This buttery, flaky vegan croissant recipe makes the French pastry you’re craving, 100% butter- and dairy-free. This recipe is a treat for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea.
There’s nothing quite like breaking open the layers of a freshly baked croissant. If you’re wondering “are croissants vegan”? The answer is that most are not. Typical croissant recipe are loaded with butter.
However, this vegan version is made with plant-based butter and is totally egg-free. If you can’t eat dairy or are following a vegan diet, there’s no need to skip your favorite pastry! These fluffy French vegan croissants are every bit as buttery, golden, and delicious as the treats you’ll find at a local Patisserie, no butter or dairy necessary.
How to Make, Roll, and Shape Vegan Croissants: A Guide
To make the flakiest croissants with a crisp crust and doughy interior, there are a few steps with a bit of resting in between.
Making Yeasted Croissant Dough without Butter
First, you’ll mix up the dough itself. For dairy-free croissant dough, you’ll start with a combination of plant-based milk, water, malt powder, and yeast. This mixture is known as the “poolish” and will give your croissants lift and rise as they bake, thanks to the active yeast. After mixing it together, let the poolish rise for an hour.
After an hour, add the remaining dough ingredients (flour, sugar, salt and vegan butter) and mix to form a smooth dough. This dough now needs to rest for 12 hours in the fridge. Resting gives the gluten in the croissant dough time to relax so it’s easy to roll and shape.
Laminating Dairy-Free Croissant Dough: Step-by-Step Instructions
After its 12 hour nap, your dough is ready to be rolled and laminated with plant-based butter. Laminating is the pastry-making process in which dough and butter are rolled into layers. This what makes the thin, flaky layers you know and love.
To laminate, start by rolling out a large rectangle. Place a rectangle of dairy-free butter on top of the dough. Both the dough and the butter block should be chilled. Place the butter off-center so one thrid of the dough is uncovered.
Fold this third of dough over the butter, then over the remaining third, like a business letter.
Roll this butter and dough package into a long, flat rectangle. Cover this and chill for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, perform another business letter fold, as shown:
Now cover this block in plastic wrap and chill overnight. The next morning, roll the dough into a rectangle for shaping.
How to Cut and Shape Croissants
To cut croissants, lay the dough rectangle so the longest end is closest to you. Use a rotary cutter to slice the dough into six rectangles, then cut each smaller rectangle diagonally to make thin triangles. You should have 12 triangles, which will become your vegan croissants.
To shape the croissants, hold the wide base end of each triangle and roll towards the tip. For chocolate vegan croissants, you can place a chocolate bar on the widest part of the triangle before rolling. Each rolled croissant should have three visible layers on top.
Brush the shaped croissants with a nut milk and agave wash, which will help them brown up nicely as they bake. Now let the shaped croissants proof, or rest at room temperature for 2 to 2 and a half hours. They should be puffy and risen when they’re ready.
All that’s left to do now is bake your beautiful vegan croissants until they’re golden and crisp.
Ingredient Notes for Making Vegan Croissants from Scratch
Here’s what to keep in mind when you’re shopping to make vegan croissants:
- Any kind of unflavored, unsweetened nut or soy milk will work for this recipe. Almon, rice, coconut, or cashew are all good choices.
- You can find diastatic malt powder at specialty baking stores and online. King Arthur Flour makes a good one.
- Make sure to use instant yeast (not fresh or active dry) for this recipe. You’ll need to use a different amount for another kind of yeast.
- What’s the best butter for vegan croissants? Choose a vegan butter that you love the taste of. It’s going to affect the final flavor of your croissants, so it’s best to use a plant-based butter that you like and use regularly. Soy-based butter can sometimes have a prominent soy flavor when cooked, so I recommend choosing soy-free butter, but it’s up to you.
- Are vegan croissants gluten-free? This is not a gluten-free recipe, though you may be able to make the pastries with gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- For the best results, measure each ingredient as you add it to the mixing bowl, using grams. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, the volume measurements given will also work.
More Buttery Homemade Pastry Recipes
- Vegan Biscuits and Gravy
- Vegan Hot Chocolate
- Bakery Style Cupcakes – the Easy Way
- Vegan Rice Krispie Treats
- 90 grams ⅓ cup rice or almond milk
- 231 grams water 1 cup, warm
- 10.5 grams 1 tablespoon diastatic malt powder
- 7.5 grams 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 533 bread flour 4 cups, divided, plus more for dusting
- 45 grams ¼ cup sugar
- 10 grams 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 47 grams ¼ cup vegan butter, for dough
- 289 grams 1 ¼ cup unsalted vegan butter, for block**
- Chocolate as needed (optional)
- 120 grams almond milk ½ cup, for dough wash
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup
- In a medium bowl, put the almond milk, warm water, malt powder, instant yeast, and 120 grams of flour to make the poolish. With a whisk mix until there are no lumps of flour. Cover and rest for an hour.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the remaining flour, sugar, salt, and vegan soft butter. Mix until the ingredients come together and then add the poolish. Mix with the dough hook at low speed until the ingredients are combined, for about one minute. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and mix for five minutes. In the end, the dough will be not entirely smooth, that is what you are going for. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to proof at room temperature for one hour, then put it in the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight to rest.
- Transfer the dough to a dusted work surface and form a rectangle of 13.5″ x 7.5″. Rolling and pressing the corners initially, before rolling the center, helps mold the dough into a rectangular shape. Flip the dough halfway through and continue to roll. Cover with plastic and put it in the refrigerator to chill.
- Create a 9″ x 6″ rectangle of vegan butter to create the block and wrap with parchment. Once wrapped, use a rolling pin to even out the block package and refrigerate.
- Take out the dough and the butter block, both should be at the same temperature, cold and firm, but when you press against them they sink slightly. Dust a work surface with flour and place the dough, then place the butter block on the left side so it covers two-thirds of the rectangle and there is a ¾″ – 1″ gap between the block and the edge of the dough.
- Fold one-third of the uncovered dough over the butter and then fold over it the remaining third. Use your fingers to press and seal the edges. With a rolling pin roll out to a width of 9″ and a length of 27″. Then make a threefold and rotate 90 degrees and repeat the process to make a second threefold. Once you have achieved a second threefold get the dough to the refrigerator and rest for 30 minutes. Take out the dough again and create a third threefold. Wrap with plastic and rest on the refrigerator overnight.
- On a flour-dusted surface, press slightly the dough with a rolling pin and then roll to a rectangle of 11″ x 27″. If the dough is resisting the rolling, get it to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes halfway through. Once you have the desired size, cut the rectangle in half, then cut each half into 3 stripes. Finally, cut each strip in half diagonally. You will end up with 12 triangles which will be the vegan croissants. Spray lightly the triangles with water. Roll the croissants holding the edges of the wide base of each triangle towards its tip. If you are making chocolate croissants, or pain au chocolat, place 12 grams of the chocolate of your choice on the wide edge of the dough before rolling it. Place the croissants on a baking tray covered with parchment.
- In a small bowl, combine the rice or almond milk with the agave syrup and a pinch of salt. Whisk until combined. Paint the croissants with this vegan egg wash, while being careful to brush only the top of the dough and not the layered sides. Proof at room temperature for 2 to 2 and a half hours. For better results place the tray on top of a warm oven or next to a pot of boiling water. Croissants should double in size by the end. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 °F / 177 °C.
- Brush the croissants again and bake at 350 °F / 177 °C for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
** You can substitute for margarine.