Soft and Fluffy Vegan Dinner Rolls. This is by far the best dinner roll recipe you’ll ever make. Trust me and make extras….you’re going to want leftovers because they’re perfect to use as sandwich buns too! Bonus: Homemade Rolls can be made with gluten-free flour with incredible results.
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Ok…the truth is that I originally perfected this recipe (and I mean PERFECTed) as a Dairy-free Thanksgiving Dinner Roll. Oh….don’t forget to make cranberry chia jam to spread liberally on these if you’re going to have them for breakfast or a vessel for that Thanksgiving Leftover Sammie.
It took me a few years to start making them all year round. DUH. These are the best Vegan Dinner Rolls. Why serve them just once a year? They’re simple, tender, savory and irresistible. A batch doesn’t last long around here. Golden, herby rolls…what’s not to like?
I think we enjoy them more as a sandwich roll than anything….. so easy to slather on some pesto, a few sprouts and an assortment of veggies. BAM….a super tasty lunch.
AND….don’t forget all the other holidays that a delicious vegan dinner roll would be oh so perfect for: No holiday is complete without an abundance of yummy food. Check out my Healthy Rosh Hashanah Recipes….there’s something for everyone in this roundup.
Why you will love these Herbed Dinner Rolls
- They’re soft and fluffy…irresistible!
- Meal prep friendly: freeze the dough so you can pop a batch in the oven when you want some fresh homemade rolls.
- Thanksgiving dinner rolls are the perfect vessel for all your Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches.
- Vegan and gluten-free rolls for those that need it…but you’d never know because they have all the taste and texture of The BEST dinner rolls.
- Fresh, homemade rolls take less time and are easier to make than you think.
- Exactly what you want to dunk into all your favorite healthy soups.
Ingredients and Substitutions for Vegan Dinner Rolls
- FLOUR: I used King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten-free Flour in these photos. You do you, any all purpose flour will work in this recipe. Use what you have.
- ALMOND MILK: I used almond milk in these photos. Use what you have and what works well for your dietary needs.
- APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: Vinegar enhances yeasts ability to make the dough rise, even without eggs. Substitute with white vinegar or unsweetened rice vinegar.
- HONEY: If you don’t use honey, substitute with ½ maple syrup and ½ sugar of choice.
- YEAST: I used active dry yeast. Rapid rise or instant yeast will also work, and may shorten the rise time by about 30 minutes, but I found them less fluffy when I used the rapid rise yeast.
- OLIVE OIL: Extra virgin olive oil worked great in this recipe. I have also used avocado oil. I don’t buy processed vegetable oils, though you could probably substitute without issue.
- SALT: Without the salt, the yeast will activate too quickly…making for less flavor and structure to your dough. It’s only ½ teaspoon for the entire recipe, I would recommend not skipping for best results.
- HERBS: I used a combination of fresh thyme, rosemary and sage, finely chopped. You can use whatever savory spices you have. If you don’t have any fresh, use ⅓ the quantity in dried. Fresh herbs are available in pots in most grocery stores and I highly recommend buying a planted assortment to keep on a sunny windowsill. It will take you through Thanksgiving and beyond. I have one plant that’s lasted over 5 years now.
THE BEST FLUFFY DINNER ROLLS USE YEAST
Proofing yeast isn’t hard. It needs something to eat (honey or sugar) and the right temperature to activate it. That and some time is all you need to get the rise you need for fluffy rolls.
Temperature matters! If your liquid is too hot, it will kill the yeast. If it’s not hot enough, it won’t activate the yeast. Heating the liquid on the stove ensures the honey will melt into the liquid and it will be hot enough. Pouring it into the mixing bowl and letting it cool a bit will make sure it won’t be too hot to kill the yeast.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN THE LIQUID IS RIGHT TEMPERATURE TO PROOF THE YEAST?
If you have a kitchen thermometer, wait until the temperature is between 100 and 110 before sprinkling on the yeast. Without a thermometer you can use your wrist. (The same method used to heat a baby’s bottle to the correct temperature). Spoon a few drops onto the inside of your wrist. If it feels very warm (not HOT), then it’s the right temperature for proofing.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A STAND MIXER?
It’s much easier to make these with a stand mixer, but you absolutely can make these without one. You’ll knead the dough by hand. Totally worth the effort too. Begin with a wooden spoon and as soon as the dough has come together, turn it onto the counter and keep kneading until the dough is soft and tacky, but not sticky. You’ll add the same amount of flour as you would if using a mixer.
DO YOU HAVE TO USE FRESH HERBS?
No, but fresh herbs have a great flavor. Most grocery stores sell potted herbs that you can grow on your sunny window sill. I bought an assorted Thanksgiving herb plant 5 years ago at Trader Joe’s. I’ve moved it to a larger pot, but it’s still going strong.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE DINNER ROLLS
First you’ll want to mix the oil, water, almond milk and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Use a whisk to make sure the honey melts and is fully incorporated. DO NOT BOIL. Remove from heat just before it simmers and pour into bowl of mixer.
