Classic Cream Puffs

Baker Bettie Choux Pastry Techniques, Donuts, Pate a Choux, Sweets 96 Comments

Parisienne Herb Gnocchi with Bacon and Brussels Sprouts
Sharp Cheddar and Thyme Cheese Puffs (Gougère)

Learn how to make cream puffs from scratch using the basic pate a choux pastry. Fill with chantilly cream or pastry cream. 

How to Make Classic Cream Puffs- Baker Bettie Soooo….

That whole Pate A Choux thing is still going on over here at Baker Bettie headquarters. I hope that’s okay. I know I’m cool with it, even though my thighs aren’t. But seriously, the more I play with this pastry dough, the more obsessed with it I am getting.

Check out the rest of the Pate a Choux and All it Can Do series here:
How to Make Basic Pate a Choux
Eclairs with Espresso Glaze and Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Homemade Beignets 
Sharp Cheddar and Thyme Cheese Puffs (Gougère)

Today we explore cream puffs! The classic cream puff. As much as I like to put my own spin on things and do unique variations on the classics, I love making the classics properly as well. So I tried to make proper cream puffs. I still need some practice, but with several attempts I got much better results.

How to Make Cream Puffs- Baker Bettie

A couple of things I initially had problems with was getting this babies to puff as much as I wanted and making sure they didn’t deflate when I took them out of the oven. You want them to stand tall with a hollow center so you can fill them with all that beautiful cream chantilly!  I had a couple batches that didn’t rise very much, and a batch that fell flat. So I watched a lot of tutorials and thought about the science behind pate a choux and what might help these babies come out how I wanted. And I think I figured out a method that worked beautifully!

How to Make Cream Puffs- Baker Bettie

Most tutorials suggest baking the puffs at 425F or 450F for some time and then dropping the temp down to 350F to finish them off. This still didn’t give me quite the rise I was looking for. So I remembered this thing I heard Alton Brown talking about on his podcast about biscuits one day. He stated that he always makes sure his oven is in the “heating cycle” when he first puts his biscuits in the oven. Meaning the oven is actively heating up. To do this, he preheats to oven to 25 degrees less than his cooking temp and turns the heat up right as his puts his biscuits in the oven. He claims that the active heat will create more rapid evaporation and steam, creating more rise.

The rise that occurs in pate a choux pastries is all about steam. The pastry has a very high water content and we are relying on this to create the airiness in the final product. So I tried Mr. Brown’s method hoping for better results. I preheated the oven to 425F and cranked it to 450F just as I was putting the puffs in the oven. I let them bake there for 10 mins then dropped the heat down to 350F for 15 more minutes. This allowed the pastries to get a nice big puff and then continue cooking until completely set and dried out and hollow on the inside. The result was these gorgeous shells!

How to Make Classic Cream Puffs- Baker Bettie

Once I got the method figured out, these are amazingly easy to make. Like pretty dangerously easy. These ladies are then filled with creme chantilly, which is basically sweetened vanilla whipped cream that is whipped to soft peaks. But let’s face it, creme chantilly or chantilly cream sounds waaaaay fancier than whipped cream. And it’s a lot easier to say to gougère. It’s cool to stick with cheese puffs on that one.

How to Make Cream Puffs- Baker Bettie

You can split the shells in half if you like to fill them with cream, or poke a little hole in the bottom of each shell and pipe the cream in. I like the method of filling the whole shells. I think they look a little nicer and are easier to eat that way.

How to Make Cream Puffs- Baker Bettie

The final step is sprinkling a little (or a lot) of powdered sugar over the puffs. I opted for a medium amount. I think they are perfect with the only slightly sweet shell and barely sweet chantilly creme. I didn’t want to ruin that with tons of powdered sugar. But by all means, if you love the sugar, go for it! Nobody will be the sugar police. Pinky promise!

How to Make Cream Puffs- Baker Bettie

 Don’t forget to check out my tutorial post for step-by-step instructions on how to make pate a choux! It will make it seem as easy as it is! This video tutorial is also helpful for seeing how to pipe the shells too!


