Easy Kaiser Rolls Recipe - Crispy Homemade German Rolls - All Tastes German (2024)

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One of the most traditional German rolls are Kaiser rolls or Kaisersemmel called in German. The outside of these delicious buns is crispy and the inside is soft and fluffy. The dough for these amazing bread rolls is very easy to make and you only need a few ingredients.

The recipe for this crispy and fluffy rolls goes back to the 17th century. You can even find them on art paintings in castles from this time. According to legend, a Viennese baker named Kayser invented the Kayser roll around 1750.


Who the inventor of the Kaisersemmel is cannot be definitively determined.
One legend says that a Viennese baker named Kayser invented the Kayser roll around 1750. He is credited with recognizing that the flavor comes primarily from the crust and that the indentations in the roll increase the crust surface and therefore the flavor.

In the 18th century, the price and weight of the roll were regulated in a by law. According to a story, in 1789 the bakers' guild decided to send a deputation to Emperor Joseph II (1741 - 1790) to oppose this statute.

The prices of raw materials, such as flour, were expensive in relation to the fixed price of the roll, which meant that bakers could hardly make a profit. Therefore, the bakers wanted to set the price themselves.
The emperor was so taken with the bakers' craftsmanship that he approved the removal of the roll from the statute.

In these days the addition of the word "Kaiser" (emperor) in connection with food was regarded as the highest elevation of quality. Only the best was good enough for the beloved emperor. It could be believed that therefore the high quality of the bread roll gave the "Kaisersemmel" it´s famous name.

The elaborate method of production made the Kaiser roll a handmade luxury item until the middle of the 20th century.

German Bread Rolls

German “Brötchen” are famous all around the world. The crispy outside and the flavorful soft inside makes it one of the most popular German food choices.

They are perfect for all kinds of savory and sweet breakfast toppings but also a great base for hundreds of sandwich variations.

What Does Kaiser Mean in German?

Kaiser is the German word for emperor.

How Is a Roll Called a German?

A roll is either called "Brötchen", "Schrippe", "Weckle", "Wecken" or "Semmel", depending on the region.

How To Pronounce "Brötchen"?

Listen to this audio file to hear how to say "Brötchen" in German.

German Dinners (Abendbrot)

Generally, Germans eat their primary meal of the day at midday but the evening meal is served cold and is made up of meats, cheeses, and bread.

The evening bread otherwise known as Abendbrot is served and eaten together as a family though everyone is allowed to assemble their open-faced sandwich to taste.

Ingredients You Will Need


Traditionally these rolls are made with wheat flour. All purpose-flour is the best choice for the buns.


I use only 1 tsp. of sugar in this recipe, this is enough to activate the yeast.


In the original recipe lard is used for the dough. But you can use butter instead. I would not use oil instead.

Barley Malt

You will find barley malt in many German bread recipes. Barley malt is dried, roasted and ground grain. It supports the yeast and the fermentation and improves the texture of the dough. It also gives bread a fine malty aroma and provides a nicely brown crust. You can find barley malt in online stores.

How To Make These Traditional Rolls - Video Tutorial

Authentic German Recipe


Easy Kaiser Rolls Recipe - Crispy Homemade German Rolls - All Tastes German (4)

Kaiser Rolls

Angela Schofield

Traditional crispy rolls that make an excellent sandwich base and complement soups and salads.

4.72 from 25 votes

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Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 15 minutes mins

Total Time 30 minutes mins

Course Bread

Cuisine Austrian, Bavarian, German

Servings 8 Rolls

Calories 289 kcal



  • 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. barley malt optional
  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ cup warm milk


  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp. soft lard or butter
  • 1 tbsp. salt


  • Add flour and barley malt (optional) to a large bowl, mix well and form a well in the middle.

  • Add yeast and sugar to the well.

  • Pour ½ cup of warm milk to the well and stir gently while incorporating some flour.

  • Cover and let rise in warm place for 20 minutes.

  • Add warm water, soft lard or butter, and salt to the bowl and knead for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in warm space for 40 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

  • Divide dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball.

  • Flatten the roll slightly and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

  • Press a Kaiser roll stamp into each ball of dough or slash a Kaiser roll pattern into the rolls with a sharp knife. (see video tutorial)

  • Cover the rolls with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for at least 20 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 425ºF and place an oven-save container with water into the lowest rack.

  • Bake rolls for about 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven.


You can use an apple cutter instead of the Kaiser roll stamp which gives the roll the traditional Bavarian roll pattern. If you don´t have an apple cutter, cut a large cross in the surface of the roll.


Yield: 1rollCalories: 289kcalCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 8gFat: 4gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gNet Carbohydrates: 51g

Keyword authentic, budget friendly, traditional

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Decorating Tips

You can decorate the rolls with sesame or poppy seeds. Spray lightly with water and sprinkle with seeds
before baking.

What Are Kaiser Rolls Used For?

Serve with sweet or savory toppings. They make a great companion for a soup or salad.