The liquid should be between 100 and 110 degrees to proof the yeast. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the water temperature on your wrist. It should feel very warm, but not super hot.
Pour the yeast into the liquid mixture in the bowl. Stir and then leave it to proof. This is not the time to be impatient. The yeast will start to foam and bubble up in about 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes, there isn’t any action you’ll have to start again. There is no salvaging the yeast if your liquid was too hot.
Use the paddle attachment to your stand mixer. Turn the mixer on low speed and then add in 2 cups of the flour. Mixture will be super sticky.
Save a couple teaspoons chopped fresh herbs for the topping and add the rest plus the salt to the remaining flour. Add to the sticky dough half at a time, mixing on low after each addition.
Continue kneading dough on low speed until soft and smooth. Dough will pull away from edges of bowl, yet stick to the paddle, when mixed enough. The perfect dough will be tacky, but not too sticky. You can add additional 1-2 Tablespoons flour if needed for dough to not stick to your hands.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. It will be rough in texture. Knead a few times until smooth and the then shape dough into a ball.
Place in a large greased bowl. Turn dough around until coated with the oil and then cover with a towel. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. The first rise will take about 90 minutes.
Turn risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. It should be soft and easy to touch. Start by cutting it into 4 equal sections and then cut each quarter into 5 equal parts. You should have 20 pieces. If you made one less or more, it doesn’t really matter. The only way to get perfectly even rolls is to weigh them, they would be just over 2 oz. each. I use the eyeball method, as you can see they are not uniform in size…and that is OK!
- Take one piece of dough, stretch and flatten it with your hands.
- Then fold over the sides into the center, tucking in all the corners.
- Flip it over so the smooth side is showing.
- Place ball into the pan. Continue with remaining dough until pan is full.
- Brush remaining Tablespoon olive oil onto tops of rolls.
- Sprinkle with fresh herbs that were put aside, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
- Cover with dish towel and let rise in pan for 30 minutes.
- Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
HOW TO MAKE DINNER ROLLS AHEAD OF TIME:
Make and shape the dough into balls up to the day before baking. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate in baking pan for 12 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature and allow to double in size before baking as directed.
HOW TO FREEZE DINNER ROLLS TO BAKE LATER: Place shaped dough balls on a baking tray, spaced apart. Freeze for a minimum 3 hours (so they won’t stick together)and then pop into a zip top bag for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature for 3 hours and then bake as directed.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Use the same measuring cup to first measure the oil, then the honey so it slips right out.
- Treat yourself to a fresh pot of herbs. They will grow beautifully in a sunny window and you’ll always have the fresh herbs you need for recipes like this.
- Make sure your mixer is on low with each addition of flour to avoid a poofy mess.
- If you freeze some of the dough balls, you can bake just the amount you need for super fresh rolls any time.
- If your yeast isn’t bubbling after 5 minutes, toss it and begin anew. You’ll get the temperature right the next time and always there after.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH VEGAN DINNER ROLLS
More Amazing Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes:
- Gluten-free Stuffed Mushrooms
- Butternut Squash Salad
- Cornbread Stuffing
- Green Beans Almondine
- Whole Roasted Cauliflower
- Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
- Cranberry Sauce
- Mini Pumpkin Pies
Vegan Dinner Rolls
- ¼ cup olive oil + 1 Tablespoon
- ¾ cup almond milk
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ cup honey*
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast*
- 4 cups flour*
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs*
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- In small saucepan, heat ¼ cup olive oil, almond milk, water and honey. Whisk as honey melts into liquid. DO NOT BRING TO BOIL. Turn off the heat just before mixture comes to a simmer.
- Pour into bowl of stand mixer and test temperature before adding yeast. Thermometer should read between 100 and 110 degrees. OR, test using your inner wrist. Liquid should be very warm, but not hot.
- Sprinkle in yeast and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. . Mixture should bubble and become foamy if it has "proofed".
- Use paddle attachment to mixer and start by adding 2 cups of flour. Keep mixer on low until incorporated. . It will be very sticky.
- Sprinkle in all but 2 teaspoons of the fresh herbs plus the salt to the remaining flour. Add half at a time to mixer, keeping it on low speed. Turn it up to medium until dough is soft and smooth. Dough should be tacky, but not sticky. It will pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl when it's ready.
- Turn dough out onto floured surface. Shape dough into a smooth ball and place in a large greased bowl. Cover with a towel and let dough rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in size. About 90 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Cut into quarters and then cut each quarter into 5 equal pieces. There should be 20 balls in total.
- Shape into small balls by spreading each piece out flat, bringing all sides up and flipping over to show smooth side on the top.
- Place each ball into a 9×13 baking pan or 12" cast iron skillet. Brush with remaining Tablespoon oil, sprinkle with remaining herbs and sea salt. Cover with dish towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
- Store rolls in airtight container room temperature for 3 days, refrigerated for a week or frozen for 3 months.