Pillsbury crescent rolls, like many pre-packaged baked goods, come with a printed expiration date on the container. This date indicates when the manufacturer believes the product will no longer be at peak quality. However, expiration dates are not always a definitive indication of when a food is no longer safe to eat.
What does the expiration date mean?
The expiration date on Pillsbury crescent rolls and other pre-packaged foods is a manufacturer’s indication of when the product may no longer be at peak quality. It does not necessarily mean the food is unsafe to eat after that date.
Food expiration dates come in a few different forms:
- A “sell by” date tells the store how long the product should be displayed for sale.
- A “best by” or “best before” date indicates when the product will be freshest.
- A “use by” date is the last date recommended for use at peak quality.
Pillsbury crescent roll expiration dates typically fall in the “best by” or “use by” category. This means you can expect the rolls to taste their freshest and be of best quality if used before that printed date.
Are expired Pillsbury crescent rolls safe to eat?
In most cases, Pillsbury crescent rolls and similar commercial baked goods are still safe to eat for some time past the printed expiration date, as long as they have been properly stored.
According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, commercially baked goods like crescent rolls are safe indefinitely past their expiration date if they remain properly sealed and stored away from heat, light, and moisture. Over time, the rolls may become stale or develop an off flavor but they are still considered safe to eat.
The exception is any crescent rolls that develop visible mold growth. Moldy foods should always be discarded.
How to tell if expired crescent rolls are still good
If your package of Pillsbury crescent rolls is past its expiration date, there are a few signs you can look for to determine if they are still safe and usable:
- Check that the package is still completely sealed with no tears or openings.
- There should be no visible mold growth inside the package or on the dough.
- The dough should appear normal with no dark or discolored spots.
- The dough should not be dried out, shrunken, or overly hard.
- There should be no foul, sour, or unpleasant smell when you open the package.
If the crescent roll dough passes these checks, it is likely still fine to use. Stale but otherwise normal looking rolls can still be used for baking. The texture and flavor may not be peak quality, but they are safe to eat.
How to store Pillsbury crescent rolls for maximum freshness
To get the full shelf life printed on Pillsbury crescent rolls, be sure to store them properly. Here are some tips for storage:
- Keep unopened cans or tubes of crescent roll dough in a cool, dry place like the pantry. Avoid storage in the refrigerator to prevent dough from drying out.
- Once opened, rewrap or reseal any unused dough tightly in plastic wrap or an airtight container. Place in the refrigerator.
- If refrigerating, use opened dough within 1-2 weeks for best quality.
- Frozen crescent rolls may be thawed overnight in the fridge and used within 1-2 days.
- Avoid freezing and thawing more than once, as this can damage the dough texture.
How to freshen stale Pillsbury crescent rolls
If your crescent roll dough is past date and a little stale, there are some tricks you can try to freshen it up before baking:
- Let the dough sit out briefly until it comes to room temperature and is more pliable.
- Mist the dough lightly with water to rehydrate it, being careful not to over-saturate.
- Wrap the dough and let it rest for 30-60 minutes to allow the moisture to soften the dough.
- Knead the dough briefly to smooth it out and improve the texture.
- For rolled dough, reroll it to improve shape before cutting and baking.
While results vary, these tricks can often revive dough that is still structurally intact but has dried out slightly over time. The baked crescent rolls will taste fresher.
Can you freeze expired Pillsbury crescent rolls?
Freezing is a great way to extend the shelf life of Pillsbury crescent rolls, even if they are already past the printed expiration date. Here are some tips for freezing crescent roll dough:
- Check dough for any mold before freezing.
- Make sure package is well sealed or place dough in airtight freezer bag.
- Remove as much air from the packaging as possible.
- Label package with new “use by” date of 3-6 months from freezing time.
- Place in 0°F freezer immediately after packaging.
- Once thawed, use dough within 1-2 days.
Properly frozen dough will maintain quality and freshness much longer than refrigerated dough. Just make sure to check for any signs of mold or deterioration before freezing.
How to use expired Pillsbury crescent rolls
Pillsbury crescent rolls that are past their prime can still be used in recipes, though the texture and flavor may be less than perfect. Here are some good ways to use up expired crescent roll dough:
- Crescent roll casseroles or bakes – The crescent roll layers will get soaked and cooked in the casserole ingredients, masking staleness.
- Appetizers like pinwheels, pigs in a blanket or baked rolls – The appetizer toppings and fillings will also help mask staleness.
- Cinnamon rolls or other frosted sweet rolls – The sweet icing and filling will overpower any slightly stale dough.
- Bread or roll stuffing and dressing – Stale and dried out pieces actually work best for stuffing recipes.
- Breadcrumbs and crackers – Grind up any hard dough pieces in a food processor to make fresh breadcrumbs or crackers.
With a little creativity, those expired Pillsbury crescent rolls in your pantry don’t have to go to waste!
How long do baked Pillsbury crescent rolls last?
Once Pillsbury crescent rolls are baked, they will stay fresh for 2-3 days if properly stored. Here are some guidelines for storing baked crescent rolls and pastries:
- Let cool completely before storing.
- Place rolls in a sealed container or resealable plastic bag.
- Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- For longer storage, place in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
- Do not freeze baked crescent rolls as this causes them to become soggy.
- Discard any rolls that become moldy or smell unpleasant.
With proper, airtight storage, most leftover baked crescent rolls, cinnamon rolls, and pastries stay fresh for several days after baking. Enjoy them within a week for best texture and flavor.
Can you get sick from eating expired Pillsbury crescent rolls?
It is very unlikely you will get sick from eating expired crescent rolls or pastries as long as they have been continuously refrigerated and there is no mold growth. Stale rolls may not taste great, but they are generally safe to eat.
Why do my refrigerated crescent rolls have mold on them?
If your refrigerated crescent rolls have visible mold, it is due to air and moisture getting into the packaging. This allows mold spores to grow. Discard any rolls with mold growth. In the future, be sure to tightly reseal or wrap any leftover dough.
Can you use crescent rolls after the dough rises?
Yes, you can still use crescent roll dough even if it has risen and expanded beyond the normal size. The dough may collapse slightly during baking but will still taste fine. For best results, punch down the dough to deflate it before baking.
What happens if crescent roll dough is left out overnight?
Raw crescent roll dough left out at room temperature overnight is still safe to bake and eat as long as there is no mold growth. However, the dough texture and flavor will deteriorate faster from the extended time at room temperature. For best quality, refrigerate unused dough.
The bottom line
An expiration date on prepackaged Pillsbury crescent rolls does not necessarily mean they are unsafe to eat after that date. Provided the unopened package remains properly sealed and stored away from heat and moisture, crescent rolls may stay fresh and usable for weeks or months past the printed “best by” date.
Check refrigerated dough for any signs of mold, an off smell, or deterioration before use. Stale but otherwise normal looking crescent rolls can be revived with some simple tricks. Expired dough can also be put to use in baked recipes that mask the staleness.
With proper storage and handling, Pillsbury crescent rolls can often last and remain tasty long after their expiration date has passed.