Easy Homemade Puff Pastry Recipe
Leave those frozen sheets on the store shelf! This is the best-tasting, easiest homemade puff pastry recipe ever! Plus, it comes together in just 15 minutes.
Puff pastry: It’s the kind of thing that makes things feel like a special occasion. All those light, flaky layers and that rich buttery flavor!
But it’s not the kind of thing you’d make yourself. I mean, it’s just an ingredient you buy from the grocery store freezer section. Right?
Wrong! What if I told you you could make homemade, all-butter puff pastry sheets from scratch in your kitchen? And it only takes four ingredients and comes together in about 15 minutes?
It’s true! This is the most delicious puff pastry you’ll ever taste, and the best part is it’s SO EASY to make. You’ll never buy store-bought puff pastry again! This will become one of your favorite recipes!
Most puff pastry recipes will tell you to start by combining soft butter with a bit of flour, then form that into a square encased in dough. There are a lot of steps, a lot of chilling, measuring, rolling, and folding. It can get very specific and precise, and to be honest, that stresses me out.
I like when things are a bit more simplified and intuitive.
I have cut back the number of steps and the time needed to create this homemade easy-puff pastry.
The first time I made it, I couldn’t believe how amazing it tasted despite the easy preparation. In other words, this is a shortcut recipe.
The result is almost identical to authentic puff pastry made the fancy French way, but the prep time has been cut down to about 15 or 20 minutes.
What is puff pastry?
Puff pastry is a delicate, light, and flaky pastry that can be used in countless ways. You might also know it by its French name: pâte feuilletée.
It is meant to be tender, buttery, and flaky, like pie crust, biscuits, and danish. And the most important thing to keep in mind when making these kinds of pastries is to keep them nice and cold at all times!
Butter is layered within the dough, creating hundreds of flaky layers. This process is called “lamination.” Steam is released when the cold butter goes into a hot oven, causing all those layers to separate and the pastry to puff up skyhigh!
Ingredients and Notes
All-Purpose Flour: You’ll need 2 cups. When measuring, be careful not to pack the flour. To keep from doing this, spoon the flour into the measuring cup, and use a knife to level off the top. Here’s more info the best way to measure your ingredients: How to Measure Ingredients for Baking. A gluten-free flour blend that can sub 1:1 for regular flour should work just fine, if you’d like to make gluten-free puff pastry.
Salt: Salt carries the flavors and intensifies them. The end result won’t taste salty, but it will make everything so much more flavorful! I like kosher salt best because it doesn’t have any additives (table salt usually contains iodine and that can leave a bitter taste) so the flavor is pure, and it’s very inexpensive and easy to find.
Unsalted Butter: Make sure that the butter is cold. This will create excellent lamination. Cold butter also helps to reduce the time and steps involved in a traditional recipe. Without cold butter, your pastry will not flake into all those beautiful layers. I like to use unsalted butter because it lets me control the amount of salt in the pastry. For vegan or dairy free puff pastry, use a plant-based butter that can substitute for dairy butter 1:1.
Cold Water: You want to use cold water, so the butter doesn’t melt too quickly.
How to Make Puff Pastry
Start by combining flour and salt in a large bowl. Just give the mixture a quick whisk to combine everything evenly.
Then, get your cold butter, and slice it thinly. You want lots of slices, all of them no thicker than 1/4-inch.
Toss the butter slices into the flour mixture, ensuring each buttered piece is evenly coated.
Next comes cold water. Pour in the water and stir until the dough forms a ball. Don’t worry if you see big hunks of butter- that is precisely how it should be!
At this point, your butter is probably starting to warm up and get soft, so it’s best to give the dough a chill. Flatten it into a disk shape using a rolling pin, wrap it in plastic wrap, and pop it into the fridge for an hour or the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
Once it’s cold and stiff, place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and start laminating. It’s as easy as rolling the dough into a rough rectangle shape and folding it into thirds, like a letter.
After each fold, give it a 90-degree turn and then repeat. You can see what I mean if you watch the video below. Then roll out into a rectangle.
I’m not going to tell you what the rectangle’s dimensions should be. It doesn’t matter. As long as you can fold it into thirds, it’s just fine.
And I’m not going to tell you exactly how many folds you should make either. I’ll leave that to the fancy-pants French pastry chefs. The bottom line is the more you fold it, the more flaky layers it will have.
I usually fold anywhere from 4 to 6 times. After that point, the butter is probably starting to soften up again, so it’s probably a good idea to get the puff pastry sheets back in the fridge or freezer.
How to Bake
When you’re ready to bake your puff pastry, pull it out of the fridge and roll it to a thickness of about 1/8 to 1/4 inch, depending on how you plan to use it.
