Kouign-Amann is one of the world’s most amazing pastries! This French pastry is made with layers of dough laminated with butter and sugar that makes an irresistibly flaky, buttery, and caramelized outer crust that is a sweet, melt-in-your-mouth kind of pastry!
Laminating dough is a labor of love! But it is so, so worth it! The process is a bit time-intensive, so if you want to start with something a bit more simple, check out my Flaky Brioche Recipe. But, I promise I’ve made things very simple and easy to follow so you can become a pro at making kouign-amann at home!
When we lived in Texas, the Common Bond Bakery made the most amazing kouign-amann I’ve ever tasted! Since we moved, I’ve been dreaming out them! Since I can’t go out and pick one up, I knew I needed to learn to how to make them at home. Now you can enjoy these deliciously sweet and buttery pastries at home, too!
Why This Recipe Works
- Detailed instructions. Learning how to make kouign-amann can be a bit intimidating! But it doesn’t have to be! I’ve made incredibly clear instructions (with photos as well) to make things approachable, stress-free, and easy! The process is time-consuming, but not complicated! It will take longer than making a quick batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies, but the hard work is worth it!
- Best kouign amann. Turn your kitchen into a high-quality bakery with this homemade kouign-amann recipe!
- Perfect layers of laminated dough. By following my detailed steps, you’ll get the most amazing buttery and sugary lamination with each fold and turn!
- Water: You want the water to be 105ºF to properly help the yeast bubble up.
- Active Dry Yeast: Active dry yeast is already activated, so it doesn’t need to sit for long, but we do want to get it bubbling and foaming!
- Flour: All-purpose flour is what you’ll need! Make sure your flour isn’t expired. Fluff your flour before measuring.
- Salted Butter: I use Kerrygold butter when making this recipe for kouign-amann because it is a high-quality butter. The butter is the star of the show here, so it’s worth it to spend a little extra for the good quality butter! Also note the call for salted butter. I normally always bake with unsalted butter, but you do want salted here!
- Granulated Sugar: The butter and sugar layers will make caramelized sugar to help give the kouign-amann pastry the most amazing sweet lamination!
Making Kouign-Amann Dough
- Prepare the yeast mixture. Add 1 cup warm water (105ºF), 2 tsp active dry yeast, and a pinch of sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit until the mixture is foamy and bubbly.
- Add the flour. Add 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 tsp salt. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until the dough is smooth but tacky (about 5 minutes). If the dough still sticks to the sides of the bowl, add 1 T of flour, mixing after each addition, until the dough isn’t sticking to the sides and is smooth, slightly tacky, but not overly sticky and not dry!
- Let the kouign-amann dough rise. Grease a large bowl with softened butter. Place dough in the greased bowl and turn it over to coat the whole dough ball in butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 60 minutes).
- Chill the dough. Once doubled in size, place the bowl in the fridge and chill for 30 minutes. If making ahead of time, you can chill the dough overnight and continue with the recipe in the morning.
Making the Pastry Butter Block
- Beat the butter. Place 8 oz cold salted butter (that’s been cut into cubes) into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on a slow speed for 2 minutes until the butter is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl wit ha rubber spatula to make sure all of the butter is smooth.
- Shape the butter. Scoop the butter onto a piece of parchment paper. Shape into a 6-inch by 10-inch rectangle. Fold the parchment paper around the butter rectangle and press any air out. Use a rolling pin to gently press the butter package until the butter is pressed into the corners to make a perfect rectangle with even thickness. Chill the butter slab in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Rolling out the Kouign-Amann Dough
- Roll the dough into a rectangle. Take the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll out to a rough rectangle that measures 12-inches by 20-inches (see picture 7).
- Place the chilled butter on the dough. Remove the chilled butter block from the ridge, unwrap it from the parchment paper and place it in the middle of the dough (see picture 8).
- Fold the dough. Fold the top half of the dough down over the butter (see picture 9) and then fold the bottom half of the dough up over the dough (like a letter). Rotate dough to be vertical (see picture 10). Use a rolling pin and roll out the dough using medium pressure. The dough will be slightly bigger (you just want to help press the layers together). Fold the top down a third and the bottom up a third (like you previously did) like a letter.
- Turn the dough. Rotate your folded dough so the narrow edge is facing you and the folded over edge is on the right (like you’re reading a book). Roll the dough into a 12-inch by 20-inch rectangle. Fold the bottom up a third and the top down a third.
- Chill the dough. Place the folded dough on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes. If making ahead of time, you can cover the dough in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe bag to freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then continue on with the recipe.
