These homemade flaky croissants are the most popular recipe on the blog! This is an easy to follow recipe for how to make super soft croissants and includes tips for successful breakfast pastries with tons of buttery, light, and flaky layers. Serve with your favorite jam or just a cup of coffee for a tasty breakfast treat!
Reader Evelin commented: “It is so delicious and tasty. It is better the ones from bakery. It is the best recipe!!!”
Everything In This Post: What you need to know About Making Croissants
Reader Alexa commented: “Although these croissants take much patience and time to complete, they are the flakiest, most flavorful croissants I’ve ever had. This is the world’s best recipe by far.”
What Makes Croissants So Flaky
Magic. Kidding … Seriously, there is an art to making homemade flaky croissants.
The answer is: it is all about the butter, and rolling and folding the dough.
- The butter – You are going to put a big slab of butter on top of the dough and it is going to seem like way too much – but it is a necessity for a flaky dough. Butter has water in it, that turns to steam, resulting in flaky layers.
- Rolling and folding the dough – The folding technique of the croissant dough is important. We roll and fold the dough 3 times, and with each fold, we create more and more layers. Here are some good photos of the tri-fold.
Is It Hard To Make Croissants At Home
Absent the large dough sheeter’s that are in professional kitchen’s and bakeries, making flaky butter croissants at home is possible and can be easy.
In my opinion as a self-taught home baker, patience is key when making croissants. Or really any flaky pastry dough for that matter. I would not recommend trying to rush this recipe.
So, if you are looking for a quick breakfast bread treat, you may want to try a different recipe. Perhaps some delicious homemade buttermilk biscuits, or the wonderfully savory Irish cheddar soda bread.
Important Steps To Make Homemade Flaky Croissants
There are not a lot of fancy or hard to come by ingredients in this homemade flaky croissants recipe. In fact, you probably already have everything you need in the pantry and refrigerator.
What makes butter croissants so wonderful – and also intimidating – is the time and patience it takes to develop the croissant dough.
- Plan Ahead – I recommend making the dough the day before you want to serve croissants, because the dough is best when it has time to refrigerate overnight.
- Make Space In The Refrigerator – You will need to refrigerate the dough as you work. The baking sheet you use to chill the dough will take up some room.
- Use Good Butter – I recommend good quality butter because it has a higher fat content. Thus resulting in light and flaky croissants.
Make and laminate the Dough
- Prepare the Dough – The dough comes together easily in a stand mixer, you don’t have to knead it forever by hand, and it just needs time to proof and rise.
- Make the Butter Square – The magic in this croissant recipe! The butter square is easily prepared by just mixing butter and flour. It is chilled, then placed on top of the dough after it has proofed and is rolled out.
- Wrap the Dough Around The Butter Square – The dough encases the butter. And once you start rolling and folding the dough, the butter is distributed into every layer.
- Roll, Fold, Chill, Repeat – Otherwise known as laminating dough. Laminating dough refers to the folding process of the dough. This gives the dough many, many layers, and is critical for making croissants with tons of flaky layers. The rolling and folding part is often referred to as ‘turns’. We make 3 turns of the croissant dough. Then we chill the dough after each turn. We don’t want the butter to melt!
Refrigerate the Dough
- Refrigerate the Dough Overnight – After your final turn, I recommend refrigerating the dough overnight. This allows the dough to rest, the butter to chill, and flavors to develop.
rolling the croissants and the Final Proof
- Roll Out the Chilled Dough – Roll the chilled dough into a large rectangle, then cut into triangles to make the croissants.
- Final Proof the Croissants – Once you have your shaped croissants, they need more time to rest and proof.
Bake and Enjoy Your flaky Croissants
- Bake the Croissants – I have included instructions in the recipe if using a standard oven or convection oven. This may be the only recipe on the blog (so far) where I give this information. And that is because this is the only recipe where I have tested both!
- Enjoy! – As with any homemade baked treat, like bagels, flaky croissants are best enjoyed the day they are baked!
