It’s funny how my mind works when it comes to the kitchen.  The majority of the time, I have tons of kitchen projects, ideas, etc. planned out for weeks in advance.  It’s embarrassingly organized.  I have inspiration notes, checklists, timelines.  Usually I plan so much that I can’t even get to it all.  And then sometimes an impulse strikes and I need to make something right now.  That is what happened when I decided to make croissants.  They have always been on my list of kitchen goals and suddenly I was ready to cross them off the list.

Making pastry is always such fun for me.  I get such enjoyment from the process of it, and seeing the end results makes every second worth it.  The steps are not all that complicated and it is mostly a matter of patience while waiting on the dough to chill, fold, chill and so on.  Any thought of these not being worth the effort would be quickly dashed when you tear into one and see the tender buttery layers.

I know someone will ask if these can be made in advance and frozen at some point during the process.  The truth is, I’m not sure.  Normally the editors of Cook’s Illustrated make notes when such pauses are possible, but they did not mention it here.  Next time I make these I will try it with a freeze after the second set of folds and be sure to update the post with my results.  The finished croissants can be frozen after baking and rewarmed in the oven, but I tried this and they don’t hold a candle to the fresh ones.  Thankfully, when kept airtight, they were pretty good for the first two days after a quick 10-15 second spin in the microwave.

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Yield: 12 croissants
For the dough:
3 cups (15 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
1 tbsp. instant yeast
¼ cup (1¾ oz.) sugar
1¼ tsp. salt
1¼ cups whole milk, cold
2 tbsp. unsalted butter

For the butter square:
24 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces and kept cold
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

Egg wash:
1 large egg, lightly beaten

To make the dough, combine 2¾ cups of the flour together with the yeast, sugar and salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk together and set aside.  Add the milk to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Add the dry ingredients and knead on low speed until a ball of dough forms, about 5 minutes.  Cut the butter into small pieces and add them to the dough.  Continue to knead until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth.  The dough should form a ball and begin to clear the sides of the bowl, about 5-6 minutes more.  The dough should be sticky but if the dough sticks more to the bowl than itself, add the remaining ¼ cup of flour a small bit at a time as needed.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the butter square, toss together the butter pieces and flour on a clean work surface.  Smear the butter back and forth using a bench scraper against the work surface until they have combined into a smooth, homogenous mixture.  (See this post for photos of making a butter square.)  Wrap the butter mixture in plastic wrap and use the edges of the plastic to form it into a 7-inch square.  Refrigerate until ready to use, at least 30 minutes.

Dust a work surface with flour.

Roll the dough into an 11-inch square .

Place the chilled butter square diagonally onto the dough.

Fold the corners of the dough up over the butter square so that they meet in the middle and pinch the edges of the dough together to seal them.

Using a rolling pin, gently tap the dough starting from the center of the dough and working outward, until the square becomes larger and the butter begins to soften.

Start gently rolling the dough into a 14-inch square, being careful to make sure the work surface stays well floured and the dough is not sticking.

Fold the dough into thirds to form a long rectangle.

Starting from the narrow ends, fold the rectangle into thirds again to form a square.  (This completes two turns of the dough.)  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Repeat this entire process again, tap the dough starting from the center of the dough and working outward, then rolling out to a 14-inch square.  Fold the dough into thirds to form a rectangle and into thirds again to form a square, completing two more turns.  Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 more hours.

To shape the croissants, line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Place the chilled dough onto the floured work surface and gently roll into a 20-inch square.  (My pastry mat does not fit this size, so I worked with half of the dough at a time and made a 10- by 20-inch rectangle.)

Cut each half into three rectangles and then slice each rectangle diagonally to yield 12 triangles.  Working with one triangle at a time, gently stretch the dough so that the two long sides are equal in length.

Cut a 1-inch slit in the base of the triangle.

Fold the two corners of the slit outward and begin rolling the triangle up, gently stretching the dough as you roll.  Leave the last ¼-inch of the tip unrolled.

Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and fold the ends toward each other to make a crescent shape.  Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let rise at room temperature until puffy, about 45-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Brush the shaped croissants lightly with the egg wash.  Bake until the croissants are golden brown, 18-22 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.  Allow to cool on a wire rack at least 15 minutes.  Store airtight at room temperature for up to 2 days or wrap well and freeze.  Reheat in a 300˚ F oven for 5-10 minutes.

Source: adapted from Baking Illustrated

  • For some reason, croissants have always seemed so mysterious to me. “No one can make them!” I’d think. “They just appear in bakeries by magic.” Thanks for showing the step-by-step process; I’m looking forward to giving them a shot!

  • Your croissants look gorgeous. I am the same way about planning recipes, it takes something really special to get me to change my plan.

  • Sasha

    In the first step, when you add the butter to the flour in the mixing bowl, should the butter be cold or softened?

  • These have been on my to-make list ever since I tackled the Danish from Baking Illustrated. Yours look perfect! Your pastry posts always remind me that I need to buy a pastry mat, and I’m doing that today so that I can have it when I make these. :)

  • Stephanie

    unbaked croissants do not freeze well. M aybe a couple of days would be ok, but longer is not good, they just won’t rise. I love that rolling technique and will definitely try it next time I make croissants.

  • I’m the opposite when it comes to the kitchen – I ususally choose what to make based on what I happen to have in the house.
    These croissants looks really great, but I can’t believe there are 2(!) tablespoons of butter per croissant. I wish I didn’t love them so much!

  • Just FYI – with croissants, you can freeze directly after shaping. Then when you want to bake, just defrost overnight in the fridge, proof in the morning, and bake. Good as new! Also, now I want to make croissants.

  • Thank you for this! You make it look so incredibly easy and actually doable. My husband and I were just talking about making our own croissants, so now we can!

  • Annie

    The recipe doesn’t specify. I think I did warmer than cold, buy not quite room temp.

  • I have always wanted to know how to make these! Going on my “to try” list for sure – seems adventurous. Thanks, Annie!

  • Thanks for the step by step instructions! Looks like a fantastic recipe and a fun one at that. I signed up for my first pastry course (!) and I think the first week covers this. Yay!

  • I’ve always wanted to know how to do this. Thank you!!

  • WOW, they look so good. The recipe looks like something I can do, I really have to try :-)

    My best,
    Birthe from Denmark

  • Jo H

    Oh Annie! These are beautiful!

  • Lovely croissants :)

    You can freeze the unbaked croissants right after shaping them and before proofing. When ready to bake, thaw overnight in the fridge, proof as usual, and then bake as usual. It’s recommended to use them within a week or so, though, even if you freeze them.

  • Beautiful job! These look just perfect.

  • Kristina

    You have me so excited! These look easier than I thought they’d be. I see a weekend project in my future.

  • Goodness we are so insanely impressed. We pretty much love croissants more than anything but have never had the guts to attempt them…although maybe now we will! Your step by step instructions are so helpful!

  • These are beautiful, Annie! Alex has been researching how to make croissants for a while – it’s great to see success is possible! :)

  • Maggi

    I second Caitlin’s recommendation. I have made croissant dough, formed and frozen croissants and then baked at a later date.

    Usually, I just put the croissants on a cookie sheet and place in the oven overnight before heading to bed and then bake immediately after we wake.

  • Wow, your croissants look like they came straight from a bakery! They look incredibly soft and flaky and buttery – delish!!

  • Cate

    These look great and I can’t wait to make them. I have a quick question about the step where you form the croissant. Your instructions say to leave the last 1/4″ tip unrolled. I don’t see in the next few steps what we’re supposed to do with the tip. I assume we’d seal it with the egg wash, but want to be sure I’m not overlooking this step in the instructions.


  • I have been waiting on this one! We ate chicken salad sandwiches on “sandwich rolls” last night… and it just wasn’t the same.

  • Alice

    I have been wanting to make my own croissants but have felt too intimdidated, or that maybe the results wouldn’t be as good as a bakery. But these looks wonderful and there doesn’t really seem to be anything intimidating about them at all! Thanks for the inspiration – it’s just the kick I need!

  • Wow! You make this look easy :) Thanks for sharing the step by step!

