Buttery Fluffy Cornmeal Dinner Rolls
The hint of cornmeal mingled with the light sweetness of the dough make these extra-fluffy, cornmeal dinner rolls one of my favorite rolls of all time!
I get asked all the time what my favorite, go-to homemade roll recipe is. The one I can’t imagine living without. My roll soulmate, if you will.
You can understand how questions like this cause me to panic. That’s like choosing a favorite child! A favorite pair of jeans! Favorite book! A favorite husband! (That last one was a joke. Ha.)
I love so many different roll recipes. All for varying reasons. Some might even say I have a homemade roll obsession.
But, in the interest of full disclosure, I do find myself making these buttery cornmeal dinner rolls over and over and over.
Today’s post is a little bit of a placeholder. You see, a similar variation of these rolls has been on my site for years. Behold the gloriousness of Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls. The base of the dough makes up one of our most-loved meals of all time: Chicken Pillows.
As I’ve made the crescent rolls referenced above over the years, I’ve found that more often than not, I skip the crescent-shaping part and go straight for the extra-fluffy, dinner-style roll.
It’s easier to quickly shape them into a tight ball, and the rolls bake up like pillowy clouds of fluffy cornmeal heaven.
If you may have passed up the original crescent version because the shape or recipe seemed intimidating, now’s your chance to dive in and embrace the simplicity (and deliciousness).
And if you’re skeptical about the cornmeal in the recipe – you have to trust me on this. The cornmeal gives just the slightest textural boost to the rolls and mingles perfectly with the lightly sweet dough.
They are so yummy, and don’t even get me started on how wonderful they are with leftover turkey or ham.
A couple months ago I made these fluffy cornmeal dinner rolls for a cute luncheon I was helping with. It’s called the Sunshine Girls Luncheon for women over age 55, and it is kind of awesome.
Too bad I’m not invited every month (only when I’m on roll duty, I guess, since I have a few more years until I meet the minimum age requirement).
That particular month when I brought these cornmeal dinner rolls, I had one elegant, white-haired woman quietly pull me into the hallway, and she said, “Don’t tell my friends I’m asking you this, because I already make the best rolls they’ve ever had, but those rolls were better than mine; do you know who made them and where I can get the recipe?”
You know me…I’m always one to help a girl out with a recipe, so I gave her the web address of this pretty awesome food blog I know about. 🙂
She wasn’t the only one who requested the recipe that afternoon, although the other women were slightly less secretive about it.
If you are looking for THE roll to impress this holiday season, you really need to give these cornmeal dinner rolls a try. I love the round, fluffy shape even better than the original crescent roll shape. It definitely makes the roll more accessible for maximum sandwich/leftover fixings.
So while I’ll never profess my undying love for just one and only one roll recipe…just know that these rolls seem to be my go-to homemade dinner roll of 2016 with no signs of stopping.
One Year Ago: New Thanksgiving Favorite: Pretzel and Sausage Stuffing
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie
Three Years Ago: Black Bean Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust
Buttery Fluffy Cornmeal Dinner Rolls
- 2 cups milk, 1%, 2% or whole
- ⅔ cup (113 g) yellow corn meal
- 1 ½ tablespoons instant yeast
- ½ cup (113 g) salted butter
- ⅓ cup (71 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 5 ½ – 6 cups (781 to 852 g) all-purpose flour (see note)
- In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, warm the milk to just below a simmer; tiny bubbles will appear around the edges (this is called scalding milk). Add the cornmeal and cook and stir constantly until the mixture is thickened and bubbling. It should be the consistency of porridge before taking off the heat.
- Pour the cornmeal mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or a large bowl (if mixing by hand) and let cool until lukewarm. Add the yeast, butter and sugar (if you dissolved active dry yeast with a bit of water and sugar until it foamed, add it now). Mix.
- Add the salt and eggs. Mix well. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms. Knead for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap; let rise until doubled.
- Portion the dough into 24 equal pieces (about 2.75 to 3 ounces each) and roll into a taut ball on the counter. Place each roll on a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing about an inch apart to allow for rising (on a 11X17-inch rimmed baking sheet, I fit 24 rolls on the sheet – four across, six down). Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise until doubled.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 14-17 minutes, until lightly browned and baked through. Remove from the oven and brush with butter while still warm.
Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (similar to these Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls – method changed slightly)
235 Comments on “Buttery Fluffy Cornmeal Dinner Rolls”
I’ve loved this recipe for many years. My granddaughter loves hot rolls and I made 5 different recipes, your’s came out tops every time. Thanks for the best recipe ever!!!!
I’ve made these twice now with two different coarsenesses of cornmeal. Each time there are small crunchy pieces of cornmeal in the rolls. Is this supposed to happen? Everything else about the roll feels ideal, so maybe using finely ground cornmeal could be the way to go?
Hi Joe, yes, using finely ground cornmeal could help – as well as whisking vigorously when the milk and cornmeal mixture is cooking so it doesn’t develop cooked bits.
These are perfect. I made only one adjustment – added a smidge more salt.
They remind me of the cafeteria roll from my elementary school days.
Thank you soooo much!
Just wondering about the butter. You add it melted, right?
You can melt it…or you can add it in chunks and the hot milk/cornmeal mixture will melt it.
Am I doing something wrong if I only get 19 rolls @2.5 oz?
Don’t worry too much about that – it could be a difference in how we measure flour and even where we both live (elevation, humidity, etc). What is the texture of the dough? If it’s super sticky, you can add a bit more flour.
I’m at the stage of the individual rolls rising. Can these be frozen? If so, should they be frozen after the second rise but before being baked? The dough looks and smells wonderful and the directions are clear and easy to follow.
Hi Gretchen, I haven’t tried freezing these before baking, but they should work pretty well. I’d freeze them right after shaping and then take them out to thaw, rise, and bake.
I have made these rolls three times…they have turned out perfect every time. I love the little cornmeal pieces in the rolls. And they are perfectly light and fluffy, yet substantial enough for putting on jam, gravy, etc. Some observations: half a recipe makes 16 good sized rolls. Don’t add too much flour. Follow Mel’s advice to add in flour just to what you need. I keep the dough a little sticky, which keeps the finished roll light and moist. This dough rises quite quickly. I use my oven with the light on as a good place to proof or raise the dough. This is a fantastic recipe. Thanks Mel!
