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overhead view of basket of whole wheat rolls

Whole Wheat Rolls

  • Author: Deborah Harroun
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Rising Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 24 rolls 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


These Whole Wheat Rolls are a perfect dinner roll made with whole wheat flour and bread flour. A bit of honey brings in some sweetness, while evaporated milk brings richness to the rolls.



  • 3/4 cup warm water, divided
  • 1 (0.25 oz) package rapid rise yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup melted shortening
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature


  1. Stir together the water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl.
  2. Add the milk, melted shortening, honey, salt and whole wheat flour. Let it all sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Add in the bread flour. Mix until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the bread hook and knead for 10 minutes.
  4. Oil a large bowl, then add the dough. Turn the dough to coat it in the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  5. Spray 2 9×13-inch baking pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  6. Punch the dough down, then divide the mixture into 24 portions. Form into rolls, then place 12 rolls in each pan. Cover with plastic wrap or with a clean kitchen towel, and allow the rolls to rise again until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  7. Place a small oven safe dish of water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Once preheated, place the rolls in the oven* and bake until the tops are golden, about 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and brush with the butter immediately. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes:

Adapted from allrecipes

*I can fit both pans in my oven on the same rack. If you can’t fit both pans on the same rack, I suggest baking them one at a time.

SUBSTITUTIONS: This recipe uses shortening instead of butter in the dough, which produces a fluffy, soft interior, which is harder to get with whole wheat flour. You can use butter in place of the shortening, but the rolls will not be as soft.

You can also play around with the ratio of whole wheat flour to bread flour. But be aware that the more whole wheat flour you add, the heavier or denser your rolls will be.

MAKE AHEAD: You can make the dough up to one day in advance. Simply cover and refrigerate the rolls once they are shaped (before the second rise). The next day, remove from the oven and allow the rolls to continue to rise before baking. This will most likely take more than 30 minutes since they will come to room temperature before rising.

FREEZE: Rolls can be frozen 2 different ways. First, you can freeze the rolls once they have been formed, before the second rise. You can also freeze fully baked rolls.

STORE: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last the longest in a cool, dark place (like a pantry). Avoid storing them in the refrigerator, as they will dry out faster.

Nutrition information provided as an estimate only. Various brands and products can change the counts. Any nutritional information should be used as a general guide.


  • Serving Size: 1 roll
  • Calories: 140
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Sodium: 202 mg
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 22 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Cholesterol: 5 mg

Keywords: whole wheat rolls, whole wheat roll recipe