Whole Wheat Rolls

5 from 2 votes

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These warm, pillowy soft Whole Wheat Rolls are the perfect accompaniment for soup and chillier days! Also delicious alone slathered with butter.

If you’re looking for a delicious dinner roll, you absolutely have to try these Whole Wheat Rolls! Big, soft, fluffy and made with a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour, these are the healthier rolls you’ve been dreaming of. Delicious turned into sandwiches (I’m looking at you, pulled pork) or as a tasty side served with Chili or Loaded Baked Potato Soup.

pan of baked whole wheat rolls

Whole Wheat Rolls

Making bread isn’t a hard thing to do, you just need some time to let your dough rise. These Whole Wheat Rolls are not any different. Easy list of ingredients and relatively simple step-by-step instructions. People don’t like making them because of the time it takes, but let me assure you most of the time is spent waiting on the dough to rise! Bread is easy to make if you know what you’re doing. HA! I will do my best to coach you through this process. Success is on your horizon.

Love bread? (Um, who doesn’t?) Here are some of my favorite bread recipes: Focaccia, Homemade White Bread, Irish Soda Bread, Hot Cross Buns, Garlic Bread.

risen dough in bowl

Basic Ingredients Needed

I love baking bread because the ingredients list is generally short and simple to follow. This recipe calls for a few extras (like shortening or butter, sugar and an egg) to make this dough a little more enriched (but so delicious!) A full list of exact measurements are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • shortening– this gives great texture to the rolls! Butter also works if you don’t have/don’t want to use shortening.
  • brown sugar– added for sweetness.
  • milk– any kind of milk will work!
  • eggs– one is used in the dough and the other is used to brush over the tops.
  • yeast + warm water– a little bit of warm water activates the yeast in this roll recipe. I love love love Le Saffre yeast.
  • salt– bread is only as good as the salt you put into it. Whatever you do, don’t forget the salt!
  • whole wheat + all purpose flour– these rolls use a combination of all purpose and whole wheat flour to get the added fiber from the whole wheat flour while keeping them light with all purpose.

raw rolls in baking pan

How to make Whole Wheat Rolls

You know the phrase easier said than done? This recipe is not like that. I promise its easier than you think. Take a peek at the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post with all the step by step photos to see how these are made.

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water to start blooming. Set aside.
  2. Heat milk in saucepan to scald. Pour hot milk over shortening and brown sugar and whisk until shortening is completely melted and sugar as dissolved.
  3. Whisk in whole wheat flour to the shortening and brown sugar mixture to cool down. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  4. Using the dough hook, stir in egg, salt and 2 cups of all purpose flour.
  5. Add in yeast mixture and stir well.
  6. Slowly incorporate more flour into the dough bit by bit until its tacky but not sticky enough to stick to your hands.
  7. Transfer bread dough to a greased bowl, cover and rise until doubled in size.
  8. Punch down dough and divide into 24 even sized rolls. Place into two 9×13 greased and parchment paper lined pans.
  9. Cover and rise again until rolls are touching. Brush the tops of rolls with beaten egg.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

whole wheat roll on white plate

Bread making for Dummies

I hear negative comments about bread making all the time! Since this is my job and I’m consistently testing recipes, I totally understand the sentiment. Bread making is time consuming and just to have a recipe fail totally sucks. I told you I’d give you all my tips and tricks to make this as simple as possible and here they are! Working with yeast and making bread doesn’t have to be hard.

  • Yeast– I use active dry yeast and love Le Saffre brand. (You can get a big 1 lb pack of it at Costco, Fred Meyer or even Super Walmart sometimes!) The brand doesn’t really matter, just make sure you are using fresh yeast that isn’t close to expiring.
  • Warm Water– to ‘bloom’ the yeast, you stir it together with warm water. If the water is too hot, you will kill your yeast. If this makes you nervous, err on the side of cooler than warmer. Think baby bath water temperature.
  • Kneading in the Flour– when using a stand mixer, its easy to knead in too much flour, making your rolls heavy. We aren’t going for heavy. We want light and pillowy rolls! So after adding flour in bit by bit and you notice the dough it taking shape, feel the dough. It should still be tacky but not sticky enough to leave a residue on your hands. The bottom half of the dough will still be stuck to the bowl and the top half won’t be. Totally normal.
  • When in doubt: it’s better to have your dough too sticky than too dry. You can always add a bit more flour to the dough as you’re forming your rolls and you notice they are too sticky.

melted butter in warm roll

Roll Storing Directions

The beauty of this recipe is you can totally make them ahead and reheat when you’d like them! Simply make according to the written recipe below, cool to room temperature and store in air tight containers. The colder you store them the longer they keep. Whole Wheat rolls will stay good at room temperature for up to 4 days, in the fridge for up to 6 days and the freezer for up to 4 months! 

