Fresh butter crescent rolls (croissants) with jam
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Crescent Roll Vs Croissant — What’s The Difference?

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Crescent rolls and croissants only look similar. These baked goods are very different in many aspects. 

What are the differences between crescent rolls and croissants? Croissant dough is laminated dough while crescent roll dough isn’t. The preparation process of crescent rolls and croissants is largely different too. Unlike crescent rolls, you need to use cold milk and butter to make croissants. 

This article includes a detailed comparison of crescent rolls and croissants. Keep reading to learn more about the texture and flavor differences of these rolls, what type of dough they are made of, and most importantly, how they are made. 

What Are Croissants?

A croissant is a crescent-shaped pastry with a light and flaky dough. While almost everyone is convinced that croissants are a French invention, they are actually Austrian

The birthplace of croissants is the city of Vienna. The earliest form of croissants, which was called a kipferl, dates back to as early as the 13th century. The word kipferl translates into “crescent” from German. 

In the 17th century, Austrian people started to use a different dough to make this crescent-shaped pastry due to a historic event. 

In 1683, Ottomans tried to invade Vienna. According to a legend, Viennese bakers heard the Turks digging tunnels under the city and warned the people of danger. The Viennese managed to defend their city against the Turkish invaders. 

To celebrate their victory, Viennese bakers baked croissants, a crescent-shaped pastry that symbolizes the crescent moon, the prominent symbol of the Ottoman empire. 

So why does everyone think that croissants are French?

Austrian pastry chefs introduced croissants to the French in the 19th century. August Zang, an Austrian entrepreneur and baker,  opened a bakery in Paris in the late 1840s.

The bakery became popular for its “exquisite and crisp rolls.” The Parisian version of croissants had an extra flaky dough which the locals loved. 

In 1915, French baker Sylvain Claudius Goy wrote the recipe for the modern French croissant.

So, one could argue that the present-day croissant we all eat and love is French, though no one can deny that its roots are Austrian. 

What Are Crescent Rolls?

Fresh butter crescent rolls on white wooden tray

Crescent rolls are fluffy rolls that obviously have a crescent shape.

These rolls have a fluffy texture and look and feel more homemade than croissants. 

Unlike croissants, the history of crescent rolls isn’t as spectacular and they don’t have any legends, though they can be quite fairly tied to kipferl rolls too. 

The name simply implies the shape of these rolls. It is worth mentioning that the French word croissant translates into “crescent” or “crescent of the moon,” so there is certainly a similarity in both name and appearance!

Crescent Roll Vs Croissant — Similarities And Differences

Crescent rolls and croissants can look quite similar, which is the reason many people think they are the same thing. However, they have quite a few key differences worth learning about. 

Type Of Dough 

Crescent roll dough is very different from croissant dough. 

The main difference is that croissant dough is a laminated type of dough. Lamination is the process of folding butter into the dough multiple times — this creates layers of flaky dough when baked. 

Additionally, croissants belong to the pastry category of baked goods while the crescent roll dough is more bread-like. This is because the dough for crescent rolls is not laminated. 

A similarity that crescent roll dough and croissant dough share is that both are yeasted (i.e., leavened with yeast). 


The ingredients for making crescent roll dough and croissant dough are nearly the same, though they may slightly vary from recipe to recipe.

The ingredients you need to make croissants are flour, butter, sugar, yeast, milk, and salt. You can make crescent rolls using the same ingredients you would use for making croissants.

It’s really all due to the method of preparation and the temperature of the butter that you end up with a different type of dough. 

In addition to the abovementioned ingredients, many crescent roll dough recipes also call for eggs. Eggs for crescent rolls are used in the dough as well as to brush them before baking. 

Egg wash is brushed on croissants too to give them a nice golden brown color and an appetizing shine. 


Croissants and crescent rolls have different textures. Croissants are very flaky and nicely crispy on the outside while crescent rolls are softer on their exteriors.

Both rolls are soft on the inside, though croissants are certainly more airy thanks to their laminated dough. 


