Classic, old fashioned cloverleaf rolls are definitely one of my favorite types of dinner rolls to bring to the table. They’re light and fluffy, buttery, and slightly sweet plus you can pull them apart so that there are more inside edges to hold all of that melting butter. If you don’t have much experience with yeast baking these are a great place to start – you might also want to read through my guide to homemade bread baking for the answers to any questions you might have. This post is updated from the August 2008 version. Last update Nov 1, 2018.
For this recipe you’ll need: all purpose flour, yeast, sugar, milk, egg, butter, salt
Cloverleaf Rolls Recipe Backstory
When I was growing up we always had the kind of cloverleaf rolls that you buy at the store and brown in your oven — and only on holidays. I was always happy to stack a couple on my plate when they were passed. To steal a phrase from one of my sons – I thought they were the bomb diggity with two scoops of koo koo kachoo. Well I did right up until the fateful day I found out you can make homemade cloverleaf rolls from scratch!
OMG — they were so much better that I was totally hooked.
These are an easy roll to make and most people really like them because the shape is so…home. There is just something about light, buttery cloverleaf rolls that makes you think of chilly days, pot roast, and apple pie — or is that just me?
I’ve made them with all kinds of variations. I’ve used whole wheat flour, half whole wheat flour, honey… you name it. All of the variations are delicious but I keep coming back to the basic, old fashioned cloverleaf roll. I don’t know — there’s just something about them that’s perfect.
When you pull it open the fragrance of sweet, yeast bread surrounds you. The crumb is small and delicate and one look tells you just how good that first bite is going to be. I usually have to “test” one before they get to the table — after all what if they were terrible?
But they never are.
How to Make Copycat Brown and Serve Rolls
You can even make your own brown and serve type cloverleaf rolls with this recipe. Just follow these easy steps –
- Bake them about 8 minutes, or until they are done but haven’t started to brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Put them on a cookie sheet and freeze until they are frozen solid.
- Store them in the freezer in airtight containers until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve just put the frozen rolls on a cookie sheet and bake them at 375F until golden – about 5 minutes.
Wear pearls and high heels to dinner. You’ll feel just like Mrs. Cleaver.
How do you make cloverleaf dinner rolls? Step by step
You’ll shape the rolls after the first rising and the technique couldn’t be easier. Here’s what I do –
- Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces. For exact results weigh each piece of dough and make sure it weighs close to the same.
- Divide each piece in 3 equal pieces.
- Roll into balls.
- Butter 24 muffin cups.
- Dip each piece of dough in melted butter and place three balls in each muffin cup.
- When they rise they form the clover. If you want you can even use two kinds of dough like white and dark whole wheat — it looks pretty cool.
- Brush with melted butter.
- Brush with melted butter.
See? Easy as pie.
Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls FAQs and Variations
This recipe is rated: moderate – it’s good to have a little experience working with yeast.
How long do you cook clover rolls?
Cloverleaf rolls go in the oven for 12 minutes or so.
How do you make fluffy rolls?
It’s not hard to make light, fluffy rolls … when you know how –
- Use whole milk for the liquid.
- Make sure the dough is kneaded well and rises properly before baking.
- Follow the recipe carefully.
- Don’t overbake.
- Brush the tops with melted butter and cover them with a clean tea towel when they come out of the oven to keep them soft.
These basic dinner rolls have numerous variations. Here are some of my favorites –
- Substitute whole wheat flour for half the white flour called for. Remove 1 tablespoon of flour from each cup and replace it with 1 tablespoon of gluten to keep the rolls soft.
- Dip the dough balls in melted butter mixed with garlic, Italian herbs mix, or even chili powder before putting them in the muffin tins.
- Use a light vegetable oil or melted coconut oil in place of the butter to make them vegan.
- When making the dough balls push your finger into each one to make a hole. Insert a mini-marshmallow that has been rolled in cinnamon sugar. Form the dough ball around the marshmallow to enclose it completely. Bake as directed.
- If you’re gluten free try this quick and easy, no rise gluten free yeast rolls recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring.
YOU MAY NEED…
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What’s new? A brand new store full of things to help you make the recipes, celebrate the days, and create the memories! Check out Restless Chipotle & Co. As always, thanks so much for being a part of Restless Chipotle!
I love Nordic Ware – that’s not a surprise to anyone. The quality of their pans is amazing – they last forever. I love these nonstick muffin tins with handles. It works great with these dinner rolls!
More Old Fashioned Bread Recipes from Restless Chipotle
I love to make all kinds of breads and rolls so I have a pretty large number of recipes here on Restless Chipotle. Here are some of my favorites –
- English muffin bread
- Whole wheat rolls
- Buttermilk honey bread (this makes great rolls, too)
- Cinnamon rolls
Check out these other rolls from here on the blog. Just click on the image to go straight to the recipe. Texas Knot Rolls, Potato Rolls, 30 Minute Dinner Rolls
Cloverleaf Rolls Recipe
Here’s that old fashioned cloverleaf roll recipe. You can hover your mouse over the servings and increase the amounts to increase the recipe – make a lot because these will disappear fast! If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars.
Old Fashioned Cloverleaf Rolls
- 2 packages yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 cups warm milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg , room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , melted - divided use
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- In a bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm water with 1 teaspoon of sugar.
- Set aside for 5 minutes and allow to foam up.
- Beat in milk, 1/2 cup sugar, egg, 1/4 cup of the butter and salt.
- Add 2 cups of flour and beat until smooth.
- Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth about 6-8 minutes (or knead in your stand mixer according to manufacturer's instructions)
- Put the dough in a greased bowl. grease the top and cover it.
- Allow to rise in a warm spot for about an hour, or until doubled.
- Punch dough down.
- Roll into 90 equal sized balls.
- Dip the balls in the remaining melted butter and place three in greased muffin cups.
- Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Brush with melted butter.
- Serve with butter or honey butter.
Included in Meal Plan Monday Thanksgiving Edition