Substitutes for Puff Pastry

Puff pastry is a versatile and flaky dough that’s loved by many for its buttery layers. It’s often used in sweet and savory recipes, ranging from tarts and turnovers to quiches and pot pies. However, there may be instances when you don’t have puff pastry on hand or simply wish to use a different type of dough for dietary or personal reasons.

In these cases, it’s important to know that there are various substitutes for puff pastry that can be used, each with its own distinct texture and flavor. As you explore these alternatives, you’ll discover that some options may better suit your particular recipe or preference, ultimately giving you more flexibility in your culinary creations.

Key Takeaways

  • Puff pastry is a popular dough with a rich, flaky texture used in both sweet and savory dishes
  • Several alternatives offer similar textures and flavors, providing options when puff pastry is unavailable or unsuitable
  • Choosing the right substitute depends on your specific recipe and personal taste preferences
baked brie in puff pastry

Overview of Puff Pastry

Puff pastry is a versatile and delicate dough that has become a staple in many baking recipes. Its unique texture consists of multiple, thin layers, resulting from the method of folding dough and fat. This creates a light and flaky texture that is both appealing and delicious.

The origin of puff pastry can be traced back to French chef Marie Antoine Carême, who is considered a pioneer in the art of pastry making. With his innovative techniques, Carême took puff pastry to new heights, contributing to its widespread popularity today.

When making puff pastry, you start with a simple dough, usually made from flour, water, and salt. Then, you incorporate a layer of fat, typically butter, by spreading it evenly on the dough. After folding this into a neat package, you roll it out and repeat the process several times.

This creates alternating layers of dough and fat, which, when baked, separate from each other and trap air in the process. The trapped air causes these layers to puff up, resulting in the signature texture that puff pastry is known for.

Since puff pastry requires patience and skill to make, many people choose to use substitutes when they don’t have the time or resources to create it from scratch. There are various replacements that can be used to mimic the characteristics of puff pastry, without having to spend hours perfecting the folding and rolling technique.

In the next paragraphs, you will learn about some of these substitutes and their applications, giving you the confidence and knowledge needed when a recipe calls for puff pastry.

Exploring Dough Varieties

Phyllo Dough

Phyllo dough is a thin and delicate type of dough, often used in Greek and Middle Eastern recipes. It consists of flour, water, and a small amount of oil. When baking with phyllo, you’ll need multiple layers, but you can easily achieve a flaky and light texture by brushing each layer with melted butter or oil. This makes it a great substitute for puff pastry in dishes such as spanakopita and baklava.

Biscuit Dough

Another option is to use biscuit dough, which contains flour, butter, and baking powder. This creates a tender, flaky, and slightly dense texture. You can use store-bought or homemade biscuit dough and roll it out thin for recipes that call for puff pastry. Consider using biscuit dough for dishes like pot pies or turnovers.

Pie Crust

Pie crust is made with cold butter, flour, and water. It provides a flaky and tender base for fruit-filled or savory tarts and quiches. As a substitute for puff pastry, it is especially suitable for dessert recipes. However, store-bought or homemade pie crust may not rise as much as traditional puff pastry.

Croissant Dough

Croissant dough has a tender and buttery texture, making it ideal for swapping out with puff pastry. It is made by laminating the dough with cold butter, which creates layers that create that signature flakiness. Croissant dough works well in recipes calling for puff pastry, such as croissant rolls and Danish pastries.

Pizza Dough

If you’re looking for a more savory option, pizza dough can step in as a puff pastry alternative. Made with flour, water, and yeast, it has a chewy texture that differs from the flakiness of puff pastry. However, pizza dough is versatile and suitable for recipes like cheese-filled appetizers or even dessert pizzas.

Crescent Roll Dough

Crescent roll dough is a quick and easy substitute for puff pastry. Available in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, it comes pre-made and ready to use. It has a soft and flaky texture, perfect for making small pastries or appetizers. Unroll the dough, cut into desired shapes, and fill with your choice of ingredients.

Rough Puff Pastry

Rough puff pastry is a simpler version of traditional puff pastry, using a less stringent method for incorporating the butter into the dough. Made with flour, water, and cold butter, it offers a similar flakiness with less effort. This homemade puff pastry substitute is suitable for most recipes that call for using puff pastry.

