steakhouse sweet brown molasses bread recipe (just like outback!)


My very favorite part of eating out at the Outback Steakhouse is when the sweet dark brown bread arrives before the meal. It’s soft and delicious, with a hint of molasses and honey. And after a few tries (five!), I think I’ve gotten a really good knockoff recipe down. I tried a few other recipes I found online, which mimicked the flavor pretty well, but didn’t give the pillow soft texture I was looking for. So, since I was going for soft, I decided to start with my best breadsticks ever recipe and modify it to include the honey & molasses flavors.

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There’s just not much I love more than soft bread. And a hint of sweetness never goes amiss either. I could skip the entire meal and just eat the bread…

brown-bread-steakhouse-sweet-honey-molasses-rolls-recipe-outback-copycat

This bread gets some color from the molasses and baking cocoa that are in it (don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like chocolate!) but if you want a nice deep brown you’ll want to add some coloring. Most commercial dark brown breads are made with caramel coloring, which is hard to find in your local grocery store. You can mix red/yellow/blue from your standard food colors to get a brown, but I just picked up some brown paste food coloring from the cake decorating section (it’s for frosting and fondant) and scooped a bit of that in as everything was mixing up.

sweet honey molasses brown bread recipe - just like outback steakhouse!

When you go the steakhouse, this bread is served with whipped honey butter. While I’m not usually one to complain about honey butter, this bread is slightly sweet on it’s own, and I think regular old salted butter compliments it better – it’s easier to taste the subtle flavors that set this apart from a normal dinner roll.

sweet honey molasses brown bread recipe - just like outback steakhouse!

You’ll find a printable recipe card at the end of this post, but I wanted to show a few photos of the process because yeast breads can be a bit intimidating. You’ll start by mixing water, yeast, butter, honey, brown sugar, salt, molasses, baking cocoa, an egg, and some white flour in your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment. If you don’t have a stand mixer, mix this all up in a large bowl using  beaters. NOTE: if you haven’t used your yeast in a while, it’s a good idea to “proof” it first to make sure it’s still good. Just combine it with the warm water and let it sit for about 10 minutes to make sure it’s going to start bubbling/growing.

This first photo below shows what it looks like once those ingredients are all combined – it will only take a minute or so. Then you’ll want to scrape down the sides of the bowl, switch to your bread hook, and start adding in a few cups of whole wheat flour (second photo).

brown-bread-recipe-how-to-make-rolls-3

 

The dough should mostly pull away from the sides of the bowl, and needs to knead for a good 7-10 minutes. If it starts sticking to the bowl too much, you can add some more flour to keep it looking like it does in the photo above. If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a wooden spoon to stir in as much of the wheat flour as you can, then add the rest in as you knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until smooth.

After kneading, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. If you kneaded in a stand mixer, knead by hand three or four times to form a tight ball. Cover it and let it rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes, until doubled. If my house is cool I turn on the oven for just a few minutes to get it warm, then turn off the heat and slide the dough inside to rise.

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Once the dough has doubled in size, separate it into 16 sections and form into balls. Place them in a greased 9×13 pan and let them rise, covered, for another hour until the dough balls have grown in size enough that they touch one another. Bake at 350 for about 22 minutes until cooked through. If you use food coloring, it can be hard to tell when the rolls are done, since they won’t get much browner than they already are. The easiest way to tell if they’re finished is to gently pull one roll away from the one next to it and check to make sure they look baked through. If in doubt, give them another minute or two. Better slightly overdone than doughy inside.

Here’s how I shape rolls. I cut the dough into 16 equal sections, then pick up one section in my right hand. I make a circle with the thumb and forefinger on my left hand, then gently push the dough piece through it, dusting it with flour if needed. Once I’ve pushed the entire piece through, I crimp it together at the bottom. That makes a nice tight ball.

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After baking, I brush these rolls with melted butter and dust them with cornmeal. Delish!

