How to Make Cream Puffs

Tastes of Lizzy T participates in affiliate advertising programs. We may earn a commission when you make a purchase through links on our site.

Learn how to make cream puffs, a classic French dessert that you can fill with custard, whipped cream or even ice cream.

Table of Contents
  1. About this Cream Puff Recipe:
  2. What kind of dough are cream puffs made from?
  3. Ingredients Needed
  4. How to Make Cream Puffs
  5. Why did my cream puffs deflate?
  6. Can you make cream puffs in advance?
  7. Cream Puff Fillings
  8. How do you fill cream puffs?
  9. Storage Instructions
  10. How to Make Cream Puffs Recipe

My experience with cream puffs has generally been the little puffs you buy in the freezer section and serve at parties, likely half frozen. They are addicting, right?

And then I visited a food truck that is famous for serving cream puffs the size of my face. After one bite, I knew I needed to perfect making these light and delicate pastries at home.

You may think cream puffs are hard to make, but if you follow our recipe closely, you’ll have success. This isn’t a recipe to make substitutions on until you have it down perfectly as it is written. Promise me that, ok?

a cream puff filled with whipped cream on a wire rack

About this Cream Puff Recipe:

  • Flavor: Cream puffs themselves don’t have much flavor. They are buttery and lightly rich, thanks to the butter and egg. But most of the flavor will come from the pastry cream or filling inside the puff.
  • Texture: The texture of a cream puff is light and delicate. And many times the filling, especially if you use whipped cream, is light and smooth. That makes cream puffs a great dessert, since they aren’t heavy.
cream puffs filled with whipped cream on a wire rack

What kind of dough are cream puffs made from?

Cream puffs are made from choux pastry, or as the French say, pâte à choux. It’s a flour based dough/batter that is the base for desserts such as eclairs, cream puffs and cruller donuts and even churros.

May people think that cream puffs are made from puff pastry, but that is not the case. You’ll find this dough easy though….and it has just 5 ingredients.

Ingredients Needed

  • Water. You can use half milk if you’d like, but I don’t notice a big difference in flavor, so I just use water.
  • Butter. The butter can be room temperature. It will melt more quickly that way.
  • Flour. All-purpose flour, measured carefully. Weigh the flour if you can, or spoon it into the measuring cup, then level it off with a knife.
  • Sugar. Granulated sugar, just a tablespoon, lightly sweetens the dough.
  • Eggs. Large eggs at room temperature work well.

How to Make Cream Puffs

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with a parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the water and butter. Heat the two together until the butter is melted. This doesn’t boil, you’re just melting the butter.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and the sugar.
  • Remove the saucepan from the stovetop and add the flour mixture. Mix well until the flour is completely incorporated.
  • Then put the pan back on the stovetop over medium low heat. Cook and stir using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula constantly until mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate. This will happen quickly so watch it carefully (about 1-2 minutes).
cream puff dough in a saucepan
  • Move the dough to another bowl (either the bowl of a stand mixer or another large mixing bowl to use with a hand mixer). Allow the mixture to cool for 1-2 minutes.
  • Mix in the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. (If using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment.)
  • Once the eggs are added in, mix for 1 additional minute on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth.
cream puff batter in a mixing bowl
  • Place a ½ round piping tip in a pastry bag. Fill the bag with the pastry dough.
  • On the prepared pan, pipe 28 circles of batter, about 2” in diameter and ¾ to 1” tall.
piping cream puff batter onto a baking sheet
  • Try to make the puffs as even as possible. Dampen your finger and smooth out any peaks that may have formed.
  • Bake the puffs for 15 minutes at 425ºF, then, without opening the oven, reduce the heat to 325º and bake for an additional 10 minutes. They should be lightly golden brown on top.

Why did my cream puffs deflate?

There are several things you can do to ensure the cream puffs do not deflate.

  • Preheat the oven properly.
  • Pipe all of the dough in even dollops so that they bake evenly.
  • Do not open the oven while the cream puffs bake, although I know it is tempting!
  • Bake the cream puffs for the full amount of time. Peek in the oven only through the door with the light on to make sure they are not getting too brown. If they are not fully cooked through, they may fall.

Can you make cream puffs in advance?

Yes, cream puffs freeze well. You can store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, and in the freezer for up to 6 weeks. Allow the puffs to thaw fully before opening the container to ensure they stay fresh.

custard filled cream puffs on a pan

Cream Puff Fillings

My favorite filling is whipped cream. Matt’s favorite filling is custard. But we’ve also filled them with vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled them with melted chocolate and they are amazing. These are generally called profiteroles in the United States.

