Whether you’re cooking a fancy meal or are preparing some cozy winter soup, these Herbed Fantail Rolls will be the rolls you’re always going to want to make. Made with an enriched dough to keep them impossibly soft, you’ll roll the soft dough out, slather it with melted butter, sprinkle with fresh herbs, and then stack up the layers. I still can believe how easy this dinner roll recipe is to make and what a statement they make on the table!

A hand is picking up an Herbed Fantail Roll from out of a basket of rolls.

I am a carb fanatic. This should be no surprise to you if you’ve been reading along with me for long enough. 

I can’t possibly turn down a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. Or an egg sandwich when on the run in the mornings.

An Herbed Fantail Rolls on a round white plate. There is a bowl of soup in the background.

Now, after close to 20 years of making my own bread in the form of sandwich bread, pizza dough, burger buns, and rolls, rolls, and more rolls, I’ve learned that I really, REALLY love homemade bread with herbs in it.

That’s where these Herbed Fantail Rolls come in. Do I absolutely need another homemade dinner roll recipe in my life?

Why, OF COURSE I do!! These dinner rolls popped into my Instagram feed the day before Thanksgiving in 2020 from the always fabulous and reliable Smitten Kitchen

A batch of Herbed Fantail Rolls in a serving basket.

And boy oh boy, after 9 months of eating all the carbs during lockdown and with moving out state stress, I couldn’t wait to dig my hands into a new batch of bread dough. 

If the timing wasn’t right for these rolls to enter my life, I didn’t know what was. I had no definitive roll recipe in mind to make with our Thanksgiving dinner and this recipe immediately sold me.

Ingredients for Herbed Fantail Rolls.

Ingredients for this Dinner Roll Recipe

In addition to needing warm water (about 115 degrees F) for the dough to rise properly, here is the rest of the basic grocery list of ingredients you’ll need for these fantail rolls. Be sure to keep scrolling down to the recipe card for the full list of ingredients including amounts!

  • White granulated sugar
  • Instant yeast
  • Sour cream (use plain yogurt as a substitute)
  • Egg
  • Unsalted butter
  • All purpose flour
  • Sea salt
  • Herbs and spices: onion powder, garlic powder, fresh thyme, fresh chives, and fresh parsley
Proofed dough for Herbed Fantail Rolls in a glass bowl.

How to Make Herbed Fantail Rolls

These dinner rolls may look super fancy (and they are!) but they’re also quite simple to make. Below are the instructions for how to make herbed fantail rolls. Be sure to keep scrolling down to the recipe card to view the full set of Instructions for this roll recipe!

STEP 1: Mix the yeast and sugar into warm water in a stand mixer bowl. Let the yeast mixture rest for 5 minutes. This will allow the yeast time to start eating up the sugar.

Dough for Herbed Fantail Rolls which has been rolled out flat, brushed with butter and sprinkled with fresh herbs.

STEP 2: Next, mix in the sour cream, egg, and melted butter with a whisk. Stir in the flour and salt using the dough hook.

STEP 3: With the mixer on low, knead the ingredients for about 1 to 2 minutes, until a shaggy dough forms. If the dough is very dry, blend in up to 2 tablespoons of water as needed. Continue kneading for 5 minutes until a soft dough forms.

STEP 4: Remove the soft dough from the bowl, lightly oil the bowl, add the dough back to the bowl and coat it in the oil. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm-ish spot for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until just doubled.

Cutting long pieces of the Herbed Fantail Roll dough.

PRO TIP: This dough is an enriched dough since it contains an egg and butter. The egg and butter greatly increase the deliciousness of the rolls but they also slow down proofing time. Be sure to give the dough its maximum time in a warm draft free place (between 68 and 75 degrees F) to proof to double its size before moving to the next step.

STEP 5: Butter muffin cups (you’ll need a 12-cup muffin tin) with melted butter. Mix the dried spices and some salt together in a small bowl.

STEP 6: Cut the dough in half on a lightly floured surface. Dust the dough with flour and with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-inch square. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle some of the dried spice mixture and fresh herbs over the butter.

Stacked dough for Herbed Fantail Rolls.

Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (2-inch wide strips). Stack strips on top of each other, butter-side up, and cut the stack into 6 2-inch squares. Turn a dough square vertically 90 degrees so one side of the layers is facing up and tuck it into one of the muffin cups. 