Everything You Need (Only A Few Ingredients!)
- Unsalted Butter – For this recipe, I strongly encourage a good, quality butter for flavor, texture, and butterfat. I like to use a European unsalted butter. Though any unsalted butter you have will work.
- Yeast – Instant yeast or Active Dry yeast work. If using Active yeast, you will need to ‘bloom’ it in the water for about 5 – 10 minutes – until it gets foamy.
- All-Purpose Flour – I recommend all-purpose flour over bread flour because it will make the croissants super light. Bread flour has more protein which may result in a chewier croissant.
- Granulated Sugar – A little sugar adds a little flavor.
- Salt – Salt is great to balance and enhance flavors.
- Milk – Whole or 2% work. We want the milk to have a little fat for this enriched dough.
- Egg – The egg is used to brush on top of the croissants, to give them a golden and flaky exterior.
- Stand Mixer – With the dough hook attachment.
- Baking Sheets
- Parchment Paper
- Rolling Pin
Tips For Success
- Plan ahead – The croissant dough should be rested overnight in the refrigerator.
- Read the instructions thoroughly before starting – There are not a lot of ingredients, but I want you to be comfortable with the process of rolling, folding, and chilling the dough for these homemade flaky croissants.
- Be patient – Because we are working with butter in a flaky dough recipe, we don’t want the butter to melt. Which is why I recommend refrigerating the dough after every ‘turn’.
- Make the dough in the morning – Why? Because it is cooler, and again, we don’t want the butter to melt.
- Use all-purpose flour – This makes the dough nice and light. Whereas bread flour – which has more gluten – would make the croissant more sturdy, and probably chewier.
- Invest in quality butter – These homemade flaky croissants may be one recipe which I strongly advocate a good, quality butter.
- Refrigerate the dough after every turn – Yes, I said that above, but it is worth repeating.
- Don’t stress about the perfect croissant shape – If the dough is not a perfect triangle when you cut it, it will still taste good!
- Enjoy the day they are baked – There is nothing like a freshly baked croissant. Though, should you have leftovers you can make them into almond croissants the next day!
FAQ: Homemade Flaky Croissants
I don’t recommend it. You are already working with a large piece of dough when you roll it out. Anything larger would be difficult to handle and chances are the butter will melt. If you want more croissants, I recommend you make two batches.
The key to all of the flaky layers in croissants is cold butter. Every time we handle and roll the dough, we are taking the chill of the butter. So, we want to make sure to put the chill back on the butter and refrigerate the dough as much as possible.
To achieve a light and flaky croissant, it does take time. Rolling and folding the dough is necessary. It also needs time to rest. But, most most importantly, the butter must be cold. If you try to rush the process, you may end up with tough and dense croissants that resemble a roll more than a croissant.
The easy answer is quality ingredients have superior flavor. European cultured butter has a higher butter-fat content, and less water. Which results in a rich and flavorful croissant.
I recommend freezing the croissants/dough after you shape them, and before the final proof. And when you want to bake the, thaw them in the refrigerator the night before. Then, let them sit at room temp an hour before you want to bake them.
Croissants are best the day they are baked! However, they will last for up to 2 days at room temperature. Beyond that, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to a week. You can also freeze tightly wrapped croissants for up to 3 months, and thaw at room temperature. I recommend reheating leftover croissants in the oven at 325F degrees for a 5 minutes.
What To Make With Leftover Dough
You will have scraps of dough leftover when you are cutting and shaping the croissants. I have a couple recipes that you can use the excess scraps for:
Homemade Flaky Croissants
- Stand Mixer with Dough Hook Attachment
- 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast (active dry yeast also works)
- ½ cup water, room temperature
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup whole milk (I have also used 2% milk)
- 1 large egg, beaten (used to brush the croissants)
- 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes (slightly cool, not completely at room temp)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Please read the recipe before beginning. There are a lot of steps and tips to help through the process!
