Fast Food Croissants Ranked Worst To Best

No longer do we have to book a hotel room — or, you know, fly to Paris — when major drive-thru chains are serving hot, delicious croissants. These French confections are flaky, puffy, and layered with buttery indulgence. Wherever the day takes you, so too can your pastry tag along, and the plain base is tantalizingly open to condiments and spreads (or le petit déjeuner). So considering croissants have even seen a rise as the quick breakfast of choice in recent years, fast food restaurants have followed suit adopting creative flavors or carving them into (exceedingly popular) handheld breakfast sandwiches. 

Having had our share of hectic commutes, we know the disappointment of getting a dry, fly-eaten pastry the coffee shop is clearly trying to get rid of. Every second matters when you're in a race against the clock and for that matter, so does every dollar. Crescents are baked at varying levels in the drive-thru lane, and the fact that they arrive in different styles can sway even the surest of diners. While we can't promise patisserie-level goodies at every chain, we can at least point you in the right direction. When traffic's in gridlock, here are the croissants that you'll want to look out for – which we've ranked from worst to best.


Even with the name change, Dunkin's always been in the doughnut (or "donut") business when it comes to edible accompaniments to pair with coffee. In a way, stale husks of horror are to be expected when the java chain attempts the signature cafe treat. Rather than definitively airy layers, Dunkin's take is solidly bread-like and resembles a day-old dinner roll. Croissants are notoriously flaky, but these crumble to dust with a normal nibble. When you (inevitably) wipe the crispy shards off your lap, the dough inside is surprisingly tough and heavy. 

Now, the chocolate croissant is the choice reviewers champion over the plain one. Yet isn't it true that confections ribboned with dark ganache are bound to be yummy? Even if it is a slight improvement over the plain, it's not exactly the challenge of the century to get people to eat a fudge-stuffed pastry. At best, your croissant will be warm (employees are expected to nuke them to order), but is that enough to revive them? Sadly, no. Fillings can be a cop-out for cutting corners on a delectable pastry, so stick with the Munchkins and don't even give the croissant a second look. Your wallet will be thankful. 

Burger King

Croissants make an excellent vessel for mouthwatering breakfast sandwiches. It's impossible to dispute that Burger King's Croissan'wich put the confection on the fast food market, arriving in 1983 and staking its claim ever since. Regardless, we can't say "oui" to the croissant on its own. What do we mean by that? Although it's superficially similar, the texture is totally off-base. Certainly, biting down on a croissant will burst forth some softness, but Burger King's is squishy, perhaps a bit steamy if it's been abandoned under a heat lamp (which it probably has). You won't sink your teeth into any heavenly layers that are reminiscent of delicate phyllo dough. It's a drag. 

Leave it to a burger chain, predictably, to offer nothing more than a hamburger bun. One Reddit user was pretty irate with Burger King's flop of a croissant, and even accused the chain of "false advertising" by hawking a less-than-flaky imitation: "It's regular sandwich bread molded into the shape of a croissant." We can handle a shrug-inducing option if there was at least some attempt to make it good, but Burger King barely tries passing it off as a legitimate pastry. Nothing against Jimmy Dean here, but the freezer section boasts options that aren't far off from what this drive-thru's serving.

Tim Hortons

In Canada and parts of the U.S., early risers lean on Tim Hortons for piping-hot coffee and doughnuts. It's a shame, then, that the chain's croissants (literally) flake out on us with unadulterated mediocrity. The main problem, of course, is the staleness, but there are also issues with the structure. When a croissant is properly baked, the interior is light and a little bouncy, pocked with the tiniest of air bubbles. Instead, Tim Hortons' feature humungous caverns of empty space, with a toughened bottom that's chewy. Too chewy. Imagine a chocolate eclair the baker forgot to pipe velvety cream filling in, and this isn't far from what you're getting. 

One Reddit user speculated that the coffee chain cut corners on ingredients — such as butter — which explains the dehydrated dough pocket that's handed to you in a bag. Yet the times you'll get a pastry that's actually moist, it's downright messy to eat due to the greasiness. One of the main offenders is the griddled egg sandwiches, and that's because the croissant has to be carved in half (or really, mutilated) to stuff the fillings inside. Hungering for a better pastry than this? Snag one of our top picks, and you'll save money and your beauty sleep. 

Corner Bakery Cafe

Given the welcoming spread of breakfast and brunch fare, Corner Bakery Cafe should technically satisfy the croissant itch. Take, for example, the Commuter Croissant. While the concept of stuffing a full continental breakfast between airy layers of pastry should entice us, we're afraid the crescent has some issues to contend with. Fixings or otherwise, there's no getting around the fact that this croissant is small. And for a price that's far from teeny-tiny, you'll likely wolf it down in seconds without silencing that gnawing roar in your belly. 

We would be less picky about the portion size if the taste went above and beyond the airport kiosk style. You know the type: dull, stale, and a smidge humid as all shrink-wrapped snacks tend to be. Reviewers have been less than thrilled with its oily, "pre-packaged" consistency, and in the case of warm bread smells wafting your way, those dreams would be dashed immediately with room-temperature blandness. 

