Flakey, buttery, and pillowy soft. This gluten-free crescent roll recipe has 20 to 30 minutes of hands-on time, less than 15 minutes to bake, and two brief resting periods. If you have been looking for a go-to gluten-free dinner roll recipe then you are in the right place. These are even better than the store-bought ones I used to love.
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This year I created an entire gluten-free Thanksgiving menu with all your needed recipes. From the perfect gluten-free turkey gravy to roasted cranberries and maple creme brulee. But I needed the perfect GF bread or roll to accompany it.
I tried so many gluten-free crescent roll recipes from a variety of other websites and even a crescent roll mix. But was disappointed every time. I tested out 6 new recipes, with varying degrees of success before realizing that I was going about it all wrong.
Traditional methods of making crescent rolls with warm milk result in a gummy texture or are too heavy.
Why I love this recipe:
- It is about the method, NOT using special flour mixtures
- The dough can be made in advanced and baked when needed
- Long lasting and they can be frozen once baked
- Versatile gluten-free dough that can be used in all your favorite recipes that typically use store-bought crescent roll dough
- Can be made dairy-free
The beauty of this recipe is that it uses a 1:1 gluten-free baking flour blend. I used Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Baking Blend. You should be able to use any 1:1 blend with similar results but I can guarantee lovely rolls with Bob's blend.
Do not use specialty GF flour blends like cake, pizza, bread, paleo, or pie doughs. I tried several of these types of flour blends and found the rolls to be too heavy and dense.
Plus they didn't work in other applications like pizza rolls.
You will also need the following ingredients:
- Granulated sugar
- Dry active yeast
- Baking powder
- Kosher salt
- Unsalted butter (it must be cold)
- Xanthan Gum (omit if you blend contains)
See the recipe card for quantities.
🥐 Why This Recipe Works
This recipe came our flakey and buttery because we used a rough puff or flakey pastry method for the dough. If you never made a rough puff before it is in between a shortcrust dough (i.e. pie dough) and traditional puff pastry.
It works here because we get some lamination (i.e. buttery layers) without the work of making puff pastry or using gluten. But we also get resting time which hydrates the gluten-free flour (important, as we talked about in our zucchini bread recipe post).
I also found that using traditional warm milk style dinner roll recipes resulted in a dense dough that wasn't reminiscent of the light and airy Pillsbury crescent rolls. So rough puff it is!
Crescent rolls use a rough puff dough while croissants use a puff pastry base resulting in more lamination and layers. Rough puff pastry uses pieces of butter while traditional puff pastry uses a whole slab of butter.
I like to think of crescent rolls as the lazy croissant.
Crescent roll dough uses milk in place of some of the water and adds sugar and yeast to get a bread-like rise.
Croissant dough uses milk in place of some of the water and adds sugar and yeast to get a bread-like rise.
The final key to the recipe is using baking powder. Not typically found in yeast recipes, I find yeast plus additional leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder are critical to getting a proper rise when baking with gluten-free flours.
Rising dough does take a bit of time, if you are looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner bread then check out our gluten-free garlic bread.
⏲️How to Make GF Crescent Rolls
It might seem like a lot of steps but in fact, making crescent rolls gluten-free style is super easy. But I like to break things into smaller steps when baking to prevent any confusion.
The high-level process is mixing the dry ingredients, working in cold butter, and finally adding the wet ingredients until we get a dough ball. Rest. Then roll and rest again. A final roll, shape, and proof. Then a short bake.
Step 1- Dry Mix
Start by deciding if you want to make this in a bowl using a pastry blender, or even your hands, or in a food processor. All three work well.
Place all the dry ingredients in the bowl (or food processor) and give it a quick mix. This includes the flour, xanthan gum (if needed), sugar, yeast, salt, and baking powder.
Step 2- Cut in Butter
The next step is to cut in the butter. I prefer not to use my hands for this. Work the butter into the flour until you get small pea-size pieces or even a bit smaller, like the picture below.
Step 3- Form Dough and Rest
Whisk the egg, milk, and water in a small bowl. I actually measure out the milk and water in a glass measuring cup and whisk the egg in that. Add to the flour and butter mixture.
Use a spatula to stir together until a dough forms. Form the dough into a round disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Step 4- Roll, Fold, and Rest
Dust your work surface, I prefer to roll out on a Silpat. Roll the dough into a rectangle shape. Fold one-third in and then the other third. Like folding a letter to put into an envelope.
Turn the dough 90 degrees. Roll out into a rectangle again, fold in one third then the other. Turn 90-degrees again. Repeat this process 3 to 4 times until the dough is smooth.
Rewrap in the plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Step 5- Form and Proof
Divide the dough into two equal portions, put one back in the fridge. Roll out the dough to ⅛ to ¼ inch thick, in a rectangle about 15 inches by 6 inches.
