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Cream Puffs

These glorious pastry cream filled Cream Puffs will make a stunning addition to your special occasion desserts menu.

Cream Puffs

Easy Cream Puffs Recipe

I know when it comes to treats like these puffs, they can seem unattainable. I’m here to tell you that, they really aren’t. Puffs are made using simple pantry staples that when combined transform into a pastry classic. They require several steps to make, but don’t be intimidated, you can do it. When making the puffs, you may find it helpful to outline a template on the parchment paper for even baking and to keep the puffs similar in size. How do you make Cream Puffs: (Scroll down for full printable recipe.)

  • Prepare Sheet Pans – Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  • Dough – In a medium-size saucepan bring water, butter, sugar and salt to a rolling boil.
  • Remove from heat, mix in flour. Return to burner on medium and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the flour begins to pull away from the sides and forms a ball.
  • Transfer to Mixer – Scrape into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the dough for 1 minute on medium speed to cool slightly before adding 4 eggs one at a time. Stop after each egg to scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are completely incorporated.
  • Pipe into Rounds – Use a piping bag fitted with a plain tip to pipe rounds 2 inches in diameter on baking sheets. Leave 2 inches between each puff.
  • Egg Wash – Brush each puff with remaining egg wash.
  • Bake – Bake per the recipe until golden and they sound hollow when gently tapped.
  • Pierce each puff on the side, using the tip of a knife or a skewer to allow steam to release. Cool completely on the baking sheet.
  • Pastry Cream Filling – Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium-size heavy bottomed saucepan. Whisk together milk and egg yolks in a glass measuring cup; add to saucepan along with butter and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 1 minute, still whisking; then remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • Strain and Chill – Strain pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface of cream to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Just before using, whisk until smooth.
  • Fill Puffs – Use a sharp knife to cut puffs through the middle leaving one side intact. Fill puffs with pastry cream.
  • Dust with powdered sugar. Serve chilled.
Step-by-step preparation images and ingredients to make Cream Puffs

How to Make the Best Cream Puffs Recipe

The pastry dough to make these cream puffs is a classic Pâte à Choux. It takes standard pantry items to create and it’s the same choux dough used to make eclairs, too.

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Cream Puffs: Water, butter, granulated sugar, salt and all purpose flour.
  • To make the Pastry Cream recipe you’ll need: Sugar, cornstarch, salt, whole milk, large egg yolks, butter and vanilla extract. This is cooked on the stovetop until thickened then cooled before you fill the puffs. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing onto the surface of the pastry cream and chill.
  • Please note, it will take several minutes for the raw taste of the flour to cook out of the choux dough on the stovetop. You’ll know it’s done when the dough looks shiny, there’s a film on the bottom of the pan and it pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.
  • Remember to mix each egg into the dough thoroughly until the dough comes together before adding another egg.
  • Room temperature eggs combine more easily with the puff dough.
  • Puffs require a blast of heat to create the steam they need to puff and hollow out.
  • When baked, the outside should be crisp and golden, with a hollow sound when gently tapped.
  • After baking, it’s important to find an inconspicuous place on each puff to poke a hole to allow the steam to escape while cooling.
  • Once the puffs are filled, the shells will hydrate rather quickly and soften. Due to this, I don’t recommend you fill them too far in advance. Puffs may be filled up to 1 hour in advance of serving.
  • You can adapt this recipe making mini puffs or even larger puffs than made in the recipe. A 1/2 inch round tip or larger works well.
  • You can also dip puffs into warm melted chocolate like an eclair.
  • Both the puff shells and the pastry cream can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store separately, with pastry cream chilled in the fridge and puffs at room temperature in an airtight container.
  • Unfilled puff shells may also be cooled and frozen for up to one month. Thaw them in the fridge. They may also be re-crisped in a 425°F oven for a few minutes before filling with the pastry cream, if desired. This is optional but should you choose to do this, watch them closely.
  • These are dessert puffs and they’re filled with a scrumptious pastry cream. They can also be filled with fresh sweetened whipped cream, lemon curd, nutella and more.
Cream Puffs filled with cream on a platter

What is Pâte à Choux?