If Corner Bakery Cafe freshened up the pastry case more often (and rolled out heftier ones), a promising bakery pick could be on its hands. As it stands currently, the glorified train station taste leaves little reason to go out of your way for one. 

Jack in the Box

Here we have Jack in the Box boasting two types of croissant concoctions: the Supreme Croissant Sandwich and the Sausage Croissant Sandwich. With these breakfast items respectively, the bread isn't as soggy as Burger King's yet it fails to deliver savory goodness without descending into an oil slick. Ideally, there should be feathery lamination, but in usual drive-thru fashion, Jack in the Box reverts to only making the surface look croissant-like. It's fairly greasy, and lacks the crisp edges that form the croissant's crackly shell. Nutritionally speaking, it's a heavy hitter too — the sausage sandwich alone features 560 calories and 780 milligrams of sodium. 

Considering you can score big with the "2 for $6" promotion, there's no doubt Jack in the Box knows how to attract our gluttonous impulses. At best, the croissants retain a decent golden hue and are warming to dig into. Nevertheless, the butter-drenched crevices are simply too much for a daily habit — assuming you can stomach these often to begin with. We're craving a crisper, firmer option that won't crack our teeth, and aside from burger joints with a need for speed, we don't think that's a tough ask. Let's get to the cafes and bistros that actually cater to these preferences. 


Wendy's is another culprit hawking hamburger buns that masquerade as croissants. These sturdy squares of bread can be found topping breakfast sandwiches in the morning, and as we've already seen demonstrated by other chains, aren't going to be the most authentic. As a croissant roll, the Wendy's version achieves compactness that helps hold the sausage patties, egg, and cheese into uniform delectability. However, the pastry part suffers as a result. When you bite in, there aren't many air pockets lending that lightweight texture, and the flakiness is disappointingly low-key compared to the golden brown color of the exterior.  

Don't get us wrong: we're not opposed to a little sponginess in our French pastries. But the buttery buns Wendy's utilizes are just that — buns. That isn't to say customers are repelled by the bread to the point of avoiding it all together. Brand Eating was impressed by the hefty quality, since an airy confection would probably disintegrate from the load of greasy fillings. However, our rankings have to revolve around the croissant alone. It's fine for a quick fix, we'll admit that. But if you're tired of falling for blatant mimicry, we've got more findings that'll fit the bill for flaky, fall-apart deliciousness.


Of course, no croissant showdown can proceed without peeking into the Starbucks pastry case. The java giant carries butter, chocolate, and (heated up) ham & swiss, and while these are nothing show-stopping, they aren't half-bad for a quick nosh between meetings. Shapes differ between the classic crescent twist and oblong packets, but the dough is light to the touch and we find the flakiness is present without breaking down when you nibble or tear it with your fingers. Unsurprisingly, the moist feel is more pronounced in the filled pastries compared to the standalone varieties, but you're in for a buttery treat no matter which variety steals your heart. 

Let this be said: as with any global franchise spanning thousands and thousands of locations, consistency is always mixed. You're bound to stumble onto a crusty day-old croissant, the likes of which you immediately toss in the trash. It might even have you question your faith in fast food sweets as you know them. Starbucks' croissants might not contain the feathery tiers of dough concocted by world-class chefs (though its former foray with La Boulange got fairly close), but when the mood strikes, it is a convenient choice. One way to combat the dryness is by getting them heated, so be sure to nudge your barista at the register. 

Au Bon Pain

Whereas croissants can fill in the gaps of a bakery case, Boston-based Au Bon Pain stocks an entire section that can be warmed up to your liking. We find it noteworthy to see sweet and savory confections on the menu, and the craftsmanship is right on target. Anybody who's been burned by soggy pastries can take refuge in the appropriately flaky folds of browned, buttered dough. A reviewer on Yelp praised the Spinach & Cheese croissant in particular as a nourishing bite that's also budget-friendly. 

There's no doubt Au Bon Pain will brighten your commute or travels with its glorious minimalism. And while its small footprint puts it out of league with the Starbuckses of the world, we think the quality far outshines its competitors. Regardless, there is some truth baked into some of the criticisms lobbed at the bistro franchise. Some diners felt underwhelmed by the pastry's dense taste, while Foodology found the chocolate croissant lacking in the freshness department. In other words, the product doesn't always live up to the artisanal branding evoking chic, city-style eats.

So what's our verdict? Au Bon Pain might not be the best, but the generous array of flavors and higher quality beat the vast majority of croissants out there. 


Baking up breads and desserts across more than 2,000 cafes, Panera reliably doles out confections as delicious as they are fresh. Regarding the croissants, you can expect pastries that are pretty favorable for any occasion. Evidently, they're on the softer side. Yet the browned crust ensures each nibble draws a light crunch that doesn't descend into mealiness. One customer felt the richness could have been dialed up a degree, and while we get it, that also makes the croissant more customizable for spreading on butter or jam (or both!).

Panera's croissants are not immune to shedding quite a bit as you hold them in your hands, so not every diner was pleased with them. From our perspective, they're worth hoarding the napkin dispenser. Especially in the case of the jam-packed chocolate croissant that's iced (and filled) generously with dark ganache, sacrificing a bit of neatness is actually worth the trouble. The chain's approach nails an authenticity you're just not going to find at other fast-casual spots, and it's no accident that the pleasant aromas make them an irresistible nosh. Good work, Panera. You might not be number one, but your spot is never shabby in a certainly-heated competition. We'd pick one up with our afternoon coffee in a heartbeat!

La Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe

We can't all hop on a plane to Paris for breathtakingly flaky croissants (don't we wish?), so when those moments of whimsy take over, La Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe remains a viable substitute. Much like the romantic boulangeries dotting France, you'll find croissants that are ready-to-eat or sidelining a full breakfast, and in both formats they retain the provincial charm of a townhouse buffet. Excellently crackled with big shards on the outside, the pastry gives way to a dreamily plush center that's honeyed, but not saccharine in the least. 

It's always tempting to go the traditional route with hot coffee and a croissant, yet the offerings from La Madeleine's truly shine when they are incorporated into a full meal. Pressed into a breakfast sandwich, the cloud-like crescent infuses an indulgent air — as seen in the ultimate Breakfast Croissant Sandwich, which combines cured meat, egg, and sharp cheddar cheese. Even refraining from the bells and whistles, the flaky handhelds don't require anything extra to conjure the French spirit. Unlike the usual haunts that conveniently cart out your order, La Madeleine's rustic scenery invites you to rest for a spell, escaping into a delightful treat.

Le Pain Quotidien

Essentially, Le Pain Quotidien has managed the most difficult task of a fast-casual cafe: making a croissant that's not just edible, but an enigma. We're sold on the Belgian bakery for many reasons, including the labor-intensive pastries that stun our tastebuds every time, and the croissant reaps all the benefits in spades. To be sure, spending $4 for a basic buttered croissant sounds a little out there, but these crescents are a multi-day ordeal — and it shows! Every bite is buttery perfection, and every layer of dough is artfully rolled out in thin, barely-there folds that spark off the tongue. 

Most locations can be found in major cities like London and New York City, so stumbling on the cafe during your travails is a massive upgrade from the usual airport kiosks. In addition to plain crescents, sip your brew with patisserie favorites like almond, pain au chocolate (chocolate croissant), and pain aux raisins. For something to perk you up, it's hard to pass on the Toasted Ham & Gruyere Croissant, which arrives with greens and dipping mustards, and embeds savory and salty within the fluffiest, rustic pocket this side of the Seine.

Paris Baguette

Don't let the name fool you — Paris Baguette sells a lot more than the slim loaves beloved by the City of Lights' denizens. The selection marries European patisserie with Asian delicacies like mochi and sweet buns, and demonstrably, an authentically glorious French croissant that's hard to tell apart from the real thing. There's also the fact that the Korean bakehouse, which has a massive footprint around the world and a minor handful in America, makes its array of gourmet goods on-site, from scratch. 

It's no coincidence that the dainty concoctions are deserving of all the accolades. Inspiring further adoration, the flaky crescents can be purchased as singles or bite-sized treats. In any situation — on a coffee break, catering an office party — there's no context where Paris Baguette's croissants won't dazzle or delight. Plus, the flavors are refreshingly unique. "The mini almond croissants are to die for," said one Trip Advisor user, but the savory side of the lineup is equally tempting. When was the last time you saw a garlic or whole grain croissant at a bakery? Better yet, a classic croissant combines the trifecta of eggs, flour, and butter that leads to a neat 250 calories, the most excellent counterpart to a creamy latte. 

Pret A Manger

In the blink of an eye, Pret A Manger's "ready to eat" meals satiate workers and tourists spanning some of the world's major metropolises. Thankfully, residing in Chicago or Dublin doesn't impact your ability to savor, arguably, the finest fast food croissant. Crescents are baked by the batch according to the company's website, and the sheer expertise tucked in their golden pleats marks must-eat treats that are simply undebatable. Due to the swift speed these hand-folded pastries are heated and then served, as Cocoa Beantown attests, you'll be receiving a pastry fresh enough to run the self-proclaimed "fast food" chains out of town. 

Although Pret A Manger's croissants are simple in nature, the premium ingredients clearly elevate the flavor to pastry-shop magnificence. And as NYC Snack Attack points out, the perfectly imperfect appearance implies that real bakers labored over each and every treat found on the shelf. In terms of how they taste, the dough is mouthwateringly airy and puffs steam with each and every bite. The core flavors — plain, chocolate, and almond — sing the standard tunes of broiled butteriness, yet Pret A Manger brings something new to the restaurant table by turning out the freshest, fastest confections.