A Dozen Must-Try Croissants in Houston
If you love croissants, save this list for your next breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea. Despite croissants being popularized in France and often mistaken to have a French origin, they were introduced by Austrian pastry chefs. Croissants were the first wave of Viennoiserie (breakfast pastries made in the style of Vienna) to gain popularity in Paris.
Croissant popularity surged in the 1980s and soon won over the hearts of Americans. If you think of croissants as the typical, crescent-shaped pastries, you might be surprised to know there’s a much wider variety. According to the New York Times, the evolution of croissants has no end. Luckily, we can enjoy these new styles of croissants close to home thanks to talented Houston bakers.
As a vibrant, energetic city that benefits from its well-celebrated diversity, Houston offers not just European croissants, but also those with Middle Eastern and East Asian flair like nowhere else.
Traditional Croissants in Houston
French Gourmet Bakery, 2250 Westheimer: Houston’s oldest French bakery with over 50 years of history stays true to the traditions and fond memories of not just French natives, but of all Houstonians who’ve grown up treasuring its baked goods and pastries. Chef Patrice Ramain, the son of a Loire bakery family, owns the long-running Houston business along with his wife, Mary, and daughter, Lauren. Ramain helped introduce the croissant ordinaire to Houston. Croissant ordinaire/nature is known to have margarine and is typically crescent-shaped. French Gourmet Bakery’s contains mostly European-style butter and some margarine. The amount of mixed fat content contributes to the unique texture of their croissants being less flakey but very moist and rich in flavors.
French Gourmet Bakery continuously carries croissant ordinaire, the classics including almond and chocolate), and savory variations such as ham, Swiss & egg, bacon and egg & cheese freshly made every morning.
Mademoiselle Louise, 1725 Main: Chef-owner Frederick Fortin named his café after his grandmother, and there he channels his pastry chef heritage from Normandy, France. Mademoiselle Louise’s chic interior, often bustling with French-speaking patrons, led to an authentic French experience.
Croissant au beurre is made with only butter and carries a signature straight shape. The butter content makes it flaky and crispy under the laborious lamination process. The restaurant offers croissant au beurre, along with 3 different flavors — amandes (almond), pistache (pistachio) and ham and cheese — and rectangular-shaped or round croissants in pain au chocolat, pain au chocolat & amandes and pain aux raisins.
Magnol French Baking, 1500 North Post Oak: Magnol has been Redditors’ (and many others’) favorite in the city. Chef-owner Otto Sanchez is an El Salvador native who accelerated his pastry chef career after moving to Houston. He has worked in numerous luxury hotels and Michelin-starred establishments nationwide.
The croissants are a popular staple in the store. Butter (croissant au beurre) and chocolate croissants can be enjoyed daily. The traditional technique and high-quality ingredients are shown in the layers and texture of the pastries. Twice-Baked Almond, Twice-Baked Almond Chocolate, and pain au raisin are weekend-only specials. We recommend dining in and pairing your croissant with a cup of Mariage Frères Earl Grey. If you close your eyes long enough, you might think you’re in Europe.
Bouchée Patisserie, 1600 West Loop South: Located in the only Forbes Travel Guide five-star hotel in Houston, The Post Oak Hotel, Bouchée Patisserie is Landry’s artisan confectionery. It serves traditional, Parisian-inspired pastries, desserts and specialty coffee.
It carries a relatively limited menu of croissants, including original/butter croissant, chocolate croissant, almond croissant and ham and cheese. Among those, the almond croissant appears to be the most ordered. The bakery’s secret to its great almond filling is including a splash of rum to add extra dimension.
Innovative Croissants in Houston
Love Croissants, 2808 Caroline: Chef Omar Pereney fell in love with croissants relatively recently. After being an executive chef and consultant in Houston, he opened Love Croissants last month and transitioned from hobby baking to a local business.
Aside from good ol’ traditional croissants, his background in culinary training shines through in the delicately designed flavors, resulting in creations such as Ham and Asiago ($11) and Twice-Baked Almond Cardamom ($9). The Cruffin (a muffin-shaped croissant with seasonal fillings and toppings) is another example of how he challenges himself to creatively meet the latest croissant baking trends.
Le Donut, 2803 Old Spanish Trail: Chef Dominique Ansel started a trend in New York City when he joined two well-loved pastries — croissants and donuts — to produce an even more epic product — the Cronut. Fortunately, Houstonians don’t have to travel to the East Coast to try one. Vietnamese-owned Le Donut is an underrated neighborhood bakery that produces them daily. The result is like an elevated glazed donut with laminated layers and an airy interior. The bottom is lightly crispy, which is uncommon for donuts. At only $3,59, it’s an economical, textural delight.
