It’s hard to resist these pillow-soft and buttery Cloverleaf Rolls. These are made with milk dough which has an unbelievably soft and cloud-like texture. You’ll love the delicious layers when you pull the 3 clover leaves apart.

Homemade Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls is the perfect side for your holiday table and they always get compliments even when they’re competing with the Christmas Prime Rib or Thanksgiving Roast Turkey. After all, you definitely need a roll to soak up the Turkey Gravy.

Soft Cloverleaf Dinner rolls on blue platter

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There’s something so comforting about home-baked bread from Focaccia Bread to Banana Bread and even Pita Bread. If you love a warm and ultra-soft dinner roll, this recipe is a must-try!

Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is to make these clover rolls.

Cloverleaf Rolls Video Tutorial

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What is Milk Bread?

Milk bread is white bread that is made with milk, egg, and butter to form a tender crumb with a rich buttery flavor. Milk bread has the most satisfying texture and it’s easy to make, which is why it’s our preferred dough for making cloverleaf rolls.

Fluffy center of milk bread dinner roll

Ingredients for Cloverleaf Rolls

  • Water – start with warm filtered water (110-115˚F) to activate your yeast
  • Active dry yeast – you’ll need 1 packet or 2 1/4 tsp of yeast
  • Milk – use warm low fat milk (whole milk will also work)
  • Butter – either melted and cooled or very soft butter
  • Granulated sugar – feeds the yeast to make the rolls rise beautifully
  • Egg – use a large, room temperature egg
  • Salt – we use fine sea salt
  • Bread Flour – has a higher protein content to produce a softer bread. Also, make sure to measure flour correctly.
Ingredients for making cloverleaf rolls with milk bread dough

Common Questions

Can I substitute for instant yeast?

This recipe works best with active dry yeast and that is the yeast we recommend. Instant yeast will work, but it will speed up the rising process and the texture won’t be quite the same.

Can I freeze dinner rolls?

Yes, dinner rolls are freezer friendly and if you freeze them the day they are baked, they will taste fresher when they are thawed. See instructions for freezing in the “make-ahead” section below.

Can I use all-purpose flour?

It’s best to use bread flour because of its higher protein content which helps to develop the gluten in the dough, resulting in a softer dinner roll.

Cloverleaf rolls baked in muffin tin

Make-Ahead

  • Overnight rolls – Once you have placed the oiled plastic wrap over the pan of dinner rolls, set the pan in the refrigerator overnight. A couple of hours before baking, remove the rolls from the refrigerator, let them come to room temperature and rise until visibly puffed, then butter and bake as directed.
  • Freezing – Baked dinner rolls freeze really well. Let them cool to room temperature then transfer to a freezer safe zip bag, remove any excess air, and freeze for up to 2 months. If you freeze them the same day they are baked, they will taste fresh when thawed.
make ahead cloverleaf dinner rolls covered with plastic wrap

Tips for Making the Best Dinner Rolls

  • Check the yeast – the reason for initially mixing the yeast with 3 Tbsp of warm water is to activate the yeast as well as to make sure it is still working. If you don’t see a foamy layer on your mixture after 7 minutes or so, you should buy new yeast and start over.
  • Ingredient temperatures – make sure your liquid ingredients are warm when added (between 110-115˚F) for the dough to rise properly. Colder ingredients will take longer to get the yeast working.
  • Proofing – proof dough in a warm place that is at least 75˚F but not more than 110˚F (high heat will kill your yeast). Putting it in the oven with the light on works well. Also, you can microwave a damp kitchen towel for a minute then turn it off and place the bowl of dough inside the warm microwave. The warm steamy environment is ideal for dough proofing.
Up close buttery top of the best cloverleaf dinner roll

Serve with

Sometimes all you need is to spread on Cranberry Sauce or whipped Honey Butter, but if you’re looking to pair this with a meal, here are our favorite recipes to serve with dinner rolls:

Golden, puffed, buttery, and super soft – these Cloverleaf Rolls will be the talk of your holiday table.

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls Recipe

5 from 108 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
cloverleaf rolls on a platter
Pillow-soft and buttery Cloverleaf Rolls made with milk dough which has an unbelievably soft and cloud-like texture. You’ll love the delicious layers when you pull the 3 'clover leaves' apart.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Rising Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 12 dinner rolls

Cloverleaf Rolls:

  • 3 Tbsp warm water, (115˚F)
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast, (1 packet yeast)
  • 1 cup low-fat milk, warm (105-110˚F)
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted or very soft, plus more for the pan
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour, divided (add an extra 1/4 cup if needed)

For the Topping:

  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided, melted
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 3 Tbsp very warm water (115˚F). Sprinkle the top with 1 packet of yeast, whisk to combine, and let rest uncovered for 7 minutes until foamy on top.
  • Add warm milk, melted butter, sugar, egg, and salt. Whisk until blended, then gradually whisk in 2 cups of flour then switch to the dough hook attachment and add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour in thirds, letting it incorporate with each addition. Add more flour a little bit at a time until the dough feels moist to the touch, but it shouldn’t stick to clean/dry fingertips.
  • Knead 10 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer, or knead by hand. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl as it kneads and will be smooth and elastic.
  • Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (90-100˚F) for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in volume.
  • Transfer dough to a smooth, clean work surface. You should not need any additional flour at this point. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces then divide each piece of dough into 3 small pieces. Cup your hand over each of the small pieces and roll over work surface to form a ball. Butter a 12-count muffin pan and place 3 little balls of dough into each muffin cup.
  • Oil a sheet of plastic wrap and place the oiled side loosely over the rolls. Let rest in a warm place for 30-45 minutes until visibly puffed. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425˚F with a rack in the center.
  • Once rolls have risen, brush the tops with 2 Tbsp melted butter and bake in a preheated oven at 425˚F for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. As soon as they are out of the oven, brush with more melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes and serve warm.

Nutrition Per Serving

231kcal Calories31g Carbs6g Protein9g Fat5g Saturated Fat1g Polyunsaturated Fat2g Monounsaturated Fat1g Trans Fat35mg Cholesterol405mg Sodium95mg Potassium1g Fiber4g Sugar292IU Vitamin A1mg Vitamin C35mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
231
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
9
g
14
%
Saturated Fat
 
5
g
31
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Cholesterol
 
35
mg
12
%
Sodium
 
405
mg
18
%
Potassium
 
95
mg
3
%
Carbohydrates
 
31
g
10
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
4
g
4
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
Vitamin A
 
292
IU
6
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
35
mg
4
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cloverleaf dinner rolls, cloverleaf rolls, milk bread rolls
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 231

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Yuri Clingerman
    March 30, 2024

    I just made these cloverleaf rolls for Easter. They are amazing and my family is going to be so impressed! Thank you for the very helpful instructions and video. Happy Easter, He is risen!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 30, 2024

      You’re very welcome, Yuri!

      Reply

  • Amber Giles
    March 30, 2024

    Great recipe. I had to make a few changes because I don’t have a stand-up mixer. A might bit more time consuming, but unless you have a bad shoulder and carpal tunnel syndrome, you’ll be okay. Also, I add the sugar to my yeast in the beginning because this is what my grandmother did.

    Reply

  • Patty
    December 20, 2023

    The dinner rolls turned out beautifully, I’m going to freeze them for Christmas Day. When should I take them out of the freezer & how do I reheat for Christmas Day? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 20, 2023

      Yes, dinner rolls are freezer friendly and if you freeze them the day they are baked, they will taste fresher when they are thawed. See instructions for freezing in the “make-ahead” section in the recipe.

      Reply

  • Cara
    December 11, 2023

    I am short on oven space on Christmas day. If I made these the day before would it be best to store them out on the counter or in the refrigerator to keep them fresher? What is the best way to warm them up right before serving?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 11, 2023

      Freezing them will lock in the moisture and keep them freshest. See my note above for freezing instructions. If you would like to store them at room temperature, let them cool completely then store in an air-tight container or ziplock bag. To reheat wrap rolls in foil and place in a 350º oven for 5-7 minutes.

      Reply

  • Rosaria Ferranti
    November 29, 2023

    Just made these and they came out delicious! they dont look as nice as in your pictures as I need to work on my dough ball rolling technique but they sure do taste yummy!

    also this was my first time making ANY type of bread. THANK YOU!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 29, 2023

      That’s great, Rosaria! Thank you for trying my recipe.

      Reply

  • Moureen Wenik
    November 26, 2023

    Delicious and easy to make as well. My 2yo grandson has renamed them…big bread. He is hooked, which means I am making more.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 26, 2023

      That’s great to hear! Thank you for sharing, Maureen.

      Reply

  • Karen
    November 23, 2023

    I’m making these today. They are rising right now. I also added a cup of sourdough starter which I then added about 1 and 1/4 c more of flour. The dough smells great and that honey I added will give it a hint of sweetness too.
    Happy Thanksgiving Day!🦃🇺🇸🙏 Thank you.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 23, 2023

      I hope you love these Karen! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Karen James
    November 16, 2023

    These are wonderful. Any tips if you double the recipe for Thanksgiving? Do you double rise time?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 16, 2023

      Hi Karen, I haven’t doubled this recipe myself, but my readers have, I recommend looking through the comments.

      Reply

  • Joanne
    November 12, 2023

    Delicious! I didn’t have muffin tins, so I made 18 cupcake size. Also, for me it took an extra 1/2cup of flour. Thank you for another great recipe!!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 12, 2023

      You’re welcome, Joanne. Great to hear that you ejoyed the dinner rolls!

      Reply

  • Michelle Rosenson
    November 11, 2023

    Has anyone tried to make these with gluten free bread flour? or unsweetened almond milk? I have some gluten free vegans that I’d like to make these for.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 11, 2023

      Hi Michelle, All purpose flour is the best to use bread flour because of its higher protein content which helps to develop the gluten in the dough, resulting in a softer dinner roll. There are better options for gluten free ingredients out there now, and while I have not tried this with gluten-free flour to advise don’t the outcome it may work with a few tweaks. I wish I could be more helpful here but I also have not tried a dairy free substitution to advise.

      Reply

  • Amira
    October 26, 2023

    Would we achieve similar results with all purpose flour? Also, is a standup mixer a necessity or would we use our hands?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 27, 2023

      Hi Amira, it really is best with a bread flour that has a higher protein content to produce a softer bread. If you have the ingredients, you can try making your own bread flour.

      Reply

    • Patricia
      December 19, 2023

      Amira, Sometimes I don’t feel like taking out my stand mixer. So I just use my hand mixer with the same attachments called for in the recipes. You can get dough hooks for most hand mixers now. I have even mixed everything with mixer and then kneaded by hand. I have done this with rolls and bread with great results. Hope this helps.

      Reply

  • Yvonne Motes
    October 26, 2023

    I’ve made these ,they are wonderful. So tender and fluffy. Are easy to make and the smell of that bread in the oven is just the best.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 26, 2023

      Hello Yvonne, we’re glad that you enjoyed these dinner rolls. Totally agree, the smell is so divine!

      Reply

  • Terri
    September 27, 2023

    Can you substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour in the recipe? I am excited to try these

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 27, 2023

      Hi Terri, I honestly haven’t tested this recipe using wheat flour to advise. If you will do an experiment, please tell us how it goes.

      Reply

      • Terri
        October 3, 2023

        Hi Natasha,
        I substituted one cup of whole wheat flour out of the three and half cups of bread flour. They rose beautifully and were a great success. I am presently making your apple pie recipe, which has been designated the best ever, and I have beebaking pies for 45 years. Thanks for all you do and sharing@

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          October 3, 2023

          Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Terri!

          Reply

  • Pammles
    April 9, 2023

    It was taking a big chance for me, but I decided to try this recipe (for the first time) for an Easter dinner party. The response was fantastic – I didn’t have any rolls left by the end of the evening AND a couple people wanted the recipe (so I’ll be sending them your way). A couple side notes that might be relevant to some people; I had to use a total of 4 cups of flour. Might be because I’m in No. California, I don’t know, but this has happened before with flour proportions. I also found that by taking 1 1/2 tsp from each cup of flour and adding 1 1/2 tsp per cup of Vital Wheat Gluten that an acceptable bread flour can be made at home. Great recipe, and I really enjoyed the video! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 9, 2023

      I’m so glad that you chose to try our recipe! Thanks so much for your review and good feedback! Yes, feel free to share our recipes with your friends, we appreciate it.

      Reply

    • Rodney
      June 26, 2023

      To make Bread flour from All-Purpose flour:
      Add 1 teaspoon of Vital Wheat Gluten per every 100 grams of All-Purpose flour.

      Reply

  • Julie Gross
    March 12, 2023

    Love love love these rolls !!!
    Made them at Christmas and froze them and reheated Christmas day. They tasted like I had just made them. Everyone loved them. My question is can you make this dough in a bread machine ?? Love all your recipes and cannot wait for your cookbook

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 12, 2023

      Hi Julie, nice to know that you loved these rolls! One of our readers shared this comment “Best rolls ever! I used my bread machine, just put all the wet ingredients first and then flour and yeast, doubled the recipe and turned out perfect! I did bake them at 375 degrees though.” I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Jim
    February 26, 2023

    These rolls are as good as any I’ve ever had. The taste reminds me of the ones my mom used to make when I was young. I’ve been trying to duplicate that taste for years. Thank you.P.S.-
    I made cinnamon rolls with this recipe and they were out of this world.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 26, 2023

      Hi Jim, glad that you found this recipe! I hope you’ll love all of the other recipes from us that you will try.

      Reply

  • Lou
    December 22, 2022

    Can I make these 2 days in advance instead of the one day (overnight) the recipe suggests?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 23, 2022

      Hi Lou! I think you could but I haven’t tested it with this recipe. Generally, bread dough will last approximately three days in the refrigerator; however, it is best to use it within 48 hours. Let us know how it turns out if you test it.

      Reply

  • Jamie A
    December 20, 2022

    I do not have a mixer, will this recipe work by hand? I have tried several times to make yeast rolls like my mom but its always disastrous.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 20, 2022

      Hi Jamie, you can knead the dough by hand without a stand mixer. Do everything in a large mixing bowl and then knead by hand. It’s just a little more effort but will work fine.

      Reply

  • Miss Joan
    December 16, 2022

    My husband is planning to make these and we are wondering, can we use salted butter for the dough and omit the salt?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 16, 2022

      Hi Miss Joan, yes if using salted butter you will need to either omit or use less salt.

      Reply

  • Antonette
    November 26, 2022

    Is there a way to do this with wheat flour? I prefer it and would love to know if you’ve tried it.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 26, 2022

      Hi Antonette, I honestly haven’t tested this recipe using wheat flour to advise. If you do an experiment, please share with us how it goes.

      Reply

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