  • Go Annie!! Croissants have been on my hit list for way too long. This looks almost easy to do!! Cooks Illustrated is the best – I want to make croissants now too :)

  • I couldn’t wait to see your croissants because as the previous comment said, they were always mysterious to me. :) Thanks for making it seem do-able! Adding it to my “to-do” for sometime this year.

  • Annie

    You just leave it unrolled. You don’t need to do anything beyond that. It bakes together.

  • Heather Vernon

    Perfect timing. I was wondering what dough I should use to make chicken pillows tonight, since the Pillsbury dough just doesn’t taste so good anymore.

  • Looks divine! I can’t wait to make these and bring a little bit of France to our breakfast table!

  • Those are absolutely beautiful. I really, REALLY want to attempt croissants but they’re on my “intimidation list”. If I work up the nerve I will definitely reference this step-by-step.

  • You can freeze them after shaping, before rising. Just like any other bread, they just need to defrost, warm up, and finish rising before baking. In my experience, they bake up just as light and fluffy as those baked immediately after forming.

    I’ve tried a few croissant recipes, but I haven’t made any in close to a year. I’ve definitely had croissants on the mind lately, so maybe I’ll give this recipe a try next.

  • Beautiful croissants! I will be making these for sure! I think I will try a few with chocolate inside :)

  • Tish

    Perfect timing!…I was just talking with a foodie about wanting to attempt croissants!…Thanks for sharing!

  • Annie

    I did that as well! Will share in a later post :)

  • Becky

    Speaking of croissants – I just finished reading My Life in France by Julia Child. It was really good – if you like reading, I recommend it!

  • Annie

    I’ve read it, and loved it!

  • These are so impressive, Annie! Lovely recipe and beautiful photos.

  • These look amazing. Now I am wanting croissants. I will have to put them on my short list of things to try. Maybe a good option for spring break with the kiddos.

  • Cate


  • Rebecca

    Hi there

    what an amazing recipe for croissants! I want to try them for so long, but I just haven’t had the courage yet.
    I have one question… after finishing the first round of folding and everything you wrote “Repeat this entire process again”. Does that only means the folding or do I also have to put another butter square on the chilled dough?

    – Rebecca

  • These look better than store-bought. The lightness of your dough is apparent in the final product. I hope one day I work up the nerve to try these!

  • Annie

    Just the folding.

  • That looks perfect and gorgeous. I’m bookmarking this page, next on my list to do.

  • Omg I have NEVER seen a more perfect croissant! This is crazy…I have to try making this! SO glad I found your blog, it’s wonderful! :)

  • Amazing job. I’d love to try these.

  • these good amazing, but I’ve always been afraid to make them. i will definitely try these.

  • These look so so good! I’m going to have to try this recipe as quickly as I get moved into my new house! Looks like a perfect way to break in my NEW kitchen! :)

  • Those look so flakey and oh so delicious! They look better than any of that canned stuff. :)


  • Beth

    Wow, do those look good. Quick question, since I noticed that you have the flour and sugar listed in both cups and ounces. Would you recommend going with the ounces and measuring with my scale? Or just spooning it into a measuring cup and leveling it off? Thanks!!

  • Gorgeous Croissants!!!

  • Annie

    I always recommend measuring by weight when weight measures are provided.

  • These turned out BEAUTIFUL! I have been wanting to make James Peterson’s croissant recipe but have put it off for quite some time now because of the lengthy process. Thanks for the detailed instructions and lovely pictures!

  • My goal this year is to make chocolate croissants. I’m so glad you posted the recipe and pictures on what to do, this will make my job so much easier. Thank you.

  • Oh boy, I MUST make these soon. My husband is crazy about croissants and will be so excited! Thanks for the great how-to : )

  • I knew croissants were pretty buttery, but had NO IDEA that this was how they were made. Thanks for the eye opener! Beautiful work!

  • I need to try to make croissants. They are just too amazing to pass up!

  • Annie – this is a great tutorial. I may not have ever attempted croissants but now I think I might…that is, when I get can the kids off to Grandma’s for an afternoon! Truly these are spectacular! ♥- Katrina

  • Excellent receipe! You really worked hard to get such beautiful croissants!
    I will try them!

