Brown Butter and Rosemary Dinner Rolls Dressed Up for Christmas

Ring of Rosemary Rolls-11.jpg

Brown Butter and Rosemary Dinner Roll Wreath

Are you looking for something easy but festive to take to a holiday gathering? Or perhaps you want to start a new tradition for Christmas dinner.

Although homemade yeast rolls issue an aromatic, come-hither statement on their own, this simple wreath configuration is guaranteed to make them memorable. Don’t fret if you aren’t Mr. or Ms. Bread-Baker-of-the-Year. There’s more than one way to do this.  Use the following guide to assess your situation and choose your plan of attack.

  • No time or too many bread-baking insecurities? Use store-bought frozen bread dough.
  • No desire and/or time to mix and knead bread dough by hand? (This would be me.) Use a bread machine or a heavy-duty stand mixer to do the job.  You could even use a bread machine mix from the grocery store.
  • Already have a favorite roll recipe but want to dress it up? After letting your dough rise, start with the instructions for shaping the rolls in step 5 and proceed as directed.
  • Looking for a fantastic bread recipe everybody will snarf up before you have a chance to take home leftovers? Keep on reading.
  • Not sure about the wreath but want to try the rolls? (They make great slider buns.) Skip the whole wreath idea and put dough balls into two 8 or 9-inch pans as seen here and start from step 5 in the recipe.

The combination of brown butter (click here to see how easy it is to brown butter in the microwave), rosemary and black pepper in this light and fluffy dinner roll recipe means you probably won’t have to worry about leftovers. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out this video for instructions on how to make perfect little balls with yeast dough. No fancy twisting, knotting, or similar frustration required.

raw ring of rolls.jpg

I used a 13-inch pizza pan. Brush rolls with butter and sprinkle with herbs and salt just before placing them in the oven--if you like.

Here’s another option, just because I love making decisions about things that have no important, hidden, or long term consequences.

ring of rolls post B_edited-1

Another way to do it

As you can see in the picture below, I put an oven-safe measuring cup in the middle to maintain the wreath shape.

ring of rolls configuration

Left: Before rising Right: After rising, ready to bake

If you would rather hang a bread wreath on your door instead of eating it, you must check out this post by my friend, Paula, of Vanilla Bean Baker.

The idea of the wreath comes from Martha Stewart Living.

Recipe adapted from my very favorite bread cookbook, One hundred years of bread: Classic breads from your bread machine by Sidney Brockman Carlisle.

Browned Butter and Rosemary Dinner Roll Wreath
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 15 rolls
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A festive ring of rolls you'll find hard to resist. They make wonderful slider buns.
  • ¼ cup browned butter
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2- ½ cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
  1. Melt butter on stove and turn to lowest temperature and allow to turn brown. (Careful not to go too far and let it burn.) Or, see my directions for doing it in the microwave in link above. Add to bread machine bowl.
  2. Heat milk in microwave for 1 minute on HIGH. Add to bread machine bowl along with remaining ingredients in order given.
  3. Select dough cycle and start.
  4. When dough cycle completes, dough should be risen to double. If not, allow to sit in machine until it is. Remove dough to floured surface.
  5. Divide dough into 15 equal pieces and make into smooth balls. Arrange on a round pizza pan 13-inches or larger, in a single or double circle as illustrated in the pictures above. Cover and allow to rise until almost double.
  6. If desired, brush with melted butter and chopped rosemary. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
  7. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
To make this in a heavy-duty mixer, add ingredients to the bowl in the same way. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and start with step 5. If using frozen bread dough, let rolls come to room temperature and start with step 5.


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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephane in Alaska January 2, 2012 at 2:04 am

Sooo pretty! I’m going to give them a go. BTW, I see you all over Pinterest! ; )


LunaCafe December 14, 2011 at 11:37 am

What a lovely shaping technique. Will definitely try it for Christmas dinner. …Susan


TheKitchenWitch December 14, 2011 at 10:57 am


That wreath is so pretty! And since you can use store-bought dough, I’m in!


Pam December 13, 2011 at 6:02 pm

My whole family enjoyed these. I substituted one cup of flour with whole wheat just to make them a little more healthful, and they were delicious. Thanks for the recipe. Really good as sandwiches with baked ham.


Paula December 15, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Glad to hear you like them Pam. I can imagine they were fabulous with the whole wheat flour. Thanks for reporting back.


Anzz December 12, 2011 at 1:03 am

Absolutely wonderful. I can smell Christmas already. Delicious. Thanx Paula.


Renata December 10, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Absolutely gorgeous, Paula! I can imagine the smell of these beauties while baking! And your Christmas themed presentation is gorgeous!
BTW, I love your videos! Very useful, and very well done!


Betty @ scrambled hen fruit December 9, 2011 at 8:17 pm

I love the wreath- so pretty for a party!


Suzanne December 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Pretty neat idea there about he cup in the middle of the rolls before rising. Great photos too 🙂


Katrina December 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Beautiful and delicious I’m sure! Love this!


Gary December 8, 2011 at 7:11 am

Great post, Paula, and I love the tip about the measuring cup. Beautiful photo.


Happy Cook / Finla December 8, 2011 at 6:54 am

They look absloutleysuper beautiful and double delicious, love the flavours in those rolls.


Sally December 8, 2011 at 6:48 am

I made these last night for dinner. Oh, my! Wonderful, flavorful, pretty, easy and, best of all, delicious! Thank you for the inspiration to get back into bread-making.


Paula December 8, 2011 at 7:34 am

Already? Wow! Glad you liked them. Thanks for reporting back. Paula


Paula December 8, 2011 at 6:40 am

I’ve made the rosemary dinner rolls before and they are delicious. I love that you made a beautiful wreath with yours and that you left it edible! LOL
Thanks so much for the mention and the link-back to my site. So nice of you and I appreciate it.

PS Very good tutorial on how to make yours.


The Café Sucré Farine December 8, 2011 at 4:36 am

Oh my Paula, I have just gained 5 pounds by looking at your pictures! I’m so glad to have you as my scapegoat! 🙂 These look incredibly delicious!


cocidodesopa December 8, 2011 at 12:27 am

I just have a question: could I use instant yeast instead? I don’t live in America and I’m afraid I won’t be able to find the type of yeast you mention to use to make this bread.

It looks yummy, beautiful, and even easy to make.

Thanks for sharing.



Paula December 8, 2011 at 7:35 am

Yes! Instant yeast will work beautifully.


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