Blitz Puff Pastry

Blitz puff pastry, also known as fast puff pastry or quick puff pastry, is yet another quicker alternative to traditional puff pastry. It combines flour, cold butter, water, and baking powder to achieve a flaky and tender texture without as much effort as traditional puff pastry. Blitz puff pastry works well for both sweet and savory recipes, including tarts, turnovers, and vol-au-vents.

Process of Making Puff Pastry Substitutes

To make a puff pastry substitute, you’ll need a simple recipe that can still achieve great results. Many puff pastry alternatives involve similar techniques, like rolling and folding, to create layers of dough and fat.

Start by gathering your ingredients. You may choose an alternative dough recipe that uses a food processor to quickly combine ingredients. Add flour and cold butter, pulsing until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then, gradually add ice-cold water until the dough starts coming together.

Divide your dough into two equal parts and shape each into a disk. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the butter to firm up and make the dough more manageable for rolling.

While the dough chills, prepare your work surface by lightly flouring it. Take out the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest briefly to soften slightly. You’ll begin the process of rolling and folding to create those flaky layers unique to puff pastry. Remember to keep a confident, knowledgeable, and neutral tone, as you guide the dough through this process.

For the first fold, roll out one dough disk into a large, thin rectangle. Fold it in thirds, like you would fold a letter. Rotate the dough and roll out again into another large, thin rectangle. Fold it in thirds once more, using the opposite direction of the first fold. Repeat this process, alternating directions, for at least six folds.

Once you’ve completed these steps, wrap your folded dough and chill it again for at least 30 minutes. This rest period allows the butter to firm up one more time, ensuring that your puff pastry substitute will be flaky and tender.

After chilling, your puff pastry substitute is ready to be used in your desired recipe. Roll it out to the desired thickness, trim any excess dough, and bake according to your recipe’s instructions. The layers will puff up as they bake, forming a light and crispy texture that closely mimics traditional puff pastry. Use the same rolling and folding process with the second dough disk, so you’ll have another batch of puff pastry substitute on hand for future recipes.

By confidently taking control of the dough and understanding the process behind rolling, folding, and chilling, you can create a puff pastry substitute that will work beautifully in your recipes without too much hassle.

Applications of Puff Pastry Substitutes

When you’re working on a pastry dish and don’t have puff pastry on hand, using a substitute can yield successful results. Puff pastry substitutes can be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes, allowing you to explore your culinary creativity.

For example, pies can still be delightful with an alternative pastry crust. Instead of puff pastry, you can use a shortcrust pastry, which provides a tender, crumbly texture to your creation. It’s ideal for both sweet and savory pies, and you can easily adapt the recipe according to your needs.

Tarts also benefit from alternative pastries. A simple switch to a flaky pie crust can give your tart an appetizing appearance and great taste. This type of crust is easy to work with and bakes evenly, ensuring a delicious outcome for your tart.

If you’re preparing turnovers, using a crescent roll dough instead of puff pastry is an excellent option. This dough is pliable and bakes into a soft, buttery crust that complements the filling of your turnovers.

For a sophisticated dish like beef Wellington, you can opt for a phyllo dough to wrap your meat. While it may not puff up as dramatically as puff pastry, it will still give you a light, flaky result. The layers of thin dough combined with the juices of the beef create an exceptional texture and flavor.

When it comes to sweet and savory dishes, you have the flexibility to change the pastry type without sacrificing taste. For sweet dishes, you can use a shortcrust pastry to create delectable desserts, while a rough puff pastry is great for savory dishes that require a crisp, layered base.

One versatile application for puff pastry substitutes is in roll-ups. You can use crescent roll dough or pizza dough for a savory roll-up filled with ingredients like cheese and vegetables, or even for a sweet variation filled with fruit and cream cheese.

In conclusion, knowing which puff pastry substitutes to use in your dishes will empower you to create tasty and visually appealing pastries, pies, tarts, turnovers, and more. Experimenting with different pastries is fun, and it can lead to discovering exciting new flavor combinations for your culinary creations.

Selecting Appropriate Substitute Based on Flavor

When choosing a substitute for puff pastry, consider the flavor profile of the dish you’re creating. Puff pastry itself has a neutral, buttery taste, providing a versatile base for both sweet and savory applications.