Download the printable recipe card for Outback Steakhouse sweet molasses brown bread by clicking here. And if you’re wondering why this is called brown bread but I made it into rolls, this is why: I think bread always tastes better as rolls. You don’t have to cook it as long so there’s no real crust, and the edges don’t start to dry out by the time the center is done. The same bread recipe baked as rolls is always a little softer than it would be baked in a loaf.

brown-bread-recipe-card

sweet honey molasses brown bread recipe - just like outback steakhouse!

Comments

    • 5

      melissa says

      There always has to be one sour apple in the bunch. This is a delicious recipe. Try it it might change your attitude.

    • 6

      Harriet says

      When I can’t see a blog’s text very well I highlight it, right click the mouse, select ‘copy’, open a Word Doc , right click again and select ‘paste’. Once it is in the Word Doc I can change the color or font size to be agreeable to my aging eyes. It takes all of 5 seconds. If I don’t want the recipe I delete the document. And I’m grateful the blogger posted it for free when she didn’t have to post it at all.

      The recipe looks outstanding. I think I will make it today to go with the pulled pork in the crockpot that’s perfuming the house! Thanks for the labor involved to duplicate the bread!

    • 7

      Nicole Romero says

      Agree with Harriet. The world doesnt conform to you! How entitled are you! No one else has a problem here. There are many solutions if you cant see the text well. Also you said “again” if she ignored you the first time take a hint.

      • 8

        Richard says

        WOW! Aren’t you a real sweetheart to someone with a disability! I bet you park in the Handy Capped spots too.
        Many people have a problem with low contrast printing. That’s why most (not all) packaging instructions are not black on red. And yes, it does bother others. They just haven’t said it here.

      • 10

        Liz says

        Autum, love your blog. Looking forward to trying these. Fellow commentors, please be considerate.
        Understand how fortunate you are to be able to see and read this lovely blog without any issues..Sadly not all are as fortunate as you. Things that some take for granted can be and are arduous for others. A helpful hint is most appreciated-Harriet- thank you😊 Do NOT assume that all are able to just navigate around on computers- we can’t. Do not assume that we all have internet access in our homes or on our phones. People w/ limited mobility who can’t just jump on over to the library are enjoying these lovely blogs. So next time give a hand up verses a kick in the heart..

    • 15

      autumn says

      Beth – I haven’t tried it without cocoa, but I’m sure you could leave it out. It will be lighter in color and the flavor might not be quite as deep, but since what you taste most is the molasses and honey anyway, I think you’ll be just fine! Be sure to add a few extra tablespoons of flour to compensate.

    • 16

      Sue Prewitt says

      The cocoa just gives it a little ‘something’. But if your husband can’t have, substitute the same amount of instant coffee.
      Believe me, it is out standing!

      • 17

        trista says

        What a fabulous idea, ty so much for this….the potential is staggering for some people I know with cocoa issues!

  1. 18

    Kasey says

    Like a previous commenter asked, what purpose does the cocoa have? I have these rising right now,
    I am soooo excited as Outback is probably my favorite bread of all time. I have a little one allergic to chocolate also. Wondering if I can omit it next time so she can enjoy this yummy bread too!?!?!?

    • 19

      autumn says

      The cocoa is there for color and a little depth of flavor, so I’m sure you could omit it. You’ll just need a few extra tablespoons of flour if you leave it out and the flavor won’t be quite as rich, but I don’t think it will change the flavor too much. I hope it turned out for you!

  2. 20

    Allison K Fritz says

    Made there for my family. They really loved them. They are great warmed up as a snack! Thanks for sharing. I will be making yourbreadsticks next!

  3. 21

    Jmom says

    Some of the brown color you are looking for could be from graham flour. It also has some of that earthy, nutty sweetness.

    • 24

      Carol says

      Any yeast bread can be made the day before and placed in the frig over night. Just take it out in the morning and shape Into rolls or loaves. I place dough in a bread sack to prevent any drying out and this also allows for some rising.

