Lion House Rolls is my family’s go-to roll recipe. These rolls are deliciously soft, fluffy, and are oozing with buttery flavor! They are the best dinner rolls made famous by Utah’s Lion House restaurant — and for good reason! 

Think of lion house rolls a bit like Flaky Brioche — it’s brushed with butter and then rolled into a spiral. That’s what lion house rolls are! They are deliciously pillow soft, buttery and have the most amazing texture! Make a sweet version with my Kouign-Amann.

Homemade Lion House Rolls on a baking sheet.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Texture and flavor. You’ll love these lion house dinner rolls for their soft texture and delicious buttery flavor! 
  • Famous for a reason. This is my go-to recipe when making rolls for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner — even Sunday dinners if we have guests! It’s easy to make and always delicious! 
  • Perfect rolled shape. You can spot the famous lion house rolls thanks to their spiraled shaped. As you see in the pictures, the dough is rolled out, brushed with melted butter, and then rolled into a spiral. This gives you a flaky texture and buttery flavor! 
  • Homemade lion house rolls. I know you can buy a mix at the store, but making these from scratch is so much better! 

Ingredient Notes

Lion House Rolls ingredients portioned in glass bowls on a silver baking sheet.
  • Warm Water: You want the water to be about 105°-110°F. This will be the perfect temperature to help get the yeast bubbly.
  • Nonfat Instant Dry Milk: I recommend using the dry milk. I you have to use milk instead of dry milk, note that the ratio is 1:4 (so 1 cup dry milk + 4 cups water). That would mean 1/2 cup of dry milk + 2 cups water. However, our ratio of dry milk is 2/3 and water is 2 cups. So we have a higher content of dry milk powder than water. This means, if you sub out the dry milk, you’d use 2 cups whole milk in order to get close to the higher milk content. Hopefully that makes sense! To simplify it = use dry milk! ha
  • Active Dry Yeast: Since we’re using active yeast, we don’t have to let it sit and foam. 
  • Granulated Sugar: Yeast loves sugar, so this will help get the yeast working. It also adds a subtle sweetness to the rolls!
  • Unsalted Butter: This lion house rolls recipe has that amazing buttery flavor thanks to the butter in the dough and the dough being brushed with melted butter prior to rolling! 
  • Flour: You can use bread flour or all-purpose flour. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Make the lion house roll dough. Add the water and dry milk powder to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Mix to combine. 
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Add the yeast, sugar, salt, softened butter, egg and 2 cups of flour. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Add 2 more cups flour and mix for another 2 minutes. Add remaining flour and mix for 3-4 more minutes. 
  3. Let rise. Take the dough from the bowl and add the tablespoon of vegetable oil and spread it around the bottom and sides of the bowl. Place the dough back in the bowl and turn it over so the dough is coated in a bit of the oil. Cover and let rise until double in size (about 1-2 hours.)
Six photos showing how to make Lion House Rolls dough in a glass stand mixer bowl.
  1. Roll out the dough. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide in half. Using a clean floured surface, roll out 1 half of the dough into an 11×14-inch rectangle. Brush the top of the dough with a little less than half of the melted butter. Cut into small 2×4-inch rectangles. 
  2. Roll the individual lion house rolls. Roll the rectangles (butter side in) on the short end. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray. You’ll place rolls end side down so the rolls stay rolled. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the second half of the dough. 
Four photos showing Lion House Roll dough rolled out into a rectangle and then cut into smaller rectangles.
  1. Let rise a second time. Cover the sheet with plastic wrap and let sit for a second rise until double (about 1 hour). 
  2. Bake. Bake the lion house dinner rolls at 375°F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and brush with melted butter. Enjoy!
Two photos: left photo has unbaked Lion House Rolls lined up on a baking sheet; right photo is golden brown baked Lion House rolls on a baking sheet.

Recipe Tips

The dough should be soft, slightly tacky but not sticky, and not stiff. You may not need to the entire amount of flour, and alternatively you may need to add more flour than is called for depending on where you live, climate, altitude etc. I used about 6 ¼ cups of the flour and I live at sea level in a semi-humid location. Climate and altitude plays a role. 

You don’t want to let the dough rise too much or the dough will become too airy and porous and they’ll fall flat when baking. 

Once the dough is double in size, you can continue on even if it hasn’t taken the entire suggested time. 

Try and get the dough rolled out into a perfect rectangle. This will make the rolls more even in size, meaning you’ll get a more even bake.

When cutting the individual roll rectangles, if you hold your hand out so it forms an “L” shape, it can be your sizing guide for the approximate size each section should be. 

