Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

May 14, 2021
At a Glance


This is your everyday gluten free dinner rolls recipe. They’re squishy soft and buttery, and are just begging to be squeezed.


Prep / Cook Time

30 minutes, plus rising / About 20 minutes


 5/5 (7 votes)
Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

Soft homemade gluten free dinner rolls that are quick and easy enough for busy weeknights, but still fit for any holiday table or celebration. Never go without bread again!

closeup image of fingers squeezing baked dinner roll

What’s special about this dinner rolls recipe?

These rolls are highly enriched, which just means that they have plenty of butter and milk in the recipe. Plus, the addition of nearly 1 full cup of tapioca starch helps provide a lot of stretch to the rolls, as baked, and makes the dough very easy to shape with almost no added flour.

These gluten free dinner rolls are soft and squishy, so they’re ideal for serving with any homestyle meal. Imagine them on the side of your plate of gluten free spaghetti and meatballs, since they’re easy enough for a weeknight.

They’re also perfect for your holiday table. I’ve made our recipe for gluten free Texas Roadhouse rolls many times for Thanksgiving, but they’re more of an appetizer-type roll.

Next holiday season, I think I’ll be making this gluten free rolls recipe as they’re made for soaking up the last bits of gluten free gravy from that holiday plate.

Overhead image of 6 baked dinner rolls in round baking dish

What gluten free flour is best for this gf bread?

To make gluten free bread, the base blend I recommend is Better Batter or my mock Better Batter all purpose gluten free flour blend.

Even when our bread recipe calls for our gluten free bread flour, which we’re not using here, the base is (mock Better Batter). It has the right balance of gluten free flours when you need a recipe to hold its shape during rising and baking.

Adding nearly a full cup of tapioca starch/flour to the recipe lightens the rolls without diluting the strength of Better Batter. It also provides elasticity to the raw dough, which makes for easier shaping, and to the baked rolls.

If you can’t have tapioca starch/flour, you can try replacing it both in the mock Better Batter and as a separate ingredient in this recipe with superfine glutinous rice flour (which is just rice flour made from starch, short-grain white rice). I have had some success with that substitution, but can’t promise results.

Side by side images of rising rolls and risen rolls both in the same metal pan and covered in plastic wrap

How do you make gluten free rolls rise?

This is a yeasted recipe, so you must provide a proper environment for the commercial yeast to reproduce after it’s exposed to the milk in the recipe. Yeast rises at a very high range of temperatures.

The desired dough temperature appears to be 78°F, but I don’t spend much of any time worrying about that. I typically set yeasted dough to rise on top of my oven (never inside), and turn the oven on to about 300°F. The ambient heat provides just enough warmth to help the dough rise uniformly.

Yeasted dough will rise at lower temperatures, even in the refrigerator at 40°F, just more slowly. A slower rise creates more of that somewhat sour, yeasty flavor in the dough, and is best for leaner, non-enriched bread doughs that don’t have much, if any, fat.

The worst placement for getting rolls to rise is somewhere too hot. Slow-rising dough can be very frustrating, but a too-hot temperature risks killing the yeast and preventing any rise at all.

Enrichments like the milk, egg whites, and butter in these rolls help the dough rise more quickly. But rising times for yeasted dough like these dinner rolls can vary significantly.

A dry climate will also inhibit yeast growth, so you can try adding a tablespoon of additional warm milk or water to the dough if you tend to struggle with getting yeast dough to rise. Don’t add too much, though, or the rolls are likely to overproof and then deflate as they cool (leaving them gummy inside).

Pastry brush placing melted butter on center roll in round metal baking dish with 6 raw rolls

Storage tips

I don’t ever recommend freezing raw yeast dough. It may not rise after having been frozen.

These rolls should be eaten within the same day they were baked. Ideally, you’ll serve them hot out of the oven.

However, that sort of planning isn’t always possible. And I also don’t recommend letting the dough rise in the refrigerator for more than 24 hours, as the oven rise tends to be very irregular during baking when you do that.

There are two potential solutions to this issue.

First, this recipe makes 16 small dinner rolls, which is quite a lot. It can easily be halved just by cutting every single ingredient amount in half.

If you make 8 rolls instead of 16, they should be eaten all in one sitting. If you’re only baking for 1 or 2, try cutting the recipe down to 25%.

Second, if you’d like to try parbaking the shaped and risen rolls, you can then freeze them for at least a month. Just defrost at room temperature, then finish baking until fully browned and 190°F inside.

To parbake the rolls, follow the recipe through baking (be sure to separate the raw rolls, leaving about 2-inches between one another), but only set the oven to 300°F. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the rolls appear puffed and are no longer wet inside.

