Who wants a Chocolate Butterhorn?

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Chocolate Butterhorns are yeast rolls filled with chocolate. They are perfect for freezing which makes them perfect for snacking — anytime. You’ll wanna make these today.

chocolate butterhorns on plate with cup of coffee

You know those refrigerator crescent rolls that come in a can? The ones that are so fun to bang on the side of the counter so that the rolls kinda explode out of the wrappings?

Yeah, those.

While fun to make, they aren’t as amazing as homemade rolls. And usually the ingredients list is pretty crap.

If you’re someone who…

… finds yourself slowing down in the bakery aisle of your grocery store?

… can smell the tantalizing aroma of baked rolls and chocolate a mile away?

… crave a sweet treat on the weekends?

Then it may be time to try your hand at homemade dough. I promise it’s not hard. I once shook in my boots at the idea of making homemade dough. Not anymore.

And this recipe for Chocolate Butterhorns is a great one to try out. 

Chocolate Butterhorns are yeast rolls that come together quickly and easily. You can make the dough in a stand mixer, in a bread machine, or even in a mixing bowl with a spoon.

These chocolate-laden rolls freeze beautifully – as all yummy baked goods should — and make for a delicious addition to any breakfast, brunch, snack, or dessert table.

chocolate butterhorns with rainbow sprinkles

What is a butterhorn roll?

A butterhorn roll is a soft, flaky pastry in the shape of a crescent. Basically, a homemade version of those refrigerator crescent rolls you buy in a can. Only better!

One source says that they are Austrian in origin and that the crescent shape is to symbolize the removal of the Ottoman empire from the region. I could only find one source who claimed that though, so if you can confirm this, please do!

What’s the difference between a pain au chocolat, chocolate croissant, and a chocolate butterhorn?

Pain au chocolat is a flaky, French pastry filled with chocolate, usually in the shape of a rectangle. It’s made with the same type dough as a traditional croissant so it is often called a chocolate croissant, in English.

A chocolate butterhorn is similar to a pain au chocolat or chocolate croissant, but not exactly. The dough of a butterhorn is rich and buttery, but you won’t find the same type of layers in the pastry. It’s flaky, but not quite as flaky as a croissant.

I’ve adapted this Butterhorn Recipe to become CHOCOLATE BUTTERHORNS.

How do you defrost frozen rolls quickly?

Baked chocolate butterhorns are great for freezing. Bake and cool completely on a rack. Then store in an airtight container in the freezer. To thaw, simply pull out as many rolls as you would like to serve and set them on a plate at room temperature. The rolls will thaw in about 20 to 30 minutes.

This recipe makes 32 rolls, meaning one batch should stock your freezer for a few weeks. Or help you host one fantastic coffee klatch.

How should you reheat frozen rolls?

Reheat the thawed rolls in a 300 degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until warm.

collage of steps in making Chocolate Butterhorns

How do you make Chocolate Butterhorns?

The process of preparing Chocolate Butterhorns is fairly simple.

  1. Prepare the yeast dough and allow it to rise until doubled in bulk. You can make the dough really easily in a bread machine or stand mixer.
  2. Divide the dough into four equal portions. 
  3. Roll each portion into a large round.
  4. Cut the round into 8 equal portions.
  5. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the surface of each wedge.
  6. Roll up each wedge, starting with the bottom of the triangle. 
  7. Lay the rolls out on a lined tray, brush them with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar or sprinkles.
  8. Bake until golden. Cool on a rack. Enjoy!

Chocolate Butterhorns cooling on a rack

How to make this good and cheap:

You know I don’t typically want to make something if I can’t make it good as well as cheap. Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:

  • Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When I find regular kitchen staples on sale, I buy a lot. I’m currently using a price book to track prices and that’s saving me money. For this recipe, keeping an eye on the price of flour, butter, and sugars can help keep the price down. And of course, stock up on chocolate when they’re at a great price!
  • Buying in bulk – It’s rare that I would buy a small bag of flour. I hedge my bets by buying in bulk. I also have gotten into the habit of buying cases of flour from Bob’s Red Mill or VitaCost so that I always have baking supplies on hand. If the grocery store has a sale, I stock up!
  • Load up on post-holiday clearance specials. You’ll find great deals on colored sugars and sprinkles after holidays. There are lots of ways to use holiday baking items creatively. Remember that chocolate candies can be chopped up and substituted for the chocolate chips in this recipe.

How I make this recipe easy:

This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.

Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:

  • stand mixer or bread machine – Either of these tools make quick work of making the dough. You can do it by hand, but I prefer my food processor.
  • parchment paper – I hate washing pans. Parchment paper makes clean up a breeze.
  • sheet pans – I LOVE my set of steel sheet pans. They make such a difference in baking.

Chocolate Butterhorns in a basket

0 from 0 votes
Chocolate Butterhorns
Prep Time
2 hrs
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 12 mins
Chocolate Butterhorns are yeast rolls filled with chocolate. They are perfect for freezing which makes them perfect for snacking — anytime.
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: butterhorn rolls, butterhorns, chocolate, chocolate butterhorn rolls, chocolate butterhorns, chocolate crescents, chocolate rolls, crescent rolls, crescents
Servings: 32 rolls
Calories: 166 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter cubed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast heaping
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 4 – 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips depending on how chocolatey you want them
  • 2 tablespoons cream or half and half
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sugar or colored sprinkles
To make the dough in a bread machine:
  1. Combine all dough ingredients in the pan of your bread machine according to the manufacturer’s directions. Set on the dough cycle and start machine. 

To make the dough in a stand mixer:
  1. Warm the milk and melt the butter (in the microwave or in a pot on the stove). Stir in the sugar to dissolve. If the mixture is very hot, allow this to cool to 110 degrees.

  2. Transfer this mixture to the bowl of the stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Allow this to proof for five minutes.

  3. Add the eggs, flour, and salt to the bowl. Knead with the dough hook until a sticky dough forms. Allow the dough to rise for 60 to 90 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

To make the dough by hand:
  1. Follow the stand mixer instructions until it's time to knead. Stir the dough with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be very sticky.

To assemble the rolls:
  1. When the dough is ready, transfer it onto a floured surface, divide it into four equal parts. Shape each part into a tight round.

  2. Roll each part into a 12-inch circle and cut each circle into 8 wedges. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the surface of each wedge. Roll each wedge like a crescent roll, starting with the bottom of the triangle and ending with the point.

  3. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

To bake immediately:
  1. Place the rolls, point down on the prepared baking sheets. Allow to rise for 30 minutes. 

  2. Preheat oven to 375 °. Brush with the cream and sprinkle with the coarse sugar or sprinkles. Bake the rolls for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

To make the rolls to freeze ahead of baking:
  1. After rolling, place the rolls on a lined tray and place the tray in the freezer for a hour or two. Once they are frozen stiff, place them in freezer bags and store in the freezer until needed.

  2. To bake: Place the frozen rolls on prepared sheet. Allow to thaw and rise for five hours or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 375 °, brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar and then bake the rolls for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

Recipe Notes

Baked rolls can be frozen. Simply store in an airtight container for 4 to 6 weeks in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Butterhorns
Amount Per Serving
Calories 166 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 22mg7%
Sodium 114mg5%
Potassium 32mg1%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 155IU3%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 27mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

After you’ve baked a batch — or two! — be sure to come back and leave a starred review. Your feedback is so helpful. Thank you!

Chocolate Butterhorns from Life as Mom

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Candi says

    Those look so amazing!!!

  2. these look great, I totally cheat and use croissant rolls and chocolate morsels!

  3. Sofia says

    These DO look amazing. I have been trying to do more pastries and deserts lately so I will have to try this one.