There are also traditional croissants, such as plain, almond, and chocolate. Croissant sandwiches are also available for under $6 with filling options like sausage, ham, cheese, cream cheese, bacon, eggs and Italian chicken.
Sunday Press, 3315 Ella: Co-CEOs Sandy Nguyen and Cassie Ghaffar are the masterminds behind this chic, fast-casual café. The primary focus has never been on croissants. However, it is the first in the Heights to hop on New York City’s circular croissant trend with its newly released Croissant Swirls. The particular shape of these croissants isn’t the only characteristic that sets them apart. The center is filled with custard and either fruit or chestnuts. Each comes with a uniquely designed topping that adds an enticing visual.
Currently, the Croissant Swirls come in the flavors of lemon blueberry, mango, hazelnut, chocolate and strawberry.
Multi-Cultural Croissants in Houston
Badolina, 5555 Morningside: This bake lab that melds Middle Eastern and Israeli ingredients into French baked goods is by Sof Hospitality, the group behind Doris Metropolitan. One example is the pistachio croissant, which tastes like a baklawa thanks to a rich pistachio paste and a hint of orange blossom.
Three additional croissant flavors are: butter, almond raspberry and chocolate. Almond raspberry is reminiscent of classic rugelach.
Shakkar, multiple locations: As a city with the largest Muslim population in Texas, it only makes sense that there’s a Halal croissanterie. Founder Maham Qureshi, who was formerly the lead bread baker for Tiny Boxwoods, started Shakkar in 2021 with her spouse Ali. Impressively, they have transformed the business from a home bakery into a pop-up store that offers croissant styles of impeccable quality, including Giant Croissants, Croissant Cubes, Croissant Cereal, Croissant Suprêmes and — special for Halloween — Charcoal Thai Tea Croissants. The creative croissants often go viral on social media.
You can also find Shakkar’s croissants in various coffee houses, including Luce Coffee Roasters, Canary Coffeehouse and The Coffee House. Pre-orders are accepted for the exclusive flavors, which are announced through Instagram. We had a hard time putting down her Biscoff Croissant Cubes.
Nata Bakehouse, available online: Best known for its Macau-style pastel de nata（Portuguese Egg Tart), Nata Bakehouse is experimenting with French pastries to keep its loyal fans excited. As it taps into the croissant world, the owners stay true to their Asian roots by providing an East Asian perspective on European pastries. The regular flavors are butter, matcha, pain au chocolat, almond, ham and cheese and sausage roll. The weekly specials are the ones to look out for. Savory lovers would enjoy the latest creation of beef curry and potato. However, some might want even more beef curry filling, because who doesn’t want excessive Japanese curry when you can enjoy it with a flaky croissant?
Y&H Buttery Bakery, 1251 Pin Oak: Located in Katy, this Taiwanese mom-and-pop shop specializes in buttery pastries with intense lamination and firm, flaky texture in the croissants and fresh fruit options. The staples are Buttercream Croissant, almond, pain au chocolat, Strawberry, ham and cheese, and Artichoke Spinach Feta.
Catering to the Eastern Asian palate, the croissants fit the perfect definition of a good pastry — not overly sweet. Even the pain au chocolat is dusted with dark chocolate powder and an only moderately sweet chocolate filling.
The texture of the croissant au beurre is more dense and moist than in most other shops, and many flavors are extensions of croissant au beurre stuffed with fresh fruit or savory ingredients.
Chez Kobayashi Pastries, 14522 Memorial: As the name implies, this business is a Japanese-French confectionary, offering a variety of refined pastries such as quiches, crêpes and croissants.
The croissant selections are separated into three sections: everyday, weekend-only and croissant sandwiches. The standard croissants are regular and chocolate. The weekend specials are almond, chocolate almond, and Raspberry Almond. The croissant sandwiches are Classic (ham & swiss cheese), Ocean (smoked salmon, fresh spinach, chive cream cheese), Chicken, Bacon, Veggie, Provençal, Brie, and Zucchini.
Croissants are edible art requiring a laborious process that results in the gifts of buttery and flaky texture. The pastry’s popularity transcends time and has won over the hearts of many. Houstonians are fortunate to live in a city where traditional Viennoiserie coexists alongside trendy modern croissants hailing from London or New York City. The cultural range of croissants is just one more example of Houston’s inclusivity where immigrants and their descendants find their artisan crafts embraced by the local community. What’s your next croissant destination?
Lin is a Houston Food Finder contributor with a natural affinity toward Asian food and desserts.