Sandwiches are the best – they’re quick, easy to make and you can prepare countless variations. These BBQ Chicken Sliders with Homemade Dinner Rolls are quite a treat. If you have the time I strongly recommend making your own dinner rolls for incredible results – they’re fluffy, soft, buttery and flaky. The sliders are filled with juicy and tender shredded baked chicken, tangy, sweet and smokey BBQ sauce and lots of melty cheese. To top it all off, the dinner rolls are brushed with garlic herb butter that definitely takes these sliders up to another level. Serve these pull-apart sliders with some salad and enjoy at a picnic.
All about Homemade Dinner Rolls
The moment you get them in the oven, the incredible scent of freshly baked bread starts to fill your entire house – that’s what always encouraged me to make homemade bread. These soft, fluffy and springy yeast rolls are so easy to prepare and sooo delicious, you’ll always find some in my freezer.
Ingredients used to make Dinner Rolls
You’ll only need 6 basic ingredients. These dinner rolls are made of a brioche dough – it’s a rich dough that contains more fat and protein than most breads. Thanks to the high fat in these rolls, the texture is soft, flaky and buttery. It’s basically my Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Recipe but with less sugar, of course.
- Milk: This helps activate the yeast. I used whole milk – it improves texture and flavour. You could also use nondairy or low fat, but the texture might not be the same.
- Yeast: Instant yeast is the best – the rise times are much shorter than the ones with active dry yeast.
- Granulated Sugar: It feeds the yeast.
- Unsalted Butter: Use room temperature butter! This will help it spread more evenly into the dough. Also, it adds flavour and makes that soft texture.
- Egg: Helps with the structure of the dinner rolls.
- Flour: I used all-purpose. You can also use bread flour, but the texture will be chewier.
Step by step instructions for perfect buns
Baking with yeast means that you need to let the dough rise two times until doubled in size. This makes the dinner rolls super fluffy and flaky. Don’t be afraid of yeast – it’s really easy to work with it. The key step is figuring out if the yeast is still active, then you can let it do its job.
- Proof the yeast. Heat milk until a little bit hot to the touch – about 110°F, but not hotter than 120°F (the hot temperature will deactivate the yeast). Sprinkle 1 tbsp sugar and the yeast on top of the milk and gently stir it. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to proof. The yeast should start to foam at the surface. If it’s not making any foam, this means your yeast is inactive.
- Knead the dough. Add the rest of ingredients and mix it with a spoon or in an electric mixer until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft and a little bit sticky. If the dough is too wet, add 1 tbsp at a time of flour until you can work with it. I usually don’t need to add any flour. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes until a smooth ball forms that springs back if pushed with a finger.
- First rise. Lightly grease a large bowl with oil (I used sunflower oil) and place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Place in a warm place and let it rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Shape the rolls. Grease with butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan or two 9 by 9 inch square or round baking pans. Punch down the dough to release the air. Divide the dough into 13-16 equal pieces. I like to use a scale to be precise, but you definitely can eyeball them. Shape each piece using your hands – stretch the top of the buns, tucking the dough under and pinch the bottoms to seal them. You can also shape them by cupping your hand and lightly roll it into a ball, using the friction of the surface to help with the rounding. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan.
- Second rise. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, aluminum foil or plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Bake the rolls. Preheat oven to 350°F and adjust oven rack to a lower position – to prevent the tops from burning. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden-brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through. If the tops brown too quickly, loosely cover them with aluminum foil. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let them cool.
When you add the flour you could also add in some dried herbs (2 tsp each), garlic powder (1 tsp) or some hard cheese such as cheddar (1 cup).
Make ahead and freezing instructions
You can make the dinner rolls ahead of time – after the first rise, punch down the dough and shape the rolls. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan, cover them tightly and place them in the refrigerator overnight, up to 16 hours. The next day take them out 3 hours before baking to let them rise for the second time at room temperature.
To freeze them, place the shaped rolls in the freezer in the baking pan. Once frozen they won’t stick together and you can transfer them in a freezer bag. Let them thaw and rise for 5-6 hours, then bake. This way you can never run out of freshly baked dinner rolls!
