Crescent Roll vs Croissant: What’s the Difference?

Written By Acacia Crossley


A good bakery is hard to resist, but an enticing pastry is even harder to say no to. Over the years, baked, sweet pastry treats have become some of the most well-loved and diverse sub-categories of baked goods, with a whole variety to choose from no matter which bakery you prefer. 

There are so many varieties of baked pastry treats that some often get confused with others. In this article, we will break down how the newer crescent roll compares to the classic croissant. 

The most significant difference between crescent rolls and croissants is how lamination affects the texture of the pastry. Croissants require a lot of layers for their flaky rise, while crescent rolls only need a few layers of lamination, making them much softer.  

What is a Crescent Roll?

Just the name alone gives a big hint as to what a crescent roll is. It is a baked good shaped into a crescent shape… That’s essentially it. 

Some people may be more familiar with crescent rolls sold as premade, chilled dough. Premade crescent roll dough was first invented in the US during the 1960s by the Pillsbury Company, but there are plenty of variations of the pre-made dough all over the western world. 

This premade dough, when cooked, turns exceptionally soft with a delicious butteriness common in other baked pastries. Its texture and structure are a cross between puff pastry and pie pastry, like a more puffy brioche. 

Can You Freeze Crescent Rolls?

Some premade crescent roll dough is already frozen. But if you have made the dough yourself, it can quickly be frozen raw and cooked later while still producing a perfect bake. 

Crescent Roll

What is a Croissant?

There are many delicious treats that France is known for, but the croissant actually has Austrian roots in the yeasted bread kipferl, which is rolled into a crescent shape just before it is baked. 

French bakers took the idea of a yeasted dough and put their own spin on the kipferl. 

They added some leavening agents to the dough to make it rise better and developed an intricate laminating technique to make the dough rise into a flaky pastry. In-between layers of dough, layers of cold butter are used, which is how the croissant becomes so rich and buttery with each pastry flake melting on the tongue. 

Like the original inspiration, croissants are also traditionally rolled to a crescent shape. Different croissant treats and countries tend to waive the traditional croissant shape, though the texture of the pastry tends to stay the same.

What is the Difference Between Fresh and Frozen Croissants?

The only difference between good quality frozen croissants and fresh croissants is that one is stored in the freezer, and the other does not last as long on your countertop. Some frozen croissants may reheat soggy or at an odd temperature, but good quality brands will taste delicious. 


Similarities Between Crescent Rolls and Croissants

There are plenty of reasons why many struggle to set crescent rolls apart from croissants when they first happen upon them. For example: 

  • Often Compared To Puff Pastry – Many people mistake crescent roll and croissant dough for puff pastry simply because both doughs develop a wonderful rise when baked. However, neither dough is technically a puff pastry.
  • Iconic Shape – The crescent roll’s name is a testament to its signature crescent shape. The dough is rolled out after being laminated and cut into triangles. Then it is rolled into the perfect crescent shape. Croissants traditionally take the same shape as crescent rolls, the shape they are now most commonly associated with.
  • Ingredients – Traditional crescent roll and croissant dough recipes are near identical when it comes to their ingredient lists. Of course, variations depend on how a recipe has been adapted through the years and local twists on the dough itself. But for the most part, the 2 doughs contain the same ingredients, including yeast, milk, butter, sugar, salt, and flour.

Differences Between Crescent Rolls and Croissants

Though they get confused for one another a lot of the time, a closer look at crescent rolls and croissants shows a fair amount of differences that separate the two pastries. Some of the more noticeable differences include: 

  • Number Of Layers – Croissants rely on lamination to develop their web-like interior and unique texture. Puff pastry uses a similar lamination technique, which is why crescent rolls have some layers. However, lamination is not as crucial in achieving the fluffy texture of crescent rolls, meaning that the rolls have noticeably fewer layers than croissants. 
  • Textures – Despite the ingredients that make up crescent roll and croissant dough being very similar, the methods that those ingredients are used in result in noticeably different textures once the two doughs have been baked. Crescent rolls are much softer both inside and outside than croissants. Croissants are soft on the inside but flaky on the outside. 
  • Subtle Flavours – Crescent rolls, due to their fewer layers, do not require as much butter when being laminated. Instead, their prominent flavour steers towards a sweetness. Croissants require a lot of laminating, using layers of butter between pastry dough layers. This results in a much butterier finish. 

Crescent Roll vs Croissant: Which Wins?

If you had to pick one to eat and one to never touch again, which would you go for? Would you pick crescent rolls, or do you prefer croissants? It’s crescent roll vs croissant, but who wins:

Do You Prefer Crescent Rolls or Croissants?

Crescent Rolls and Croissants FAQs

If you still have questions about crescent rolls, croissants and how they are different, then check these FAQs out:

Can You Substitute Crescent Rolls for Croissants?

Although purists would have a lot to say about this, you can swap them out for one another when serving up breakfast. They both serve the same sort of purpose.

Does Croissant Mean Crescent?

Yes! That’s precisely where they get their name. In fact, you could argue that, in English, both croissants and crescent rolls have the same name because of their shape.

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