  4. 28

    says

    Can’t wait to try these. Also, unless they changed their recipe in the past 10 years, the butter is just whipped butter, there is no honey in it. I used to be a prep cook for Outback and it’s just butter and cream, whipped together.

  5. 31

    El says

    I am planning to make these for Thanksgiving this year, and was wondering if I could make the dough the night before and leave the dough rising for the second time so I can save some prep time the day of. Do you think this will effect the rolls at all/ Have you or anyone else attempted this?

    • 32

      autumn says

      I haven’t tried that with these rolls. With the roll recipe I normally use, I often mix, first rise, and shape the rolls, then place them in the dish I plan to bake them in and cover with saran wrap, then put them in the fridge. Then you can pull them out and let them come to room temperature and rise for the second time – that probably takes about 90 min to 2 hours. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with this recipe, I’ve just never tried it so I can’t say for sure! You might want to give it a test run before Thanksgiving 🙂

  6. 33

    Tracy says

    Hi Autumn, I have a recipe for outbacks bread also. Yours actually looks a lot better though, I will be trying it thank you so much. I just wanted to make a suggestion to those who are allergic to the cocoa. Since cocoa is used for color, you could replace with instant coffee granules. they do not change the taste. Thanks again.

  7. 34

    Lucy says

    Hi,

    I’m having trouble making them soft. My dough was super moist. I put it in the warm oven for rising but when I took it out the rise went down. Please advise.

  8. 35

    Lois says

    What would happen if I used all white flour, and no wheat? Would they turn out ok anyway? I’m sure it would affect the flavor some, but they should still bake up alright, not?

  9. 37

    Ashley says

    is it possible to make this in a loaf instead of rolls? If so, would there be any change to the process or baking time?

    • 38

      Megan says

      Process is the same for a loaf, but it needs to bake longer. If you have an instant read thermometer, 190 degrees is a good internal temp. Otherwise, probably 30-40 minutes to be baked through.

  10. 39

    Megan says

    I mixed the dough in my bread machine. Didn’t change the ingredients except to add 2 tbps. of wheat gluten, which I always do when using whole wheat flour. Put the ingredients in my bread machine per manufacturer instructions (liquids on the bottom, solids on top, salt in with liquids) and then shaped the rolls. Froze half after shaping, baked the other half.

    Final result? Amazing! Can’t wait to eat them for dinner tonight w/my homemade broccoli cheddar soup!

  11. 42

    Stephanie Wallace says

    dumb question what are the little seeds or crumbs on top ? is that there on its own or do you sprinkle something on them?

    • 43

      autumn says

      Hi Stephanie! I just sprinkled a few oats on top before baking to make them look prettier for my photos. Purely ornamental!

  12. 44

    says

    I am making this recipe right now and am so excited. I found them browsing pinterest. I am a blogger whom is just starting out and was wondering if they turn out well if you would mind me writing a review in my own blog. I am positive they will be delicious. Thanks! ~ Nikki

  13. 46

    wendy says

    Found these on pinterest as well. Made them today and they were terrific. Thanks so much for such a delicious recipe. My hubby loved them!

  14. 47

    Brooks Martin says

    Very nice bread, thanks for the recipe! I made some changes that worked out pretty well: 1. Cut the recipe in half for our small bread machine. 2. Substituted sourdough starter for the water. This left the dough dry, so added water to correct. Since I used a full egg (instead of a 1/2 egg), the dough then became too wet, so I added flour to correct. Dough was wet in the machine, which I prefer for sourdough growth. 3. Used the whole wheat dough machine setting (with 1 teaspoon of yeast, along with the sourdough starter); whole wheat setting gives a longer rise period. Even with this setting, though, it took about 6 hours (instead of the machine’s 3 1/2) to get sufficient rise. Slow rise due to a) lots of sugar in the dough, which suppresses yeast. b) not-too-active starter (I store it in the refrigerator, and don’t count on it for the rise, mostly just for flavor). Next time, I’ll use 2 teaspoons of yeast (which would have been the proper 1/2 recipe amount). 4. I had to increase the bake time (dough cooked in oven while still in the bread machine pan, did not make rolls). Even with extra time, the bottom of the loaf was not fully set; it was cooked, but soft. I just toasted the slices from the bottom of the loaf, and all was well in the eating 🙂

    We ate the bread with actual left-over Outback whipped butter, totally delicious.

