These butter croissants are flaky, buttery, and so rich. This recipe also uses a unique method that is quicker and easier than the traditional French croissant method!
If you’ve ever made (or even just watched a video on how to make) croissants, you should know what I mean when I say that standard croissant making is a labor of love!
Well not this method! After a ton of testing (and a lot of snacking!), I’ve boiled down croissant making to the bare minimum steps and chilling times. This recipe is a lot easier to make then regular croissants, and it comes together in less than half the time!
Bonus! This is also a no knead croissant dough.
• Water and Milk: I like to use a combination of water and milk in my croissant dough. The milk adds richness, fat, and softness to the dough, while the water gives it more structure and helps with crispiness. While yeast doughs usually use lukewarm liquid, croissants use cool ingredients to help keep the butter solid.
• Sugar & Yeast: The sugar gives the yeast something to feed on and grow. The yeast is used to develop the dough’s texture and flavor.
• Flour: Plain, all-purpose flour is used here to give body to the croissants. You can also use bread flour for denser and chewier croissants if you like.
• Salt: Used to season.
• Butter: The star of the show! Butter gives the croissants their rich flavor, and helps with the texture. As the butter bakes and melts, it creates steam, which gives a flakier final croissant. This recipe calls for butter that’s been cubed and frozen.
Working the cubed butter into the dough directly helps get the laminating process started. Frozen butter is important to make sure the butter stays firm during the whole process! Your butter should be frozen for at least 1 hour before using. If you have the time, overnight freezing is even better!
• Egg yolk and Milk / Cream: The egg yolk and milk or cream are for the egg wash that goes on top of the croissants before baking. This helps give them a shiny and deep golden color on top when they bake.
You can use either milk or heavy cream here. The heavy cream will give more richness, but the milk does the same job just as well. This time around, I ended up using cream just because I had some on hand!
How to make croissants: The traditional way:
If you were to make a traditional croissant recipe, it would involve first making a basic yeast dough and letting that rest and rise.
Next, you would need to make a butter layer. The butter layer is made by pounding and shaping some butter into a square that’s about 8×8 inches. This butter is then chilled to set.
Now comes the most time consuming part: laminating the dough. This involves rolling out your yeast dough into a rectangle that’s slightly larger than your square of butter. The butter square in then placed on top of the dough, and the dough is folded over the butter in the center to cover it.
The process then involves rolling, folding, and then chilling the dough. Annnd repeat. This process is usually repeated between 3 to 5 times before shaping and baking!
How to make croissants: The easier method!
This recipe skips making a butter layer and just adds cold butter straight to the dough. Before starting your croissants, cut a stick of butter into cubes that are about an inch all around, and freeze for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight.
To make the croissant dough, start by combining your water, milk, sugar, and yeast in a medium bowl. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes for the yeast to dissolve. The mixture should start to bubble and foam along the surface as well.
In a separate large bowl, combine your flour and salt. Whisk to combine. Add your frozen butter to the flour. Stir to distribute the butter and coat it in the flour. Pour your wet ingredients into the flour butter mixture. Stir everything together until your dough comes together.
Transfer your dough to a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
Take the dough out of the fridge and unwrap. Lightly flour your work surface, and place your dough on your surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle that’s about 9 x 15 inches.
Starting from the short end of your dough, roll the dough up tightly into a tube. Rotate the dough 90°. Roll the dough out into a rectangle again, and repeat the rolling processes once more.
Cover the dough in plastic wrap again and chill for another 1 hour or up to 12 hours.
And we’re ready to shape! Look at all the layers we’ve got by just rolling the dough into a tube instead of using the traditional laminating method!
For shaping the dough, we’re keeping it traditional. I like to start by cutting my dough in half just to make it easier to work with. Then, lightly flour your dough to prevent sticking.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle that’s about 1/4 inch thick, and cut the border off to create straight edges. Then cut triangles out in the dough.
Take one triangle and make a short cut on the bottom of the triangle. This helps your croissants expand when they bake.
Starting from the bottom of the triangle, roll up the croissant into a tube.
Repeat the rolling and shaping process until all of the dough is used up. Transfer the shaped croissants (seam side down) to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and let the croissants rise for 30 minutes at room temperature.
The croissants should be a little under double in size. Brush the croissants with your egg wash.
Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown on the outside. Cool slightly before serving!
How to store croissants:
You can store your croissants at room temperature, in the fridge, or even freeze croissants! Any method you choose, make sure to keep your croissants in either an airtight container or plastic bag for maximum freshness!
Croissants will keep for up to 3 days at room temperature, 1 week in the fridge, or 3 months frozen. If freezing, use a freezer safe airtight container or plastic bag for storage.
Croissants taste best fresh and warm, but you can reheat old croissants to make them good as new! To reheat croissants, preheat your oven to 350°F and heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and warmed through.
If heating straight from the freezer, you’ll probably need to leave them in closer to the 10 minute mark to defrost.
If you liked this easy croissant recipe, check out these other recipes!
Easy and Quick Croissants Recipe
For the croissants:
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 & 1/4 teaspoons yeast
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and shaping
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and frozen * see notes
For the egg wash:
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon milk or cream
- To Make the Croissant Dough: In a small bowl, combine your water, milk, sugar, and yeast. Stir to combine, and let sit for 5 minutes, or until bubbling and foamy on top.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together your flour and salt. Add your frozen butter to the flour, and toss to distribute the butter and coat the butter in the flour. Add your yeast mixture to the flour / butter mixture. Stir until everything comes together into a dough. Don't knead! ** (see notes)
- Laminating the Croissant Dough: Take your chilled dough out of the fridge and unwrap. Place on a lightly floured work surface, and roll the dough out into a rectangle that's about 9 x 15 inches large. Starting from a short end of the dough, roll the dough up tightly into a tube (like you would for cinnamon rolls). Rotate the dough 90°, and roll the dough out into a 9 x 15 inch rectangle again. Roll the dough into a tube once more, then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for another hour or up to 12 hours.
- Shaping the Croissants: Take your chilled dough out of the fridge and place on a lightly floured work surface. To make shaping easier, I like to cut my dough in half and keep the other half in the fridge while I work to keep the butter cold. Roll the dough out into a rectangle that's just under a 1/4 inch thick. Cut off the sides of the dough to create straight edges, then cut triangles out of the dough.
- Take one triangle and cut a short 1/2 inch slit on the bottom of the triangle. This helps with expansion while the croissants bake! Starting from the bottom of the triangle, roll the dough into a tube. Repeat the rolling and shaping with the remaining dough.
- Transfer your shaped croissants (seam side down) onto a large, parchment lined baking sheet. Make sure to leave about 1 inch between each croissant to give them room to expand. Cover the croissants and let them sit and rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until just under doubled in size. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- In a small bowl, beat together your egg yolk and cream. Brush this egg wash on your croissants once they've finished rising. Bake the croissants in the preheated 400°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they turn a deep golden brown color on the outside. Cool slightly before serving.