How to Make Classic Cream Puffs (video)

a close up of a cream puff filled with whipped cream and glazed with chocolate

Learn how to make the best, classic cream puffs, also know as profiteroles! This classic, elegant dessert is made with pate a choux pastry dough, filled with a creamy pastry cream filling, and garnished with either chocolate ganache or a dusting of confectioner’s sugar! I love this easy dessert as an everyday pastry, but it’s also impressive enough for special occasions!

My Cream Puffs Video Tutorial

Make sure to watch my cream puffs video tutorial for in-depth, step-by-step instructions! I share lots of tips you won’t want to miss! Want to stay up to date on my new recipes? Make sure to SUBSCRIBE to my emailing list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!

Ingredients for Making Profiteroles

Even though they look fancy and impressive, cream puffs are made with the most basic pantry and kitchen ingredients you’re bound to have already! Here are the main ingredients you’ll need; you can find the full list in the recipe box below.

  • Eggs: you’ll need eggs for both the dough and for the filling. I highly, highly recommend taking the eggs out of the refrigerator ahead of time so they’re at room temperature.
  • All-Purpose Flour: this is the best type of flour for making pate a choux pastry dough.
  • Butter: use unsalted butter only for both the dough and for making the vanilla pastry cream.
  • Whole Milk: for making the pastry cream. I recommend using only whole milk for a rich cream!
  • Heavy Cream: for making the whipped cream. Use well-chilled cream for best results.
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: for making the filling and for dusting the cream puffs.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate: use either chocolate chips or chocolate melts for making the chocolate ganache.
a tray of various cream puffs on a table with coffee

How to Make Pate a Choux Dough

Cream puffs or profiteroles are made with a cooked pastry dough called pate a choux. It’s a super simple and basic recipe that can also be used to make eclairs. It’s made with just 5 ingredients: water, butter, salt, flour and eggs. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Pour the water into a medium sized saucepan and heat it over medium heat. Cube the butter and add it in, then cook until the mixture comes up to a simmer and the butter is completely melted.
  2. Add in the salt and all the flour at once. Whisk the flour in at first, then switch over to a spatula when the dough pulls together. Once a dough ball forms, continue cooking the dough for another 30 seconds.
  3. Remove the dough from the heat, transfer it into a large bowl and allow the dough to cool until it’s just lukewarm, about 20 minutes.
  4. Next, begin adding the eggs. Add 1 egg at a time, mixing the egg in at medium speed. The dough will look crumbly at first but will pull together after the last egg is added. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
a close up of a classic cream puff dusted with powdered sugar, on a tray

Piping & Baking the Cream Puff Shells

If you’ve never made cream puffs before, don’t worry! They’re super easy to make and anyone can master this recipe! Once you have the pate a choux dough ready to go, here’s how to proceed:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Transfer the prepared pate a choux dough into a large pastry bag tipped with a simple, medium-sized round tip.
  2. Pipe medium-sized dollops of pastry dough onto the parchment paper, spacing the dollops out by about 1 ½ inches. Watch my video recipe to see how to pipe the dough! Smooth any sharp edges of dough.
  3. Bake the cream puff shells at 425F for just 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature down to 350F and continue baking for 30 to 35 minutes. Do NOT open the oven door, this will cause the dough to fall flat! Bake until the shells are a rich, golden brown color.
  4. Allow the shells to cool on the baking sheet at room temperature.
vanilla pastry cream in a glass bowl, with a strawberry
Vanilla Pastry Cream

Three Popular Filling Types

Classic cream puffs can be found a variety of different fillings! Here are three of the most popular and traditional fillings.

