Parker House Rolls: The Original Buttery Boston Hotel Recipe


Parker House Rolls are one of New England’s many trademark culinary offerings. Perfect for this time of year, when the weather turns cold and we start thinking about comfort food and holiday dinners. These famous rolls have a crisp, buttery exterior and a soft, tender crumb that steams when broken apart.

The delectable, folded, golden orbs are named after the Boston hotel where they originated during the 1870’s.  Legend has it that a disgruntled hotel baker threw a batch of unfinished rolls into the oven after an altercation with a hotel guest.  When the rolls emerged from the oven, they had a distinct folded “pocketbook” shape that made them light and puffy on the inside, while staying crisp and buttery on the outside. A happy accident? Or at least one with a delicious ending.

The Omni Parker House Hotel photo source: octaviasvintage


1 1/2 cups milk

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing

1/2 cup sugar

1 package active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

6 cups all-purpose flour


Place milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and sugar and let cool. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit until foamy. Combine milk mixture, eggs, yeast, salt, and 1/2 of the flour in a mixer with the dough attachment and mix until smooth. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir until a smooth ball forms.

Remove from the bowl and knead by hand on a floured surface for about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 60 to 70 minutes. On a floured surface, punch down dough, pinch off 3 inches, flatten into a circle and fold over one end into the center, press down. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover again and let rise until doubled, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven 375* Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter before serving.

The Parker House Hotel Boston 1907 photo source: wikipedia

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