Parker House Rolls


Plate of thanksgiving dinner

Parker rolls have become a holiday staple in our house.  Every summer we like to spend time in Bethany Beach, Delaware.  It’s one of the closest beaches to DC — only about 3 hours — so you can spend a weekend or a week there.  The Delaware beaches if you don’t know — and many people don’t since it’s, you know, Delaware — are great.  In the summer the water is warm, the beaches are wide and the waves are manageable.  A perfect place for a summer beach visit.

There’s a restaurant in Bethany called Matt’s Fish Camp.  Now I have no idea what a fish camp is but this place has great food and is casual enough that my children can’t embarrass themselves too much so if we’re eating out its often here.  And when we do, we always order their Parker House rolls.   They’re salty, sweet, buttery, bready (is that a word?) perfection.

Pan of cooked Parker House Rolls

This inspired me to start making parker house rolls for the holidays.  Initially I made them using a mix from Williams Sonoma which were good but expensive and still involved a fair amount of work.  It made for tasty parker house rolls but not a timesaver.

Since I’m what some might call “thrifty” and of the belief that most things are better home-made, this year I decided I’d try my hand at making them from scratch.  And now that I have? I’m not going back.


Cut butter with child's hand
Two-year old sous chef. Seems so cute, right? Hold that thought . . .

Parker House Roll dough itself is easy to make.  Yeast in warm water.  Milk and butter heated.  Add it all to some flour, sugar and salt and mix.

Milk in a saucepan on stove top

Or it is easy unless your toddler decides to turn the mixer to  high, spraying milk and partially mixed dough over himself, me, the floor . . . Definitely not perfect but funny for sure.

Messy wood floor and kitchen chair
Floor mid-clean up after Master Chef: Toddler Edition

Once the dough is mixed comes the fun part — kneading.  Any excess stresses, frustrations, anger?  Take it out on the dough.  My mother was visiting when I made this dough.  A lot of pent up feeling went into this dough.

   Parker House Roll dough ball

Like so many yeasted doughs the fiddly part is the proof.  Has it proofed enough? Not enough? It’s a constant internal debate for me. . .

Dough in bowl covered with saran wrap

This dough is proofed, divided into four balls and rested.  After that you each ball into a long rectangle, slathered with butter and made into 6 rolls.

Finally the rolls are but into a butter pan and allowed one last proof. After which, of course, they’re slathered in butter.  Time consuming, yes.  But totally worth it.

Pan of uncooked Parker House Rolls

After the second proof, more butter, a coarse sea salt topping and it’s all over but the baking.

Pan of uncooked Parker House Rolls with butter

Warm and spread with, you guessed it, more butter these rolls are amazing.  The next day, these parker house rolls are still amazing.  Though in our house they rarely last that long.

Close-up of Parker House Rolls


Parker House Rolls on Plate

Parker House Rolls

  • Author: closeenoughcook
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 dozen rolls 1x


Parker House roll recipe that lives at that perfect intersection of salty, sweet and buttery.  One meal with these and you’ll wonder why you’d every been settling for some boring dinner roll when you could be having these.  The only problem?  Family and friends will request them again and again.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Adapted from the Food Network



1 1/2 cups milk

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus  6 tbsp. melted for brushing

1/2 cup sugar

1 package active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

6 cups all-purpose flour

Coarse Sea Salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease 13×9 baking dish with butter.
  3. Place milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and sugar and let cool.
  4. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit until foamy.
  5. Combine milk mixture, eggs, yeast, salt, and 1/2 of the flour in a mixer with the dough attachment and mix until smooth.
  6. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir until a smooth ball forms.
  7. Remove from the bowl and knead by hand on a floured surface for about 5 minutes.
  8. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 60 to 70 minutes.
  9. On a floured surface, punch down the dough and divide into four balls of equal size. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
  10. Roll each dough ball into a 12 inch by 4 inch rectangle.
  11. With the long side facing you, brush each rectangle with butter and fold the top down, leaving 1/2 inch uncovered.
  12. Cut each rectangle into 6 pieces and arrange in prepared pan.
  13. Cover again and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  14. Uncover, brush with butter and top with coarse salt to taste.
  15. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Keywords: Parker House Roll

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