Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, these Homemade Crescent Rolls are perfect for all the holidays or a weekend baking project!

My grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.

Growing up, grandma’s Homemade Crescent Rolls were always a tradition at the Thanksgiving table. They looked like store-bought crescent rolls but had a sweet, buttery taste that is unmatched by anything you can pop out of a can.

Even the fussiest eaters (hello, children!) can’t resist homemade rolls. If they eat nothing else on the table, they’ll eat these!

Ingredient notes:

  • Milk: Scald the milk around 170 degrees Fahrenheit. However, yeast dies at 138 degrees Fahrenheit, so allow the scalded milk to cool before using.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. First, scald the milk by bringing it to a temperature of about 170 degrees, when a skin begins to form on top of the milk in the pan.
    If you've ever wondered what it means to scald milk, it's a tried and true technique that yields the fluffiest breads, rolls, and cakes you've ever tasted. This old-fashioned technique still has its place in the kitchen, and it's remarkably easy to do. 
  2. Combine some butter, sugar, and salt in a bowl, then add the scalded milk. Cool this to 110 or 115 degrees, then add the eggs (if you add the eggs too soon, they’ll cook). While the scalded milk mixture is cooling, bloom the yeast in warm water (110 degrees) until foamy.
    My grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.
  3. Grab your electric mixer and combine the flour with the bloomed yeast mixture. Slowly drizzle in the scalded milk mixture, then let the dough knead in the mixer until it’s smooth and shiny.
    My grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.
  4. Next, turn out the dough, shape into a ball, and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, then let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours (see my post on How to Proof Dough for more information).
    It's Mardi Gras and I'm dreaming of the wonderful, sweet scent of beignets! But why travel to New Orleans and Cafe du Monde to grab these sugary delights when you can recreate the magic in your home kitchen? Make your best cafe au lait and get ready to be covered with powdered sugar.  Don’t worry, it’s totally worth it!
  5. Once your dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured work surface (I use my granite counter top) and divide it into 4 equal portions.
    My Grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.
  6. Working with one portion at a time, roll out the dough in all directions until you have a circle approximately 10 to 12 inches in diameter.  It will be 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick. Slice the dough, like a pizza, into 8 wedges.
    My Grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.
  7. Starting at the wide end of each wedge, roll up the dough tightly and place it on a prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with all remaining wedges and then remaining portions of dough.  Depending on the size of your baking sheets, you’ll need either 3 or 4 baking sheets to accommodate the 32 butter horn rolls.
    My Grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.
  8. After a second brief rise (use the warm oven method above if necessary), bake the butter horn rolls until golden brown and fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes. Immediately upon removing them from the oven, brush the butter horn rolls with melted butter and serve.

My grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Proofing the dough: Turn your oven on to the lowest temperature it will go, usually 200 degrees. Once it reaches 110 degrees, turn the oven off. Place the dough in the oven and close the door. Opening the oven door will lower the heat a bit, and that’s okay (you’re aiming for 75 to 85 degrees).
  • Storage: Store cooled rolls in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days at room temperature, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Freezer: Place on a baking sheet or plate and put in the freezer until frozen solid. Transfer the individually-frozen rolls to a freezer-safe plastic bag, then bag again (I like the double-bag method for best results). Freeze for up to one month. Thaw for 30 minutes at room temperature.

 More breads to bake:

Homemade crescent rolls in a black wire basket lined with a towel.

Homemade Crescent Rolls

My grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 3 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 4 hrs
Servings 32 rolls
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Calories 112

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter divided (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or 2 envelopes
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
  • 4 ½ to 5 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions 

  • In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a scalding temperature (170 degrees). Remove immediately from heat.
  • Meanwhile, combine ⅓ cup butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour scalded milk over the top and cool to 110 degrees to 115 degrees, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the eggs.
  • While the scalded milk mixture is cooling, soften (bloom) the yeast in the warm water (110 degrees) for 5 minutes.
  • In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine 4 ½ cups flour, yeast, and water. With the motor running on low, slowly drizzle in the scalded milk mixture.
  • Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until shiny and smooth, 6 to 10 minutes. If the dough is sticky after 3 minutes, add the remaining ½ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Using a small, microwave-safe dish, melt the remaining butter for 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Turn out the dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl and brush with 1 teaspoon melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (80 degrees to 85 degrees, see recipe notes) until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
  • Coat 3 or 4 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal portions of dough. Working with 1 portion of dough at a time, roll the dough into a 10-inch circle. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut each circle into 8 wedges.
  • Starting at the wide end of a wedge, roll up the dough. Place each roll 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets with the pointed tip on the bottom. Repeat with remaining wedges and portions of dough.
  • Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (80 degrees to 85 degrees) until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake, 2 sheets at a time, until the rolls are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Switch the positions and rotate the orientation of the sheets halfway through baking time. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with the remaining melted butter. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Milk: Scald the milk around 170 degrees Fahrenheit. However, yeast dies at 138 degrees Fahrenheit, so allow the scalded milk to cool before using.
  2. Proofing the dough: Turn your oven on to the lowest temperature it will go, usually 200 degrees. Once it reaches 110 degrees, turn the oven off. Place the dough in the oven and close the door. Opening the oven door will lower the heat a bit, and that’s okay (you’re aiming for 75 to 85 degrees).
  3. Storage: Store cooled rolls in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days at room temperature, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  4. Freezer: Place on a baking sheet or plate and put in the freezer until frozen solid. Transfer the individually-frozen rolls to a freezer-safe plastic bag, then bag again (I like the double-bag method for best results). Freeze for up to one month. Thaw for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 1rollCalories: 112kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 3gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 150mgPotassium: 38mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 154IUCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg
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Comments

  1. Hi meggan.  I love your writing.  I have made bread for a long time and i always tell people to soften
    Yeast in BARELY warm water—-NOT VERY WARM OR HOT.  Too hot water will kill the yeast and the 
    Bread will be ruined right off the bat.  Stick your finger in the water and it should feel Lukewarm.  i I wish someone had told me this when i started to make bread. Just a thought.5 stars

    1. Hi Tommie! Thank you so much for your kind words! I do think 110 degrees is okay (has always worked for me) but you are right, I should use the word “lukewarm” vs. “warm” so that anyone not using a thermometer doesn’t ruin the yeast. I’m probably the only person using a thermometer. :) I so appreciate the suggestion! If you have any others, please send them my way. I appreciate your support. Take care!

  2. Greetings, and thank you for the lovely recipe.  I have been baking yeast breads off and on for over 50 years, and I still find it to be one of the more rewarding of my kitchen chores.  I am hoping that you might be able to answer a question that I have had for almost as long as I have been using yeast.  Why must the milk be scalded? The first answer that I ever had to this question was that scalding killed any micro-organisms present in the milk, so that they would not interfere with the action of the yeast.  But that was my grandmother’s answer, and referred to times when raw milk from the local dairy farm was used in many kitchens.  Seems to me that pasteurization should be taking care of all those little micro-organisms, so why do we still scald the milk?  My second question has to do with your nutritional values, which list the calorie content for one roll at 3,710.  I am thinking that must be the content for an entire batch of dough.  Could you possibly check on that, please?   Again, thank you for your very well presented recipe.  Only through the efforts of people like you will these precious, family recipes be kept safe for the next generation  —  until that generation ages enough to learn to appreciate them!5 stars

    1. Hi Patricia, thank you so much for your questions! First, I have no idea why we scald the milk. My grandma has since passed so I can’t ask her. However, I’m in culinary school so I will ask one of the baking and pastry instructors. I haven’t taking the baking classes myself yet, and probably won’t until next fall, but maybe they have some insights. I’ll email you when I’ve had a chance to speak to them. Regarding the nutrition info, thanks for your help finding that error. Sounds like it’s doing calories for the whole batch as you said! I’ll go take a look and get that fixed up. Thanks again and I’ll let you know what I can find out about scalded milk, if anything!

    2. I Believe  you only find scalding milk in older recipes like in our case “Mom’s” or “Grandma’s ”  recipes.  In bread machines you add dry yeast on top of the flour not in even in the liquid.  Pasteurizing took care of that extra step.   I too love to make yeast breads for almost 60 years now.  I have not made crescents yet but I am anxious to try 🤗5 stars

  3. I wanted to make breakfast croissant rolls with this recipe with egg cheese and sausage/bacon. Could I make the dough the night before, refrigerate then prep the rolls in the am for baking?

    1. Hi Alicia! You know, I’ve never tried, but I don’t see why not. I think it would work very well. And the breakfast recipe idea sounds perfect!! I’m going to make these and try that out and see. I’ll post my results! Thanks for your idea. :D

  4. My great aunt used to prep them into rolls and then freeze them without any problem. You can also bake them until they are done but not brown and then freeze. Go ahead when you take them out and brown them in the oven before you want to serve them5 stars

  5. Can you freeze the dough? If so, would you recommend freezing them before rolling them out? This recipe sounds great but I don’t think my little family could eat 32 rolls. :)

    1. Hi Debra, I wasn’t sure about freezing bread dough so I wanted to look into it and supply you with accurate information. I found a great article at About.com which I will direct you to, but here is the overview. Yes, you can freeze bread dough. You will want to use double the yeast in your recipe for any portion you are going to freeze because part of it will die off in the freezing process. Let the dough do it’s first rise, then roll out and shape into rolls as normal. Freeze the rolls on a baking sheet, then transfer to a plastic bag and to keep in the freezer. Pull them out the night before you want to bake them so they can thaw and do their second rise. For more details, please check out this article. They explain it really well! Good luck! PS – I wish my family (my husband, me, and a toddler) did not eat 32 rolls in 2 days… but we always do! :) http://breadbaking.about.com/od/beginnerbasics/ht/freezedough.htm

    2. Thank you so mush for that well thought out and researched answer, I greatly appreciate your time. I will make an attempt soon and let you know how it works out. :)5 stars

  6. Beautiful post, Meggan! These rolls look so soft and wonderful! I’ve pinned this for later!5 stars

  7. I think these are similar to the rolls my Mom always makes…I definitely look forward to them at the holidays!5 stars

  8. They make rolls with this kind of dough in France, Meggan (I spent a year there!) and I remember that they were so soft and light. Thanks for the bread-making tips … very helpful!5 stars

  9. These pictures are fantastic! I’ve only recently started using yeast and usually it’s only for pizza dough. I didn’t know I should have it in the freezer!! Thanks!5 stars