  4. Ah hah… the answer to my pain au chocolat cravings that have plagued me for fifteen years… 🙂

    • Jessica Fisher says

      @JessieLeigh, exactly! Just finished my chausson aux pommes post for URS. Wait for it…. 😉

  5. Shaunta says

    I was hoping to find a recipe for dinner rolls for this month’s oamc. This looks like just what the Dr. ordered! Thx for posting. And I’m glad that I can just throw it all in the bread machine.

  6. Rena says

    I am going to take your advice next time and make 32 smaller rolls with half the dough. I cut the recipe in half and made 16 rolls and they are HUGE. My husband jokes about eating an entire loaf of bread each when I serve them. I thought I had done something wrong!

    • Julie says

      @Rena, I’m glad to see it wasn’t just me! The original butterhorns were huge, and I thought it was me!!!

  7. Shaunta says

    Also, does the butter need to be softened, melted, or just added straight from the fridge?

    • @Shaunta, I would say check your bread machine recommendations. Mine has a wonderful “resting/warming” time before mixing that means I can use flour and butter straight from the fridge or the freezer without any problems at all. (In fact, I did that with the original butterhorn recipe.) If your machine starts mixing right away, I’d suggest making sure the butter is at least room temperature when you put it in.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      @Shaunta, my bread machine takes care of that. I use it cold from the fridge.

  8. Amy says

    I make a breakfast/dessert pastry kind of like this using packaged crescent rolls with cinnamon chips instead of chocolate chips. The cinnamon chips are not exactly a frugal pantry item to keep on-hand, but are fun for an occasional treat. I’m sure they would work in these butterhorns, although I have to warn you – they’re terrible for you and terribly addicting.

  9. Vicki says

    YUM! I made the butterhorns and we’ve been eating those. They’re really tasty. I’ll definitely be trying these.

  10. Sofia says

    Me again, this time apart from being excited to trying these horns also to letting you know about a much deserved awrd for your blog. Come get it on my blog!

  11. Mary says

    Would it work to use whole wheat or should I add some wheat gluten when I mix the batch up in the bread machine if I used ww

    • Jessica Fisher says

      @Mary, yes, you can use a combination, just may need to adjust the liquid content.

  12. I am going to pretend I didn’t see this post, because if I admit that I did then I will have to make these and will probably eat them for breakfast EVERY SINGLE DAY. And that would probably not be very good for my bottom.

  13. Sarah says

    oh my goodness. just made these, and they are amazing. 🙂 much better than any fake american bakery pain au chocolat. thanks!

  14. Becky says

    Ok, might be a dumb question but I don’t have a bread machine so can I just mix?

    • Jessica Fisher says

      Yes. Crystal’s original recipe gives directions for that.

  15. Oh my word! These look really really good! By the way, I put this into a recipe “calculator” and they really aren’t that bad. If you make 32 butterhorns and use 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips, they come out at 137 calories each. Not too bad! I think the problem will come to when I go to make them. They sound incredible and very hard to resist! Thanks for the great recipe! : )

  16. Jennifer says

    Is there a way to do this without a bread machine?

    • Jessica Fisher says

      Use Crystal’s original recipe if you don’t have a bread machine.

  17. Wow! You guys are killing me (literally)! My DH already loves Crystal’s butterhorn roll recipe and now you add chocolate and create a way to make it in the bread machine. I was thinking about putting it in my garage sale tomorrow — Guess that is a no-go now. haha

  18. Ashlea says

    This is hilarious! My husband’s favorite thing to do is take any recipe I have and add chocolate to it (including Nesquik in his coffee!). He’ll love these rolls now!

  19. Oh my! I cannot wait to make these! I’ve had to make Crystal’s butterhorns almost daily since her post… I see I’m not meant to leave the kitchen… ever!

  20. Another way to make these amazing is to spread the dough with a little peanut butter then sprinkle with the chocolate chips and bake. I sadly ate about 5 of them the night we made them, they are that good!

  21. Julie says

    Instead of chocolate chips, I think these would be DELICIOUS with a little Nutella spread on them!

  22. Megan says

    How long do they need to rise if you don’t freeze them first?

    • Jessica Fisher says

      Until doubled in bulk.

  23. Annie M. says

    I made your recipe before dinner last night. My kids and I loved the chocolate butterhorns! And, we brushed them with butter & cinnamon/sugar mix. Fantastic addition! I’ve giving some to my kid’s teachers today so we don’t eat them all. Thanks for the great recipe!

  24. Flora says

    I bet these would be good with Nutella instead of chocolate chips. Thanks for the recipe. We’ll be trying them soon.

  25. Andrea says

    Yes to the nutella! It is SO tasty.

    Another way we make these here at home is to take almond pie filling (NOT PASTE!), and spread that gently on the roll, then roll it, and bake. Top with a milk/powdered sugar glaze. Enjoy. 🙂

    We just make sure we make small butterhorns, otherwise they are super, super rich. Oh, and add a bit of vanilla to that glaze.

  26. We live in Mexico City and a tube of crescent rolls cost about $5 – not really in a missionary’s budget 🙂 They are rising right now and I cannot wait to try them!!

  27. I made these last night, and OH. MY. GOODNESS. They are delicious. Definitely a keeper.

  28. anne marie says

    OK, question…..I’ve never used my bread machine for dough but really want to try these. When looking at my manual for dough it gives me the option for a “knead” cycle or a “knead and first rise” cycle. Which would I want for these rolls?

    Also, my machine has different quantities for the ingredients, do I use your recipe or use my manual’s guide?

    • Jessica Fisher says

      @anne marie, yours sounds like a complicated machine, huh? Well, this should be suitable for any machine that can handle 2 pounds. I would choose “knead and 1st rise.” But, my machine just has “dough” so don’t quote me on that. This is a great book to learn about Bread Machines: http://astore.amazon.com/lifeasmom-20/detail/155832156X

  29. Becky says

    I made these this morning and they are incredible! Question for all of you that have made them: did you use all purpose flour or bread flour? I used bread flour and I’m wondering if this is why they seem so large. I let mine double in size but they doubled in size again when I cooked them. Either way they are delicious. Thanks for creating/ sharing the recipe Jessica!

  30. Anna says

    I made these for a friends jewlwery party tonight they were a HUGE hit! They are definitly a favorite! Have extra in the freezer for a beach trip…can’t wait!

  31. Jan says

    I actually own a bread machine, but sometimes go for the easy way. One of my friends calls it “disco” cooking. Crescent rolls can be a good cheap find if the store has them on sale or there’s a good coupon. Mine had their house-brand crescent tubes at $1 this week. The $1 makes the ‘no coupon’ easier.
    What I did yesterday:
    “Fancy-full Crescents”
    Put a dab of raspberry jam and a teaspoon of mini chocolate chips on each, rolled and baked them.
    The raspberry and choc flavor made it a nice treat.

  32. Jennifer says

    These are crazy good, and easy too. We baked most of the batch, but froze one pan of rolls for later. Yum! Thank you for adapting this for the bread machine. The dough is super easy to work with, and my family loves them. Will have to follow a previous poster’s suggestion and try with cinnamon chips too.

  33. Sarah says

    Made these to celebrate all the important women in my life in honor of Mother’s Day. I added melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar on top as you suggested. Husband sneaked 6 in less than 24 hours!! He wants me to make these again with a flavored cream cheese in the middle (onion or garlic). Anyone think this would work?

  34. Camellia says

    “Heaven…. I’m in heaven….” Made these for a ladies tea- of course had to sample them first! I’m speechless… fluffy, tender, melt-in-your-mouth heaven!

  35. Amber says

    These are ridiculously good! Oh my gosh! I made a big batch today (used Crystal’s recipe), and I got about 60 rolls out of it. I did half regular and half with chocolate chips & the cinnamon/sugar topping. They are so good, I’ve already had 4. This is the first time I’ve even attempted to make yeast bread in over 2 years (and I was never an expert or anything before that), and I thought the recipe was pretty easy for a novice. Thank you so much for sharing.