Remove the rolls from the oven, and allow them to cool completely. Freeze in a single layer, then wrap tightly in freezer-safe wrap.

Eliminate as much air as possible, which causes freezer burn. Defrost at room temperature and then finish baked as described above.

round metal tin with 6 rolls on blue cloth, one roll broken in half

Ingredients and substitutions


If you can’t have dairy, try replacing the melted butter with melted vegan butter. Melt and Miyoko’s Kitchen brands are my favorite.

In place of dairy milk, any unsweetened nondairy milk should work. Avoid using anything nonfat, though, as richness is the goal.

Egg white

There are 2 egg whites in this recipe, and they provide structure to the rolls. You may be able to replace them with aquafaba, or the brine from a can of unsalted chickpeas.

Sometimes aquafaba is a perfect substitute for egg whites in baking, and other times it appears not to work. I’m afraid I’m not experienced enough in this sort of substitution to predict likelihood of success.

Instant yeast

I always bake with instant yeast (which is also called bread maker or rapid rise yeast) in yeasted recipes like this one. You cannot eliminate the yeast in this recipe, but you can make dinner rolls with our recipe for yeast free gluten free dinner rolls.

You cannot replace the yeast in this recipe with wild yeast sourdough. Sourdough recipes are entirely distinct.

If you prefer to use active dry yeast, you’ll need to use more, and to “prove” the yeast in some of the milk first. The general rule of thumb is to use 25% more active dry yeast than instant yeast, by weight. Here, that’s 15 grams of active dry yeast in place of 12 grams of instant yeast.

Straight on image of 6 baked rolls in metal tin

Words soft gluten free dinner rolls with overhead photo of clustered baked dinner rolls and a superimposed image of fingers squeezing a dinner roll

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 16 rolls


3 1/4 cups (455 g) all purpose gluten free flour blend (Better Batter is ideal here; click through for recommended flour blends)

1 3/4 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

7/8 cup (105 g) tapioca starch/flour, plus more for sprinkling

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (12 g) instant yeast (See Recipe Notes)

1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 5/8 cup (13 fluid ounces) warm milk (about 90°F)

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (plus more for brushing)

2 egg whites (50 g), at room temperature


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (See Recipe Notes), place the flour, xanthan gum, tapioca starch/flour, instant yeast, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the salt, and whisk again to combine.

  • Add the milk, melted butter, and egg whites. Using the paddle attachment, beat vigorously. The mixture will come together in a clump and clear the sides of the bowl. Keep beating until it begins to look whipped, and sticks to the side of the mixing bowl again (about 6 minutes total).

  • Transfer the mixture to a lightly oiled bucket or bowl with a very tight-fitting lid. The container should be large enough for the dough to nearly double (although it won’t double fully).

  • Set the container aside for at least 2 hours at room temperature, and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Do not let the dough rest/rise for too long, or your rolls will rise much more irregularly after shaping.

  • If you’ve let the dough rest in the refrigerator, remove it from the cold and place it, still covered, on the kitchen counter. Allow it to warm to room temperature before working with it.

  • Grease a quarter sheet pan or multiple round cake pans for baking, and set them aside. You will later decide if you’d like to crowd the rolls, and have them rise then bake touching, or have them separate.

  • Divide the dough into 16 equal portions, each 2 1/2 ounces in weight. Working with one piece at a time, knead the dough in your clean, dry hands, without adding any additional flour of any kind, pinching any seams that separate.
    Flour a clean, dry work surface very lightly with tapioca starch, and coax the dough into a round. The dough should be firm, but easy to work with.

  • Place the shaped rounds of dough in your chosen baking pan either touching (they will rise mostly up), or a bit more than 1-inch apart, taking care not to crowd them (the will rise up and out). Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, place in a warm, draft-free location, and allow to rise until about 150% of their original size.

  • This rise can take anywhere from 45 minutes to hours, depending upon the ambient temperature in your kitchen. Overproofing is not very likely, and can be detected when the surface of your raw rolls begins to take on a pockmarked appearance.

  • When the rolls are nearing the end of their rise, preheat your oven to 375°F. Once the rolls are properly risen, remove the plastic wrap from the pan(s), and brush generously on all exposed sides with melted butter.

  • Place the baking pan(s) in the center of the preheated oven and bake until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of each roll reads about 190°F. If there is any space between the rolls after they’ve risen, they will take around 20 minutes until fully baked. If the rolls are touching one another, lower the oven temperature at 18 minutes and continue to bake for about another 5 minutes or until the proper internal temperature is reached in the center roll.

  • Remove the pan from the oven, and with the rolls still in the hot pan, brush again with melted butter and serve immediately.


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