Pesto Cheese Rolls – Homemade yeasted dough is rolled with mozzarella and pesto and baked until golden brown. It’s just like a cinnamon roll but savory!
On a recent trip to Michigan, I tried something new – Pesto Cheese Rolls. I was floored by the cheesiness and incredible flavor of the pesto. But even more, I was amazed that I never thought of this recipe myself! It was such a simple concept. Yeasted dough is rolls with pesto and cheese in the center (similar to a cinnamon roll) and baked with more cheese on top. It’s such an easy thing to recreate at home. So I did!
To remake this at home, I used my favorite cinnamon roll dough recipe and made some tweaks. Instead of milk, I used water. I also used one less egg and less sugar. This ensured the dough wasn’t so enriched and was better suited for a savory recipe. I then spread a little store-bought pesto on the rolled out dough. For the filling, I used mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
The resulting rolls were better than the ones I had in Michigan. I like to knead my dough well to ensure the rolls are super fluffy. And with all that cheese filling, they were to die for!
Here are my Pesto Cheese Rolls!
Tips & Tricks
- Instant yeast. This recipes uses instant yeast. You do not need to proof it before using. Simply add it with the other dough ingredients.
- Make sure to knead the dough well. The rolls will be light and fluffy ONLY if you knead the dough until it’s soft.
- Cut the rolls the same size. To ensure the rolls bake evenly, make sure you cut them all the same size.
Pesto Cheese Rolls
For the dough:
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 package instant yeast
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1 large eggs
For the filling:
- ⅔ cup pesto
- 1½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
For the topping:
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- First we will begin making the dough. Add water to a large bowl, along with 3½ cups of the flour, 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, sugar, egg, and yeast. Stir together with a wooden spoon until combined. The dough will be very thick but still pretty wet and sticky.
- Place 2 tablespoons of flour on the surface of your counter. Place dough on top of it and begin kneading the dough with the flour until all the flour is mixed into the dough. Keep kneading for about 4-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If it starts to stick to the counter, add a little more flour. Once you finish kneading, shape into a ball. Lightly grease another large bowl and place the ball of dough into bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 1 hours, where it will be double the size. I like to place mine in the microwave to keep it away from any cool draft from the A/C.
- Prepare a 13×9 rectangular pan by spraying with non-stick spray. Once dough has risen, punch it down with your fist and remove from the bowl. Lightly dust your counter with flour and place the dough on top. Roll out dough into a large rectangle, 18 inches x 22 inches. Spread pesto over the dough in one even layer. Sprinkle with 1½ cups of mozzarella cheese in an even layer. Top with sprinkles of Parmesan cheese.
- Starting on the long edge, tightly roll the dough into a log. Cut the edges off and then cut the log in half and then into quarters so you have 4 parts. Cut each part into 3 even rolls. Place into prepared baking pan into a 4×3 pattern. Cover and let them rise for another 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350 degrees while the rolls rise.
- Once they're done rising, uncover them, sprinkle with ½ cup of more cheese, and place into the oven to bake for 25 minutes or until they've browned on top. Remove from oven and let them cool for 15 minutes before serving.