- Remove the milk and butter from the refrigerator. Cut the butter into tablespoon cubes and set aside.1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, 1 cup whole milk
- Spray a large mixing bowl with cooking spray and set aside. This will be the bowl used to proof the dough.
- In the work bowl of the stand mixer, add 3 and 1/2 cups of flour. Add the sugar and salt on one side of the bowl. Stir the dry ingredients with a whisk or the dough hook (before attaching) to combine.3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, ⅓ cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons salt
- If using Instant Yeast – Add the yeast on the other side of the bowl – away from the salt and stir to combine.2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
- If using active dry yeast – Sprinkle the yeast over the room temperature water in a liquid measuring cup. Allow the yeast to proof and get foamy – about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the yeast mix when you add the milk (next step).
- Mix the Dough – Pour the water and milk over the flour. Mix the dough on medium-high speed, until it is smooth, and no longer sticky – about 8 to 10 minutes. If the dough is very sticky, add more flour a tablespoon at a time. If it is very dry, add more water, a teaspoon at a time.½ cup water, room temperature, 1 cup whole milk
- Rest the Dough – Remove the dough from the mixer and gently form into a smooth ball in your hands. Place in the prepared mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Rest the dough in a warm place for at least 30 minutes. Tip – Warm places to rest dough include: in your oven if you have a 'proof' setting; on top of your refrigerator; on the counter at room temp if it is a warm day.
- Wipe out the bowl of the mixer (doesn't have to be totally clean), and attach the paddle attachment to the mixer. Add the cubed butter and 2 tablespoons of flour and beat until smooth and creamy. Do not overmix – we are not mixing or creaming as we would for cookie dough.2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- Shape and Chill the Butter Square – Scrape the butter onto the middle of a long piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap, shape the butter into a flat square – approx. 6-inch x 6-inch wide by 1-inch thick. We are using the plastic wrap to shape rather than our hands so we don't melt the butter. Wrap the butter completely in the wrap and chill in the refrigerator while the dough is proofing.
- Shape the Dough – Once the dough has proofed, pour it onto a generously floured work surface, and sprinkle the top lightly with flour. Roll the dough into a square, approximately 10-inch x 10-inch. Use a pastry brush to brush excess flour off the dough.
- Place the Butter Square – Remove the chilled butter from the refrigerator, and place diagonally in the center of the dough (so the butter looks like a diamond in the center of the dough square). Fold the four corners of the dough over the butter, tightly pinching each of the seams to close tightly.
- Refrigerate the Dough – You can use one of the prepared baking sheets you need to bake the croissants to refrigerate the dough. Or, to save room in the fridge, use a smaller baking sheet or large plate. Place the dough packet on your baking sheet (or plate), cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 60 minutes.
- Roll and Fold the Dough – Place the chilled dough packet, seams side up, onto a well-floured surface. 1. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and roll into a 16-inch x 8-inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. 2. Brush off the excess flour. 3. Working from the left and right sides, fold each side into the center of the dough – just like folding a letter into thirds. 4. Place the dough back onto the baking sheet (or plate), cover, and refrigerate again for at least 60 minutes.
- Repeat Roll and Fold the Dough – You are going to repeat the rolling, folding, and refrigerating process (steps 1-4 above) 2 more times (also called 'turns') – for a total of 3 turns. Each time, you start with the dough long side facing you. When you have completed all turns, brush excess flour off of the dough and wrap the folded in dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least overnight.
- Remove the chilled dough from the plastic wrap and place it on a lightly floured surface. Cut the rectangle in half (to make rolling and shaping the dough more manageable), and place one half of the dough back in the fridge.
- Line your two baking sheets with parchment paper (you may already have one prepared if you used it to refrigerate your dough).
- Roll the dough into a rectangle – approx. 13-inch wide x 10-inch tall, and about 1/4 inch thick – with the long side facing you. Trim the edges to make them straight. We are going to make triangles that are 4-inch x 9-inch. The shape of the rectangle and trimming straight edges will accommodate these shape sizes.