  • Pastry Cream: The most traditional filling is a simple vanilla pastry cream. This rich and creamy filling has a pudding-like consistency. If you want to use pastry cream, simply poke a hole either from the top or the bottom of the shell, then pipe the cream puff full of cream. Find my recipe HERE.
  • Pastry Cream with Whipped Cream: a combination of rich pastry cream with fluffy whipped cream. This is the version I prepared in my video recipe. This soft and cream filling is so rich and delicious!  
  • Whipped Cream: you can also use just plain whipped cream. For this method, use 3 cups of chilled heavy cream, 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
Vanilla German buttercream in a glass bowl on a table

Making My Pastry Cream Filling

This is the version I prepared in my video recipe. This soft and cream filling is so rich and delicious – a combination of rich pastry cream with fluffy whipped cream. Here’s how I make:

  1. First, prepare a batch of my ‘Vanilla Pastry Cream’. This is a recipe from my ‘Back to Cake Basics’ series. You’ll need just 1 ½ cups of this cream. You can store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Alternatively, you can prepare just 2/3’s of the original recipe. I recommend making the cream the day before and allow it to chill and set overnight.
  2. Pour the chilled heavy cream into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and vanilla. Whisk the cream for 4 to 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
  3. Next, add 1 ½ cups of the pastry cream. Whisk the cream into the whipped cream, until a uniform mixture forms.
  4. If your filling is too soft, place it into the refrigerator for about 1 hour to chill, then whisk it again.

How to Make Classic Cream Puffs

Now for assembling these easy pastries! Here’s how to put them together:

  1. Allow the pastry shells to cool completely! Warm shells will melt the filling! Using a serrated knife, cut off the top third of each shell.
  2. Transfer about half of the prepared filling into a pastry bag tipped with a small, star tip. I used Ateco #823. Keep the second half refrigerated until ready to use.
  3. Pipe a generous amount of whipped cream filling into each cream puff, then replace the top half of the shell over the filling. Once you have all the cream puffs filled, keep them on the baking sheet and place them into the refrigerator to set.
a tray of profiteroles on a table with coffee, glazed with chocolate

Making an Easy Chocolate Ganache

My favorite garnish for classic cream puffs is chocolate ganache! It’s a simple, two-ingredient recipe and the chocolate adds so much great flavor!

  1. To make the chocolate ganache, pour the heavy cream into a large measuring cup. Add the chocolate and mix it together with the cream.
  2. Microwave the mixture in 30 second intervals, stirring after each segment, until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
  3. Allow the chocolate ganache to cool until it’s thickened. Spoon the chocolate over the top of each filled cream puff.
a close up of a cream puff on a plate, topped with chocolate ganache

Storing & Serving the Profiteroles

I recommend storing the profiteroles in the refrigerator. Once you have them filled, garnish them with the chocolate ganache, and place them into the refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Once they have set, transfer them into a large container or airtight box. These are great for making ahead of time, too!

If you wish to use confectioner’s sugar in place of the chocolate ganache, dust the cream puffs right before serving. Use a small sifter for dusting them.

More Recipes!

Enjoyed this easy pastry recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

  • Chocolate Coffee Eclairs – these are my favorite eclairs, filled with a creamy coffee pastry cream and glazed with chocolate.
  • Strawberry Cream Puffs – a fruity twist on this classic recipe, made with a strawberry whipped cream and fresh berries!
  • Berries & Cream Paris Brest – another way to use pate a choux! This large, ring-shaped pastry is filled with fluffy cream and fresh fruit and berries.
  • Chocolate Pistachio Cream Puffs – these are amazing!! They’re filled with a creamy pistachio filling and dipped into chocolate!
  • Raspberry Pistachio Eclairs – another delicious eclair recipe filled with cream pistachio filling and glazed with raspberry white chocolate glaze!

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a close up of cream puffs, with text overlay - 'How to Make Cream Puffs; Tatyana's Everyday Food'

Supplies & Tools

Need some supplies or tools to make this recipe at home? You can find them online! (Amazon Affiliate Links):

  • Decorating Tips: this set includes most of my favorite piping tips, perfect for decorating cakes or making pastries.
  • Disposable Pastry Bags: this bulk box of bags will last you a while, and you won’t need to wash them!
  • Aluminum Baking Sheet: I love these large sheets for baking, roasting and more!
  • Vanilla Beans: for making my pastry cream recipe. These will add immense flavor!

How to Make Classic Cream Puffs (video)

1 hr 30 mins prep + 45 mins cook + 4 hrs Chill Time:
30 pieces
Learn how to make the best classic cream puffs or profiteroles, with pastry cream whipped cream filling and chocolate ganache glaze!

