Basic four ingredient dough Cream Puffs recipe for soft, puffy shells ready to be filled with whipped cream or any of your favorite fillings!
There are a few recipes from my vintage orange Betty Crocker cookbook that really standout to me as being a part of my childhood. The chocolate chips cookies, cut out sugar cookies, and the cream puffs 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!
How To Make A Cream Puff
Cream puffs use a choux pastry (or pâte à choux) which is made using four basic ingredients: water, butter, 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 to a rack to cool completely. The photo directly above is how they look if you pipe the dough.
How should cream puffs be stored?
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.
Do I have to pipe the dough?
No, 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. The photo above of the cream puffs on a wire rack is how they look when the dough is scooped.
When should cream puffs be filled?
Cream puffs should be filled close to serving time for the best results. Prepare ahead of time by making the shells and the filling but keep them separate. They can be filled an hour or two before serving time and stored in the refrigerator.
There are two ways to fill them. The first option is to cut the cream puffs in half lengthwise (remove the excess dough inside if desired) and fill the bottom half with whipped cream.
The second option is to poke a hole in the side or the bottom of the cream puff with the icing tip. Pipe the filling into the shells.
Replace the top half of the cream puff and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
What filling goes in cream puffs?
For this cream puffs 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 cream puffs for us as kids, she filled them with chocolate or vanilla cream pudding. Here are some filling ideas:
- whipped cream
- pastry cream
- chocolate whipped cream
- vanilla cream pudding
- chocolate cream pudding
- lemon curd
Want to make more fair foods? Try these treats next:
Deep fried Churros recipe that is soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, and coated in cinnamon sugar just like at a fair or theme park!
Flaky, buttery Donut Sticks are SUPER easy to make. These deep fried cinnamon sugar coated doughnut sticks are totally dunkable!
Golden, Deep Fried Oreos are so easy to make at home! These sweet treats are fair food at it’s finest and your family will love them.
Fried Ice Cream has a warm, crunchy shell with cold vanilla ice cream inside. Yes, it really is deep fried and served with cinnamon chips.