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Close up overhead shot of baked Sage and Brown Butter Honey Rolls on a cooling rack.

Sage and Brown Butter Honey Rolls

These Sage and Brown Butter Honey Rolls contain sage-infused brown butter, honey, and flaky sea salt for a melt-in-your-mouth dinner roll. They can also easily be made ahead of time a few different ways to easily fit into your own busy Thanksgiving and holiday schedule. 

Course Sides and Snacks
Prep Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 24 to 28 rolls
Author Megan Wells

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, separated into three 1/4 cup portions
  • 9 sage leaves
  • 1 and 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Morton Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey, separated
  • 1 egg, room temperature and lightly beaten
  • flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. Place 1/4 cup butter and 3 sage leaves in a small or medium skillet over medium heat. Let the butter melt and then turn the heat to medium-low. Stir frequently until the butter starts to foam, turn a dark gold color, and smells nutty. About 7 to 10 minutes. Pour browned butter into a small bowl, remove the sage leaves, and let the butter come to room temperature. 

  2. In a small saucepan, heat the milk on medium-low until it’s almost simmering. Pour the milk into a bowl and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes (you want the temperature between 105 and 110 Fahrenheit). 

  3. Add the yeast to the milk and stir. Let it sit for 5 minutes. 

  4. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, melted browned butter, 1/4 cup honey, and egg together with a spoon or fork. Add the milk and yeast mixture and stir together until it forms a dough. 

  5. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Keep lightly dusting the counter with flour if needed. Just be aware though that the more flour you use, the tougher your rolls will be. 

  6. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, turn it to coat the other side, and cover with a clean towel. Let it sit in a warm place for 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.  

  7. While the dough rises, brown the other 1/4 cup butter and 3 sage leaves. Pour into a bowl, remove the sage leaves, and set aside. 

  8. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 

  9. Gently punch down the center of the dough and pour it out onto a lightly floured surface. 

  10. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it’s 1/4-inch thick. 

  11. Use a 2 and 1/2 to 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut the dough into rounds. 

  12. Take a round and brush with the browned butter. Use the dull edge of a knife to make an off-center crease in the round. Fold so the large half overlaps the shorter edge. Repeat until all the rounds are folded. You can reform any extra dough into a ball, roll it out, and cut more rounds. 

  13. Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart.  

  14. If you are making these a day or two ahead of dinner, you can refrigerate the dough right after shaping for up to 18 hours. Take the rolls out of the fridge an hour and a half before you want to bake them, removing the plastic wrap and covering the rolls with a towel.  

  15. Cover the rolls loosely with a towel and let them rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes, until they are double the size. 

  16. If you are freezing the rolls, let them rise only part way, till they are only just starting to puff out, about 10 to 15 minutes. Wrap the rolls up tightly on the baking sheet with plastic wrap and foil and freeze up to 3 weeks. The day before you want to bake the rolls, transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. About an hour before you want to bake the rolls, remove the foil and plastic wrap and let the rolls sit in a warm place loosely covered with a towel for an hour until the rolls have expanded and are double their original size. 

  17. While the rolls rise, brown the last 1/4 cup of butter with 3 sage leaves. Pour the browned butter into a bowl, take out the sage leaves, and mix in 2 tablespoons honey, and a pinch of Morton Kosher Salt. 

  18. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the rolls have doubled in size, lightly brush the tops with the browned butter-honey mixture and sprinkle with some flaky sea salt.* Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  

  19. Once the rolls are out of the oven, brush them again with the browned butter-honey mixture. 

  20. To freeze the fully baked rolls, let them cool completely and then wrap them up tight in aluminum foil and place them in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the rolls out of the freezer and ziplock bag and loosen the foil. Place the aluminum package directly on the oven racks and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the rolls are hot and warmed through. You can also let the rolls thaw out at room temperature overnight in the loosened aluminum package and then reheat them briefly for 10 minutes in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven.  

Recipe Notes

I frequently have trouble finding a warm place to let my dough rise. If your house is very cold, turn your oven on for 2 to 5 minutes (depending on how fast it heats up), turn it off, and then put the bread in there to rise. If the oven is already on and in use, putting the dough towards the back of the stovetop is also a good spot.

*For an extra flavor enhancer, consider taking all the leftover crispy sage leaves from browning the butter and crumbling them on top of the rolls along with the flaky sea salt.