on Apr 29, 2021
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Cream Puffs are a delicate, bite-sized pastry that is filled with a delicious homemade custard and whipped cream. Contrary to popular belief, they are really simple but feel extremely fancy.
At first glance homemade cream puffs can seem complicated, but they are actually really easy. In fact, my 13 year old can make them! These are the perfect little dessert for parties, showers, or a girls night.
Easy Cream Puff Recipe
Did you know cream puffs are named after little cabbages? They are made from classic pâte à choux pastry dough. In French, choux (pronounced shoo) means cabbage and pâte means paste. So we are making cute, mini cabbages.
You only need 5 simple ingredients to make the choux dough: water, butter, salt, flour, and eggs. To make the dough, you’ll start by boiling water, milk, and butter on the stove. Then add the flour and keep stirring. Now add the eggs in one at a time. This is an important step because the eggs act as a leavening agent and no one likes a flat cream puff.
Once you master making pâte à choux, the door will open for other pastries made with this same dough. Think eclairs and profiteroles. The possibilities are endless and it is always fun to expand your culinary skills.
Why is my cream puff flat?
Cream puffs can deflate for a few reasons. Make sure the oven is completely preheated before putting the cream puffs in. These pastries require being baked at a high temperature. Refrain from opening the oven door because that will cool the oven down and could cause the pastries to flatten. Under baking will also cause them to flatten as they cool.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Wait until your cream puffs are completely cooled before filling them. I like to make my filling while the pastries are cooling.
You can make cream puffs 2-3 days in advance. Just keep the shell and the filling separate. Be sure to store them in the refrigerator in an airtight containers. Fill before serving.
Using your oven light, watch for the cream puffs to look golden brown and firm. Don’t under bake, even if they are looking nice and brown, follow the recipe timing. A few times I took them out too soon and they’ll collapse when they are under baked.
More dessert recipes:
- 3 Ingredient Flourless Chocolate Torte Recipe
- Cheesecake Brownies
- Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies
- Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Bars
If you’ve tried this fun Cream Puff Recipe or any other recipe on Bless this Mess, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some pictures of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories AND add your photo to your comment so that other can see your creation!
For the Pastry:
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup butter,, salted or unsalted
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
For the Filling:
- 2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar,, divided
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup heavy cream,, whipped
To make the pastry:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat and set aside.
- Add the water and butter to medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once boiling turn heat to low and add flour all at once; stir vigorously for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, and beat very well between each addition. The mixture will go from slimy and wet looking to smooth and uniform after each addition. This takes a little elbow grease or you can use a stand mixer if you prefer.
- Put the warm dough in a large piping bag (I don’t use a tip, just the end of the open bag, you can use a large plain round tip if you’d like).
- Pipe into mounds on parchment lined cookie sheet about 2 ½ inches wide and tall.
- Bake 35-40 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature (about an hour) before filling.
To make the pastry cream filling:
- In a large saucepan, bring the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar up to 180 degrees over medium heat, stirring very often. The mixture should be hot and start to steam across the top, but should not boil.
- While the milk is heating, mix the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of sugar together in a medium bowl.
- Add the egg yolks and whole egg to the cornstarch mixture and whisk to combine well.
- When the milk is hot, slowly whisk one cup of hot milk into the egg mixture and then whisk the egg mixture back into the pan of hot milk.
- Cook over medium heat until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, stirring constantly, about 6 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in butter, and vanilla.
- Let filling cool completely before filling pastry.
- Cut off top of the pastry.
- Fill the bottom of the pastry up with the pastry cream filling. Fill the top with the whipped cream.
- Put the top on bottom and repeat with remaining pastries, pastry cream, and whipped cream.
- Sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar and serve!
- My sister in law Beth makes these and pipes the pastry cream and whipped cream in seperately. I whipped the cream and fold it into the chilled pastry cream (I make it ahead of time and chill overnight), so it makes a fluffy version of the pastry cream. Both are delicious options.
- You can also fill these with a little fruit or jam in addition to the pastry cream. You can also drizzle chocolate on top if you’d like.
- If you want to make the cream puffs and fill them with chicken salad, it’s a fun dish to serve at a party!
Cream puffs are an elegant pastry that are fun to make and so delicious. My family just gobbles them up and I know you will love them too. I hope you make these soon!