I don’t know about you, but I’ve already started preparing my body for the holidays. Although I exercise and try to eat reasonably healthy about 90% of the year, November and December are the months where I let delicious food (and the company I share it with) shine. There’s almost always fancy appetizers and indulgent desserts, an extra glass of wine, or rich, savory dishes that I really only break out around the holidays. I can already feel my insides getting excited to nibble on all of those seasonal bites that we enjoy this time of year.
In years past, the one thing I’ve not had much trouble saying no to is the bread basket. On the Thanksgiving table, at the church potluck, and even in my own home kitchen, those little brown-and-serve rolls, cold biscuits, and dense muffins just really don’t do anything for me. When there’s cornbread dressing and salty glazed ham on the table, is anyone really even paying attention to the bread basket? Absolutely not.
I’m proposing a comeback of the bread basket. What if we served bread that was worth writing home about? What if the dinner rolls were so impressive that they could be served as a standalone appetizer or side dish that people were excited to eat? What if you are destined to be the delightful human that brings a skillet full of these cheesy dinner rolls to the next dinner party, and they’re so good that everyone begs you to bring the bread every year from here on out? Sounds pretty epic, huh?
These cheesy dinner rolls are soft and fluffy yeast rolls filled with gooey morsels of mozzarella cheese and seasoned with Italian herbs and garlic. These are like a mozzarella stick meets Parker house roll, and I am not even remotely mad about it. Although they’d be delightful on their own, we up the ante here by serving them alongside a tangy spiced tomato sauce.
I’m sharing today’s recipe for cheesy dinner rolls in partnership with Lucini Italia who has long been my go-to for olive oil. Only recently I tried their tomato sauce and I was really pleased to find that it is near perfect straight from the jar. It requires no doctoring with extra pepper for flavor or sugar to cut the super acidic sauce; it’s a delicious, restaurant quality sauce that comes straight from the jar, and it makes the perfect accompaniment to these cheesy dinner rolls. You can spend your time preparing the rolls and let the Lucini sauce take care of the rest.
To prepare cheesy dinner rolls, we start by making the dough. Yeast dissolves over warm water and milk and is added to some melted butter and olive oil. Next we stir in some sugar, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. The flour comes next, and then we knead the dough until it is smooth and only slightly tacky. Allow the dough to proof in a warm spot in your kitchen for an hour and a half before you shape and form your rolls.
Cut your dough into about 15 equal-sized portions and flatten each ball out into a round. Place a square of part-skim mozzarella in the center of the dough and pinch the edges into the center to enclose the cheese. Place each roll seam side down in a greased pan and allow them to rise for just a few more minutes. When you’re ready to bake, brush the rolls with water and sprinkle on additional cheese, Italian herbs, salt and pepper.
Allow your cheesy dinner rolls to cool slightly before serving. Warm up a cup or so of Lucini tomato sauce (I prefer the Spicy Tuscan Tomato Sauce here), and serve it to dip your cheese-filled rolls in. The rolls are tender and extremely flavorful, a perfect compliment to the tangy sauce. This dish works great as an appetizer but also makes a strong case for a bread side that people will really be pumped to eat. If you make them in advance you can re-warm prior to serving, just make sure that the cheese melts through on the inside.
I hope you’ll give these cheesy dinner rolls a try in the coming months. Happy baking!
This post is sponsored by Lucini Italia. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that make Wood and Spoon possible!
If you like these cheesy dinner rolls you should check out:
Cheesy Dinner Rolls
These soft and fluffy dinner rolls are herby crusted and stuffed with gooey mozzarella cheese! Dipped in a spicy tomato sauce, these cheesy dinner rolls are a tasty appetizer and bread offering!
- Prep Time: 25
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 360
- Yield: 15
- Category: bread
- 1/2 cup (120 gm) lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup (120 gm) lukewarm milk
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup (55 gm) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/4 cup (120 gm) olive oil
- 1/4 cup (50 gm) sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 cups (420 gm) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 2-3 ounces block mozzarella cheese cut into 3/4″ sized chunks
- Shredded cheese for sprinkling (I used cheddar and mozzarella)
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup warmed tomato sauce, for serving
- Combine the water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over top and allow it to dissolve, about 5 minutes. Be sure the water mixture is warm but not hot! Once the yeast has dissolved, stir the butter, olive oil, sugar, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder into the mixture. Add three cups of flour and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Using the dough hook attachment, knead the mixture on medium speed (I use 4!) for 7 minutes. Alternatively, you can knead this by hand on a lightly floured surface. If the dough does not pull away from the sides of the bowl, add an additional 1/4 cup of flour. Once done kneading, lightly grease a bowl and place the dough inside. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place in your kitchen until doubled in size, about 1-1/2- 2 hours.
- Once risen, dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into about 14-15 equal-sized balls and gently roll the dough in your hands to form a ball. Flatten each ball into a circle with your fingers and place a chunk of cheese in the middle. Fold the perimeter of the dough over the cheese and pinch the edges together to close the dough around the filling. Place the balls in a lightly greased oven-safe skillet or baking dish about 1/2″ away from each other. Cover the pan and allow to rise a second time for about 25-30 minutes while the oven preheats to 375.
- Once rise, lightly brush the dough balls with water and sprinkle on additional shredded cheese, the Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Serve with warmed tomato sauce.