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

These lion house rolls are best served hot out of the oven! But store any leftovers in a ziplock bag at room temperature for 3-4 days or in the fridge for 5-6 days. Enjoy them sooner for best results! 

If you want to freeze lion house rolls, I would double the yeast in the recipe. Let the dough rise the first time, then roll out the dough, butter, cut and shape the rolls as instructed in the recipe card. Instead of letting the shaped rolls rise, place the rolls on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer to an airtight container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 weeks. 

To bake frozen rolls, remove the rolls and let thaw. Then you’ll let them rise in a warm place before baking. 

Easy Lion House Rolls that are golden in color, lined up on a baking sheet.

Recipe FAQs

What are lion house rolls?

Lion house rolls are homemade rolls made famous by the Lion House restaurant located on temple square in Salt Lake City, Utah. (The restaurant is currently temporarily closed as of this posting.) You can buy lion house rolls mix at the grocery store — and even frozen lion house rolls too. You’ll know these legendary lion house rolls because they are brushed with melted butter, rolled up and then baked. They have a spiral form to them thanks to rolling the sheets of dough up.

How to roll lion house rolls?

You’ll roll out the dough into a large rectangular shape. Cut that into smaller rectangles and then you’ll roll the dough up on the short side. The pictures in this post will help with rolling lion house rolls! 

Where to buy lion house rolls?

You can buy the lion house rolls mixes at Deseret Book stores. You can also find them at some grocery stores. 

Can I use regular milk instead of dry milk?

You can use 2 cups of whole milk instead of the dry milk powder and water. However, I will say that I haven’t tested this! I always, always made this recipe with the water + dry milk powder. 

Golden Lion House Rolls rolled in the signature "Lion House" way, lined up next to each other on a baking sheet.

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A side view of a baked Lion House Roll.
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5 from 5 votes

Lion House Rolls

Our go-to roll recipe is from Lion House cookbook is our absolute favorite! The rolls are soft, fluffy, and have a subtle sweetness to them that makes you want to eat them all day.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Rising Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 24 rolls

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups warm water - about 105°-110°F
  • 2/3 cup nonfat instant dry milk
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter - softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 5-6 cups bread or all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter - melted, for brushing on the dough before rolling up

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer stir together the water and dry milk powder until the milk has dissolved. Add the yeast, sugar, salt, softened butter, egg, and 2 cups of flour. Using the dough hook attachment mix on low speed for 2 minutes, then add 2 more cups of flour and mix for another 2 minutes. Add the remaining flour and mix for an additional 3-4 minutes. The dough should be soft, slightly tacky but not sticky, and not stiff. You may not need to use all of the flour, and alternatively you may need to add more flour than is called for depending on where you live, climate, altitude etc. I used about 6 ¼ cups flour and I live at sea level in a semi-humid location. Climate and altitude plays a role in bread baking. 
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the bowl and smear it along the bottom and up the sides. Turn dough over in the bowl, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. 

Shaping

  • Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. 
  • Divide the dough into 2. Sprinkle the counter with flour and roll 1 of the dough sections into an 11×14” rectangle. Brush with a little less than half of the melted butter. (you’ll need the other half for the other dough section). Cut small 2×4 rectangles (if you hold your hand out so that it forms an “L” shape, it can be your sizing guide for cutting. Roll (or flip) the rectangles, buttered side in, and place on the prepared baking sheet with the tail (or the end) resting on the baking sheet. 
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let rolls rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. 
  • Bake rolls at 375°F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter. 

Notes

Try to get the dough rolled out into an even rectangle in order to get rolls that are more evenly sized — this will give you an even bake across the rolls.
Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag with the air pushed out at room temperature for 3-4 days. 
As a note: I only ever make this recipe as written with water and dry milk powder. 1 cup dry milk powder + 4 cups water = milk. So, that would mean 1/2 cup dry milk powder + 2 cups water = milk. However, this recipe uses 2/3 cup of dry milk powder and 2 cups water. This means there is a higher content of milk powder than what you’d need to sub out for milk. 
Keep this in mind if you are trying to sub out the water and dry milk for milk. 
As a note, I recommend making this recipe as written and not substituting. 

Nutrition

Calories: 160kcal (8%)Carbohydrates: 22g (7%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 6g (9%)Saturated Fat: 4g (20%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 22mg (7%)Sodium: 199mg (8%)Potassium: 36mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 178IU (4%)Vitamin C: 0.001mgCalcium: 8mg (1%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: bread
Cuisine: American
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