Our light, airy Cream Puff recipe is made with a basic 4-ingredient choux pastry dough. Fill the cream puffs with whipped cream or pudding!
There are a few recipes from my vintage orange Betty Crocker cookbook that really stand out to me as being a part of my childhood. The chocolate chips cookies, cut out sugar cookies, and the cream puff recipe.
The cream puffs were one of me and my older brother’s favorites. My mom used to surprise us by making them for us as an after-school treat. While researching favorite fair food, I discovered that cream puffs are the most popular item at the Wisconsin state fair!
What This Post Includes
How To Make This Cream Puff Recipe
Cream puffs use a choux pastry, also known as pate a choux (or pâte à choux) which is made using four basic ingredients: water, butter, all-purpose flour, and eggs. This same pastry is also used to make eclairs and profiteroles.
Put the water and butter in a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
Turn the heat to low and quickly stir in all of the flour until a ball forms. Remove from the heat and allow the dough to cool for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Beat in the eggs one at a time until the dough is smooth.
Each time you start beating in an egg, the dough separates, but keep stirring, and it will come together again.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe two-inch circles of dough onto a parchment-covered baking sheet.
Bake at 400˚F for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown. Allow them to cool on the pan for several minutes, and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. The photo directly above is how they look if you pipe the dough.
Cream Puff Filling
Cream puffs should be filled close to serving time for the best results. Once the the pastries have cooled, cut them in half lengthwise, remove the excess dough, and fill the bottom half with whipped cream. Replace the top half and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
For this cream puff recipe, we used homemade whipped cream (find my recipe here). But there are so many other things you can use as a filling. When my mom used to make these for us as kids, she filled them with chocolate or vanilla pudding. Here are some additional filling ideas:
- pastry cream
- chocolate whipped cream
- vanilla cream pudding
- chocolate cream pudding
- lemon curd
Caramel Apple Cream Puffs
Caramel Apple Cream Puffs have a soft, pastry shell with a creamy caramel apple whipped filling and caramel syrup on top. You can enjoy them with just the caramel whipped cream, and they are also amazing with a layer of apple pie filling (find my recipe here) underneath the whipped cream!
Caramel Whipped Cream
To make the caramel whipped cream, beat two cups of heavy whipping cream until thickened. Add 1/2 cup caramel sauce, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, and 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and beat until soft peaks form.
Pumpkin Cream Puffs
Pumpkin Cream Puffs have a light, airy pastry shell with a creamy pumpkin filling and are sprinkled with powdered sugar and pumpkin spice. These treats are perfect for fall!
Pumpkin Cream Filling
To make the pumpkin cream filling, use a mixer to beat 4 ounces of softened cream cheese until smooth. Mix in 1 cup of pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, scraping the bowl occasionally. Then, fold in an 8-ounce container of thawed cool whip.
Make Ahead, Storage, and Freezing
- Make Ahead: Prepare ahead of time by making the pastry shells and the filling but keep them separate. They can be filled an hour or two before serving time and stored in the refrigerator.
- Storage: Once the cream puff shells have cooled, store them, without the filling, in an airtight container for 1-2 days at room temperature
- Freezing: Store the pastry shells, without the filling, in the freezer in an airtight freezer bag or container for up to 3 months. Remove them from the freezer bag and let them thaw at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before adding your filling of choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can pipe the dough from a pastry bag as we do in this recipe. Or another option is to scoop the dough onto the parchment rather than pipe it. This method works great, too, and it is what the directions instruct in my vintage Betty Crocker cookbook. This is how the baked cream puffs look when you scoop the dough instead of piping it.
Cream puffs should be light, airy, golden brown, and crisp when done baking.
Once the cream puffs have cooled, store them in an airtight container for 1-2 days at room temperature. Or store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Want to make more fair foods? Try these treats next:
- Our deep-fried Churros recipe is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s coated with cinnamon sugar, just like at a fair or theme park!
- These deep-fried Donut Sticks are coated cinnamon sugar! We love dunking them in powdered sugar glaze.
- You can easily make Deep Fried Oreos at home; your family will love them.
- Fried Ice Cream has a deep-fried, crunchy shell with cold vanilla ice cream inside!
Cream Puff Recipe
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup salted butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 4 cups whipped cream See Notes
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
- Bring the water and butter to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Turn the heat to low and quickly stir in all of the flour until a ball forms.
- Remove from heat and allow the dough to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Beat in one egg at a time until the dough is smooth.
- Transfer the dough to a pastry bag with a round tip. Pipe two-inch circles of dough onto a parchment-covered baking sheet.
- Bake at 400˚F for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown.
- Cool completely on a wire rack. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for 1-2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- When ready to serve, cut the cream puffs in half, remove the excess dough, and fill the bottom half with whipped cream.
- Replace the top half and sprinkle with powdered sugar.