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Easy Cream Puffs Recipe

They’re light, fluffy, and loaded with sweet whipping cream. Cream Puffs are truly luscious! And (surprise!) they’re also easy to make! They start with a simple pastry called “choux.”

The Story Behind my Cream Puff Journey

My story begins with a musical that I co-wrote and directed a couple of years back. “Rising Star” is a funny musical set in the 1960s in Texas and the story revolves around Houston’s first (fictional) televised baking competition.

One of the main characters in the play is a French chef. So, and a big deal is made about French pastries within the dialogue of the show.

We hosted an baking-themed auction simultaneous with the performances and one of the things we auctioned off was some French pastries.

I love to bake but I was incredibly busy the week of the play (and had already committed to bake some sweet treats for our concessions area). So, I called on my sweet friend April to make cream puffs.

Only one problem: neither of us had ever made cream puffs before.

We perused the web and found a recipe at Natasha’s Kitchen that looked pretty simple. April–God bless her–went home and made the pastries, then brought them on the day of the show to be displayed on the auction table.

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

She did such a terrific job that I asked her to come to my house recently to teach me the ropes. Together, we made cream puffs and eclairs (which I will cover in a separate post). Turns out, they’re pretty easy to make. And both start with a simple pastry called “choux.”

What is Choux Pastry?

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

Cream puffs and eclairs start with a type of pastry (or dough) called “choux.” According to Wikipedia: “Choux pastry, or pâte à choux, is a delicate pastry dough used in many pastries.”

What sets this dough apart from, say, a cookie dough, is that it is cooked in a saucepan before you ever bake it in the oven.

This process might sound complicated, but it’s actually really easy. It’s also incredibly quick.

Choux pastry does not have a raising agent (like yeast, baking powder, or baking soda). Instead, the water in the dough releases as it bakes, which creates air holes in the center. These air holes (or pockets) are perfect for stuffing. And, in the case of these cream puffs, they can be stuffed full of home made whipped cream.

Cream Puff Ingredients

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

Wondering what you’ll need to make the choux pastry? These are simple ingredients. You probably have them in your pantry and refrigerator right now.

You’ll find a full printable recipe at the bottom of this post, complete with measurements. For now, here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need:

FOR THE CHOUX PASTRY:

  • water
  • salted butter
  • milk
  • sugar
  • all purpose flour
  • large eggs (room temperature)

FOR THE FILLING:

  • heavy cream
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract (optional)
  • berries (optional)

How to Make These Easy Cream Puffs:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

Have a piping bag handy.

In a medium saucepan combine water, milk, butter, and sugar. Place over a medium heat until it comes to a rolling boil.

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

Remove from heat and immediately add flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until flour is fully incorporated and place back over medium heat for two minutes until the liquid is evaporated. The goal here is to partially cook the flour.

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

Transfer the dough to a medium mixing bowl.

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

Begin to mix with an electric mixer. You’ll need to mix it at least a full minute to cool down the dough.

Add your room temperature eggs, one at a time.

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

Beat until smooth. The batter should be more dough-like than batter-like.

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place choux pastry dough in a pastry bag. Natasha’s recipe calls for a 1/2 inch tip but if you don’t have one you can just clip the tip of your bag to create a 1/2 inch opening.

Pipe your puffs. Dampen your finger and pat down any peaks. (Optional: You can coat with an egg wash.)

Bake at 425 for ten minutes. As the steam in the dough releases, they will puff up.

Leave oven door shut but lower heat to 325 and bake another 20-22 minutes or until they turn a lovely golden brown on top.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Note: If your puffs deflate you will have to start the process over. Make sure you cook the dough on the stovetop until it comes together. Also make sure you have the oven at 425 degrees for a ten full minutes To give them opportunity to rise

Make Your Whipping Cream

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

While they’re cooling, make your whipped cream.

Whip heavy whipping cream at medium speed until stiff peaks form. (You can use a stand mixer or a hand mixer. . .your choice.) Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract.

Place whipped cream into a piping bag with star tip.

Add the Cream to the Puff

The cream puff shells have an air pocket in the center. You can use a separate piping tip (or anything else sharp you choose) to form a little hole in the side of the cream puff.

Insert the tip of the piping bag into the hole and press in the cream filling.

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

Before serving, sprinkle the tops of the puffs with powdered sugar.

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

How to Store Cream Puffs

You can store in the refrigerator for a couple of days but it’s best to leave the cream out until the last minute.

Cream puffs can be frozen (with cream in them) but make sure the cream is contained. You’ll want to freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag.

What to Expect from these Cream Puffs

Nothing beats homemade cream puffs and these are the best! This was my first time to make them and I was most surprised by how easy they were.

I was surprised by several things as I nibbled on a cream puff. First, the texture is perfect. It’s so hard to imagine that this dough came together in a saucepan. . .and so quickly!

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

It’s crisp on the outside, flaky on the inside, with just the right sized air pocket for the filling.

Also, this dough isn’t sweet. There’s only a teaspoon of sugar in Natasha’s recipe. You could add more if you like but the sweet cream filling sweetens up the whole thing.

Speaking of the whipped cream, there’s plenty of room inside of the air pocket for a lot of cream. Check it out!

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

The sprinkling of powdered sugar on top adds a lovely coating of sweetness, which is just what this treat needs before serving.

When my fourteen-year-old granddaughter ate one she said, “The puff reminds me of a crepe.” It does have a similar flavor of a lovely crepe, though a completely different texture.

This is a great cream puff recipe!

Variations on this Recipe

Cream Puffs from Out of the Box Baking.com

Trust me when I say I will be making these easy cream puffs again. . .and again! They were so simple and tasty!

I can imagine making them for a bridal shower or baby shower or family gathering. They would be perfect at a high tea or ladies’ luncheon. With that in mind, here are a few ways I might change up the recipe next time:

  • Coat in Chocolate Ganache. Yum!
  • Add fresh berries: raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries. . .adding a berry to the center of the puff (in the cream) would be perfect! If you opt to go this route you’ll have to cut the puff in half with a serrated knife to fill it so that you can fit the berry in.
  • Mini chocolate chips. I think they would be lovely, mixed into the whipped cream (or even rolled around the edges of the cream.
  • Fill the puff with ice cream. (Sounds tasty, right?)
  • Fill with instant pudding or homemade pastry cream. (White chocolate sounds yummy!)
  • Make a cream cheese filling (or my easy cheesecake mousse) to fill the puffs.
  • Use large star tip to add a swirl of whipped cream on top of each puff before serving.
  • Savory puffs: Hear me out. I had this idea that I might skip the teaspoon of sugar in the dough and go with a completely different kind of filling–perhaps something akin to the filling you get in a crab puff at a Chinese restaurant. Or even something like a pasta or pizza filling. Yum. I could even see a sloppy Joe-type filling or taco meat filling.

Other Pastry Recipes from Out of the Box Baking

We love our pastries and have been hard at work, coming up with new easy recipes. Here are a few favorites:

Easy Buttermilk Scones with Clotted Cream: If you’re in the mood for a delicious scone but don’t have a lot of time for a complicated recipe, you’ve come to the right place! This yummy scone is tender and light, but packed full of flavor.

Cake Mix Kolaches: If you love pastries but you’re intimidated by the process, I’ve got great news for you! You can make these crisp, sweet kolaches in minutes! Best of all, they start with a simple white cake mix.

Cake Mix Cinnamon Roll Pastries: These tasty treats have the look of homemade cinnamon rolls but the taste and texture of a high-end pastry–light, crisp and oh, so cinnamony!

Thanks for stopping by, friends! Let me know what you think about these yummy cream puffs!

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Easy Cream Puff Recipe

Easy Cream Puff Recipe

Yield: 24
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

They're light, fluffy, and loaded with sweet whipping cream. Cream Puffs are truly luscious! And (surprise!) they're also easy to make! They start with a simple pastry called "choux."

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CHOUX PASTRY:
  • * 1/2 cup water
  • * 1/2 cup salted butter
  • * 1/2 cup whole milk
  • * 1 teaspoon white (granulated) sugar
  • * 1 cup all purpose flour
  • * 4 large room temperature eggs
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • * 1 pint heavy cream
  • * 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • * berries (optional)

Instructions

    How to Make These Easy Cream Puffs:


    Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Prepare a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
    Have a piping bag handy.
    In a medium saucepan combine water, milk, butter, and sugar. Place over a medium heat until it comes to a boil.
    Remove from heat and immediately add flour. Stir until flour is fully incorporated and place back over medium heat for two minutes until the liquid is evaporated. The goal here is to partially cook the flour.
    Transfer the dough to a medium mixing bowl and begin to mix with an electric mixer. You'll need to mix it at least a full minute to cool down the dough.
    Add your room temperature eggs, one at a time.
    Beat until smooth. The batter should be more dough-like than batter-like.
    Place dough in a piping bag. Natasha's recipe calls for a 1/2 inch tip but if you don't have one you can just clip the tip of your bag to create a 1/2 inch opening.
    Pipe your puffs. Dampen your finger and pat down any peaks.
    Bake at 425 for ten minutes. As the steam in the dough releases, they will puff up.
    Leave oven door shut but lower heat to 325 and bake another 20-22 minutes or until they lovely and golden brown on top.
    Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
    Note: If your puffs deflate you will have to start the process over. Make sure you cook the dough on the stovetop until it comes together. Also make sure you have the oven at 425 degrees for ten full minutes.

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Sunday 24th of July 2022

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Patti

Thursday 7th of July 2022

I learned about pate a choux on the Kids' Baking Championship. Those little nine-year-olds were whipping it out like a master, which made me feel a bit ashamed, so I'm anxious to try your recipe. One of the kids commented while she was making it that the secret is to smell the mixture while you're stirring it. If it smells like flour, it's not ready yet (not incorporated enough). She made eclairs with it with cranberry creme filling. Can't wait to see your post on eclairs!

booksbyjanice

Friday 8th of July 2022

On the day we made the cream puffs I was so distracted chatting with April that I didn't sniff the mixture at all! :)

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