Can I get the measurements in grams 🙂
There’s an app that converts.
I’d rate these a 10. These are the easiest best rolls! How can they not be with a 1/2 cup butter. I love the cooked cornmeal addition. My kitchen aid mixer barely can handle that much dough/flour. They raise quickly . Today I even shaped them into 28 rolls on the pan, I even made 1/2 whole wheat too ,,,Thanks
What kind of corn meal do you use in this?
I use yellow cornmeal.
These look amazing. I was looking in my saved Pinterest files for a nice dinner roll for Thanksgiving and would love to try this one. I’m wondering if they can be made ahead at all? Or to what stage? You all know how hectic the Day can be. I’m sure they’re best straight from the oven… hmmm…. Happy Thanksgiving!
You can make them, shape them and let them rise overnight and then pull them out a few hours before baking the day of.
Thanks, Mel. I’m pretty sure you’re saying to work through the shaping and then “refrigerate overnight” – taking them out a few hours before baking? I’m going to try it – fingers crossed! I think my family will love these.
I went ahead with the recipe and wanted to post some notes in case others might want to make the rolls in advance. I followed the recipe through the first rise. Shaped the rolls and then froze them on a sheet pan lined with parchment. When frozen, I transferred them to a ziploc bag. Today I took a couple out 3 hours before I baked them (375 for 15 mins)… and OMG.. they’re amazing! So happy to have this delicious recipe that will come in handy on Thanksgiving… and throughout the year. Thanks, Mel!
Thanks so much for reporting back, Dorothy!! Glad they worked out!
Well I rolled the recipe but mine didn’t come out as light and fluffy as yours looked in the picture. While I was disappointed about that I love it anyways. I divided the dough in half, used a smaller pan and made twelve rolls and bake the other half in a loaf pan. My family loved the loaf. It was so good. Got 2 questions. Can I substitute the cornmeal with oatmeal and if I use less flour than your recipe calls for will that yield me those lighter Rolls.
I have never subbed in oatmeal for the cornmeal so I don’t know if that will work (I think it might make the rolls more dense – and yes, you can try using less flour).
Mel, this is the only bread my husband requests for dinner. It makes 4 disposable loaf pans. We moved from SLC to North Carolina in May. I had the problem of it rising too fast. Ha! Moving from desert to humidity, I had a surprisingly steep learning curve for cooking in general. But have now mastered at least this recipe:) Still loving your blog from the east coast.
These were just perfect! So many other roll recipes turn out tasteless and boring…not these! Thanks
I found this recipe Thanksgiving 2019 and they have become a family favorite. They are so soft and buttery. I always leave the carbs and calories out. 😉
Thankyou so much Mel. I am a big fan of your recipes I have a few favourites and I am quite good at bread and rolls but what really kept me making bread was your white sandwich loaf recipe!! It’s my go to for everything.. just made these and they are absolutely fantastic
..so so light and fluffy my husband and three boys said they were amazing too. Will be making these all the time.. only think I changed was I used 12 quail eggs because I have these in abundance and I used white corn meal as I have a massive bucket to use.. they are still pretty yellow from butter and raw sugar ☺️love them x x x
Making this with my 4 yo boy and he loves the whole process.
They smell delicious. We’re waiting for them to come out of the oven.
I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Mel. For me, this recipe was an after-thought that I threw together last Wednesday, Thanksgiving eve – purely out of curiosity due to the ‘outrageous’ claims in both your post and the comments, if I am honest. I remained skeptical when I experienced some difficulty getting the dough right, but what emerged from the oven was a whole sheet pan full of pillowy, fluffy, flavorful, beautiful, indescribably soft, delicious yummyness – melt in your mouth perfection in roll form with or without toppings such as butter, apple molasses, or strawberry jam . I should know because I tried all of the above with the three rolls I ended up eating before they even had a chance to cool , and I’ve gotta admit that I could find no fault with these babies any way I chose to enjoy them.
Turns out they’re also perfect for dunking in or sopping up ridiculous amounts of gravy, a discovery made when I brought a dozen to my sister in law’s house on Thanksgiving day – DEVOURED. Friday’s smokefest at our house saw the remaining rolls demolished in short order alongside ribs, brisket, smoked turkey breast and fixings. We ended up snowed in with our two granddaughters Sunday and Monday, and the 2nd batch was almost entirely annihilated hot, buttered and enjoyed alongside homemade turkey noodle soup for dinner, then again with butter and strawberry jam for breakfast and as snacks throughout the day.
The remaining few were split between my grandgirls as take-home treats, and myself, after which I made yet another scrumptious discovery when I dined on THE BEST Thanksgiving leftover sliders (mayo, turkey, stuffing, and homemade cranberry relish with walnuts and orange zest) assembled on these bad boys, dunked in gravy with a side of turkey rice soup, not once but TWICE since then. (I’m looking forward to another round for dinner tonight-YAY!). I made the dough for the third batch in 7 days yesterday, which I know will come as a pleasant surprise to my granddaughters when they return to my house tomorrow to spend the weekend. I made a few mini rolls and froze them unbaked to try using as a replacement for frozen bread dough in my overnight monkey bread, which we will have for breakfast on Saturday. I have a strong feeling that this experiment will result in taking one of our traditional Christmas morning breakfast recipes up a few levels of AH-MAZING, and I am very excited. I’m not sure anyone could ask for more in a dinner roll – these are THE BOMB. Once again, my family is in awe of me because of you, Mel. I am thankful for all you do to help us all look (and eat) like rock stars. Blessings, girlfriend!
I thought I was spoiled to a bread machine, but this is the best, easiest yeast bread I have ever made! I made it in 2 melt-in-your-mouth loaves. I don’t think you’ll be able to top it, but I know you will try at some point:) I always look forward to your posts.