What to make with Whole Wheat Rolls

So, rolls of any kind are great stand alone snacks or perfect for small lunch sandwiches. But for dinner, here are some delicious options that would work perfectly with these whole wheat rolls.

Loved these Whole Wheat Rolls? Check out these other recipes:

pan of baked whole wheat rolls
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5 from 2 votes

Whole Wheat Rolls

These warm, pillowy soft  Whole Wheat Rolls are perfect for soup and for chillier days! Also delicious alone slathered with butter!
servings 24 rolls
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes


  • 2 envelopes instant dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water 105 to 115 degrees F
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup shortening or butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 cups all purpose flour


  • In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water. Set aside.
    proofing yeast in warm water
  • In small saucepan, bring milk to a simmer, then remove from heat immediately. While milk is coming up to a simmer, measure shortening and sugar into a large bowl. Pour hot milk over shortening and sugar.
    pouring hot milk over butter and brown sugar
  • Whisk to melt and dissolve all ingredients together.
    melting butter and sugar in milk
  • Stir in whole wheat flour and cool to lukewarm {105 to 115 degrees F}.
    whisking in whole wheat flour
  • Transfer mixture to a stand mixer. Add in one egg, salt and 2 cups of flour. Stir in yeast mixture. Using the dough hook, knead in all purpose flour bit by bit until dough is moderately stiff and almost completely smooth. *You may not use all the flour listed, and that's ok!* Dough will be done when tacky but not tacky enough to stick to your hands when touched.
    adding flour to dough
  • Grease a large bowl and place dough in, turning once to grease surface of dough. Cover with a clean dish towel and rise 1-1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
  • Spray two 9x13 glass pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Punch dough down. Remove from bowl onto clean work surface.
    risen dough in bowl
  • Cut in half evenly and then cut each half into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place into prepared pans. Cover and let rise until rolls are puffed and touching each other; 30-45 more minutes.
    raw rolls in baking pan
  • Brush the tops of each roll with beaten egg.
    brushing egg onto rolls
  • Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes before serving warm with lots of butter.
    baked whole wheat rolls in pan


Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 159mg | Potassium: 80mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Course: Breads
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dinner rolls

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31 Responses
  1. Super Simple 25-minute Baked Potato Soup - Lauren's Latest

    […] soup is very delicious, particularly with whole wheat dinner rolls, my Mom’s potato rolls or these angel biscuits. Really, any freshly baked […]

  2. Tonya

    Hey Lauren!
    I don’t have shortening… Can I use unsalted butter instead? Or what would you recommend instead?


  3. Linda

    Hi Lauren
    I would love to make these dinner rolls. I don’t have a stand mixer1dough hook. Can I mix the dough in my bread maker machine?


  4. Donna

    I noticed the question from Cassidy about using white wheat flour wasn’t answered, and I’m curious about substituting it also. Well, can it?

  5. Carole

    Hmmmm….these sound good. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    I’ve heard that we’re in for a drier/warmer winter this year (Oregon), with more sunshine. I know we desperately need the rain and snow pack, but we’re also well past due for a nice fall season. Here’s hoping. Fingers crossed.

  6. AmberS

    Yum! I am always looking for new bread recipes. I am an hour away from Portland and this is my first Fall here. We moved here in December last year. I never knew how much I could miss the sweet sun!!!!!

  7. Trisha @ Home Sweet Homemade

    I’m with you! I’m in Michigan, and we get LOTS of cloudy days from all of our lakes 🙁 Time to hibernate! But first I’ll make these rolls…

  8. Marilyn Brennan

    I am so with you on this eart turning axis. I can feel the difference. Rolls and soup sound perfect and I’m sure yours are the best!

  9. Rachel J

    Lol Lauren you crack me up. I train myself to think the same way about food math! Whole wheat choco chip cookies? I’ll have a dozen please and thanks. Have a great Monday! 🙂

  10. CHERIE

    I see that we are supposed to dissolve the yeast and set aside but when do we add it into the recipe? I don’t want to mess this up before I get started. Thank you.

  11. Liz @ Floating Kitchen

    I feel your pain. I’m in Seattle and it’s getting dark real early around these part. Can’t dilly dally with the food photos! Love these rolls. They look so puffy and light!!

  12. Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life

    These soft rolls look divine! We have a long weekend coming up here in Australia, and I was just thinking about getting into some bread baking on the holiday! Thanks for the solution Lauren.
    Also, I’m craving all the carby things despite the swimsuit season that is sneaking up on us here! Good thing I’m running more too 🙂