Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mom had three sisters and I remember many occasions of them bustling around the kitchen preparing large family meals with my mom and grandma.

I often got to help by cutting these rolls out into circles and brushing one side of each circle with melted butter before folding it over into the classic Parker House roll half circle shape and arranging in a pan.

The smell of these rolls baking always takes me straight back to those memories. Only now I can snitch a piping hot roll right as soon as it comes out of the oven rather than be forced to wait for dinner!

Parker house rolls in bread bowl

Why are they called Parker House Rolls?

These classic dinner rolls got their name from the Parker House Hotel in Boston where they were created in the 1870’s. Incidentally, that’s the same hotel where the Boston Cream Pie was invented!

The folded over shape is actually a part of what makes these rolls so special. It gives them a slightly crisp exterior but a puffy, pillowy inside that steams when you open them when the rolls are still hot.

These dinner rolls are so easy and simple to make. This Parker House Roll Recipe does require yeast, but if you’re new to yeast, this is a great recipe to practice with! It is very difficult to mess these up. They come out wonderfully no matter what!

Light and fluffy with a nice chew to them, these rolls are fantastic served plain but are incredible with some homemade freezer jam spread on them. Honestly, I would take a hot, fresh roll with my mom’s raspberry freezer jam over dessert almost any day.

hand grabbing parker house roll out of bread bowl

What you’ll need

I’m always amazed at how such simple ingredients can create something so amazing! Heads up that I almost always double this batch of rolls so that I have LOTS of extras if I’m making them for a holiday meal so everyone has some to take home for leftovers the next day.

  • Milk: You will want this scalding hot. I like to heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat just until bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan.
  • Sugar: You’ll need a little bit of sugar to proof the yeast and then the rest to make the dough. These rolls have a slight sweetness to them.
  • Butter: I prefer to use salted butter when baking.
  • Salt: You NEED salt when baking to make everything come together and so the rolls aren’t bland.
  • Water: This is to proof the yeast. You’ll want the water between 100-110 degrees. Too cold of water won’t activate the yeast and too hot will kill it.
  • Active Dry Yeast: Make sure to use fresh active dry yeast in this recipe as expired yeast won’t give you the rise you need for light and fluffy rolls. If you choose to use instant yeast, you can skip the proofing.
  • Eggs: To help the rolls rise and fluff up.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is all you need for this recipe, although you could also use bread flour.
Measured out ingredients for parker house rolls

How to Make Parker House Rolls

  1. Combine milk, sugar, butter, and salt. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat just until bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and pour the scalded milk over most of the sugar (all but 1 teaspoon which will be used in the next step), 1/3 cup of the butter, and the salt in a large bowl. You can set this aside for now.
  1. Proof the yeast: This might sound scary if you have never worked with yeast before, but it’s really simple. Just sprinkle the yeast granules over a small bowl of warm water with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir then let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Just make sure your water is between 100-110 degrees, which is warm, but not too warm.
Yeast proofing in measuring cup for parker house roll
  1. Add flour, yeast, and eggs. Add 1 cup of the flour to the milk mixture and beat it in with the paddle attachment. Add the proofed yeast, eggs, and another 1 cup of the flour. Beat again until smooth. Switch to the dough hook, then add the remaining flour and knead for 5 to 7 minutes until a smooth supple dough forms.
  2. Let sit for the first rise. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl that has been greased with a little oil. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 and 1/2 hours.
  1. Punch down the dough and roll out on a floured surface until the dough is about 1/2-inch thick.
punching down parker house roll dough
  1. Cut out circle. Use a very sharp round cutter to cut out circles close together. You can reroll scraps, but the first roll will give you the lightest dinner rolls so I’m always careful to get as many out of that first pass as I can.
  2. Butter the dough for the second rise. Melt some additional butter, then brush onto half of each dough circle and fold them over. Transfer the rolls to a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rise for 1 hour until the rolls are puffy.
basting brush brushing butter on dough
  1. Bake and enjoy! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F when the rolls have about 15 minutes of rising time left. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown on top and cooked through.
parker house rolls baked on baking sheet with parchment paper

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make these rolls ahead of time?

