I Tested All the Store-Bought Frozen Croissants I Could Get My Hands On — This One Rose Above the Rest
I’m going to say something very controversial. Ready? I’ve never tasted a croissant more fresh, flaky, and luscious than I did on this test. Granted, airfare to France was not included in my editor’s grocery reimbursement package, but still. These frozen croissants were good.
Not only do ready-to-bake frozen croissants offer spontaneous batches of golden buttery glee whenever you want, but also the promise of an insatiable buttery aroma filling your kitchen in the process (it’s like living in a patisserie).
This taste test was a lengthy-yet-delightful process with a clear standout for the honor of “most magnificent crescent.” I tried every frozen croissant I could find. Let’s see which one rose about the rest.
How I Tested the Croissants
I did this taste test over the span of two weeks because I didn’t want to crowd my oven and have those hotspots interfere with the results. Brands had their respective cook times, too, and I know repeatedly opening the oven is a no-no during baking — especially with laminated dough, which relies heavily on heat to lift those flakes. Once the exterior looked shatteringly crisp and bronzed, and the allotted rest times had passed (this was the most challenging part of the process!), I ate them plain between sips of tea or coffee. None of this made me unhappy, but there was one I really loved and would buy over and over again.
The Best Frozen Croissant: Boulangerie Solignac Rise and Bake Croissants
When I first pulled Boulangerie Solignac Rise and Bake Croissants out of the bag I thought I’d made a mistake: Had I accidentally ordered mini ones? Turns out size was within: They hadn’t defrosted and proofed yet. Per the directions, I covered one with a metal bowl on a baking sheet and let it do its thing overnight. In the morning, the croissant had completely puffed, reaching its pillowy maturity. Big deal!
Almost all of the other brands I tried were ready-to-bake without the beauty sleep, but these overnight croissants had more flavor. I spoke to Brian Leosz, king of Butterbang Croissants in Providence, Rhode Island, who would know why two types of dough — one frozen then proofed, the other proofed then frozen — might be different. He says, “A long, slow fermentation develops more flavor in the croissant. But we don’t know how long the other brands are proofing their croissants before freezing, so that might not be the winning factor.”
Whatever it was, Boulangerie Solignac’s sure tasted like the flavors melded, hydration happened, and the yeast got a chance to get tastier. Plus, it’s kind of miraculous to uncover them in the morning and wow! They’re alive! All chubby, supple, and ready for their bake. If you can’t find this brand, I’d look for another box that instructs for an overnight rise so you can see what I mean.
All that being said, I didn’t have a single bad croissant experience, even with the pre-proofed brands, which require only 10 to 12 minutes of baking straight from the freezer. It might not be such a bad idea to keep both kinds around, whether you have eight hours to dream of the best croissants the next day or only one before guests (or your next hankering) show up.
Buy: Boulangerie Solignac Rise and Bake Croissants, $9 for 6 at Fresh Direct
Do you have a favorite frozen croissant brand? Tell us about it in the comments below!