  • Kristina

    Thanks so much for this recipe. My final product was greeted with this comment from my husband… “Wow! These taste like real croissants!” Outstanding!

  • Love the picture of the inside layers. It’s almost miraculous how it works, don’t you think?

  • Thank you so much for this post! My husband LOVES croissants and these are wonderful! I can attest–made them this morning!! Flaky, buttery and wonderful! You haven’t let me down yet and I’ve been making your recipes for awhile! :) TY!

  • you make these look so easy! i can’t wait to try ’em.

  • These are so pretty!!!

  • i have yet to cross this off the list. but lately i’ve been researching some bakeries (in hopes of finding a decent croissant) and it got me thinking i need to make my own. a little scared, but it can’t be that hard.
    you did a wonderful job. i think i should finally give these a go; i really want to add some almond paste in them too.

  • Kudos! These look amazing.
    I once took a whole class for making croissants. We did some things differently than you but the results were spectacular.

  • Tembo

    Ooh LA LA these look fabulous Annie:) – you really are the BOMB of a cook you know. Your blog has inspired me SO much – and after having 4 children and the busiest years of my life my love of cooking was pushed to the wayside a bit – your blog has re-ignited my cooking passion and I feel like Ive rediscovered myself. Thank you for all your lovely work and pictures and effort -you have really opened up a new chapter of something new and exciting for me:)

  • I absolutely agree !! homemade croissant definitely worth the effort !!

  • those look incredible!!! :)

  • Heather

    Well I did it. I conquered Croissants, and I must say they turned out excellent for my first try. Thank you for posting your step by step instructions, I’ve always wanted to try making Crosisants but was always afraid of all the steps. You made it extrememly easy to follow. Next time I’m going to try baking 1/2 and freezing the others without baking them.

  • Wow, I can’t wait to make these. I just made the William Sonoma ones (well, I baked them) and have been wanting to try to make some of my own! Yum, I can’t wait to try these out.

  • Danielle

    Hi Annie (and other bakers)
    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and have had a lot of fun trying out some of the recipes. I had a question though. On a lot of your baked goods, cookies, bread, etc. You mention a silicone baking mat or using parchment paper. What exactly is the reasoning for this? What kind of silicone mat do you use/prefer (and where would you get this at?)

  • Annie

    It lines the pan and prevents things from sticking. I use a silpat, though i’m sure any kind is fine. You can find them wherever you buy kitchen equipment.

  • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Fantastic step by step instructions. Holy cow, I’ve made croissants from scratch, and they were so good! Between this and your pasta intro, I am on my way to being a real gourtmet home cook. Thank you so much for opening my world.

    This really is an all day procress. I didn’t start until too late in the day, and it was getting very late, so I rushed things towards the end. My kitchen was a bit warm, so things didn’t stay as cold as I should have kept them. I was afraid it would be a big kitchen fail, but even with doing things not 100% perfect, they still turned out so flakey and delicious! They spread out a bit more than I wanted, but again I think that was due to my butter warming up. But I was so amazed when I bit into one and found huge crevasses of beautiful air.

    Like the pasta, it wasn’t perfect the first time, but it turned out great enough that I’m confident my second attempt will be fantastic. I definitely wouldn’t mind your recommendations for adding chocolate and how to roll it, etc.

    Such a great post. You are the best!

  • Annie

    Awesome! I’m so glad they were a success :)

  • mindy

    Thank you, Annie! Your tutorial is completely awesome. I just baked my second batch this afternoon (half chocolate, half almond this time) and am so impressed. My fiance is obsessed with them and ate four in one sitting (which is why I can’t bake them every weekend!). I used about 1/3 cup sugar this time for a slightly sweeter dough and was really pleased with the results. Thank you for the wonderful step-by-step pictures and instructions!

  • I’ve made these twice and they are absolutely perfect. Buttery, flaky, and delicious. Thank you so much for your tutorial, it really helped me. My sister prefers them the next day because they taste like the ones from Costco. lolz

  • Annie, love this post and your recipe and only just discovered it today. I’m posting a link to it on my FB page!

