Use this in-depth tutorial to learn how to make a from-scratch puff pastry dough variation. The homemade dough comes together using a “rough puff” method where you carefully work butter into your dry ingredients and then fold and flatten the dough many times to create countless flaky layers. Unlike the breakfast pastries dough, this dough does not require any yeast and unlike croissants and traditional puff pastry, this dough does not require laminating with a layer of butter. Rather, the layers and crisp flakiness come from the particular mixing and folding methods.
Using this simplified method and a handful of basic ingredients, you’ll be amazed that you can make puff pastry from scratch within just a few hours. Whenever I make and bake this dough, I’m still stunned with the outcome! You’ll enjoy using this dough wherever you use a single pie crust or store-bought puff pastry.
Next you’ll find some details, step-by-step photos, plus there’s a video tutorial in the recipe if that’s helpful too. All of this will help set you up for success when it’s your turn to try it!
What is Rough Puff Pastry?
Rough puff pastry is also known as quick pastry and become really popular with professionals and home bakers because you get bakery-style puff pastry without precise shaping and laminating butter with dough. Cookbook author and chef Claire Saffitz has a wonderful recipe for it. The trick is to work large pieces of cold butter into dry ingredients and hydrate it all with ice cold water (as if you were making pie crust). Sometimes bakers grate butter into the mix or use a food processor. There’s lots of ways to make rough puff pastry.
With this recipe, I stick with cold cubes of butter and use my hands to rub the butter into the flour mixture. Your hands are your best tool and method here because it’s nearly impossible to over-mix the dough this way. If the dough is over-mixed and you break down the butter too much, you’ll lose layers.
- Can I use a food processor, pastry cutter, or other mixer? I do not recommend it. These tools slice down the butter too much and you’ll lose a lot of flaky layers. I tried and it’s not worth it because the result is closer to a greasy pie dough than a layered puff pastry. (Still good, but not the goal here.)
Rough Puff Pastry Details
- Taste: Buttery, hardly sweetened, a little salty.
- Texture: Ahh, the best part. Each bite has oodles of crispy, crackly layers of light and buttery pastry. This pastry is one of the FLAKIEST doughs I’ve ever worked with and comes close to croissants territory. (But made in a fraction of the time!)
- Ease: I categorize this as an intermediate baking recipe. While it’s not nearly as involved as homemade croissants, it’s certainly not as easy as using store-bought frozen puff pastry. You need to flatten and fold the dough 6x, but there’s no chilling between each time so the recipe moves quicker than traditional homemade puff pastry.
- Time: The dough requires 2 separate refrigeration steps, but the 2nd one is only 15 minutes. You can easily make this dough in a few hours or over the course of 2 days. I always appreciate make-ahead dough where you have plenty of options in terms of timing. You can also freeze the dough, too.
How Is This Different From Pie Crust and Yeasted Pastry Dough?
Pie crust, while buttery and flaky, is not nearly as light, doughy, and crisp as this shortcut puff pastry. Yeasted pastry dough, such as something we can use for croissants, croissant bread, or a pastry braid, contain yeast. This recipe simply relies on big chunks of cold butter (lots of it) and folding.
Just 5 Ingredients in the Rough Puff Dough
This shortcut pastry dough comes together with flour, sugar, salt, cold butter, and cold water.
- Why do the butter and water have to be cold? It’s important for the butter to stay cold so it doesn’t melt and soak up all the flour. We want the butter to stay solidified as we roll, shape, fold, and flatten this dough because if it melts before baking, you lose all the flakes. Game over. You see, when the butter melts in the oven, it creates steam and that steam separates the dough into multiple flaky layers. Cold butter is what makes cheddar biscuits and scones flakey too!
Rolling & Folding
Step by step photos of this process are below the recipe.
After you prepare the dough and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (1st refrigeration), you will begin rolling it out with a rolling pin and folding it like a business letter, rolling it out again, folding again, and so on. You will roll + fold it a total of 6 times before refrigerating again for at least 15 minutes (2nd refrigeration).
The photo below shows what the center of your dough looks like after all the rolling and folding. *Note that I sliced a sliver off the end so I could show you this!
Uses for This Rough Puff Dough
After the 2nd refrigeration, you can use this dough for:
- Honey Pear Tart
- Cinnamon Spice Palmiers
- Any recipe calling for 1 box (1 pound; 2 sheets) store-bought puff pastry
- Berry Turnovers (pictured above)
- Cranberry Brie Puff Pastry Tarts
- Caramel Apple Turnovers
- Butternut Squash & Mushroom Tart
To use as pie crust: You can use this pastry dough as pie crust in a recipe that calls for a single crust 9-inch pie. Roll dough out into a 12-inch circle before fitting into your 9-inch pie. Though all pie recipes are different, it would definitely be best to blind bake this dough with pie weights before adding a filling. Choose pie recipes that already call for blind baking and have a thicker filling. This would be excellent as the crust for quiche.Print
Handmade Puff Pastry (Rough Puff Method)
- Prep Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours
- Yield: about 1 lb dough
- Category: Baking
- Method: Folding
- Cuisine: American
Use this in-depth tutorial to learn how to make a from-scratch puff pastry dough variation. The homemade dough comes together using a “rough puff” method where you carefully work butter into your dry ingredients and then fold and flatten the dough many times to create countless flaky layers. Make sure you start with very cold butter.
