This danish pastry is simply the best dough to have on hand for yummy jam or cheese-filled danish desserts. The result will be golden brown, buttery, and flaky perfection.

Danish Pastry dough rolled up.

What is Danish Pastry Dough?

Danish pastry dough is a type of multi-layered, yeast-leavened, buttery, and sweet pastry dough. It is considered a laminate dough because of the multiple thin layers that are divided between layers of butter. Danish dough is most commonly used to make Danish pastries, which are then filled with fruit jams or cream cheese, and topped with a glaze or a sprinkle of nuts.

The dough is said to have originated in Denmark when Danish bakery workers went on strike and non-Danish (Austrian, actually) bakers took their place. The Austrian workers made their own version of the dough, and over time, this version became famous and is what we commonly refer to today as “danish”.

Puff Pastry vs Croissant vs Danish Pastry: What’s the Difference?

Puff pastry, croissant, and Danish pastry are three popular types of pastry doughs that have similar ingredients and taste. Puff pastry is flaky and crispy. Croissants are less crispy, but still flakey due to the addition of yeast to the dough. Danish pastry dough is chewy and flakey due to the addition of yeast, milk, and egg. The variations in ingredients across the pastries may seem small, but even small ingredient variations change the texture and taste of the final result.

Looking to make homemade puff pastry? Follow this simple puff pastry dough recipe for those crispy, flaky layers!

How to Make Danish Pastry Dough From Scratch

If anyone tells you it’s too complicated to make your own danish dough, don’t listen to them! With these easy-to-follow instructions, you’ll be well on your way to a tasty dessert fit for the Danes.

  • Combine milk and yeast mixture: Warm half of the milk to 110°F and combine with yeast and sugar. Let this rest to allow for the yeast to begin activating.
  • Whisk remaining milk and egg: In a second bowl, whisk the egg and remaining half of the room temperature milk.
  • Grate in the frozen butter: Combine flour and salt in a third large bowl, then grate frozen butter into the flour mixture. Toss the butter with flour as you grate it in.
  • Stir in the liquid: Add all liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients (third bowl) and stir until combined. The dough should look rough/sticky.
  • Cover the bowl: Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least six hours.
  • Roll the dough: Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/3 inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. Fold the dough in half, then roll the dough again to the same thickness. Repeat three times until the dough is smooth. This is called the “lamination process.” Work quickly to prevent the butter in the dough from melting.
  • Refrigerate the dough: Cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper and fold again. Refrigerate the dough for a minimum of two hours.

Tool Tip: This recipe requires a few mixing bowls throughout the process, this set of 3 is perfect for the job!

Tips to Ensure a Perfect Danish Pastry

The trick to a perfect danish pastry lies in the temperature of the ingredients. Here’s some tips to make sure your pastry turns out perfect each time.

  • Grate frozen butter: Grate the frozen butter on the large side of the grater. When tossing the grated butter with the flour, you should still see little pieces of frozen butter.
  • Keep butter cold: Cold butter is the key. If the butter begins to melt or soften, immediately place it back in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. Softened butter will ruin the texture by preventing the flaky layers we want.
  • Use warm milk: Avoid cold or hot milk. Warm milk (at a temperature of about 110°F) is the key. Hot milk will ruin the yeast and cold milk will not activate the yeast. Use a food thermometer to easily check the temperature. Here’s our favorite!
  • Chill the dough: Let the dough chill in the fridge for at least six hours. Only roll it out after it has been chilled. After it has been rolled out, chill the dough again. This will keep the butter cold and make the dough flaky when it is time to bake.
  • Ensure a lightly floured surface: Using too much flour on the surface when rolling the dough can affect the texture of the dough. Keep the flour to a minimum. If the dough gets sticky when rolling out, don’t add more flour. The dough gets sticky because it is getting warm. Instead, place the dough back in the fridge to chill.

Storing Danish Pastry Dough

For best results, store your danish pastry dough folded with parchment paper in the freezer or refrigerator.

  • Freezer: To freeze for up to two months, place folded dough on a baking sheet, then move to a ziplock bag when frozen.
  • Refrigerator: To refrigerator for up to ten days, keep folded dough wrapped in parchment paper and plastic wrap.

Hot tip: Thaw frozen dough in the refrigerator when ready to use. Avoid thawing on the counter as the butter will melt, and this will result in an unfortunate loss of flaky layers.


What type of yeast do I use for danish pastry?

Danish pastry dough can be made with active or instant dry yeast. Active dry yeast may be a little slower to activate compared to instant yeast, but in the long run, both yeasts result in a perfect rise.

What is danish pastry dough used for?

Danish pastry dough is used to make a large variety of pastries. Popular fillings include cream cheese, fruit jams, fresh fruit, chocolate, nuts, and more! With each filling, the pastries can be shaped differently such as braids, squares, or circles for even more variety.

Can I double or half the recipe for danish pastry dough?

It is not recommended to double or half the recipe for danish pastry dough, as this can affect the texture of the result. Instead, freeze any extra dough for use later, or make the dough in two batches.

More Homemade Dough Recipes

About Author

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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.