The history behind Parker House Rolls is quite interesting.

parker house rolls
A tray of Parker House Rolls coming out of the oven.

The rolls became popular in the 19th century when served at the famous Parker House Hotel in Boston. This is the same hotel that is the original creator of the famous Boston Creme Pie.

The have become a staple in any bread basket served in the New England area.

They are soft and buttery and pair well with any meal. We serve them every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinner.

But we also use them to soak up the sauce when eating spaghetti, soup, and to compliment a special homemade steakhouse meal.

What makes Parker House Rolls so special?

Butter, butter, butter.

parker house rolls
Use the dough hook on your stand mixer for easing mixing of the dough.

Okay, maybe that is a little bit of exaggeration, but Parker House Rolls are known for their buttery flavor.

There is not only butter in the dough recipe, but the original recipe calls for the dough to be brushed with butter when being formed in its classic shape.

And one final layer of butter gets spread on the rolls once they come out of the oven to give it that classic shiny look.

But it’s not just the butter that makes these Parker House Rolls so delicious.

parker house rolls
You will know when you have added enough flour – the dough will pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl.

The original recipe also includes milk and sugar as key ingredients. That is why the rolls turn out so light and fluffy when baked.

And the sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness for the rolls to melt in your mouth when you take a bite.

How To Form Parker House Rolls

Parker House Rolls have a unique shape. Legend has it that an angry baker threw in a tray of unfinished rolls in the oven after an altercation with a hotel guest.

parker house rollsThe result – a crispy and buttery exterior and a light and fluffy interior in a unique shape. The classic folded over shape is now part of every classic Parker House Roll recipe.

You can form the rolls several ways.

The most common way is the roll out the bread dough and cut out circles using a biscuit cutter. Then brush it with butter and fold it over so the bottom edge is slightly bigger than the top.

You can also roll out the dough into typical dinner roll balls. Flatten the center with a rolling pin, apply the butter and fold.

And finally, if you want square dinner rolls, roll out your dough into large rectangular strips. Fold the dough lengthwise and cut into 3 inch rolls.

parker house rolls
The dough after it has been rising for over an hour.

But the most important part – don’t forget the butter in the center of the dough!

If you enjoy bread recipes, check out all of our favorite recipes: OWG Bread Recipes

Parker House Rolls Recipe

**a printable version of this recipe can be found at the bottom of this article

INGREDIENTS:

parker house rolls
Punch the dough in the center after the first rising.

6 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus extra for work surfaces

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 packages active dry yeast

1 cup butter softened, divided

2 cups hot water

1 large egg

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment, mix together 2-1/4 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast until evenly distributed.

parker house rolls
If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, use a glass or small bowl to cut out perfect circles.

2. Add 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter. Turn mixer on low speed.  Gradually pour 2 cups hot tap water (120-130 degrees F) into the dry ingredients.

3. Add the egg. Increase mixer speed to medium and  beat for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl with a silicone spatula when needed.

4. Add in 3/4 cup flour and continue beating for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl as needed.

5. Add additional flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough comes off of the sides of the bowl.

6. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, working in more flour as needed.

parker house rolls
The traditional way to make Parker House Rolls.

7. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl. Turn dough over so that the top is greased. Cover with a towel; let rise in a warm place until volume doubles, about 1-1/2 hours.

8. Punch dough down: Push down in the center, then push the edges into the center. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly to make a smooth ball. Cover with a bowl for 15 minutes, and let dough rest.

9. Heat your oven to 400 degrees. As it is preheating place the remaining 1/2 cup of butter in a 17 x 11 inch roasting pan and place in the oven just until the butter melts. Remove from the oven and spread the butter evenly on the bottom surface of the pan.

parker house rolls
Another way to make and cut Parker House Rolls.

10. On a lightly floured surface roll dough out 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 2-3/4-inch round biscuit cutter cut dough into circles.

11. Holding each dough circle by the edge, dip both sides into melted butter; fold in half, lightly pressing the edges together.

