Cheater Cronuts

5 from 6 votes

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These Cheater Cronuts are a cross between a doughnut and a croissant. It takes New York bakeries days to make the originals, but you can make them homemade in minutes!

Stack of three decorated cronuts on a white plate

What is a Cronut?

If you’ve visited New York City in the last couple of years you have probably heard of Cronuts. If not, here’s the story: the Cronut was created by pastry chef Dominique Ansel in his bakery in SOHO. Basically, it’s a cross between a croissant and a doughnut, usually tossed in cinnamon sugar or and filled. To get an original Cronut be prepared to stand in line for possibly hours as soon as the bakery opens. Making one yourself isn’t any easier, Dominique Ansel actually released his secret recipe in a cookbook HERE and it’s a grueling three day process. I think he figured not many people would be crazy enough to attempt it! I definitely don’t have time for that. Hence, our version of the “cheater” Cronut.

I love New York
Pic from my trip to New York last week!

Cheater Cronuts

Okay okay, this cheater version is probably not better than the original but it’s still really delicious! And if you’ve never had the original cronuts recipe then you won’t know any different! Our cheater cronuts are flaky layers of light pastry, golden brown, with delicious fillings and sugary coatings. Because this version comes together quickly, you can make several batches with different fillings and toppings to make each one unique. 

If you love pastries like we do, our Air Fryer Doughnuts are a real treat! You’ll also love these plain or filled Malasadas or our favorite New Orleans Beignet recipe.

Donut vs. Cronut

They may look similar from the outside, but inside the textures are completely different. Donuts are generally a bit more dense, and well, doughy. Cronuts are much lighter and flakier with the texture of puff pastry dough. However, both donuts and cronuts can be made in the same donut shapes with a donut cutter. You can also fold dough in a rectangle or triangle shape tucking the seams underneath.  They can also both be topped with glaze, frosting, a sprinkle of powdered sugar, or cinnamon.

Close up of raspberry filled cronut cut in half to show filling

Main Ingredient for this Cheater Cronut Recipe

No need to fuss with yeast, flour or eggs for this recipe. We made this super simple by using cans of crescent roll dough. That’s right! This could not be easier! Once you have a couple of cans, you can use all kinds of sweet ingredients as fillings and toppings for more flavor.

Tips for Making Cheater Cronuts

  • Use a donut cutter to make a donut shape, or just leave them as a rectangle. 
  • Fry cronuts in canola oil that is 350 degrees. Use a food thermometer to test the oil. 
  • After the cronuts are fried, lay them on a sheet pan lined with paper towels to add your toppings.
  • Store leftovers tightly covered. You can pop them in the freezer for another day!

Topping and Filling Ideas

  • Use a pastry piping bag to gently fill the cronut with vanilla pudding, caramel sauce, raspberry jam or any kind of jam you like.
  • Make a simple glaze with powdered sugar, lemon juice, and a splash of buttermilk.
  • Dip in powdered sugar or just give it a light dusting.
  • Dip in cinnamon sugar.
  • In a small bowl, melt milk or white chocolate chips in the microwave. Spoon over cronuts to create a chocolate coating.
Cronuts decorated on a cooling rack and a plate with sprinkles, chocolate and powdered sugar.

Make It A Meal

If you’re looking to round out the cronut (as in make this feel a little more healthy) you can always pair it with our delicious Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Smoothie and call it breakfast. Or have the cronut on the side of some of our Easy Breakfast Casserole. Either way it’s delicious!

How To Make Cheater Cronuts

Three cronuts on a serving plate with a cup of milk.

Cheater Cronuts

5 from 6 votes
These Cheater Cronuts are a cross between a doughnut and a croissant. It takes New York bakeries days to make but you can make them homemade in minutes!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • vegetable oil (enough to fill a deep fryer or large sauce pan)
  • 2 cans crescent rolls or sheets

Options for coating:

Options for fillings:


  • Heat oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees or in a saucepan over the stove on medium. Open crescent roll cans and roll out.
    Ingredients for cronuts.
  • Pinch together the diagonal lines so you have 4 rectangles if using crescent rolls. If using crescent sheets, this step isn't necessary.
    Rolled out crescent dough sheet for cronuts.
  • For square shaped cronuts, stack all 4 rectangles on top of each other then cut in half so you have 8 squares. Cut a hole in the middle of each square to make 8 square cronuts.
    Stack of four crescent dough halves for cronuts.
  • For donut shaped cronuts, use a donut cutter or cookie cutter to cut the dough into the shape of donuts. First cut the large circle, then a small circle in the center for a traditional circular cronut.
    Cut outs of dough for cronuts.
  • Once the oil has reached 350 degrees, carefully place the cronut dough into the fryer. Fry until it is nice and golden on the first side then flip and fry the other side. Remove from oil and place them on a rack or paper towels to drain excess grease. 
    Two cronuts frying in oil in a deep fryer
  • Let them cool at least five minutes before adding filling or coatings. See ideas for fillings and toppings in post above.
    Plain cronuts cooling on a rack
  • If you have a kitchen tool that you can use to inject pastries with fillings you can make 4 holes along the bottom and add filling. If you want to take the easy route, just cut the cronut in half and pipe the filling into the sides using a plastic baggie with a hole cut out of one corner.
    Cronuts surrounded by toppings including raspberry filling, chocolate, and sprinkles
  • You can toss the cronut in sugar or top with chocolate sauce. Pictured here: A raspberry filled cronut tossed in powdered sugar, a plain cronut with vanilla glaze and sprinkles, a pudding filled cronut with chocolate topping.
    Close up of cronuts cut in half showing raspberry, plain, and vanilla filling


Nutrition does not include fillings or toppings.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 198kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 2gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 444mgSugar: 6gIron: 1mg

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About the author

Emily Walker

Emily lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband, Beau, a physician assistant, and her three incredible children: a son and two daughters. Travel is one of her favorite ways to experience new cultures and cuisines, and she has a love for all things Disney.

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How many stars would you give this recipe?


  1. 5 stars
    It was simple easy and delicious. Pillsbury crescent rolls has a whole sheet of dow that has no cuts on it and it works great! Loved it. Made me look like a pro.

  2. Have you tried this by baking the Cronut rather than frying ? I want to try this recipe, but don’t want the extra calories that come from frying.

  3. These look delicious and so simple to make! (I’ve been making “donuts” from canned biscuits for over 40 years, especially when my children were young) and I LOVE THAT NYC PHOTO……..I would so love a copy of it! I, too, <3 NYC!!

  4. Does the dough from the rolls stick to itself, or do you need to press it down hard to keep it all in one piece? Also, does this just taste like a scone? That what it seems like… I’d be interested to taste a cronut to see what all the rage is about.

    1. They stuck together fine, when I cut out the center hole it sealed them together. It tastes different than a scone, more flaky.

  5. Couldn’t you leave it as a full square or circle and not cut the hole in the middle, then fill it? I guess then it may be more like a bismark or like the jelly filled donuts.

    1. I think you answered your own question, lol! Yes, it would taste the same, but look less like a cronut. Thank you for your comment!