Pain au Chocolat, aka: chocolate croissants! This simplified recipe is so much easier! Flaky, buttery pastry wrapped around rich chocolate.

Three pain au chocolat stacked on a wooden serving board.

If calories didn’t exist, I would totally be eating a pastry every morning for breakfast.

To me there is no greater pleasure than sipping on a mug of steamy coffee or tea and nibbling on a blueberry muffin, or scone, or slice of chocolate chip banana bread.

Chocolate and coffee go so good together!

That’s why my favorite indulgence of all is pain au chocolat. Aka: the chocolate croissant.

You may think making pain au chocolat is way too difficult, but I’ve got news for ya: it doesn’t have to be!

I created a stripped down, simplified, way easy croissant recipe a few years back and it’s been a huge success for so many people. Over 300 comments and counting!

Chocolate croissants displayed on a wooden board with a text overlay that reads "Shortcut Chocolate Croissants."


Pain au chocolat is a French pastry consisting of flaky, buttery croissant dough, wrapped around two batons of dark chocolate and baked.

Croissant dough is made with yeast and it’s laminated, or folded, several times to create alternating sheets of dough and cold butter.

When the butter hits the hot oven, steam is released. This steam puffs the layers apart and creates countless flaky layers.

The result is light, a little crisp on the outside, and buttery-rich, stretchy, bready, and moist on the inside.

It’s an incredible taste and textural experience that’s only improved by the addition of deep, rich, melty dark chocolate.


Traditionally, making croissants starts with forming a large, flat square of butter, then chilling it and encasing it in dough before beginning the rolling and folding process.

I’ve eliminated that butter square step entirely.

Sounds risky, I know! But trust me, it still works. Just check out all those flaky layers inside!

How to Make Croissants

This easy method works every bit as well as the fussy French way, but it’s so much less intimidating and more approachable.


I’m going to break this down into two phases:

  1. Making the croissant dough, and
  2. Shaping and baking the pain au chocolat.


I have a much more in-depth explanation of how to do this on this post: Easy Homemade Croissant Recipe. There’s even a step-by-step video tutorial!

But today I’m just going to outline the basics.

Flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a glass bowl.

Start by combining flour, sugar, active dry yeast, and salt in a large bowl.

Adding butter to dry ingredients.

Whisk these ingredients together just to get them combined, then add the butter.

The butter should be ice-cold and cut into slices, approximately 1/8-inch thick.

Tossing sliced butter in dry ingredients.

Toss the butter in the flour mixture, just to get it coated.

Then start stirring in the milk.

The amount of milk you will need can vary, based on a lot of different factors. You’re looking for what’s called a “shaggy dough.” Here is what that looks like:

Croissant shaggy dough in a glass bowl.

As you can see it’s pretty dry and crumbly. Keep in mind that it will become more moist as it rests.

Once you’ve stirred in enough milk to create that shaggy dough, dump the contents of your bowl onto a big sheet of plastic wrap.

Shaggy croissant dough on plastic wrap.

And use the wrap to pull it all into a flat, roughly rectangular shape.

Dough wrapped in plastic.

Chill the dough for one hour in the fridge.

Now it’s time to laminate.

Remove the dough from the fridge, flour your work surface and your rolling pin, and roll it out to a long rectangle.

Rolling croissant dough into a long rectangle.

It really doesn’t matter what size or thickness, you just want it flat enough to fold into thirds.

Folding dough into thirds.

Then repeat this process a few more times.

At first, the dough will be really bumpy, with big chunks of butter running all through.

Pain au chocolat dough after first fold.

But as you roll and fold, it will become silkier and easier to work with.

You should see large streaks of butter, but the dough should lie flat and smooth.

Pain au chocolat after the final fold.

I find the sweet spot to be somewhere between 4 and 6 folds.

Once you’ve done that, place the dough back in the fridge for another hour to chill. It’s really important that this dough is kept ice-cold at all times! You do not want that butter getting at all soft.


After the dough has its second nap in the fridge, it’s time to shape!

This is really the most fun part.

Once again, on a floured surface, roll the dough out to a square shape. You want to shoot for about 17-inches in each direction.

Trim off any uneven edges, so you have a square that’s about 15×15-inches.

Trimming and cutting dough into rectangles.

