Nov 232011

I know this recipe seems late since I’ve named these dinner rollsThanksgiving dinner rolls”, but first, they are quick and easy so you can get the recipe the day before Thanksgiving and still serve them (and have the satisfaction of hearing a lot of “Oh my God!

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These are wonderful!) with Thanksgiving dinner, and second…pssst, secret here…they can be served on Christmas which is a month away.

Shoot…once you have had these once you will probably have them more often than holidays.  You might even do a little adjusting and use them as more than dinner rolls too.  There is nothing to stop you from shaping the dough a little differently and having homemade burger buns, or rolling thin strips and making a braid…the dough is that versatile.

It is Thanksgiving now though, and they ARE named “Granny’s OMG Thanksgiving dinner rolls”, so that’s what we will make and call them today.

A note:  I first was exposed to these gems in my maternal grandmother’s kitchen.  I was a service brat with a career Air Force officer for a Dad, and except for  three Christmases in the 1950’s when we were in Alaska we always made it “home” to Memphis, Tennessee for Christmas.  One of my best memories from those trips was sitting in Granny’s kitchen while she made these.  The kitchen had that “fresh baked bread” aroma while these rolls were baking, but I remember the aroma being “fresh baked bread aroma ON STEROIDS”.

Granny was strict, but with me she cut some slack…probably because she saw her other grand-kids a lot as they mostly lived in or close to Memphis, but she saw me once a year.  I took advantage.  This recipe makes about 35-40 rolls…and she had to make a double batch at Christmas, because I would sit in the kitchen waiting for the first batch to come out of the oven…and then eat half of that batch while they were hot and fresh out of the oven.

Enough with the back-story.  I need to get this written and posted so you folks can enjoy them tomorrow, so on with the recipe.

First, in a bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer if you have one with a dough hook) dissolve 2 yeast cakes (or 2 packages of yeast or 2 scant tablespoons of yeast) in 1 1/4 cup of warm water.  Make sure it is warm, not hot water, as water that is too hot will kill yeast.  For temperature comparison think bath water.  Measure out 1/2 cup of sugar and use a teaspoon of it in with the water and yeast to feed the yeast.  Give it 5 minutes or so to “bloom” the yeast.  After 5 minutes it should look all frothy and bubbly.

Next, add the remaining sugar plus 1/2 cup of shortening, 3 slightly beaten eggs, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 4-4 1/2 cups of flour and stir it all together with a spoon.

OK…right here is where you take one path or another, depending on whether you have a stand mixer with a dough hook or not.

If you DO NOT have a mixer with a dough hook, turn the almost-dough out onto a well floured board and knead for 5-7 minutes, adding flour a little at the time as needed to make the dough VERY slightly sticky to the point you can handle it without it clinging to your hands.

If you DO have a stand mixer with a dough hook, turn it on low speed and let the machine begin kneading.  While the dough s being kneaded add flour as needed, a couple of tablespoons at the time, until the dough hook “cleans” the dough from the sides of the bowl.

Now, the two paths…the dough hook kneaders and the hand kneaders..come back together for the rest of the recipe.

Put the dough in a fairly large bowl…remember, the dough will double in size…and put it in the refrigerator with a damp (and clean…LOL) dish towel covering it.

Now…walk away.  Overnight (this assumes starting these rolls is done late in the day before you want to serve them fresh).

The next day take them out of the fridge and…step back and admire the dough for a moment.

Non bakers won’t understand, but there is such a thing as “good looking dough”…and this fits the bill perfectly.

Now, back to work.

Start pulling chunks of dough off of the dough ball, chunks about the size of a golf ball or a bit larger.  Form the chunks into little round dough balls, pulling the skin smooth on top and tucking the extra under the bottom.  Think of how you form the dough for a round loaf of bread, only smaller, and place them on a baking sheet (or 2 or 3.  I use half sheet pans and one will not hold the rolls this recipe makes).

These babies are gonna grow, both while they proof and while baking, so give them a bit of room when you put them on a baking sheet…perhaps an inch or 1 1/2 inches of space.

Now, leave them out of the fridge, covered with a towel, and walk away…again.  For 4 hours this time.

About 3 hours and 45 minutes after leaving them to proof, turn the oven on to preheat it to 400 degrees (like it wasn’t on already.  It’s Thanksgiving and the oven has probably been hot since 4am, right?)

Brush the tops with either melted shortening (my Granny’s recipe, remember)  melted butter, OR an egg wash.  I personally prefer the egg wash.  It is better than the shortening, as good as the butter, and a whole lot cheaper than butter.

Now, into the pre-heated 400 degree oven for 11 minutes…and stand back and get ready for a foodgasim.

About 7-8 minutes in, you are going to be smelling what Heaven must smell like.  It’s the first part of what puts the “OMG” in the recipe name.  You’ll want to pull them out right then and begin trying to eat them…ALL of them.  But wait…it’s worth it.  Wait.

When you do pull them out, you only have one challange…serving them instead of hoarding them all for yourself.

Enjoy…and have a GREAT Thanksgiving.

Let’s make it!: Granny’s OMG Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls

The short version: Simply THE most delicious yeast rolls known to man

You need this from the pantry:

  • Yeast, 2 cakes, 2 pkgs, or 2 scant Tsp
  • 1.25 C warm (NOT hot, think bathwater) water
  • 1.5 C sugar
  • 1.5 C shortening
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 – 4.5 C flour
  • Egg wash, melted butter, or melted shortening for roll tops


  1. Put the warm water, yeast, and one tsp of the sugar in a mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer if you have one with a dough hook). Allow the yeast to bloom fr 3-5 minutes, or until bubbly and frothy.
  2. Add the balance of the ingredients and mix well with a spoon.
  3. If you are hand kneading, turn the dough out onto a borad and knead for 5-7 minutes, adding flour as needed to keep the dough only very slightly sticky.
  4. If you are kneading with a mixer and dough hook, turn the mixer on to low speed and knead for about 5 minutes, adding just enough that the doughball “cleans” the sides of the bowl as it is kneaded.
  5. Place dough in an oiled bowl big enough for the dough to double in size and place in the refrigerator with a damp towel covering the bowl, overnight.
  6. Remove from refrigerator and pull “chunks, about the sze of a golf ball (or just a bit smaller) from the doughball and form into rolls shaped in the same manner of a round of bread, skin on top smooth and excess tucked underneath.
  7. Place formed rolls on a sheet pan, giving each a 1 to 1.5 inch amount of space to “grow.
  8. Leave rolls at room temperature, covered with a towel, for 4 hrs to proof.
  9. Brush tops with egg wash, melted butter or melted shortening, and place immediately in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees.
  10. Bake for 10-11 minutes.
  11. Enjoy.

Small changes for big differences

Rather than making individually formed rolls, you can gently press out into a sheet about .5 to .75 inches thick and cut into square rolls.
This dough also makes wonderful homemade hamburger buns, just for bigger than the rolls and increase cooking time slightly.

Preparation time: 10 minutes each stage

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)

Rate this recipe 4 stars: ★★★★☆ 1 review(s)

Copyright ©
Recipe by Bob.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

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Bob is a N Georgia blogger, homesteader, yurt liver, self-sufficiency nutjob, pig farmer, political activist, politician baiter...and the best damn cook you know that doesn't make a living at it.He can be followed onTwitter. You can also "Like" our Facebook page.

  5 Responses to “Granny’s OMG Thanksgiving dinner rolls”

Comments (5)
  1. I’ve been making pumpkin dinner rolls the last two Thanksgivings. Last year they were great but this year I let them rise overnight in the refrigerator. I messed up the timing of the rise and they were not as good as last year. I should make them more often. I might try your Granny;s recipe for hamburger buns, Hate the store bought. We look for Kaiser rolls but maybe I can use this. Do they freeze well. There is usually just the two of us.

  2. @ [email protected] lifestyle:
    Ralph…they do freeze well…and make great hamburger buns too. Another use I have for this dough is sweet rolls…add 50% more sugar to the dough, then roll…GENTLY…the dough into a sheet after it comes out of the fridge and add the innards for the sweet rolls, then let them proof just like the dinner rolls.You will have to bake them a bit longer..use the appearance as a’l know when they need to come out. If they are touching when you put them in the oven, use 18 minutes as a starting point.

  3. Damn…I must have a setting wrong. I just had to moderate my own reply to you Ralph.

  4. You ever make them in a food processor? Our old mixer finally gave up the ghost and my wife thinks a new stand mixer is extravagant. I’ve been doing bread with it for a few months and it seems to work well.

  5. No…never a food processor. I suppose you could mix the ingredients in one, but I don’t see how the dough could be properly kneaded in one, and I HATE hand kneading. Kathy, on the other hand, loves it and just mixes the ingredients in a bowl with a spoon, and then turns the dough out onto a board and hand kneads. That’s too much like work for me, especially when I have a Kitchen Aid Pro 600 with a dough hook available.

    As far as your getting another mixer…get your wife to read the post that shows up as CommentLuv at the bottom of your comment…


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