These homemade air buns are super soft, tender, and nearly melt in your mouth. They stay fresh for days, and freeze so well. This recipe makes 45 buns, and they are so quick and easy to make.
My all-time favorite and most used recipe is Grandma's Old Fashioned Homemade Air Buns. This is truly an amazing recipe. These buns, or 'dinner rolls' as some people call them, are so easy and take hardly any effort to make.
First off, let me tell you that I LOVE making my own bread. I have been practicing my breadmaking skills for the last 7 years. Homemade bread is always fresh, low in sugar and salt, contains no preservatives, and makes your house smell SO good. I have made dozens and dozens of these particular air buns over the last 2 years.
This recipe was my husband's grandma's recipe. My husband's aunt was kind enough to share this treasured family recipe with me. Amazingly, this recipe is at least 80 years old, and oh...my...gosh!!! It is the perfect recipe! I use it every single week, and it is simply the easiest recipe I have ever tried. Plus, it has turned out exactly right...every...single...time.
It makes 3 large loaves of bread, or 45 dinner rolls, or 1 loaf of bread and 30 dinner rolls, or 2 loaves of bread and 15 dinner rolls. Anyway, you get the picture. It is just so darn good! Plus it never crumbles and stays fresh for days!
Only a handful of ingredients are required for this homemade air bun recipe. You probably have everything you need in your pantry already.
- Flour. The original recipe calls for only all-purpose flour; however, I always add in whole wheat flour for a healthier bread. I usually make it 30% to 50% whole wheat flour, and the rest is non bleached all-purpose flour. This keeps the dinner rolls nice, light, and fluffy. The higher the ratio of whole wheat flour the heavier and denser the buns get.
- Yeast. I use quick-rising yeast if I'm in a hurry, by any kind of yeast works well.
- Sugar. I use cane sugar, but you can also use coconut sugar or raw sugar. I haven't made it with honey as my daughter is allergic, but I'm sure it would work out well too.
- Oil. I use olive oil, but you can use avocado oil, canola oil, or even melted butter or margarine.
- Vinegar. This is the secret ingredient in these air buns. The vinegar preserves gluten bonds, keeping them from popping. Vinegar is like a conditioner for dough, it keeps the yeast happy and helps it to work better, resulting in the buns expanding like crazy.
- Salt. It slows the rising process, plus salt makes the bread taste better, resulting in a great tasting bun.
This bread recipe can be made in a KitchenAid mixer with the dough attachment if you have one, which saves a lot of time. If you don't have a stand mixer not to worry, you can mix these up by hand quite easily. Just use a wooden spoon until you can't mix it anymore, then use your hands to mix the flour in.
- First, mix ½ cup lukewarm water, 1 tbsp yeast, and 1 tsp cane sugar in a medium bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes. It will start to get foamy on top.
- Next, in your stand mixer or a large bowl, add 2 cups of HOT water. Add 2 tsp salt and ½ cup cane sugar to the HOT water, stir with a spoon until it dissolves. Then add 1-½ cups warm water, ½ cup oil, 1 tbsp vinegar, and 3 cups of flour. Start mixing with the dough hook attachment, or with a wooden spoon. Add the yeast mixture and keep on mixing. Keep adding flour gradually a cup at a time until you have a smooth round ball.
- The dough should just be starting to pull away from the bowl. It will still be slightly sticky and that's okay. Continue to mix for about 5 minutes with the dough hook, or knead by hand on the countertop lightly covered with flour. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size. I use the 'proof' setting on my oven, or you can turn your oven on at 350 for 1 minute, then shut it off and place your dough in there to rise.
- Divide the dough into 3 sections. Each section will make 15 air buns. Roll the dough into balls and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets for dinner rolls, or place a section into greased or parchment paper-lined bread pans for a loaf of bread. Cover and let rise for 1 hour more, or until doubled in size again. As above, I like to place them in the oven to rise and that way I don't have to cover them. I found before that when they were done rising and I pulled the towel off, or the plastic wrap, that the buns fell from being disturbed and didn't turn out as well.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, place in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. When done, take out of the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Enjoy these homemade air buns hot out of the oven with some butter or margarine, or with homemade raspberry rhubarb jam. Yum!!! Just be careful not to burn your mouth!
The options are endless with this recipe! You can add in:
- 1 cup of oatmeal, just reduce all-purpose flour by the same amount.
- Flax seeds, ⅓ cup.
- Poppy seeds, ⅓ cup
- Chia seeds, ⅓ cup
- Hemp hearts, ⅓ cup
- For a tasty variation, dip the top of the buns in grated cheese before baking for homemade cheese buns.
🧾 What to serve with air buns
- Easy Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Pasta Soup
- Tender BBQ Pork Ribs in Instant Pot - From Frozen
- Air Fryer Keto Tuna Patties - Quick and Healthy
- Seriously Easy Spinach And Mushroom Omelet
- Quick and Easy Fluffy Oven-Baked Omelet Casserole
- Homemade Raspberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam - So Easy
Yes, these homemade air buns freeze so well! They taste just like they were made fresh when they defrost, that is if you have any left to freeze; my family devours them as soon as they are out of the oven! Simply let them cool on the cooling rack, at least an hour or two, and place them in a large ziplock freezer bag. Zip them up to seal, getting as much air out as you can, and place them in the freezer. They will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 2 months.
To defrost, simply remove from the freezer and place the bag of frozen buns on your kitchen counter. Within a few hours, you will have fresh, tasty buns that taste like they were just baked.
Yes, you can over knead air bun dough, which you will end up with buns that are hard on the outside and dry on the inside. That's why it is important not to knead the dough for longer than 5 minutes.
Other great bread recipes:
Did you make these Old Fashioned Air Buns? Please let me know in the comments below how they turned out!
Grandma's Easy Old Fashioned Homemade Air Buns
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- 1 tbsp yeast
- 1 tsp cane sugar
How to make the dough
- 2 cups HOT water
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ cup cane sugar
- 1½ cups WARM water
- ½ cup oil
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 9-10 cups flour I use 3 cups of whole wheat flour and the rest unbleached all-purpose flour.
- Mix ½ cup lukewarm water, 1tbsp yeast, and 1 tsp cane sugar in a medium bowl. Let it stand for 5 minutes. It will start to get foamy on top.
Begin to make the dough
- In a large bowl or your KitchenAid stand mixer, add 2 cups of HOT water.
- Add 2 tsp salt and ½ cup cane sugar to the hot water and mix until it dissolves.
- Next, add 1½ cups WARM water, ½ cup oil, 1 tbsp vinegar, and 3 cups of flour. Mix.
- Add the yeast mixture to the bowl and keep mixing.
- Keep adding flour gradually, a cup at a time, until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. It should be a smooth, round ball.
- Continue punching down for 8 to 10 minutes, or 5 minutes with a KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal sections. Each section makes 15 dinner rolls or 1 loaf of bread. To shape the dinner rolls, roll out the dough into 1.5 inch balls, Place on cookie sheets covered with parchment paper. To shape bread, place a section in greased or parchment paper-lined bread pan.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. I know it's hard to wait, but it is so worth it!
When dinner rolls or bread are the sizes you would like them:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.