Classic Croissants


Croissant is French for “crescent,” but the pastry doesn’t always match its name. Croissants au beurre, or butter croissants, are often rolled straight, since croissants ordinaire, made with margarine, are required by French law to be turned in like a crescent moon. Use a ruler when cutting the dough to ensure evenly-sized croissants. Be sure to trim away the edges of the dough before measuring and cutting; butter can be unevenly dispersed around the edges, resulting in less-than-flaky results.

Classic Croissants
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Active Time:
1 hr 50 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs 20 mins



  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Uncover refrigerated croissant dough, and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour top of dough, and roll into a 24- x 12-inch rectangle, with one long side facing you.

  2. Use a pizza cutter to trim edges and create a 23- x 11-inch rectangle; discard scraps. Using a small knife and working from bottom left corner, mark bottom long side of the rectangle at 3 1/2-inch intervals. Starting from top left corner, make a mark 13/4 inches from corner on top long side; continue marking dough at 3 1/2-inch intervals. Using a ruler as a guide, cut dough in a straight line from bottom left corner of dough rectangle up to 1 3/4-inch mark and back down to first 3 1/2-inch mark, creating a triangle. Continue cutting across dough to yield 12 triangles; discard scraps. Place triangles in a single layer on 1 prepared baking sheet; cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 15 minutes.

  3. Gently stretch 1 dough triangle lengthwise to form a 13-inch long triangle. Roll the base of the triangle toward the point, gently pressing point into dough to secure. Place croissant, point side down, on second prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough triangles, placing croissants at least 2 inches apart on both baking sheets. Proceed with recipe, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 8 hours or overnight for deeper flavor.

  4. Whisk together egg and milk in a small bowl. Brush croissants lightly with egg mixture, using a paper towel to wipe away excess. Reserve remaining egg mixture in refrigerator. To proof croissants, add 2 cups hot water to a small bowl, and place in a cold oven. Place baking sheets with croissants, uncovered, in oven with hot water. Close door, and let proof until croissants double in size and jiggle when you shake the baking sheets, 2 to 3 hours. Remove croissants and water from oven; let croissants stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place oven rack in middle position.

  5. Gently brush 1 baking sheet of croissants with a second coat of egg mixture. Place baking sheet on middle rack in preheated oven, and immediately decrease temperature to 375°F. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 22 to 28 minutes. Transfer croissants to a wire rack. Return oven temperature to 425°F. Repeat process with egg mixture and remaining croissants. Serve croissants warm, or let cool completely, about 1 hour. (Croissants are best eaten the day they are baked.)

Make Ahead

Croissants can be frozen at the end of step 3. Freeze, uncovered, until hard, about 2 hours; transfer to a ziplock plastic bag. Thaw overnight on baking sheets, covered tightly with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. Proceed with step 4.


Croissants bake most evenly on the middle oven rack. If your oven is large enough to accommodate 2 pans side by side, both batches may be baked at once.

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