because what is life without good food?

Soft and Fluffy Do-Ahead Dinner Rolls

Soft Fluffy Sweet Dinner Rolls you can Make Ahead of Time

My sister found this dinner roll recipe. I have no idea where she got it. She thought we ought to make it for the holidays one year. So we tried it, and they are just lovely. Buttery, slightly sweet, soft and fluffy: the perfect dinner roll. The nicest part is you can do all the “hard” work ahead of time, then pull them out and just let them rise and bake up fresh on the day of the big feast!

Thanksgiving dinner can be such a rush, it’s nice to have a few things you can make ahead of time that you don’t have to mess with too much on Thanksgiving.

We often make these at times when we don’t have a feast planned–we make just the rolls or maybe one or two other things. My kids will eat and eat and eat them. There aren’t that many things we all agree on when it comes to food, but these rolls are true common ground for my family.

Dinner Rolls from Heaven :)

Soft and Fluffy Do-Ahead Dinner Rolls

Her original recipe was slightly different … I can never follow a recipe … I cut the butter in half and I substituted some whole wheat flour for part of the bread flour. The amazing thing is the rolls stay nice and fluffy even with the whole wheat flour!

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want your rolls)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast

Put the ingredients in the order listed into a bread machine and put it on the dough setting.

Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan with cooking spray.

When the dough is done, pull it out of the bread machine. Shape pieces of dough into nice balls by pulling the top of the dough down with two fingers and pinching it underneath. It really takes two hands to do this effectively so I had a hard time taking a picture of this part of the process … try to make the balls roughly the same size.

Making the dough into balls

Place the balls into the baking pan allowing a good amount of space around each one so it has space to rise. I couldn’t fit all my dough balls into this pan. I got out a small casserole pan to bake the rest in.

Dinner Rolls in their Pan

Now you have two options: you can let the dough rise and bake it today … or you can cover the pan and put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 4 days. I have a nice cover for my 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan so it was quite easy for me to just put the cover on and stick it in the fridge.

On the day you want to eat your rolls, take the rolls and put them in a warm place to rise until they are big and puffy. Rising time will vary depending on how warm your “warm place” is … anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.  (You might notice the lighting has changed … yes, it’s dark out and a day later and I’m ready to bake my dinner rolls now!)

Big and Poofy All Ready to Bake

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 – 20 minutes. If they seem to be getting too dark too fast, cover them with aluminum foil for part of the cooking process. Uncover in the last few minutes to let them brown.

Spray the lovely rolls with cooking spray to soften the tops before serving to your hungry crowd.

If you have any leftovers, these rolls are awesome for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Look at the lovely soft texture of these rolls!

The Lovely Texture of these Soft, Sweet Dinner Rolls

16 responses

  1. These look so delicious! I agree, i can never keep with an original recipe, LOL! I love making homemade anything, this is perfect for a warm cozy Thanksgiving dinner:-) Hugs, Terra

    November 22, 2011 at 9:53 am

    • Ann

      Thank you so much Terra! I hope you have a happy, warm and cozy Thanksgiving:)

      November 22, 2011 at 10:52 am

  2. I am going to try this recipe for sliders! Yum.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    November 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm

  3. OH! I am so happy I found these for Thanksgiving!!

    November 22, 2011 at 7:13 pm

  4. oh wow these look amazing. Can you ship me a batch of them? Or maybe I will get busy and make some today!

    Thanks for linking up to Newlyweds Recipe Linky. Hope you have a great thanksgiving.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:21 am

  5. These are beautiful! They sound delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    November 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm

  6. These are absolutely fantastic!! I used white whole wheat and AP flour because I didn’t have bread flour on hand. I added 1 T of Vital wheat gluten and they are the best! I got 36 rolls! Will definitely make these again and again.

    November 24, 2011 at 10:56 am

  7. Pingback: Newlyweds: Recipe Linky

  8. Judy

    Looks delish, but what if u don’t own a bread machine

    October 8, 2012 at 10:04 am

  9. Is there are way to do these without a bread machine… do they need to rise once then be kneeded before shaping or simply mixed with the stand mixer & dough hooks then shaped??

    October 8, 2012 at 11:00 am

  10. Ann

    Yes, I think I would let them rise once, then knead and shape and let them rise again.

    October 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

  11. Ann, I adore fresh baked bread in any form, can’t wait to make these! Pinned.

    October 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    • Ann

      yay! thank you Joan:)

      October 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm

  12. Pingback: Soft and Fluffy Do-Ahead Dinner Rolls « Sumptuous Spoonfuls « Freakshow Minus Tent

  13. Audrie

    Would love to make these but don’t have a break machine or a big mixer. Can I just mix by hand?

    November 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    • Ann

      Yes you can … basically just mix the dough, knead it, let it rise, punch it down and shape it, then let rise again. Do you have a hand mixer? If so, just combine dry and liquid ingredients in a mixing bowl on low speed. Beat 1 minute on low, then about 3 minutes on medium speed. (you can mix the dough by hand too … just stir and mix with your hands until the dough comes together into a ball) By hand, stir in enough remaining flour to make a firm dough. Knead on floured surface 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Use additional flour if necessary. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease the top (or spray with cooking spray). Cover; let rise until dough has doubled in size. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; punch down to remove air bubbles, then shape the rolls and let them rise again.

      November 20, 2012 at 10:10 am

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