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!

  • Yield 16 rolls


  • 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.