Pocketbook Rolls

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Pocketbook Rolls have a tender crumb and a golden crust. With a hint of sweetness, this old-fashioned homemade roll recipe is perfect for a holiday meal.

Pocketbook Rolls

I love these Pocketbook Rolls! Everyone does. They will literally disappear right before your eyes.

My family growing up was a little different than most southern families in that we rarely had biscuits with meals. But whenever we had meals at my grandparents house, we had little rolls that  these pocketbook rolls remind me of. They are so delicious and buttery and have a little hint of sweetness. With a light and feathery texture, you’ll be able to eat a whole basket of them.

Southern Pocketbook Rolls

Also called icebox rolls, these little yeasted rolls are perfect for freezing and the dough can be made up to a week in advance and kept in the refrigerator. So convenient for the holidays when there is so much to get done.

Pocketbook Rolls are the southern version of Parker House Rolls and are made by rolling the dough out and cutting it with a biscuit cutter. You then fold each one in half into half-moon shapes.

Cutting the dough


I just made this recipe for the first time in about 10 years. I don’t bake a whole lot of bread/roll recipes. Yeast isn’t always my friend 🙁 .

But this is a super easy recipe for those nonbakers out there. It’s from one of my favorite southern cookbooks, My Mother’s Southern Kitchen: Recipes and Reminiscences by James Villas and his mother Martha Villas who has since passed away. It’s an oldie, but a goldie. Martha was from my home town, Charlotte NC, and her cookbooks are full of traditional, homestyle southern recipes.

Southern Pocketbook Rolls


The biscuit cutter that I used was slightly smaller than the recommended 2 to 2 ½-inches so mine came out almost bite-sized and I made at least 3 dozen of them. I thought there would be plenty leftover to reheat the next day, but my kids and husband ate every single one of them. Ok, maybe I had 4 or 5 myself.

They freeze really well. Just undercook them slightly so that when you defrost and reheat them, they don’t get too brown.

Pocketbook Rolls

More Homemade Roll Recipes:

Pocketbook Rolls

Pocketbook Rolls

Course: Bread
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: homemade rolls
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Rising Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 24
Super buttery and slightly sweet bite-sized rolls.
Print Recipe


  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • ¼ butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup butter, melted


  • Combine the yeast and water in a small bowl. Stir together and set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, cream the shortening, ¼ cup butter, and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Gradually beat in boiling water. Note: I used the paddle attachment.
  • Add yeast mixture and beat until well blended. Add the egg and mix well.
  • Add the flour and salt and mix together well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be kept up to a week in the refrigerator.)
  • Three hours before ready to use, roll dough out on a floured surface so that it is ½-inch thickness. Using a small round biscuit or cookie cutter (2 to 2 ½-inches) cut dough into circles and fold each circle in half. Place on large greased baking sheets and brush with melted butter. Cover baking sheets with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 2 ½ hours.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake rolls for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden brown.


It may not take quite 2 1/2 hours for the rolls to rise, depending on how warm your house is. Give them a peek every now and then because if they rise too much, they loose their shape.
These rolls are best warm from the oven and do not keep all that well.


Yield: about 2 dozen rolls

Southern Pocketbook Rolls

Disclosure: This post contains an amazon.com affiliate link.

18 thoughts on “Pocketbook Rolls

  1. These are Parker House rolls. According to Yankee Magazine, they are the signature buttery dinner roll recipe of the Parker House Hotel in Boston and the oldest printed Parker House Rolls recipe on file is from an April 1874 issue of the New Hampshire Sentinel. Famous diners at the Parker House Hotel were Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and most of the Kennedy clan.


  2. My Mom used to get these at school when she was a little girl. They would put butter inside. My Mom is 71 years old. She said it was a treat for them to recieve these for lunch. She still talks about them but didn’t lnow the recipe. I think I will make some and suprise her. Thanks.

  3. I want to take these to work, so if I baked them the night before, would they still be good to take into work in the morning?

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