Forget the canned version, my homemade Crescent Rolls are surprisingly easy to make and taste so much better. Be sure to check out the how-to video for step-by-step instructions!
Homemade Crescent Rolls
If you’ve ever popped open a can of crescent rolls as a last-minute dinner side, raise your hand! 🙋🏼♀️
I think we’ve all been there… While those canned rolls are quick to make and taste “OK”, if you’ve got some time on your hands and want truly delicious rolls, you need to make them from-scratch.
An upgraded (and cuter) version of your average dinner roll, homemade crescent rolls start with a simple yeast dough that you’ll knead, let rise, cut and shape (and then let rise one more time), before letting them bake into beautiful half moons. That may sound like a lot of steps, but trust me when I say this recipe is anything but difficult. Even better, you don’t need a stand mixer and there’s no fancy laminating required!
These flaky, buttery crescent rolls go as well with a cozy bowl of tomato soup as they do with Thanksgiving dinner. If you really want to take these over the top, serve with a generous amount of homemade honey butter.
Let’s get started!
What You Need
This recipe is almost as simple as popping open a can! Here’s what you need:
- Milk & Water. I opt for a blend of both milk and water for today’s recipe. The fat from the milk (preferably whole milk) enriches the dough while the water helps to keep it from being too heavy and leaves you with a still-soft and springy center.
- Yeast. I recommend and prefer active dry yeast, but instant/rapid rise can be used in a pinch and i include notes in the recipe on how to substitute.
- Butter. Melted butter mixed into the yeast dough serves to enrich the dough, and is one of the key ingredients for a tender, buttery crescent roll.
- Eggs. We’re using a single large egg and then an additional egg yolk! Adding an extra yolk to the dough enriches it and makes these rolls so tender.
- Sugar. This serves to add a subtle sweetness to the dough while also enriching the crumb. As you’ve likely realized by now, any of these ingredients serve to enrich the rolls, but I think you’ll find the end result is personally balanced so that the crescent rolls have the perfect soft but chewy, tender but sturdy texture.
- Salt. There’s no need for any sea salt, or any fancy variety of salt here! Just use whatever salt you put in your salt shaker.
- Flour. Either all-purpose or bread flour will work with this recipe, but I generally recommend using bread flour if you can get your hands on it. Crescent rolls made with bread flour will have a more traditional chewiness to them, while those made with all-purpose will be fluffier.
Sam’s Tip: This recipe makes quite a lot of rolls. If you aren’t feeding a crowd, you can always seal the leftovers in a Ziploc bag and freeze for about a month.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Crescent Rolls
- Proof your yeast! Warm milk and water and stir in the yeast with a bit of sugar. Let it sit until it’s foamy/creamy on top. This takes about 5-10 minutes, if your yeast doesn’t activate you will need to start over.
- Add half your flour and butter, eggs, sugar and salt and stir until combined. The mixture will be quite wet and sticky at this point.
- Add additional flour as needed until the dough is beginning to cling to itself and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Knead. Knead the dough (adding more flour as needed or scraping your counter with a bench scraper if it’s sticking) until it has a smooth, elastic texture.
Once you have a beautiful elastic ball of dough, place it in a large, covered bowl and let it rise until doubled in size.
Form The Crescents
- After the dough has risen, divide it into three even pieces.
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll each into a 12″ circle.
- Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the circle into 8 even wedges.
- Roll your crescents! Start with the the wider end of each wedge and roll toward the tip.
- Place the crescent rolls tail end down (to keep the tips from popping up while they bake) on a baking sheet and use your hands to gently form into a crescent shape. Cover with a towel (or plastic wrap) and let ’em rise until they’re puffy.
- When the rolls are nice and puffy, brush them with an egg wash (this helps encourage that beautiful shiny golden brown exterior) and bake!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! These rolls can be frozen for up to 1 month when properly stored and sealed in a freezer bag.
No. Crescent rolls are a yeast bread while croissants are a flaky laminated pastry (think how my puff pastry is prepared) made with layers of dough and butter.
While crescent rolls are best served fresh out of the oven (isn’t everything?), leftover rolls can be stored in an airtight storage bag or an airtight container for 2-3 days, or they may be frozen (see above).
