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French Bread Rolls

French bread rolls are soft on the inside, crusty on the outside and easy to make with a simple yeast bread dough. Perfect for beginners or experts, they pair well with any dinner!

Making homemade bread recipes is easy when you follow these tried and true favorites including easy homemade bread, dinner rolls or Hawaiian rolls.

French bread rolls in baking dish.
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Crusty French Bread Rolls

There’s nothing more satisfying than baking yeast bread recipes from scratch, especially when it’s your first time! This recipe for French bread rolls is easy for beginner bakers, and a classic just like my recipe for brioche bread that experts love, too.

They are a smaller, rounder version of traditional French baguette and have a similar texture to homemade French bread. With a signature score on top, they are light and fluffy on the inside, slightly crispy and chewy on the outside and the perfect pairing to any meal!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy to make: French rolls dough is very forgiving! This is a great recipe to try if you are a first-time bread baker.
  • Simple ingredients: Making fresh bread can be intimidating, but this entire batch is made very simply with a few pantry staples, and the dough comes together easily.
  • Classic dinner roll. I enjoy a traditional French bread loaf for making stuffed French bread and French bread pizza, but there’s nothing quite like homemade buns!

French Bread Rolls Recipe Ingredients

French bread ingredients on counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Warm water, active dry yeast, granulated sugar: Warm water is needed to proof the yeast and activate it. Yeast feeds on sugar to thrive. Ensure your yeast isn’t expired and the temp of your water is between 110-120°F.
  • All-purpose flour: Some recipes call for bread flour, but I like to use all-purpose flour just to keep it simple since it’s what most people have on hand.
  • Salt: Gives the bread added flavor.
  • Olive oil: Once the dough has been formed, we’ll use oil to coat the dough ball to prevent it from sticking but also to help keep it moist. I prefer olive oil, but vegetable oil will work here too.
  • Melted salted butter: Brushing the top of the French bread rolls with melted butter is completely optional but utterly delightful.

Substitutions and Variations

This French bread roll recipe like most roll recipes can be tweaked to your liking.

  • Whole grains. Substitute half the all-purpose flour for white whole wheat flour. This adds some whole grain goodness without creating a heavy, dense texture.
  • Shiny crispy crust. If you love rolls with a golden brown crust, brush with an egg wash of whisked egg and water before baking.
  • Add seeds: You could also sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  • Honey: Instead of salted butter, brush with honey while warm. You can also use honey instead of sugar in the dough itself, like I do with these copycat Texas Roadhouse rolls.

How to Make French Bread Rolls

Showing how to make french bread rolls in a 6 step collage.
  1. Proof. Allow the warm water, yeast, and sugar to sit for 5 minutes in a small bowl until it begins to foam. If it doesn’t foam, unfortunately, it means your yeast is no longer active and will need to discard it and grab some fresh yeast.
  2. Mix. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl), use the dough hook attachment to stir together 2 cups of flour and salt. Add the foamy yeast mixture and mix on medium-low speed.
  3. Make the dough. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, kneading to combine as you go. The dough should be smooth but not sticky. If it is sticky, add a bit more flour as needed.
  4. First dough rise. Coat the ball of dough with olive oil and let it sit in the bowl, covered with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes until it has doubled in bulk. Prepare the baking dish while you wait.
  5. Portion out rolls. Once it has risen, punch down the dough and transfer it onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Dive it in half, then quarters, and cut those quarters into 3 or 4 equal pieces. Roll each one into a ball and place it in the prepared baking dish.
  6. Second rise & bake. Use a lame or sharp knife to make a diagonal slit across top of each dough ball. Cover lightly and allow them to rise again in a warm place for 45 minutes until doubled in size. Bake 15 minutes in a preheated 400°F until tops are golden brown. Brush with melted butter and enjoy while warm!

