With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, I decided it was high time to dust off a favorite old recipe and bring it back into the spotlight.  As long as I can remember, simple dinner rolls have been my favorite food on any holiday table.  I first encountered this recipe for honey yeast rolls in my early days of blogging and they instantly won my heart.  I make them often throughout fall and winter to accompany soups and stews, and they are a certainty on our Thanksgiving menu.  (Alongside this garlic herb compound butter – an absolute must.)

Over the years, I have tweaked the recipe slightly to ensure a better texture.  Many readers have also asked whether these could be made in advance.  Previously I had no good answer to that question.  This weekend I experimented with a make-ahead strategy and it worked beautifully.  So, I give you the new and improved version of my beloved honey yeast dinner rolls, now with a make-ahead option.

  • Yield about 10-12 rolls


  • 2¼ tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (105-115˚ F)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3½-4 cups bread flour
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp. honey


  • 01

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the yeast and warm water.  Add the honey, oil, salt, and egg and mix well.  Add 3 cups of the flour and mix until the dough comes together in a sticky mass.  With the mixer on low speed, incorporate the remaining ½ to 1 cup of flour a few tablespoons at a time.  Continue kneading on low speed for about 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

  • 02

    Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

  • 03

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 30 seconds.  Cover with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes.  Punch the dough down and divide into 10-12 equal size pieces.  Shape each piece into a smooth ball and place into a round, lightly greased 9- or 10-inch round baking dish, spacing evenly.*  Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 20-30 minutes.

  • 04

    Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Mix together the melted butter and honey, and brush the tops of the rolls with the mixture. Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden brown.  Cover loosely with foil and continue to bake about 10 minutes more, or until the the center of the rolls registers 190˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.  Let cool slightly before serving.

  • 05

    *To make the rolls a day in advance, prepare the dough as above through to shaping.  Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer.  Leave there to stop the rise, 2-4 hours.  Transfer the baking dish to the refrigerator and leave overnight.  The rolls will begin to rise again slowly while refrigerated and will eventually puff up and into each other.  The following day, about 18-24 hours after the dough was prepared, bake as directed above.  You may need to add 2-3 minutes to the baking time, but monitoring the internal temperature is the most reliable way to check for doneness.