Profiteroles (Cream Puffs or Pâte à Choux)

profiterole cream puffs
Oh profiteroles.  Cream puffs, hot fudge puffs, pâte à choux….Yummy yum yum yum.

These are a major family favorite that my mom would make for very special occasions when I was growing up. 

Always filled with vanilla ice cream (hence profiterole as they are frozen as opposed to cream puffs which are filled with custard, pastry cream, or whipped cream, or so I is the internet soooo....), topped with hot fudge.

profiterole cream puff with ice cream and hot fudge
Ah.  Whoa.

I am off in la-la land daydreaming about these as I try to type this so, a wee distracted here.

Luckily I have my mom’s recipe, which I’m sharing with you today.  Everybody, let's thank my mom!  She's got the gifts that keep on giving.

For some reason I haven’t made these much, maybe twice at best until today, which is a tad confounding as I love love love these.

What prompted a recipe revisit?  Ohhh, Mike.  The other day he mentioned he'd quite enjoy if I made those puffy things, ya know, with the sorta empty insides..."Cream puffs, babe?"  "Yeah."  "Or are you thinking of popovers?"  A slow head turn, eyebrows up, a blink blink.  Both, he meant both.

While I’m not an egg fan, as in I can't sit down and eat a plate of eggs, the texture inside these lovelies is eggy, in the sense of crepe-like and I just cannot get enough. 

baked puffs with one open
Do you know what it took for me not to eat every single one of these?  A lot.
And sure, this is not a rare recipe; just type cream puff or Profiteroles or pâte à choux into an online search and bam, a zillion and one recipes, each slightly tweaked to be a hair different.

So what’s different with these Profiteroles here?  Not a lot per se.  They're just freakin' good.  And as such, I insist upon you having a recipe for them.

I could blather on about what these are, where they came from, snippets and tidbits of recipe-ish words but why bother when a site like Serious Eats covers every base.  Give that article a read to bolster your confidence in baking these.

Which, quite honestly, are not complicated in the least.  Truly.  They present uber-fancy, très français, and I only took Spanish in school.

Serve these bad boys up with the ice cream of your choice, or, that's my recommendation. 

Very important though?  A chocolate element, like Cocoa Hot Fudge maybe.  Mmm.  Mm.      ....wait, what?

Right!  Let's make Profiteroles!

First things first, get everything prepped and ready, close at hand.  Makes this process that much easier since it's zippy quick.

prepping puff ingredients
Prep is key!
Plop the butter into a medium sized saucepan* then pour the water in.  Pop it on the stove to boil.

While that's a'-brew, sift the salt and flour together in a bowl or on a plate or whatever.  Easiest way to do this, as you likely have this tool rather than a sifter,* is to use a fine mesh sieve.*

Once you've got a rousing boil going in the pot, dump the flour in, give it a rousing stir with a sturdy tool.

adding flour to melted butter and boiling water
Plooop, dump the whole flour thing in.
Now, taking a tip from that Serious Eats article, a no-fail way to ensure you're in the right is to take its temp; get yourself an instant read thermometer.*  Well, heh, ahead of time, but that's why you read this part first!  But really, it only takes about thirty to forty five seconds to hit that temp they recommend, between 165° - 175° F (74° - 79° C).

panade ready
This dough ball is known as a panade, fyi.  And it's ready here.
The cooked flour water butter mix will also begin to ball up and the surface of the pan will be clean too, just for a visual.


Let that cool.  Let it cool about three to five minutes or so, feel free to create more surface area as you want the temp back down to 145° F (63° C) before you start dropping eggs in.

Now, you can do this with a food processor* or a stand mixer* but in all honesty, why create more of a mess?  Do it by hand, it's no big whoop.

Crack an egg in there and with your sturdy stirring utensil,* big stirs, big big gruff stirs all around the pot, get that egg mixed in there.  Once it's clearly combined and the dough is sticky again, dump another egg in.  Repeat for the remaining two.

adding first egg
First egg in...

finished puff batter
...and all eggs in!
Here you can use a piping bag,* oy ah more mess, or a plastic zipper bag is fine too, or a spoon.  To fill a pastry or zipper bag, stick it in a tall glass and fold the open end over it.  Fill the bag, twist to get the gooey batter into the tip/corner (snip the corner of the baggie)...

filling pastry bag
It's a gooey mess but once in the bag, pffft, easy as pie to work with.
...then spurt out about 2 1/2" rounds.  Or, split the batter evenly into twelve to thirteen mounds.

piping batter onto parchment
I don't have a large smooth tip which is no big deal turns out.
To help with this, as a guide, find something that diameter and trace the circles onto parchment paper* then flip the paper over onto your baking sheet.*  Voila, easy peasy lemon squeezie.

drawing circles on parchment paper
By the way, as written below, you'll get enough for a crowd, in the neighborhood of thirteen good size puffs; cut the recipe in half for about six.

dabbing water on pointy tops
Dip your finger in a little bit of water, dab those pointy tops down, then bake.  And feel très chic.

As steam is your leavener here, don't ever open the oven until these are done baking. After that, to crisp up the exterior a smidge extra, leave those puppies in the oven, turn the oven off, and prop the door open for twenty minutes. And only cut these open after they've cooled completely.

baked cooled profiterole cream puff
A hot tip for serving these to guests:  if you're going the ice cream route, pre-scoop your ice cream into balls and freeze them on a baking sheet.  That way, all you gotta do is assemble!  Right?!

profiterole plated
Toss on your poshest French outfit, tip your hat and take a bow, you've made some ridiculously delicious Profiteroles for dessert!

*The saucepans, sifters, fine mesh sieves, instant read thermometers, food processors, stand mixers, sturdy wood kitchen utensils, piping bags, parchment paper, and baking sheets are Amazon affiliate links.  Happy baking, thanks!  Please see the "info" tab for more, well, info.

Share your thoughts :

  1. Hi Bec, it's true, I have made this recipe for decades and it's always been a treat our family and guests have loved. And while I have whipped up more batches than I can count, I have never, ever, made cream puffs that look as gorgeous as yours! What stunning puffs and your perfect ball of ice cream is the "cherry on top" of your amazing post. Wish we were having dessert at your house tonight!

    1. Thank you so very much! Really though, yours are and will always be better! Hope you make them tonight! Thank you!


Spam is not good for baking. Please don't leave any, thanks.

Follow @thebakedept on Instagram