This is my favorite refrigerator roll recipe. Called “ice box butter buns,” these dinner rolls are wonderful for everyday or for a special holiday dinner because you can make the dough ahead of time and bake the rolls just before dinner is ready. I use all butter for the shortening and sometimes substitute half of the flour with whole wheat flour. These dinner rolls are easy and quick to make and add a special touch to any meal.

1 envelope yeast
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup melted shortening (half butter)
2 cups warm milk
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups flour

Stir yeast into lukewarm water. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until smooth. Do not knead. Cover the bowl and leave in the refrigerator overnight. On the day you want to bake the rolls, remove the dough from the refrigerator, pinch off portions of dough, and shape into smooth balls.

Place the rolls in a greased pan and let them rise at room temperature until they are doubled in size. Because the dough has been refrigerated, you should plan for A LOT of extra rising time (at least two hours and possibly more). Bake at 350°F for twenty to thirty minutes, depending on the size of the rolls. You can tell if the rolls are fully baked by tapping on the top crust. There will be a hollow sound when they are “done.”

Do not keep unbaked dough in the refrigerator for more than two days.

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Lovely recipe! Beautiful picture! Thanks!


Can this dough be frozen and then used at a later date?


I make this recipe using all butter instead of shortening also. After refrigerating overnite or 8 hours I divide the dough into 3 equal parts roll it into a circle and cut each circle into 12 pie shaped pieces. Then roll starting at the wide end, tucking the point underneath. You can then let rise and bake til brown or put them on a cookie sheet and freeze. Take out of freezer, let thaw and rise about 4 hours then bake for fresh eating. These are the best!

Jenn Miller

My mom made these rolls my whole childhood… and they are my FAVOURITE!! Thanks for sharing the recipe here, where I can find it anywhere I might be in the world!


Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Jenn, you are so welcome! :o) I don’t even remember where I first found the recipe, but they are a real favorite for us too.


I just wanted to comment on how much I enjoyed these buns . I made them for Thanksgiving. I tried them two ways. One was freezing the dough in balls as you would for frozen cookies and the other way was baking ahead and freezing . I would like to say the ball method turned out to be much better to me .Still,though, both were simply delish ! My plan is to make them again for Christmas. Thankyou, Shirley, for this recipe.


OH my goodness these are totally “no fail” these are now my go to rolls for anytime I make rolls YUM !