Homemade Cream Puffs

Homemade Cream Puffs are better than the bakery. You won’t believe how simple and easy these elegant little pastries are to make!

Cream puffs are the perfect bite-sized desserts for showers, parties, and get togethers. For more bite-sized treats, try Sheet Cake Bites, Mini Lemon Drop Cakes, or Cherry Cheesecake Cookie Cups!

Homemade Cream Puffs served on a cake stand.

easier than they look!

I’ve brought one of my favorite treats to share with you today… homemade Cream Puffs! However intimidating they seem, cream puffs are actually very easy to make – almost like magic!

The pâte à choux (the pastry part) comes together very quickly and easily, and bakes up into wonderful puffy little pieces of heaven. And I’m already drooling thinking about the cream filling! Trust me when I say these are just as delicious as any cream puff you would find in a bakery.

The difference between a cream puff, eclair, and a profiteroles:

They all use the same basic choux recipe. The differences are the shape and fillings:

  • Cream Puff: round, typically filled with pastry cream and  topped with powdered sugar
  • Eclair: oblong, filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate.
  • Profiteroles: round, filled with ice cream
Process pictures of making cream puff dough.

How to make cream puffs

PREP. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

DOUGH. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once a simmer is reached, remove from heat, and stir in flour all at once until the mixture forms a ball. Let stand five minutes

ADD EGGS. Using a wooden spoon, or using a hand mixer, add the large eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Mix until the dough is smooth and shiny.

PIPE. Using a pastry bag and a large tip (or just a ziploc bag with a hole cut in the corner) pipe small rounds of dough onto the baking sheets, spacing about one inch apart. Use your finger to press down the little peaks at the top of the dough, so the puffs are smooth.

BAKE + COOL. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F for 15 minutes. The puffs are done when they are lightly golden brown and the insides are hollow. Let the puffs cool completely on wire racks.

Cream Puff Filling

You can change up the filling based on what you like, but we like a sweet whipped cream – and it’s easy to make!

BEAT. While the puffs cool, beat the whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer or wire whisk). Once the cream is whipped to desired level of firmness, beat in the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it is as sweet as you would like.

We use about 1 cup whipping cream with ¼ to ⅓ powdered sugar. It’s the perfect filling!

FILL. Split each cream puff in half using a serrated knife, and place a scoop of whipped cream onto the bottom half of the puff. Top with the other half and dust with powdered sugar. Bon appetit!

Homemade cream puffs recipe sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Cream Puff recipe tips

Sizing. Make sure all the cream puffs are the same size so they all cook at the same rate. 

Piping Tips. Once the dough has been piped onto the baking sheet, do not add more dough to the original puff. 

Hollow out the puff when it is still warm. Cut in half with a knife, then use a fork to carefully remove the center leaving a crisp hollow shell.

Cool completely before adding the cream. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to two hours. Any longer, and the crispy shell will begin to soften.

Deflated Cream Puffs. Cream puffs deflate for all sorts of reasons. Here are a few common ones to avoid.

  • Not piercing the puff as soon as it is out of the oven. Pierce with a fork or knife to allow the steam to escape. 
  • Not blending the ingredients properly. For example, add one egg at a time then mix after each. It takes more time, but following the steps helps ensure a properly baked choux pastry. 
  • The oven temperature is too low or the oven was opened too many times during the cooking process.

Egg Wash. Some recipes will direct you to add an egg wash so the cream puff has a shiny texture. However, the extra weight and coverage from the wash may inhibit the steam from properly escaping and the puff will not rise as well. For this reason we do not recommend using an egg wash.

Choux Pastry. This type of pastry is made using butter, water, flour and eggs. As the pastry bakes steam is released causing it to rise and become puffy. Some amazingly delicious desserts are made from choux pastry such as religieuse, profiterole, gougere, eclair, croquembouche and more. 

Homemade cream puffs recipe - sprinkled with powdered sugar on cake stand.

Storing and Freezing

Make ahead of time. The short answer is yes! You can store the pastry dough or baked choux shell. Store the baked choux shell (unfilled) at room temperature for 1-2 days. Filled puffs are best served right away, but can be made a couple hours ahead of time and refrigerated.

STORE in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. 

