Cloverleaf Rolls: the easy recipe for old-fashioned cloverleaf dinner rolls

Total time: 45 min + rising time
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 12 people
By Cookist

For the softest, buttery dinner rolls you can serve any time of year, you can't go wrong with cloverleaf rolls. With their pillowy, airy texture and rich, buttery flavor, cloverleaf dinner rolls go with everything from your favorite hearty beef stews to creamy chicken pasta, minestrone or chicken soup, and more.

Any time you create a meal that needs to be mopped up, you'll definitely want to whip up a batch of these cloud-like dinner rolls! Old-fashioned cloverleaf rolls are incredibly easy to make and are always popular at the dinner table. Here's everything you need to know!


Cloverleaf Rolls Ingredients

You don't need any special ingredients to make cloverleaf dinner rolls.

Flour, yeast, and sugar will help leaven the dough, while butter, milk, and egg help to enrich it, making these dinner rolls ultra-soft, fluffy, and flavorful. Make sure the milk is warm before you start combining the ingredients – warm milk will help to activate the yeast.

Finally, you'll take your rolls to the next level by brushing them with some melted butter before and after baking them. It's dinner roll perfection!


How to Make Cloverleaf Rolls

Ready to make the best cloverleaf dinner rolls you'll ever taste? Let's get started. First, combine the yeast and warm water in your stand mixer. Let it sit for several minutes until the mixture becomes frothy. Add in the milk, butter, sugar, salt, and egg. Add in the flour bit by bit, letting it get absorbed into the dough in between each addition.

Knead for 10 minutes on medium, or until the dough comes away cleanly from the sides of the bowl. Put the dough into a large oiled bowl and let it rise until it doubles in size. Keep the bowl in a warm, draft-free area for best results.

To shape the rolls, turn the dough out onto a work surface. Slice the dough into 12 equal portions, then cut each portion into 3 smaller equal-sized pieces. Roll each of the 3 pieces into a ball, then place the balls of dough into the well of a greased muffin tin. Lightly cover the dough with an oiled piece of cling film, then let it rise for another 30 to 45 minutes.

Before putting the rolls in the oven, brush them generously with melted butter, then bake them for 13 to 15 minutes at 425F. When you take them out of the oven, brush them with more melted butter, then pop them on a rack to cool. Serve your cloverleaf dinner rolls warm with some honey butter or herb butter.


Tips for Old-fashioned Cloverleaf Rolls

The milk and water should be able 105 to 110F to activate the yeast. Higher heat will kill off the yeast while cooler temperatures mean the yeast won't activate.

Whole milk will give you the best flavor and texture, but you can use skim or plant-based milk if you prefer.

If the dough isn't coming together, you can use up to ¼ cup more flour. Just make sure not to overdo it otherwise you'll wind up with hard rolls instead of lovely, soft fluffy ones.

Make sure you're using fresh yeast to make your dinner rolls.

You can use a bread machine to make these easy cloverleaf dinner rolls.

If you want to make your cloverleaf dinner rolls overnight, you can put the muffin tin in the fridge, then take it out the next day. Let the tin sit at room temperature for a few hours, then go ahead and butter and bake the rolls.

Cloverleaf Dinner Roll Variations

Once you've mastered the basics, you can try out some of these phenomenal cloverleaf dinner roll variations.

Use whole wheat flour to make a healthier dinner roll, or swap out AP flour for your preferred gluten-free flour to make gluten-free dinner rolls.

Add fresh or dried chopped herbs, parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or buttermilk to the dough. Adding your favorite seasonings will put a delicious spin on these dinner rolls and have your family raving about the results.


What to Serve with Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

These meltingly soft cloverleaf dinner rolls go with just about anything. They're an amazing side to serve with stews, soups, and any saucy dishes you'd want to mop up with a fluffy piece of bread.

Cloverleaf dinner rolls are wonderful with roasts, pasta, and creamy chicken or beef dishes. To make your dinner rolls extra special, try serving them with a little honey or herb butter.

How to Store Cloverleaf Rolls

Keep your dinner rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 or 4 days. For longer storage, keep them in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Can You Freeze Cloverleaf Rolls?

Absolutely! For the best results, freeze your rolls on the same day you baked them. Once they've cooled, put them in a freezer-safe bag. Enjoy them within 2 months.

Warm water
3 tbsp
Active Dry Yeast
2 1/4 tsp
milk, lukewarm
1 cup
melted butter, plus extra
5 tbsp
3 tbsp
Large egg
1 tsp
bread flour, divided
3 1/2 cups
for the topping
3 tbsp


Combine yeast and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let it stand for 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.

Whisk in the milk.

Add in the melted butter.

Add in the sugar, salt.

Add in the egg.

Slowly add in the flour, beating until combined.

Knead for 10 minutes on medium, or until the dough comes away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.

Oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with a damp towel and leave in a warm spot.

Wait until it doubles in size, about 1 to 2 hours.

Grease a muffin tin with butter then set it aside. Turn the dough out onto your work surface.

Cut the dough into 12 equal portions.

Cut each portion into 3 smaller equal-sized pieces. Roll each of the 3 pieces into a ball.

Place the balls of dough into the well of the prepared muffin tin.

Repeat with remaining dough.

Grease a sheet of cling film. Loosely cover the dough with the oiled side of the cling film. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat your oven to 425F.

Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove the rolls from the oven and brush with more melted butter.

Place them on a rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes, and serve.


Use room-temperature ingredients to make your cloverleaf rolls. And don't forget to use warm water and milk! This will help the dough leaven.

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