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Italian Cream Puffs

Whole and sliced Italian cream puffs with custard filling on a dessert plate.

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Italian cream puffs are made with classic choux pastry dough and filled with luscious Italian pastry cream. These are blissfully light, airy, and absolutely delicious.



For the choux puffs:

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3.9 oz (110 g) unsalted butter
  • 7.9 fl oz (235 ml) water
  • 1 cup + 2 1/2 tbsp (145 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch of salt

Filling for puffs:

For decoration:

  • 1 tablespoon icing (powdered) sugar


  1. To make choux puffs, preheat the oven to 410°F (210°C). Use a pencil and draw 1-inch (2.5 cm) circles with a 2-inch (5 cm) distance between them on parchment paper. Turn the paper over and place it on a baking tray.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, combine water, salt, and cubed butter. Bring the pot over medium heat to boil. Remove the pot from the heat and immediately add sifted flour all at once. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture, working the lumps on the go.
  3. Bring the saucepan over low to medium heat again and cook, stirring until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball.
  4. Transfer the cooked dough to a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and let it cool for 3-5 minutes. Flatten it with a spatula to increase the surface area, or run the mixer at low speed for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Whisk eggs like for an omelet in a small bowl, using a mini whisk. Add the beaten eggs in a few additions, beating well between each addition. The choux pastry should have a slightly resistant texture after adding the eggs, requiring minimal effort to drop from the spatula.
  6. Place the dough in a pastry bag with a round tip - Ateco plain tip 804, Wilton 1A, or a large star tip. Pipe choux puffs of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter - the size of a walnut - on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Ensure your piping bag is held at a 90-degree angle to the baking sheet. Use your dominant hand to press out the dough while your other hand can guide the bag if needed. Make sure to space choux buns out.
  7. Press down the spikes of the choux mounds with a wet finger or gently apply the beaten egg with a pastry brush. Bake choux puffs in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Don't open the oven door while baking!
  8. After 20 minutes, open the oven door, turn each choux over, and prick a hole into the base with a sharp knife. Bake the choux puffs on their sides for a further 4 to 5 minutes. Then, remove the choux pastry from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack.
  9. To make choux puffs filling, follow the recipe for Italian pastry cream.
  10. To assemble the cream puffs, whisk the custard with the hand whisk to regain consistency. Make a hole on the bottom of each choux puff using the tip of a paring knife or a small piping tip - Ateco plain tip 8. Insert the tip of the pastry cream-filled bag into the hole in each choux and pipe until the overflow of cream from the hole. Wipe away excess pastry cream with your finger. Repeat until all choux puffs are filled. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.


  1. Consult the troubleshooting section for Choux a la Cream recipe and read about how to fix choux pastry.
  2. Measure ingredients with a kitchen scale rather than measuring cups for accurate baking results.
  3. For the best results, bake one tray at a time. In this case, while the first pan is baking, prepare the other one with piped choux buns and leave them at room temperature.
  4. Make-ahead option: Bake the cream puff shells in advance and keep them unfilled in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Fill them just before serving or a few hours prior.


Keywords: Italian cream puffs




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