These cream puffs feature crispy choux pastry and a luscious sweetened whipped cream filling. You’ll experience “amour” with the first bite!

Cream Puffs with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

What Are Cream Puffs?

Cream puffs are a classic French pastry composed of choux dough and a sweet cream filling. The dough (also called pâte à choux) is made from four simple ingredients: butter, flour, water, and eggs. Because of its high moisture content, the dough “puffs” as the steam escapes in the hot oven, hence the name. Cream puffs are typically filled with a pastry cream, custard, or sweetened whipped cream.

Cream Puffs Vs. Profiteroles Vs. Eclairs

What’s the difference between cream puffs, profiteroles, and eclairs? The main differences are the shape, filling, and topping. Profiteroles are usually filled with ice cream and topped with chocolate ganache, while eclairs are oblong and topped with icing. Cream puffs are the simplest of the three — dusted only with powdered sugar.

Cream Puffs Video

How To Make Cream Puffs

This cream puff recipe takes a bit of technique, but you’re bound to succeed by following along carefully. It’s easy — we promise there’s no “huffin'” and “puffin'” here!

  • Prepare the oven and pan: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Boil the water and butter: Add the water and butter to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the flour: Turn the heat down to low and add all the flour, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Cook the dough for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  • Beat in the eggs: Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer for 2-3 minutes until the dough has slightly cooled. Add one egg at a time, mixing until fully incorporated between each addition.
  • Pipe the puffs: Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe dollops onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth down the peaks with a moistened finger.
  • Bake the puffs: Bake the puffs for 25-35 minutes, or until they are golden brown and dry. Allow the puffs to cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Make the cream filling: In a clean bowl, whip together the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Transfer the cream to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
  • Assemble the cream puffs: Fill the cream puffs using your preferred method (see section below). Refrigerate and enjoy!

Assembling Cream Puffs

You’ve probably seen cream puffs assembled in two different ways: poked and filled, or sliced in half and sandwiched with cream. Let’s look at a more detailed explanation to ensure your assembly goes smoothly.

  • Filled: This is the quickest way to fill cream puffs — poke a hole in the side or bottom of each puff with the piping tip or a sharp paring knife. Insert the piping tip and fill the puffs with cream until they feel heavy and the cream pushes back.
  • Sandwiched: Do you want more elaborate-looking cream puffs? Slice the puffs in half horizontally and pipe the cream in a swirl or spoon it onto the bottom half. Top gently with the other half.

Filling & Topping Variations

Cream puffs are a versatile dessert and a canvas for creativity. Keep them simple or make them as fancy as your heart desires with these additions!

  • Fruit: Slice the puffs in half and sneak in fresh raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries along with the cream.
  • Chocolate: Add a chocolate drizzle on top or dip the puffs in melted chocolate for extra sweet flavor.
  • Powdered sugar: Dust the cream puffs with powdered sugar for a sophisticated finish.
Cut open Cream Puffs with a filling.

Troubleshooting Cream Puffs

Did your eyes light up at the initial gorgeous “puff” of your cream puffs only to be disappointed with the end result? Here are the two main issues you might run into with these pastries, as well as how to avoid them.

  • Doughy: Cream puffs turn out doughy because of excess humidity or moisture in the dough. Cook the dough on the stove until it pulls away from the sides of the pan. If the puffs are still turning out too moist, bake them for a few minutes longer to allow the moisture to evaporate, resulting in perfectly crisp puffs.
  • Flat: Cream puffs deflate for a variety of reasons. If they start sinking while baking, the oven may not have been properly preheated or you may have allowed cold air in by opening the oven door. If the puffs deflate after baking, the culprit is likely underbaking.

Hot tip: Don’t worry if your puffs turned out flat! Give them a face lift with a generous amount of cream, and they’ll be golden.

Tips For Foolproof Cream Puffs

Choux pastry dough? Chantilly cream? These fancy names may sound daunting, but we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you make perfect cream puffs!

  • Cool the dough before adding the eggs. Scrambled eggs are delicious for breakfast… but not so much in cream puffs. Take the dough off the heat as soon as it releases from the sides of the pan, and beat it in a separate bowl until it’s cool to the touch — otherwise the eggs will scramble when you add them in!
  • Avoid opening the oven door. We know it’s tempting to take a peek at the puffs while they’re baking, but it is essential to keep the oven door closed. The cooler air from outside may cause the puffs to collapse. To keep an eye on the progress, use the oven light.
  • Dry out the puffs fully. Here’s a hack for you — as soon as the puffs come out of the oven, poke a small hole in the top with a toothpick and place them back into the turned off oven for a few minutes. This helps ensure that any internal moisture evaporates.
  • Consider waiting to add the cream. Are you planning to serve these cream puffs at an event? Hold off on filling them with cream for as long as possible to decrease the likelihood of soft puffs — they should be filled no more than five hours before serving and kept refrigerated.

Make Ahead

Do you want to whip up a batch of cream puffs for a party? Make the shells up to two days in advance and store them in an airtight container at room temperature. To re-crisp the shells, pop them in a 300°F oven for 5-10 minutes, then allow them to cool completely. Fill with the cream and enjoy!


Cream puffs are best enjoyed on the day they’re made, but the fun doesn’t have to stop so soon! Get the most out of your leftover puffs with these storage tips.

  • Refrigerator: To store for up to three days, place leftover assembled cream puffs in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Freezer: For long-term storage, freeze the shells (unfilled) for up to two months. Allow them to thaw at room temperature, then fill with cream.

More French Sweets

About Author

Avatar photo

Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.