If I’m making a baked brie, for example, I might go closer to 1/4-inch, but if I’m making puff pastry cups, I might roll it a little thinner so it’s easier to tuck into the wells of the cupcake pan.
Then you can cut your puff pastry down to whatever size you need. I like using a pizza cutter to do this. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or follow the recipe you are using.
- If you want to give your class puff pastry a beautiful, golden brown sheen, brush it with an egg beaten with a couple of teaspoons of water.
- The most important thing to remember for this to work is the pastry must be COLD, and the oven must be HOT. Do not put room-temperature puff pastry into the oven.
- Make sure the pastry feels cold and stiff, and your oven is preheated so that the minute it goes in, the butter releases steam and lifts all those gorgeous layers.
- Bake times will vary based on exactly what you are making, so follow your recipe!
- Most of the time, an oven temperature of 400 degrees F and a bake time of 20 to 25 minutes works best.
- The best way to know your pastry is ready is if it looks puffed (obvs) and deeply golden brown and feels light and shatteringly crisp.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can homemade puff pastry be made ahead?
Yes, you can make this puff ahead; I would recommend it! There may only be 15 to 20 minutes of active time for this recipe, but you will need to get it nice and cold in the fridge, so there will probably be no more than 2 1/2 hours of chill time.
Is puff pastry the same as crescent rolls or phyllo dough?
They are two different types of pastry. Crescent rolls are traditionally made with yeasted dough rolled into a crescent shape. Puff pastry is made without any leavening agent and instead gets its layers from the folded layers of cold butter mixed with flour. It is also not the same as phyllo dough. Phyllo dough is made of very thin sheets that are made from flour and water.
Are there different types of puff pastry?
Yes, there are four different types of puff pastry; half, three-quarter, full, and inverted. The different types are based on the amount of weight that comes from fat compared to the weight of the flour. Full is equal parts fat and flour. Three-quarters denote three-quarters of the weight is fat, to one-quarter flour. Inverted puff pastry is when you make a pastry where the dough is encased in the butter instead of the butter encased in the dough, which is the traditional way.
Storage and Freezing Tips
- Make the puff pastry at least a day before serving it.
- Puff pastry kept in the refrigerator will keep for several days.
- Keep it in the fridge tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.
- To freeze it, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a sealed freezer bag.
- It will keep in the freezer for up to one month.
- When ready to use the frozen pastry, transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Keep it folded together and wrapped in plastic wrap while thawing.
How to Use It
One of the best things about puff pastry is how versatile it is. It can be used in so many ways, both sweet and savory!
- Cut the pastry into long strips, sprinkle with grated cheese, twist, and bake for cheese straws.
- Wrap strips around sausages or mini hot dogs for the best sausage rolls/pigs in a blanket.
- Cover a small wheel of brie or camembert cheese for a brie en croute, aka: baked brie.
- Make little tarts or cut rounds and top with mushrooms, spinach, and/or onions for a savory appetizer or pizza.
- Use to top a chicken pot pie.
- Cut into squares, top with apple pie filling, and fold into apple turnovers.
- Bake puff pastry dough and sandwich around whipped cream, pastry cream, and fruit for napoleons.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and brown sugar, and roll into a tight “C,” cut into slices and bake elephant ears, aka: palmiers.
- Roll around a fruit/cheese filling to make a strudel of sorts.
- Sandwich around jam for homemade pop tarts.
- Cut into rings and fry in hot oil for the most incredible donuts!
Next time you’re planning on making something with puff pastry, don’t bother with the pre-made, frozen, pre-packaged stuff. It’s loaded with partially hydrogenated oils, and goodness knows what else!
Plus, the flavor doesn’t compare to this homemade version. And with only four simple ingredients, and 15 minutes of active time, there’s no reason not to make it from scratch! It’s so easy!
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Easy Homemade Puff Pastry
- Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Cut the cold butter into 1/4-inch slices and add to the flour mixture, tossing to coat.
- Stir in the cold water until a thick dough forms.
- Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk-shape, and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Chill for 1 hour in the fridge, or 20 to 30 minutes in the freezer.
- Unwrap the dough, dust the work surface with flour, and roll the dough into a rough rectangle shape.
- Fold the dough in thirds, like a letter.
- Turn 90 degrees, roll and fold again.
- Repeat about 2 to 4 times, wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and chill for 2 hours or overnight.*
- Brush the pastry with an egg beaten with a couple of teaspoons of water before baking for a beautiful sheen.
- When you're ready to bake the pastry, make sure it is COLD and the oven is HOT.
- Bake times will vary based on exactly what you are making, so follow your recipe!
- The dough can also be frozen. It will keep for several weeks in the freezer, tightly wrapped. Thaw in the refrigerator.
- This recipe makes approximately 24 ounces, or 685 grams, of dough.