These, and your crescent rolls, are absolutely divine! I make the dinner rolls at Thanksgiving and the crescent rolls at Christmas. I use a little less than half white whole wheat flour and they still are pillowy soft and tender. Because of a tummy that doesn’t do well with dairy and eggs, I use plain cashew milk instead of dairy milk, and I sub in an extra 6 Tb of cashew milk in place of the eggs. I have no trouble with the texture being heavy, not rising well, or not baking all the way through. I don’t have a stand mixer, so I throw everything into my food processor after the cornmeal/milk is cooked and whirl it around. Despite all these modifications, they come out consistently tasting like the goddess of all rolls. Thank you!
Will the cornmeal and milk mixture be smooth? I poured my cornmeal in slowly and stirred constantly but it’s very lumpy. That’s as far as I’ve gotten I don’t wany to waste all the other ingredients
You can stir the milk and cornmeal together until they are mixed well together before you put them on the stove. That way it will be smooth …
You may have more luck if you put the dry cornmeal in a pot and slowly whisk in the hot milk rather than adding dry cornmeal to milk. You also need to stir CONSTANTLY once you place it over the heat since lumps will form as soon as you stop stirring. I also remove the entire pot from the heat every minute or so to slow down the rate of cooking so I can keep it stirred smooth. Please keep trying – this recipe is so worth it!
I know I am extremely late to the party, but here’s what I do to ensure the cornmeal/milk mixture is as smooth as possible: Start heating the milk, then gradually mix in the cornmeal and salt (so I don’t forget it like I did the first time :-/) using a wire whisk. Continue whisking vigorously until the mixture is bubbling and desired consistency is reached. Follow Mel’s lead of adding the butter to the hot mixture, whisking vigorously as it melts, and then the whole mix slides right out of the pot into the waiting mixing bowl. Allow it to cool slightly, then whisk the eggs into the cooled mixture before adding the rest of the ingredients. Smooth as silk after all that whisking! Hope this helps. 😀
Thank you for these tips! I was having a hard time getting my corn meal smooth! I’ve made the rolls a couple of times now and they have always turned out really good, but the cornmeal has alway been a challenge.
Can I use Bread Flour, if so, do I need to adjust the liquid amount?
Yes, you can use bread flour! Just keep an eye on the dough while adding it and add just the right amount for a soft dough.
Can you sub yellow for white corneal ?
What type of whole white wheat do you use? Soft or hard?
I’ve used both but mostly I keep hard white wheat berries on hand.
This recipe calls for less time kneading than the original crescent roll recipe. Why is that?
I just found when I posted this dinner roll recipe that a shorter kneading time worked just fine. 🙂
They sound great, before I make them I was wondering if the butter needs to be softened or melted, I’m not clear on that. Thanks!
Either will work!
These rolls are the BEST !! I use polenta instead of the cornmeal. I’ve made these several times and always get raves about them.
Mel, hey I’m a novice with yeast doughs. After the first round of raising the dough are you supposed to punch it down? And then how exactly do you roll the dough into balls? I would sure love a picture of what your dough balls look like prior to raising and then again prior to baking…
Yes, after the dough rises, you’ll want to lightly punch it down and roll it into balls. I have an old video here on how to roll the dough into balls:
i’ve made this recipe a few times for big family dinners like christmas, thanksgiving and easter, and am pleased to say they are a hit! i get requests to make these often!
Made these recently and they were SO good! It was my first time home making dinner rolls and I’ll definitely use this recipe from now on. I made the full recipe but only cooked half and put the other half in the freezer. If I want to bake the rest what’s the best way to bake from frozen?
Are they already shaped into rolls? If so, you can take them out, let them thaw and rise and then bake.
I had a realization tonight…that leads me to a confession…and an expression of thanks.
I took two separate people (who go to church with me) some of these rolls this evening.
When I told them I made rolls today and asked if they wanted some they both quickly text back in the affirmative.
The first gal was so gracious in thanking me for the rolls. The second gal said, “These are SO good. You know they’re kind of famous, right?” I was a bit shocked – famous?? I took them to a church function a few weeks ago and it happened there too. Someone said, “Thank you so much for making your rolls. They are so good!” Are people actually talking about these rolls when I’m not around? And referring to them as “Trish’s rolls?” So that was my realization. The confession is that I haven’t given you credit for them yet, because they have been talking about them when I am not around. The next confession is that I know I should give you credit (and I will) but I’m kind of scared that soon everyone will be making “Mel’s rolls” and then they won’t seem so special anymore when I take them anywhere.
And here comes the expression of gratitude – thank you for sharing your amazing recipes! You could easily hoard them and be praised for such deliciousness that nobody knows how to replicate, and yet you share them. Thank you! My whole church congregation thanks you too apparently. 🙂
P.S. These are like my secret weapon on crazy busy/I didn’t plan dinner nights – defrost them, slice, put meatballs and mozzarella or pepperoni and cheese inside and microwave. Serve with peas, carrots, or salad, and it’s an amazing dinner with hardly any more work than cereal. So good!
Haha, I love this, Trish! And don’t you dare give me credit! You take all that credit and keep the “Trish’s rolls” fame alive! I love it!
These were so delicious on Thanksgiving. For anyone wondering about freezing, I made them ahead of time to the stage where I formed them into rolls and then froze them. I took them out of the freezer when I got up on Thanksgiving morning and put them on a baking sheet covered with oiled plastic wrap. It took about 5 hours for them to defrost and rise, which was perfect timing. It was so great to have fresh baked rolls at dinner with such minimal work that day.
Thanks so much for the feedback on freezing the unbaked rolls, Sarah!
I’m wondering about halfing this recipe. Have you tried that and did it work ok? I have 3 roll recipes I want to make for thanksgiving but only have 9 people. 6 dozen rolls might be a little excessive. Haha
I haven’t tried halving this, but it should work just fine. Good luck!
I made these this morning for an early thanksgiving dinner. I doubled the recipe and did all as follows but only added 6 cups of flour (about half the flour of the doubled amount) and I still feel like the rolls came out dense. do some roll recipes double better? I’m an not an experienced baker so im not sure what to think. im in Utah so maybe it’s an elevatotion thing? I’m sure it was user error just thought to ask about doubling it.
Hey Rachel – these usually double pretty well. Do you feel like the rolls rose enough before baking?
Thanks for getting back to me. Maybe not the second time I’ll have to try it again. Thanks
I just rode the struggle bus with these in my test run for thanksgiving. Yeast breads are my nemesis and I’m determined to conquer them! I THINK I overfloured these… or maybe over-kneaded? because they are not as light as yours but even with my errors…. they’re still delicious!! Can’t wait to try again!
Hey Jackie – what was the texture of the dough before the first rise? What did it feel like?
I made a test recipe this morning… it was really simple and the rolls turned out pretty good. Two questions:
1. If I use unsalted butter, should I add a bit more salt and if so, how much do you recommend?
2. Can I substitute honey for the sugar? Would I need to make any other adjustments?
Thank you for all the great content. I’m a better cook bc of you Mel!
Hi Amy – yes, if I were using unsalted butter, I’d add another 1/2 teaspoon salt. And yes, you can use honey…the sweet flavor will probably be slightly stronger due to honey’s flavor, and you’ll need to compensate with a bit more flour, I think, but it should work.
Only knead for 2-3 minutes?
I halved the butter and added 1/4 cup applesauce. I used 100% whole wheat flour for the flour and added 3 T vital wheat gluten and 1 T lemon juice. They are delicious. I absolutely love the flavor and texture of these rolls. Thank you for sharing, Mel!!
I’m glad it worked out so wonderfully with those changes! Thanks for letting us know.
I’m trying these with sloppy joes tonight. I usually do canned biscuits (hardly dare to admit that). But I’m out of those and not going to the store. Here we go!
Can’t believe I hadn’t left 5*’s for this recipe yet. I love these rolls, they turn out so soft & the flavor is great too, I think the cornmeal really adds to that. I was wondering if this recipe would work ok as a bread recipe? Would I need to change anything? Thanks!
In case my question wasn’t clear, I am wanting to make this into a loaf & wonder how that would work. Love the taste of these rolls!
You know, I haven’t used this as a bread recipe, but it might work! I wouldn’t change the recipe necessarily, but because I haven’t tried it, I’m not sure what size loaf pan to suggest.
Just wanted to let you know that this recipe makes 2 yummy loaves of bread! The only issues I had was the dough was hard to smooth out nicely so my loaves are a bit rustic (not an issue for me!) & the recipe makes about 62oz of dough so I should have made a couple rolls & 2 loaves but for my first time trying it I just went with 2 loaves. It made huge loaves, so next time I’ll go with a couple rolls, or you could make one loaf & the rest into rolls too. I really love this recipe!
That’s awesome, Kathy! Thanks for adding your notes about making this into bread!
Hi Mel, can you make these rolls solely out of cornmeal or is some gluten required? Can we reverse the flour and cornmeal quantities? Thank you in advance.
I haven’t tried that so I’m not sure. Sorry!
Thank you for the reply 🙂
I have made these rolls-the flavor is wonderful however i feel the yeast amount is too high-rolls rose in half the time and dough was spongy-wondering if just one packet 2 1/2 tsp. Would work better
Just wanted to follow up! I made these 100% whole white wheat and they were SOOOO delicious! I added 3/4 C vital wheat gluten to 4 C flour. Also, instead of cows milk, I used unsweetened, unflavored almond milk. Pretty sure I’ll be making these on a regular basis now, thank you! Thank you!!!!
Hoping to make these but with 100% white wheat. Is it possible, maybe with some vital wheat gluten? How much? What would you recommend? I (and my family) love every single one of your recipes we’ve tried! I’ve more or less given up on other food blogs bc yours never ever fails!! God bless your Holy Week and Happy Easter Mel and family!!!
Yes, I think you can! I’ve subbed in half whole wheat flour for these and they’ve turned out great!
What temperature should the butter be when added? Softened, melted, etc?
Softened is fine…any temperature will work especially since the heat of the cornmeal mixture will melt the butter.
These rolls were so delicious! They were by far the highlight of all things I made this Christmas season. My family has requested them again too!
Mel, do you think I could sub fine white cornmeal for the yellow cornmeal, as that is what I have on hand?
I made these for a family dinner, they were a huge hit, this recipe is a keeper. I will be making them again plus trying it for a pizza dough.
Great idea about pizza dough!!! I’m totally trying this sometime.
Huge hit at Thanksgiving, planning to make again for Christmas. They turned out absolutely perfect! Thank you!
I’ve made this recipe a few times now and it always turns out amazing! It’s my favourite for dinner rolls.
I made these for Thanksgiving and they were amazing!
Thanks for letting me know, Jill!
In a comment you mention 1/4C water and a pinch of sugar for active dry yeast but in the recipe you call for 1/2C water and a tablespoon of sugar. 1/2C seems like a lot of liquid and then the flour would really have to be adjusted. Is 1/4C fine?
I made these last year but must have had instant yeast- only have dry active right now.
Hi Sara – yes, 1/4 cup can work (2 tablespoons is a lot of yeast for that amount of water, so if the yeast doesn’t dissolve fully, you might need to add a bit more water).
Hi Mel, do you add the yeast, butter, and sugar while the cornmeal mixture is still hot? I noticed in some comments you add the butter while it’s hot, do you do the yeast and sugar then as well? Thanks for all your awesome recipes!
I let it cool just slightly – and if I’m impatient, I’ll mix in the eggs quickly to help cool it down (with a cup of the flour, too, so the eggs don’t “cook”). I wait to add the yeast until it’s cooled slightly so the heat doesn’t kill the yeast. Does that help?
Best dinner rolls ever. I have baked bread and rolls for more than 50 years and I have to say these are wonderful!
They turned out fabulous! My husband ate 3 with his chili and 1 for bedtime snack..I used 1 cup of cornmeal without changing the milk amount. Then dumped it into my bread machine, added liquids then dry and put in dough setting. I started with 4.5 cups four and added about 1cup more as machine was kneading to get right consistency. I, myself was hoping for more corn flavor which I don’t think came out in these rolls but nevertheless the flavor was amazing and fluffy. It reminds me of the Asian bread method of using ‘tang zhong’ which is like a roux. The cooked cornmeal and milk acts the same producing pillowy soft rolls. I like this recipe more because the flavor is more complex than just flour. thanks for the post!
I loved this recipe. Grandchildren stop at my home after school every day. I had just taken them out of the oven. They ate several and then asked for the recipe to share with their moms.
These rolls are delicious!
Yum! Once again I look amazing because Mel put in the work to show me step by step how to make great rolls. I used half whole wheat and half ap flour. I only used about 4 1/2 cups of flour, but the dough was the right consistency. They turned out light and fluffy. It exceeded my expectations. I recommend this recipe to anyone who is a beginner with roll making.
Glad you love these rolls, Bridget!
What directions would b used if you use regular yeast?
Proof the yeast in about 1/4 cup of water with a pinch of sugar until it is bubbly, about 5 minutes – then add it to the dough in place of the instant yeast.
I want to make these for Easter tomorrow, but realize that with the way church falls, I won’t have 4 sequential hours to finish the process. Has anyone every refrigerated the dough after the first rise? Then pulled it out and let it rise before baking?
Hi Julie – sorry for the delay in responding. I’ve refrigerated these (and other rolls) many times after they are shaped and on the pan. It should work just fine!
Any guidance on how long they could be refrigerated after shaping? I’m hoping to make my rolls on Tuesday, but not sure if that’s too long for them to sit before Thanksgiving. Thanks for your help!
I’ve only ever refrigerated shaped rolls for about 12-18 hours but you could try 24. The only risk is that they have a chance of over rising, but that may not happen if your fridge is really cold.
I don’t even know where to begin. I was intrigued by rolls with cornmeal so I decided to try them before I made them for Easter. As we were waiting for them to come out of the oven, my husband’s words were “you don’t mess with a good thing.” These rolls are PERFECT!!! I bested my “good thing.” They are incredibly soft and the perfect roll texture, but the flavor is out of this world!! Another Mel favorite!
Ha! I’m glad they won your husband over.
Is it possible that I might not need 5 1/2 cups of flour? I’m in Utah, which, as I’m sure you know, is very dry, particularly in the winter time. I didn’t even use a full 5 cups of flour though and the dough started looking like it did in your yeast tutorial! I used maybe 4 2/3 cups. The rolls seemed to rise ok, though they looked like I had pieced clumps of dough together despite my efforts to make them round. (I’ll work on presentation next time since I didn’t see your shaping tutorial until after I shaped my rolls.) The texture after baking seemed alright to me, but the rolls did become soggy since I covered them too quickly after baking. I’m a complete novice when it comes to using yeast, so I wish you were here in my kitchen showing me the way!
I wish I could be there to help you also, Caity! I think it’s definitely ok to use less flour – a lot of the exact amount will be dependent on how you measure flour (if you pack it into the cup more than I do than you’ll use less). That’s actually very intuitive and helpful that you used less despite thinking you might need more! So much depends on the texture of the dough.
I’ve made the crescent ones several times. They are so yummy. But I’m pretty sure I will like these ones even more, because more softness!!!!! Thanks Mel!
My family adores these rolls! I have made them no less than 5 times in the past month. Thank you for this wonderful recipe. Would like to report that white cornmeal works great also. You are a household name around here Mel, don’t know what we would do without you!
Thank you, Charlotte!
I just got a Bosch mixer for myself as a gift for finishing paying off my student loans and becoming debt free! These rolls are the first thing I made in my new mixer, and I’m in love! (Both with the mixer and with the rolls!) I realized that I have always severely over floured my dough when I kneaded them by hand. My rolls turned out perfect. Thank you!
Yay! And congrats on paying off those student loans!
The best part of this is that you paid off your student loans. Excellent! You just took yourself out of bondage.
These are amazing! So soft and fluffy but with amazing flavor and texture!
Hi Mel – okay, so I REALLY wanted these rolls to work and I’ve tried twice without success. :/ I’ve made lots of your recipes with great success so I’m sure it’s something I’m doing wrong, and I’m hoping you can help me troubleshoot. My dough was just barely sticky (pull it off and it’s sticky but rolls into a ball like you showed). The first time, I think I didn’t let the dough rise enough for either rise (I was in a Thanksgiving rush), but the second time, I left plenty of time for both rises. But both times the rolls just ended up flat and hard, and definitely not fluffy. I can’t figure out where I went wrong! I’d appreciate any thoughts. 🙂 Thank you!
Hi Preethi – did the rolls rise (double in size) after you shaped them and put them on the baking sheet? If they doubled in size and then fell so they were flat…it might be due to over rising OR the dough might need a bit more flour in order to hold the shape while baking.
Hi Mel – thanks for the response! The first time I made them, they didn’t totally double, which is what I thought was the problem. The second time, they looked probably 1.5-2x the original size (depending on the roll) even after 2 hours and sitting near (but not in) a warm oven. How long do your rises usually take?
I wonder if they rose too much? I’m guessing mine usually rise for right around an hour (so much depends on the temperature of your kitchen). If they rise too much, they’ll fall in the oven…but it also could be how close they are together on the baking sheet. I space mine just an inch apart so they can use each other’s sides to rise up instead of out. Do you think that could be a contributing factor?
We always have an MKC Thanksgiving. This year these rolls were the absolute hit on our table. Words like heavenly and divine were spoken in reverent tones. And the sandwiches the next couple of days were amazing.
Love you, Danielle! So happy you loved those rolls…
These were perfect! Thank you! Love the addition of the corn mush.
Also I have the same size pan as you and with 20 rolls maybe I should have put them close together. Thanks again
My family loved these rolls. They didn’t rise like I’d hoped. I ended up with 20 rolls at 2.75 oz. do you think I didn’t let them rise long enough? Also didn’t use all 6 cups of flour was worried I’d over flour. Thanks I’m a novice baker.
Rising might have been the culprit, but if you ended up with less rolls, next time space them closer together (the lesser number of rolls might be due to not adding quite as much flour, which also sometimes makes a bread/roll dough rise out instead of up). You might try adding a bit more flour next time, too…but only if the dough was on the sticky side.
Got ready to make these rolls Thanksgiving morning. Only had 1/2 cup of corn meal, so I topped it off with 1/4 cup of semolina. Warmed the milk, added the dry, and it was too liquidy. Added 1/4 cup of coarse ground yellow grits and continued to warm the milk mix until it was a little firm. Used 1/2 white whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose flour, and only 2 eggs. Continued to add all-purpose flour a little at a time until the dough was the consistency Mel always describes when making bread dough – Mel has taught me well what consistency to look for which ended up being my salvation.These were great! Rose beautifully and baked even better. Hooray!
Made these for Thanksgiving. They were delicious!
Made these and they turned out great! I got the little balls of cornmeal in the dough like some others, too. Picked some out as I shaped the balls but I don’t know that anyone would notice anyway. I also wondered about the butter temperature as your recipe says to add the butter after the cornmeal is room temperature, but I just went for it while the cornmeal was still warm. I didn’t realize the cornmeal mixture would continue to thicken beyond the porridge stage so I accidentally cooked it beyond that point. (So many mistakes!) I used regular dry yeast and added extra like you said–my first rise was only 20 minutes, and once shaped, only 30! Lots of compliments on the rolls at dinner time. Will use this recipe again!
Mel, I made these for Thanksgiving the day before, gave them the first rise, then shaped them and refrigerated overnight. Took them out of the fridge about two hours before dinner. These were so delicious and fluffy. I was a little concerned they might be dense due to the cornmeal,but wow, these were a big hit! I served these with your honey butter too. So, so delicious. Thanks for a great recipe and all of your hard work.
So glad the overnight method worked! Yay!
Mel I really appreciate that you answer people’s questions! It’s so great! Here’s another one for you – do you think it would work to make these rolls all the way through shaping them and putting them on the pans the night before, refrigerate them until the next day, and then pull them out to finish raising before baking? Thanks!
That should work! Just make sure they have enough time to have all the chill taken off out of the refrigerator and that they finish their rise (but don’t over rise, which can happen if dough is refrigerated). Good luck!
The crescent rolls is our favorite recipe!! I showed my kids this photo and told them I was gonna give it a go this year but there were tears involved over how important the crescent shape is to them. 🙂
I’m wondering if I can make the dough and put it in the fridge so I can save some time in the morning.. would this work? Or should I just suck it up and get up earlier?? 🙂
Yes, you could probably put the dough in the refrigerator. Just make sure it doesn’t overrise…and take it out in time to come to room temperature and rise the rest of the way, if it hasn’t doubled in size yet (before shaping and letting rise again).
I’m sorry I’m asking so many questions about rolls lately! My goodness! Have you tried baking these in two glass 9×13 casserole dishes? Just wondering if they’d still be okay?
Hi Lindy – no worries! Ask away! I hardly ever bake rolls in glass pans because I prefer my large, rimmed baking sheets. But I know a lot of people who do and it works fine!
Hey Mel–how long do these stay fresh? Could I make them the day before and still expect them to be just as soft & yummy if I store in tupperware after cooling?
Hi Melanie – they probably won’t be quite as fresh tasting made the night before, but if that’s the best option for you, it’s definitely better than making them a couple days in advance. Just make sure they are completely cooled before covering in a container or bag so they don’t get soggy.
Oh my word. These rolls are SO good! I’m making them for Thanksgiving, but I want to double the recipe. Should I also double the amount of instant yeast?
I usually 1 1/2 the amount of yeast for a double recipe.
Ok thank you! I’m so excited for my family to taste these.
Thank you sooooo much!! I made these rolls over the weekend and the grandkids gobbled them up!! They are so good.
Is there a way to make the dough and keep it in the fridge overnight?
You could certainly try that – usually yeast doughs do quite well refrigerated overnight. I’ve found the key is to take it out in enough time for it to come to room temperature without overrising (rolling out cold dough is hard).
So I would let it come to room temp and then make into rolls and let it rise again?
I would make the dough and immediately pop it in the fridge. It will rise a bit overnight…mostly you don’t want it to more than double in size, so when you pull it out in the morning, note how much it rose overnight (it might double, it might not, just depends on a lot of factors)…then just let it come to room temperature and rise until doubled before shaping into rolls and letting the rolls rise. Does that help?
I was wondering what the consistency of porridge is? I think my cornmeal-milk mixture was too thick. Kind of thick-mashed-potatoes consistency. I had to add more liquid and use less flour to get the dough to be doughy instead of crumbly. But they still turned out yummy! For next time, though, I’d like to get the cornmeal-milk mixture right. Does it drip off the spoon? Mine just plopped.
Btw, I make your French Bread Rolls and French Bread all the time. Thank you so much for such great recipes! The French Bread kept me in bruschetta all summer.
Hey Debbie – sounds like your cornmeal mixture might have been one step too thick. It should be the consistency of a thick but still pourable muffin batter. I’ll try to take a little video of the process next time I make them.
Thanks, Mel! I’ll definitely watch the thickness of the cornmeal mixture next time.
Just wanted to add that after I made my comments, I went back to the cornmeal crescent roll recipe and saw your picture of the cornmeal mixture–sorry I didn’t check that before! I’ve now made these rolls two more times, and they’ve been delicious. Also, I used almond milk each time, and it seems to work fine. I just made your best cornbread recipe too (I’m taking both to work for a chili cook off), and it’s yummy. Thank you for the recipes!
Hi! I made these yesterday and we all really liked them and I want to make them again. I have a question though…they didn’t seem as fluffy as yours and were a little on the dense side although they still had excellent flavor and weren’t dry. I added about 5 1/2 cups of flour and we live in Southern Az (very dry and elevation of 2500ft). If you have a chance, I’d love any tips for the next time I try them!
Hey Alison – do you feel like they rose well? Usually a dense roll is from over flouring or from not rising long enough. What was the texture of the dough like before shaping?
Hi Mel! Can you substitue almond milk in place of milk in this recipe or other roll and cinnamon roll recipes? Thanks!
I’ve never tried subbing almond milk, but I believe someone else above in the comments has made them dairy-free by using almond milk.
Hi Mel, so I have this problem with bread rolls aaaalllll the time, I make them exactly how it says in the recipe, yet they turn out white and raw looking and not golden brown and soft like your pictures. They’re still pretty fluffy and soft on the inside, but the outside is first of, pale, as well as the bread rolls are more of circular egg shapes, and not squarish like yours. How are your bread rolls so tightly packed together, giving it that nice bread roll structure??