More Recipes You Might Like
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
- 1 cup (236 ml) whole milk
- ⅓ cup (78 ml) water
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast¹
- 6 Tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter melted, but not very hot
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk room temperature preferred
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 5 cups (625 g) all-purpose or bread flour, divided plus additional as needed
- 1 egg any size
- 1 teaspoon water
- Stir together milk and water in a microwave-safe dish and then heat in the microwave until it reaches a temperature between 105-115F (40-46C). Always stir before checking the temperature as microwaves often heat unevenly.1 cup (236 ml) whole milk, ⅓ cup (78 ml) water
- Pour the liquid into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast and a teaspoon of your sugar on top. Stir to combine and let sit for 5-10 minutes and a foamy cap has formed.2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast¹, ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- Once yeast is foamy, add melted butter, egg and egg yolk, remaining granulated sugar, salt, and about half of your flour. Stir well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.6 Tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, 2 teaspoons table salt, 5 cups (625 g) all-purpose or bread flour, divided
- Gradually add additional flour. This can be done by hand or with a stand mixer and dough hook attachment on low-speed. Continue to stir and add more flour as needed (you may not use all of the flour called for or you may end up needing more) until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball that is still slightly tacky but not wet and sticky. If you touch it, none or only a small amount should stick to your fingertips.
- Transfer to a clean, lightly floured surface (if using a stand mixer just continue to stir on medium/low speed) and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-8 minutes.
- Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough so the entire surface is lightly coated with oil. Cover and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled in size (this usually takes 1-2 hours for me).
- Once dough has risen, turn out onto a clean, lightly floured surface and gently deflate. Divide dough into 3 even parts and form each into a ball.
- Roll the first ball into a 12” (30cm) circle and slice into 8 even wedges (a pizza cutter makes easy work of this!).
- Starting with the wider end of each wedge, gently tug the bottom corners to slightly stretch them and then roll from the wider end to the tip. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheep with the tip down against the baking sheet (otherwise it will pop up when baking) and gently shape into a crescent shape. Repeat with remaining wedges and remaining dough, spacing crescent rolls at least 2” apart on sheet.
- Cover with a clean towel and place in a warm space to rise until puffed, about 30-60 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F (175C) and prepare egg wash by whisking together egg and 1 teaspoon of water.1 egg, 1 teaspoon water
- Once crescent rolls have risen, use a pastry brush to gently brush the surface of each roll. Transfer to 350F (175C) preheated oven and bake 16-18 minutes until light golden brown (do not over-bake or rolls will be dry).
¹Yeast.You may substitute instant yeast for the active dry. Simply whisk together yeast, sugar, 2 cups/(250g) flour, and salt. Heat the milk and water to 115F (46C) and stir into the flour mixture. Then add eggs and butter and stir well and proceed with the recipe as written starting at step 4.
Making in AdvanceMake these rolls a day in advance by completing the recipe through step 9 (rolling dough, shaping into crescents, and placing on a baking sheet) and then covering with plastic wrap and placing in the refrigerator for up to 18 hours. Let rolls come to room temperature (covered, this usually takes about 2 hours) and rise until puffed before brushing with egg wash and baking as indicated.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
I used this recipe for make ahead pigs-in-a-blanket. Froze a big batch for a family get together, and they were a huge hit. They’ve been requested for the gathering next week. Very simple recipe, making a dough that’s easy to work with! Reheated well too. Thanks a bunch! 😀
I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much, Natalie! 🙂
How do you freeze and reheat?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
You can seal them in a Ziploc bag and freeze for about a month. Microwaving works for reheating 😊
Can I freeze the dough? I only need one batch, not three.
Hi Liz! The whole recipe will make about 24 crescent rolls. That being said, I have not tried freezing it so I can’t say for sure how it would work.
Sam, I froze the dough and then yesterday thawed it out and today I made the cresents and let them raise. It worked beautifully.
Thank you for the feedback! I’m so glad it worked out. 🙂
I’ve been meaning to post this comment since Thanksgiving. We were having a late Thanksgiving dinner so I decided to give them a try and they were delicious and quite easy to make. My grandson (16 years old) loves my homemade bread and rolls and was quite thrilled when he found out I was making homemade crescents and he was not disappointed; I think he had about 6 of them at dinner. Now I’m going to make some of your Christmas cookies!! Love all your recipes!!
I am so happy to hear this, Liz!! Thank you so much for letting me know how they turned out for you and that everyone enjoyed!! Thank you for trusting my recipes, that means a lot to me! 🙂
It’s Thanksgiving and I woke up early debating whether to make fresh rolls or just buy them. I decided to squeeze them into my schedule and I’m so glad I did! They are lovely, light, delicious and impressive. Totally worth not taking the easy way out today.
I will make them regularly. Thanks Sam!
I’m so glad you opted to make them yourself, Michele! They taste so much better (in my opinion) and it’s so rewarding! 🙂
These are amazing!!!