These homemade yeast rolls are just as buttery, soft, and delicious as the pans of Sister Schubert's Parker House Style yeast rolls you buy at the store. They even have that nostalgic smell as they bake. Every southerner will want this recipe!
Serve these rolls with spatchcocked turkey for Thanksgiving, Honey Chipotle Salmon as a side to a great weeknight meal, or on the side of any of these great dinner recipes!
Note: This post has been updated for a clearer recipe, better content, and updated photography!
I can't tell you how often Sister Schubert's yeast rolls were part of dinner at my mama's house. The frozen stuff that she'd put in the oven and it'd smell up the whole house with a scent that can only be described as 'the Sister Schubert smell'.
And a stick of butter would be rubbed right over the top of them fresh out the oven. Not the whole stick, but mama would just take a stick and slather it on and it'd melt all good and buttery on the rolls. Classic.
There is just something about the texture and flavor of those Sister Schubert rolls that were so addictive, I would eat half the pan. Man, she'd get so mad at me.
But that's why you bought two pans, mom. Right? Right!
Through my travels and meeting so many different food-loving Southerners, I learned that we all have those memories of busting out Sister Schubert pans. So why not have a from-scratch recipe?
At my house, I prefer to know how to make anything and everything by scratch (whether or not I decide to do it is another story) and Sister Schubert's nostalgic rolls are one of those recipes I needed to know so I could make (and eat) as many as I want. Especially for fall and this upcoming holiday season.
I don't think there is anything that goes better with hearty cold-weather dishes, like pot roast, beef bourguignon, a roasted chicken, or is more welcomed on the Thanksgiving and Christmas table, than a good pan of rolls.
What are parker house yeast rolls?
The legend goes that in the Parker House Hotel the chef got frustrated with a customer (isn't this how these stories always start? Angry chef ends up making a masterpiece after a fight with a customer?) and threw a pan of unfinished rolls in the oven. Out came these folded over rolls that are soft and fluffy, with a crisp and buttery exterior.
So, while not Southern in origin, parker house style yeast rolls are certainly a Southern holiday and dinner table staple. Theses are different from classic parker house rolls because Sister Schubert folds them over and bakes them close together in a pie tin, so that fold ends up being hidden in the rolls, making them look deceptively not folded.
How to Make these Sister Schubert Copycat yeast rolls
I'm so happy to say that my recipe not only is no-knead (Hallelujah!) but brings that soft, buttery texture and that flavor these yeast rolls are known for.
And this recipe makes a lot. I'm talking at least 3 pans of rolls. And if you are a Sister Schubert's roll fan, you know that one pan of those rolls is never enough.
The ingredients are surprisingly simple:
- Active Dry Yeast
- Vegetable Shortening
Melt the butter and shortening, bloom the yeast (aka get the yeast foamy), and mix it into the flour, salt, and sugar. This dough is extremely hydrated, I'm talking really, really sticky, but that's all good, you know why? Because we are not kneading it! This homemade yeast rolls recipe is easy peasy. Let it rise in the bowl until doubled in size.
Next, flour your work surface and plop that sticky dough onto it. You can see the gluten strands in the dough!
Then cover the dough in flour and rub your rolling pin with flour. Doing this will make sure your dough doesn't stick to anything. It should feel super soft and will roll out to ½ inch thickness without any resistance.
Now that you've rolled it out, cut out the rolls with a biscuit cutter, then gently stretch them into an oval shape.
Dip one side of the oval into melted butter, then fold the roll so that the butter side is on the outside, then place the dough folded-edge towards the pan sides as shown.
Put them in a circle pattern, from the outside circle inward, then let rise again in the pan.
Bake until lightly golden brown. You'll know your rolls are done when you tap the tops and it sounds hollow.
Rub them down with melted butter while still hot. I love melting some salted butter with a stem of fresh rosemary and brushing it on the rolls. So good! I use that same method for the butter I use in roasted garlic mashed potatoes. It's just a hint of fresh herbaceous flavor, give it a try and you'll fall in love.
Can I make these yeast rolls ahead of time?
Yes! These rolls not only can be made ahead of time but can be baked and frozen for later use, Meaning make them now and then throw them into the oven the day you need them. Perfect for the holidays!
How to freeze and reheat copycat Sister Schubert yeast rolls
Tip: Use disposable aluminum pie tins to easily freeze the rolls!
After baking the rolls, let them cool completely and then put each pan into their own freezer safe, gallon-size zip-top bags and freeze. Do not stack the pans of rolls until they are fully frozen.
To reheat the yeast rolls, thaw them completely on your countertop then bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 10 minutes.
Get ready to gain 10 pounds, these yeast rolls are irresistible.
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- 1 package (2 ¼ tsp or 7 g) active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cup (360 mL) warm water, about 110-115 degrees F
- ½ tsp (3 g) sugar
- 5 cups (700 g) all-purpose flour, sifted and 1 cup separated
- ½ cup (95 g) sugar
- 2 tsp (10 g) kosher salt
- ¼ cup (50 g) shortening, melted
- 4 tbsp (50 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup (105 g) flour, ¼ cup separated
- 4 tbsp (50 g) butter, melted
- In a small bowl, gently stir together yeast, warm water, and ½ tsp (3 g) sugar. Let proof for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk 4 cups (560 g) of flour, ½ cup (95 g) sugar, and 2 tsp (10 g) salt together. With a rubber spatula, stir in yeast and water, then add the melted shortening and 4 tbsp (50 g) unsalted butter. Add the eggs, stirring well, then add the last 1 cup (140 g) of flour and stir it in well until no loose flour remains. The dough will be sticky very sticky.
- Brush a little melted butter over the dough, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm environment until it has doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours. A warm turned-off oven is a great place to put the dough to rise.
- Spray three 9-inch (or four 8-in) disposable aluminum pie pan (you can use glass, ceramic, etc pie pans just fine) with nonstick baking spray or grease them with extra shortening; set aside.
- After the dough has risen, cover your counter or work surface with ½ cup flour. Turn the dough out onto your work surface using a rubber spatula, then shake the remaining flour over the dough and rub a little on your rolling pin. Roll the dough out to be ½ inch thick. It should give little to no resistance to being rolled out. Put the 50 g/4 tbsp of melted butter into a small shallow dish.
- Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut dough circles out. Pull each round into an oval, then dip one side of the oval into the dish of melted butter then fold the oval in half, the buttered side facing out and floured side folded in.
- Place each buttered parker house style roll in the greased pan, starting from the edges of the pan, inward. The fold of the outer ring of rolls will be against the sides of the prepared pans, about 8-10 rolls. Then repeat with the inner circle until the pan is filled. Fill all your pie pans in that pattern, then cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for a second time, in a warm place for another hour or until rolls have doubled in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C), bake the yeast rolls uncovered for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush any remaining butter on the rolls while hot. Serve hot.
NOTE: If you are baking rolls for your freezer, let the pans cool completely on wire racks, then place each pan into a large zip-top bag (this is why I suggest disposable aluminum pans) and freeze. Don't stack pans until completely frozen. To reheat, thaw rolls completely and bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 10 minutes.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 52 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 20Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 32mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.