Hi Vika – you might try spacing them closer together on the baking sheet. This will help them rise up instead of out. Also, experiment with different oven rack positions in your oven. Every house (and different oven) I’ve used over the years bakes differently – in some, if I place the oven rack near the bottom, the tops of the rolls brown better, but in my current oven, the rolls brown best when in the top third of the oven.
Hi Mel, thanks for another stellar bread recipe, I just happen to have some cornmeal languishing in the pantry. And I have to tell you I made your whole meal and quinoa bread, Mel it’s just amazing! Soft and light and it also makes the best crunchy toast! Thanks again.
Oh, I agree – that bread made into toast is amazing! So happy you liked it!
I don’t have time to read all the other comments and answers. Sorry. You are one of my heroes. But lately with all the yeast /roll recipes you’ve lost me. For health problem reasons I can’t knead dough. I need to use my bread machine, then make the rolls. I’ve seen you test the same recipe in different machines before. Is there any way you could test your yeast recipes for a bread machine?
There is someone a few comments above yours who gave the bread machine directions.
Ok, made these last night and the flavor was very good. I didn’t have any problems with the cornmeal clumping, however my rolls were not super fluffy and they definitely did not look like your picture. They were a tad dense and almost spread out on the cookie sheet instead of puffing up. Is that from under-flouring or over-flouring? Or something totally different?
Hi Leslie – if they spread like that, it sounds to me like they needed a bit more flour to rise up instead of out.
Mel, I made these yesterday after seeing them on my Instagram feed. Thank you!! They are my new favorite!! I made a couple tweaks to make them fit into my busy schedule: I warmed the milk in my microwave, then poured in into my bread machine with the yeast, sugar, cornmeal, egg (beaten) and butter (melted). Dumped the flour on top and then put it in on the “dough” setting. Once it was done we shaped them, rose 30 minutes and baked. In my oven they only took 11 minutes. Note, I halved the recipe because I only have three kids left at home, but the five of us ate the 16 rolls, no problem. But for Thanksgiving, I plan to make the full recipe, maybe even twice. 🙂
Love the details!! And so happy they worked out and were enjoyed!
These look lovely and just in the nick of time. Can you list the weighs of the ingredients? It really helps.
I made these last night with Swedish Meatballs and Pressure Cooker Mashed Potatoes. So good! Thanks to Abigail’s tip on sprinkling the cornmeal in the milk, I didn’t have any clumping. My kids think we should make pigs in a blanket with this roll recipe. I think we’ll be seeing these in one form or another on our table often! 🙂
You never fail to post recipes right before holidays that I feel I HAVE to add to my menu, even though I have plenty of perfectly great, tried-and-true recipes (many of yours also) in my recipe book. I love it. Makes holiday food prep way more fun when I’m doing something new.
I made these tonight and though the crescents are lovely I just didn’t have time, so I embraced the simplicity. They were devoured with the Loaded Broccoli cheese and bacon soup. Oh and I used 100% whole wheat flour and just added in gluten like you taught us in the French bread rolls recipe. It worked fabulously. In fact, they were fluffy and soft and the flavor was great and I think they’re more filling made with whole wheat flour. Just sayin’.
Like Shannon, I added some vital wheat gluten although I used 1/2 white whole wheat and 1/2 bread flour. I also used Masa Harina instead of cornmeal.* AND I had some discard sourdough starter so tossed that in :).
Lovely, lovely light and fluffy rolls – great flavor! I’ve skipped these because I never liked the canned crescent rolls so guess I had a knee jerk reaction to the “crescent” – too bad for me, but now I know!
*I always sub masa for cornmeal and have not had a problem yet!
not bread flour ??? white flour … bread on the brain!
I just made these tonight. My cornmeal mix all clumped up and made little balls of cornmeal in the dough. The rolls were also flat. Not sure what I did wrong. I am going to use these rolls for stuffing though, so it worked out!!! 🙂
Sorry they didn’t work out for you, Jessica! If the rolls flattened, it sounds like they may have needed a bit more flour. Any chance they were under floured? Was your dough sticky?
It is possible that they were under floured. I tried to double the recipe and ran out of room for the floor. I will try them again! Thanks Mel! Love your recipes!
Wow! These rolls are the most tender rolls I’ve ever eaten. This dough would be so good with chicken pillows–I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing all of your delicious recipes!!!
Will these turn out if I sub a milk alternative for the milk? (almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk…)
How about subbing dairy-free soy-free margarine for the butter? Will that mess with the results? (Earth Balance Soy-Free baking sticks)
Hi Sarah – I honestly don’t know since I’ve only ever made the recipe as-is. Sorry I’m not more help!
Sarah, I have made the original crescent rolls with cashew or almond milk and the earth balance. They came out just fine. I will say I prefer cashew milk though since it’s a little sweeter and thicker like cow’s milk.
Thank you for chiming in with your experience, Chari!
Hi is the butter supposed to be room temperature?
It doesn’t really matter, especially if it’s added to the warm cornmeal mixture. I usually add the butter to the bowl with the piping hot cornmeal mixture and let it melt while the cornmeal mixture cools to lukewarm.
Quick Question: Does the butter have to be soft, melted or does it matter if you just throw the stick in straight from the fridge? I’m assuming the luke warm cornmeal mixture will allow it to incorporate?
It doesn’t really matter, especially if it’s added to the warm cornmeal mixture. I usually add the butter to the bowl with the piping hot cornmeal mixture and let it melt while the cornmeal mixture cools to lukewarm.
When you warm them after freezing them do you typically do this in the oven? Microwave? Are they just as good?
I usually take them out of the freezer and let them thaw at room temp (2 hours or so) and then warm on low power in the microwave covered with a damp paper towel so they don’t dry out. (I take off the paper towel before serving)
Thank you for the response! One more question! How do you freeze them exactly? In the pan?
Hi Lindy, I usually bake them, let them cool and then take them off the pan and freeze them in large freezer ziploc bags.
Hi Mel- I’m a novice with rolls (baking, not eating!). Should the butter be melted or just room temperature? Thanks for all of these beautiful recipes and pictures! Happy thanksgiving
Hi Juli – It doesn’t really matter, especially if it’s added to the warm cornmeal mixture. I usually add the butter to the bowl with the piping hot cornmeal mixture and let it melt while the cornmeal mixture cools to lukewarm.