You can make Parker House Rolls by shaping them, then place the rolls in the refrigerator up to overnight. Remove from the fridge and let the rolls sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before baking the next day.

How to freeze this dough?

You can even freeze the rolls after shaping them before letting them rise. Once they have frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet, you can transfer the frozen rolls to a freezer-safe ziploc bag for up to 3 months before thawing for 3-5 hours at room temperature until they rise, then baking like normal.

How do you scald milk?

This might sound scary, but it just means adding cold milk to a small saucepan and heating quickly on the stovetop just until you see tiny bubbles start to appear around the edges of the pan and steam rise off the milk. But the milk shouldn’t be boiling. Remove the heat to cool a bit before adding it to the roll dough so it doesn’t kill the yeast.

rows of parker house rolls on parchment paper and baking sheet.

Other rolls shapes

You don’t have to use the fold-over pocketbook style shape for these rolls. Instead, you could divide the dough into small bowls and place three of them in the same cup of a muffin pan for a fun alternative. Or just divide the dough an droll it into large balls for a simple, puffy bun shape.

How to store leftover Parker House Rolls?

Parker House rolls are best eaten the day they are made, but you can store leftovers in an airtight container on the counter and they will still be good for about 3 days. I always love to make a turkey sandwich after Thanksgiving with these leftover rolls, leftover turkey, and plenty of mayo and pepper (anybody else love peppery turkey sandwiches?)

They also freeze well and can be kept in a freezer-safe bag and removed to reheat for meals for up to 3 months. Thaw and warm in the oven or microwave to enjoy a piping hot, fresh-tasting roll!

Looking for more bread ideas as a side for your dinner? Try some of my favorites!

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Parker House Rolls Recipe

Parker House Rolls are soft, buttery, and melt-in-your-mouth perfection that are the perfect side to a home cooked meal or just a special treat for the family. And the classic fold-over shape is unfussy, easy to achieve, and great for letting kids help in the kitchen.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 24 rolls
Calories: 151kcal
Author: Amy Nash

Ingredients

  • 1 cup scalded milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter for brushing on top

Instructions

  • Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat just until bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and pour the scalded milk over most of the sugar (all but 1 teaspoon which will be used in the next step), 1/3 cup of the butter, and the salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, proof the yeast by dissolving it in a small bowl with the warm water and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
  • Add 1 cup of the flour to the milk mixture and beat it in with the paddle attachment. Add the proofed yeast, eggs, and another 1 cup of the flour. Beat again until smooth. Switch to the dough hook, then add the remaining flour and knead for 5 to 7 minutes until a smooth supple dough forms.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean bowl that has been greased with a little oil. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 and 1/2 hours.
  • Punch down the dough, then roll out on a floured surface until the dough is about 1/2-inch thick. Use a very sharp round cutter to cut out circles close together. Melt the remaining 1/4 cup of butter, then brush onto half of each dough circle and fold them over. Transfer the rolls to a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rise for 1 hour until the rolls are puffy.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F when the rolls have about 15 minutes of rising time left.
  • Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown on top and cooked through.


Notes

  • Make-Ahead: You can make these rolls through shaping them, then place the rolls in the refrigerator up to overnight. Remove from the fridge and let the rolls sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before baking the next day.
  • Freezing unbaked rolls: You can even freeze the rolls after shaping them before letting them rise. Once they have frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet, you can transfer the frozen rolls to a freezer-safe ziploc bag for up to 3 months before thawing for 3-5 hours at room temperature until they are risen, then baking like normal.
  • Storing: Leftover rolls will keep for about 3 days in an airtight container on the counter. Or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and warm in the oven or microwave before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 123mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 174IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg
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