More German Bread Rolls Recipes

Soft Pretzel Rolls

Buttermilk Rye Rolls

Easy Sour Cream Rolls


What Makes a Kaiser Roll a Kaiser Roll?

The typical star-shaped signature look of this wheat bun makes it to a Kaiser roll. The star-shaped look of the roll is achieved either by cutting, pressed with a kaiser roll stamp or folding the dough.

Is a Kaiser Roll Crusty?

The rolls have a crusty outside that is crispy but not too hard. The inside of these rolls is soft, but dense and chewy. It is very filling and you will not overeat on these rolls even they are heavenly delicious.

Easy Kaiser Rolls Recipe - Crispy Homemade German Rolls - All Tastes German (2024)


What is a German kaiser roll? ›

What are Kaiser Rolls? Kaisersemmeln are traditionally from Austria but they have long been a common item in Germany. They are a type of bread roll but unlike most American bread rolls, they have more of a crust with a soft and fluffy inside and are often used to make sandwiches or for brotzeit.

Why are Kaiser rolls so good? ›

Texture and Mouthfeel: Kaiser rolls are known for their distinctive texture, and hard Kaiser rolls, in particular, have a crisp and crunchy exterior with a chewy interior. Some people enjoy the contrast in textures that hard rolls offer, finding the crunchiness satisfying.

What makes Kaiser buns different? ›

The first is the Kaiser roll's characteristic seeded topping. Before the rolls go in the oven, bakers will sprinkle the tops with an even layer of either poppy seeds or white sesame seeds. The seeds not only add flavor, but also add another layer of texture to the pillowy rolls.

What is a kaiser roll in English? ›

Meaning of kaiser roll in English

a round bread roll with a thick crust that usually has five lines cut into the top forming a star shape: We bought some kaiser rolls from the local delicatessen.

What is the difference between a kaiser roll and a French roll? ›

Although French bread is a lean dough (flour salt, yeast, water), the others usually contain a small amount of fat and sugar. If the French rolls are slowly fermented, then these too will taste a little sweet. They are all baked to be soft inside with a crispy crust. The Kaiser roll usually contains egg or egg white.

What is the difference between a kaiser roll and a hamburger bun? ›

Although Kaiser rolls are bigger than standard burger buns, they make excellent burger bread. They have a soft fluffy inside and a crusty outside, and the additional crispiness on the exterior gives your burger an excellent texture.

Do Kaiser rolls go bad? ›

When does kaiser roll expire? Unopened store-bought Kaiser rolls can last for about 2 to 3 days at room temperature, and another 2 days if stored in the refrigerator. If sealed and frozen, they can last a good 2 to 3 months.

Why are my Kaiser rolls dense? ›

Make sure the shaped bread doesn't rise too long before baking – it should only double in size. If it rises too much, the dough will collapse on itself during baking and the bread will have a dense, coarse or dry texture.

How do you keep Kaiser rolls fresh? ›

It is generally best to store Kaiser rolls in a cool, dry place and to consume them within a day or two of baking for optimal freshness and texture. If they start to dry out, they can be re-moistened by wrapping them in foil and heating them in the oven for a few minutes.

What do Kaiser rolls taste like? ›

The exterior is crisp and tan colored, with a soft white inside. The flavor has a nutty grain taste and pleasant hints of yeast. Kaiser rolls can be served room temperature or hot.

Can you use Kaiser buns for hamburgers? ›

What's cooking. Ground beef's potential has never been more celebrated than in this delicious sandwich inspired by a classic cheeseburger. Green bell pepper is sauteed and yellow cheddar is melted into the beef mixture, while toasted, buttery kaiser rolls serve as the perfect vehicle.

Why do they call it a kaiser roll? ›

The tops of the rounded bread rolls are traditionally carved into five segments to resemble a star-shaped crown, per TasteAtlas. The buns are believed to have been named after Kaiser Franz Joseph I (1830-1916), who reportedly enjoyed feasting on them in the morning with some tea and cold meat.

Is a Kaiser roll hard? ›

Kaiser rolls are yeast-risen bread rolls, typically made of white wheat flour. They are large and round, crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside, They have a five-point pinwheel design on top, which is meant to represent a crown.

What is the difference between dinner rolls and Kaiser rolls? ›

Kaiser rolls can be small or large. They can be used as soup rolls, dinner rolls, or sandwich rolls depending on their size. Smaller ones will be crustier and larger ones will be puffier and lighter. What makes them unique is their shape.

What do the Irish call a bread roll? ›

In N. Ireland it's a bap. Scotland it's a roll.

What does a kaiser roll taste like? ›

The exterior is crisp and tan colored, with a soft white inside. The flavor has a nutty grain taste and pleasant hints of yeast. Kaiser rolls can be served room temperature or hot.

What is the end of a bread loaf called in German? ›

In northern and western Germany, that would be "Kanten," or "Knust," to name just the most common terms. Bavarians and Austrians might call the crusty dry end of a loaf of bread "Scherzl"; elsewhere in southern Germany it's a "Rand." Jokingly, the heel is also known as "Hintern" (behind).

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