How to Shape Dinner Rolls: 14 Different Ways

Want to liven up your bread basket? Learn how to shape dinner rolls in new and creative ways.

When it comes to dinner rolls, the basic round roll is a classic for good reason: It’s simple and it doubles as a bun for tasty leftovers. But if you want to add a little more flair to your bread basket, learn how to shape dinner rolls into different forms.

Editor’s Tip: When shaping dinner rolls, shape the dough between the first and second proofs.

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Basic Round Rolls

If you want to go beyond frozen dinner rolls, start with basic round rolls from scratch. To make, simply divide your dinner roll dough into however many pieces you desire. Then roll each portion on your work surface until smooth and round. Then let the buns proof before baking.

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Cloverleaf Rolls

If you can make a basic, round roll, learning how to shape dinner rolls into cloverleaves is the next step. Divide your dinner roll dough into the number of portions called for in the recipe. Then divide each of these portions into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and fit them into a muffin tin. Let rise, then top and bake as directed.

Try this technique with these classic cloverleaf rolls.

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Fan Rolls

To make fan-shaped rolls, roll the dough into rectangles, then cut it into long strips. Stack the strips and cut the stack into shorter pieces. Each small stack goes into a muffin cup, cut side up. As the dough rises and then bakes, the vertical strips fan outward.

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Herbed Accordion Dinner Rolls

Accordion Rolls

Accordion rolls are very similar to fan rolls. To shape dinner rolls into an accordion, roll out the dough flat, and cut into long rectangular strips. Then fold this strip back and forth. Nestle each folded roll into a muffin tin to proof a second time.

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Knotted Rolls

Divide the dough into the desired number of rolls. Working one at a time, roll each piece of dough into a ball, and then into a rope. Tie a knot in the center of the rope and tuck the ends under.

Learning how to shape dinner rolls into something fancy really is that easy! Try it with these pumpkin knot rolls or classic garlic knots.

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Multi-Strand Knotted Rolls

You can make a simple knotted roll look even more impressive by slicing that rope in half lengthwise. Take the two strands and tie them into a knot. Then tuck the ends underneath. Try this technique with our no-knead knot rolls.

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Crescent Rolls

You don’t have to pop open a can of dough to make crescent rolls at home. To shape crescent rolls, roll out the bread dough into a circle and then cut into wedges. Roll each wedge up from the wide end to the tip and gently curl the roll into a curved shape.

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Spiral Rolls

Making a coiled-up roll is a simple and impressive way to fill your bread basket. Divide your dough into sections (your recipe will explain the yield) then roll each section into a rope about 15 inches long. Then roll up the rope and pinch the end to seal. It’s how we make these rosemary rolls look so stunning.

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Taste of Home

S-Shaped Rolls

If you want to learn how to shape dinner rolls into an impressive form without a lot of effort, try these S-shaped buns. divide your dough into the number of portions called for in the recipe. Roll each bit of dough into a 10-inch rope and coil from each end until you have an S. It’s super simple and looks totally unique.

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Taste of Home

Parker House Rolls

Parker House rolls are known for their signature shape. To create this shape at home, roll your bread dough out into a sheet and use a 2-1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut out rounds. Using a butter knife, make an off-center crease in each round and fold.

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Pumpkin-Shaped Rolls

If you love going all out for the fall baking season, you’ll want the scoop on how to shape dinner rolls into festive pumpkins. To make these pumpkin rolls, divide the bread dough into 12 balls. Then use four lengths of kitchen twine to tie around each roll, creating shallow indents.

As they rise and bake, these marks will become more pronounced and pumpkin-like. Snip the string away after baking and serve up with these fall soups. Don’t forget the pretzel stick stems!

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Taste of Home

Bunny-Shaped Rolls

These adorable rabbit rolls take a little time but will surely be the focus of any Easter dinner table (this bunny cake will be the showstopper during dessert). To make, divide your dough into the portions specified in the recipe. Then roll each section into a 20-inch rope.

Cut the rope into a 10-inch, a 5-inch, two 2-inch and a 1-inch section. Coil up the two longer sections—one for the head and one for the body. Then press the 2-inch sections into place as ears and roll the last small bit to form a tail.

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Dove Dinner Rolls
TMB Studio

Dove-Shaped Rolls

For the holidays, show off your baking skills by making a batch of dove dinner rolls. To make these rolls, form 10-inch ropes and knot. One end will serve as the head. Press currants and a sliced almond into place for the eyes and beak. Slice the remaining end to form feathers. Proof, bake and wait for your loved ones to ooh and ahh.

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Dinner Roll Wreath

Shaping rolls doesn’t always mean forming complicated shapes with small bits of dough. You can make simple round rolls and then arrange those buns to create a larger shape. This wreath uses our best dinner roll recipe and a simple round template (we traced a pie pan!) to create a pretty wreath. After baking, add fresh herbs and veggies to complete the look.

Hazel Wheaton
Hazel is a writer and editor who has worked in the publishing industry for over 25 years in the fields of travel, jewelry arts and food. As the editor of the Taste of Home Christmas Annual (among other titles), she's in the holiday spirit all year round. An enthusiastic baker, she's known for her cookies, cakes and other baked goods. And she still wishes she could cook like her mother.
Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.