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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Yield: 16

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

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Additional Time 4 hours 33 minutes
Total Time 5 hours

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.



  • 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

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 183Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 18mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 5gSugar: 9gProtein: 6g

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