For sweet recipes, such as palmiers, consider using phyllo dough. Phyllo is a good substitute due to its similar flakiness and crispiness to puff pastry. However, it has a lighter, more delicate texture. It’s important to note that phyllo dough requires you to brush melted butter between each layer to achieve a rich, flaky result.

If you’re preparing a savory dish, consider using shortcrust or pie crust as your puff pastry substitute. Both options have a buttery flavor, but they differ in texture. Shortcrust is denser and less flaky, while pie crust has a crumbly, tender texture. Both options can hold up well to hearty fillings, such as meats, cheeses, and vegetables.

Another flavorful alternative for savory recipes is crescent roll dough. It’s easy to work with and has a similar buttery taste. While not as flaky as puff pastry, crescent dough can still add a tender and rich quality to your dish.

Ultimately, the choice of a puff pastry substitute comes down to your personal preference and the specific recipe you’re working with. Regardless of the substitute you choose, keep in mind the overall flavor of your dish to ensure it complements the other ingredients.


In summary, finding suitable substitutes for puff pastry is not difficult, and many options are readily available. Depending on your recipe, you can opt for phyllo dough, croissant dough, pie crust, or even homemade rough puff pastry, as each of these puff pastry substitutes offer a unique texture and flavor.

Phyllo dough is a light and flaky option, great for both sweet and savory dishes. Croissant dough, while slightly more time-intensive, produces a rich, buttery alternative. Pie crust is another easy-to-use option that yields a crisp, tender substitute. Finally, making your own rough puff pastry can be both cost-effective and enjoyable for those who enjoy baking from scratch.

By considering your specific recipe requirements and your preferences for taste and texture, you can confidently choose a puff pastry substitute that best suits your needs. Remember that practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different options, and soon you’ll discover the best alternative for your culinary creations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some alternatives to puff pastry for baking?

There are several alternatives to puff pastry that can be used in your baking endeavors. Some options include phyllo dough, pie crust, and crescent roll dough. Each of these substitutions offers its unique texture and flavor, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your specific recipe and personal preferences.

Can phyllo dough be used as a substitute for puff pastry?

Yes, phyllo dough can be used as a substitute for puff pastry. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that phyllo dough is much thinner and more delicate than puff pastry. When using phyllo dough, make sure to brush it with melted butter or oil and layer several sheets together to achieve a thicker, flakier texture.

Is pie crust a viable replacement for puff pastry?

Pie crust can be a viable replacement for puff pastry in certain recipes. The primary difference between the two is that pie crust is typically less flaky and more crumbly than puff pastry. If you’re looking for a denser and more tender texture, pie crust might be the right choice for your recipe.

Are crescent rolls a suitable alternative to puff pastry?

Crescent rolls can be a suitable alternative to puff pastry in some cases. They are made with a yeast dough, which gives them a lighter and more tender texture than puff pastry. Crescent rolls may not achieve the same number of flaky layers as puff pastry, but they can still provide a delicious and easy-to-work-with substitute.

How does the texture differ between phyllo dough and puff pastry?

The texture of phyllo dough and puff pastry varies considerably. Phyllo dough is typically very thin and delicate, with a crisp, flaky texture once baked. Puff pastry, on the other hand, is comprised of multiple layers of dough and butter, which creates the signature flaky, buttery texture when baked. While both phyllo dough and puff pastry can provide satisfying results, their unique textures will impact the final product of your baked goods.

What are some low-fat options for replacing puff pastry in a recipe?

If you’re looking for a healthier, low-fat alternative to puff pastry, consider using a whole wheat pie crust or filo dough. Both options provide a lower fat content than traditional puff pastry, while still offering a flaky, crisp texture suitable for various recipes. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the baking time and temperature when substituting with these healthier alternatives to ensure optimal results.

baked brie in puff pastry

Substitutes for Puff Pastry

Here's a recipe for a delicious puff pastry tart:
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitute
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 188 kcal


  • 1 sheet puff pastry thawed
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Roll out the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts.
  • Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the puff pastry, leaving a small border around the edges.
  • Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bake the tart for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and puffed up.
  • Let the tart cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.


Calories: 188kcal
Keyword substitutes for puff pastry
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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