One year ago: Strawberry Lemon Curd and Old Fashioned Shortbread Cookies

Two years ago: Lemon Curd and Raspberry Tea Biscuits

Yields 16

Classic Cream Puffs

12 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

37 minTotal Time

Save Recipe


For the Shells
1 cup water (8 fl oz, 240 ml)
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces (1/2 cup, 4 oz, 113 grams)
large pinch kosher salt
2 TBSP granulated sugar (0.8 oz, 24 grams)
1 cup all-purpose flour (4.5 oz, 127 grams)
4 large eggs
For the Cream Chantilly
1 & 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold
3 TBSP powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla


    For the Shells
  1. Place water, butter, sugar, and salt in a sauce pot over medium high heat. Stir until butter is melted and everything comes to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour into the mixture all at once while stirring quickly. Continue to stir and cook off the moisture in the dough until it pulls away from the sides and starts to form into a ball. This should take about a minute.
  3. Place dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a large bowl if using a hand mixer. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add eggs in one at a time. Do not add another egg until the one before has been completely absorbed into the batter. The batter will look smooth and glossy when ready. (Alternatively, you can mix in the eggs by hand. This just takes a bit longer. Mix each egg until completely absorbed before adding the next).
  5. Place batter in a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip or a zip top bag with the tip cut off.
  6. Preheat oven to 425F. Line baking sheets with parchment or silpat.
  7. Hold the pastry bag over the baking sheet and squeeze over one area until you have about a 2 inch round. Release the pressure from the bag and pull up to release the dough mound. You will have a little peak on the each that can be smoothed out with a wet fingertip. Keep the mounds about 2 inches apart. (about 9 per baking sheet)
  8. Place the baking sheet in the oven and turn to heat up to 450F. Bake for 10 minutes (without opening the oven) then drop the heat down to 350F and bake for 13-15 more minutes until the shells are crispy on the outside and set.
  9. Fill cooled pastries with creme chantilly (recipe follows) and dust with powdered sugar.
  10. For the Creme Chantilly
  11. Whip cream by hand, in stand mixer with whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer until just starting to thicken.
  12. Add sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until soft to medium peaks form.
  13. Fill a pastry bag with the cream, and pipe into the bottom of the puffs until filled.

Tools I used for this recipe..

Ateco 14-Piece Cake Decorating Set (Kitchen)

List Price: $16.68 USD
New From: $13.80 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Kirkland Signature Non Stick Parchment Paper, 205 sqft (Kitchen)

List Price: $13.89 USD
New From: $12.93 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Parisienne Herb Gnocchi with Bacon and Brussels Sprouts
Sharp Cheddar and Thyme Cheese Puffs (Gougère)

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Comments 96

    1. Post
  1. Clorinda Espinoza

    Ohhhh Bettie.. I could not adore this series more. I am making my first batch of Pate a choux tonight… I have learned something new here. I would encourage another series if you are inspired.

    1. Post
      Baker Bettie

      Thank you Clorinda! I’m so glad you are enjoying the series and I was just thinking this morning that I want to do more of them! I am having a blast and learning a ton myself. I will think up some. If you have suggestions of what you would like to see, I’m all ears! Please let me know how they turn out!

    1. abby

      cream puffs in general are meant to be frozen (that’s how you buy them in the store) and usually they last a good couple of months 🙂

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  4. Rio Tatiana B

    I'm making these now… have never even used premade puff pastry. Just about fell off my chair when I saw them rising, I feel like such a cake boss! Cant wait to try, they look perfect. I piped them out with a star tip and they're rising with these super cool swirls on the outside, they look so pretty

  5. BakerBettie

    I'm so glad you are making them Rio! But just for your information, this is not puff pastry. Pate a choux is a similar idea in that is rises from the butter, but puff pastry is much more labor intensive and takes about 6 hours to make from start to finish.

    I hope you enjoyed the cream puffs! You'll have to show them off to friends so they can see how amazing you are!

  6. Maddox Hoselton

    Ok I JUST came across this like 20 min ago on Pinterest and realized I had the ingredients so I decided to try it! I'm soooo thrilled!!!!! I can't believe how easy it is!!!! Bringing a little class to super bowl today thanks to you!!!!! Ps adorable site, Love the retro!!!! I'll be back VERY SOON!!!!!

    1. Post
  7. Jennifer Stewart

    Thanks so much for the active baking cycle tip. I did this with my popovers and I don’t know why I didn’t think to use it for these. I am still trying to get my dough right! Maybe my thighs don’t want me to! LOL! Thanks again for all your great tips!

