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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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


  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. Hi Averie – I have made the soft whole wheat rolls a few times (love, love them) and always add a cup of oats to the mix. I was wondering if it would alter this recipe if an egg was added? Most of my other soft doughs all have 1 or 2 eggs in the recipe. Have you ever tested this recipe with an egg in it? Kindly yours, JamGirl

  2. First, I must comment on how pleased I am to have found this site, and the array of wonderful recipes you have posted. Being a novice in making bread, I love the No Kneads as I am unable to knead, and have no machine to do the work for me. I was anxious to try this recipe and was extremely pleased with it. I was surprised how well the whole wheat only flour made such a lovely end product, but in all fairness, you have to be well credited for the many hours of testing and baking before being satisfied enough to post the final results. Kudos on you!!! I personally love oats in my whole wheat breads and did add 1 Cup of quick oats to the initial batch of dough. Then after brushing with the honey butter prior to baking, I dusted it with a handful of oats as well. The end result was amazing. The oats did not seem to alter the texture as the crumb was still soft and the crust came out quite tasty. I did re-brush with the honey butter to keep the crust soft once fully baked as directed. So – thank you for all your hard work that make my attempts that much easier. Kindly yours, JamGirl

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review, glad you found my site and are loving the recipe, and glad your oats additions to this loaf worked out great!

      I appreciate you recognizing that all my recipes come with a ton of hard work behind the scenes – something I think is lost on the majority – so I appreciate your heartfelt thanks a ton! (especially after today where I made and photographed 3 recipes, but it started last night with baking at 11pm and then getting up bright and early to start shooting and cooking the rest for the camera, long days!)

  3. Hi Averie,
    Wld like to have a go at this recipe. Would u refer me to site where I could convert the cups into grams.
    Thank you

  4. Have you considered showing pictures you your dough so that I may compare. I’ve made bread before, but not ‘no-knead’ bread. I don’t think my dough looks like how it should. But I’m not sure what it should look like.

  5. I am new to bread making and tried several other recipes from this blog. I was really looking forward for this recipe but it was a let down. i have already tried several times. Is there a trick in rolling the buns, because when I let my rolls sit for rising the surface is not smooth and it is sort of porous unlike the refined flour ones. Could you give me some advice. Really looking forward for a healthy bread.

    • Not sure what to say with this – it’s hard to troubleshoot from afar when you don’t watch someone make the recipe and we’re not in the kitchen together. The only thing I can say is that if it’s a texture issue, maybe try switching brands of yeast and flour. I use Red Star and King Arthur. Thanks for trying the recipe.

  6. I have had many successful tries with Averie’s recipes, unfortunately, this one didn’t work out. I put the rolls in the fridge just as directed, and the were merged into one big glob this morning. I let them rise for 2 hours this morning, and nothing, no rise whatsoever. They won’t work for me. Love a lot on this site though!

    • It could be the yeast, the flour/water ratios based on different brands, the humidity or lackthereof, etc. Bread-making is a delicate science and especially!! with whole wheat flour since it has much less available gluten which is why people can struggle with whole wheat recipes. Thanks for giving it a try.

  7. Hi there! We’ve recently switched to only whole grain and dinner rolls have been so difficult to find. I’m a working single mom, so I was hoping to find some already made in the store, but since there were none to be found I searched for a recipe and found yours! Thanks so much for putting this out there! I made the dough last night and put it in the fridge so that I can use it for tonight’s dinner (not baked yet). When I let it rise it was extremely sticky. I see that a few other people commented on this, so I’m already feeling a little better. I added more flour, a little at a time, until I felt that it was a normal consistency (I make bread every holiday, but it’s white bread… maybe it’s different??). I rolled the dough into balls and put them back in the bowl and into the fridge. I checked on them this morning and they had merged into one big roll that looked a little sticky again. Is this normal? I’m in SoCal, too, so I don’t think it’s a humidity issue. At this point I’m going to bake them either way because I’ve put too much effort in to not at least try! I just wondered if this was normal and if it isn’t if you have any suggestions. Thanks in advance!

    • Whole wheat needs A LOT more moisture/water than regular all-purpose flour needs when it rises in order for the finished result not to taste dry and/or for it to even bake up properly. I think you’ll be fine based on everything you said and since you’re a fairly experienced breadmaker it sounds like, I would just trust your intuition and if it’s ridiculously wet/sticky, then add flour (but try not to overdo it). Bread as you know is a game of trial and error sometimes, but I definitely think you’re on the right track. LMK how it goes!