Delicious BBQ sauce
Homemade sauces are so much better than store-bought ones. They don’t require much of your time and they’ll turn out delicious. You’ll need ketchup, brown sugar and honey to sweeten it, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice to add a little bit of tanginess, Worcestershire sauce for umami, freshly ground black pepper and garlic powder for extra flavour. Add salt at the end after you taste for seasoning. I usually don’t add any extra salt, because that Worcestershire sauce adds enough. Although, if your sauce is too salty, add a little bit more lemon juice or brown sugar to balance the saltiness.
Baked Chicken Breast
Firstly, do yourself a favour and buy a meat thermometer. I can’t recommend this enough! It will definitely change the way you cook. After you’ve baked the dinner rolls, turn up the heat to 400°F, coat the chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature in the center of the chicken reaches 165°F. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then shred it with a couple of forks. You can definitely swap this with any leftover chicken or any grilled meat.
Make the pull-apart BBQ Chicken Sliders
- Slice the dinner rolls. Take the dinner rolls out of the baking pan and slice them horizontally using a long serrated knife. Transfer the bottom part back in the baking pan (with the cut side up).
- Fill the sliders. Mix the shredded chicken with the BBQ sauce and place it evenly on the bottom part of the sliders. Sprinkle grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese all over the chicken. Place the top of the rolls back in the pan.
- Bake. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Loosely cover the tops with aluminum foil to prevent burning.
- Make the garlic herb butter. In a small saucepan add butter and minced garlic. Cook until the garlic starts to sizzle. Add chopped fresh parsley and other dried herbs you prefer. Set aside.
- Brush the dinner rolls. Take the BBQ chicken sliders out of the oven and brush the dinner rolls tops with garlic herb butter. Enjoy warm.
BBQ Chicken Sliders with Homemade Dinner Rolls
For the dinner rolls
- 1 cup milk
- 2 ¼ tsp dried yeast
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar divided
- ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 3 cups flour all-purpose
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter for serving
- 1-2 garlic cloves minced, for serving
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley chopped, for serving
- 1 tsp dried oregano for serving
For the chicken
- 3 chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- black pepper freshly ground
For the BBQ sauce
- 1 cup ketchup
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ⅛ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp Worchestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp black pepper freshly ground
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- salt to taste
For the sliders
- 3 cooked chicken breast shredded
- ¾-1 cup BBQ sauce
- 2 cups mozzarella grated
- 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese grated
- Make the dinner rolls: Heat milk in the microwave until a little bit hot to the touch. Add in a large bowl with the dried yeast and 1 tbsp sugar. Cover and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to activate the yeast (it should foam and bubble up a bit). Add remaining sugar, egg, flour, salt and softened unsalted butter and mix until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft and a little bit sticky. If the dough seems too wet, add 1 tbsp flour at a time until you can work with it. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes until a smooth ball forms.
- Rise the dough: Lightly grease the same bowl with a little bit of oil and coat the dough in it. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place it in a warm place. Let it rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size. Grease a 9 by 13 inch baking pan or two 9 by 9 inch square or round baking pans. When the dough is ready, punch the dough down to release the air. Divide the dough into 13-16 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball using your hands – strech the top and pinch the bottom to seal it. Place the shaped pieces in the baking pan with a little bit of room to grow. Cover them with a clean kitchen towel , aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Bake the dinner rolls: Preheat oven to 350°F and adjust oven rack to a lower position (so the tops don't burn). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden-brown on top. Rotate the pan halfway through. If the tops brown too quickly, loosely cover them with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
- Bake the chicken breast: Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange chicken breasts on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Let it cool down a bit and then shred it with a couple of forks.
- Make the BBQ sauce: In a small saucepan mix all the ingredients over medium heat. When it starts simmering, reduce the heat to low and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Make the sliders: Reduce the oven heat to 350°F. Transfer the dinner rolls to a chopping board and slice them horizontally. Place bottom part in the same baking pan. Mix the shredded chicken with BBQ sauce and place on the bottom part of the dinner rolls. Sprinkle grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese evenly over the chicken. Place the top part of the dinner rolls over the cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Loosely cover with aluminum foil to prevent burning.
- Serving: In a small saucepan add 2 tbsp butter and minced garlic over medum heat. Cook until the garlic starts sizzling. Remove from heat and add dried oregano and chopped fresh parsley. Brush the sliders with garlic herb butter.