Repeat with the remaining buttered squares and the rest of the dough until all of the muffin cups are filled.

Fantailing the Herbed Fantail Rolls.

STEP 7: Gently fan out the layers of each piece, cover loosely with a piece of buttered plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for another hour.

STEP 8: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake until lightly golden brown. Brush the fully baked fantail rolls with more butter and sprinkle with fresh herbs and flaky sea salt. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Freshly baked Herbed Fantail Rolls in a muffin tin. There is a hand picking up one of the rolls to show the fantail details.

Swaps and Subs

  • To make dairy free rolls: Simply swap the unsalted butter for vegan butter, coconut oil, or olive oil.
  • You can use other herbs too! Other herb combinations you might like include dried sage for a Thanksgiving-y roll, or cilantro and scallions for a Tex-Mex dinner roll, or fresh basil, parsley and some dried oregano for Italian herb dinner rolls.
Herbed Fantail Rolls pulled apart to show the layers of the rolls.

What to Serve these Rolls With

Obviously, these rolls are perfect served with any kind of protein and many types of soup you’ll be eating for dinner. Here are some fantastic recipes you can make alongside your new favorite homemade rolls:

Herbed Fantail Rolls lined up on a wire rack to cool a few minutes before serving.
An Herbed Fantail Rolls on a round white plate. There is a bowl of soup in the background.

Herbed Fantail Rolls Recipe

Yield: 12 rolls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Proofing Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Bake Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 18 minutes

A delightfully fun dinner roll recipe to make, these Herbed Fantail Rolls will WOW your dining partners and make you think twice about ever buying store-bought rolls again. The rolls are incredibly soft due to the addition of egg and butter in the dough - called an enriched dough - and then they're swathed in melted butter and sprinkled with fresh herbs. You're going to love these!


For the roll dough:

  • 6 tbsp (90 grams) warm water (about 115°F)
  • 1 tbsp (15 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp instant yeast (from a ¼-ounce or 7-gram packet)
  • ½ cup (120 grams) full fat sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tbsp (60 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp fine sea salt

For assembly and baking:

  • 4 tbsp (60 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • Two pinches fine sea salt
  • Flour for dusting
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh chives, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes until it gets just a little foamy.
  2. Whisk the sour cream, egg, and butter into the yeast mixture until smooth.
  3. Attach the dough hook. Add flour and salt and slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet. It should come together into a shaggy mass at medium-low speed in about 1 to 2 minutes. If it the dough is very dry and won't come together, add additional 1 tablespoon water, mixing thoroughly before adding a second, if needed.
  4. Reduce the speed to low and knead for 5 minutes until a soft dough forms. Pull the dough from the bowl, lightly oil the bowl, and add the dough back to it, rolling it around the sides to coat it with the oil.
  5. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warmish spot (around 68-75° F) for 90 minutes, or until just about doubled. (It sometimes takes up to 2 hours.)
  6. Towards the end of the first proofing time, brush the 12 cups of a standard muffin pan lightly with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. (One tablespoon for all of the cups, not each of the cups.) Combine onion powder, garlic powder, and a couple pinches of salt in a small bowl.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Divide the soft dough in half. Sprinkle with flour and roll first half to a 12-inch square. Brush with ½ tablespoon of the melted butter and sprinkle with half of onion powder mixture, and half of herbs. Cut the square into 6 equal strips. Stack strips, buttered sides up, and cut crosswise into 6 equal pieces. Turn each piece on a side so the fanned dough is facing up and put it into a muffin cup. Repeat with the other squares and then remaining half of dough, another ½ tablespoon of the melted butter, remaining spices and 1 tablespoon of herbs. Separate outer layers of each roll slightly to fan outward.
  8. Cover the fantails with a piece of buttered plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in warm spot again for 1 hour, or until dough mostly fills out cups. Shortly before the hour is up, heat oven to 375° F.
  9. Bake rolls until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, or until the center of each fantail roll is 190° F on an instant read thermometer. As soon as you remove the pan from the oven, brush the dinner rolls with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and scatter with remaining herbs. You can also add a pinch of flaky sea salt - optional but recommended. Transfer rolls to a wire rack and cool 10 minutes before serving.

See the Note below for Do Ahead instructions.


DO AHEAD: The rolls can be made up to 8 hours in advance, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and then foil, and then warmed in a 200° F oven in only the foil for about 10 minutes.

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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