Make-ahead Crescent Rolls

It wouldn’t be the holidays without these delicious crescent rolls adapted from my grandmother’s traditional recipe.  These rolls are very light, tender and slightly sweet and are the perfect accompaniment to a holiday meal.  Even better, the dough is made the night before and stored in the refrigerator.  The next day, a quick roll out and a couple of hours rising and 10 minutes in the oven and you have beautiful and delicious homemade rolls. The house will smell fabulous!  If last minute baking isn’t your thing, the rolls also freeze very well and can be reheated just before needed.

Make-ahead Crescent Rolls
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
Tender and light homemade crescent rolls.
  • 1 C. warm milk (lowfat is ok)
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 4 C. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ C. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ⅓ C. canola or vegetable oil (not olive)
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter (optional)
  1. Mix all of the ingredients together and whip well. Place the bowl in the refrigerator uncovered (see notes) for an hour. Once the dough has cooled, cover the bowl loosely and let it sit overnight or at least 8 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Roll out half of the dough into a circle the size of a pie plate. If desired, brush the surface of the dough with some melted butter.
  4. Cut 12 wedges out of the circle of dough. Roll each piece from the wide side in to form a crescent. Place on a greased or lined cookie sheet 1" apart with the tail of the roll tucked under.
  5. Repeat with the 2nd half of the dough.
  6. Cover the rolls with a light tea towel or dish towel and let rise for several hours. If your kitchen is too cool, turn on your oven light and place the pans in the oven to rise. The light should generate enough heat to help the rolls rise.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. If baking more than one pan of rolls at a time, rotate the top and bottom pans halfway through cooking for even browning.
My grandmother's recipe says to let these rolls rest uncovered in the refrigerator overnight and they do turn out this way though there may be a bit of a dry skin on top of the dough which will get mixed in when kneading. If you cover the dough before refrigerating, the dough will sweat and form a slippery layer on top, which isn't recommended. I split the difference and let the dough cool completely in the refrigerator uncovered, then loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

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