    • Oh thank you so much! I feel much better now. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  8. We just made these for Thanksgiving with homemade jam and they were such a hit! I even shaped some like little pumpkins using some kitchen twine and they held their shape perfectly! I just linked back to this recipe on my post today at growwildmychild.com Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Can you double this recipe with no troubles? I am having a lot of people over this weekend and would need more than one batch but don’t want to make it 2 processes.

  10. Here is my update on these
    After cooling the yeast taste went away they were beautiful
    And my baby loves these so much
    Thank you

  11. I loved the texture and fluffiness one problem with mine was I could taste the terrible sour yeast I don’t know if it’s because too much yeast or because it was sitting in the fridge overnight ???
    My toddler wasn’t bothered by it lol

    • Sometimes the longer yeast is allow to develop, it can take on a stronger flavor. And some brands, some people, are just more intense/sensitive to the flavor. I would shorter the ‘make ahead’ portion since you’re sensitive to it and you likely will be happier with the flavor. Thanks for trying the recipe!

  12. Hi Averie, i make these buns a few time, the dough is extremely sticky and i manage to make into dinner buns. They came out soft and fluffy but the top is brown but bottom feel underbake. I wonder is because the dough too wet or i chose a nonstick tray? I not from America and they don’t sell king arthur flour here in Singapore. I have been using white wheat flour. Do i still stick to 3 cup?
    Is possible to give the recipe in grams?
    The buns became a bit flat and dense on the 3rd day when we took out from fridge. Is that normal?
    Sorry i am very new in bread making.

    • To your questions…
      First, I would say do NOT keep rolls/bread in the fridge. They will not taste their best, and that said, bread is always best the first and second day so by the 3rd day, no matter where you’re storing it, it’s not going to be as light and soft. And the fridge is making it worse.

      You should bake these in a pan rather than a baking sheet/tray, that may help the browning situation on the bottom.

      If the dough is way too sticky, add more flour. It will be climate dependent and ingredient-dependent so it’s impossible for me to say for sure exactly how much to use.

  13. Averie I was so sad these did not turn out. I followed the recipe exactly but the dough was insanely wet and sticky. After the 3 hour rise when the dough doubled I added even more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, and unfortunately it did nothing. I added an additional almost 2 cups and left the dough to rise again. To shape I had to coat my hands with oil because it was so sticky. I allowed these to bake and they were semi-fluffy, however, flat and the only flavor was whole wheat flour.

    • Sorry that these didn’t work for you. I’ve never had any trouble so can’t exactly speak to what happened for you. Sounds like your climate must be much more humid than San Diego where I’m at. With bread-baking, it’s very hard to troubleshoot where someone went wrong but for you, I think adding flour in the BEGINNING before you even let them rise, that was the time to do it, not halfway through adding all that additional flour. That was one issue. I use King Arthur brand flour and Platinum yeast; I swear by both of those brands and if you used other brands, you will get different results. As for the taste, yes they’re very! wheaty since they’re made with 100% w.w. flour. The honey butter is a nice balance though I think.

      • Thank you for the feedback! I will give them a go one more time and let you know how it goes. Either way, your recipes are fabulous and just because this one (out of hundreds) did not work for me doesn’t mean it is a bad recipe :)

  14. Have you ever used Sucanat for this?

  15. Have you tried freezing the dough after you roll them into balls? I prefer fresh baked bread but love to make large batches of dough at once. I was thinking after rising, punch it down, then freeze the raw rolled balls on a cookie sheet then put them into a bag? That way I could take out however many I wanted, thaw them and let them rise then bake. Just curious if you had tried this with this recipe. Thanks! I’ve been searching for a good whole wheat roll recipe for a while.

    • I think your method could work and I haven’t tried it with these per se but I do that with other dough. I feel like that method is 90% as good as if you do it without ‘cheating’ as I will call it. The problem otherwise as you say if you don’t cheat and freeze, is that you end up with a dozen rolls++ and unless you’re having an event, you likely don’t need that many, all at once. So yes, try freezing and see what you think using the method you outlined; that’s exactly when I freeze my dough balls.

  16. Can’t wait to make this! Question, I’m running low on wheat flour (maybe 2.5c available now), will it matter if I add a bit of AP flour to get the dough to the right consistency?

  17. WOW!! truly the best bread I ever made! thank you so much for sharing. This recipe is going in my binder for keeps.

  18. Amazing recipe! Can not ask for better. Just made these soft buns and having them with cheese. Too yummmyyy… Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe :)

  19. I really want to make these, but I don’t like molasses. Could I substitute something else, like honey or maple syrup, that could work too? Thanks!

    • Yes you could use either of those things or just omit. Even if you don’t like molasses, it doesn’t make the rolls taste like it, but instead just gives a richer taste to them and balances the wheat taste, but sub/omit as desired.

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