Refrigerator Dinner Rolls

refrigerator rolls done

I love this recipe when I don’t have any bread or other rolls prepared for Sunday lunch.  I mix it up Saturday evening and toss it into the refrigerator (well, I don’t exactly toss it, but you know what I mean).

Let me give you several hints on this!

  •  Make sure you use a bowl that is large enough to allow the dough to rise a little.   (It will blow the lid off and spill onto your refrigerator shelves.  Ask me how I know!).  A bowl double the size of the dough works well.
  • Put the lid on tightly.  I’m sure you can imagine why.
  • Put something heavy on top of the lid.  Something like a gallon of milk turned on its side so it will fit on that shelf.  The extra weight reminds the lid that it is to stay put no matter how much pressure it receives from down below.
  • Because the dough will be stiff and cold in the morning, you can actually put it on the counter and cut it with a good knife. That way you don’t have to twist and turn and pull to get the dough divided into smaller pieces, especially if your hands are stiff and sore.  I’ve done this, and I can’t tell any difference in the rolls.

cut the cold dough with a knife


refrigerator dough

this is the dough just after it is mixed

In the morning (or about three hours before serving), take the dough out of the refrigerator and shape it into 24 balls. (See my note and the photo above about using a knife if it’s hard to tear pieces off the dough.)

Put them on a greased baking sheet (or pan).  Leave enough space between the rolls so they can spread out as well as up.

For the bread, you’ll need all-purpose flour instead of bread flour – which is especially nice if your bread flour supply is low.  Warm water, yeast, sugar, salt, shortening and an egg round out this recipe.  The dough will be a little sticky, so you’ll want to toss some flour on the counter when you’re ready to roll the dough into balls.

referigerator rolls on tray 2

Woops. My OCD hadn’t kicked in yet or these rolls would be in a straight line.

Forget about them for about two hours until they look like this:

refrigerator rolls rising 2

Then pop them into the oven to bake.  I always brush some butter on the tops when they come out of the oven.

refrigerator rolls done

After  that, have somebody find a basket and plop the rolls into the basket.  Enjoy!

refrig rolls basket 2

Refrigerator Dinner Rolls
Recipe type: Bread - Rolls
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 dozen
The nice thing about these rolls is that you can serve them fresh out of the oven even though you've mixed them up the day before.
  • 2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (110-115)
  • ½ cup sugar (I use less)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup shortening (I use vegetable oil)
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water
  2. Mix 2 cups flour, sugar and salt, then add the yeast/water mixture.
  3. Mix together on medium speed for 2 minutes
  4. Add egg, shortening, and the remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  5. Do not knead.
  6. Put dough into a greased bowl, turning to grease all side of the dough.
  7. Cover with lid and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Punch down and turn onto lightly floured surface.
  9. Separate into 24 rolls and roll into balls.
  10. Place on greased baking sheet
  11. Cover and let rise until double - 2-3 hours.
  12. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until nicely browned.
  13. Grease tops with butter or margarine.

This recipe comes from Taste of Home.  Find more great recipes at

Easy Dinner Rolls

ROLLS in basket B

I grew up in a home with a bakery attached to the kitchen.  My mother had a bread business; she mixed and baked sixty pounds of dough (two-pound loaves) at a time.  She sold bread, dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls to stores in town. We had all the homemade bread we ever wanted, and the only store-bought buns we used were for sandwiches like hot dogs and hamburgers. I could mix up sixty pounds of dough in my sleep, but I never made smaller batches until after I was married.

MIXER bakery

Yep. That’s the actual mixer, doing its job.

My sister Alice shared this recipe with me when I got married. She got it from a cousin Lila who got it from her mother Lela.  I called Lela, who is in her 90s, and she doesn’t remember the recipe or where she got it.  So there you  have it.  I guess we can give it any name we’d like.

I don’t usually use a recipe anymore; I just throw things into the mixer.  But then, I’ve been making this recipe for thirty years.  I don’t suppose you’ll need a recipe to follow when you’ve made it that long, either.

ROLLS directions B

the recipe I typed up for my boys nearly twenty years ago

Sometimes I add part wheat flour and sometimes I just use white flour.  It kind’ve depends on who will be eating the rolls.  And it also depends on how health-conscious I am feeling at the time.

ROLLS dough rising B

this is a “double batch” rising

You can mix these up and serve them one-and-a-half hours later.  I’ve done it in less time than that, and when that happens, my girls call them “hormone rolls”.  If you add a little extra yeast, have the bowl for the rising dough warmed up,  then warm the pans you will be baking them in, you can do it in just over sixty minutes.

Six ingredients, that’s all you need:  Water, sugar, salt, yeast, vegetable oil and bread flour.

ROLLS rising B

a double batch on one tray – for a fundraiser we did at church

Go ahead.  Knead away.

ROLLS in oven B

Come dinner time, you’ll be glad you did.

ROLLS round B

we’re talking fresh out-of-the-oven here

A Few Tips:

  • be sure your water for dissolving the yeast is not too hot or too cold.  If it’s too hot, you will kill the yeast, and the bread won’t rise.  If it’s too cold, it won’t dissolve properly and the yeast will not be able to do its job
  • you can decrease the sugar, but you’ll want to add some sugar with the yeast because that helps with the action of the yeast
  • if you want to add wheat flour, add it first; remember that it won’t take quite as much flour if you are using wheat flour.
  • be sure to cover your dough while it is rising; don’t allow cold air or drafts to hit it, or it will take much longer to rise
  • don’t do strenuous exercise in a room near your kitchen while your dough/rolls are rising; it will cause the dough/rolls to “fall”.  [Ask me how I know!]
Easy Dinner Rolls
Recipe type: Dinner Rolls
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 rolls
Easy to make, delightful to serve, delicious to eat!
  • 1½ cup warm water (105-110 degrees)
  • 1 Tablespoon yeast
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 4-6 cups bread flour
  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water
  2. Add vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups flour to the yeast mixture
  3. Mix together for two minutes
  4. Add 2-4 cups flour until the dough is soft.
  5. Let rise until double, then shape into balls
  6. Put into greased pan or cookie sheet
  7. Let rise until double
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350.
  9. Remove from oven and brush tops with butter