Parker House Rolls

Parker House Rolls

Just about every cookbook has a version of this recipe. This one is from Beard On Bread by James Beard. The recipe produces a soft, buttery roll that’s perfect for accompanying your Holiday dinner. I’ve made them for Easter and Christmas this year. Of course, they’re so good you may not want to wait for a special occasion to make them!

Parker House Rolls

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: About 30 rolls

Parker House Rolls


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water (about 100ºF to 115ºF)
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • 5 to 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 to half cup melted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
  • Sesame seeds or poppy seeds, optional


  1. Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in the warm water and allow to proof. Melt the 1/4 cup butter in the warm milk, then combine with the yeast mixture in a large mixing bowl. Mix 2 to 3 cups of flour with the salt and stir, 1 cup at a time, into the mixture in the bowl, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon to make a soft sponge. (The dough will be wet and sticky.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set in a warm place, and let the dough rise till doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  2. Stir down the dough with a wooden spoon and add about 2 more cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, to make a dough that can be kneaded with ease. Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead unti velvety smooth and very elastic; press with your fingers to see if the dough is resilient. Let rest for a few minutes, then form the dough into a ball. Put into a buttered bowl and turn so that the surface is thoroughly covered with butter. Cover and put in a warm, draft-free place to rise again until doubled in bulk.
  3. Punch the dough down with your fist, turn out on a lightly floured board, and let rest for several minutes, until you are able to roll it out to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut into triangles, brush with melted butter and roll from the wide end to the point. Bend the ends in a bit, then arrange on buttered baking sheet and allow to rise until almost doubled in size.
  4. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake in preheated 375ºF oven until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.


I formed mine into crescents, because I find that to be the easiest. Feel free to play around with different shapes, though – knots, braids, fans, etc.


Parker House Rolls — 3 Comments

  1. I’ve seen quite a few Parker House Roll recipes around before, but have never tried making them. Yours look great!

  2. Pingback: YeastSpotting January 2, 2009 | Wild Yeast