Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

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These soft & fluffy whole wheat dinner rolls are lightly sweetened with honey and are rich and buttery. A healthier wheat roll to go with your favorite main dishes.

front view of six Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls with butter and sea salt on top


Fresh, homemade dinner rolls compliment just about every meal. They’re a staple in our house for holiday celebrations, but I also make them throughout the year.

These whole wheat dinner rolls are soft & fluffy, lightly sweetened with honey and are rich and buttery. They are a healthier wheat roll to go with your favorite main dishes, easy enough to make on a typical weekday or to enjoy for a special occasion.

I especially like to use them to make the most delicious BBQ chicken sandwiches!

overhead view of 12 Whole Wheat Rolls with melted butter and sea salt on top

Whole Wheat Rolls: Ingredients & Substitutions

Let’s chat about possible substitutions that can be made in this recipe. If I don’t mention an ingredient I don’t recommend any substitutions.

overhead photo of the ingredients in this whole wheat rolls recipe
  • Whole milk. possible substitutions include half and half, heavy cream or 2% milk. I don’t suggest a lower fat content than 2% milk.
  • All-purpose flour. to keep this recipe light and fluffy we use a little bit of all-purpose flour. I don’t recommend changing this. You can use bread flour, if desired.
  • Whole wheat flour. white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour can also be used.
  • Honey. sugar can be used in place of honey
  • Salted butter. There is no substitute for butter in these whole wheat rolls. You can use unsalted butter.
  • Fine sea salt. iodized salt can be used, just reduce the amount by half.
overhead view of 9 Whole Wheat Rolls with melted butter and sea salt on top

How to Make Wheat Rolls

Let’s walk through how to make whole wheat dinner rolls step by step, and don’t forget to watch the video.

Note. I use a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, but you can mix and knead by hand.

Proof the Yeast

Begin by combing water, honey and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

two photos showing How to Make Whole Wheat Rolls - proofing the yeast

Make the Dough

Once the yeast is proofed add the butter/milk and egg and stir on low speed until combined.

Then, add 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour and sea salt and knead with dough hook.

two photos showing How to Make Whole Wheat Rolls - adding wet and dry ingredients

Next, add more flour ½ cup at a time until a slightly sticky ball forms. Transfer the sticky dough ball onto a floured surface and knead until it’s no longer sticky.

two photos showing How to Make Whole Wheat Rolls - forming dough into a ball

Lightly grease a large bowl, put the dough inside and cover with a damp cloth. Put it in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Once the dough has doubled, flour your hands and squeeze it to remove the gas.

two photos showing How to Make Whole Wheat Rolls - the dough before and after rising in a bowl

With floured hands, form 12, equally sized dough balls. (use a food scale to weight full batch of dough, then divide that number by 12 and make sure every dough ball weighs the same).

Roll each dough portion into a smooth ball.

overhead photo showing How to Make Whole Wheat Rolls - weighing portions of dough & forming into balls.

Place the dough balls into the prepared baking sheet evenly spaced into 4 rows of 3.

Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 30-60 minutes). (do not let the towel touch the dough).

two photos showing How to Make Whole Wheat Rolls - before and after rising in a baking dish

Bake

When you notice the rolls have risen about halfway, Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place fully risen rolls into preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the rolls are golden-brown on the top and sound hollow when tapped with a wooden spoon. (Be very careful not to overbake).

Remove rolls from oven and immediately brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt.

overhead view of 12 Whole Wheat Rolls with melted butter and sea salt on top after baking

Serve

Serve warm with a slather of butter, or better yet, homemade cinnamon honey butter. They are a great Thanksgiving recipe or served alongside this balsamic pot roast on Christmas. You can use them to make sandwiches with this crockpot BBQ chicken.

Store/Freeze

Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

overhead view of 9 Whole Wheat Rolls with melted butter and sea salt on top

Make Ahead & Freeze

 You can make these rolls ahead and freeze them for up to 3 weeks. Make the recipe as written, put the rolls in the baking pan and before the start ot rise cover them tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil or a lid.

