Adapted from our incredibly popular bread recipe, these 100% Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls are soft, pillowy, moist, easy to make, and truly the BEST!
For more delicious dinner roll options, you may enjoy Shortcut Garlic Rosemary Cloverleaf Rolls or Savory Herb & Cheese Monkey Bread!
Sometimes it takes awhile for the lightbulb to go on.
When I decided to share a homemade Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls recipe with y'all in time for Easter, I experimented with several batches of rolls but wasn't completely happy with any of the results. I mean, they were fine...but not perfect. I knew I could do better.
And so I kept trying...and in the meantime, my family was served lots of mini sandwiches assembled on sub-par dinner rolls.
But then one day, it hit me! Why not take my highly popular recipe for The Very Best Homemade Whole Wheat Bread and turn it into THE VERY BEST Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls?!
Doing so was actually so simple that I can't believe it took me so long to try it.
The Type of Whole Wheat Flour Matters
Just like my famous (infamous?) bread, these Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls resulting from the same recipe are 100% whole wheat. But because they call for white whole wheat flour, they don't end up heavy, dense, or overly wheat-y.
As I explained in my bread recipe, white whole wheat flour is unrefined, 100% whole wheat flour ground from white wheat, yielding a milder flavor and lighter texture than traditional whole wheat flour (which is made from red wheat). Despite the differences in flavor and texture, the two varieties of whole wheat flour are nutritionally the same.
I buy King Arthur brand unbleached white whole wheat flour because that's what's available at my local grocery store, but I’m sure there are other brands out there that would work just as well.
And of course, grinding your own flour is going to result in nicely textured bread/rolls whether you use white whole wheat flour or not! 😉
Texture and Flavor
These Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls are fluffy, but not particularly light-as-air. However, don't think for a minute that they're heavy.
Rather, they are extremely soft and moist, like heavenly little pillows. For comparison's sake, the texture actually reminds me a bit of store-bought Hawaiian rolls, except these homemade rolls are (of course) all-natural.
Their flavor is delicate with an undertone of wheat but nothing so in-your-face that anyone would believe they're 100% whole wheat. There is also a very slight sweetness from the honey.
One difference I noticed is that when I bake my bread recipe using coconut oil, I don't really taste any lingering coconut flavor. On the other hand, I thought that it was slightly detectable in this dinner roll version (though not necessarily in a negative way).
Dedicated food blogger that I am, however, I decided to make one more batch of rolls to see if they would turn out better with butter. And, sure enough, the butter gave them the neutral flavor I was going for. You may use a neutral vegetable oil (such as sunflower or safflower) in place of the butter, if you prefer.
Visualizing the Steps
Since these rolls are adapted from a previously posted recipe, feel free to hop over there to read more specifics about how and why it works so well. The method is actually very simple and foolproof if you take it step-by-step.
But in case you're a visual learner, I baptized my camera by flour and snapped a few pics to help you visualize how to form your rolls, and how they should look as they rise and bake.
- Form a rectangle of dough and cut into 24 equal pieces.
- Roll each piece into a ball and arrange on a lined baking sheet.
- Allow to rise.
- Preheat oven and bake, then immediately brush with butter.
More Than Just Dinner Rolls
Not only would these Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls be wonderful accompaniments to a special holiday meal (or a regular ol' weeknight dinner...who needs a holiday to enjoy bread?!), but I think they'd make great little slider buns. Pile them with chicken salad, sloppy joe filling, pulled pork, or your favorite mini burger patties and go to town!
So do you have your holiday menu ready to go? If you're still looking for any last-minute recipes, I've shared a few of my favorites just below the dinner roll recipe.
But if you're in the mood for some fresh, warm, wholesome, homemade dinner rolls? Well, you don't even have to leave this page to satisfy that craving... 😉
More Holiday Recipes
- Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham
- Green Bean Bacon Casserole
- Instant Pot Honey Cinnamon Carrots
- Brussels Sprouts Gratin
The Very Best Homemade Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
- 3 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
- ⅓ cup vital wheat gluten
- 4 teaspoons instant/quick-rise yeast
- 2 ½ cups very warm water, 120°F to 130°F
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled OR vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup honey
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together first three ingredients. Add water and mix for one minute, scraping down bowl halfway through if necessary. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Add salt, melted butter, honey, and lemon juice; beat for 1 minute. Add remaining 2 ½ cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, beating between each cup. Knead dough in mixer using dough hook for 10 to 15 minutes or until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and feels smooth rather than sticky.
