Crescent roll dough typically comes packaged in a can that requires refrigeration. Like all dough and bread products, it will eventually expire, as will any rolls you have already baked. Manufacturers print an expiration date on one of the ends of the can that you can use to determine whether or not your rolls are still good. Past this date, the dough may become spoiled and unusable.
All Good Things Come to an End
No bread products last forever, even the crescent dough that is canned to maintain its freshness and integrity for baking. Canned dough typically lasts for up to three months, according to "Compendium of the Microbiological Spoilage of Foods and Beverages." Although the dough may still be usable after the manufacturer's printed expiration date has past, it won't be at its peak freshness and may appear brittle and dry, producing rolls that don't taste their best. Once you open the can of dough, it will only last around 24 hours if placed in an air-tight bag in the refrigerator. Baked rolls, like any other baked goods, will only last in your pantry around one to two days.
Storage Makes the Difference
All crescent roll dough must be refrigerated to maintain its freshness and prevent the growth of harmful spoilage microorganisms. If your canned dough hasn't been refrigerated for more than two hours at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less, discard it because it has spoiled, warns the University of Illinois Extension. Cans of spoiled dough may burst due to the carbon dioxide produced by the microorganisms feeding on it. Discard damaged cans of dough that have been perforated or otherwise opened in any way, which will dry out the dough and allow harmful mold and bacteria to flourish inside it.
Don't Let Leftovers Go to Waste
Once crescent rolls are baked, you can wrap your leftover rolls in plastic and aluminum foil or put them in an air-tight bag to keep them moist and prevent freezer burn. Store the rolls for one to two months at zero degrees Fahrenheit and heat them before serving until warm to the touch. You can also place the rolls in the refrigerator for up to one week. Don't freeze cans of crescent dough because this may affect the texture of the dough and its ability to rise when baking. Instead of freezing the dough, bake the rolls first and then wrap and freeze them for best results. Discard rolls that become hard or moldy.
When in Doubt, Throw it Out
Even if your package of crescent rolls is undamaged, has been refrigerated correctly, and is within its expiration date, it could still become spoiled. Smell and inspect the dough when you're preparing your rolls. It should have a pleasant sweet or neutral aroma. If the dough has an unpleasant sour or otherwise rancid odor, throw it away and don't bake it because it has spoiled. Other signs of spoilage include discoloration of the dough or any visible mold on it. Spoiled dough is unsafe to bake with and consume due to the possibility of contracting a foodborne illness, warns the United States Department of Agriculture.