To FREEZE:

  • Shell only: Bake according to directions, hollow and cool. Flash freeze then carefully place in a freezer safe airtight firm container. Do not use a ziplock bag as other freezer items may accidentally smash the delicate shells. Freeze for 2-3 months.
    Thaw for 5-10 minutes and fill with cream. To give revive their crispness place in the oven for 350 degrees F for only 5-8 minutes. Watch carefully. Cool and fill. 
  • Choux dough: Pipe, or scoop, dough onto a baking sheet place directly into the freezer. Flash freeze and place in a freezer safe airtight container. Freeze for about 2 months. You can bake direct from the freezer just add about 5 minutes more to the bake time. You can also allow the dough to thaw and then bake. 
  • Filled Puff: Flash freeze and then place cream puffs in an airtight freezer safe container. Freeze for 2-3 months. Thaw and enjoy. Filled puffs that have been frozen will not have a crispy texture and cannot be reheated or the cream will melt out.
Mini cream puffs served on a white cake stand.

This is one of those recipes that I never thought I could make at home, but they are every bit as delicious as those you can buy at a bakery. And they are not only quick and easy to make, they are also impressive and elegant. Enjoy!

For more bakery style recipes, check out:

Cream Puff Recipe

4.91 from 20 votes
Homemade Cream Puffs are better than the bakery. You won't believe how simple and easy these elegant little pastries are to make!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, French
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 20
Calories 111 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Once a simmer is reached, remove from heat, and stir in flour all at once until the mixture forms a ball. Let stand five minutes
  • By hand, or using a hand mixer, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Mix until the dough is smooth and shiny.
  • Using a pastry bag and a large tip (or just a ziploc bag with a hole cut in the corner) pipe small rounds of dough onto the baking sheets, spacing about one inch apart. Use your finger to press down the little peaks at the top of the dough, so the puffs are smooth.
  • Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F for 15 minutes. The puffs are done when they are lightly browned and the insides are hollow. Let the puffs cool completely.
  • While the puffs cool, beat the whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer or wire whisk). Once the cream is whipped to desired level of firmness, beat in the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it is as sweet as you would like.
  • Split each cream puff in half using a serrated knife, and place a scoop of whipped cream onto the bottom half of the puff. Top with the other half and dust with powdered sugar. Bon appetit!

Video

Adapted from Ambrosia Baking

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About Alicia

Hi! I’m Alicia and I blog at The Baker Upstairs. I am in love with all things food! I love to bake bread, cupcakes, cookies… you name it! When I’m not baking, I am running after my two adorable little girls, working as an RN, knitting, reading, and trying to squeeze in time with my husband every day.

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    I was craving cream puffs and found this Great recipe! The only thing it is lacking are pictures! I didnt really know how big to make the dough rounds once they were on the cookie sheet.. Or if what i made lOoked normal. They smell amazing and i cant wait to eat them! (They are in the oven now) thanks for the recipe 🙂

  2. Hi,
    I folowed your recipe exactly. They rose beautifully while in the oven, but deflated when they came out. What happened? I’m planning on filling them with matcha powdered whipped cream.
    Thanks,
    Joni

  3. 5 stars
    Just got them out of the oven and they look fantastic. I did not use a pastry tube I use the two spoon method.
    I’m making a pudding type filling

  4. 5 stars
    Very easy to make love that there a little bigger than bit size, this will be my go to recipe but… my buttons got a little to dark, I trued taking them out a little early… but that didn’t seem to help so I tried lowering the 450 to 425 I hope this will do the trick

  5. 3 stars
    1st batch came out runny because my eggs were extra large. 2nd batch I only put in 3 extra large eggs, so the dough was better, but they burned on the bottom even before turning the oven down. Going to youtube to watch a tutorial before wasting more ingredients.

    1. So sorry to hear you’ve had some troubles with the cream puffs. A video tutorial is a great idea… we do have a video showing how to make these on this post. If you scroll down just a bit from the top, you will find the video there.

    2. Are you using a dark sheet pan? If so, I highly suggest you use a light shiny aluminum pan. It definitely makes a difference!

  6. Not sure what’s going on. The very first batch I made a few weeks ago was perfect. Now today, both batches are coming out runny and I’m following the same directions exactly the way they’re stated here (including the one cup of all purpose flour). I’ve now had to throw out two batches which includes 8 eggs total. A waste when prices of eggs are so high. What is going wrong?

    1. I’m sorry to hear you have troubles with your most recent batches. For some reason there probably was too much liquid in the form of the eggs, water or butter. Or not enough flour. But you don’t want to just add in extra flour… Here’s what I’d do to try to salvage the dough: “Make another half batch of the cooked dough with water, salt, butter and flour (with no eggs!). Once you’ve made that part of the dough by cooking it in a saucepan and you have the right consistency, let it cool down (covered). Add the cooled down dough to the runny dough a bit at a time, mixing it into the dough well, until you get the right, pipeable consistency.” (This info came from https://www.theflavorbender.com/how-to-make-perfect-choux-pastry/). Best of luck!!

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