One of my favorite Thanksgiving food traditions is making Homemade Crescent Rolls. Rich, buttery and made with just 9 basic pantry staples, they’re so much better than the kind you find in a can. Best of all, you still have time to make them before Thanksgiving Day arrives.
Gio has been making these rolls since he was about 3 or 4 years old and it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them. This dough can also be used to make wonderful cinnamon rolls, and these directions are included in the recipe below.
If you’re feeling stressed for time, don’t worry – they’re great at Christmas, too. 😉
Whenever you do make them, please stop back and let me know – I love to hear from you! Be sure to check out our Thanksgiving section for more great holiday tips and recipes, like Sarah’s Cranberry Sauce, Perfect Whipped Potatoes & Grandma Sunny’s Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie.
Have a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving! – Sarah
Homemade Crescent Rolls
¾ cup milk
½ cup shortening
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
4 ¼ to 4 ¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour
Melted butter (about 3 to 4 tablespoons)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Scald the milk by heating it on high in the microwave for 2 minutes. Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl and add the shortening, sugar and salt; cool to lukewarm.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, heat the 1/2 cup of water in the microwave until warm, about 110 to 115 degrees. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and stir to dissolve.
Add 1 ½ cups flour to the milk mixture; beat well by hand until combined, or use a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment and beat on low speed for about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one by one, and then add the yeast mixture.
Add enough remaining flour, a half-cup at a time, to make a soft dough that leaves the sides of bowl – if using a stand mixer, set it to a medium-low speed. Four cups of flour is recommended for drier climates.
Turn dough out onto lightly-floured work surface and knead until smooth, satiny and no longer sticky, 5 to 8 minutes.
Use butter, oil or cooking spray to lightly grease a large bowl. Place dough in the bowl, and then turn until the entire surface is lightly greased. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Punch down and turn onto board. Divide in half and shape as desired.
- For crescent-shaped rolls, roll out each half of the divided dough into 16-inch circles, cut into quarters, and then cut each quarter into triangles. Brush each strip with melted butter and, starting at the widest end, roll upwards to make crescent.
Place shaped rolls on the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops lightly with more melted butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Place baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake at 375 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown on the tops and lightly golden on the ends. Makes about 30 rolls, depending on shape and size.
Best when served the same day, but may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
To Freeze: These rolls freeze beautifully. Once cooled, place the baked rolls in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. To serve, let thaw for 15 to 20 minutes then reheat in a 350 degree oven until warm, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Cinnamon Roll Variation: Roll each half of divided dough into 16×8 inch rectangle. Combine 1 cup sugar, ½ cup melted butter and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Spread half of mixture on each rectangle.
Roll lengthwise for jelly roll; seal edges. Cut in 1-inch slices. Place, cut side down, in 2 well-greased 9x9x2” pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, 30 to 40 minutes.
Bake in moderate oven (350-375 degrees) 20 to 25 minutes. Remove to wire racks. Makes 32 rolls. Frost as desired.