- Grease a 12x18x1-inch baking sheet with softened butter and set aside. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few more times. Form into a rough rectangle and cut into 24 approximately equal pieces (if one piece is significantly larger than another piece, pinch a bit off the larger piece to add to the smaller piece). Roll each piece of dough into a ball and arrange on prepared baking sheet in four rows of six rolls.
- Preheat oven to lukewarm by setting it to 350°F and then turning it back off after exactly 1 minute. Place baking sheet in warm oven and allow to rise for 20 to 40 minutes or until nicely risen (don't rush it!).
- Remove baking sheet from oven to rest while preheating the oven to 350°F. Once oven comes to temperature, bake rolls for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown, watching closely towards the end of the baking time.
- Remove baking sheet from the oven and immediately brush each roll with melted butter (which will keep the exterior of the rolls soft). Allow rolls to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a bread basket and serving warm. Alternately, transfer rolls to a wire rack to finishing cooling completely and then store in an airtight container (at room temperature for a few days and in the refrigerator after that...these will eventually mold as they contain no preservatives). Rolls may be reheated under a damp paper towel for a few seconds in the microwave before serving.
- You may cut this recipe in half and bake a dozen rolls in a buttered 9- by 13-inch baking dish.
- I initially lined my baking sheet with parchment paper but, on my second batch, discovered that it wasn't necessary (so ignore the parchment paper in some of the photos...simply butter your pan).
What is vital wheat gluten? I purchased vital wheat gluten flour (Bob's Red Mill). Is that the correct ingredient? Thanks!
Hi Lyn! I just looked up that brand, and it appears that the Bob's Red Mill "Vital Wheat Gluten Flour" is the same as what other brands simply call Vital Wheat Gluten. So yes, it's the correct ingredient! 🙂
I found your wheat bread recipe and decided to make rolls out of that, then saw your thumbnail for your rolls at the top of the page. The rolls are wonderful, esp using freshly milled hard white wheat. Thanks for a great recipe x2
Omg! Omg! This is definitely the very best whole wheat bread, not just homemade. Tried it twice so far and every time turn out perfect. Thank you so much for sharing!
How long is the rise after the rolls are shaped and placed in the pan?
Hi Lee! If you scroll down to the recipe card, step 4 answers your question: 20 to 40 minutes. But please consult the recipe card for the full instructions. 🙂
Hello! When you say white whole wheat, are you meaning soft white or hard white? Excited to try these!
Hi Kylie! I typically use King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour and the bag says it's made with hard white wheat (as opposed to hard red wheat). Hope that helps!:)
Is it possible to use olive oil in place of the 1/3 butter or coconut oil?
My husband just found out he is prediabetic.....
That should work fine, Miranda. 🙂
These rolls are EXACTLY what I've been searching for! Holy smokes They are light, but hearty and the perfect amount of wheaty deliciousness!
Do you think I could freeze them before rising them with success?
Thank you so much for this recipe!
I haven’t made this recipe of the dinner rolls, but have made your BEST whole wheat bread recipe and It is AMAZING! Do you think this dinner rolls recipe could be used to make hamburger buns? If so, how many servings of hamburger buns do you think it would make? Thank you SO much!
So happy to hear that you love this bread so much, Becca! The recipe will definitely convert to hamburger buns...I've actually done it before but can't recall the exact yield. But I would venture to guess that 1 1/2 to 2 dinner rolls is equivalent to a hamburger bun (depending on your preferred size), so this recipe would probably make 12 to 16 hamburger buns?
Hi, do you measure your flour (and other dry ingredients) by scooping the cup directly into the flour, or by using a spoon to dip into the flour and spoon it into the cup? It affects how much flour actually makes it into the cup. Thank you!
The correct way to measure flour is to first fluff it in its container, then spoon it into your measuring cup, then level it off with the flat edge of a knife. Hope that helps!
These are so good! Huge hit with my family. I grind my own flour, so I used Soft White Wheat berries. Delicious ! I also used Agave instead of honey because that is what I had the most of.
These are super good! So soft and fluffy. I didn't have white whole wheat flour, but it still worked well with regular whole wheat flour.
Thank you for the recipe. Made these today, and they are husband approved! Delicious and easy! Will definitely have to try the loaf bread next.