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Parmesan Pull-Apart Rolls - A Family Feast

A few years ago, my husband Jack went on a bread-baking kick shortly after we bought this really good cookbook. Jack has always been a huge fan of homemade breads and he decided that he wanted to perfect his bread-baking skills by trying many different recipes!

Right around that same time, I spotted some really delicious-looking bread and roll recipes in a Special Bread Edition of Gourmet Magazine. I promptly tore the recipe pages out and placed them in Jack’s cookbook so we could try them at some point!

Fast forward to earlier this week – Jack decided to try one of those long-saved Gourmet Magazine recipes and chose these Parmesan Pull-Apart Rolls. They were described as rich and tender like a brioche, with a golden brown crust – and I have to say that the added Parmigiano-Reggiano in the dough adds a wonderfully distinct flavor and aroma to these fabulous dinner rolls! The recipe was super easy and the dough was extremely user friendly – and this is really a perfect recipe for anyone looking to try their hand at homemade dinner rolls!

Parmesan Pull-Apart Rolls - A Family Feast

While the dough was proofing, Jack drove down to his local barber shop for a quick haircut and was greeted by his barber, a very sweet lady named Cheryl. They talked about the rolls that Jack had proofing back at home. Cheryl also told Jack that she is ‘addicted’ to reading A Family Feast and she visits our site often! We love hearing from our readers – especially when they have nice things to say – and Cheryl totally made Jack’s and my day with her kind words!

When Jack got back home and baked these rolls, he realized that he had forgotten to give Cheryl an extra tip for Christmas! So – after we took these photographs – Jack decided to bring our Christmas card & tip, as well as some freshly baked parmesan pull-apart rolls back to the barber shop. We were a little worried about bringing Cheryl the rolls since she is very into fitness and diet (she is so impressive – she competes in and has won fitness competitions!), so Jack was concerned about walking in with carb-loaded rolls!

But no need to worry – Cheryl’s eyes lit up at the sight of the rolls in Jack’s hand and she readily accepted the gift! As Jack walked out the door of the shop, she also – reluctantly – agreed to share some of the rolls with the other barbers.

Cheryl, we hope you enjoyed them!

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Parmesan Pull-Apart Rolls - A Family Feast

Parmesan Pull-Apart Rolls

  • Prep Time: 3 hours 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 3 hours 55 minutes
  • Yield: 12 rolls


  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
  • 2/3 cup warm milk (110 degrees), divided
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tablespoons for sprinkling
  • 1 ¼ cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • 5 tablespoons softened butter cut into tablespoon pieces, plus extra to butter the pan
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, place yeast, honey and 1/3 cup of the warm milk, stir and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix 2 ½ cups flour, Parmesan, and salt together. Add this to the yeast mixture along with the other 1/3 cup of warm milk and beat on low to combine. Add two eggs, one at a time, beating well as each egg is added. Scrape down bowl and beat on medium for three minutes.
  3. Turn mixer to low and add butter, one tablespoon at a time until finished dough is formed. Dough will be elastic and very sticky. Scrape dough down into a ball and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over top. Cover with plastic and then with a dish towel and let sit in a draft free warm place for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  4. Punch down dough but do not knead. Pour out onto your floured counter and roll into a log. Cut the log into 12 even pieces and roll each piece into a ball using a circular motion with the palm of your hand.
  5. Butter a 9” round cake pan and place rolls in pan spacing evenly. Cover with a dish towel and place back in warm draft free place for another 1 to 1 ½ hours. Rolls should be puffed up and fill the pan.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place rack in center.
  7. Beat the last egg with the water and brush over tops of rolls. Discard unused egg wash. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes until browned.
  8. Loosen edges if necessary with a knife and flip out onto a rack. Then flip back over so they cool upright. Cool for 20 minutes. Best eaten right away, or bring to your barber to brighten her day.

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  • Jackie wrote:

    Hi, Martha

    Can I make the dough balls in advance and freeze them, if so, how do I bake them, in the frozen state or do I thaw them first.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jackie – We haven’t tried freezing the dough ourselves to be able to say for sure. But if you want to try it – we’d suggest freezing them after step 4. Then thaw them and proceed with step 5. Please let us know how it turns out!

  • Sarah wrote:

    Hello 🙂 I attempted to make these and something ( I’m not sure what) went wrong. The dough after mixing ingredients was not elastic at all. The yeast mixture foamed so I think the yeast was ok . Too much flour maybe? I’m brand new to bread making and would welcome any advice. Thank you in advance 🙂

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Sarah – I’m sorry you didn’t have good success with the recipe! It could have been too much flour – or it could have been the yeast or one of the other ingredients or even the room temperature…bread baking is definitely one of those things where any number of things might go wrong! Although we (and I should say Jack specifically) have had good luck each time we’ve made this particular recipe – I can’t tell you how many other times we’ve (I’ve) made bread, the yeast bubbles as it should, and then the dough just doesn’t rise enough! I hope you’ll keep trying baking bread – our recipe or others! This page looks like it has some good Bread-Making Tips and Advice links that you might find helpful! I’m sorry I can’t be more definitive in telling you what went wrong – but I hope my pep talk will encourage you to not give up! Thanks for writing to us! Martha

      • Sarah wrote:

        Thank you for the advice. I will definitely check out the tips. Even though the rolls didn’t come out as planned my boyfriend says they’re great lol 🙂 I will keep trying different tweaks. They look amazing and I will figure it out!! Thank you 🙂

        • Martha wrote:

          You’re welcome!!

  • Cheryl wrote:

    These rolls are absolutely delicious!! And a big thank you to Martha and Jack for the mention in your story absolute these rolls. I will forsake my diet any day for the rolls! Lol!

    • Martha wrote:

      Our pleasure Cheryl! We’re glad you enjoyed them as much as we do!

  • Carmen wrote:

    They do look amazing and I will definetly try them out. I have a couple of questions:
    – is this a soft dough recipe?
    – I am planning to omit the parmesan cheese and was wondering how can I make these buns a little sweeter?
    – After they have cooked and cooled, do these buns freeze well?

    Thanks and have a nice day!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Carmen – Yes – it’s a soft roll and they will freeze well once baked. If you are looking for a sweet roll, you might be better off using a recipe that is specifically sweet. Here is a link to a recipe from one of my favorite bloggers – this might work for you better than adapting ours… Hope that helps!

      • Carmen wrote:

        Thanks for the info. I went ahead and tried them but, I took a chance in adding just a little twist to them and they came out so puffy & amazing. I left out the parmesan cheese and since I wanted a little sweetness to them, this is what I did. As I was forming them into round balls, I added a little butter and about 1 teas. of sugar in the middle, closed up the ball and placed it into the buttered pan. And voilà, you get just a little sweetness to the rolls.
        Thanks again! Carmen

        • Martha wrote:

          What a great idea Carmen! Thank you for letting us know!

  • Emily LeJeune wrote:

    Can this recipe be doubled or even tripled? Not sure how that works with bread…..

    • Martha wrote:

      Yes – But I would still bake them in smaller pans so that the center rolls bake as fast as the outer rolls. If you make one larger pan – we can’t guarantee they will be done in the center by the time the outer rolls are done. Hope that helps!

  • Sheri wrote:

    Could these be made without the cheese, for just a fluffy roll recipe?

    • Martha wrote:

      Yes Sheri! The Parmesan adds some flavor but it would be delicious without it!

  • Debbie wrote:

    These look perfect for my cooking club’s luncheon tomorrow. Could I start them tonight to bake in the morning?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Debbie – We haven’t made this recipe ourselves as an overnight process…and you probably don’t want the dough to proof overnight at room temp because it will rise too much! You could try mixing the dough tonight and immediately refrigerate it – but you’ll still need to allow time to bring it back up to room temperature in the morning and then start the first of two proofing processes. But since it’s such a quick dough to mix up (and sometimes bread dough can be very finicky!) – we’d really recommend doing it all in the morning if possible. Hope that helps! Please let us know if you try the overnight process!

      • Debbie wrote:

        I’m gonna do it all in the morning. Thanks.

      • Debbie wrote:

        They turned out great! My cooking club will be impressed with my baking skills. Thanks! This had become my “go to” recipe for bread.
        Happy Holidays.

        • Martha wrote:

          Yay Debbie!! So glad the recipe turned out so well!! Thank you for letting us know!

  • Heather @ French Press wrote:

    Martha these look SO good, pinning and making for sure

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Heather!

  • Nicole wrote:

    These look awesome! I want to just eat the rolls for dinner!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Nicole! I’ve been known to fill up on bread before dinner and then be too full to eat!! 🙂

  • Linda wrote:

    I read your blog every day and have tried many of your wonderful recipes, and always getting great reviews. I love your stories about how, where, and why you come up with your recipes. You are both great inspirations and thank you so much for sharing! I live in the Midwest and don’t have some of the best ingredients (seafood in particular) as you have. Have a wonderful holiday season and may you have many blessings.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Linda! Your comment has made our day! Happy holidays to you and yours. Martha

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