It’s that time of year when many of you are hard at work planning your Thanksgiving menus. This year I’m not hosting so I am happily thinking of other things. Given my rocky history with this holiday (boy is that an understatement), avoidance of the topic right up until the very last minute has been serving me well the past few years. Nevertheless, I do have quite a few great recipes to share with you for the holiday because I just love you all that much. Truth be told, at the moment my mind is much happier thinking of our recent vacations as well as starting to plan trips for next year. This recipe serves both purposes beautifully, as it was inspired by our trip to Italy but would be an absolutely perfect addition to a Thanksgiving table.

There was no shortage of carbs during our time in Italy. Nearly every meal started with some form of bread basket. The restaurant at the heaven-on-earth resort in Amalfi had an especially fantastic bread basket with several different types of bread and rolls. All of them were good but to me, none compared to the rosemary rolls. They were outstanding! Our waiter assured me this was an accurate assessment. Whether he was flirting, trying to get a better tip, or both, I still like to think I was definitely right about this. I knew I had to find a version I could make at home. I chose this olive oil dough base since it seemed a perfect Italian-inspired pairing with the rosemary. These turned out better than I could have hoped and, I’m please to say, I think they are even better than the version that inspired the my homemade endeavor in the first place. Whether you serve them for your holiday meal or simply keep a batch on hand in the freezer to enjoy with soups and stews throughout the winter, I’m sure you will be glad you made them. I absolutely adore these rolls – definitely a new favorite of mine!


  • 2 cups warm water (105-110˚ F)
  • 1½ lbs. (about 4½ cups) bread flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 tbsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • 1 tbsp. coarse salt
  • 2-3 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary


  • 01

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the water, flour, yeast, olive oil, salt and rosemary. Mix together until a sticky dough forms, then switch to the dough hook and continue to knead until the dough is soft, elastic and just tacky but not sticky, about 5-7 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour 1-2 tablespoons at a time (being careful not to add too much to avoid dense rolls.)

  • 02

    Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil. Form the dough into a ball, place in the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in bulk, about 60-90 minutes.

  • 03

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough evenly into 16 portions, using a kitchen scale to make sure the rolls are evenly sized. Form each portion of dough into a smooth round ball. Transfer the shaped rolls to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Let the rolls rise once more until puffed, about 30 minutes.

  • 04

    Heat the oven to 450˚ F. If desired, sprinkle the tops of the rolls with a small amount of coarse sea salt such as Maldon. Bake the rolls, rotating the pan once halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

  • 05


    • If you prefer, these could be baked as pull apart rolls similar to the honey yeast rolls. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time to ensure that the rolls in the middle get baked through. 
    • Though I haven’t tried it myself yet, I suspect you could use the make-ahead technique I tried with the honey yeast rolls and it should work just as well here. 

  • Those rolls look to die for!!

  • Paige Cassandra Flamm

    NOM! These rolls look delicious!


  • Melissa Brooker

    These sound fantastic! I can’t wait to try them! You are all on my mind this time of year.

  • We always make homemade rolls for the holidays — and never the sweet rolls. These are similar to the hard rolls we make and I love the touch of rosemary to them. I’m definitely going to make these. Thank you Annie.

  • Kelly Lehman

    These look great, Annie! If I want to freeze them, should I bake them off first, or at what step could I freeze the dough so I can bake fresh when I want?

  • Patience

    Do you happen to remember approx. how much each or yours weighed on your scale when portioning them out? I am never good with that and keeping them equal in size! ;-) Thank you!!! Can’t wait to try these!!!! Thank you for helping me with my fears of dough!!! ;-)

  • annieseats

    No, and I would hesitate to give you that measurement anyway since the total amount of dough could vary depending on how much additional flour you did or did not need to use. I usually just weigh the dough ball, divide in half equally with the scale, divide those portions in half again, etc etc until I have 16 (or however many) equally shaped dough balls. Enjoy!

  • annieseats

    In the notes section at the bottom of the recipe, there is a link to the honey yeast rolls where I detail the way they can be made in advance. Check that out – I think it will help!

  • Patience

    I understand! Thank you! It will help me touch up on my math skills! ;-)

  • I’m obsessed with rosemary these days – partly because I have two rosemary bushes that just won’t stop growing. These rolls will be perfect to use some of our stockpile!

  • These look so yummy and making me hungry. I am trying out recipes without milk and milk products. This is a good one. Is bread flour same as all purpose flour?
    Also when you say “Let the rolls rise once more until puffed, about 30 minutes.” – Do you cover them with a cloth or just leave them open? I am wondering whether they will dry due to the cold weather now if not covered?

  • The danger of these rolls is if my wife and I bring them to my in-laws, we will eat nothing else! Right now, we’re both looking at the screen and just drooling. Rosemary is both of our favorite herb – great flavor. I like the puffiness of these rolls. Looking forward to devouring.

  • annieseats

    Bread flour is not the same as all-purpose. See the FAQ page for more info on that. I recommend bread flour highly for this recipe!

    No need to cover the rolls for the second rise.

  • Mmmm carbs. And if they were inspired by Italy then you know they have to be good!!

  • Heidi

    I tried making these and measured everything correctly but my dough was realllly wet. How much additional flour can be added? note: I did use the bread flour as well. Should the dough be in a solid ball while kneading with the stand mixer? The flavor turned out amazing, but they were pretty flat rolls lol.

  • annieseats

    Did you measure the flour by weight or by volume?

  • Melissa Brooker

    my dough came out incredibly wet also Heidi. I weighed my flour with my scale, I wound up using a decent amount of extra flour , but once the dough came together cohesively and just tacky I transferred it to my oiled bowl and my rolls came out beautifully, full and puffed .

  • Lydia

    I made these tonight, I am SO pumped to try to them with dinner :)

  • mallory

    These rolls have encouraged me to actually try making my own bread. They were perfect! I was concerned because I had to add a lot more flour, but once the dough came together, everything went smoothly. Thanks for this recipe!

  • amanda

    Followed step by step and came out hard as a rock…

  • Annie

    I sounds like your dough didn’t rise, most likely due to an issue with your yeast.

  • Debby Momm

    I made this yesterday but made some additions, I added 4 fresh garlic cloves minced and 2 TB of unsalted butter. I did the dough in my bread machine with exactly the amount of flour in the recipe, used a bit more where shaping the buns so they wouldn’t stick to the counter. They were excellent would also use them as hamburger buns, so much more flavour than store bought plain buns. !!!

  • Anon

    Made this with all purpose flour and it came out beautifully! Favorite roll recipe yet, thanks Annie!