These look amazing! And I love the pretty yellow glow that the cornmeal gives!
I noticed that you said ” if you added water and sugar to yeast, add now”, do you recommend doing this instead? Otherwise just put into dry ingredients then mix and add other ingredients?
I actually prefer to use the instant yeast (the kind you don’t need to proof first). If you do use active dry and proof in 1/2 cup water, you’ll need a bit more flour (par too the reason there’s a range given in the ingredients list and not a hard, fast flour amount).
if I use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast you said to proof it in 1/2 cup warm water. Should I decrease the milk in the recipe? Does that make too much liquid?
If you use active dry and proof in 1/2 cup water, you’ll need a bit more flour (par too the reason there’s a range given in the ingredients list and not a hard, fast flour amount) to compensate, but I wouldn’t decrease the milk.
Thank you! We love your blog! When I cook something new for dinner my kids ask if its from Mel’s Kitchen. They get all excited when I tell them it is. They know it will be delicious!
Thank you, Marsha!
Emily H. mentioned your buttery cornmeal crescent rolls in your chicken noodle soup recipe comments (the soup was great! Leftovers too!), and they went right on my Must Make list! I just haven’t been able to make time for shaping crescents ha ha! Can’t wait to make these!
Your buttery cornmeal crescent rolls are my favorites–but I’m willing to try them this way. The nieces and nephews, and now grandkids, love rolling up the crescent rolls, however, so they might not like the change. I do have one question–what do you suggest I do to prevent a lumpy cornmeal/milk mixture? The last time I made these it was lumpy but I used it anyway, and the rolls turned out perfectly–but I still don’t like starting off with lumps in the dough.
Hi Cinda – try lowering the heat on the cornmeal/milk mixture so it doesn’t cook too quickly; that might help!
I’ve noticed when doing the milk + cornmeal mixing, that if you add the cornmeal into the warm milk by slowly sprinkling it in as opposed to dumping the entire amount, it does not create any lumps. Trust me…I’ve made the crescent rolls about 6,352 times
Haha, you are an expert! I agree that’s good advice.
Yet another method, but it is one more thing to wash:
With gravy or a roux and this is kind of a cornmeal-milk roux, I add the liquid to the dry a small amount at a time making first a paste and then continue to add the liquid while stirring/whisking. This is how my mama taught me to make lump free gravy 🙂
So making this recipe, I added the scalded milk gradually to the cornmeal, whisking as I added and then cooked and whisked until the mix was thick.
Thanks for the tips! I’m making these for Thanksgiving and they are sure to be perfect now.
I suggest Bob;s Red Mill medium grind cornmeal, it has better nutrition, thus you must store it in the fridge.
I just posted a comment but I don’t see it- (weird)- so, please forgive me for being redundant, but I’m wondering how big you make the balls of dough, how closely you place them, and how many you put on a baking sheet, please? I’m still a novice when it comes to rolls and I always seem to mess this part up… thanks, Mel!!
Ha! I just read the recipe more thoroughly and you’ve already answered these questions! Thanks for your awesomeness!! 😉
Hopefully I’ve answered all these questions in the directions of the recipe, Amy – but please ask if you have more!
These look so good; can’t wait to try! Have you tried using whole wheat flour when making these?
Hi Lachelle – I’ve made the crescent ones and this variation with half whole wheat flour (a couple times with 100% but they were pretty heavy) – I use white wheat flour and it works really well to do 50/50.
I just made a double batch of the cresecent cornmeal rolls, and I have been LOVING the flaky, tender buttery-ness of them!! I’ve been contemplating doing just plain rolls with the recipe, and I’m so glad this tried and true!! Can’t wait to make another batch but roll them up this time!! Thanks, Mel!! I’m wondering, how many do you place on the pan, and how closely do you place them? I’m still a novice when it comes to roll-making, and I’m worried I won’t do it right so they fluff up like they should. Thank you!!
Yummy! Thanks for another delicious recipe. Have you tried these with wheat flour?
I have the same question as Maureen. If I were to make them ahead, should I bake them before I freeze them?
I always bake, cool and then freeze because it’s so easy to warm them lightly and serve…but yeast dough does pretty well frozen (prebaked) so you could certainly try it that way as well.
Roll making is new to me, but I’m doing it this year! Because I’m a newbie, about how long did it take for them rise to double the size. I know different homes and different temperatures, but just so I can have a ball park so I don’t show up empty handed!
Hi Jen – that’s a good question. I don’t give a time amount because so much depends on the warmth of your kitchen, but I’d say an hour or so for each rise (if your kitchen is really warm, it will be less than that).
I won’t let myself make your cornmeal crescents anymore because I can’t stop eating them. I eat them all until they are G-O-N-E. Doesn’t mean I can’t make these, right? 🙂
These are my favorite roles of all time! They are a hit everywhere I take them. It is my husband’s favorite role that I make too 🙂 it’s good to know you can shape them this way. I don’t know why I never tried before! They look absolutely fantastic! I need to make these ASAP.
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I squealed out loud when I saw this post. Yesterday, I was literally staring at your buttery crescent roll recipe and debating on whether or not I should just make them for Thanksgiving anyways, even though I couldn’t really use them for leftover turkey sandwiches. I am beyond excited that you converted them into regular rolls (which I hadn’t even thought of – they look so pretty as crescent rolls)! I’m a “Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without the rolls” type of person, and your crescents are one of my top two favorites ever! I’m so glad to have these now, too!
I’m that kind of person, too…and it’s all about the roll that will make the BEST Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches. 🙂
Can the rolls be frozen after baking or even before baking?
Yes, I freeze them all the time after baking and cooling.
I was wondering the same thing! I have to make rolls for both family Thanksgivings so this will be perfect!
Ohhhh we LOVE your cornmeal crescent rolls!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m wondering if you use all purpose flour or bread flour. I’m assuming it’s all purpose since it doesn’t specify. Would one be better then the other? Love your recipes and this blog so much! Thank you!
I always use unbleached all-purpose flour, although I will say, one time I made these with bread flour and they were extra fluffy and tender. I often sub half white whole wheat flour, too.