Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

4.89 from 34 votes
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Easy to make whole wheat dinner rolls will be a hit at your next holiday party! Only one rise required so these freshly baked rolls will be a quick and simple homemade bread recipe.

Easy to make whole wheat dinner rolls.

There is nothing more irresistible than the smell of freshly baked rolls, don’t you agree? I hope so! If you want to make your Thanksgiving or winter holiday feast memorable for all the right reasons, easy to make whole wheat rolls should be on the menu.

The best part is, they aren’t an all-day process. So you can focus your attention on cooking that big bird or on the yummy side dishes. Using a few culinary tricks, these dinner rolls will be a simple recipe that your guests will be dunking in gravy. Let’s get rolling!

Cast iron skillet filled with several with dough balls.

So here is the first trick; Rapid Rise yeast. I use Fleischmann’s brand because it’s already portioned and works fast! The most intimidating part of making rolls other than kneading is how long it takes. Sometimes you have to let the dough rise two times for hours on end.

Nope, not with these rolls. You add the yeast directly to the dry ingredients, combine with warmed milk and butter, knead and rest the dough for 10 minutes. I used my KitchenAid stand mixer with the dough hook attachment for kneading, but you can knead by hand and get a good workout going!

Dough balls rising inside a cast iron pan.

If you can roll meatballs, then you can make homemade rolls. These rolls are portioned into 12 equal pieces and then placed in a greased round pan to rise. You can use an ovenproof pan like an 8 to 9-inch pie plate or cast iron pan to bake the rolls.

For my second trick to help the rolls rise quickly, I learned an awesome tip from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I pre-heat the oven 200˚F then shut it off before adding the rolls. This warm environment for the loosely foil-covered rolls helps the dough double in size in record time! Check them after 20 minutes to see if they are ready. Otherwise, 30 minutes will be sufficient.

See how they are just touching and get cozy together in the pan? I like to add an egg wash to the top of the rolls to get a golden brown shiny glaze, butter works too but won’t be as glossy. Ok, it’s time to bake!

Whole wheat dinner rolls cooked inside a cast iron skillet.

Gorgeous! Can I eat you yet? You can get creative and brush the top of the rolls with some garlic infused melted butter or herbs, or just enjoy as is. This recipe makes 12 rolls but just double or triple the recipe as needed to feed your hungry guests.

The best part is any leftover whole wheat rolls make excellent leftovers to stuff with turkey, orange cranberry sauce, and, of course, creamy homemade mashed potatoes! Thanksgiving, I can’t wait.

Recipe Science

How does RapidRise yeast work?

RapidRise yeast, also known as Bread Machine and Instant yeast. You can add it to dry ingredients and proofing is not needed. The liquid added to your bread is heated to 120˚F-130˚F, the dough is kneaded, allowed to rest for 10 minutes, shaped, and rises until doubled in size. During the rise step, the yeast is eating the starches in the flour, as it ferments carbon dioxide is released. This creates the puffing up of the dough, giving it structure and flavor. Baking fresh bread is so much easier than active dry yeast and a big time saver.

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Easy to make whole wheat dinner rolls will be a hit at your next holiday party! Only one rise required so these freshly baked rolls will be a quick and simple homemade bread recipe.
4.89 from 34 votes
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 12 rolls
Course Bread
Cuisine American


  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour, or white whole wheat
  • 2 envelopes rapid rise yeast, Fleischmann's RapidRise Yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, for dough, more if desired to top rolls
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash


  • Combine whole wheat flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Heat milk, water, and butter until very warm (120ºF to 130ºF). Add to flour mixture.
  • Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add ¼ cup all-purpose flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining all-purpose flour to make a soft dough, up to 1 ¼ cup flour. Knead using the dough hook attachment or on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
  • Divide dough into 12 equal pieces; shape into balls. Place in greased 8 or 9-inch round pan.
  • Cover rolls lightly with foil or a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm draft-free area until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Brush tops with egg wash.
  • Bake at 375ºF oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until done. Brush with melted butter if desired and serve warm.


Nutrition Facts

Serves: 12 rolls
Calories 93kcal (5%)Carbohydrates 16g (5%)Protein 3g (6%)Fat 2g (3%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat 0.1gCholesterol 8mg (3%)Sodium 88mg (4%)Potassium 82mg (2%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 2g (2%)Vitamin A 100IU (2%)Calcium 20mg (2%)Iron 0.7mg (4%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Recipe Rating

18 Comments Leave a comment or review

    • Jessica Gavin says

      For active dry yeast I would dissolve the yeast first in the 1/4 cup of warm water (100 to 110ºF) with 1 teaspoon sugar. Let it sit for 10 minutes until bubbly. Them mix it with the warm milk and butter, also at 100 to 110ºF. Then mix the liquid ingredients with the dried.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I think the bread flour might make the rolls too tough or chewy since they contain more protein than wheat flour.

  1. savannah greuel says

    I just made this recipe today!! I am staring at the oven, waiting for them to be done!! I used coconut oil instead of butter (we just ran out of butter) and all whole wheat flour. I will let you know how they turn out! Probably just as amazing as they smell 🙂

  2. Nancy Gibbs says

    2 pkts yeast thats 41/2 tsp for 3/4 flour is it not too much yeast for so little flour please confirm thanks.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Nancy! There is also 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour. So that amount of yeast is not too much. Let me know how it goes for you!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Rhiannon- I have not made it with all whole wheat flour. You absolutely could, however the rolls will not be as tender, have more of a nutty flavor, be darker in color and may require more water added to the dough as there are more fibers in the whole wheat flour. Let me know how it turns out!

  3. Meredith says

    These rolls were turning out great, but after they rose for 30 minutes in the warm oven, I lightly brushed them with the egg wash and they completely fell! They tasted great after baking, but they were very flat so not very attractive rolls. Could the egg wash be put on before the rise so as not to disturb them after they rise?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Meredith- Yes, feel free to brush the tops of the rolls with egg wash before proofing so that the rolls don’t fall.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Jette! If your bread machine has a kneading option, then I don’t see why you couldn’t mix it in the equipment. The second option is hand kneading if you don’t have a mixer. Let me know how it goes!

  4. gigi says

    Is that the right amount of flour? For two packages of yeast
    I thought it would be more then 1 3/4 cups of flour,
    thank you for some great recipes.