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Thanksgiving on a Budget: Money Saving Mom’s Favorite Roll Recipe

If you don't normally make homemade rolls for Thanksgiving, you might just want to consider taking a little extra effort to make these rolls this year. They are just that good. In fact, I've tried literally hundreds of roll recipes over the years and this recipe is hands-down the best one I've ever made.

These are best served within an hour or two of making, though, so if you're planning to serve them on Thanksgiving, you'll want to make sure and allow extra time to whip up the dough. While it's rising, you can do your last minute Thanksgiving meal preparations and then stick these in the oven to bake an hour or so before you're planning to eat.

Yes, it's a little bit of extra work but I think you and your guests will agree it was worth it!


Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

(Recipe modified slightly from the original recipe found at Tammy's Recipes–a cooking blog you ought to be reading, if you're not already!)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 cup warm milk
¼ cup butter, softened or melted
2 cup mashed cooked pumpkin (I usually use one can of pumpkin.)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup wheat germ (can omit and use flour instead)
10-12 cup all-purpose flour (I usually use a mixture of whole-wheat and white flours. I'd recommend going about 1/3 whole-wheat to 2/3 white flour.)
7 teaspoons dry yeast

In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, water, milk, butter, pumpkin, and salt. Mix well. Add wheat germ, 7-8 cups of the flour, and yeast. Mix, and then
continue adding flour and kneading until dough is elastic and not

Place dough in greased bowl; grease top of dough, cover with a towel, and set in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour). Punch dough down and divide into thirds. Divide each third into 16 pieces and shape into balls.

Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until tops are golden. Brush with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven. (Note: These rolls usually look somewhat dry when first coming out of the oven. Wait about 15 minutes and they will look and taste beautifully. Don't ask me why, but that's how it always works for me!)

Yield: 4 dozen rolls (If you're not expecting a large crowd for Thanksgiving, I'd recommend halfing the recipe. I often do this for smaller groups and it works great!)

Up Next: $5 Dinner Mom's Pumpkin Pie recipe and Our Favorite French Apple Pie recipe

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  • Traci Lynn says:

    Have you ever tried these with sweet potato instead of pupmkin? They do sound wonderful! Thanks!

  • Joy says:

    Are there any substitutions for the pumpkin if the family doesn’t care for it?

  • Julia says:

    We have and love a similar recipe with mashed sweet potatoes instead. I admit, once I didn’t have sweet potatoes and so I tried pumpkin. . . the results were good, but not quite as smooth.

  • MJ says:

    Does anyone know if the toasted wheat germ would work? I always have that on hand, but not sure how it would go over in the rolls

  • Krissie says:

    Can you freeze the dough after you seperate them into balls?

  • Terri says:

    if you want to make rolls for Thanksgiving, but don’t want to bake them along with everything else in the two hours of the cooking frenzy, try this: make the dough up the night before, but only let the dough rise for 20 minutes at the first rising. Continue shaping rolls as the recipe directs, but then let them rise in the refrigerator for the second rising. Let rise between 2-24 hours in the refrigerator.

    Before baking, let rolls stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

    Disclaimer: I’ve not tried this technique with this particular recipe, but I do it a lot with other rolls and breads that I want to make the day before, but have fresh on hand the following day.

  • Jackie Sayers says:

    If the wheat germ isnt used, add an additional 1/2 cup of flour, I bet the wheat germ gives the rolls an airy texture, plus the added benefit of fiber and flavor. These rolls look delicious, I want to give them a try, our family is bread eaters. Thanks. 🙂

  • Linda says:

    Do you know if I can prepare the dough and then freeze it? Or go ahead and bake the rolls and freeze them? I wouldn’t mind trying them for Thanksgiving and then saving about 1/2 of them for later dinners. Thanks for all the great recipes you post!

  • Davonne says:

    Those look great! I’m not in charge of rolls, but I’ve seen these on your blog before, and I think I may try them sometime this fall just for dinner. Can they be frozen? If so, should I freeze the cooked version or the dough? I’m new to freezing foods!

    Also, I wanted to say that at CVS today I got $32 worth of batteries, spent $12 oop, and got $33 in ECB’s! They messed up my transaction the first time which is how I got extra ECBs, but I won’t complain because when it was all said and done, they paid me $13 to buy batteries! Thanks so much for the posts and info about the store – I’m actually learning how to do CVS!

  • Melissa B. says:

    Perfect timing! I was just looking around for a roll recipe! Thanks for sharing and we will be sure to try this next week!

  • That roll recipe looks so good! I’ve been making pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin pie popsicles as well. I’m going to have to try this one! They look so good. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  • Roxanne says:

    Oh boy, these look good! I am going to try making them. Thank you!

  • Amy says:

    I tried this last night – I didn’t have time to do the rolls, but made a 1/2 recipe into 2 loaves of bread. No one in my family believed that there was pumpkin in the bread! (I told them after they had already eaten a couple of pieces each!) The dough was great to work with and I will be making it again soon. What a great way to “sneak” a little extra nutrition into my family’s food! THANKS!!!!

  • Tifani Rouse says:

    I bet these rolls would be good with some homemade cinnamon butter…yum!

  • Lorri says:

    Oh my. These are GOOD! This is, hands down, my new dinner roll recipe from this point on. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  • tina b says:

    OK, so when you let these rise overnight in the fridge, do you have to cover them any special way?? I’m new at this overnight rising thing…. thanks! 🙂

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