Ingredients 

For Pate a Choux Dough:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, at room temp

For Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla pastry cream, recipe below
  • 2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For Vanilla Pastry Cream (2/3 original recipe):

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 vanilla bean, optional
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp water
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 to 2 tsp vanilla extract

For Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, or melts

Additional:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

Making the Dough:

  • Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Prepare a large pastry bag tipped with a simple, medium-sized round tip.
  • Prepare the pate a choux dough first. Pour the water into a medium sized saucepan and heat it over medium heat. Cube the butter and add it in, then cook until the mixture comes up to a simmer and the butter is completely melted.
  • Add in the salt and all the flour at once. Whisk the flour in at first, then switch over to a spatula when the dough pulls together. Once a dough ball forms, continue cooking the dough for another 30seconds.
  • Remove the dough from the heat, transfer it into a large bowl and allow the dough to cool until it’s just lukewarm, about 20 minutes.
  • Next, begin adding the eggs. Add 1 egg at a time, mixing the egg in at medium speed. The dough will look crumbly at first but will pull together after the last egg is added. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Transfer the prepared pate a choux dough into the prepared pastry bag.

Piping & Baking:

  • Pipe medium-sized dollops of pastry dough onto the parchment paper, spacing the dollops out by about 1 ½ inches. Watch my video recipe to see how to pipe the dough! Smooth any sharp edges of dough.
  • Bake the cream puff shells at 425F/218C for just 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature down to 350F/177C and continue baking for30 to 35 minutes. Do NOT open the oven door, this will cause the dough to fall flat! Bake until the shells are a rich, golden brown color. Allow the shells to cool on the baking sheet at room temperature.

Various Filling Types:

  • Pastry Cream: The most traditional filling is a simple vanilla pastry cream. This rich and creamy filling has a pudding-like consistency. If you want to use pastry cream, prepare a full batch of my original recipe, linked in the post above. Simply poke a hole either from the top or the bottom of the shell, then pipe the cream puff full of cream.
    Pastry Cream with Whipped Cream: a combination of rich pastry cream with fluffy whipped cream. This is the version I prepared in my video recipe. This soft and creamy filling is so rich and delicious!  
    Whipped Cream: you can also use just plain whipped cream. For this method, use 3 cups of chilled heavy cream, 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Whisk everything together for 4 to 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form.

For making the Pastry Cream Whipped Cream Filling:

  • First, prepare a batch of my ‘Vanilla Pastry Cream’ – https://tatyanaseverydayfood.com/pastry-cream-recipe/ Follow the measurements above to make a reduced amount, 2/3's of my original recipe; approximately 1 1/2 cups of pastry cream. I recommend making the cream the day before and allow it to chill and set overnight.
  • Pour the chilled heavy cream into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and vanilla. Whisk the cream for 4 to 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
  • Next, add in 1 ½ cups of the pastry cream. Whisk the cream into the whipped cream, until a uniform mixture forms. If your filling is too soft, place it into the refrigerator for about 1 hour to chill, then whisk it again.

Assembling the Cream Puffs:

  • Allow the pastry shells to cool completely! Warm shells will melt the filling! Using a serrated knife, cut off the top third of each shell.
  • Transfer about half of the prepared filling into a pastry bag tipped with a small, star tip. I used Ateco #823. Keep the second half refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Pipe a generous amount of whipped cream filling into each cream puff, then replace the top half of the shell over the filling. Once you have all the cream puffs filled, keep them on the baking sheet and place them into the refrigerator to set.

Making Chocolate Ganache:

  • To make the chocolate ganache, pour the heavy cream into a large measuring cup. Add the chocolate and mix it together with the cream.
  • Microwave the mixture in 30 second intervals, stirring after each segment, until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
  • Allow the chocolate ganache to cool until it’s thickened. Spoon the chocolate over the top of each filled cream puff.

Storing & Serving:

  • I recommend storing the profiteroles in the refrigerator. Once you have them filled, garnish them with the chocolate ganache, and place them into the refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Once they have set, transfer them into a large container or airtight box. These are great for making ahead of time, too!
  • If you wish to use confectioner’s sugar in place of the chocolate ganache, dust the cream puffs right before serving. Use a small sifter for dusting them.

Note:

  • Nutritional facts calculated with my pastry cream whipped cream filling and chocolate ganache glaze.

Nutrition

Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 59mg | Potassium: 116mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 453IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg