Dinner Rolls Baked in a Jar (Recipe: Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Rolls)

Dinner parties have evolved tremendously over the last few decades and that is a good thing. Hosts are more health conscious, well-traveled and embrace a variety of ethnic flavors and cuisines. The standard all-white Parker House dinner rolls are replaced by something more rustic, more substantial, if there is any bread at all.

The dinner roll once graced the side plate routinely at the evening meal, but it is now less frequently present, as carb-conscious folks tend to swap it out for a salad. However, a perfect Thanksgiving meal should include a dinner roll, a healthy, flavorful, homemade bun, with a soft interior and a solid crust.

We’ll be enjoying these Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Dinner Rolls with Rosemary alongside our turkey dinner this weekend. A one hundred percent whole wheat roll that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating, these easy buns are softened by the addition of butter, lightened with buttermilk and fun to make with the kids.

Dinner rolls baked in a jar?

Sure! Give the breadbasket a personalized touch with these cute individual dinner rolls baked in a little jam jar.
You don’t even need to set out a bread plate, simply place a warm bun-in-a-jar directly on the table cloth (above the forks is the correct place for bread) and dinner is served.

Holiday tables are always prime real estate, with the candles and the centerpiece all vying for position, not to mention the turkey platter, so eliminating the need for a bread plate and bread basket creates more space on the table. I’m sure Martha would agree that is a Good Thing.

You could even tie a ribbon around the jar with a name tag, as your own homemade place card setting. How inviting! I didn’t get that far today, but I can get you started with directions on how to make these beautiful rolls in your own kitchen. Let’s get started!

Tips to working with whole wheat flour

Whole wheat flour can not be swapped interchangeably with white; it needs a little extra TLC. With the right care, though, it yields a much more flavorful -and healthy- result.

Here are my tips for successful baking with whole wheat flour.

  • Add more liquid to the dough. White flour can be swapped with whole wheat if at least 1/4 cup of extra liquid is added per cup of liquid that the recipe calls for.
  • Don’t rush the process. Allow dough to rest for at least ten minutes immediately after the flour is incorporated, and give it a double rising if possible.
  • Allow dough to be sticky and resist the temptation to add more flour. It will all work out in the end.
  • If you must add a sprinkling of flour, for rolling or shaping dough, use a bit of white flour.

Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Rolls - In a Jar!

Print Pin Rate
Course: Bakery
Servings: 12 rolls
Calories: 159kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cane sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons warm water
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour (organic stone ground, if possible)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary plus more for garnish
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • 12 Bernardin Mason Jam Jars โ€“ 125 mL โ€“


  • In a small bowl, stir together yeast, cane sugar, and warm water; let mixture stand in a warm place until yeast begins to foam, about five minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine whole wheat flour, chopped rosemary and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Make a well in the center.
  • Whisk yeast mixture with a fork until dissolved. Add buttermilk; stir in egg. Pour into the flour well.
  • With the mixer on low, combine flour and liquid until just combined. Turn off mixer and allow to sit for 10 minutes for the wheat to absorb the liquid.
  • Scrape down the sides of the mixer. With the mixer on low, add butter, one tablespoon at a time, until it is all absorbed.
  • Knead dough on low for five minutes, scraping down the mixer as needed. Dough will come together to be a smooth, elastic mass. It will be sticky, but do not add more flour.
  • Grease a medium bowl with olive oil and place bread dough in the bottom. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  • Place your jam jars on a cookie sheet and prepare by oiling generously with olive oil and sprinkling the bottoms with cornmeal.
  • Turn dough onto a oiled counter and divide into ten or twelve pieces. Shape dough into round balls, as demonstrated in the short video (also available on Vimeo), and place into prepared jam jars. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for one hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400ยฐF. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter and snip tops with scissors. Place rosemary sprig in the center of the snipped area and sprinkle tops with sea salt.
  • Place in a hot oven and bake for 22 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm.


Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 223mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

Do you serve dinner rolls on special occasions?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimรฉe's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. I had no idea you could bake in jars! This is so adorable and I love the idea of using them as place cards. Could you use baby food jars?

    • Angela, baby food jars have a lip, if I recall. That would make it difficult to slide the rolls out. Also, I am not sure if they can stand up to the oven.

  2. The Klutzy Cook says

    Wow. What a cute idea. I love dinner rolls and these are something special. Thanks.

  3. These are so adorable! Love, love, love them! Thanks for the tips on baking with whole wheat. I need to do that more.

  4. These are so, so cute! If someone wasn’t bringing the buns this year I would definitely be making these.

  5. We do have rolls on the holidays. Not much during the rest of the year though. I really like this idea too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. These are adorable! I was just thinking yesterday about making some cake or pie jars, but I didn’t consider roll jars!

  7. What a lovely idea, Aimee–you’re a superstar! Have a great Thanksgiving!

  8. Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) says

    What an adorable creative idea! So I’m really curious about whether you discovered this trick while you were in the professional cooking industry, or whether this idea came after. I’ve heard of baking bread in jars, but hadn’t seen anyone break down the how-to.
    Beautiful post, Aimee. You rock!

