Monday, November 5, 2018

Fabulous Make Ahead Dinner Rolls

I'm a huge fan of the freezer. Anything I can do ahead of time and just pull out of the freezer is my go to. It's such an under-utilized tool in the kitchen, and ends up just being a storage space for most. I like to clean mine out and fill it with recipes like this.

Dinner Rolls

Why I like this recipe: 

  • It can be made a month ahead of time! I make these in the beginning of November and then pull them out 3 hours before Thanksgiving dinner. 
  • The rolls turn out perfect every, single time! Some bread recipes can be fussy and not rise one time and then be a showstopper another. This one provides me with consistent results. 
  • These rolls can be served with any type of meal: Thanksgiving, southern style, pasta, chicken etc. Very versatile in how many meals they can complement!
Dinner Roll Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (whole or half and half)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 Tbsp shortening (can use butter if you don't have)
  • 5 - 5 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water
To begin, place the oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Once preheated, turn the oven off and try to minimize the amount of times you open the oven door. Using butter, grease a large bowl and a 9x13 pan lined with foil. 

Place milk, honey, butter, and shortening in a microwave proof bowl, and heat for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes, until the mixture reaches approximately 110 degrees. Do not overheat the milk as that will prevent the rolls from rising. Whisk together until all the butter and shortening is melted. 

Milk, honey, butter, and shortening

In a mixer with a dough hook, add 4 1/2 cups of flour, salt, and yeast (make sure the salt and yeast are on separate sides of the bowl, like the picture below). Turn the mixer on low, and slowly add the milk mixture until combined, approximately 1 min. Increase the speed to medium and add the egg, allowing the dough to come together until it's smooth, about 2 minutes. Add another 1/2 cup of flour and mix for 6-7 minutes on medium. The dough should be smooth and have a shine; if it's sticky or wet, add up to 1/2 cup of flour more. 

Keep salt and yeast separate

On an un-floured surface, knead the dough by hand (1 -2 minutes). Once it's together in a ball and smooth, place in the greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the oven. The dough will prove for 50 - 60 minutes, and should double in size. 

Knead the dough

Once done proving, place the dough on a floured surface. Punch the dough down, and place on a scale. Divide the weight of the dough by 15, and you will have the weight of one roll. Measure each piece and roll into a ball, making sure the top is nice and smooth. Place each roll into the foil lined pan (the rolls should be lightly touching each other) and cover with plastic wrap. Place the pan in the oven, and allow the rolls to double in size (50 - 60 minutes). 

Rolled dinner rolls

Once the rolls are done proving, take them out of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Take off the plastic wrap, and brush the egg mixture on top of each roll. Make sure to get the egg wash on the sides of the rolls that are visible at the top. Once the oven is ready, bake the rolls for 25 - 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the bottoms are cooked. I take the rolls out of the pan and gently pull down the foil to confirm the bottoms are cooked fully. 

Once the rolls are done, allow them to cool with the foil lining for 1 hour. After an hour, remove the foil and let the rolls cool for 2 hours. Once they are fully cool, they rolls should be wrapped in plastic wrap, then foil, before placing in the freezer. They can be kept in the freezer up to a month. 

The day of "roll consumption," take them out of the freezer and allow to thaw for 2 hours. Remove the plastic wrap and re-wrap them in the foil. Warm the rolls at 375 degrees for 30 minutes and serve warm.

Make Ahead Dinner Rolls

Realistic Me


  1. Ok, I don't cook well...and these may be more work to prep than I am used to...BUT they look just like my husband's Granny's rolls that I LOVE to eat. So, I may have to try. Also, your pictures are really good and inspiring! They make me really want some of these rolls! Oh, and HONEY in them? Dang, they have to be good! Thank you for this. I have a feeling this kind of baking is a lost art.

    1. Honestly, there are only a few bread recipes I feel up for trying. They can be so fussy! But I really like this one as it turns out consistently everytime. Also with the mixer, it doesn't take any kneading skills! If you do try it out, let me know how it goes!