12. Arrange folded dough circles in rows, each nearly touching the next, in the roasting pan. Cover the pan with a towel; let dough rise in a warm place until the dough nearly doubles. (approximately 40 minutes)

13. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until browned.

parker house rolls
Once the rolls come out of the oven, brush them with melted butter.

NOTE: If you decide to brush the butter in the center of each circle, be sure to brush the tops of the rolls when they are finished baking.

Instead of using a biscuit cutter, tear small sections and make dough balls. Flatten out the center with a rolling pin and brush the top side with butter.

Fold in half, leaving the bottom edge exposed 1/4 inch. Bake and once browned, brush tops of the rolls with butter.

Enjoy!

Mary and Jim

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Parker House Rolls

Classic dinner rolls that are light, fluffy and buttery. A must have for any bread basket!

Ingredients

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour divided, plus extra for work surfaces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 cup butter softened divided
  • 2 cups hot tap water
  • 1 large egg

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the hook attachment, mix together 2-1/4 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast until evenly distributed.
  2. Add 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter. Turn mixer on low speed. Gradually pour 2 cups hot tap water (120-130 degrees F) into the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the egg. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl with a silicone spatula when needed.
  4. Add in 3/4 cup flour and continue beating for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.
  5. Add additional flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough comes off of the sides of the bowl.
  6. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, working in more flour as needed.
  7. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl. Turn dough over so that the top is greased. Cover with a towel; let rise in a warm place until volume doubles, about 1-1/2 hours.
  8. Punch dough down: Push down in the center, then push the edges into the center. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly to make a smooth ball. Cover with a bowl for 15 minutes, and let dough rest.
  9. Heat your oven to 400 degrees. As it is preheating place the remaining 1/2 cup of butter in a 17 x 11 inch roasting pan and place in the oven just until the butter melts. Remove from the oven and spread the butter evenly on the bottom surface of the pan.
  10. On a lightly floured surface roll dough out 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 2-3/4-inch round biscuit cutter cut dough into circles.
  11. Holding each dough circle by the edge, dip both sides into melted butter; fold in half, lightly pressing the edges together.
  12. Arrange folded dough circles in rows, each nearly touching the next, in the roasting pan. Cover the pan with a towel; let dough rise in a warm place until the dough nearly doubles. (approximately 40 minutes)
  13. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until browned.

Recipe Notes

If you decide to brush the butter in the center of each circle, be sure to brush the tops of the rolls when they are finished baking.

Instead of using a biscuit cutter, tear small sections and make dough balls. Flatten out the center with a rolling pin and brush the top side with butter. Fold in half, leaving the bottom edge exposed 1/4 inch. Bake and once browned, brush tops of the rolls with butter.

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

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6 thoughts on “Parker House Rolls – The Perfect Dinner Roll For Any Meal

  • November 16, 2018 at 1:42 pm
    Permalink

    Can the Parker House Rolls be made ahead of time and freeze

    Reply
    • November 18, 2018 at 8:22 am
      Permalink

      Hi Gloria
      I have never froze them after baking. However, I would imagine they would turn out just fine. I would recommend warming them up right before serving.

      Reply
  • November 6, 2018 at 9:37 am
    Permalink

    Can you re-write this recipe with instructions for those of us who are new to baking and can’t afford the high dollar mixers with the dough hook? Thank you.

    Reply
    • November 6, 2018 at 9:47 am
      Permalink

      Hi Ronda You can mix and knead the dough by hand and it will yield the same results.

      Reply
  • November 6, 2018 at 8:52 am
    Permalink

    I love Parker rolls, they are quite the treat. I guess I did it the lazy way. I simply rolled the dough into balls and put them side-by-side into a round pan. They still tasted amazing! Thanks for the simple recipe.

    Reply
    • November 6, 2018 at 9:48 am
      Permalink

      That is what I do most of the time as well. However, the traditional way is by folding them to give them that classic look. Either way they are delicious!

      Reply

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