Easy Make-Ahead Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

"Make the dough ahead of time and keep in your freezer, so you can have dinner rolls without the bother of making fresh dough every time, and you can bake however many you like, not be trapped in a recipe much too large for your needs."
photo by PalatablePastime photo by PalatablePastime
photo by PalatablePastime
Ready In:
3hrs 32mins




  • Cook's Note: I almost forgot to tell you-I used White Lily flour in this, which is a soft wheat flour. I like it for the delicate texture it adds. You may wonder why I mention it, but not all flours are created equal. Even among brands, there are differences, and it stems from the type of flour they use, which makes the protein count vary. Really high protein flours (often called bread flours) absorb a lot of water, and lower protein flours (cake flour is probably the lowest) absorb less. Each brand will use a different blend, and the one I used absorbs less on the whole, but is known, especially in the Southern US, for its excellence especially for making tender flaky biscuits. So this is why it may sometimes seem the water you add doesn't work right, on occasion. So in making dinner rolls, just as in bread, you start with an amount of water in the bowl, and you want to add flour, about a half cup at a time, until it comes together and forms the dough ball, coming away from the sides of the bowl. It shouldn't be as runny as cake batter or add more flour. It shouldn't be dry and crumbly or cracked, or you have added too much flour and need to add a little water and work it in until you get the dough ball. This is why you should never just dump all the flour in at once. I know most bread makers already know this, but there is always someone just finding out, and I got your back here.
  • In your stand mixer, place warm water to heat the bowl.
  • When the temperature of the water reaches 110F, drain off all but one cup.
  • Sprinkle yeast over the water and let it soften.
  • Add room temperature melted butter, sugar, room temperature eggs, and salt.
  • Add dough hook and run mixer on low, adding flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough comes together, adjusting flour amount if necessary, then run mixer until dough is fairly smooth.
  • Turn dough out into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half, then each half into 4 pieces, then each piece into thirds. Roll each piece into a log and cut into three more pieces, and roll in between lightly oiled hands into smooth balls.
  • Place dough balls on waxed paper on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, about an hour or so. Place balls in a freezer bag, and keep frozen until needed.
  • To prepare, grease a muffin tin and place three balls into each cup. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm, draft-free place for several hours or until doubled in size.
  • Bake at 375F for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Questions & Replies

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  1. sharonarc
    I am curious if I could use a lot less sugar without ruining it? I am type 1 diabetic, so I have to go easy on the sugar.


I am a longtime member since 2002. While I have many recipes here, most of my current recipes are on my food blog at palatablepastime.com I may occasionally post something extra I have here. If you have questions, you can always contact me at contact@palatablepastime.com
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