- Roll out the dough. Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface, with the narrow side facing you. Roll into a 12-inch by 20-inch rectangle (see picture 11). Sprinkle 3/4 cup of granulated sugar on top. Using a rolling pin or clean hands, lightly press the sugar into the dough (see picture 12).
- Fold the dough. Fold the bottom up a third into the center of the dough, then the top down to the center (like a letter).
- Turn the dough. Turn the dough so the narrow side faces you, then roll the dough into a 12-inch by 20-inch rectangle. Sprinkle 3/4 cup granulated sugar on the surface of the rectangle. Gently press the sugar into the dough so it sticks.
- Fold the dough. Fold the bottom third up to the center, and the top third down to the center (like a letter).
- Chill the dough. Place the dough on a plate or baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Chill a final time for 30 minutes.
Preparing the Pan and Shaping Kouign-Amann
- Grease the pan. While the dough is chilling in the fridge, generously grease a standard-sized 12-cup muffin tin with softened butter. Set aside.
- Roll the dough. Remove the dough from the fridge. Sprinkle a clean work surface with granulated sugar. Place the dough on the sugar. Then sprinkle more sugar on top of the dough. Roll into an 8-inch by 24-inch long rectangle (size and orientation shown in picture 13).
- Slice the dough. Cut the dough in half lengthwise to create two 4-inch by 24-inch long strips. Then cut each strip into 4-inch square (creating a total of 12 squares – as shown in picture 13).
- Tuck Kouign-Amann pastry dough into the muffin tin. Grab two opposite corners of each square (as shown in picture 14), and gently press together, then grab the opposite corners together. Tuck the pastry into the muffin tin cup cavity. Repeat with the rest of the dough squares (see picture 15). You may need to squeeze the dough into the muffin cups — that’s ok!
- Let rise. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise until the kouign-amann pastries have puffed up (about 45 minutes).
- Preheat the oven. While the dough is rising, move the oven rack to the middle of the oven and preheat to 400ºF.
- Bake. Once the pastries are puffed, and the oven is properly and fully preheated, place the muffin pan on a baking sheet and place on the middle rack. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF. Bake the kouign-amann recipe (rotate the pan halfway through the bake time) for 40-45 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown and are looking irresistibly delicious!
- Let cool. Remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then gently remove each kouign-amann pastry roll from the muffin tin and place on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy warm or at room temperature — best enjoyed same day. Bon appetit!
If at any point in rolling out the dough packet you notice that the butter is too warm, or coming through the dough, cover and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or until chilled again.
The trick to getting perfect pastry is to not over handle the dough. Be patient! There’s a lot of dough rising and dough chilling time. Don’t push things. Give the dough the full time to chill.
Making sure the butter stays chilled during the entire folding, turning and rolling process is key to getting the flaky layers.
Cutting any chilling time won’t give the butter proper time to chill and can cause the butter to absorb into the dough instead of remaining a separate, chilled layer.
Don’t let the pastry cool in the pan for too long as they’ll become very difficult to remove! Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then they can finish on a cooling rack.
When grabbing the corners of the dough to stuff into the muffin tin, you can tuck away some delicious surprises! Place a piece of chocolate in the center before grabbing the corners, or some fresh berries.
Make a cinnamon sugar kouign-amann recipe by combining cinnamon with the granulated sugar.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
There are a few places in the process of making kouign-amann dough where you can stop and chill or freeze the dough to finish later. This is great for making kouign-amann ahead of time (since it can be a long process!).
- The first time you chill the dough for 30 minutes (this is when the dough is in the bowl), you can chill the dough overnight if you want. (See Making Kouign-Amann Dough step 4 under the Step-by-Step Instructions section above.)
- The first time you chill the folded dough (See Rolling out the Kouign-Amann Dough step 5 under the Step-by-Step Instructions section above.) Instead of chilling in the fridge, you can stop, cover the dough in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Remove the dough from the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Then proceed with the recipe.
- You can also chill the dough-stuffed muffin tin overnight and bake in the morning. See Preparing the Pan and Shaping the Kouign-Amann Dough step 5. Instead of covering and letting the dough to rise in the pan for 45 minutes, let the dough sit in the fridge overnight then bake in the morning.
The kouign-amann rolls are best enjoyed the same day they are made. If you do have leftovers to store, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 24 hours — promise they won’t last that long before they are all eaten!
So kouign-amann means butter cake in Breton. Breton is a Celtic language from the Brittany region of France.
No. Both are made with laminated layers, but kouign-amann is a flaky pastry folded and rolled with butter and sugar for a caramelized effect.
Kouign-Amann is a French pastry made with laminated dough containing layers of butter and sugar. It is traditional made in pastry rings which make the bottoms more caramelized. I found that the bottoms then go harder quicker, so I prefer using a muffin tin.
Kouign-amann is pronounced queen amann (queen a-mahn).
There really isn’t a precise science to the shaping. Grab the corners and press them together, then kinda stuff the dough into the muffin cup.
These are really best eaten the same day you make them! If you have leftovers, store them for up to 24 hours, but I doubt they will stick around for that long before someone else eats them!
More Pastry Recipes
- 1 cup water - warmed to 105°F
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast - (can sub instant yeast if you don't have active dry)
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour - about 350 grams
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 oz salted butter - cubed and cold (use a high quality butter) I like to use Kerrygold brand when making this recipe
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar - divided
For greasing bowl and muffin tin
- 2 oz salted butter - softened to room temperature
Make the Dough
- Make the dough: To the bowl of a stand mixer add the warm water, yeast, and pinch of sugar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until yeast is bubbly and foamy. Add the flour and salt and mix with a dough hook on low speed until dough is tacky but smooth, about 5 minutes. If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, add a tablespoon of flour at a time, until dough is smooth (but not dry).
- Grease a large bowl with a portion of the softened butter (you will need the remaining softened butter to use on the muffin pan). Place the dough in the bowl, turning the dough to coat it with butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes. At this point you can let it chill overnight (if wanting to make ahead), or continue on with the recipe.
- While the dough is chilling make the butter block. Place the cold cubed butter in a bowl (I used my stand mixer bowl with paddle attachment) and beat on low for 2 minutes until it was smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed so that the butter is even in texture and consistency. Spoon the butter out onto a piece of parchment paper and shape into a rectangle 6 inches by 10 inches. Wrap the parchment paper around the butter, making sure to press out any air. Use a rolling pin and gently press the butter packet until the butter is pushed into the corners to create a perfect rectangle with even thickness. Refrigerate until mostly firm, but still pliable, about 30 minutes.
Roll the Dough
- Roll dough: Place the refrigerated dough on a floured surface and roll into a rectangle, 12 inches by 20 inches. Remove the chilled butter packet from the fridge and place the butter in the middle of the dough. Fold one half of the dough over the butter, then fold the other half on top, like you would fold a letter. Use a rolling pin to roll it out just slightly, to help press the layers together, then fold it into thirds, like a letter.
- Turn Dough 1: Rotate the dough so that the open, narrower edge is facing you (like you’re about to read a book). Roll the dough to a 12 inches wide by 20 inches long rectangle. Fold the bottom third up and the top third down (like you would fold a letter).
- Turn #2: Place the dough on a floured surface, with the narrow edge facing you. Roll the dough to a 12 inch wide by 20 inch long rectangle. Fold the bottom third up and the top third down. Place the dough on a small baking sheet, or large plate, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. If you want to make ahead, you can stop at this point, keep the dough covered in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in fridge overnight then proceed with recipe.
- Turn #3: Place dough on a floured surface with narrow side facing you. Roll the dough to a 12 inch wide by 20 inch long rectangle. Sprinkle ¾ cup of granulated sugar along the entire surface of the rectangle. Using your hands, or a rolling pin, lightly press the sugar into the dough so that it sticks. Fold the bottom third of dough up, and the top third down (like folding a letter).
- Turn #4: Place dough on a floured surface with narrow side facing you. Roll the dough to a 12 inch wide by 20 inch long rectangle. Sprinkle ¾ cup of granulated sugar along the entire surface of the rectangle. Using your hands, or a rolling pin, lightly press the sugar into the dough so that it sticks. Fold the bottom third of dough up, and the top third down (like folding a letter). Place the dough on a large plate or small baking sheet and cover the dough with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Prepare the pan
- While the dough is chilling grease a standard 12 cup muffin pan with softened butter. Be generous when greasing the pan. Set the pan aside.
- Remove the dough packet from the fridge. Sprinkle a clean surface with granulated sugar. Sprinkle more granulated sugar on top of the dough. Roll the dough to an 8 inch wide by 24 inch long rectangle.
- Slice the dough in half, lengthwise to create 2 – 4 inch wide by 24 inch long strips. Cut each strip into 4-inch squares (to create 12 squares). Grab the four corners of each square and bring them towards the center of the square. Grab the pastry and tuck it into the muffin tin. You may have to be forceful, you’ll probably feel like you’re squeezing the dough into each compartment, that’s ok! Continue until the pan is filled. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise until puffed, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle of the oven and preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until pastries are golden brown. 40-45 mins. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes then gently remove them from the muffin tin and transfer to a cooling rack to cool. Don't let the pastry cool in the pan for too long as they'll become very difficult to remove! These are delicious served warm or at room temperature. And are best when enjoyed the same day they are made.
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn