Cream Puff | The Recipe Critic

Cream puffs filled with simple vanilla whipped cream and covered in a dusting of powdered sugar are a classic dessert. But once you’ve mastered the recipe for the cream puff shell, it can be customized with all sorts of delicious filling to your heart’s desire!

Experience France without traveling by making this Easy Beignets Recipe, or this elegant yet easy Creme Brulee, or a savory French Onion Soup.

Cream puffs on a serving plate

Cream Puff Recipe

Cream puff is made with a French pastry dough, called choux pastry or pate a choux. To make choux pastry, you actually cook the flour in water and butter to form a paste, then beat in the eggs at the end. When baked, the dough expands in the oven creating a hollow shell, to be filled with all sorts of delicious fillings.

In this recipe, I used milk instead of water for more richness along with some salt and sugar for flavor. But most of the flavor in cream puffs will come from the filling, which you can customize to your liking. Once you’ve mastered making the cream puff shells, the sky’s the limit!

Cooked flour paste for cream puff dough

Cream Puff Ingredients:

Cream puff starts with 6 simple ingredients:

  • Milk – traditional choux pastry is made with just water but I used milk for more richness and flavor.
  • Unsalted butter – butter adds more flavor to the cream puff shell.
  • Salt – for flavor.
  • Sugar – traditional choux pastry doesn’t include sugar but I like mine a little bit on the sweeter side. Reduce, omit or increase to your taste.
  • Flour – all purpose flour is cooked with all of the above ingredients.
  • Egg – gets beaten into the cooked dough.

Making Cream Puff From Scratch:

  1. First, heat the milk, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering but not boiling.
  2. Take the saucepan off the heat and mix in the flour to form a paste. Put the saucepan back on medium heat and cook the flour mixture, stirring constantly, until the dough forms and pulls away from the sides and bottom of the pan.
  3. Transfer the cooked dough to a stand mixer bowl and beat with the paddle attachment to cool it down. Add 1 egg at a time and continue beating until each is completely incorporated before adding another.
  4. Transfer the dough into a piping bag and pipe 12 equal portions, about 1 ½” – 2” in diameter, on a lined baking sheet. Dip your fingers in water and smooth out each mound of dough so there are no peaks and spikes.
  5. Gently apply an egg wash and bake for about 22 – 25 minutes at 375°F. Turn off the oven and crack the door open, allowing the cream puffs to cool inside the oven for at least 15 minutes before removing them.

Cream puff dough after adding eggs

Cream Puff Filling:

Traditionally, cream puffs are filled with pastry cream, but for this recipe I opt to use a simple homemade whipped cream as filling to keep things simple. Split the shells open, fill with cream, replace the top and dust them with powdered sugar, and they are ready for the dessert bar.

To customize your cream puffs, you can add different flavor to your whipped cream using extracts or fill them with:

Piping choux pastry for baking

Storing Homemade Cream Puffs:

Cream puffs are best served fresh, especially when filled with cream filling. However, you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. They can be served cold or just let them come to room temperature before serving.

The cream puff shells without filling can be stored at room temperature for 2 – 3 days if you plan to make them ahead of time or keep them frozen up to 2 weeks. Thaw the shells before adding filling or you can toast them in the oven at a lower temperature around 300°F – 325°F for 5 minutes to crisp them up before adding filling.

Adding whipped cream filling to cream puffs

More French and French Inspired Recipes:

Cream puffs dusted with powdered sugar

Cream puffs on a serving plate

Cream Puffs

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 25 minutes

Total Time 40 minutes

Author Trang Doan

Servings 12 cream puffs

Cream puffs filled with simple vanilla whipped cream and covered in a dusting of powdered sugar are a classic dessert. But once you’ve mastered the recipe for the cream puff shell, it can be customized with all sorts of delicious filling to your heart’s desire!

Cream puff shell

  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 oz unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ÂĽ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ÂĽ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Egg wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

Whipping Cream:

  1. To make the whipped cream, add heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla to a stand mixer bowl and beat with the balloon whip until stiff peaks form. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  2. When the cream puff shells are completely cool, split them open and fill with whipped cream, replace the top of dust with powdered sugar before serving.

  • This recipe makes a dozen small cream puffs but it can be doubled or tripled easily to make more.
  • Because the cream puffs are baked at a high oven temperature, use a light color baking sheet or an air insulated baking sheet to decrease the chances of the bottoms burning.

Nutrition Facts

Cream Puffs

Amount Per Serving

Calories 159 Calories from Fat 108

% Daily Value*

Fat 12g18%

Saturated Fat 7g35%

Cholesterol 66mg22%

Sodium 71mg3%

Potassium 44mg1%

Carbohydrates 10g3%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 6g7%

Protein 2g4%

Vitamin A 466IU9%

Vitamin C 1mg1%

Calcium 30mg3%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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