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Dec 8, 2020

Buttery Soft Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

These super soft pull-apart dinner rolls, baked in a cast iron pan, are light as a feather, airy, and layered with lots and lots of herby butter. 

Pull apart rolls in a cast iron skillet

Serve these buttery rolls straight from your cast iron skillet. I guarantee these rolls will be the most popular thing on your table. 

These rolls are made from a soft dough brushed with lots of melted butter and rolled up to make lots of layers of soft buttery goodness. Plus, when you pull them from oven, brush them with even more butter!

I brushed them with a melted compound butter with garlic and parsley. You can brush them with plain melted salted butter or your favorite flavored butter. 

Pull apart rolls in a cast iron skillet brushed with garlic herb butter

As you pull these rolls out of the pan, you can see the shredded layers of soft buttery bread calling your name to just peel them off and pop them in your mouth while no one is looking. 

These warm and fluffy rolls are a dream to eat, especially if you are a fan of soft pillowy dinner rolls. The dough itself does not contain butter, but the pan is greased with lots of butter, and before you put the pan in the oven, you brush the rolls with three tablespoons of melted butter. 

Then, once you pull them from the oven, you brush them with three more tablespoons of melted butter. This is where I used my flavored butter

Buttery rolls on a plate

I fell in love with these rolls after watching a segment of The Kitchen, one of my Sunday morning Food Network indulgences. These rolls were presented by Jeff Mauro for their Thanksgiving episode. It was one of those segments where, once I saw it, I had to run downstairs and start baking. 

While he didn't explain it in the segment, he used a tangzhong in the dough, which adds extra softness to the bread. 

What is tangzhong? It's a mixture of flour and water or flour and milk that is simmered until it thickens enough to coat a spoon. I've used it in several bread recipes, including:

Pull apart rolls close up

These rolls bake beautifully into each other. When you place them in your cast iron skillet, they will seem like they are very far apart, something magical happens when they hit the oven. 

Pull apart dinner roll dough before the second rise

To assemble these rolls, you pat the dough into a rectangle, and cut it into 12 strips, and then stretch and roll them up and place them in a buttered 12 inch cast iron skillet

If you don't have a 12 inch cast iron skillet, an oven proof 12 inch skillet will work. The difference is that the cast iron skillet will retain the heat from the oven to keep the rolls warm when you bring them to the table. I think owning one is totally worth it just for the presentation. 

Pull-apart dinner rolls in a pan

This month, the Bread Bakers group's theme is Tear & Share (AKA Pull-Apart Bread), and it is perfect for a holiday get-together. We have lots of sweet and savory recipes for you to try.

Our host this month is Felice from All That's Left Are the Crumbs

Bread Bakers logo

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

These rolls are amazing. I served them for Thanksgiving, and I'll make them again and again. The day after Thanksgiving, they were perfect for making leftover turkey sandwiches with mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing. So good. 

super soft pull-apart dinner rolls

Buttery Soft Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls Recipe

Buttery Soft Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls Recipe
Yield: 12 rolls
Author: Karen Kerr
These super soft pull-apart dinner rolls, baked in a cast iron pan, are light as a feather, airy, and layered with lots and lots of herby butter.


For the Tangzhong
  • 3 tablespoons bread flour
  • 1/2 cup water
For the Final Dough
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) bread flour, plus more as needed to create a sticky yet workable dough
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons melted salted butter, divided (see note)


  1. Cook the flour and water for the tangzhong over medium low heat whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat immediately and let cool. Mix in the milk and egg.  
  2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and add the two cups of flour and yeast. 
  3. Mix on low for about 2 minutes. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. 
  4. Turn the mixer to medium low and add the salt and sugar. Mix for 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour by tablespoon, until the dough is still very sticky but workable. I added about four more tablespoons of flour. 
  5. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about an hour. 
  6. Deflate the dough and press it into a 9 inch by 10 inch rectangle. 
  7. Cut the dough lengthwise into 4 strips. Cut each strip into 3 equal sized pieces. Stretch each into a 2inch by 8 inch strip and roll it into a snail like shape. 
  8. Grease a 12 inch cast iron skillet with one tablespoon of butter and arrange the rolls with 10 around the outside and 2 in the middle. 
  9. Let rise until doubled. 
  10. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F with a rack on the lowest level and another on the upper third of the oven. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter. 
  11. Brush the risen rolls with three tablespoons of melted butter and bake for 20 minutes on the lowest rack and then 5 minutes on the upper middle rack.
  12. Let the rolls cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then brush them again with 3 tablespoons of melted butter or melted garlic herb butter. 
  13. Serve out of the pan immediately. 


For brushing the baked rolls, I used a melted garlic and herb compound butter.



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bread, pull-apart, tear and share
American, British
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Would you like to comment?

  1. Karen, these rolls are so soft and pillowy and the stuff bread dreams are made of. Another recipe added to my "must try" list. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I need some of these for breakfast this morning, Karen! They are perfect in every way!

  3. These are lovely rolls and I think they will be gracing my Christmas table this year.

  4. A friend asked me to make her a batch of garlic rolls. These would be perfect!

  5. They look perfect. They are the best to pair with creamy tomato soup. An interesting recipe which I want to give a try soon.

  6. Ohhh these are just beautiful! I love anything served in a cast iron - it adds such great crisp to whatever it touches, and look at that buttery herby topping!

  7. I remember reading about tangzhong in a few of your other recipes. I will definitely give this a try soon.

    1. The results are such soft peel-apart bread.

  8. Replies
    1. I hate when that happens! You add the milk and egg to the flour paste after the paste cools.

  9. Just took these from oven and oh my gosh, these are terrific! Goes into the regular rotation. Thank you, Karen, for sharing.


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