Remove them from freezer and let the rolls come to room temperature and rise fully before baking.

How to Bake Frozen Rolls

Only use these instructions if you are baking frozen rolls. Remove the foil and plastic wrap from the rolls, then bake the frozen rolls at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes, then increasing the baking temperature to 375 and baking for 10 minutes longer. 

overhead view of 5 Whole Wheat Rolls with melted butter and sea salt on top

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls Recipe FAQs

Can I double this recipe?

Yes, this recipe is easily doubled. Just bake it in one very large jelly roll pan or two 9×13″ baking pans.

Can I freeze these wheat rolls?

Yes, you can freeze them before or after baking, instructions are given in the recipe card.

a Whole Wheat Roll cut in half with butter spread over it and four other rolls around it.

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Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls Recipe

Laura
These soft & fluffy whole wheat dinner rolls so delicious! They’re slightly sweetened with honey and are rich and buttery. A healthier wheat roll to go with your favorite main dishes.
5 from 9 votes
Course bread, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Rolls
Calories 169
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Rising2 hours
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Line a 9×13” baking pan with parchment paper, set aside.

Proof the Yeast

  • Add water, honey and yeast to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

Make the Dough

  • Once yeast is proofed add the butter, milk and egg and stir on low speed until combined.
  • Add 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour and sea salt and knead with dough hook. Add more flour ½ cup at a time until a slightly sticky ball forms.
  • Transfer the sticky dough ball onto a floured surface and knead until it’s no longer sticky.
  • Lightly grease a large bowl, put the dough inside and cover with a damp cloth. Put it in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  • Once the dough has doubled, flour your hands and squeeze it to remove the gas.

Assemble

  • With floured hands, form 12, equally sized dough balls. (use a food scale to weight full batch of dough, then divide that number by 12 and make sure every dough ball weighs the same).
  • Roll each dough portion into a smooth ball.
  • Place the dough balls into the prepared baking sheet evenly spaced into 4 rows of 3.
  • Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 30-60 minutes). (do not let the towel touch the dough).

Bake & Serve

  • When you notice the rolls have risen about halfway, Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Place fully risen rolls into preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the rolls are golden-brown on the top and sound hollow when tapped with a wooden spoon. (Be very careful not to overbake).
  • Remove rolls from oven and immediately brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Serve warm!

Video

Notes

Make Ahead & Freeze
 You can make these rolls ahead and freeze them for up to 3 weeks. Make the recipe as written, put the rolls in the baking pan and before the start ot rise cover them tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil or a lid.
Remove them from freezer and let the rolls come to room temperature and rise fully before baking.
Bake Frozen Rolls
Only use these instructions if you are baking frozen rolls. Remove the foil and plastic wrap from the rolls, then bake the frozen rolls at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes, then increasing the baking temperature to 375 and baking for 10 minutes longer. 
Ingredient Substitutions 
  • Whole milk. possible substitutions include half and half, heavy cream or 2% milk. I don’t suggest a lower fat content than 2% milk.
  • All-purpose flour. to keep this recipe light and fluffy we use a little bit of all-purpose flour. I don’t recommend changing this. You can use bread flour, if desired.
  • Whole wheat flour. white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour can also be used.
  • Honey. sugar can be used in place of honey
  • Salted butter. There is no substitute for butter in these whole wheat rolls. You can use unsalted butter.
  • Fine sea salt. iodized salt can be used, just reduce the amount by half.
Store/Freeze
Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Roll | Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 243mg | Potassium: 122mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 173IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made these rolls for the first time today. They are so light and tasted wonderful. I’ve never had a lot of success working with yeast but this has given me the confidence to try more recipes. Recipe amounts were spot on. Thanks.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this today without a mixer or scale. Turned out great! Whole wheat/regular ratio 50/50, a little over 4 cups total into 18 rolls. Thank you for the recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    This is so good but it takes me more like 6-7 cups of flour before a shaggy ball forms. I dont use all purpose only whole wheat pastry flour and spelt.