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  /    /  Parker House Rolls

Parker House Rolls

Active Time 25 minutes

Total Time 55 minutes plus at least 2 hours chilling

With a top coat of melted butter and a sprinkling of sea salt, these golden brown Parker House rolls are nothing short of trophy-worthy. Created for the Parker House Hotel in Boston soon after it opened in 1855, these classic yeast rolls are sometimes called pocketbook rolls because of their shape, which resembles a purse: Just as ideal for sandwiching a slice of Thanksgiving turkey or holiday ham as they are slathered with honey or a slick of jam for breakfast.

If you are new to baking bread, dinner rolls are a good place to start, but make sure to plan ahead so there’s time to let the dough rise before you shape it and for the shaped buns to chill before baking.

We prefer to knead this dough by hand, but feel free to whip them up in a stand mixer with a dough hook if you’d rather. And while some bread recipes recommend letting the dough rise in a warm place, this Parker House rolls recipe calls for rising at room temperature. Cooler temps will encourage the dough to rise more slowly, giving it time to develop flavor. You could even chill the dough overnight, then shape the rolls the next day.


Makes 36

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • 3tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • Canola oil (for bowl)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • Flaky sea salt


Step 1

Whisk yeast and ¼ cup warm water (110°-115°) in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes until foamy.

Step 2

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium until just warm. Combine shortening, sugar, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Add warm milk; whisk to blend, breaking up shortening into small clumps (it may not melt completely). Whisk in yeast mixture and egg. Add 3½ cups flour; stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough forms. Knead dough with lightly floured hands on a lightly floured work surface until smooth, 4–5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl; turn to coat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature until doubled, about 1½ hours.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Lightly brush 13×9″ baking dish with some melted butter. Punch down dough; divide into 4 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 12×6″ rectangle.

Step 4

Cut lengthwise into three 2″-wide strips; cut each crosswise into three 4×2″ rectangles. Brush half of each (about 2×2″) with melted butter; fold unbuttered side over, allowing a ¼-inch overhang. Place flat in 1 corner of dish, folded edge against short side of dish. Add remaining rolls, shingling to form 1 long row. Repeat with remaining dough for 4 rows. Brush with melted butter, loosely cover with plastic, and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.

Step 5

Bake rolls until golden and puffed, 25–35 minutes. Brush with butter; sprinkle sea salt over. Serve warm.

Editor’s note: This recipe is adapted from “The Fannie Farmer Baking Book” by Marion Cunningham and was first printed in our November 2012 issue. Head this way for more of our best Thanksgiving recipes

Nutrition Per Serving

Each roll contains: Calories (kcal) 70 Fat (g) 3 Saturated Fat (g) 1.5 Cholesterol (mg) 10 Carbohydrates (g) 10 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 1 Protein (g) 2 Sodium (mg) 85