Are Rhodes rolls dairy free?

Rhodes rolls are a popular brand of frozen bread rolls found in many grocery stores. With their soft, chewy texture and ability to be heated up quickly, Rhodes rolls are a convenient option for serving with meals. However, an important consideration for many consumers is whether Rhodes rolls contain milk or other dairy ingredients.

Do Rhodes rolls contain dairy?

The answer is that standard Rhodes rolls are not dairy free. According to the ingredient list printed on the Rhodes packaging, they contain milk and whey. These are dairy-derived ingredients.

Specifically, the classic Rhodes roll ingredients include:

  • Enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
  • Water
  • Yeast
  • Contains 2% or less of each of the following: soybean oil, eggs, salt, dough conditioners (DATEM, sodium stearoyl lactylate, ascorbic acid, l-cysteine hydrochloride, calcium peroxide, enzymes), yeast nutrients (monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate), calcium propionate and potassium sorbate.
  • Nonfat milk, dry whey, natural flavor (contains milk)

The milk and whey listed in bold at the end confirm that standard Rhodes rolls contain dairy. This rules them out for people with milk allergies or who eat dairy-free diets.

Are there dairy-free Rhodes roll options?

While their original rolls have dairy, Rhodes does offer some dairy-free rolls as well:

  • Rhodes Hawaiian Rolls: These sweet, fluffy rolls are made without milk or whey. The ingredient list shows water as the dairy alternative.
  • Rhodes Dinner Rolls, Dinner Ovals, and Sandwich Rolls: These standard savory yeast rolls also use water instead of dairy ingredients.

So if you want to enjoy Rhodes rolls but avoid dairy, look for the Hawaiian, Dinner Roll, Dinner Oval, and Sandwich Roll varieties in the freezer section. Always check the ingredients on the label to be sure, as formulations can change.

What makes most Rhodes rolls non-vegan?

While some Rhodes rolls are dairy-free, the majority of their products contain eggs or egg ingredients. This includes the classic Rhodes yeast rolls, croissants, hot dog and hamburger buns, and more.

Specifically, it’s the “Contains 2% or less of each of the following…” section of the ingredients where you’ll see “eggs” listed. Some products also contain egg whites or egg yolks further down the list.

This means most Rhodes rolls are not considered vegan, even though they may be dairy/lactose-free. Vegans avoid all animal products, including eggs and honey.

Are there vegan Rhodes roll options?

While Rhodes isn’t a strictly vegetarian or vegan brand, they do offer a few rolls that happen to be vegan:

  • Rhodes Hawaiian Rolls – no eggs or dairy
  • Rhodes Mini Cornbread Muffins – no eggs or dairy
  • Rhodes Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls – no eggs or dairy

So if you follow a vegan diet, be sure to read labels thoroughly and look for these egg-free and dairy-free options.

What dairy-free substitutes are used?

For the Rhodes rolls that are labeled as dairy-free, the main replacement ingredient is water. Instead of milk or whey, water is used to hydrate the dough.

Water provides moisture and structure without affecting the flavor. Other dairy-free leaveners like soybean oil are also included. These give the rolls a soft, airy texture.

No milk substitutes like almond or oat milk are used. Nor are dairy-free butter replacements included. So while they are not vegan, the dairy-free Rhodes rolls avoid all animal milk products.

Why are dairy and eggs used in Rhodes rolls?

Milk, whey, and eggs are common ingredients in many bread recipes, including frozen dough products. Here’s why they’re often included:

  • Structure – Milk proteins like casein help with dough elasticity and rise. This lightens the texture.
  • Browning – Lactose from milk promotes browning through the Maillard reaction. This gives rolls a golden crust.
  • Flavor – Butter and eggs both provide rich, aromatic flavors. Milk and whey also influence taste.
  • Appearance – Egg wash gives rolls and buns sheen and color. Egg white leavens bread with air.
  • Preservation – Milk naturally extends shelf life due to lactic acid content.

When formulating bread and roll recipes, dairy and eggs make the process easier. They perform roles leavening, texturizing, coloring, and flavoring dough. Water lacks these functional properties.

Are there health concerns with dairy in bread?

For most people, the small amount of milk or whey in bread is not a health concern. But for those with allergies or intolerances, it’s important to avoid.

Potential issues include:

  • Milk allergies – Can cause hives, upset stomach, and anaphylaxis.
  • Lactose intolerance – Leads to gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
  • Casein sensitivity – Linked to inflammation, eczema, and mucus.
  • Vegetarian/vegan diets – Avoid animal products for ethical reasons.
  • Ketogenic diets – Require very low carb intake so milk sugars are restricted.

For those with dairy-related health issues, milk ingredients in bread could trigger reactions. That’s why having dairy-free options is important.

Do Rhodes rolls contain other allergens?

In addition to milk, Rhodes rolls contain other major food allergens to be aware of:

  • Wheat – Rhodes rolls contain wheat flour, making them unsuitable for celiacs and those avoiding gluten.
  • Eggs – As outlined above, most Rhodes rolls contain eggs or egg ingredients.
  • Soy – Soybean oil is used in the rolls, which means they should be avoided by those with soy allergies.

Always carefully read the ingredients on any Rhodes product to watch out for your own food allergies or intolerances.

What are some dairy-free alternatives to Rhodes rolls?

If you want to enjoy rolls but need to avoid all dairy products, here are some store-bought options:

  • Sara Lee Artesano Bakery Rolls
  • Against the Grain Gourmet Rolls
  • Toufayan Bakeries Mini Bagels
  • Melissa’s Bakery Dutch Crunch Rolls
  • BFree Sweet Potato Rolls

Check labels carefully as formulations can change. Homemade rolls are another alternative using dairy-free ingredients like almond milk or coconut oil.

Can you make Rhodes-style rolls at home without dairy?

It’s possible to recreate soft, fluffy Rhodes-like rolls at home without milk, butter, or eggs. Here is a dairy-free recipe to try:


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm dairy-free milk (such as almond, soy, oat, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until foamy.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, dairy-free milk, dairy-free butter, and salt until a soft dough forms.
  3. Stir in the yeast mixture until fully incorporated into the dough.
  4. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  5. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place until doubled in size.
  6. On a floured surface, shape the dough into 12 round rolls and place on a baking sheet.
  7. Cover rolls and allow to rise for 30 minutes more.
  8. Bake rolls in a 375°F oven for 15 minutes until lightly browned.

The dairy-free milk and butter ensure these homemade rolls are free of milk, whey, and lactose. For an egg-free vegan version, replace the dairy-free butter with olive oil.


Standard Rhodes yeast rolls are not dairy-free due to containing milk and whey ingredients. However, some products like Rhodes Hawaiian Rolls are made without milk or whey. Vegans need to avoid most Rhodes rolls as well since they contain eggs.

Checking the ingredient label closely is key when purchasing Rhodes rolls to ensure they align with your dietary needs and restrictions. Homemade rolls can also be an option using dairy-free ingredients like plant-based milks and oils.

While traditional Rhodes rolls rely on dairy for flavor, structure, and browning, they offer select dairy-free and vegan varieties. With an abundance of store-bought and homemade alternatives, you can enjoy soft, tasty rolls even while avoiding animal products.

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