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Make Ahead Buttermilk Dinner Rolls: Copy Cat Brown and Serve

Easy, homemade buttermilk dinner rolls that you can make ahead and freeze. Use them just like the brown and serve rolls!

dinner rolls on a plate

The grocery stores are stacking their aisles sky high with packaged brown and serve rolls right now. We always had them growing up — my mom was not a baker by any stretch of the imagination. When Thankgiving dinner was moved to my house we still had them but they were right alongside my homemade rolls.

Guess which my kids prefer?

I still serve the brown and serve type at the holidays, and yes, they are still served right next mine.

My rolls are easy to make and best of all you can make a big batch of them up to three months ahead of time! You can choose to bake them until they are golden brown or you can bake them just until done and freeze them to be browned in a hot oven when you are ready to use them. I prefer the brown and serve method because I think it makes them taste fresh. Make a double or triple batch of these once a month and you can have fresh, hot dinner rolls whenever you like. I love these glass freezer containers. No BPA, Store great, reusable, and they don’t allow other flavors to mix in with what’s inside.

Buttermilk dinner rolls are just a step above the regular kind. For generations bakers have known that buttermilk lends a special flavor, tenderness, and undefinable texture to breads of all kinds. It makes yeast breads rise higher and lighter and they stay fresh longer — although, to be honest, we rarely have homemade rolls more than a few hours after they come out of the oven.

I like to dust the tops with a little flour. It doesn’t do a thing but I like the way it looks.

Make-Ahead Buttermilk Dinner Rolls


Prep Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 18 dinner rolls

Carbs: carbs: 19.6

Calories per serving: 119

Fat per serving: 3.1

Lightly sweetened with honey, these make ahead, buttermilk dinner rolls are light and tender. Freeze beautifully!


  • 1/4 cup warm water (105-115°F) The easiest way to check temp is to pretend it is a baby's bathwater. If you would bathe a baby in it it is just right.
  • 1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey (tupelo, orange blossom, alfalfa, blueberry...these are all perfect)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole fat buttermilk at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg yolk lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water


  1. Stir together water, yeast, and honey in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
  2. Stir salt into 3 cups of flour and then add yeast mixture, buttermilk, and butter, stirring until it makes a soft, sticky dough.
  3. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, adding just enough more flour to prevent sticking, until smooth and elastic, 6 to 10 minutes.
  4. Form dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled large bowl, turning to coat.
  5. Cover bowl with kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The top of your fridge, in the oven with the light on, on top of the counter when the dishwasher is running are all good places. If your kitchen is very chilly it may take a little more time. If it is warm it may take a little less. You will know it has doubled when it looks like it has and you can push your finger in it and the dent will remain.
  6. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times to remove air.
  7. Cut dough into 18 equal pieces.
  8. Form a smooth ball with each piece, or roll into a rope and make a knot..Pretend it's Play-do.. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, arranging balls 1 inch apart on baking sheet.
  9. Cover loosely with kitchen towel and let rolls rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
  10. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  11. Brush rolls lightly with egg yolk and water mixture. This is an egg wash and will make the crusts more golden and beautiful. You can omit if you want.
  12. Bake until rolls are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 15 minutes


For Brown and Serve Rolls - Omit the egg wash. Cook for 10 minutes, or until done but before the rolls start to brown. Remove from oven, cool. Wrap in air tight packaging. Freeze for up to three months. To serve: Bake at 425 until golden.





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