Pâte à Choux sounds so fancy doesn’t it? Admittedly, it does roll off the tongue rather smoothly. It’s a pastry dough that consists of flour, water, sugar and eggs. Unlike other doughs, the pastry is pre-cooked on the stovetop before adding eggs one at a time. The choux is then piped, and baked to form crispy shells. It’s used to make everything from these mouthwatering cream puffs to profiteroles and eclairs. It can also be used to make puffs with savory fillings.

 

Cream Puffs displayed

More Southern Style Confections to Make

Add these cream puffs to your dessert menu and you’re certain to impress you friends and family. More sweets and confections recipes you may like to try:

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Cream Puffs
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5 from 3 votes

Cream Puffs

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Cooling time1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: cream-puffs, cream-puffs-recipe, easy-cream-puffs
Servings: 20 puffs
Calories: 150kcal

Ingredients

  • Puffs Pastry: (Pate a Choux)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs (room temperature) Use one egg for egg wash
  • 1 tsp cold water
  • Pastry cream:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/16 tsp salt
  • 2 cups whole milk or half and half
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. Set aside.
  • Dough: In a medium-size saucepan bring water, butter, sugar and salt to a rolling boil.
  • Remove from heat, mix in flour. Return to burner on medium and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the flour begins to pull away from the sides and forms a film on the bottom of the saucepan. The pate a choux should form a ball.
  • Scrape into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the dough for 1 minute on medium speed to cool slightly before adding 4 eggs one at a time. Stop after each egg to scrape the sides of the bowl. The dough may separate after adding each egg but, will come together when beaten. 
  • Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are completely incorporated.
  • Use a piping bag fitted with a plain tip to pipe rounds 2 inches in diameter on baking sheets. Leave 2 inches between each puff. Alternately, use a Tbsp using 2 Tbsp dough for each round. Rounds should be approximately 2-inch circles about 1/2 inch high. Leave 2 inches between to allow for spreading.
  • Beat remaining egg with water. Gently smooth tips of pastry with finger dipped in egg wash then brush each puff with remaining egg wash.
  • Bake for 15 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 375°F. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden and they sound hollow when gently tapped.
  • Pierce each puff on the side, using the tip of a knife or a skewer to allow steam to release. You won't need a large slit, just a small inconspicuous hole. Cool completely on the baking sheet.
  • Pastry Cream Filling: Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium-size heavy bottomed saucepan. Whisk together milk and egg yolks in a glass measuring cup; add to saucepan along with butter and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 1 minute, still whisking; then remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • Strain pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface of cream to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Just before using, whisk until smooth.
  • Fill: use a sharp knife to cut puffs through the middle leaving one side intact. Fill puffs with pastry cream using an open star tip or Tbsp.
  • Dust with powdered sugar. Serve chilled.

Notes

  • Both the puff shells and the pastry cream can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store separately, with pastry cream chilled in the fridge and puffs at room temperature in an airtight container.
  • Unfilled puff shells may also be cooled and frozen. Thaw in the fridge. They may also be re-crisped in a 425°F oven for a few minutes before filled, if desired. Watch closely.
  • Puffs may be filled up to 1 hour in advance of serving.
  • You may also use a tablespoon to make rounds allowing about 2 tablespoon dough for each.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 333IU | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!

7 Comments

  1. Does anyone know the best tip to use for the first the pastry itself; what would be considered a “plain tip?”

  2. 5 stars
    I made these and they are delicious, I need to get correct tip for piping and pastry bag. Piping was difficult for me. They are bakery quality when finished.

  3. 5 stars
    These are easy! I learned from my mother, a great Southern Cook, and this recipe and directions are spot on. They’re so pretty & give you a great sense of accomplishment. Forge ahead! Thanks Melissa
    Ann B

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