Brown Bread Rolls

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Dark, hearty and delicious molasses brown bread rolls make an amazing accompaniment to most any meal.

Their rich color makes molasses dinner rolls a delight to look at and their creamy, comforting texture makes them perfect for serving alongside soups, salads, roasted meats, and more.

A brown bread roll cut in half on a white plate with a white napkin and text overlay reading dark bread rolls.

The Color Secret

These rolls are made dark by the addition of blackstrap molasses and cocoa powder.

The cocoa definitely provides a good bit of color but there’s no discernible chocolate flavor.

a molasses brown bread dinner roll on a white plate sitting in front of a napkin lined basket full of more rolls.

The molasses adds some richness in flavor and sweetness but no one is likely to guess the rolls include molasses.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

This is a very simple recipe. The roll shapes give it a slightly intermediate level but honestly aren’t that hard. Simply roll the dough between your palm and the counter and be done. Don’t worry about perfection at first.

Roll Shapes

I generally just go for balls for my dinner rolls. It’s easy and quick.

However, one could make these into mini-loaves and score the tops of the loaves before baking to be very similar to steakhouse restaurant bread.

A molasses brown roll split in half sitting on a plate with a white napkin.

Make the rolls bigger or smaller depending on what else you’re serving and the size of your crowd. Just watch the time.

Regular size loaves could also be made, start checking around the 35 minute for doneness – it may need more, I haven’t tested loaves with this recipe yet.

Freeze Leftovers

Make a double batch and freeze these in advance for holiday feast tables, and quick meals later.

Simply let any rolls cool completely, then place into airtight bags to freeze.

Molasses brown bread rolls stacked in a white napkin lined basket.

Pull rolls out as needed to thaw at room temperature.

Eat frozen rolls within 6 months to prevent freezer burn and for best flavor.

Other Dinner Roll Recipes

Dark molasses dinner rolls stacked in a white napkin lined basket.

Molasses Dinner Rolls

Yield: 12 Rolls
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Rising Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Dark and soft molasses dinner rolls are super easy to make at home and will remind you of steakhouse rolls.


  • 1 1/3 Cups Warm Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Dry, Active Yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, softened
  • 1 Cup Powdered, Dry Milk 
  • 1/3 Cup Blackstrap Molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 4 Cups Bread Flour


  1. Combine water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl. Let sit until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add the butter, powdered milk, molasses, cocoa powder, and 1 cup of bread flour. Stir to combine.
  3. Add the salt and continue adding flour until a dough begins to form.
  4. Turn out to a floured board and knead until soft and elastic.
  5. Place into an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let rise until almost doubled, about an hour.
  6. Punch down the dough and grease a large baking sheet.
  7. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.
  8. Shape the pieces into rolls and place a few inches apart on the baking sheet.
  9. Cover the baking sheet with a towel and let rise about 30 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  11. Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
  12. Remove from baking sheet to cool on wire racks.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 257Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 420mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 2gSugar: 11gProtein: 8g

I try but cannot guarantee this nutritional information is 100% accurate.

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