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Sourdough Pull Apart Rolls

These sourdough pull apart rolls are soft and airy with a wonderful hint of tang.

One sourdough roll on top of the rest of the pan of rolls.

When I started baking with sourdough, I made a wonderful discovery: sourdough takes your favorite recipes to the next level. It enhances the flavors and textures of most baked goods. For example, sourdough pie crust is so flaky and delightfully tangy. Sourdough sandwich bread has a depth of flavor that just isn’t there with regular yeast bread. Sourdough waffles are simply sublime.

The same is true for these sourdough pull apart rolls. They’re super soft and fluffy, and that hint of tang just adds an extra something special. These are perfect for all of your holiday needs (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, you name it!).

Okay, now let me show you how to make these rolls!

How to Make Sourdough Pull Apart Rolls

A small piece of sourdough starter floating in a glass of water.

Firstly, you want to ensure that your sourdough starter is ready to go. About 8 hours before you plan on mixing together the dough for these rolls, feed your sourdough starter. I keep mine at 100% hydration, which means that I feed it with equal weights, not volumes, of flour and water. If you’re new to sourdough baking, you can always purchase a starter online, or refer to my How to Make a Sourdough Starter From Scratch post.

You know when your starter is ready when it doubles in volume and passes the float test. Drop a small amount of your starter into a cup of water. So if it floats, you’re good to go!

The dough roughly mixed in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Now it’s time to mix up the dough for these sourdough pull apart rolls!

Place all of the ingredients for the dough in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until a shaggy dough forms.

The dough kneaded until elastic.

Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed until the dough is quite elastic, about 10-15 minutes.

The risen dough in a glass bowl.

Transfer to a buttered bowl and allow to rise at room temperature for 8-12 hours. You want it to double in bulk. But how long this takes will vary depending on how active your starter is and how warm your kitchen is.

The ball of dough on a marble surface.

Plop the dough out onto a work surface.

Forming the Dough Into Rolls

The dough cut into 16 smaller pieces.

Divide into 16 equal pieces. I find it handy to weigh all of the dough first, divide that by 16, and portion out the pieces that way. For example, each of these pieces weighed about 64 grams.

Pinching the edges of the dough together.

To shape these sourdough pull apart rolls, grab the corners of a piece of dough. Pull them towards the center.

Rolling the dough to create surface tension.

Flip the ball over so it’s seam side down. Roll the dough on an ungreased work surface, creating surface tension.

The balls of dough in a 13x9 inch stainless steel pan.

Next, place the formed balls into a buttered 13×9-inch baking dish. As you can see, I decided to squish one of the balls in between 4 others. If you want them to fit in the pan perfectly, you can form them into 15 instead of 16 rolls. Then you can arrange them in the pan with 3 buns going the short way and 5 buns going the long way.

The balls of dough in a 13x9 inch stainless steel pan with a checkered tea towel draped over them.

After that, cover them with a tea towel and let rise for 6-8 hours.

The risen balls of dough in a 13x9 inch stainless steel pan with a checkered tea towel draped over them.

You want the buns to be quite puffy and fill the pan.

Baking/Serving Sourdough Pull Apart Rolls

The baked buns in the pan.

Bake in a preheated 375° F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until deep golden brown. One challenge with sourdough is ensuring that it gets baked enough. I like to insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of one of the buns. It should register 200° F.

Brushing Sourdough Pull Apart Rolls with melted butter.

After that, remove the sourdough pull apart rolls from the oven and brush the tops with melted butter.


A sourdough pull apart roll pulled in half!

Serve warm with MORE butter spread on the inside.

It’s so fluffy I’m going to diiiiieee! Sorry, it had to be said.


Pan of sourdough pull apart rolls with one taken out of the pan.

Since these sourdough pull apart rolls are naturally leavened, they take quite a bit longer to rise than rolls made with commercial yeast. Plan to start making them around 24 hours before you want to serve them.

Here’s a couple of sample baking schedules:

If you want to serve these rolls at noon (this works best in a cool kitchen):
  • 2 nights before you plan on serving the rolls, feed your sourdough starter right before you go to bed.
  • The next morning at around 10:00, mix together the dough. Let rise 12 hours.
  • That evening, before going to bed, form the dough into rolls. Let rise overnight.
  • The next morning, bake the rolls once they rise to fill the pan.
If you want to serve these rolls in the evening (this could also work for serving at noon if your kitchen is really warm):
  • The afternoon before you want to serve the rolls, feed your sourdough starter.
  • That evening, just before bed, mix together the dough. Let rise overnight until doubled.
  • The next morning, form the dough into rolls. Let rise 6-8 hours.
  • Bake once the rolls fill the pan.

NOTE: If you’re squeamish about letting dough sit out at room temperature because contains milk and eggs, you can always let the dough rise in the refrigerator instead. You’ll need to add several hours to the rise time if you choose that method.

Here’s a Step-by-Step Video for You:

P.S. I have joined up with a bunch of blogger friends for a Friendsgiving Virtual Potluck!

My friend Julie from The Little Kitchen invited me to her virtual Friendsgiving Potluck, and of course I wanted to join in the fun! Be sure to check the recipes below out for wonderful Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving recipe and craft ideas – you might find a new favorite!


Baked Brie with Honey & Walnuts from Kelley of Mountain Mama Cooks
Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Bites from Nicole of I am a Honey Bee
Reindeer Bacon Cheddar Cheese Ball from Julie of Julie Blanner


Sauteed Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts from Shashi of Savory Spin
Creamy Brussels Sprouts Salad from Faith of An Edible Mosaic

Main Dishes

Savory Vegetable Crisp from Bree of Baked Bree
Rosemary Lamb Steaks from Danyelle of The Cubicle Chick
Turkey Pot Pie from Kelly of Eat Picks

Side Dishes

Fried Brussels Sprouts from Erin of The Almond Eater
Cheesy Horseradish Mashed Potato Casserole from Renee of Kudos Kitchen by Renee
Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip from April of April Golightly
Sauteed Garlic-Butter Mushrooms from Linda of Simply Healthyish Recipes
Easy Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole Recipe from Mel of Adventures of Mel
Cornbread Stuffing with Chorizo from Isabel of Isabel Eats
Bacon Brussels Sprouts from Kara of Kara J. Miller
Crockpot Sweet Potato Casserole from Jennifer of Show Me the Yummy
Amazing Gluten Free Thanksgiving Stuffing from Sommer of A Spicy Perspective
Pumpkin Caramelized Onion Gratin from Denise of Chez Us
Crockpot Mac & Cheese from Leanette Fernandez of Funtastic Life
Cheesy Brussels Sprouts au Gratin from Rachel Gurk of Rachel Cooks


Spiced Pumpkin Margarita from Sharon of Cupcakes and Cutlery


Sourdough Pull Apart Rolls from Erica of Buttered Side Up
How to Make Homemade Butterhorn Rolls from Mel of Flour on My Fingers
Sweet Dinner Rolls from Jocelyn of Grandbaby Cakes
Parker House Rolls from Irvin of Eat the Love


Sugar Pie from Julie of The Little Kitchen
Oatmeal Apple Crisp from Julie of Peanut Butter Fingers
Pumpkin Pie Milkshake from Eden of Sugar and Charm
Strudel Pastry from Justine of The Typical Mom
Tahini Hawaij Pumpkin Pie from Amy of What Jew Wanna Eat
Turkey Cookies from Meaghan of The Decorated Cookie
Mini Apple Pie Bites from Lynsey of MoscatoMom
Kabocha squash pie from Hilah of hilahcooking
Pecan Pie Cupcakes from Courtney of Pizzazzerie
Coconut Cream Pie from Schnelle of Brooklyn Active Mama
Chocolate chip cheesecake from Jeannette of Hispana Global
Chocolate Pecan Pie from Kate of I Heart Eating
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes from Chelsea of Someday I’ll Learn
Cinnamon Apple Crisp from Erica of The Crumby Kitchen
Turkey Donut Race Cars For Thanksgiving Treats from Theresa of Chewable Structures