  36. Stacy says

    Question, if you freeze them for later and they have to thaw/rise for five hours. Can you leave them in the fridge overnight to have for breakfast???????

    • Jessica Fisher says

      @Stacy, yes. And if I stay up late and get up early, I just leave them on the counter.

  37. jan says

    for smaller batch ‘cheat-dom’, I’ve also used “tube biscuits” and rolled them out flatter. Tube biscuits are only in my fridge when they’ve been on serious sale and I have good coupons. Since I’m only trying to make them for myself, the smaller batch works. I sprinkle the flat-cuits with cinnamon sugar or orange zest to keep the chocolate company.

  38. Cathie says

    ok, I made these last night and they are delicious! My kids and hubs love the chocolate but I think next time I may roll a pre-cooked turkey sausage link into them instead! Maybe had a tiny square of cheese. Has anyone tried that? The rolls is VERY similar to a dinner roll recipe I had from a girlfriend of mine, only instead of rolling out into a circle it calls for splitting the dough into 12 small balls, letting it rise in a greased 13×9, brushing with butter then baking until brown. I am sure you could do that with this same recipe. It makes awesome rolls for sloppy joes or sliders!

    • Jessica Fisher says

      @Cathie, savory butterhorns sound great! Mmmmm… sausage and cheese, bacon and cheese? Yum!

  39. Tracy says

    One word. YUMMY!!!!!!

  40. Jennie M. says

    I have a couple of questions. At what point do you add the cubed butter? Can you use breadmachine yeast? Also can you freeze the dough without rolling it out? I have a chicken roll-up recipe that I normally use canned cressant rolls for and this dough might be a good substitute instead. Thank you.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      I add the cubed butter with the rest of the ingredients. Yes, bread machine yeast “should be fine,” though I haven’t tried it. I have never frozen it without rolling it. I would only let it rise about 30 minutes if I was going to try that, though. Let it do most of the rising as it thaws? And yes, I think it’s a great sub for crescent roll dough.

  41. jaime says

    I just made these for a family Christmas party and they are heavenly. I made a simple powdered sugar glaze to drizzle on top. I think I’ll make them again for Christmas morning breakfast. Thanks!

  42. Natalia says

    This sound delicious and I want to try them!. I have a question, could I freeze the already baked rolls and reheat in the microwave?

    • Jessica Fisher says

      I am not sure about the microwave part. I would probably bake, cool, freeze, and rewarm in the oven.

  43. Michelle B says

    Just made these last night and they are awesome! The chocolate made me think, have you tried using a jam or maybe nutella? I’m curious how either of those would turn out.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      I’ve heard that others have tried both those options. We are nut-free now, so I can’t try the nutella, but the jam is a great idea!

  44. Michelle says

    I love this recipe! I had some leftover random bits from xmas cooking and did some experimenting…White chocolate chips were very yummy (and I’m not a huge white chocolate fan), but they don’t melt the same way as the regular chocolate. Heath Bar bits didn’t really work, the flavor was barely there. But the big hit? Andes Candies bits! Chocolate and mint. Those are my new favorites!

  45. Nicki says

    These were yummy while warm but were really tough once cooled. Did I do something wrong or are they only designed to be eaten ‘straight from the oven’? One way I did deviate from the recipe was to put less yeast in, the recipe calls for 3x as much as I use for a regular loaf. I used about 2/3 the amount.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      I’m going to guess that it was the yeast. I’ve not had them toughen.

  46. TKDmom says

    I made these for Memorial Day. They were a hit! I do wonder how it would turn out if you added cocoa powder to the mix. Has anyone tried this? 🙂

  47. Samantha says

    I’ve made these countless times- always wonderful! In fact I either just make them as rolls (no filling) or I put breakfast sausages in them for an easy breakfast item. Dipped in syrup- delish!!

  48. KF says

    Love these!! Made them so many times and always a hit with family and friends…and are gone in minutes…Never made it to the freezer!! 🙂

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