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:

A basket of homemade crescent rolls.

Homemade Crescent Rolls

Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, these Homemade Crescent Rolls are perfect for all the holidays or a weekend baking project.
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 (see note 1)
  • 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 (see note 2)
  • 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. Yeast: Active dry yeast lies dormant and needs a warm liquid to become “activated.” Store open jars of yeast in the refrigerator for up to 4 months or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Use straight from the freezer (no need to thaw). Unopened packets of yeast can be stored in a cool, dry place.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes 32 rolls. If you have the time, I highly suggest doubling the recipe and freezing extra rolls for future meals.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. To reheat, wrap in foil and warm in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Proofing the doughTurn 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).
  7. Cinnamon rolls: I used this same dough to make my homemade cinnamon rolls, and they were delicious!

Nutrition

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

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Comments

  1. I made these! Fun baking project, the recipe was easy to follow so the whole experience was relaxing. Thanks for the tip on using your oven to help proof the dough. That’s a golden nugget of wisdom!5 stars

  2. I made these rolls today. I halved the recipe and made little sausage dogs and they were delicious. I brushed the tops with an egg wash before baking. I got 36 small rolls with little smokies. . I served them with honey mustard.5 stars

  3. Your rolls look delish, one question though, could I use instant yeast instead, and if yes then in what amounts
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Maryam! Sorry for the delay in my reply. You can use instant yeast instead and you’d use the same amount. The only difference is, instant yeast can be added directly to the dry ingredients without needing to “bloom” it first. So, I would omit Step #3 (softening the yeast in warm water) and just add the dry instant yeast with the flour in Step #4. Mind you, I haven’t tested this recipe with instant yeast but based on the baking classes in my culinary school, this is my understanding of how it would work and what you would do differently. You would still need to add the water in the recipe. You just don’t have to bloom the yeast in it. Does that make sense? Good luck!

  4. Hi! I just wanted to compliment that this is the best veggie pizza I’ve ever had. I wanted to share the tweaks I’ve made to the recipe. First of all, for the ranch mixture, I substitute sour cream for the mayo as my husband has an allergy to mayo. Then I don’t have an 11×17, so I use a slightly smaller pan. BUT when I make the dough, I only use 2/3 dough for the actual veggie pizza and the other 1/3 I roll out into a rectangle and spread 1/3 of the ranch mixture over the dough sprinkle with 2 VERY FINELY diced jalapeños, 4 strips bacon (cooked and crumbled) and probably half a cup Cheddar cheese. Then I roll into pinwheels, like you would a cinnamon roll, and cut into 12 pieces, flip so the pinwheel is facing up.and rise like the recipe suggests, I believe for another 30 minutes. Bake at 350 for 10 ish minutes or until golden brown.5 stars

  5. This is the exact same recipe that my mother in law has been making for years and she’s legendary among her children for making rolls…. I’ll be honest, I like them, but I never eat them at holidays. My MIL is notorious for licking her fingers while making any baked good or candy (she also makes fudge, which I NEVER eat). She licks and never washes her hands. Maybe I’ll take a stab at these for my own family dinners, because my kids love them ( and I’m not a finger licker!)5 stars

    1. Hi Juli, LOL!!! I’m so grossed out. Especially after being in culinary school and doing the safety/sanitation classes, all I can say is EWWWWW! I buy disposable gloves to use in my own home now, not always but a lot of times. It just feels GOOD to my crazy Type-A personality. I wouldn’t eat her fudge either. LOL!!! Thanks for sharing.

    2. Yeah…she’s saved me lots of extra calories! I don’t eat the rolls, fudge and skip birthday cake when she is in charge of cutting the cake…. some people really are clueless when it comes to food safety, common courtesy and things that are not okay to do…
      I’m going to make this for sure this Thanksgiving, we are going to my families and I know they will love them!
      Thanks for the recipe and pics!5 stars

  6. Another method I use for a proofing box is – I take a sponge, make it very wet, place it into the microwave for 2 minutes on high, remove it then slip the bowl or pan inside. Be fast as it cools quickly (you can do this more than once – just remove the proofing bowl) and give it another zap with the sponge. This way, it does not tie up the oven if you’re using it for other purposes – like baking another dish or preheating it for the rolls. If your oven is like mine, it takes forever to heat when I’m in a hurry or I don’t want the dough to over proof. It also sterilizes the sponge.5 stars

  7. Hi Meggan. You’re always ten steps ahead of me offering delicious recipes to try. I must work on a gluten-free version of this because we love crescent rolls.

    I buy Red Star Fast Acting yeast by the pound – it’s much, much cheaper than those ridiculously priced foil packets!

    I’ve done this for several years with total success: Once opened, I take out a 1/2 pint or jelly jar’s worth and place it in the back of the fridge to use from that. I then bag or close and reseal then place the remainder into the freezer where, according to Red Star, it will last indefinitely. After opening, I vacuum seal the original bag inside a vacuum sealer bag, evacuate it, then freeze. I’m sure you could do the same with a resealable bag by squeezing most of the air out of it or in the original bag folded then taped with freezer tape.

    Five years back, I bought 5 pounds of the stuff (on special), and it’s still as fresh as when I bought it. However, I always proof the yeast in some of the recipe’s water, along with a little sugar, just to ensure viability.5 stars

    1. Hi Katie, I’m not familiar with Apple Bites but I think so. You might have to adjust the baking time or temperature though, so keep an eye on them while they bake. I guess I’d say if you want to make them for a party, test the recipe first! Just to make sure. My plan is to test them on a bunch of apps that require crescent rolls (like pizza roll ups or veggie pizza) but I haven’t done that yet. Thanks for the question.

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