Crafts and Centerpieces

Cinnamon Stick Holiday Candle Place Setting from Alli of Made with HAPPY
Metallic Pumpkin Luminaries from Amy of As The Bunny Hops
Easy centerpiece that will stun + party favor from Noelle of Oh Happy Play

Pan of sourdough pull apart rolls with one taken out of the pan.
4.8 from 25 votes

Sourdough Pull Apart Rolls

Pull apart rolls get an upgrade with sourdough starter!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword bread, Sourdough
Prep Time 22 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 16 rolls
Author Erica Kastner


  • 3/4 cup whole milk, warm (105°F)
  • 1 cup active sourdough starter (220 grams) - see note
  • 3 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour (465 grams)
  • 1/4 cup grass-fed butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 1 tbsp grass-fed butter, melted (for brushing tops of buns)


  1. Place all dough ingredients in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until a rough dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed until the dough is quite elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Resist the urge to add more flour - you want the dough to be very soft.

  2. Transfer the dough to a large, buttered bowl. Cover and allow to rise at room temperature for 8-12 hours, or until doubled.

  3. Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 16 equal pieces. Grab the corners of one of the pieces and pull it towards the middle. Roll the ball, seam side down, on your work surface to create surface tension. Place in a buttered 13x9-inch baking dish. Repeat with the remaining dough.

  4. Cover the pan and allow to rise at room temperature for 6-8 hours, or until the rolls are quite puffy and fill the pan.

  5. 30 minutes before you plan on baking the rolls, preheat your oven to 375° F. Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes, or until they're deep golden brown and register 200° F when an instant read thermometer is inserted into the center of a roll.

  6. Remove from oven and brush the tops of the rolls with the melted butter. Serve warm with grass-fed butter.

Recipe Notes

An active sourdough starter means that it has been fed 8-12 hours beforehand and is bubbly and passes the float test.

Sourdough Pull Apart Rolls with melted butter on top.

Recipe Rating


Friday 8th of October 2021

Hi! Can you substitute any whole wheat flour in for this recipe?

Erica Kastner

Friday 8th of October 2021

You could probably successfully substitute whole wheat flour for part of the flour, but if you do 100% whole wheat it will affect the texture. Also, the rise time will be less since sourdough is more active when you use a whole grain flour.


Monday 6th of September 2021

I actually make this these yesterday! However, ours turned out overly sour! Does that mean I may have overproofed the dough both times??? The texture was perfect but definitely sour!!!

Erica Kastner

Sunday 12th of September 2021

There are different factors that could cause your bread to be too sour. Over proofing is one, or it could be that your starter was too mature when you used it. Check out my sourdough starter troubleshooting post to learn more!


Saturday 19th of June 2021

Hi. First time I made this they were an huge hit! Now I’m making them for Father’s Day, but I need to bake ahead. Do you think I could bake them to slightly underdone, then cover, put in fridge overnight, and finish baking tomorrow like a brown and serve roll? Any ideas?

Erica Kastner

Friday 25th of June 2021

So sorry for not replying sooner! I would only bake them to very slightly underdone. You don't want them to be doughy! You could also bake them fully, then gently reheat them with a damp tea towel or paper towels on top (kind of like heating tortillas - you want only a warm oven, maybe 200-250F), or spritz them very lightly with water before reheating, then put foil on top. Hope that helps!


Friday 7th of May 2021

Any thoughts on using this recipe to make 20 rolls in a 13x9 instead of the 15-16 that you suggested? I misread the recipe and started letting them rise before looking back at your page and now I’m a little worried they’ll be too crowded and won’t bake all the way through!


Saturday 17th of April 2021

The bread came out great! Such a great recipe! I make it regularly now. Do you think this dough would do well in the fridge or freezer? Trying to figure out how to make a dough that my parents can just throw in the oven whenever they want fresh bread. Or do you have another recipe that would do well in the fridge or freezer?

Erica Kastner

Monday 19th of April 2021

These would do well in the fridge! Not sure about the freezer, though.

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