There’s no denying that doughnuts are irresistible — we love them whether they’re filled, glazed or even completely plain. And if you think they couldn’t get even more delicious, meet the croissant doughnut (or “Cronut”). The treat merges flaky croissant pastry with the signature round shape of a doughnut, so you get to experience rich, sugary and buttery flavors in each bite. Tempted to try? Luckily, you don’t need to travel to a fancy bakery or pay a lot to get them shipped online. We tapped three professional bakers for how to make croissant doughnuts at home. Keeping reading for two recipes (including a 3-ingredient shortcut) to satisfy your sugar cravings.
What are croissant doughnuts?
Croissant doughnuts are made using a laminated dough, which is a type of dough containing multiple layers of butter. These butter layers help the dough puff up during frying, which creates flaky, crisp cronuts. Once fried and drained, cronuts are traditionally filled with pastry cream, dusted with sugar and dipped in glaze before serving.
The popularity of cronuts
The master baker behind the Cronut is Dominique Ansel, who invented it in 2013 as a unique treat for his wife. His pastry was the first of its kind as it mashed up the flavors and textures of both croissants and doughnuts.
Ansel carefully perfected the recipe before debuting it in his New York bakery, and it quickly received rave reviews from dessert lovers across the world. Cronuts remain a best-selling treat at Ansel’s bakery, drawing in crowds. For those who can’t get there in person, you can order online for nearly $40. Luckily, you can skip the long lines and pricey shipping costs by re-creating this prized pasty at home instead using pantry staples.
How to make flaky homemade croissant doughnuts
One of the key steps in achieving flaky homemade croissant doughnuts is keeping the dough super cold. The reason? According to Meg Galus, executive pastry chef at Good Ambler in Chicago, chilled temperatures stop the butter layers from melting as you’re working. This ensures those separate layers of butter puff properly during the frying process.
“Rolling laminated doughs by hand is hard work and builds gluten and friction, so work in short bursts, letting the dough rest and chill as needed,” she recommends. Most croissant doughnuts recipes list rest and chill times, so there’s need to guess when the dough needs a quick blast in the fridge or freezer!
1. Use a sharp cutter when forming the croissant doughnuts.
When cutting out your dough, use a sharp doughnut or cookie cutter about 3 inches in diameter to create clean edges. A cutter like the HULISEN Donut Cutter (Buy from Amazon, $12.99) is a great choice as it simultaneously cuts the larger doughnut and the inner hole, which makes preparing Cronuts much easier. Be sure to press the cutter straight down into the dough instead of twisting it. This prevents the layers from sealing together and rising unevenly during the frying process.
2. Maintain a consistent frying temperature.
Frying at a steady temperature range (between 350°F and 360°F) ensures the croissant doughnuts achieve a crispy exterior and a fully cooked interior. Additionally, you should fry only a few at a time, allowing enough space for them to float freely. Overcrowding can lower the oil temperature and result in greasy pastries.
3. Experiment with various croissant doughnut flavorings.
Get creative with how you flavor your batch of DIY cronuts by filling them with various creams, jams or custards. You can also glaze them with different icing flavors or simply drizzle them with melted chocolate. Plus, sprinkling chopped nuts or a decorative sugar gives them an added crunch.
4. Enjoy Cronuts while they’re fresh.
Cronuts are best enjoyed fresh on the day they’re made. If you need to store them, do so in an airtight container to keep the pastry as dry as possible. While croissant doughnuts may lose some of their crispness over time, you can remedy that by quickly warming them up in the oven (more on that later!).
Ultimately, making croissant doughnuts is the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth and expand your dessert-making skills. Simply pick one of the croissant doughnut recipes below and get ready indulge!
For a quick treat: puff pastry croissant doughnuts
This recipe from Cookist Wow’s YouTube Channel is a speedy dessert option as it uses store-bought puff pastry, which you can roll and shape into doughnuts before frying. Afterwards, the crispy cronuts get dunked in melted chocolate and topped with chopped hazelnuts for a decadent, nutty treat. (Click through for more easy and delicious recipes for puff pastry desserts.)
