Homemade crescent rolls are not only incredibly flaky and buttery but also surprisingly easy to make, thanks to the help of a trusty food processor. With a handful of simple ingredients and minimal effort, you’ll be well on your way to savoring these delightful treats that are perfect for your holiday meal or other special occasions.
One taste of these buttery crescent rolls, and you’ll never go back to the store-bought variety.
The Experiment – Making the Perfect Homemade Crescent Rolls
It was Susan’s idea that I make crescent rolls for the holidays, and I was happy to oblige. Neither of us likes the crescent rolls made from store-bought dough – way too sweet and doughy.
I decided to use a King Arthur Flour recipe as a starting point.
To try to keep things simple, I wanted to use my food processor with the steel blade to make the crescent dough.
The King Arthur recipe called for ricotta cheese in the dough but offered a substitution of either sour cream or small curd cottage cheese. I’m not at all a fan of store-bought ricotta cheese – I think it’s yucky stuff. Initially, I was going to make some ricotta cheese but decided to bite the bullet and use the store-bought stuff.
As it turned out, the store-bought ricotta cheese worked brilliantly!
The King Arthur recipe calls for incorporating half of the cold butter into the dry ingredients and then adding the other half of the butter after the ricotta cheese has been added. Maybe it was because I was using a food processor, but the second addition of the butter didn’t incorporate well at all into the dough.
Therefore, in subsequent trials, I added all of the butter to the dry ingredients, with the food processor incorporating it into the dry ingredients.
The first time I made these crescent rolls, I ended up rolling out the soft dough in uneven thicknesses and using the 9 x 16-inch dimensions suggested in the King Arthur recipe. Specifically, the ends were quite thin, and the middle was pretty thick. The flaky crescent rolls were still good but ended up being different sizes, as shown in this picture.
For the second attempt, I used ⅛-inch rings on the ends of my rolling pin to achieve a uniform thickness but kept the 9 x 16-inch dimensions of the rolled dough. The rings worked like a charm.
However, with the 9 x 16-inch dimensions of the dough, each individual triangle was 3 inches at the wide end and 9 inches long. The resultant crescent rolls with these dimensions didn’t work out as I would have hoped.
On the third attempt, I decided to roll the dough into a 12 x 12-inch square and cut each triangle 4 inches at the wide end and 6 inches long. Success!
Here’s how I did it.
Ingredients – Here’s What You’ll Need
- The Flour: I used King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour in this recipe. Generally, bread recipes call for bread flour, but the recipe on the King Arthur site called all-purpose flour. The King Arthur all-purpose flour has a high protein content, so it worked well in this recipe.
- The Additions to the Flour: I added granulated sugar, baking powder, Kosher salt, and instant yeast to the flour.
- The “Liquids”/Fats: Interestingly, the only other additions were unsalted butter and store-bought ricotta cheese.
Step-Step Making the Dough
- I started by adding the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and yeast to the bowl of my food processor fitted with a steel blade. I pulsed the ingredients five or six times to combine them.
- Then, I added the cold butter I had cut into half-inch cubes to the food processor. I processed the ingredients seven or eight times until the butter was about the size of small peas.
- Next, I added the ricotta cheese to the food processor. I processed everything for about 20 seconds until the crescent dough came together and cleared the sides of the bowl of the food processor.
- Once the dough was made, I transferred it to a lightly floured surface. I rolled the dough into a rough rectangle and folded it in half.
- I rotated the dough 90 degrees and turned it over. Then, I rolled it into a rectangle approximately 10 inches by 16 inches. At this point, the rectangle was still pretty rough-looking. I folded the rectangle into thirds like a business letter.
- I again rotated the dough 90 degrees and turned it over. After sprinkling the dough with some flour, I rolled it into a rectangle, approximately 10 inches by 16 inches. I folded the rectangle into thirds and cut the dough in half. I wrapped each piece of dough in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Step-by-Step Forming the Crescent Rolls
One of the beauties of this recipe is that the dough can be made in advance and refrigerated overnight for use the next day or even frozen.
Today, I left the dough in the refrigerator for several hours. I removed it about 30 minutes before rolling it and forming the homemade crescents.
- I placed the dough ball on a lightly floured surface. Using my rolling pin with ⅛-inch rings on each end, I rolled the dough into a 12 x 12-inch square. I had to trim the dough several times to get it into a reasonable square.
- Then, I cut the dough in half with a pizza cutter. Next, I cut each half into three equal 4-inch pieces.
- I cut one of the pieces of dough in half diagonally to form two right triangles.
- I rolled a triangle into a spiral toward the tip, starting at the wide end to form a crescent roll. I repeated this with the remaining dough.
