Croissants should always be enjoyed fresh to bring out the butter flavor and improve the flakiness. Unfortunately, croissants do go stale quickly, which can make it hard to enjoy them at their best.
However, if you freeze croissants when fresh, you can then enjoy them at any time as well as getting to fill the kitchen with the smell of croissants as you warm them up!
So, to answer the question, can you freeze croissants, the answer is yes. You can freeze croissant dough, if you make croissants at home, but the easiest way is to freeze homemade croissants after baking. You can also freeze fresh croissants bought from the bakery or store. Croissants can keep as long as 12 months in the freezer, but for best quality should be used within one to two months.
How Long Do Croissants Stay Fresh For?
Always best eaten fresh, croissants can keep for a couple of days wrapped up at room temperature, but this will be less if you live in a warmer region because there is greater risk of them spoiling due to the fat content, or even developing mold.
If you put croissants in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or airtight container, you can keep them for up to one week, however, they will need warming before serving.
When fresh, croissants can be served at room temperature or warm, but they are always best served warm when they are not quite as fresh. Warming them up is the easy way to freshen up croissants which have been floating around for the last couple of days.
Otherwise, freezing croissants, either as dough or ready baked, is the best way to keep them fresh for longer. Croissants will keep in the freezer for as long as 12 months, but they are best eaten within two months for best quality. As well as losing flavor and flakiness over time, croissants can also take on odors from the freezer which can cause them to taste stale.
Can You Freeze Croissant Dough?
As with bread, you should be able to freeze croissant dough after shaping or after proofing, but the error margin can be greater when freezing unbaked croissants.
If you want to freeze the dough after shaping, place the croissants on a cookie sheet covered in parchment and then into the freezer to fast freeze. Once frozen, you can then transfer the croissants to an airtight container or Ziplock bag.
The main disadvantage with freezing unbaked croissants this way is that they do still need time to proof so it won’t be easy to get them ready for an early breakfast.
If you proof the croissants first then you can freeze them in the same way as above, but they will take up more room in the freezer and are at bigger risk of collapse. If you freeze the croissants proofed, then you can choose to cook them on low straight from frozen to allow them to thaw or thaw out first.
Either way, there is a chance that the dough will end up over-proofing or there can be too much moisture left inside the croissants which may cause them to collapse.
How Do You Freeze Baked Croissants?
You can freeze croissants which you have baked at home or ones bought from the bakery or store. Avoid freezing croissants that you have had hanging around the kitchen for a couple of days as these are already going stale, instead where possible, always freeze croissants which are fresh.
Croissants should be completely cool before freezing, so if fresh from the oven or still warm from the bakery, then lay them out on a cooling rack first. You then have the choice of freezing them before wrapping or freezing after wrapping.
To freeze before wrapping, place the cool croissants on a cookie sheet covered in parchment to fast freeze in the freezer before wrapping. This will take a few hours. Do be careful not to forget they are in the freezer unwrapped because they may start to take on odors from other foods and go stale.
Once frozen, wrap each croissant individually. Not only does wrapping them separately means you can take out how many or as few as you want from the freezer, but you are also sealing them as tightly as you can against air and odor damage in the freezer.
Otherwise, you can freeze the croissants after wrapping. To do this, make sure they are cool and then wrap each croissant gently and well in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to help prevent freezer burn.
Once they are all wrapped, lay them out on a cookie sheet in the freezer to first freeze before placing them into a Ziplock bag, to help stop them getting squashed in the freezer. If you are short of time, then just place them all straight into a Ziplock bag, remove the air and place the bag in the freezer. Don’t forget to label up your bag with the date so you know how long you can keep them in the freezer for.
How Do You Thaw Out Baked Croissants?
The good news is that because croissants do not contain much moisture as other foods, they are less likely to lose as much texture when thawed, although once thawed, they can be a little softer than they would be when fresh.
You can leave frozen croissants to defrost overnight in the refrigerator, but if you have forgotten to take them out for breakfast, you can also let them thaw at room temperature for a couple of hours. Be aware that if the croissants were on the stale side when you put them in the freezer, thawing them quickly can cause a decline in texture.
Leave croissants wrapped up during the thawing process. Once thawed, take them from the bag, unwrap them and place them in the oven at 365°F for no more than five minutes. You can eat them warm or allow them to cool to room temperature before serving.
You can also put them straight into the oven from the freezer to heat and thaw. Put them on a lower temperature – 325°F or below – for around 10 minutes or so. Do keep an eye on them though if you thaw them this way as they can easily start to overcook at the ends.
Can You Freeze Almond or Chocolate Croissants?
Yes, you can freeze almond or chocolate (pain au chocolate) croissants in the same way. Be careful to thaw them properly before reheating as there is a risk of the filling not being thawed properly. There is also a chance that almond croissants may lose some of the filling texture.
How Many Times Can Frozen Croissants Be Reheated?
Thawed croissants should only be re-heated once, so if you have any leftover croissants after thawing and heating, they should be trashed. Unfortunately, reheating croissants twice causes a decline in taste and quality, so remember to thaw just what you need to keep them fresh.
How to Warm Up/Freshen Up Stale Croissants That Have Not Been Frozen
If you have some croissants out on the counter or in the refrigerator, you can freshen them up if they are a little stale. They will also taste better after having been warmed.
To freshen up stale croissants, just put them in the oven at 365°F for three minutes and then allow them to cool back towards room temperature before eating. As you have probably found out, if croissants get too hot, they tend to collapse, making it difficult to tear them or spread them with anything.
How Can You Use Up Stale Croissants?
If those croissants on the countertop are past the point of saving, then rather than trashing them, use them for toasted sandwiches or paninis, French toast, luxury eggy bread, a sweet or savory bread and butter pudding. Stale croissants can also go into the waffle iron.
To Sum Up
Although croissants are best enjoyed fresh, to save you having to run to the store or bakery in the morning to buy them fresh, freezing is a great way to always have croissants on hand.Yes, croissants can be frozen and will keep for up to 12 months in the freezer but should be eaten in the first couple of months for best quality. You can freeze croissant dough, ready baked croissants and flavored croissants.