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. So great for all the holidays or a weekend baking project!
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!
I've been known to make a double or triple batch of these babies because it's hardly any extra trouble. Want to do the same? Just use the slider in the recipe card to adjust the number of servings, and the recipe will automatically adjust the ingredient amounts for you.
How do you make crescent roll dough from scratch?
- First, scald the milk. You can find the details of how to scald milk here, but basically you bring it o a temperature of about 170 degrees, when a skin begins to form on top of the milk in the pan.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 (see my section below called How to Work with Yeast, #2, for my frozen-tundra tips on creating the perfect environment for dough to rise).
- Once your dough has doubled (it might take up to 2 hours), you'll need to roll it out, cut the triangles, and shape them.
How do you shape crescent rolls?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
How to bake crescent rolls
- After another 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.
How to work with yeast
Maybe it’s because I lived in a cold climate for most of my life, but I used to have trouble getting yeast to rise correctly. Luckily, I cracked the code. Here are my frozen-tundra tips for getting the perfect proof every time.
- First, use unexpired yeast, and if you have a jar of it, keep it in your freezer.
- To create a warm environment ideal for rising, preheat your oven to its minimum temperature (170 degrees, 200 degrees, etc.), but shut it off once the temperature reaches 110 degrees. Place your dough (in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap), on a baking sheet and in the oven.
- The oven temperature will drop when you open the oven door, but enough residual heat will remain that your dough should steadily rise.
How to store homemade crescent rolls
- 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.
- To freeze crescent rolls, 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.
Homemade Crescent Rolls Recipe
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter divided (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 envelopes or 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a scalding temperature (170 degrees). Remove immediately from heat.
- Meanwhile, combine 1/3 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 1/2 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.
- Preheat your oven to its minimum temperature (170 degrees, 200 degrees, etc.), but shut it off once the temperature reaches 110 degrees.
- Place your dough (in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap), on a baking sheet and in the oven. The oven temperature will drop when you open the oven door, but enough residual heat will remain that your dough should steadily rise.
- In this recipe, the dough should double in 90 minutes to 2 hours under these conditions.