Puff Pastry Croissant Donuts
- 1 large sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- Melted dark chocolate
- Chopped hazelnuts
- Active: 10 mins
- Total time: 30 mins
- Yield: approximately 5 cronuts
- Remove puff pastry from packaging and place on lightly floured surface. Roll pastry into wider, thinner rectangle. Using 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut 15 or as many circles as possible on puff pastry sheet. Join three circles together using water to help them stick together. (If using cutter without smaller hole opening, make 1-inch hole in center of each ring to get the doughnut shape.)
- Transfer rings to parchment lined baking sheet and freeze 15 minutes.
- Fill heavy-bottomed pot or pan with 2 to 3 inches vegetable oil and heat until oil reaches 350°F. Fry 1 to 2 croissant doughnuts at a time until golden brown and puffed, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and repeat with remaining rings.
- Once cooled slightly, dip doughnuts into dark chocolate before sprinkling top with chopped hazelnuts. Enjoy!
For a semi-traditional treat: crescent dough cronuts
If you have more time on your hands, give our Homemade Croissant Doughnut recipe a go. This recipe is “semi-traditional” since it uses refrigerated crescent roll dough in place of DIY laminated dough for faster preparation. However, it features a pink glaze and sugar topping that resembles Ansel’s raspberry lychee cronut flavor and is fun to decorate with for an afternoon baking project!
- 2 tsp. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. coarse pink decorating sugar + additional (Buy from Amazon, $5.26)
- 1 container (3.25 oz.) refrigerated snack-size vanilla pudding
- 2 Tbs. + 1 tsp. heavy cream
- ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ½ tsp. strawberry extract (Buy from Walmart, $4.42)
- Pink concentrated food coloring (Buy from Walmart, $2.12)
- 1 tube (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent roll dough (Buy from Walmart, $3.24)
- Active: approximately 1 hr.
- Total time: approximately 1 hr. + cooling time
- Yield: 3 cronuts
- In small bowl, mix granulated and pink sugars; reserve. In separate small bowl, combine pudding, 1 Tbs. cream and vanilla extract; cover and refrigerate. In another bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, strawberry extract and remaining 1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. heavy cream; tint pink with tiny amount of food coloring. Cover; reserve. Line baking sheet with paper towels.
- On lightly floured surface, unroll crescent roll dough with long side of dough facing you. Press seams of dough together to seal, as shown below left.
- Starting with short sides, fold dough into thirds. With lightly floured rolling pin, starting from short side, lightly roll dough in one direction 3 strokes. Rotate dough ¼ turn (long side will be facing you). Fold dough into thirds, as shown below middle; roll into 7-by-4-inch rectangle. Using 3-inch round doughnut or cookie cutter, cut out 2 rounds from dough; if necessary, use 1-inch round cutter to cut out center of each round. Press trimmings together and re-roll to cut out another round of dough; cut out center.
- Meanwhile, in 3-quart pot, heat 2-inch vegetable oil over medium heat to 360°F on deep-frying thermometer. Place 1 dough circle in oil; fry, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels. Repeat with remaining dough circles; cool.
- Transfer pudding mixture to pastry bag fitted with ⅛-inch round tip. Insert wooden skewer into side of 1 donut to make an opening for pastry tip. Gently pipesome of pudding into hole, as shown below right. Repeat skewering and piping 4 to 5 times around side of donut. Repeat with remaining donuts. Roll sides of donuts in pink sugar mixture. Stir glaze and spoon over donuts; sprinkle with pink sugar.
Want to try your hand at a totally from-scratch croissant doughnut? Check out this how-to using laminated dough from Chef Bruno Albouze:
Storing and reheating leftover croissant doughnuts
Have more croissant doughnuts than you can eat in one sitting? Sébastien Canonne, French master pastry chef and founder at The Butter Book, suggests storing the pastries in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. When you’re ready to enjoy them, follow chef Canonne’s steps for reheating croissant doughnuts to crispy perfection:
- Allow croissant doughnuts to thaw covered in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Place the doughnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for about 2 minutes, until warmed through and fully golden brown. Cool for 1 minute before eating.
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