  • Hind

    Hey! I made these last night and they were heavenly good, heavy though. I was totally full with one peice. :) But, I loved it. thanks for sharing :)

  • Traci Howard

    Thank you, that was my exact question.

  • Ina

    Just pulled these out of the oven. . . . Only one word comes to mind AMAZING! !

  • Just made these this morning (which was a little rough post new years eve), but they still turned out great! You always make things look easy, so I was surprised when the steps actually looked like the pictures in my own kitchen. This dough is really nice to work with!

  • Annette

    These are amazing. I used the cooks illustrated recipe substituting Jules Gluten free flour for the regular flour. They came out amazing. I actually did freeze some of the dough. First shaped into croissants and then freeze on a baking sheet and then later transfer to a freezer bag. When I want some fresh croissants, I pull them out and let them rise a couple hours and pop them in the oven as directed. Always yummy!

  • dri

    I am making these for the first time …..wish me luck

  • Helen

    I made these last night. I must say they are time-consuming and there were times when i felt could this really work.
    But the results are great. My pastry is flaky, buttery and not dry like the supermarket versions. I usually do not like butter croissants (always preferring a filling). These are truly great. Thank Annie

  • dri

    Quick question, is there a significant difference in using whole mile vs 2%? Just thought I should ask all my silly questions before diving in head first.

  • Anonymous

    It’s fine to use 2%.

  • Roohi

    Hi Annie! I just made the croissants, and while they were baking some of the butter melted and oozed out. Is that normal?

  • Anonymous

    Hi Roohi,
    It’s hard to say since I wasn’t there whether the amount was “normal” or not. I wouldn’t worry about it too much as long as the end product was still good.

  • Michelle

    Hi Annie, I love the croissants! They are deeeee-licious :) I was wondering though, is it possible to add flavor to the croissants – such as Strawberry or coconut? If so, how would you do so? Because I tried some strawberries croissants and just love it!

  • annieseats

    I would fill them with whatever you were interested in adding.

  • Agnespterry

    So tried making these this afternoon . . . Easier than my first attempt, which failed at making the dough/butter wrap and roll, but this time the butter dripped into the bottom of the oven, causing smoke and steam. Turned on oven fan, opened kitchen door and oven, and hurriedly pulled out the bread. Hopefully it had enough time to cook. I am frankly surprised the smoke alarm did not go off. Going to google how to clean ovens because I can’t leave this mess for Mom.

  • Meghan

    Dear Roohi,
    I had a similar issue with my croissants. I think it’s because the butter gets a little warm after the last turn. I just popped my dough in the freezer wrapped for 10 minutes and proceeded with the final rolling out.

  • Deepthi

    Thank you Annie for posting this recipe.. It came out really well. All your recipes are fantastic !

  • Caroline

    I made these yesterday. Fabulous. Everybody loved them…even my picky ones.

  • Kristi

    Made these tonight, my house smells like a boulangerie. Thanks again for the great recipe!

  • Madison

    my croissants are a little doughy in the middle . What should I do ?

  • annieseats

    If they are doughy, they probably needed to bake a little longer.

  • I made thrum today and they are delicious. Thank you for posting your Recipes.

  • Bitsy Hatch

    I sooo want to learn how to make my own croissants! This recipes sounds great!

  • Richard Hooker

    Great recipe! Second time I made these, I added some almond paste to the butter square. My sister is into almond flavor right now, and she downed 2 in a heartbeat. Just a minor addition, but turns these into dessert.

  • Angela

    I did it! These were on my “bake someday” list. I was super nervous to make these, but I did it and your recipe guide made it so easy. Because I’d never made these before, I decided to quadruple the recipe. (I’m rather all or nothing.) Everyone at Thanksgiving enjoyed your recipe. Thanks so much. You’re the best.

  • Annie

    Oh good, I’m so glad! Way to go! I’m actually planning to post another version soon, so maybe you’ll have to make those for comparison :)

  • Angela

    I guess I could do that. I mean, I did say I’d follow you through any recipe and probably all other things… :)