Crescent rolls made from scratch are soft, buttery, and just slightly sweet—so much better than the canned variety. Recipe is easily halved or doubled for holiday meals.
I always scoff a bit and roll my eyes whenever that crescent roll commercial comes on television this time of year. Where the family is sitting at the table for a big holiday feast, and the two brothers are arguing over which one of them gets to eat the last canned crescent roll? Then the mom swoops in with an indulgent grin and another full basket of rolls, and then poof! Familial harmony is restored!
First of all, those little cans of rolls can be on the expensive side, especially when buying in quantity at $2-$3 each. And they only have eight rolls in the tube. Second of all, ain’t nobody I know only eats only one of those buttery, carbalicious chemical bombs. (Poor grammar intended.) I’m good for at least two of those things on a good willpower day–four on most other days.
SO, a family feast for (conservatively) 16 people, at two rolls a piece, equates to 32 crescent rolls needed. And that’s assuming that you plan to settle in to acting as Crescent Roll Police to ensure that no one at the table takes more than their allotted pair of rolls. If you don’t feel like policing portions during the holiday meal–and who does really?–throw in an extra can as a cushion, and we’re talking 5 cans of rolls to the tune of about $15 for the meal.
That’s also assuming you are not like me, with two teen boys and two more smaller boys that eat like teenagers, sidling up to the meal. According to that equation, I’d should probably bake 6 cans of rolls to ensure domestic harmony at the table.
Why in the world would I pay $15-$18 for the slight chance of having enough rolls for a big holiday meal, but only if I bring an extra wooden spoon to the table to smack the hands of the next person reaching for a third roll? Nope. Not happening.
Especially when for a little effort, I can bake the same amount of pillow soft, buttery homemade crescent rolls for a fraction of the cost of store bought tubes of dough. Homemade crescent rolls are a lot of fun and fairly easy to make. If you can muddle through a basic yeast bread recipe, then you can totally handle making crescent rolls.
The dough can be made by hand, but if you happen to have a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, then assembling the dough takes very little effort at all. After the first rise, the dough is divided and shaped into large round balls. Those rounds are rolled into flat circles, cut into triangular wedges, brushed with butter, rolled into crescent shapes, and allowed to rise again. After the second rise, they’re brushed with more butter, then baked. Next thing you know, every bread lover in the house runs into the kitchen, drooling.
Man! If there is a more tantalizing smell than fresh bread baking in the oven, then I want to meet it. Homemade Crescent Rolls served warm from the oven are so soft and buttery, with just a touch of sweetness, that they may steal the thunder from the rest of the holiday meal. That’s all right with me. Just pass me another crescent rolls and I’ll be fine.
Oh! Homemade Crescent Rolls are easily made ahead of time and frozen to warm up when the need arises.
I’ve included make ahead instructions in the Notes portion of the printable recipe.
Crescent style rolls made from scratch are soft, buttery, and just slightly sweet—so much better than the canned variety. Recipe is easily halved.
2 hr, 25 Prep Time
12 minCook Time
2 hr, 37 Total Time
- For the Rolls:
- 1 C. warm water (100 degrees F)
- 1 C. warm milk (100 degrees F)
- 1 C. granulated sugar
- 7 1/2 C. all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 Tbs. plus 1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 10 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened (for dough)
- 1 tsp. canola oil or additional softened butter (for initial rise)
- 1/3 C. unsalted butter, melted (for shaping rolls)
- In a large liquid measuring cup, stir the warm water and warm milk together with the yeast. Gradually stir the sugar into the yeast mixture; let stand for 5 minutes or until frothy.
- While the yeast is blooming to froth, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Once the yeast mixture looks good and foamy, slowly stir it into the flour mixture to form a thick, shaggy dough. A 6 quart (or greater) capacity stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment works well, as does doing it by hand with a wooden spoon. Work the beaten egg and softened butter into the dough until well incorporated. Once the dough comes together, knead it by hand for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic, or increase to speed 2 on a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and knead for 2 minutes. Dough should be soft but not sticky.
- Grease another large bowl with the teaspoon of oil or butter. Form the dough into a loose ball, and transfer it to the greased bowl. Turn the dough in the bowl to coat with the oil or butter. Tightly cover the bowl plastic wrap. Cover the plastic wrap with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft free place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
- Turn the dough out onto a smooth, well floured work surface. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a large ball. Working with one ball at a time, roll it into a 12-inch diameter circle. Lightly brush the top of the circle with melted butter. Cut the circle into 8 triangular wedges. Starting from the wide base of the triangle, roll the dough—butter side up—toward the top point.
- Transfer the roll to an ungreased, rimmed half sheet pan with the point side up. Form the roll into a crescent shape by curving the ends slightly inward and in a downward direction toward the point. Repeat with the remaining triangles, positioning each crescent with the end points just short of touching the next roll. Each half sheet pan will hold 3 crescents per row, with 6 columns of crescents per pan. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough to fill 2 half sheet pans with a total of 18 rolls per pan, for a total of 32 rolls.
- Brush the top of each roll with the remaining melted butter. Lightly cover each pan of rolls with plastic wrap, and cover again with a clean towel. Allow the rolls to rise a second time in a warm, draft free area until doubled in bulk; about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover the rolls and bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Make Ahead Instructions: Crescent Rolls may also be made ahead of time and frozen. To do so, prepare and bake the rolls as directed, then allow to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. Wrap the cooled rolls tightly in a double thickness of plastic wrap. Cover the plastic wrap with heavy duty aluminum foil. Freeze the rolls in the pans for up to 1 week. The night before serving, place the pan of frozen rolls in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Just before serving, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap from over the rolls. Recover the rolls with aluminum foil. Place the rolls in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until warmed through.
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