Make Ahead Yeast Rolls – The Cookie Rookie®

These delicious light and fluffy yeast rolls are the perfect bread side dish for Thanksgiving and the holidays. They can easily be made ahead of time and frozen, so be sure to make a big batch!

bowl of make ahead yeast rolls

Holiday Rolls Recipe

When it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, I love to serve some freshly baked bread to go along with the rest of the feast. This year, I can’t wait to serve up the deliciously soft yeast rolls.

Simple to make from scratch, and my favorite thing is that they can be made days, weeks and months ahead of time, saving you some precious time!

If you are planning to serve these up during the holidays, be sure to check out more festive sides like Roasted Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts and Crunchy Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping!

Why you will love this yeast roll recipe!

  • Easy: You need to allow time to let the dough rise, so this isn’t a quick recipe. However the ingredients and the method are very easy, so this is a great recipe if you are new to bread making.
  • Soft and fluffy: The texture of these rolls is so amazing guys! So soft and fluffy, they are definitely worth the little effort!
  • Freezer friendly: Make up a big batch of these rolls to freeze and grab the whenever you want!
pan of make ahead yeast rolls
overhead image of yeast rolls in pan

How to make these make ahead yeast rolls

Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

  • Combine the yeast with sugar and water and let sit to activate it.
  • Bet together the yeast with water, flour, egg, shortening sugar and salt.
  • Slowly stir in remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  • Place and roll the dough in an oiled bowl.
  • Cover and let prove.
  • Punch the dough down and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
  • Let the dough come to room temperature.
  • Punch the dough down and knead it on a floured surface.
  • Divide the dough into balls, dup them in melted butter and place in a prepared pan.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let rise.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven.
  • Let cool and serve or freeze.
overhead image of yeast rolls in pan
up close image of yeast rolls

Plan ahead

To make the lightest and fluffiest rolls, you will need time to let the dough prove and rise several times. Make the dough the day before and let it rest overnight so that they are ready to bake the next day.

How long do they keep?

These rolls are best served soon after they come out of the oven, but they will keep for 3 to 4 days at room temperature. If you are planning to make them ahead, your best option is to freeze them as soon as they have cooled. Freeze them solid on a baking sheet before transferring to a freezer bag or air tight container.

Defrost frozen rolls for a few hours at room temperature and warm them through in the oven to serve.

What do you serve them with?

These yeast rolls are best served with lashings of butter! They are a great accompaniment to any meal. They work great with soups and stews, and are a great addition to your Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Try them with:

bowl of yeast rolls
overhead image of bowl of yeast rolls


  • This dough is as versatile as it is excellent. The yeast rolls can be made into a variety of shapes. Keep in mind the yield will vary depending on the shape and size of the rolls.
  • The dough will need to be refrigerated overnight (or at least 8 hours) after the first rise. The dough is then removed from the fridge, shaped and allowed to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1½ hours, before baking.
bowl of make ahead yeast rolls

More Holiday Rolls

These Make Ahead Yeast Rolls are perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but be sure to try these other favorites as well!

See All Bread Recipes

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