Tips for Making French Bread Rolls

  • Greasing the dish. I like to grease my dish with butter for flavor, but you can use cooking spray if you prefer.
  • If not using an egg wash to attain a shiny crispy crust, you can also add ice cubes to a baking sheet on the lower rack which will trap the steam. Tack on a few extra baking minutes.
  • To get precise equal amounts of dough per roll, use a kitchen scale to weigh each piece.
  • Do not overmix the dough. Once it starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl, stop mixing.
  • Use a stand mixer, an electric mixer, or mix by hand.
  • Shape into tight balls. Creating tension on the rolls and rolling them into tight balls will help them rise taller rather than outward.
French bread rolls in baking dish.

Serving Suggestions

French bread rolls are so versatile! They’re amazing freshly baked and warm right out of the oven with a brush of melted butter, a sprinkling of coarse salt, or fresh garlic.

Recipe FAQs

Can I substitute with rapid rise yeast or instant yeast?

In a pinch, yes you can. You would just skip the initial proofing and add all ingredients to the mixing bowl at once.

Why is my dough not rising?

There could be a few reasons, but the most likely ones are that either your water temperature was too cold or too hot which affected the yeast activation. Your yeast may have also been expired.

Also, make sure your dough is rising in a warm, draft-free area. If the sun is shining, put it by the window. If the oven is on, leave it on the stovetop. You can also use the proofing drawer at the bottom of the oven.

Why do we score the top of the French bread rolls?

The main reason is decoration, although it can serve a purpose. It gives the dough a bit of extra room to expand and the steam to escape. Otherwise, it might end up with a crack in the crust or they could blow out anywhere and the result will be a misshapen roll.

How to store leftover French bread rolls?

Cool completely then store in an airtight container at room temperature away from direct sunlight up to 3 days. Reheat by wrapping them in foil and place in the oven at 350°F for up to 10 minutes .gy

Can French dinner rolls be frozen?

Yes! I prefer to freeze after baking. Cool completely then place in freezer safe bag and store frozen up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or thaw and warm up in the oven to reheat.

French bread roll split open with butter on top.

Want more homemade bread recipes? Try these potato rolls, a loaf of artisan bread or whole wheat bread.

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French bread rolls in baking dish.

French Bread Rolls

5 from 11 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
French bread rolls are soft on the inside, crusty on the outside and easy to make with a simple yeast bread dough. Perfect for beginners or experts, they pair well with any dinner!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Rise Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 16



  • 1 ½ cups warm water (about 105°F)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 ¾ cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour , plus more as needed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons table salt or fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Melted salted butter , for tops, optional


  • In a small bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit 5 minutes, or until it begins to foam.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the dough attachment or in a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups flour and salt. Stir in the yeast mixture on medium-low speed or mix by hand. Knead 1/2 cup of the remaining flour in increments until the dough is smooth but not sticky. Add more flour as needed.
  • Rub the olive oil around the dough ball, cover the bowl with a towel and let rest at least 30 minutes. If you have time, let rise up to 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  • Punch the dough down. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and divide it in half. Divide in half again and cut into 3 to 4 pieces. If you want a little larger rolls start with 12. For smaller rolls you can make 16. Roll each section into a ball. Place in baking dish.
  • Make a diagonal cut across the top of each roll with a sharp bread knife or lame. Cover lightly with a towel. Set in a warm spot and let rise 45 minutes, or until rolls have doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
  • Brush the top with melted butter, if desired. Slice and serve while warm.


Shiny tops: I prefer a soft crust, but for a crispier/shinier crust, brush 1 egg white (whisked) with a teaspoon of water before baking the rolls. You can also add a few ice cubes into the oven to help trap the steam and add a few minutes onto the cooking time.
Storing: These rolls store best in a brown paper bag on the counter. 
Freezer instructions: Allow to cool and then place in a large zip-top bag to freeze. Remove all the air from the bag and then freeze up to 3 months. Thaw overnight on the counter. Reheat in the oven at 250°F for a few minutes.


Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 221mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin C: 0.002mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: French

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