- 1 and 1/3 cups (166g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for generously flouring hands, surface, and dough
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
- 6–8 Tablespoons (90-120ml) ice cold water
- Make the dough: Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Place the cold and cubed butter on top. Gently toss the flour and butter together with your hands, and then briefly rub the butter into the flour to begin combining them, as you can see in the video tutorial above. You do not want to break down the butter too much in this step. This step is only possible if the butter is very cold because if the butter is warm, you’ll end up with paste. I do not recommend a food processor, pastry cutter, or mixer for this step because it will break down the butter too much.
- At this point, the butter is still in large cubes/chunks. Begin adding the ice cold water 1 Tablespoon (15ml) at a time until dough forms 1 large shaggy clump in your bowl. Use your hands to toss the mixture together after you add each Tablespoon. (I usually start with 2 Tablespoons (30ml) of water before I begin tossing together.) You can use a spatula or spoon for tossing, but I really do recommend your hands so you get a good feel of the dough. As the dough begins to hydrate after about 4 Tablespoons (60ml) of water, you can start lightly squeezing or clumping the dough together with your hands to help bring it together. Mixture will still be very shaggy, as you can see in the video above and photos below. If your dough feels sticky and wet before adding 6 Tablespoons of water, your butter was likely too warm– you can continue with the recipe, but the dough will not be as flaky.
- Pour the shaggy clump of dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. There will still be large chunks of butter at this point and that’s a good thing. Begin patting the dough down with lightly floured hands until it’s 3/4 – 1 inch thick, about a 5×8 inch rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds as if you were folding a business letter. Use your hands to gently flatten and smooth out any cracks in your dough. Wrap it up tightly in plastic wrap, parchment paper, or aluminum foil, or place into any tightly sealed container.
- 1st refrigeration: Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Roll & Fold: Take the dough out of the refrigerator to begin the “rolling and folding” process. If the dough chilled for longer than about 3 hours, it’s likely very stiff so let it rest for about 5 minutes before you begin rolling. Lightly flour a work surface. The dough gets sticky, so make sure you have more flour nearby as you roll and fold. Use your hands to gently flatten the dough into a small square. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 6 inch wide and 12 inch tall rectangle that’s 1/2 inch thick. The exact dimensions are not important, but the thickness is. As you roll, it’s best to flip the dough over once or twice to make sure it’s not sticking to your work surface. Lightly flour your work surface as needed. Fold the rectangle into thirds as if it were a business letter. (See photos and video tutorial.) Turn it clockwise or counter clockwise and roll it out into a 6×12 inch 1/2 inch thick rectangle again. Then, fold into thirds again. Turn it clockwise or counter clockwise. You’ll repeat rolling and folding 4 more times for a total of 6 times.
- 2nd Refrigeration: Wrap up/seal tightly and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 24 hours before using in your recipe. You can also freeze the dough at this point. See freezing instructions.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare as instructed in steps 1-3. At this point the dough can be refrigerated up to 24 hours (see step 4). You can also prepare the dough through step 5. At this point the dough can be refrigerated for up to another 24 hours (see step 6). During or after this second chilling time, you could also freeze the dough for up to 1 month. (I don’t recommend freezing the dough before the rolling and folding step.) Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using in a recipe that calls for 1 lb puff pastry dough (or 1 store-bought package with 2 sheets puff pastry).
Keywords: rough puff pastry
The following photos show the bowl of dry ingredients with the cold and cubed butter on top. In the right photo, you can see me gently tossing the flour and butter together. In this step, I’m briefly/barely rubbing the butter into the flour to start combining them. This step is only possible if the butter is very cold because if the butter is warm, you’ll end up with paste.
At this point, as you can see in the photo on the left below, the butter is still in large cubes/chunks. That’s great! Now let’s add the ice cold water 1 Tablespoon at a time, using our hands to toss it all together. (Note that I usually start with 2 Tablespoons of water before I begin tossing together.) You can use a spatula or spoon for tossing, but I really do recommend your hands so you get a good feel of the dough.
Photo below left: Continue adding the ice cold water and tossing the mixture together after each has been added. As the dough begins to hydrate after about 4 Tablespoons of water, you can start lightly squeezing or clumping the dough together with your hands to help bring it together. Mixture will still be very shaggy, as you can see.