    Thanks again, Autumn!

    • 49

      autumn says

      I use natural. I don’t think it would affect the flavor much to use dutch-process instead since you’re not really tasting the cocoa. Dutch-process has a bit of a redder color, though, so they may look slightly different.

  15. 51

    says

    This is a Steakhouse bread recipe that I obtained many years ago from a friend. It makes a very dense and flavorful bread. If you like, brush the rolls or bread with beaten egg, then sprinkle some uncooked oatmeal on top before baking. Enjoy!

  16. 52

    BECCA says

    I made these yesterday and they turned out beautifully. This was very first attempt at bread of any sort, so I’m pretty excited at how easy they were to make and how well they turned out.

    I used my food processor to combine the first ingredients and then switched to the dough hook when I added the whole wheat flour. It took about 2 minutes to completely pull away from the sides. Surprisingly simple and fast!

    I also did the second rise overnight in the fridge. I was a little worried, but they came out beautifully.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  17. 53

    Michele Allen says

    I have attempted to make this recipe twice – to the letter – and I am an avid bread baker – and it just won’t rise for me. Just stays a dense ball of dough. I can’t figure it out. I can make another bread sitting right next to it without issue – for some reason this recipe does not want to cooperate with me. Another dough ball in the trash 🙁

    • 54

      Kittish says

      Try giving your yeast a bit of extra sugar. I proofed my yeast with the brown sugar for the recipe. Also, whole wheat dough will need a bit of resting time for the whole wheat flour to hydrate, then need up to twice the rising time that a white flour dough will. The dough should be fairly damp, soft and sticky when you get it mixed. A dry dough won’t rise. Cover the bowl with a damp towel for the first rise.

  18. 56

    tHERESA says

    I tried these rolls and they are amazing! I did not use any food coloring, and the molasses and cocoa powder give the dough a beautiful brown color. I make bread a lot, and this is the best recipe ever. I just threw the ingredients in my bread machine and put it on the dough setting. At the end of the cycle, I gave it an extra 15 minutes to rise. Thank you for this recipe!

  19. 62

    Alana says

    This is an amazing recipe for me! I only have 1 child but this recipe doesn’t take up a lot of time and I can spend more with her or doing other things and still have homemade bread! Plus it is nice you don’t have to stay home all day just to make bread!
    I’ve used it for pizza too and I love it, Husband says its a little crispy so lets it sit a bit to let the steam soften it. 🙂 I wasn’t sure how i would like it pre-baking the crust so I experimented some and it works great to just put the dough on the stone cold, add toppings and bake! Still turned out super with a little thinner crust and also not quite as crispy. Thank you for posting!

  20. 66

    Alex lee says

    Make sure you just use normal cocoa powder, I accidentally used Hersey’s special dark and my rolls tasted like chocolate cake.

  21. 71

    Akemi says

    So glad I found your blog through Pinterest. I just baked these babies today and boy was it a big treat. My Mom, Dad, and hubby loved it. My mom asked for the recipe, my Dad said it was very good, and the hubs said it was really good too. I even ran across the street in excitement and gave some to our neighbors. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Looking forward to trying some of your other recipes now. *(^ _ ^)*

    • 72

      autumn says

      Fantastic! That’s what we like to hear 🙂 I’m always way too proud of myself when I make bread. It’s not even *that* hard but it feels like a pretty big deal, you know? I’m glad to hear it went over so well!