Croissants have a crescent-like, shape which is the main reason why they are confused with crescent rolls. But you can tell the difference between these two rolls if you look closer!

Baked croissants have visible layers and a flaky texture, while crescent rolls don’t have layers and look much smoother. 


Thanks to the layers of butter in them, traditional croissants have a very buttery flavor. These pastries also have a mild sweetness. 

Crescent rolls are buttery too, but not in the same elegant way as croissants. They are slightly sweet with hints of yeasty flavor and saltiness. 


In terms of uses, crescent rolls are quite similar to croissants. Thanks to their neutral flavor, they can have both sweet and savory fillings. 

From chocolate to fruits, and from eggs to smoked salmon and avocado, you can use almost any filling of your choice with crescent rolls and croissants so that you can eat them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

It is common to bake plain croissants and then cut them open to stuff them with sweet or savory fillings.

In the case of crescent rolls, it is more convenient and common to bake them already stuffed. 


The preparation process of crescent rolls and croissants is very different. It takes more effort to make croissants as you need to fold layers of butter into the dough.

Making croissants also takes multiple hours. So, if you are a beginner, it would be a good idea to start with crescent rolls. 

Here are the step-by-step instructions for making crescent rolls and croissants. Read on to find out the key differences in the preparation process of these seemingly similar rolls!

How To Make Crescent Rolls

  1. Start with heating milk and water. Unlike croissant dough that uses cold milk, crescent roll dough uses warm milk to activate the yeast.
  2. Add the yeast and sugar to the warm milk, then set aside for a few minutes. 
  3. Mix the sifted flour, sugar, and salt together. 
  4. Add the room-temperature butter to the dry ingredients and mix. 
  5. Next, add the yeast mixture. 
  6. Crack in the eggs if you are using any. 
  7. Form a soft dough. 
  8. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes. 
  9. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out. 
  10. Fold and roll 3-4 times to form layers. 
  11. Refrigerate the dough for another 45 minutes. 
  12. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out to a 1/4 inch in thickness.
  13. Cut into triangles, then roll them toward the tip to give them a crescent shape. 
  14. Let the crescent rolls rest for 1 hour before you brush them with egg wash and bake. 

How To Make Croissants

  1. Add flour, sugar, salt, and yeast into a large mixing bowl and whisk until fully combined. 
  2. Pour the cold milk over the yeast mixture. The key to making croissant dough is to always keep it cold! 
  3. Use a stand mixer to beat the dough.
  4. When a soft dough forms, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  5. After 30 minutes, lightly flour your working surface and start rolling out the dough into a rectangle. 
  6. Refrigerate the dough for 4 hours or overnight. 
  7. In the meantime, shape the butter into a thin rectangular sheet. 
  8. To start laminating the dough, place the cold sheet of butter on the sheet of dough. Fold the dough over the butter, then fold and roll 3 times to create 3 distinct layers. 
  9. Chill the dough overnight.
  10. In the morning, roll out the dough, cut it into triangles, and form the croissants. 
  11. Let the unbaked croissants rise and proof at room temperature for 1 hour. 
  12. Brush with egg wash and bake. 


Due to the ingredients used to make them, both crescent rolls and croissants contain a high number of calories. 

As croissants have layers of butter folded into the dough, they contain a higher amount of fat than crescent rolls. Crescent rolls, on the other hand, are higher in carbohydrates. 

Croissants and crescent rolls should both be consumed in moderation. The nutritional value of these rolls largely depends on the fillings you choose to have in them. Try to choose nutrient-dense healthy fillings for both rolls. 


Storing croissants can be a little tricky as you need to keep them flaky and crispy. For this reason, it is best to wrap croissants individually in aluminum foil whether you will be storing them at room temperature on in the fridge.

You can reheat leftover croissants in the oven for a couple of minutes to bring back the crispiness. 

Things are easier with crescent rolls. Thanks to the type of dough, you can just put these rolls in an airtight zip-top bag and keep them at room temperature.  

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