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How To Shape Dinner Rolls

Here are 4 ways to easily shape perfect dinner rolls like a pro!

Ultimate Dinner Rolls

You can’t go wrong with classic round dinner rolls, but sometimes it’s fun to switch things up! I’ll show you how to shape traditional rolls, as well as crescents, knots, and cloverleaf rolls.

Be sure to check out the Ultimate Dinner Rolls Guide for my favorite roll recipe, flavor variations, baking tips and more.

The Ultimate Dinner Rolls video tutorial

Homemade Sandwich, Slider and Burger Buns

How to portion dough evenly so your rolls are the same size

Regardless of what shape you want your rolls, I always first make sure all my rolls are portioned to be the same size.

Note: using a kitchen scale isn’t necessary, but it helps so much!

  1. First, weigh all of your dough using a digital kitchen scale.
  2. Divide that number by 12 (about 2 ounces for each roll if I use my ultimate dinner roll recipe).
  3. Divide dough into 12 pieces with a dough scraper and use the scale to make sure they’re the same size, making adjustments as needed.

Now you’re ready to shape your rolls! Let’s start first with traditional round rolls.

Ultimate Dinner Rolls Guide

How to shape traditional round rolls

  1. Take portioned dough in one hand and use your fingers of the other hand to pull and stretch the dough over itself so the top is smooth, pinching it at the bottom.
  2. Place the round pinched side-down on an unfloured surface and cup your hand around it, with the edge of your hand firmly on the counter. Sweep your hand in a circle around the dough, gently shaping it into a smooth round ball as you go. This should only take a few seconds.
  3. Place in a 9×13-inch pan or quarter sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Ultimate Dinner Rolls Guide

How to shape cloverleaf rolls

  1. Divide each portion of dough into 3 more equal portions.
  2. Shape each portion the same as traditional round dinner rolls, using your fingers to smooth out the tops and pinch the bottoms, and finish by smoothing it out on the counter.
  3. Place 3 small rounds into each cup of a greased muffin pan.
Ultimate Dinner Rolls Guide

How to shape crescent rolls

  1. Instead of dividing dough into 12 portions, divide in half and roll each out to about ½ inch thick.
  2. Cut each into 6 equal triangular pieces.
  3. Starting at the large end, roll the dough up so that the pointed end is on the bottom.
  4. Place on a regular sheet pan lined with parchment paper and curve into a crescent shape if desired.
Ultimate Dinner Rolls Guide

How to shape knotted rolls

  1. Roll and stretch each portion of dough into a rope about 6-8 inches long. If the dough resists stretching, cover with plastic and let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then try again.
  2. Use both hands to form the rope of dough into a knot.
  3. Place on a regular sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Ultimate Dinner Rolls Guide

Now that your rolls are beautifully shaped, all that’s left is to let rise one more time and bake! For my full dinner roll recipe, and more tips for baking the best rolls, see my Ultimate Dinner Roll Guide.

Ultimate Dinner Rolls Guide

Annalise is a self-taught baker-turned-blogger behind the site Completely Delicious. She stumbled on her passion for baking after college, attending culinary school briefly, before taking her quest for learning into her kitchen. She has an intense sweet tooth — on her blog you’ll find recipes for layered cakes, cookies, pies and more. Additionally, she hopes to teach others what she’s learned through baking tips and tutorials. She currently calls Utah home, where she lives with her husband and two boys.

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