Butterhorn Dinner Rolls


Butterhorn dinner rolls date all the way back to colonial times, but I've streamlined the process to make this recipe easier for new and inexperienced bakers. These classic dinner rolls are light but rich, and slightly sweet. They're perfect for special occasions or holiday dinners, alongside any main course.

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs
12 rolls

Hook 'em Horns!

Here we are, heading straight into the heart of holiday and special occasion dinner party season. And while the main courses and side dishes might vary, one thing these types of gatherings usually have in common is a basket of rich, buttery dinner rolls on the table. And with that scene in mind, there are few dinner rolls as rich and buttery as the aptly named butterhorns.

You might have grown up calling these crescent rolls, since that's what was printed on the side of the cardboard tube from the store, but I think butterhorns is way cooler of a name. The only real difference, besides the fact that these are so much better, is that crescent rolls are shaped into a crescent versus the usually straighter design of your average butterhorn. Basically, all crescent rolls are butterhorns, but not all butterhorns are crescent rolls.

This is a very simple recipe, although I did alter the kneading procedure here to make things maybe a bit easier for the novice baker. Doughs that have rested and risen are always way easier to work with, so we let this one rise first before kneading. It seemed to work out just fine, as long as you allow the dough to rise again before portioning and shaping. Give it a try, and see for yourself. Otherwise just use the classic knead-first method. Either way, I really do hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

  • ¼ cup warm water

  • ½ cup unsalted butter

  • 1 cup milk

  • 3 tablespoons white sugar

  • 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, divided

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • ¼ cup butter, melted


  1. Sprinkle yeast onto warm water. Stir gently and let sit until foamy and frothy, 15 to 20 minutes.

  2. While the yeast is proofing, place butter in a saucepan with milk and white sugar. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until butter melts and sugar dissolves, 3 to 4 minutes.

  3. Remove from the heat and pour into a large mixing bowl; let cool until just very warm to the touch and about 120 degrees F (49 degrees C), 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Add 3 cups flour, kosher salt, yeast mixture, and egg; mix gently with a spatula until it all comes together and forms a very thick and wet batter. Add remaining 3/4 cup flour and mix with your fingers, incorporating just the amount of flour you need, until dough comes together into a soft, sticky ball.

  5. Cover and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  6. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

  7. Grease the bowl with butter. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover, and let rise for 30 minutes.

  8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner (such as Silpat®).

  9. Transfer dough back to a work surface and press it into a 1-inch thick circle. Flip over and continue pressing until circle is 1/2-inch thick; use a rolling pin if needed to achieve correct thickness. Use a pizza tool to cut dough into 12 equal wedges.

  10. Starting at the larger end of one wedge, roll toward the point, stretching the ends of the dough out for the first few inches. Pinch and press the point into the dough to seal and place, seam-side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

  11. Let rolls sit until they puff up a little, 15 to 20 minutes.

  12. Bake in the center of the preheated oven until cooked through and just starting to turn a light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

  13. Remove from the oven and immediately brush hot rolls with melted butter. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, 15 to 20 minutes.

    dinner rolls on a wire rack
    Chef John

Chef's Notes:

For rolls that aren't as sweet, you can dial back the sugar content. You can use 1 teaspoon fine salt in place of 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt.

If you want lighter, airier rolls, let them proof up to 45 minutes just before baking, instead of just 15 to 20 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

272 Calories
13g Fat
34g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 272
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 49mg 16%
Sodium 279mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 5g
Potassium 89mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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