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  13. Nicole

    Hi there! These look wonderful! I am going to make them for party tomorrow night. 2 questions…Can this recipe be doubled? (or is it better to mix one recipe at a time?) and If I bake/cool/fill them tonight will they hold up in the fridge over night? (The party is tomorrow evening.) Thanks!

    1. Nicole

      I had to adjust my oven temps (my first two batches had burnt bottoms, oops!), but once I got the hang of it they turned out great! So yummy…the kids were thrilled!

      1. Post
        Baker Bettie

        So sorry I didn’t see your first comment before you had to bake them! So I’m sure you figured this out, but yes the recipe can definitely be doubled if you have enough pastry bag to hold it in. I do prefer to make it in single batches though because working in the egg in larger batches can be very tiring if you are doing it by hand, which I do a lot. I would suggest to bake them and then fill them right before the party. You can also fill them and freeze them and serve them frozen or slightly frozen. Cream puffs purchased in the grocery store are frozen and they are quite tasty that way!

        So sorry you had problems with burnt bottoms. Some ovens are finicky. Glad you got it to work out!

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  16. Jessic

    This is the third time I make these but they completely collapsed and burnt a little. I fallowed everything correctly.
    I thought maybe it was my oven, because I tried it on convectional and then I tried again with just the regular oven and they turned out better but it still collapsed 🙁
    I don’t understand.. It went so well the first 2 times I made them…

    1. Post
      Baker Bettie

      I’m so sorry you are having problems with them! You are correct in thinking the convection oven could be a problem so I would definitely suggest using your regular oven. Question, are you opening the door to the oven at all? You don’t want to let the steam out. You might also try keeping the oven temp at the high degree for another minute or two before dropping it down if you are still having problems. That is the time when the shells set.

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  18. Jess

    I just tried this recipe, it being my first time making any form of choux pastry. They turned out delicious (a bit lopsided, and not exactly beautiful, but definitely delicious!) and not too sweet! I tried dipping the top of some in some melted chocolate, and went for the classic icing sugar on top.

    Your recipe made it so easy to make them, and it’s so much easier to make choux pastry than I thought it would be after using your recipe! Next time I’m going to try matcha green tea cream puffs with matcha cream (because I’m all about everything matcha!).

    Thank you!

  19. amy

    how long will these stay good for? whipping cream tends to weap after a while of sitting, ever use gelatin to keep the fluff? not that they will be sitting around for long….but in case i were going to bring them to someone the next day or whatever….

    1. Post
    2. Jo- James

      I have been stabilizing my whipping cream by adding about 2 Tblsp. powdered milk to a litre of cream. It will stay forever, even freeze them filled with the cream and when thawed, they are just like fresh baked. Hope this tip helps others.

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  24. Cher

    Gorgeous!! Will make these. How do you store them if you want to serve leftovers the next day? Refrigerate them without the powder sugar? Or just eat them all gone so you don’t have to store them. Thanks for the recipe!


  25. Zaradrea

    This is a wonderful cookie, in my country is called the Donut Princess.
    Very easy to do, my favorite with a filling of vanilla cream, definitely a cake that attracts appearance and taste. Your cake looks beautiful!

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  29. Ann

    I’m going to try this to bring to my youth group and have high hopes. 😀

    A question: Can I fill the puffs with whip cream? You know, whipped cream from the can that you….spray out? Squeeze out? Pump out? I don’t know. Well If you know what I’m talking about, is it good to use that?

  30. Ann

    I’m going to try this to bring to my youth group and have high hopes. 😀

    A question: Can I fill the puffs with whip cream? You know, whipped cream from the can that you….spray out? Squeeze out? Pump out? I don’t know. Well If you know what I’m talking about, is it good to use that?

    sorry this is my second time posting, reply to this one plz……………i needed to do something

  31. Meg

    So good! I didn’t have any problem with the cream puffs collapsing. I just need more practice at piping them; a few were misshapen after baking.

