These Homemade Cream Puffs are a made with a choux pastry dough that bakes up into hollow shells. The cream puff shells are filled with a homemade vanilla custard filling and frosted with a chocolate glaze or dusted with powdered sugar.

Homemade Cream Puff with Vanilla Pastry Cream Filling and chocolate drizzle

Whether you want an elegant ending to a special meal, or you just want something super delicious on your dessert plate, these Homemade Cream Puffs will fit the bill!

A special family dessert recipe

My mom made a homemade cream puff recipe on a regular basis when I was a child and it was something all of us kids would look forward to.

I have always loved the cream puff and was known to not add a pastry cream to my shell at times. Sometimes I would just sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on the inside and enjoy! However, there is nothing more delicious to me than a homemade cream puff filled with a vanilla pastry cream.

Overhead shot of baked cream puff shells

Choux Pastry tips

Making a choux dough is not hard. However, you do need to follow the directions as written or you could end up with a cream puff shell that doesn’t puff up. Below are some tips on making the best most puffed up cream puff shell.

  • Allow the choux dough to cool 10 minutes before adding the eggs. Adding it sooner can cause the eggs to scramble from the heat of the dough.
  • Beat the eggs into the choux dough one at a time until completely incorporated.
  • Make sure the oven temperature is accurate. A hot oven is needed to make the shells puff
  • Once the cream puff shells have finished baking, turn the heat off but leave the shells in the oven. This will help them to dry out more and be firmer.
  • Make sure the cream puff shell has completely cooled before filling with the pastry cream.
Baked cream puff with top removed and vanilla pastry cream in the puff

Vanilla Pastry Cream tips and substitutions

Vanilla Pastry Cream should be thick. It is similar to pudding, only thicker and holds up on its own better. Pastry cream is often used in pie recipes as it can be sliced into and hold it’s shape.

  • Temper the egg yolks by quickly whisking 1 cup of the hot cream filling into the egg yolks. Once the egg yolks and pastry cream are creamy and smooth, whisk it into the remainder of the hot filling.
  • Flour can be substituted for cornstarch. However, when substituting flour, it needs to be doubled. In this instance you would need 2/3 cup of flour. I highly recommend sticking to cornstarch for the thickening agent.
  • Save the egg whites for future use. They can be frozen for future use so they don’t spoil. I like to make these Cinnamon Roasted Nuts whenever I have some extra egg whites hanging around.
one cream puff filled with vanilla pastry cream and a chocolate drizzle on a red plate

Cream Puff Filling Ideas

Use your favorite flavor ice cream

Fill with sweetened heavy whipped cream

Go savory and fill with a chicken salad recipe

Add fresh straberries, blueberries, or raspberries on top of the pastry cream filled cream puffs

Items you may find helpful in making this recipe

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Parchment Paper: I always use this to line my cookie sheet for any baking I do.

Large Baking Sheet: There needs to be room between the cream puffs to allow the air to circulate, especially when they are done baking. This is my favorite baking sheet and I’ve had it for well over 20 years now.

Large Cookie Scoop: I use cookie scoops all the time and not just for cookies. I use this large scoop whenever I make this cream puff recipe. It gives the perfect amount and a perfectly round cream puff shell.

Pinnable Image for Homemade Cream Puffs with Vanilla Pastry Cream

Other Easy Elegant Dessert Recipes you may enjoy

Apple Upside Down Cake

Blackberry Upside Down Cake

Blueberry Tart with Almond Cream Filling

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Lemon Curd Swirl Cheesecake

Macerated Berries with Mascarpone Cream

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Strawberry Rhubarb Pudding Cake

*If you made this recipe for Homemade Cream Puffs with Vanilla Pastry Cream, please give it a star rating*

one cream puff filled with vanilla pastry cream and a chocolate drizzle on a red plate
Yield: 4 Servings

Cream Puffs Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

An elegant and easy French dessert recipe that is the perfect ending to any meal.

Ingredients

For the cream puff (choux pastry)

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs

For the Vanilla Pastry Cream:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced thin

Instructions

To make the Cream Puff Shells

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium saucepan combine water, butter and salt and bring to a rolling boil. Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir over medium high heat until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Set aside and cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition, until the dough is smooth.
  3. Transfer the dough by heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and firm. Transfer cream puffs to a wire rack and let cool completely.

To make the Vanilla Pastry Cream

  1. In a medium sized heavy bottom saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in the milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of the milk mixture. Add the egg mixture to the remaining milk mixture in saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.
  3. Remove the pan from heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour pudding into a bowl. Cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap. Chill.

Notes

Choux Pastry tips

Making a choux dough is not hard. However, you do need to follow the directions as written or you could end up with a cream puff shell that doesn't puff up. Below are some tips on making the best most puffed up cream puff shell.

  • Allow the choux dough to cool 10 minutes before adding the eggs. Adding it sooner can cause the eggs to scramble from the heat of the dough.
  • Beat the eggs into the choux dough one at a time until completely incorporated.
  • Make sure the oven temperature is accurate. A hot oven is needed to make the shells puff
  • Once the cream puff shells have finished baking, turn the heat off but leave the shells in the oven. This will help them to dry out more and be firmer.
  • Make sure the cream puff shell has completely cooled before filling with the pastry cream.

Vanilla Pastry Cream tips and substitutions

Vanilla Pastry Cream should be thick. It is similar to pudding, only thicker and holds up on its own better. Pastry cream is often used in pie recipes as it can be sliced into and hold it's shape.

  • Temper the egg yolks by quickly whisking 1 cup of the hot cream filling into the egg yolks. Once the egg yolks and pastry cream are creamy and smooth, whisk it into the remainder of the hot filling.
  • Flour can be substituted for cornstarch. However, when substituting flour, it needs to be doubled. In this instance you would need 2/3 cup of flour. I highly recommend sticking to cornstarch for the thickening agent.
  • Save the egg whites for future use. They can be frozen for future use so they don't spoil. I like to make these Cinnamon Roasted Nuts whenever I have some extra egg whites hanging around.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 272Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 204mgSodium 167mgCarbohydrates 22gFiber 0gSugar 9gProtein 8g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy but will vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients you use. Please consult with your doctor regarding specific health needs.

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