    • Steph- I actually developed the recipe this week…and came up with the idea to bake them in a little jar. I had some leftover dough and though, Why Not? Have you seen this elsewhere? It’s probably been done before but I haven’t seen it. Dinner rolls, that is. I’ve seen cupcakes and stuff baked in jars.

      • Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) says

        Brilliant. No, you’re right, as far as I know I’ve never seen dinner rolls in a jam jar – I’ve only seen other things in jars (bread loaf in a flower pot, etc.).

  9. Add me in as another one who didn’t know you could bake in glass jars. Once again, you’ve taught me something new Aimee ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have a great weekend, my friend. And Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  10. Thanks for the tips on whole wheat baking!

  11. Oh my goodness, so cute! I will have to investigate a GF version. I made cake in a jar last Christmas for gifts and that was very fun, but I never thought of bread! Thanks, Aimee!

  12. What a cute idea! And, the rolls look so good. I’ve baked bread in pots but not in jars. I’ll have to try this one. Thanks so much for sharing.

  13. Oh my. Those are cute. And it really opens up the possibilities for individual portions of cheese dip in a bread bowl, or bread pudding, or… the possibilites are endless.

  14. Martha in KS says

    Cute idea! Back in the 70’s the restaurants all served Flower Pot Bread – a loaf baked in a clay pot. One word of caution about using canning jars – using metal tools, such as a knife to get the rolls out could scratch the glass, making them unsuitable for canning later. Can’t wait to try the whole wheat recipe.

  15. I just LOVE this idea! It’s brilliant and I’m going to do this for Thanksgiving if not before…okay, probably before ๐Ÿ™‚ What I’m wondering is if I could do the dough in my bread machine or is there some reason why that wouldn’t be wise? Great post…this is such a wonderful blog.

  16. I have to say, I am loving that Canada celebrates Thanksgiving in October and we get to use all of your great ideas for ours in November. Many thanks…and enjoy your holiday this weekend!

  17. Is there a way to print the recipe without all of the images? It looks amazing!

  18. This is such a cute and different way to serve rolls. I loved your short video. That’s a great idea and added so much to the post. Thanks!

  19. Sold. Just ordered 4oz canning jars from Amazon! I married into a Norwegian family that believes in bread at every meal. I look for ways to elevate bread to more than filler on the side of the plate. This should do the trick! Video was fabulous & the music was charming.

  20. These are sooo adorable. Too bad all my 1/4 pint jars currently have jam in them. I’ll have to remedy that soon!

  21. Cool idea! They look and sound great!

  22. I must admit, I don\’t really follow you here. I just miss you at UTHC. But I just watched your vid here and had to comment. They just look so elegant! I\’ve made sticky toffee pudding in jars before, but there is just something about the way the rolls look with the sea salt sprinkling and rosemary spring sticking out. Or it might just be the black and white of the video! Haha, just kidding. Good job!

    • Dear Sharon, I appreciate you stopping by, and am saddened (and a tiny flattered) that you miss me over at UtHC. It is a challenge to keep both blogs up, but you’ve encouraged me to make more of an effort. Cheers!

  23. Wow! I didn’t even know that you could bake rolls like this. Great ideas for the holidays.

  24. Wonderful idea Aimee! I am a first timer on Simple Bites, and I am hooked ๐Ÿ˜€ Love all your vlogs! Have a great weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Lenore Martineau says

    Those are the cutest rolls I have ever seen! I loved the video presentation and how light and fluffy the rolls look even tho’ they are all whole wheat. Thank you for the article. I will have to try this recipe.

  26. I remember my mom doing something similar to this when I was a kid. She baked the rolls in little clay pots. Thanks for bringing back that memory!

  27. I absolutely adore these rolls! I saw them over at the Kitchn, and I had to come visit you. My husband and I just watched your video, and we both agree that these definitely will be on our Thanksgiving dinner table this year! Thanks for such a great idea!!!

  28. I love this idea! The jars are just my style and so convenient to put on the table. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a great stock of 8oz jars, but I’ll need to pick up some 4 oz jars because I think I will be making it. I do like to serve rolls on special occasions, but for Thanksgiving I don’t often make anything but the store-bought frozen dough kind because I’m so busy with everything else. Maybe I could freeze my own roll dough and make it work!

  29. I quickly scanned the comments so sorry if I missed the answer to this.
    Is the bread fresh enough if you make it the day before you intend to serve? I am thinking about making & bringing to Thankgiving, but will be traveling so I am concerned about freshness. Thanks

    • Katherine, I have to admit, they looses some of their fluffiness on the second day, but are still very good. If you took time to re-heat them in the oven just before serving, it would improve the day-old buns immensely and bring back some of the ‘crustiness’. Good luck!

  30. Wonderful idea and thank you for the video, very helpful. Please share info for the music it was wonderful and I would love to download to listen to while baking. Have a wonderul Thanksgiving.

  31. I have to try these. One question though, do you think the dough could be frozen? I have a small family and was thinking about making the dough cooking up 5 rolls and then dividing the rest to freeze for next time. My hope would be to then thaw the leftover dough and put into jars to cook. Do you think this would work? Thanks!