- Cut Croissant Triangles (see the Notes below for a sketch on how to cut) – I recommend using a pizza cutter, or a very sharp knife to cut the croissant triangles. Once you have your straight rectangle, make two notches in the bottom of the long side, every 4-inches. On the top of the rectangle, make a notch at 2-inches from each corner. Then, from either of those notches, make one more at 4-inches. You will have a total of 3 notches on the top, and 2 on the bottom of the rectangle. You are going to have scraps of dough – and there are recommendations on how to use in the recipe Notes. New Tip – An awesome reader provided an alternative way to cut the croissants without scraps, that yields a total of 12 croissants. See the Notes below.
- Start with the wide end of the triangle and roll up to the point. The roll does not need to be tight, and it does not need to be loose. Just a natural roll of the dough.
- Repeat the above steps for the other half of the dough you put in the refrigerator
- Freezing Note – It is at this time, before the final proof, that you can freeze the croissants. If you are working with frozen croissants, remove them from the freezer the night before you want to bake them. Place the croissants on a baking sheet and thaw in the refrigerator. Then, the next morning you are going to bake them, allow them to come to room temperature for at least an hour (consider this the final proof time for frozen croissants), then follow the baking instructions below.
- Final Proof Shaped Croissants – Place the shaped croissants on the prepared baking sheets, with the point of the croissant down – 5 per sheet (or 6 with alt. cutting method). Cover the baking sheets with a proofing bag or large piece of plastic wrap. Tip – I use a large turkey roasting bag as my proofing bag. Set the croissants in a warm place to proof, until the croissants have doubled in size and are soft and pillowy – about 60 to 90 minutes.
- Preheat the Oven – Towards the end of the proof time, preheat the oven to 375F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. 350F degrees if you are using a convection fan oven.
- Brush the beaten egg on each croissant and bake for 20 minutes – rotating the pans halfway through – until the croissants are nice and golden. Immediately transfer the croissants to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!1 large egg, beaten
- Storing – Croissants are best the day they are baked! However, they will last for up to 2 days at room temperature. Beyond that, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to a week.
- Freezing – You can freeze tightly wrapped croissants for up to 3 months and thaw at room temperature. I recommend reheating leftover croissants in the oven at 325F degrees for 5 minutes.
- Primary Cutting Method – Will yield straight triangles and 10 croissants:
- Alternative Cutting Method – To eliminate scraps and get 12 croissants:
- With this method, the croissants may be slightly smaller and not a perfect triangle shape. But, you’ll get a couple more croissants!
- Follow the steps through Step 8
- It is your choice whether or not to trim the edges with this cutting method.
- Cut the dough rectangle into 3 equal sections. Depending on if you trimmed the edges, each section will be roughly 4-inches wide.
- Then cut each section into a diagonal – yielding 2 croissants per section, for a total of 6 croissants.
- Repeat the steps for the other half of dough you put in the fridge.
- Monkey Bread Grease mini bundt pans, or the cups of a muffin pan. How many will depend on how many scraps you have leftover. I was able to make 3 mini bundts. Cut the scraps into small pieces (approx. 2-inches), and gently shape into balls. Toss in cinnamon sugar and place in prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
- Cinnamon Pastry Twists Twist the scraps and sprinkle all sides with cinnamon sugar. Bake on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, or until golden brown
- Cinnamon Pinwheels Sprinkle the dough with cinnamon sugar and twist into a pinwheel. Bake on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Donut Holes Gently roll the scraps into equal size balls. Fry in 2-inches of canola oil heated to 350F degrees (I use a Dutch oven for frying treats). Roll the donut holes in powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or your favorite glaze.
about the author ...
I'm Erin and I'm all about desserts - and a little bit of butter!
I've tested, written, and photographed hundreds of recipes on my website. Here you'll find the tastiest small batch gluten free and traditional desserts - all homemade, all simple, and all for you!