- I placed each roll tip-side down on a sheet pan that I had lined with a silicone liner. I could have also used parchment paper. Then, I formed each buttery roll into a crescent shape. I covered the rolls and placed them in my electric oven on the proof function for around two hours until they doubled in size. With the proof function, my oven was the perfect warm place for the rolls to proof.
Baking the Crescent Rolls
Once the dough had risen, I brushed each roll with an egg wash. I baked the rolls in a preheated 375°F oven for 20 minutes or until the rolls were golden brown.
After 20 minutes, the rolls were perfectly cooked.
With a little patience and practice, you’ll be churning out batches of these amazing flaky, buttery homemade crescent rolls in no time.
They will be a perfect side dish for your thanksgiving dinner or your holiday dinner table. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
All-purpose flour is the most common type of flour used for crescent rolls. It has a moderate gluten content, which gives the rolls a good balance of flakiness and softness.
Feel free to substitute bread machine yeast for instant yeast in this recipe. However, I would not recommend using active dry yeast. The reason is that active dry yeast needs to be proofed before adding it to the other ingredients.
Once the crescent roll dough has been wrapped in plastic wrap, it can be stored in the freezer in a freezer-safe container for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. Also, the formed crescent rolls can be frozen before they are cooked.
Leftover crescent rolls can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a day, in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month.
Other Amazing Recipes for Rolls for Your Holiday Table
One of my favorite things to make is bread or rolls. Here are some of my favorite homemade dinner rolls and homemade bread.
If you liked this recipe for Flaky Buttery Homemade Crescent Rolls as much as I do, please consider rating it and leaving a comment. Also, if you’d like to receive notifications of new posts by email, enter your email address in the Subscribe box.
Thank you so much for visiting Pudge Factor. I hope you’ll come back!
Flaky Buttery Homemade Crescent Rolls (Food Processor)
- Food Processor
- 2 ½ cups plus 2 teaspoons (12.7 ounces)high protein all-purpose flour (See Tip 1)
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (See Tip 2)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks, 10 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 ½ cups (12 ounces) ricotta cheese (See Tip 3)
To Make the Dough
- Add flour, sugar, Kosher salt, baking powder, and yeast to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse process 5 to 6 times to combine the ingredients.
- Add the butter. Pulse process until the butter is about the size of small peas, 7 to 8 times.
- Add the ricotta cheese. Process until the dough comes together and clears the sides of the food processor bowl, around 20 seconds.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and pat it into a rough rectangle, about 8 inches. Fold in half.
- Sprinkle with flour and roll into a rectangle, approximately 10 inches by 16 inches. Starting with one of the short ends, fold into thirds, like a business letter.
- Rotate the dough 90 degrees and turn it over. Sprinkle with flour and roll into a rectangle, approximately 10 inches by 16 inches. Fold into thirds. Cut the dough in half and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (See Tip 4)
To Form and Bake the Crescent Rolls
- Remove one of the pieces of dough from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before forming.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Place the piece of dough on a floured surface. Roll into a 12 x 12-inch square, ⅛ inch thick. Cut the square in half with a pizza cutter and cut each half into three 4-inch strips. (See Tip 5)
- Cut each of the strips in half diagonally to form two right triangles. Roll each triangle into a spiral toward the tip, starting at the wide end. Place the tip side down on a baking sheet. If desired, repeat with the remaining dough to make 24 rolls. (See Tip 6)
- Cover the rolls and allow them to rise in a warm location until doubled in size, around 1 ½ to 2 hours. (See Tip 7)
- Brush with an egg wash (one egg whisked with one tablespoon of water). Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Yield: 24 crescent rolls.
- I used King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour.
- If using table salt, increase the amount to 1 ¼ teaspoons. If using salted butter, reduce the salt to ¾ teaspoon.
- I’m not a fan of store-bought ricotta cheese at all. However, the store-bought ricotta cheese worked brilliantly in this recipe with none of the yucky aftertaste. I used full-fat ricotta cheese, but you could use low-fat ricotta cheese.
- If desired, you can freeze the dough for up to a month. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
- The best way to ensure that the dough is of an even thickness is to use ⅛-inch rings on the ends of the rolling pin.
- If you don’t want to bake all the rolls, you can freeze the formed and uncooked rolls in a freezer-safe container for up to a month.
- In the past, I’ve used Julia Child’s technique for producing the perfect proofing environment – turn on an electric oven for exactly 1 minute and 45 seconds. However, I recently got a new oven with a proofing function built in! It heats the oven temperature to 100°F and maintains that temperature. Brilliant!