  32. These are darling! Do you know if you have to bake them in jars though? Could you just roll them into balls and cook them on a cookie sheet? I never have that many tiny jars empty and am trying to simplify my kitchen. It’s tempting to buy a bunch of jars just to do this though!

    • The jars are just a whimsical idea…you can definitely bake the rolls right on a sheet. Or as I have done in the past, in a buttered 9-inch round cake pan. They squish together as they rise and become beautiful pull-apart buns with lovely crust tops.

  33. Tina Foster says

    Thanks Aimee! This is the CUTEST idea! I would love to really wow my family with this recipe, I don\’t know why but i\’m very nervous @ the holidays cooking that\’s why I say I HATE TO COOK! maybe if I could find the name of the cd or song you are playingit would help! It made me smile the whole video! ๐Ÿ™‚ THANKS

    • Hey Tina DON’T be nervous. Why not try them out before Thanksgiving? Anyway the music is a favorite of ours: Madeleine Peyroux from her album โ€˜Careless Loveโ€™. The song is called โ€œJaโ€™i Deux Amoursโ€.

  34. Thank you for the recipe it sounds amazing. Can you make these rolls in muffin tins? Is there something special about the glass (other than they are cute)? I don’t have these glasses but would love to make the rolls. I have never made rolls before. If muffin tins are not a good substitute, can you recommend one? Someone asked if you could just put them on a cookie sheet, I would love to hear that answer as well. Many thanks for the tips about using whole wheat flour. I’m really glad to have found your website. As my dad would often say “Keep up the good work!” Katora

    • Nope, Katora, nothin’ special about the glass other than darn tootin’ cuteness!

      Sure, you can definitely bake the rolls right on a sheet or in muffin tins. Or as I have done in the past, in a buttered 9-inch round cake pan. They squish together as they rise and become beautiful pull-apart buns with lovely crust tops.

      I’m so happy you’ve discovered us and I hope you’ll return again soon!

  35. This is a fun and interesting trick, but far from a new method. If you are older than 40-ish (probably not, you lucky devel…) this method has been around for a long time. It works just fine, but one needs a slightly highere (hotter) oven to compensate for the thin, glass container. Decent browning can be had with a bit more temp.
    It give me great pleasure to see and read about thebaking ventures of the younger set and yes, you kids do some very fine work. That said, precious few of those ‘inventions’ are new, except for your generation. Read a few cookbooks from the 20s-30s-40s and you will know that we – and our parents have been there.
    Thanks for sharing method. Let’s call it a discovery, not an invention. Happy baking.

  36. Those are adorable. We always visit family during the holidays. My MIL always has dinner rolls w/ our Thanksgiving meal and my grandma serves good ol’ fashion southern cornbread w/ Christmas lunch.

  37. This I will have to try – I suppose in many ways, it’s no different than baking bread loaves in my glass loaf pans, and I have many canning jars that I could use. Great little video too! Who is the musician? At first I thought it was Billie Holiday, but then maybe Madeleine Peyroux?

  38. What a great idea! I love it ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. The video was evocative… I loved the black and white, and Madeline Peyroux. It was so refreshing, rather than listening to a mixer whirring, or background noise. The shots were nice and close, of your hands and the bread dough. Lovely. Nice work on the camera – is that you Danny?

  40. You are so brilliant! these are adorable.

  41. Wow, love it! I will have to do a test run to see if it would work for Thanksgiving. I have a lot of spaghetti-sized jars lying around; perhaps if I added more dough it would work to serve two? Thanks for this post! –Laura @ lauranav.com

  42. Kathy T., georgia says

    Since other things are baked in a jar from cakes to sweet breads–I wonder if you were to increase the amount of dough–filling to half and used wide mouth jars and then seal as soon as they come out of the overn—would they be sealed and able to be store for later use..? Something I’ll have to try and let y’all know…blessings to all…

  43. Oh My Goodness! These buns are sooo cute!!!

    They are almost too cute to eat! ๐Ÿ˜€

  44. sheryl Mize says

    I was planning on trying to make home made whole wheat rolls so this is great.
    I have one question, I do not have a stand mixer with a bread hook. How can I make these without that? Thanks for your help.

    • Sheryl you can make these by hand. Have you made bread before? Use a sturdy wooden spoon instead of the mixer. Knead by hand, and be sure to still give the dough the same resting times.


  45. You mentioned on The Naptime Chef that you made these rolls ahead of time and froze them. Do you cook them and then let them cool before putting them in the freezer? How do you wrap them so they don’t get freezer burn? Did you still use the glass jars? When you take them out of the freezer do you just let them thaw to room temp or do you heat them? Thanks!

    • Bake & cool in jars.
      Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, jar & all.
      Freeze (up to 2 weeks)
      Thaw at room temp.
      Warm in jar, in the oven.
      Serve & enjoy!

  46. Hmm… I’m milk protein intolerant. Do you think this would work with any bread recipe?

  47. Hi Aimee,

    I am having a difficult time finding whole wheat bread flour. Is there a good combo I can use to still make the wheat rolls using white bread flour and regular wheat flour?

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