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Basic Sweet Dough Recipe

This basic sweet dough recipe gives you a tender, soft crumb, and can be made into any sweet bread or roll you’d like.

Nutella Swirl buns made with this simple recipe for basic sweet dough.

This basic sweet dough is one of those useful recipes that offers so many incredible options. Want to make cinnamon rolls? You can do that. Have a sweet loaf in mind, stuffed with delicious things? You can make it all happen with this dough.

Basic Sweet Dough Nutella Rolls

This is one that I’ve made and tweaked and made again and played with multiple times in the past few months. To be honest, the first batch went in the garbage can because it wasn’t edible. I’ve made a strawberry heart bread for Valentines, rolls that never saw the light of Instagram, and most recently these Nutella rolls, which were inspired by Thida Bevington and her amazing creations.

peeling apart the layers of sweet dough that make up these swirled Nutela rolls.

How to Make Basic Sweet Dough

  • Begin by setting out your eggs to come to room temperature.
  • Next, place the butter in a sauce pan and melt it down completely. Add the milk and continue to heat until it reaches between 100-110° F, then pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Sprinkle the yeast into the milk and butter, followed by the sugar. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, allowing the yeast to dissolve and become foamy.
  • Lightly beat the egg in a separate bowl, then stir into the rest of the wet ingredients.
  • Add the flour and salt to the bowl and turn the mixer on low , stirring with the dough hook until the flour has all been absorbed and the dough has come together. Then turn up the mixer to medium and knead for 4-6 minutes, or until the dough has come together on the hook in a ball.
  • Remove the dough from the mixing bowl into an oiled bowl, cover it with a clean cloth, and set it in a warm, draft free place until it has doubled in size. This will take about 1-2 hours, but the time will vary depending on the warmth of your room.
  • When the dough has doubled, use it to make rolls, twists, loaves, or whatever you’d like!

To make the Nutella rolls, I followed these directions from Thida Bevington. {She has lots of variations on these swirls, and I highly recommend following her for pastry inspiration, ideas, and just generally luscious, drool worthy food.}:

How To Make Nutella Swirls

Bake them at 350F for 25-30 minutes, or until they are golden brown, then remove them from the oven and allow to cool before glazing.

Recipe Notes and Tips:

  • If your yeast is a bit on the old side and you’re not sure it’s active, try testing some before using it in the dough. Simply sprinkle a pinch or two over a cup of warm water. If it dissolves and becomes foamy in 5-10 minutes, it’s active and safe to use. If it simply sinks and doesn’t do anything, you’ll need to get new yeast.
  • After adding the flour, your dough may look wet, soft, and unworkable. But don’t be tempted to add extra flour! As it rises, the gluten will build structure in the dough. It will still be soft, but workable, and will give you a tender, delicious dough. Adding extra flour will make it dry out more quickly.
  • After shaping your loaves or rolls, you can pop them in the refrigerator overnight and bake in the morning. So easy!
Basic Sweet Dough Pinterest Graphic

Other Recipes You May Enjoy:

An oval pan of perfectly swirled cinnamon rolls being covered in fluffy white frosting.
The Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Oreo Chocolate Babka
Cookies & Cream Bread
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Basic Sweet Dough Recipe

Basic Sweet Dough Recipe

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  • Author: Rebecca Neidhart
  • Total Time: 3.5 hours
  • Yield: 1.25 lb. dough 1x


This basic sweet dough recipe gives you a tender, soft crumb, and can be made into any sweet bread or roll you’d like.


  • 4 Tbsp. (56 g) butter
  • 2/3 cup (5.3 oz.) whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. (6 g) instant yeast
  • 3 Tbsp. (36 g) white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups (284 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. (6 g) salt


Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then remove it from the heat. Add the milk and pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Measure the temperature to be sure it’s between 90F and 110F. If it’s hotter than  110F, allow it to cool so that it doesn’t kill the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast, then the sugar, over the warm milk and butter, then give it a stir to wet all of the yeast. Allow it to sit for five to ten minutes, or until the yeast is foamy. Lightly beat the egg in a separate bowl, then add to the milk & yeast mixture.

Add in the flour and salt and turn the mixer on low until the dough has come together into a ball. Turn the mixer up to medium and knead for 4-6 minutes, or until it is a smooth and taut. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, shape the dough into a ball, and place it into a greased bowl. Allow it to rise for 1 -1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size. At this point, you can use it to make a variety of sweet breads or rolls. Simply shape however you like, then cover with a cloth and allow to rise for about another hour, or until the dough is soft and puffy.

For the Knots Pictured: Divide your dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each one out into a rectangle (it doesn’t have to be completely square) that’s about 4″x7″, then brush on melted butter. Sprinkle with about a teaspoon of sugar, then mini chocolate chips. Roll them up along the long side, then pinch the seams to seal. Roll the dough “log” under your hands while applying gentle pressure to stretch and lengthen it, then turn a simple knot with the dough. Mix the leftover melted butter with about a tablespoon of milk, then brush it on the outsides of the knots and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until the outside a golden.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes, + 2-3 hours rising
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Breads & Pastries
  • Method: Kneading, Baking
  • Cuisine: Bread
Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Saturday 8th of May 2021

The salt does make any sense I just wasted all these ingredients and I have to throw the mixture away because no one can manage that salt . How can I make sweet rolls from that mixture all I taste is salt . Please revise the salt measurement


Sunday 17th of December 2023

@Sharmain, just don't put the salt in. In my family recipes there never was salt added in sweets so I skip it in all sweet recipes. No one knows any better. I think it's modern hooks and everyone fails for it


Saturday 16th of December 2023

@Sharmain, The salt content is fine.This is an unjustified compliant. The recipe is good

Rebecca Neidhart

Tuesday 11th of May 2021

Hi Sharmain, I'm sorry the recipe didn't work for you. I've reviewed the recipe, and 1 tsp. of salt is a fairly standard amount for this size of a recipe, and plays a vital role in the way the flavors and dough develop. Is it possible for you to make the recipe baking with weight to avoid adding too much? Let me know if you have any other questions!

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