See the photo below on the right? You only need 6-8 Tablespoons of ice cold water to get to this point. Do not add any more or any less. If your dough reaches this point before adding 6 Tablespoons of water, your butter was likely too warm. You can continue with the recipe with less water, but the dough will not be as flaky.
Pour the shaggy clump of dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, as you can see in the photo on the left below. There will still be large chunks of butter. Begin patting it down with your hands until it’s about 3/4 – 1 inch thick, about a 5×8 inch rectangle:
As shown in the photos below, fold the dough into thirds as if you were folding a business letter. This is exactly how we fold biscuits dough, too!
1st refrigeration: Now use your hands to gently flatten and smooth out any cracks in your dough “business letter” then wrap it in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, parchment paper, or place in a sealed container, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
Now it’s time for the rolling pin. Remove dough from the refrigerator and begin rolling out.
You’re going for a 1/2 inch thick, about a 6 inch wide and 12 inch tall rectangle. The exact dimensions are not important, but the thickness is. Fold the rectangle into thirds like a business letter:
Turn it clockwise or counter clockwise, then grab your rolling pin again:
Repeat this 5 more times, for a total of 6 rolling out + folding sessions.
Success Tip: If the dough “business letter” is so thick or impossible to roll out, cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 5 minutes before trying again. The butter just needs to slightly soften. Lightly flour your work surface whenever necessary.
After the 6th time, you may not be able to see visible chunks of butter anymore. (If you do, that’s fine. If you don’t, that’s also fine.)
2nd refrigeration: Fold the dough into a business letter, wrap tightly, and then chill for at least 15 minutes and up to 24 hours. Now you can use it in your recipe such as homemade palmiers or this butternut squash and mushroom tart.
Reader Comments & Reviews
great recipe, very nice dough to work with. thank you.
can it be used also for a salty pastry?
Yes, it works great for both sweet and savory recipes!
I made this recipe but subbed the butter with earth balance stick “butter” to make it vegan and the dough was incredible… I made blueberry turnovers!
One box of frozen is $7.99 in my local store these days so I made your recipe for rough puff pastry dough. Easy and so much better – probably because of the butter, I will never buy frozen again – even on sale. 🙂 Thank you!
Hi. I want to use your recipe for rough puff pastry. May I ask what is the right oven temperature to bake the rough puff pastry? Will it be the same temperature for blind-baking and baking with the filling on. Hoping for your reply. Thank you.
Hi Anna, baking time and temperature will depend on the specific recipe. See section in the post titled “Uses for this Rough Puff Dough” for some ideas. You can also use this pastry dough as pie crust in a recipe that calls for a single crust 9-inch pie. Roll dough out into a 12-inch circle before fitting into your 9-inch pie. Though all pie recipes are different, it would definitely be best to blind bake this dough with pie weights before adding a filling. Choose pie recipes that already call for blind baking and have a thicker filling. Temperature for blind baking and baking with filling is usually the same. Hope this helps!
Yes. It doubles easily and nicely. Not sure why you would over work it doing this. It is just as easy as half a batch.
I was very impressed with this recipe. I’ve never made puff pastry before and I was blown away with the tesult!
After making traditional puff pastry in culinary school (it took ALL DAY!), I swore I’d buy frozen from then on. Sally, you’ve made me a liar! This was SO easy – I made two batches last night in less than 15 minutes (I always have butter in the freezer). I can’t imagine ever buying frozen again!
We’re so glad you had success with this recipe, Pam!
I want to ask about butter fat content. Would it be better to use a European style butter with a higher fat content to aid in the lamination?
Hi Wendy, this is a great question. You can use either and, truly, I have never noticed a huge difference texture-wise between the two. The taste is a bit better using a fancier butter, but you’re usually filling/topping the dough/crust with something flavorful so, again, it might not really be worth it! Up to you.
Looking at this recipe to use for the mushroom and squash tart. Is it possible to use an alternative to total white AP flour. Will using AP white with whole wheat, KA white wheat or whole wheat pastry flour give me the same results. Thank you.
Hi Diane! You could try replacing a small portion of all purpose with white whole wheat flour, but expect a more dry result. All purpose flour really is best when working with pastry. Hope you love the tart! It’s a favorite.
I was surprised this came out as flaky and delicious as it did, but it was perfect! It was just as good as puff pastry dough I have bought from a bakery. Thanks!
Hi! Ive used two tips that are very helpful when it comes to baking crusts type recipes and another for layered doughs for danish type things.. for the crusts/ biscuit :i always have some butter in the freezer! freeze your butter stick and grate into your blended dry flour mix and its ready fro biscuits/ pie crust. For laminate dough: I paint softened butter on a large rectangle of wax or parchment paper , cover with another paper freeze it. I make it the same size as whatever recipe size for the rolled out dough. I peel off the paper, plop on top of my rolled out dough and then start the folding process. Works amazing. Hope you are able to use these tips!