Here are a few other ideas:

How do you fill cream puffs?

Cream puffs are hollow on the inside and you can fill them one of two different ways:

  1. Place a tip (Wilton #12) with a coupler in a piping bag. Fill the piping bag with custard or whipped cream. Press the tip into the side of the cream puff gently, then squeeze the bag to fill the puff.
  2. Gently slice the top half of the cream puff off. Then pipe the whipped cream into the center of the cream puff. Replace the top half of the cream puff.
filling cream puffs using a piping bag

Storage Instructions

Refrigerate any filled pastries in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 6 weeks.

overhead view of whipped cream filled cream puffs
overhead view of whipped cream filled cream puffs

How to Make Cream Puffs

4.50 from 2 votes
Learn how to make cream puffs, a classic French dessert that you can fill with custard, whipped cream or even ice cream.
Servings 18
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients
 

For the pastry:

  • 1 cup water 8 ounces
  • ½ cup salted butter 4 ounces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 130 grams
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 13 grams
  • 4 large eggs

For the custard filling:

  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour 40 grams
  • ½ cup granulated sugar 100 grams
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups 2% milk 16 ounces
  • 2 large eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For whipped cream filling:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the water and butter. Heat the two together until the butter is melted.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and the sugar.
  • Remove the saucepan from the stovetop and add the flour mixture. Mix well until the flour is completely incorporated.
  • Then put the pan back on the stovetop over medium low heat. Cook and stir constantly until mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate. This will happen quickly so watch it carefully (about 1-2 minutes).
  • Move the dough to another bowl (either the bowl of a stand mixer or another bowl to use with a hand mixer). Allow the mixture to cool for 1-2 minutes.
  • Mix in the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. (If using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment.)
  • Once the eggs are added in, mix for 1 additional minute on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth.
  • Place a ½ round piping tip in a piping bag. Fill the bag with the pastry dough.
  • On the prepared pan, pipe 28 circles of batter, about 2” in diameter and ¾ to 1” tall.
  • Try to make the puffs as even as possible. Dampen your finger and smooth out any peaks that may have formed.
  • Bake the puffs for 15 minutes at 425ºF, then, without opening the oven, reduce the heat to 325º and bake for an additional 10 minutes. They should be lightly golden brown on top.
  • Allow the pastries to cool on wire racks.

For the custard filling:

  • In a saucepan, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
  • Slowly stir in a small amount of milk and whisk until smooth. Turn the stovetop to low heat. Cook and stir the mixture, adding the milk in ¼ cup at a time. Cook and stir for about 15 minutes until the mixture is thickened (you’re looking for a runny pudding consistency). Remove from the heat while you temper the eggs.
  • Place two eggs in a medium glass bowl and whisk them slightly. Add ¼ cup of the hot cooked flour mixture into the eggs to temper them. Mix well.
  • Add the egg mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the cooked flour and place over low heat. Cook and stir the mixture for about 3 minutes. The mixture should easily coat the back of a spoon.
  • Remove from the heat, add in the vanilla and mix well.
  • Transfer the custard to another bowl.
  • Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down on top of the custard to help prevent a “skin” from forming. Allow the mixture to cool completely before filling the pastries.

Make the whipped cream:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Using the whisk attachment, beat the cream on high, until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until you fill the cream puffs.

To assemble the cream puffs with whipped cream:

  • Place a large piping tip (Wilton 1M or 2D) in a piping bag. Fill the bag with the whipped cream.
  • Gently slice the top half of the cream puff off. Then pipe the whipped cream into the center of the cream puff. Replace the top half of the cream puff, then dust with powdered sugar.

To assemble the cream puffs with custard filling:

  • Place a tip (Wilton #12) with a coupler in a piping bag. Fill the piping bag with custard. Press the tip into the side of the cream puff gently, then squeeze the bag to fill the puff.
  • Store cream puffs in the fridge in an airtight container.

Notes

Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.
The calories shown are based on the recipe making 18 cream puffs filled with whipped cream, with 1 serving being 1 filled cream puff. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 64mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 606IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Calories 192
Keyword cream puff recipe, pastry dessert

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

Get 5 Classic Recipes with a Deliciously Secret Twist

You might also like

Join the Discussion

Subscribe
Notify of

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments