100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter

Whole wheat flour can be so uncooperative. It doesn’t want to rise, or stays heavy and dense.

Problems solved. And whole wheat never tasted so good.

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Using whole wheat flour is often the kiss of death in bread-making. It’s like adding lead to your dough. It’s just weighs it down and can cause bread to taste like a hockey puck.

Whole wheat has less gluten than white so it doesn’t want to get puffy, fluffy, and rise as well. Or rise at all.

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Sure, it’s healthier than white all-purpose flour, but I don’t care how healthy something is if it doesn’t taste good.

After lots and lots of trial and error, and lots of bread that was only good enough to feed to the birds, I finally have whole wheat bread that I am 100% proud of.

And it’s 100% whole wheat.

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Many times whole wheat bread is a blend of 50/50, wheat and white. Many recipes suggest tossing some white all-purpose or white bread flour in with the wheat so the dough will rise better. And it will.

But I wanted 100% whole wheat, and now I have it.

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter - Recipe at averiecooks.com

The rolls are so easy to make. It’s both a make-ahead and a no-knead dough, adapted from my No-Knead Make-Ahead Dinner Rolls.

They’re practically work-free because there’s no kneading. I don’t even use my stand mixer and simply stir the ingredients together with a wooden spoon in a bowl.

I make the dough and let it rise, then form 16 balls. I  bake 3 to 6 balls per day and keep the rest in the fridge. We have a family size of 3 and we don’t need 16 rolls all at once.

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter - Recipe at averiecooks.com

The recipe is perfect for anyone who’s never worked with yeast because it’s almost impossible to screw up, which is saying something because whole wheat is involved.

If you can dump ingredients in a bowl and stir, you can make these.

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter - Recipe at averiecooks.com

I love the flexibility of knowing I have dough waiting in the fridge. I can just grab a few balls, put them on a baking tray, let them come up to room temperature and rise for maybe an hour, and bake. Instant dinner rolls, and instant happy family.

I brush the tops with honey-butter before baking because it makes them even more scrumptious. Honey and wheat just go together. I serve them with honey butter, too.

Or skip the honey and use garlic butter. Or sprinkle with sesame seeds and use them as little slider or sandwiches buns. Form the dough into pretzels or bake as a loaf. So many possibilities.

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter - Recipe at averiecooks.com

The whole wheat adds heartiness and nuttiness, without tasting too healthy or earthy, which can sometimes happen with whole wheat, and I know it’s a turnoff for some people.

They’re soft, fluffy, light. And healthy. And they’re make-ahead and no-knead.

I couldn’t ask for anything more from a dinner roll.

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter - Recipe at averiecooks.com

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter - You'd never guess they're made entirely with whole wheat flour based on how soft, light & fluffy they are! If you've been searching for a whole wheat roll recipe, this is the one!

100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter

These 100% whole wheat dinner rolls are soft, light, fluffy, and so easy. They’re practically work-free because there’s no kneading. If you can dump ingredients in a bowl and stir, you can make these. You can make the dough ahead of time, refrigerate it, and when you’re ready for fresh bread, bake off only what you need. You can use the dough for more than just dinner rolls. Try breadsticks, pretzels, or bake as a loaf; skip the honey and use garlic butter or add sesame seeds for hamburger buns. So many options and knowing you have dough in the fridge waiting makes having fresh rolls at any time an easy and do-able reality.

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Ingredients:

Rolls
3/4 cup water, warmed to packaging directions (about 125F for Red Star Platinum yeast, about 105 to 115F for most other yeast)
3/4 cup milk, warmed
1/4 cup honey
2 to 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon molasses
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet, I use Red Star Platinum)
3 cups whole wheat flour
pinch salt, optional and to taste

Honey Butter
1/4 cup (half of one stick) unsalted butter, very soft
2 to 3 tablespoons honey

Directions:

  1. For the Rolls – Combine first 5 ingredients (through molasses) in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl and warm it to manufacturer’s directions on yeast packet, about 1 minute on high power. Take the temperature with a thermometer. If you don’t have one, mixture should be warm to the touch, but not hot. Err on the side of too cool rather than too hot because you don’t want to kill the yeast.
  2. Pour liquid mixture into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top; wait 5 to 10 minutes, or until yeast is foamy. This means it’s alive and will work. (This is proofing and technically with instant dry yeast you don’t have to proof it, for active dry yeast; you should. I do it regardless)
  3. Add the flour, optional salt, and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Then stir for about 1 more minute, mashing the dough around (this is as much ‘kneading’ as this recipe requires).
  4. Stir dough into a ball, cover the bowl with plasticwrap, and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 3 hours. Whole wheat rises slowly so don’t be surprised if it takes a long time. Tip – Create a warm environment by preheating your oven for 1 to 2 minutes to 400F, then shutting it off. This creates a 90F-ish warm spot. Slide the bowl in and wait while the yeast works. Just make sure your oven is off.
  5. At this point you have a choice… If you plan to bake now (through step 11) punch dough down, remove it from bowl, and turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Knead it only so much as necessary to shape it into balls for rolls (I divide the dough into 16 rolls and they’re just a bit bigger than golf balls). Or form desired shapes such as a loaf, pretzels, breadsticks, etc. Use only what you need and save the rest for later in the refrigerator.
  6. Place balls of dough in a cooking sprayed round baking dish or pie plate, or in an 8×8 or 9×9 pan; size depends on how many you’re making. They can be close to each other, but not squished, or they’ll rise and bake into each other.
  7. Cover baking dish with plasticwrap, and allow rolls to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for about 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. I use the preheated oven trick again.
  8. In the final minutes of rising, preheat oven to 350F.
  9. For the Honey Butter – Stir to combine the butter and honey. Generously brush or spread the mixture with a knife over the top of each ball of dough before baking. Reserve remainder to serve with rolls after baking.
  10. Bake rolls for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly golden and puffed. Baking time will vary greatly based on how many rolls you’re baking, or if it’s another shape such as a mini loaf, the size of the pan, and personal preference. Watch your bread, not the clock. Don’t overbake; they will dry out.
  11. Allow bread to cool momentarily in baking dish and serve as soon as it’s cool enough to handle. Rolls are best fresh, but will keep airtight for up to 4 days at room temperature or may be frozen for up to 4 months.
  12. If you plan to bake later – Take dough that’s risen for about 3 hours from step 4, punch it down, keep it covered, and refrigerate it. I prefer to portion the dough into 16 balls before refrigerating it so I can easily grab what I need over the next few days. Dough may be kept refrigerated for up to 5 days before baking.
  13. When you plan to bake, pick up at step 5 and follow through step 11.

Recipe adapted from No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter

Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.

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Do you make dinner rolls or bread? What’s your favorite recipe?

120 comments on “100% Whole Wheat No-Knead Make Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter”

  1. You say 16 rolls but mention keeping extra dough in the fridge. How many should I put per 9×9 pan?

  2. The only thing I left out was the molasses.. Mine did not turn out as delicious! Or maybe my oven was not hot enough! :( but yours definately look so delicious and made me drool ;)
    Maybe next time, they will turn out better. They were soo very heavy and dense!

    • If they were very heavy and dense that generally means that dough was over-floured or didn’t rise properly or for long enough. Do NOT RUSH the rising process. If it takes 3-4 hours for the first rise, so be it. Make sure the dough is nearly doubled in size/bulk before moving on. Also the molasses is a nice food source for the yeast and will help them work even better, i.e. a lighter loaf. You may want to include it next time. And then also making sure your oven temp is calibrated properly – so it gets that nice pop of hot air is important. You could even bake at 400F for about 5-10 mins and then lower the temp to 350F for as long as it takes to finish baking.

  3. I just baked them and already had two!! they were so soft and they didn’t even taste like whole grain!! I had one problem though, which occurred also when I made the white no knead rolls, the rolls seem to spread and they came out a bit flat. I was wondering if it was because they were a bit too sticky when I put them in the oven and maybe I should have added more flour to the dough. Anyways, they still tasted brilliant! Thanks!

    • Thanks for trying these Monica and so glad you like them! I would say that if they’re spreading on you, yes, you could have used more flour to prevent them from coming out as flat. The more flour you add, the more structure it will give the dough; it will also make it denser. I prefer flatter and less dense and lighter-weight rolls to puffier ones that are denser. Play around with the flour to strike a happy balance with what works for you – sounds like you’re really close! So glad you enjoyed these and the other rolls, too!

  4. These rolls look incredible Averie! I love wheat rolls and you are so smart baking them up in batches as you need them. Totally going to be using that idea! Pinned!