I’ve made several of your recipes, and every one turned out fantastic. I want to try this but would like to scale it up. Will it double? Two 2-pound batches would fit my need.
Thanks for all the great recipes!
Hi Robb! To avoid over-working the dough we recommend making two separate batches. So glad you’re enjoying our recipes!
I followed this recipe and I got a pretty decent pastry dough. After a failed attempt of another recipe, your recipe helped me to get that decent version. I kept it in the freezer and I used it after two weeks.. it crumbled a bit and rolling the dough was a bit difficult.. I live in India and considering the hot climate here I did not allow it to thaw for too long since keeping it out for few minutes made it so soft.. what am I doing wrong here?
Hi Beena, Thank you for trying this recipe. After freezing its best to thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator before using instead of quickly thawing on the counter. If you try it again, this should help!
Im looking forward to making this pastry. Im not sure what the weight of the finished dough is…for comparison as to how much I will need to make an apple strudel which usually uses 400 grams. Thanks for your assistance from New Zealand
Hello! I love your recipes and I tried this one yesterday. I am not a novice baker so I felt pretty confident that I could do this (it was my first time making the puff pastry). I followed the steps to a “T” I was using this puff pasty recipe to make the cream filled horns but in the oven, most of them became unraveled during the baking process. I could only salvage about 6 that stayed intact and I could pipe custard cream into. The rest of them all split open. Can you give me any tips or advice on what I did wrong? I would so appreciate it!! Thank you so much.
Hi Monica, Thank you so much for trying our recipes! We have not made shaped horns with this dough, but we do use it to make shaped Palmiers. Our best advise is to chill the dough after it’s shaped. We do find that it can unravel if you haven’t chilled them before going in the oven. Hope this helps!
Can I use pastry flour instead of all purpose flour for this recipe?
Hi Sarah, I’m sure that swap could work but I’ve only made this with all-purpose flour.
This was fun to make. Seems intimidating, but it was not hard at all if you just look and the video and the photographs carefully.
I have made this before for turnovers and it is amazing. My question is whether I can use this to make croissants instead of using a traditional croissant recipe?
If I want to use the puff pastry for a savoury dish like a wellington, should I omit the sugar? I don’t want a sweet pastry but I know that a bit of sugar helps with browning. Thanks in advance 🙂
Hi Amanda, do not leave out the sugar– it’s only 1 teaspoon but does add a tiny bit of flavor especially part with the salt. The pastry is NOT sweet at all.
I made the Carmel apple turnover last night using the ruff pastry dough
The recipe suggested the pastry dough but did not state how thin to roll out the dough (i rolled it out to 1/8 to 1/4”)
How thin should the dough for turnovers?
Also, the recipe stated 2 small apples cut up small chunks
My apple filling was thin with more liquid than apples,
Can you give me approximate cups of apples that would be?
** The turnovers overall came out great, thank you
(The comments for the apple turnover had been closed which is why I’m writing my questions here)
Hey! How many days can I store in the pastry in the refrigerator until ready to use?
Hi Liz, see recipe note #1 for make ahead instructions. Enjoy!
I have been looking through this page for 30 minutes and I can find no link for a video. Help
Hi Melody, You can find the video in the recipe card (the gray box with the actual recipe) immediately following the last step of the directions. I hope this helps!
You did it again. I made your simple cherry pastry pies a few months ago and they were DELICIOUS. This time, I wanted to challenge myself by making my own puff pastry. I was a bit intimidated at first, but I read through the full instructions and watched the video.
It came out absolutely perfect and my husband couldn’t believe it wasn’t store bought. I really didn’t expect them to come out so flaky and buttery, but wow! I can’t wait to make another batch of dough. It was a lot of fun, too.
We LOVE your recipes. Thank you for all the care you put into the instructions, photos, videos and notes!
Can I use pastry flour for the recipe instead of all purpose?
Hi Rhonda, we’re sure that swap could work but we’ve only made this with all-purpose flour.
Do I need a special butter even it doesn’t have laminating process involve?
Hi Josianne, You don’t need any speciality butter here. Just make sure it’s unsalted and very cold.
Will the recipe flop if salted butter is used or is it because of health reasons?
You can absolutely use salted butter instead. I wouldn’t even reduce the salt in the pastry, but if you wanted to– you can reduce to 1/8 teaspoon.
We love quiche, and I can’t wait to try this recipe for a quiche crust. A hint: before we moved from CA to MT my back yard was replete with rosemary. Try adding a small amount of that to a quiche crust – makes quite a difference!
So delicious and your video was so helpful!