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Aunt Irene's Refrigerator
Dinner Rolls

Posted by Denise on November 7, 2011

aunt irenes refrigerator dinner rolls final on plate

 Aunt Irene's Refrigerator Dinner Rolls are fluffy hunks of goodness. Butter 'em up, Baby!


My Aunt Irene lives in the state of Washington in the northwestern part of the United States. When we would drive all the way out there from the Midwest to visit our West Coast relatives, Aunt Irene would make these wonderful dinner rolls. Everyone raved about them and they lived up to the positive reviews!

Aunt Irene gave Mom the recipe and we’ve made them for many special dinners. One of the really convenient things about Aunt Irene’s Refrigerator Dinner Rolls is that they can be made up in advance, stored covered in the refrigerator, and baked a day or two later. You only need about an hour for them to warm up and rise in order for them to be ready to bake. What is better than freshly baked rolls for dinner?  They can also be formed up and frozen after the first rise. The frozen rolls can be kept for 2-3 months if they are packaged securely.

Make sure you use yeast that has not expired. If you use instant active dry yeast, you will not need to proof the yeast, but can add it directly to the other ingredients. If you use regular active dry yeast, you will need to proof it. That is what I did this time and it was still very easy and only took a couple of minutes. I sometimes think it gives my bread or other baked goods a slightly deeper flavor to proof the yeast.

This recipe takes me only about 15 minutes to make. I mix everything up, then cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator. I make it at least the day before. When I’m ready to bake the rolls, I sometimes make the whole batch into rolls at one time, or pull off only enough for that meal. You use about a golf ball sized chunk for each roll.

The leftover rolls are perfect for making small sandwiches later or dunking in a nice mug of hot chocolate! Yum! I know, some of you think that is weird, but try it once why don’t you? Butter up a homemade roll and give it a dunk in homemade hot chocolate…sigh…so good! It is a good way to use day-old rolls, because once it goes into the liquid, the butter melts a little and the roll gets all soft from the hot chocolate. The best!




Aunt Irene's Refrigerator
Dinner Rolls

Makes 12 rolls 


aunt irenes refrigerator dinner rolls ingredients 

Ingredients for making Aunt Irene's Refrigerator Dinner Rolls







package active dry yeast


Tablespoons lukewarm water


cup shortening


cup white sugar

1 ½

teaspoon salt




cup warm water


cups white flour




1.     Dissolve yeast in the 3 Tablespoons of lukewarm water in a small cup. It will foam up after a couple of minutes. If it does not foam after 5 minutes or sooner, the yeast may be old. Start over with new yeast or your dough will not rise. 

2. Mix the shortening, salt, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, rest of the water, and the flour and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate overnight or all day.

aunt irenes refrigerator dinner rolls making dough   aunt irenes refrigerator dinner rolls kneading dough 

aunt irenes refrigerator dinner rolls dough in bowl

aunt irenes refrigerator dinner rolls covered for refrigerator


3. After dough chills in the refrigerator for the required time, form into golf ball size balls for as many rolls as you need by rolling between your hands. Place onto a greased pan, placing them a couple of inches apart if you want them to touch or further apart if you want them to be formed separately. Let rise in a warm spot away from drafts. Brush with melted butter before baking.

aunt irenes refrigerator dinner rolls formed in baker

aunt irenes refrigerator dinner rolls rising in baker pan


4. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. If desired, brush lightly with melted butter when finished.

 aunt irenes refrigerator dinner rolls done in pan


Note: These rolls freeze well. Form into balls and set on a tray in the freezer only long enough for them to freeze solid. Place them into a freezer container or bag and seal well. When using the frozen dough, allow the dough to thaw and rise before baking as instructed above.




 aunt irenes refrigerator dinner rolls with butter



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