Nov 3, 2015

Parker House Rolls

Parker House Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories

I've always wanted to try making Parker House Rolls. They are an American classic, originally recorded in the Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook, published in 1933. The rolls are soft and airy, and most of all, buttery.

They were evidently created by Boston's Parker House Hotel, which also created the Boston Cream Pie (which is actually a cake, but that's okay, when you create something, you get to name it).

The secret to their tastiness? Butter. It's brushed over the dough before the dough is folded over itself, and then brushed over the fresh-from-the-oven rolls just prior to serving. Then there's the butter in the dough itself.....

Parker House Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These are the perfect dinner rolls for a family feast, and the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. If you serve these for Thanksgiving, I highly recommend making more than you need so you can make Thanksgiving Dinner Sliders the next day.

Thanksgiving Dinner Sliders? Take one of these rolls and split it in half. Fill it with leftover stuffing, turkey, and a schmear of mashed potatoes and gravy. Nuke for 30 seconds in the microwave. You'll thank me later.

Parker House Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These rolls are baked in a 9 inch by 13 inch pan. If you double the recipe, you can bake them in a half sheet pan. Here's what they look like after shaping....

Parker House Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories

and after baking....

Parker House Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories


After the recipe, there are links to check out the rest of the #TwelveLoaves bakers' Thanksgiving biscuits and rolls. They all look so tasty. You will have a tough time deciding what to bake.

Parker House Rolls Recipe

Makes 16 rolls, slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour


8 ounces (1 cup) milk, whole or 2 percent
1 large egg
12 3/4 ounces unbleached all purpose flour (plus more if needed)
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast 
1 3/8 ounces sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 ounces potato flour or potato flakes. I used potato flakes. If you can't access either, use mashed baked potato, and adjust the flour to account for the extra moisture.
1 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ounces salted butter, melted


  1. Whisk the milk and egg together in a small bowl or 2 cup pyrex measuring cup. Microwave for about 20 seconds to take the chill off of the mixture. 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixture, add the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, potato flakes, unsalted butter, and the milk and egg mixture. 
  3. Stir the mixture together to moisten the flour. 
  4. Knead the dough with the dough hook for about 8 minutes. I had to add about 1 tablespoon of flour to achieve a smooth tacky dough. 
  5. Form the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly oiled container. Cover and let rise for about 90 minutes in a warm spot in your kitchen.
  6. Spray a work surface with spray oil. Divide the dough in half with a bench scraper. 
  7. Roll or pat each half into 8 inch by 12 inch rectangles. 
  8. Brush each rectangle with the melted butter. Save any melted butter for brushing the rolls when they emerge from baking. 
  9. Cut each piece of dough in half lengthwise to make 4 inch by 12 inch rectangles. You will have four. 
  10. Fold each rectangle in half lengthwise, leaving about 1/2 inch of the part underneath showing. 
  11. Using your bench knife, cut each long piece of folded dough into four 3 inch pieces, crosswise. 
  12. Lightly spray a 9 inch by 13 inch pan with spray oil, and place each piece into the pan as pictured above, with the smooth side showing (flipping the cut pieces over). 
  13. Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let rise for about an hour. They should be puffy, but not necessarily doubled. 
  14. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  15. Bake the rolls for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. 
  16. Brush the rolls with the rest of the melted butter. 
  17. These can be served immediately. They also make great leftovers!


  1. Those look delicious!
    I use the KAF recipe to make "regular" rolls every year for Thanksgiving/ Christmas and it hasn't failed me yet :-)

    1. I've always used their pull apart recipe for Thanksgiving and Christmas too. I always trust KAF!

  2. Your rolls are so lovely, Karen! We were just in Boston and saw the Parker House Hotel. Yes to all the butter!! Just wonderful for Thanksgiving!

  3. Absolutely gorgeous! Parker Rolls are a tradition in Phil's family for Thanksgiving - first time I heard the name I misunderstood... called them Barker Rolls... (sigh)

    I made them twice but I prefer the way you shaped them...

    1. Thanks Sally! I thought about the folded circles, but then they'd probably pop open. Barker rolls. Love that =)

  4. These rolls are just gorgeous! I love the idea of Thanksgiving sliders! Thinking a double batch is definitely the way to go!

  5. I can imagine that such warm rolls are just melting in the mouth.. :)

  6. Hello, can I use bread flour instead of allpurpose? I live in Australia.

    1. Yes you can Ingrid. Should work just fine.

  7. There is nothing like a good parkerhouse roll!!!

  8. I have never had a Parker House Roll. I need to remedy that right away! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  9. Parker rolls are one of my favorites, Yum!

  10. Your idea of Thanksgiving sliders on your Parker House Rolls....brilliant! These look like Parker House Roll perfection!

  11. Karen, guess what? I made them today!

    now, I screwed up, I am afraid - I did not realize that the convection feature was on, and by the time I smelled them, they were super dark. I want to serve them tomorrow, so I must be careful about how to warm them up - do you have any advice? I thought about brushing them with just a little butter and placing in a 300F max oven just to warm them up without browning....

    Phil tried one and thought they are GREAT!

    I cannot believe I did not notice the convection on.... I am so disappointed at myself....

    1. Oh nooooo!!! There are two options. Brush with a little butter and wrap in foil before heating so they don't get toast-like... or... my magic trick.. nuke them for about 20 seconds. Try with one and see what you think!

    2. awesome! Will try that before the guests arrive tomorrow....

      I swear, I've been kicking myself.... (sigh)

    3. If it makes you feel any better, I just forgot to do the first rise before shaping some rolls. I had to unshape them and then do the first rise and shape them again. =)

  12. What measurement should I use to substitute mashed potatoes for potato flakes? Thank you!

    1. I don't know exactly. I've always used potato flakes. I'd just add about 2 ounces of cooked mashed potato, and if the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.


I would love to hear from you!