Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Adapted from our incredibly popular bread recipe, these 100% Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls are soft, pillowy, moist, easy to make, and truly the BEST!

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls with text overlay.

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.

Pan fresh from the oven. 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.

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls with butter.

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! 😉

Basket of Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls.

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.

Close-up. 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.

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls in a towel-lined basket.

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.

Step-by-step collage of photos showing how the recipe evolves.

  1. Form a rectangle of dough and cut into 24 equal pieces.
  2. Roll each piece into a ball and arrange on a lined baking sheet.
  3. Allow to rise.
  4. 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!

Butter melting inside a Whole Wheat Dinner Roll that's been sliced open.

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

Homemade Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls.

The Very Best Homemade Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Adapted from our incredibly popular Homemade Whole Wheat Bread recipe, these 100% whole wheat dinner rolls are soft, pillowy, moist, easy to make, and truly the BEST!
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Proofing Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 24 dinner rolls
Calories: 158kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • cup vital wheat gluten
  • 4 teaspoons instant/quick-rise yeast
  • 2 ½ cups very warm water, 120°F to 130°F
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled OR vegetable oil
  • cup honey
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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).

Nutrition

Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 302mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 110IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

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Recipe Rating




55 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi, I just want to say again... This Bread & Roll recipe really is the BEST one I have ever used!!
    Thank you for sharing!!
    I made a sweet bread loaf using your bread recipe... Added some raw sugar, cinnamon, dried cranberries, and walnuts and it turned our amazing as well! I toasted it with some butter and it's great with coffee in the morning!

    Have you tried making cinnamon rolls with this recipe?

    1. I have not, Toni, but come back and let us know how cinnamon rolls turned out if you decide to give them a try! 🙂

        1. Hi Jeannie! You can use regular whole wheat flour...your rolls may just end up tasting a bit more "wheaty" than if you had used white whole wheat flour. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe Samantha,
    I do have a question about the calorie count: 158 kCal? That translates to 158000 calories!!! So each dinner roll is over 6000 calories for each of 24? Considering this a mistake. So I will make them today because they look delicious!!

    Best regards,
    Joe

    1. Hi Alaina! I've only ever made this recipe with whole wheat flour, but I don't see why it wouldn't work with regular white flour as well. Good luck if you decide to give it a try! 🙂

  3. Hi, I just finished putting this recipe together and put my rolls in the oven to raise. I turned to start cleanup and I forgot the lemon juice. Will they still be ok? What does the lemon juice do?

  4. Hi, came across these rolls today. They look so soft and inviting, I am itching to try them.One question please, can you bake this dough into a loaf instead of buns. I would like to try both versions, if possible. Will definitely pin them for future reference!

    Thanks

  5. 5 stars
    Hi! This recipe is fantastic! I’ve made it a few times with great results and people are asking for more! I do have a question... the corresponding bread recipe calls for coconut oil or vegetable oil but this one says butter or veg oil... is there a reason you can’t use butter in the bread? I’m a novice at bread making but have a Food Science degree... I love to understand the science in it all. ?

    1. Hi Dawn! No food science here...I just like dinner rolls that are buttery and I prefer using wholesome coconut oil for bread that we eat every day. 😉 But I think you should be able to use butter in the bread as well...enjoy!

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! I’ve been looking a long time for a good whole wheat roll recipe (and my family has endured a lot of sub-par tries). These are soft and not the least bit dry - my family says they’re a keeper!

  7. This is a fantastic recipe I cannot wait to try this but just as I was reading it again to start baking I realised there is no first rise did I read it correctly bcoz I went back and forth quite a number of times to reconfirm

  8. 5 stars
    I made these rolls last night for company coming over. I was pretty nervous since I was taking a risk making a e I hadn't tested before. They were AMAZING! I wouldn't change a thing. Thank you for a winner recipe. I mixing a loaf of the whole wheat sandwich bread now!

    1. You may certainly make these rolls by hand without a stand mixer...it's just going to take more time and elbow grease to reach the desired dough texture/elasticity in each step. 🙂 Good luck!

      1. Would I just use a spoon or rubber spatula to stir it/mix it, or would I mix it with my hands?? I'm so sorry - I've never made bread before, and I'd really like to attempt to make these for Thanksgiving.

        1. No problem at all, Stephanie! I think it's great that you want to make these rolls for Thanksgiving. 🙂

          I found a short video that you mind find helpful. It's about hand mixing dough rather than using a stand mixer, and she gives some specific info that will hopefully help you out: http://www.howcast.com/videos/511014-how-to-mix-dough-without-a-mixer-make-bread/

          I still think I would start this recipe out using a big bowl and a big wooden spoon. Then once the amount of flour gets to be more than you can handle with a spoon, switch to mixing with your hands like she shows in the video.

          Hope that helps, and hope your rolls are a hit! Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    Hi, I made these dinner rolls today. It was a sucess. Tasty, soft and moist and easy to do. My husband was really impressed when he tried some. Many thanks for sharing.

    1. So happy to hear that these rolls were easy to make and a success, Twinks! Thanks for taking the time to let me know that y'all enjoyed them. 🙂 Hope you're having a great week!

  10. 5 stars
    Just made these for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Had to try one right out of the oven. These rolls are seriously amazing! I've been searching for a 100% whole wheat recipe for YEARS. This is the first one that really lived up to my expectations.

    1. I am thrilled to hear that, Melissa! I hope everyone loves them tomorrow just as much as you enjoyed your preview tonight. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. For the dinner rolls--I had to use 2 if not 3 additional cups of flour before it ever pulled off the sides of the bowl while kneading. I'm anxious to see if they turned out. How could that have happened!

    1. Hi Daphne! There are so many variables to bread baking (from the types of ingredients used to the amount of humidity in the air) that it's not uncommon to have to use more or less flour to achieve your desired dough consistency. But it sounds like you paid attention to what your dough was asking for by adding more flour, so I hope your rolls turned out well once they were baked! 🙂

  12. Hi, your little pillows look lovely! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Can I omit the wheat gluten and lemon juice? and do you have the recipe in grams measurements?

    1. Hi Elle! Lots of people have successfully made this bread without adding the vital wheat gluten, so that shouldn't be a problem. The lemon juice, however, helps the yeast do its job, and as I haven't tried omitting it before, I'm not sure what the results would be. But you can substitute another acidic liquid, such as orange juice or white vinegar, for the lemon juice, if you prefer. Hope that helps! 🙂

  13. 5 stars
    Homemade rolls are an absolute must for Easter! I'd been pondering what kind to make and these were the winner! These are awesome!