Then cut it into 15 rectangles, about 3-inches by 5-inches.

Rolling croissant dough around chocolate.

Place a chocolate baton at one of the shorter ends, and roll gently.

Rolling second chocolate baton into pain au chocolat.

Place a second chocolate baton about 1 1/2-inches from the far end, and continue to roll, tucking the cut edge under the chocolate croissant.

Tucking cut edge under unbaked pain au chocolat.

Set the rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover them lightly with plastic wrap, and allow them to rise at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.

Pain au chocolat, proofing on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Then brush them lightly with egg wash for shine, and bake them in a hot oven until they’re puffy, golden brown, and flaky.

If you can, eat one while it’s still warm and fresh from the oven. They are absolutely at their best at this stage! Unbelievably delicious!

Close up of pain au chocolat recipe, prepared and cut in half, showcasing the many flaky layers of pastry.


The easiest way to make pain au chocolat is to use chocolate batons. I purchased mine here: Cacao Barry 44% Dark Chocolate Sticks.

One pound is enough to make several batches.

In a pinch, I would imagine you could probably substitute with a regular chocolate baking bar, cut into sticks. Or maybe just line up chocolate chips in a row?

But to me that seems like it could be hard to keep the chocolate in as your rolling. May be a little too fussy!

The chocolate batons work beautifully and make the shaping process really simple and quick.


If you want to split up the prep over 2 days, it’s really easy to do.

Just chill the unbaked chocolate croissants overnight, after you form them.

The next morning, remove them from the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature and rise. Once they’re around 1.5 to 2x their original volume, brush them with egg wash and bake them in a preheated oven.

This way you can enjoy freshly baked pain au chocolat for breakfast, warm from the oven! Talk about living your best life.


These pastries will keep for 2 to 3 days (covered) at room temperature. Or for 5 to 7 days in the fridge.

They can also be frozen. Baked, they’ll last for a couple of months in an airtight zip-top freezer bag. Unbaked, they should last for 2 weeks before the yeast dies.

Reheat the leftovers in a 170 degree F oven until warmed through, or in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.

Chocolate croissant recipe, baked and garnished with powdered sugar.

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Three pain au chocolat stacked on a wooden serving board.
5 stars (2 ratings)

Easy Pain au Chocolat

Servings: 15 pastries
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time:: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 50 minutes
Pain au Chocolat, aka: chocolate croissants! This simplified recipe is so much easier! Flaky, buttery pastry wrapped around rich chocolate.



  • Place the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together until combined. 
  • Slice the butter into 1/8-inch thick slices and toss in the flour mixture to coat.
  • Add the milk and stir together until a shaggy dough forms (bear in mind that the dough will become more moist as it rests).
  • Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a long rectangle shape.
  • Fold it into thirds (like a letter), turn 90 degrees, and repeat 4 to 6 more times, or until the dough has large streaks of butter in it but it is smooth and flat. (If at any point the butter starts to feel soft, chill it in the refrigerator or freezer until stiff.) 
  • Wrap tightly and chill for 1 more hour, then roll it out to a rough square shape (approx. 17-inches wide by 17-inches long). 
  • Trim off any uneven edges and cut the dough into 15 rectangles (about 5-inches by 3-inches). 
  • Place one chocolate baton at the short end of each rectangle, then begin rolling the dough around the chocolate.
  • Place another chocolate baton about 1 1/2-inches from the other short end of the rectangle, and continue to roll, tucking the seam on the underside of the unbaked croissant.
  • Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to proof until doubled in size (1 to 2 hours).* 
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and gently brush the croissants with egg wash.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until puffed, golden brown, and flaky.
  • Dust with powdered sugar (optional).


*For overnight pain au chocolat, refrigerate the shaped croissants for up to 42 hours, then let rise at room temperature and bake.
Serving: 1pastry, Calories: 342kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 43mg, Sodium: 360mg, Potassium: 95mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 499IU, Vitamin C: 0.01mg, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 2mg
Cuisine: French
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, Snack
Tried this recipe?Mention @bakingamoment on Instagram or tag #bakingamoment.


  • Allie

    Allie is the creator and owner of Baking a Moment. She has been developing, photographing, videographing, and writing and sharing recipes here since 2012.

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