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

A basket of homemade crescent rolls.

Growing up, grandma’s Homemade Crescent Rolls were always a tradition at all the holiday tables. 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!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Homemade Crescent Rolls Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled crescent roll ingredients in various bowls.

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.
  • 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.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a scalding temperature (170 degrees). Remove immediately from heat. 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.
Scalded milk in a saucepan.
  1. While the scalded milk mixture is cooling, soften (bloom) the yeast in the warm water (110 degrees) for 5 minutes.
Yeast being activated in warm water.
  1. 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.
A mixing bowl full of bread dough with a dough hook.
  1. 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.
A bowl of crescent roll dough after rising.
  1. 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.
Step-by-step photos for rolling out and shaping homemade crescent rolls.
  1. 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.
Step-by-step photos for rolling out and shaping homemade crescent rolls.
  1. 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.
Step-by-step photos for rolling out and shaping homemade crescent rolls.
  1. 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.
A baking sheet of homemade crescent rolls.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 32 rolls. If you have the time, I highly suggest doubling the recipe and freezing extra rolls for future meals.
  • 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. To reheat, wrap in foil and warm in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • 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).
  • Cinnamon rolls: I used this same dough to make my homemade cinnamon rolls, and they were delicious!

Delicious main dishes

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 17 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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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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

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

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

  15. 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

  16. 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