Croissants are an irresistibly flaky and buttery pastry, perfect not only for breakfast but also great as a mid-afternoon snack or alongside a cup of coffee.
Whilst they’re often misattributed to the French, we actually have the Austrians to thank for croissants. The first croissant was created by Austrian baker August Zang at his Parisian bakery.
The modern croissant that he created is a take on the kipferl. They’re documented back to at least 13th century Austria.
Now that you have a bit of pub quiz knowledge about the croissant, you’re probably curious to know if you can freeze the leftover croissants that you couldn’t quite finish. The answer is yes! You can certainly freeze croissants to keep them better, longer.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about freezing croissants to preserve their freshness and quality.
What’s the Shelf Life of Croissants?
It’s quite unfortunate that something so tasty has such a short shelf life. But, I suppose something so good has to have a downside as well. How long croissants stay good for depends on how they’re stored.
At Room Temperature
If croissants are left at room temperature and not covered or sealed – so say, left in a basket on a table or something similar – they will start to go bad quite quickly. After being left out in the open they will start to get stale and lose their flaky texture in only a couple of hours.
However, there are some ways to store croissants at room temperature that can allow for longer shelf life. If you put the fresh croissants in a paper bag rolled or shut, they can stay fresh for about 36 hours. A better way that can keep them fresh for about two days is wrapping each individual croissant in aluminum foil or putting them in a sealable plastic bag. This can help to slightly extend the lifespan when stored at room temperature. It’s a good option if you aren’t able to refrigerate them.
In the Fridge
The shelf life for croissants when they’re put in the fridge is slightly longer. You can keep croissants in the fridge for up to one week before they go bad. When you put them in the fridge they should also be either wrapped in aluminum foil or sealed in a plastic bag before refrigerating them to keep them good longer.
In the Freezer
Lastly, and the best way to keep fresh croissants fresher longer is by storing them in the freezer. If you store them in the freezer properly – which I’ll discuss shortly – they have a very long shelf life of up to one year. However, the quality of the croissants will start to reduce after about 2 months. So, it’s best that you try to eat them as soon as you can. Which probably won’t be a problem, right?
How to Freeze Croissants
Now, as I mentioned before, it’s important to freeze croissants properly if you want them to still be good when you decide to eat them.
Importantly, before you start to do anything the croissants need to be completely cooled down before you store them in the freezer. A quick change in temperature will have adverse effects on the texture of the croissants. Here’s how to properly freeze them:
- After you have made sure that the croissants are completely cooled – either by letting them sit out on the baking pan or on a cooling rack – then you should individually wrap each croissant in plastic wrap lightly. Be gentile when wrapping them to keep them from being squished or otherwise lose their unique shape. Wrapping them individually allows for you to take only the amount of croissants that you want and also allowing you to seal them tighter than when wrapping them collectively.
- You may need to wrap them a second or third time to make sure that they’re completely sealed and no air can get in. Air contact in the freezer is a common reason that foods are damaged in the freezer.
- After you have made sure to properly wrap each croissant, place them all into a large freezer bag but don’t fill them too much. You want to make sure that you can squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible.
- Label the bag with the date so you know how long they will have been in the freezer.
- If possible, place the croissants near the back freezer wall to freeze rapidly. Then they can be moved to a different place in the freezer. But be sure to place them where they won’t be smashed by other foods.
The last tip when it comes to freezing croissants is that you should try to freeze them as soon as possible as well. While you can freeze them up to 3 days later sometimes, it’s not something I would recommend. The earlier you freeze them allows you to lock in as much of the original taste and texture as possible.
Can You Freeze Croissants Before Baking?
The great news for those that like to pre-prepare foods is that you can freeze croissants before baking, or after baking. If you freeze them before baking you can maximize their freshness by fully cooking them when you are ready to eat them. This is why freezing croissants before baking is actually my favorite way to store them if I can. However, the drawback is that it requires a bit of pre-planning and that extra time can be difficult to come by.
If you plan on freezing croissants before baking the steps to do it are quite a bit different than if you freeze them afterwards. Here’s how to do it:
- First, shape the croissants and place them on a baking paper-lined baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet with the croissants on a level surface in the freezer and allow them to completely freeze.
- Once frozen, remove the baking sheet and then put them into a freezer bag and label it with the date.
- Place the freezer bag in the freezer.
When you bake them – after you have defrosted them – they shouldn’t be any different than if you baked them fresh.
How to Defrost Croissants
Defrosting croissants is very easy. You’ll only need to follow a couple of steps to successfully thaw them. Actually, it’s really only one.
Simply place the croissants that you want to defrost in the fridge and leave them there overnight. It requires a bit of planning but it’s the best option.
You should avoid any other method – such as using a microwave – as you can drastically change the texture of the croissants.
If you didn’t plan that far ahead it’s not a disaster, however. You can also leave them out at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour before you bake them.
The method to defrost frozen croissants is the same whether they’re baked or unbaked.
How to Reheat Frozen Croissants
When you reheat frozen croissants there are a variety of options.
The first two options you have are either that you reheat croissants when they’re still frozen, or you can defrost them first. However. I strongly recommend that you choose the latter and defrost them first. I find that this helps to provide the most similar texture as to when they are fresh.
If they’re defrosted, let the pastries slightly warm up outside of the fridge on a prepared baking sheet for some minutes while your oven preheats to 200-250 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, place them in the oven for 3 minutes.
If they’re still frozen, first preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take your foil or plastic-wrapped croissants out of the freezer.
Peel off the foil or plastic after about 7-10 minutes, or just before you put them in the oven. Place them on a baking sheet and bake them until ready – which can be as little as two minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure you don’t overcook or burn them!
If you’re baking the frozen croissants for the first time, defrost them the same way as the baked croissants – by placing them in the fridge the night before.
To cook them, apply an egg wash and simply bake them as you would if they were fresh.
How to Tell if Croissants Have Gone Bad
Hopefully, it’ll never come to this, but your croissants may go bad if they aren’t used in time. Whether they have been forgotten in the bowels of the freezer or left in the pantry, it’s possible that they may no longer be edible.
The most common thing that can happen to croissants is that they go stale. While they may technically still be edible, eating them would certainly not be an enjoyable experience. However, they can still be saved and repurposed in a pudding for example.
Another sign that croissants have gone bad is mold. If you see mold on the croissants they should be immediately discarded. To avoid this, make sure to freeze your croissants and enjoy them in plenty of time!