Cut triangles with a small knife. Depending on what size roll you prefer, you can make the triangles anywhere from 2 inches to 4 inches at the base. Repeat with the second piece.
Roll each triangle from the wide end to the thin end. Place the rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet with the end tipped tucked under the roll. Gently push the end towards each other to form a crescent shape.
Step 6- Proof
Cover with a towel and let the rolls sit in a warm place for one hour to proof. They are ready when they roughly double in size.
If you substitute instant yeast they will be ready in 30 to 45 minutes.
Step 7- Bake
Brush with an egg wash. Technically this is optional but it gives the rolls a beautiful color.
Bake at 400 F degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown. I start checking around the 10 minute mark.
🥗 How to Use Crescent Rolls
Crescent roll dough can be used to make
- Ham and Cheese Rolls Ups
- Pizza Rolls
- Pigs in a Blanket
- Mummy Hot Dogs for Halloween and more!
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
If you need a warm place to proof the rolls?
PRO TIP: Turn your oven to 150 F degrees and preheat for 10 minutes. Turn the oven off and crack the door. Wait for 5 to 10 minutes. Place the rolls in the oven to proof.
💭 Dairy-Free Variation
I have not tested with an egg replacer so I am not sure if they can be successfully made vegan. If you try it, please let me know!
You can make this recipe with basic kitchen baking equipment. Here is what I recommend:
🌡️ Make Ahead and Storage
To make the recent rolls in advance I recommend making them through the second resting period when the dough is folded like a letter.
The next day, rest the dough at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling out and proofing.
Baked rolls can be kept in a plastic bag at room temperature for 5 days. After the 3rd day, they will start to feel stale. No worries, just pop them in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds to soften up.
💬Frequently Asked Questions
Bakers yeast is gluten-free. Always double-check the label or manufacturer's website.
You need 2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast. This is equivalent to one packet of yeast.
Sadly, no. Nor are there any other brands that make refrigerated gluten-free crescent rolls, but this recipe is a close cousin so enjoy!
Yes, baked rolls can be stored in a plastic bag in the freezer for a month. Reheat in the oven at 300 F degrees.
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Gluten-Free Crescent Rolls
- 2 ½ cups gluten-free flour blend plus more for rolling out the dough
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum omit if your flour blend contains
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter cold, cut into pieces
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup water
- 1 egg
- 1 egg plus 2 teaspoon water optional for egg wash
- Place the flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Use a pastry blender (or your hands), to work the butter into the flour until only pea-sized pieces remain. You can also do this step in a food processor.2 ½ cups gluten-free flour blend, ½ teaspoon xanthan gum, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 cup unsalted butter
- Whisk the milk, water, and egg together in a small bowl, and add to the flour/butter mixture. Use a spatula to stir together until the dough gathers itself into a ball. You may need to use your hands to finish this step.½ cup milk, ¼ cup water, 1 egg
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at 30 minutes.
- Dust the work surface with flour, and roll the dough out to a rough rectangle shape, about ½-inch thick. Fold the dough into thirds (see photos in the blog post). Turn 90 degrees, roll, and fold into thirds again.
- Repeat the folding pattern 3 more times, wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Roll each portion out into a long rectangle, about ⅛ to ¼ -inch thick, 15-inches long, and 6 inches wide.
- Cut the dough into skinny triangles, and roll each triangle, starting at the wide end and tucking the pointy end under the roll. Fold the corners in slightly to form, a crescent shape or leave as is.
- Place the crescents on parchment lined baking sheets, cover loosely with a towel, and allow to rise (proof) for 1 hour or until puffy and nearly doubled in size.
- Mix together the egg and water. Using a pastry brush gently brush the egg wash over the rolls. This step is optional but helps give a more golden color.1 egg plus 2 teaspoon water
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, then bake the crescent rolls for 12 to 14 minutes or until puffed and golden.
- Instant yeast can be substituted. The rise time will be cut roughly in half.
- You need a warm but not hot environment to proof the dough. Turn your oven to 150 F degrees and preheat for 10 minutes. Shut off and crack the door. Proof your dough in the oven. But be sure to take it out before you begin to preheat.
- Crescent rolls can be made 1 day ahead through the second resting phase. Roll out, cut, and proof before baking.
- Leftover crescent rolls can be stored in a zip-top bag to keep them fresh. They will keep at room temperature for 3 to 5 days but will begin to stale. Pop in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds to soften them.
- Rolls can also be stored in the freezer for up to a month. to a month. When you’re ready to have some, just warm them gently in the oven (on the lowest setting) for about 10 or 15 minutes.
Check out our Gluten Free Crescent Roll Recipe web story!