  22. 73

    Kittish says

    I made this bread for a dinner party last week. Made two batches, the only change to the recipe was to use bread flour in place of all purpose. I shaped each batch into six small loaves. The bread came out wonderfully, and was a big hit. For my taste it’s just a little too sweet to be quite perfect, so next time I’ll probably cut back on the honey and brown sugar. I may also leave out the cocoa, it seemed to give the bread just a bit of bitter aftertaste.

  23. 74

    Sandra B says

    I have made these almost daily (or at least every other day) for the last month. We love them. I switched up the amounts of molasses and honey because we love the molasses taste. Tonight I am going to try and make it into loaves to go with some chicken salad I made. After baking, I wrap two rolls each in foil while they are still hot. When we want one or two, 30 seconds in the microwave and they are almost like they just came out of the oven.

  24. 76

    Kittish says

    Made a few small changes that makes this bread the best bread ever (for this household anyway). Cut the brown sugar back to one rounded teaspoon, added into your yeast as it proofs. Cut the cocoa back to one tablespoon, and be sure not to use Special Dark baking cocoa (too bitter). Use unbleached bread flour in place of all purpose (gives a chewier texture and better crumb). Add one or two more tablespoons of water near the end of kneading, your dough should be very soft and kind of wet. Brush your loaves or rolls lightly with water before letting them rise for the second time. Bake at 325 for about 18-21 minutes for small loaves. Bacon grease can be used instead of butter, doesn’t seem to make a noticeable difference in the finished bread. Might try olive oil as the fat next time.

  25. 79

    says

    why so much yeast? Most recipes call for one packet (2 1/4 tsp) this calls for 4 tsp. I have it rising for the first time right now with the 4 tsp indicated in the recipe. Could that be causing the bitterness everyone is talking about? What happens if i reduce the yeast?

  26. 81

    Dolly says

    I made these last night for my husband who loves Outback’s bread. They came out awesome. The honey butter makes the difference. Guess what I ate as my lunch today? lol

  27. 83

    Sunshine says

    I’m wondering why there’s no rye flour in yours? Every recipe I’ve ever seen/tried had rye flour instead of all purpose. Was there a reason you didn’t use rye?

    • 85

      angIe G says

      Yes, I tried these in my bread machine today! They’re baking in the oven now! I followed a typical bread machine recipe by adding liquid ingredients first, then dry ingredients (flour & cocoa last), and yeast on top and set it on the dough cycle. It was so convenient! I can’t wait to devour them! 😛

  28. 86

    says

    This is the easiest bread recipe I’ve ever come across and it is better than store-bought…Thank you so much for posting your recipe. I mixed the dough in my bread machine.I put same ingredients. I followed all instructions. Froze half after shaping, baked the other half.

    Finaly we saw great results. It was so delicious. But now I have some trouble because My husband loves it and he said he would never buy bread from store again 🙂

  29. 87

    L says

    I made these last night and they were good! I only put 1 packet of yeast ( 2 1/4 tsp) instead of 4 teaspoons of yeast. Thanks for this recipe!

  30. 88

    Karin says

    I made these and you hit it on the nose. Perfect. Just like down town. Thanks so much, I can eat these instead of my dinner.

  31. 89

    Kaitlyn says

    Was wondering if anyone has made these with only AP white flour and not the wheat flour. If so was there any changes you had to make else where?

  32. 90

    says

    I found there are many recipes for this steakhouse bread and I already bought the Molasses. Now I have all ingredients u listed out, time to make! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  33. 93

    Jules says

    Made these yesterday. Used my bread machine to make the dough then shaped into rolls and let rise an hour. My fam thought they were great-would only bake them maybe a few minutes less per our taste buds like a “softer roll.” And they do taste just like outbacks- we used Reg butter also- just fine. Thanks for the recipe!

  34. 95

    Nancy says

    My dough was a little heavy, didn’t seem to want to rise that much. Would using less wheat flour and adding more all purpose flour lighten it up a bit?? Like maybe a half cup less of the wheat maybe??

  35. 96

    jacque says

    I can’t seem to get a good rise out of these and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I know its not my yeast because I used it yesterday for another recipe and that came out fine. Could the fact that I’m halving the recipe have any effect on the outcome? I’ve tried this recipe twice now and it still have good flavor but it doesn’t rise correctly and get fluffy like it should. Any ideas?

    • 97

      Kristen says

      I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for awhile and finally remembered to purchase molasses.

      My first attempt was a flop — I followed recipe as written, and the taste was exactly as expected, but the rolls did not rise properly and thus the texture/consistency wasn’t right.

      I tried it again the next day, and this time had success. It’s not scientific, but the things I changed were 1) Mixed the dough in my bread machine instead of my stand mixer, which adds that tiny bit of heat during the rise process, 2) I used real, unsalted butter instead of margarine, 3) I used bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, 4) I let the formed rolls rise in a slightly preheated oven instead of on the counter covered with a cloth.

      Once I got the texture and rise correct, these were fantastic! They have a great taste, they are wonderful with butter, and a big hit at my house!

      • 98

        autumn says

        Thanks for your comments, Kristen! It does seem to be a touchy recipe and I’ve been trying to figure out why it works well for some people but doesn’t for others. This info will be very helpful!

    • 99

      Dawne..aka TechQn says

      I had a tough time on another recipe like this one where they didn’t rise. I almost failed the first time on these but they rose…what I did was made sure my yeast was room temp..then put in the very warm water…let sit for 5 mins then added the honey and brown sugar and let it sit for remaining 5_7mins….this gives the yeast the sugar it needs to start activating….then added the remaining wet ingredients….in separate bowl I did the flour, salt and cocoa…once I had all my wet nicely mixed, including softened butter nicely melted, I then added my dry to wet and kept mixing. Once dough was ready I put it in a slightly warmed oven for 90 minutes…
      The trick is the yeast…not the flour. Although I assume you can use bread flour, I stuck with the all purpose unbleached and it worked fine. It rises slowly, but it rose nonetheless.

  36. 101

    Dawne..aka TechQn says

    I made these yesterday EXACTLY as your recipe said and I am so amazed at how good they not only looked but the AMAZING taste!! You hit the nail on the head with this one!! I had people screaming at me to send them the recipe when I posted my goodies on Facebook! Bravo!!! And thank you!!
    I’ve tried others but this is bar none the best recipe for making those to die for sweet rolls we all love from Outback!!!!

  37. 102

    says

    These went so far beyond my expectations! Thank you for writing an accurate recipe that tastes amazing! It is soooo disappointing to make recipes off of blogs and end up dumping everything in the trash because of mistakes in the recipe.
    These were AMAZING and will be a regular roll on my dinner menu. My hubby and guests were so impressed!

  38. 103

    Natalie says

    I’ve tried to make this recipe twice and have had trouble getting it to rise both times. I’m not sure if I’m over working or under working the dough or adding too much flour. Could you please answer the following;

    1. Should I be able to get a gluten window in this dough when it’s ready?
    2. What speed do you have your mixer on when mixing for 7-10 mins? Mine has a kneading/folding speed which is quite slow.
    3. How sticky should this dough be? I ended up adding about another 1.5 – 2 cups of flour to get it to come away from the sides of the bowl and whilst kneading by hand so that it didn’t stick to everything. A lot of this was white flour as I was worried that much whole wheat flour wouldn’t give enough gluten to rise.

  39. 105

    Noelle says

    Thank you very much for sharing your recipe. I followed it exactly. These rolls are fabulous. My family loved them. Thank you again. Noelle

  40. 106

    Clara says

    Would it affect the dough to substitute the whole wheat flour for more all-purpose flour? Or is it optional?

  41. 107

    says

    This is a great blog. I love eating and making bread myself. I have been looking for different bread recipes like this one. Thanks for sharing . I’m so excited to try this. Certainly it will be great. I love using my bread machine. After try this one , I will try your other bread recipes for my bread machine. I am looking forward to your other recipes:)

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