    • Thanks for pinning Trish! And as a bread maker, you know that sometimes you don’t need it ALL at once. These are great b/c you can just bake off what you need, as you need it.

  5. Hi, I am making these rolls right now and I am wondering if the dough is too loose. Should the dough be wetter than all purpose yeast dough? Thanks, Dawn

    • I don’t know what’s in your mixing bowl so don’t know what’s too loose and what’s not. As long as the dough has risen, you’re fine. I would keep the dough fairly loose and wet – and yes, more moist than using regular all-purpose. Whole wheat absorbs more water and needs it. You can always add more flour after a 2-3 hour rise if you think it hasn’t risen enough or is still too loose. Toss in another 1/4 cup or so, but I would just wait and have faith and patience in the recipe before over-flouring. If you are in a hot/humid climate, you may need more flour than dry San Diego, too. Keep me posted.

      • Well, I must of done something right. They were perfect. I shaped them for sandwich rolls and we had shrimp salad sandwiches. Thanks for your help. Dawn

      • YAY!!! I had a feeling they would come together! And they’re perfect you say – so awesome to hear that. All whole-wheat dough I’ve learned needs lots of moisture – glad these worked out so well for you!

  6. This bread looks fantastic!!!! Love that it’s 100% whole wheat! I could eat this all the time! ;)

  7. Oh, I bet these would make delicious pretzels – with spicy mustard and sea salt…ok, now I’m Starving!! :D

    • They did and do! I took some extra dough from another batch and made pretzels with them – baked them at about 400 for about 10 mins. Same as in my 1-hour Pretzel recipe, brushed with butter before baking, and sea salt sprinkle after. So good!

  8. Hi Averie :) I’m so glad I discovered your blog because I’ve recently tried, not very successfully to bake with wholewheat flour! I’m dying to try these rolls but want to make a small amount since we’re just two of us at home. Do you think I could scale all the ingredients down 1/3rd for a small loaf? Or is it not as simple as that? :)

    • I would honestly just make the full batch, it’s a very small batch to begin with, as bread goes. About 16 rolls and as I indicated in the post, you can leave this dough in your fridge and graze on it, over the course of a week. Or bake it all at once and freeze the finished rolls and just take 2 out every day, for as long as they last. Working with 1/3 the batch size would just be almost more work than it’s worth…my opinion of course. And thanks for finding me!

  9. Wonderful recipe! I have love affair with any bread. Now I have recipe for day when I am too busy to kneed. Even though I love the process of making bread, real life does not stop for baking.

  10. These look incredible Averie. I love that they are 100% whole wheat! I can’t wait to try them!

  11. I always think whole wheat flour makes things so dense and too wheaty but these look as light and fluffy as you describe. And so easy to make.

  12. I can’t wait to try these! I have been looking for an amazing wheat roll recipe everywhere and have been unsuccessful until now!

  13. They look perfect!

  14. So fluffy and beautifully round! And with whole wheat and honey butter? Sounds amazing!

  15. Lovely, lovely, lovely, especially with the HONEY BUTTAH…..

  16. I love baking and this is perfect. The no knead caught my attention immediately and that you made it healthy, what more can we ask in a recipe. I am pinning this.

  17. Oh my! These look like my kind of dinner rolls! No knead and I love honey butter, Yum!

  18. If it ever cools off enough to turn on the oven, these will be one of the first things I try – Pinning & tweeting in the meantime!

    • Thanks for pinning and the tweet! And the nice thing is that they only have to bake for about 15 mins – so you won’t even need to get your house too hot! :) And just think how fast the dough will rise. Lol

  19. You are so brilliant! Those are the most gorgeous whole wheat rolls I’ve ever seen, I need to try them soon. And they look perfect for sandwich makin’

  20. I love the flavor using whole wheat flour gives to homemade breads. Your rolls look so delicious Averie. I really need to make some homemade rolls now!

  21. Ok, not gonna lie, allllll of your breads look equally amazing. Goodness!

  22. Been seeing these beauties around Pinterest a whole bunch!! LOVE

  23. OK. These look seriously to die for!! I love your dinner roll recipes, and to find a great whole wheat and NO KNEAD recipe is really fabulous! Cannot wait to give these a try!!

  24. These little dinner rolls look so light and fluffy, love them!

  25. Hi :) I’m really curious as to how these rolls ended up so light? Through your trial and error, did you come across some secret method??

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