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  34. Sue

    I love to learn so checked out your post. I have been making cream puffs for over 40 years and I also found the tempurature of the oven to be the critical factor. For a little while mine were not turning out and I asked my husband what could be the matter since he was a chemist major. He thought for a while and said, “We bought a new stove, check the temperature out!” My recipe said bake at first at 400 degrees but in trying different temperatures out I found that they turn out best at 450-500 degrees. The temp. must be turned down for final baking.
    Also I fill mine with Vanilla pudding made like for a pie, less milk and can be done a day ahead. When I am ready to fill I beat a cup of whip cream until stiff, then stick the beaters in the vanilla pudding and beat until fluffy and fold the two together for my filling. I just cut enough of the top off to fill and then place it back like a little hat.

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  36. Brittany

    I made a version of these that were flavored like tiramisu. I used coffee instead of water for the pate au choux and replaced some of the heavy whipping cream with coffee liqueur and added marscapone cheese. I sprinkled a bit of cocoa powder over them in addition to powdered sugar.

  37. Kathy

    What if you don’t have enough room or pans to make all of they at once do you need to throw the rest away or will they still bake ok?

  38. Ashley

    I feel like something i did was off….the dough turned to liquid after the eggs were in, i did everything right step by step but still the consistency isn’t right. They taste great and i can still use them, they are more like pancakes.

    1. Post
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  42. Allison

    Just made these and they came out perfectly! Your tips are so helpful and detailed. They are delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  43. JoAnna

    My husband and I made these tonight on a whim, and they are delicious! Surprisingly simple and yummy. Thanks for the clear directions, especially for something that can seem really intimidating beforehand.

    1. Post
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  48. Pia Ranslet

    Hi I stumbled over this page and want to try making them. When I was a child we used to eat a similar kind on the Island Bornholm in Denmark. But the difference was: our baker Stubholm’s puff buns were big! Not petite. I once asked him many years later after he went on pension, what was the secret in making them so big? He said he always added as little as the tip of a knife of horn salt to the dough. That would prevent that they would collapse or not rice enough and he could make them as big as he wanted. He made two kinds. One with double cream and one with Raspberry mixed double cream. Both kinds had melted chocolate on top instead of powder sugar. The last was an absolute favorite!
    And the whipped cream did not contain vanilla sugar! If you try this please name this variation “Stubholm’s cream puffs” that will make him smile from heaven. Greetings from Pia

  49. Bev

    This is a very old favourite…try filling with ice cream and serving with chocolate sauce drizzled over the top..add a couple of mint leaves to decorate, great on a hot day….also can be filled with savoury goodies such as curried prawns, asparagus morney etc etc…really yummy!!!

    1. Post
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  54. Katy Gorski

    They are very eggy and not very sweet. Please improve your cream puff recipe. Im sorry but I did not enjoy these.

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  57. Sheena

    I made these tonight and it was so easy!! They turned out great. I filled them already and then wondered if I should have waited until tomorrow. Can I refrigerate these overnight or should I freeze them instead?

  58. Bea

    Hello! I have a little FYI that I learned and wanted to pass on. Let me know what you think if you try it and I hope you do. To make really perfect pate choice, try using bread flour and also you won’t have to use but one steady temp. The eggs are crucial because you just have to add enough to get the right consistency. I love your blog!! Oven temp 375°F.

    1. Post
  59. Tara

    Thank you so much for the recipe! I love the cooking instructions and how you referenced Alton brown, one of my favorites. Mine came out with the perfect air pocket for my maple butternut squash cream cheese filling. I making them for thanksgiving this Thursday! Cheers

    1. Post
  60. Sally

    If you want even higher rise, fill aluminum (not dark) muffin tins or the mini muffin tins about 3/4’s full and bake shells in 400 degrees F oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Important that the puffs are golden/crisp or they may collapse. Even when they look done, leave them in a full minute or so longer to ensure the inside is cooked well. Remove from oven and cool completely. When you cut the tops to fill, the inside will still be a little wet but that’s ok bc you are going to remove that part so you can fill them — I fill the bottom with homemade vanilla cream pudding and whipped cream on top, incredibly delicious and everyone wants the recipe every time. Such an easy dessert that looks like you slaved over for hours. Freezes well, too!

  61. Amanda

    Hello. Making these tonight for my dad’s birthday tomorrow. Question about the oven. Most other recipes called for oven to be preheated. Yours reads to turn on when puffs go in. Is this correct?
    I thank you so much. Looking forward to making these.

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