Gluten free Cream puffs and eclairs are one of the most elegant desserts! With a drizzle of chocolate ganache or salted caramel, or whatever you fancy. Making cream puffs and eclairs doesn’t have to be a daunting task. One simple dough recipe (pate choux) and you can easily pipe it into any shape you want.
Don’t be scared of gluten free pate choux! It is easier than you’d think to make gluten free eclairs and gluten free cream puffs. Once you start making them, you’ll find lots of ways to use them. One of my favorite is to fill them with chicken salad for Sunday brunch.
You can fill your gluten free cream puffs with any of your favorite fillings, I used simple whipped cream for the gluten free cream puffs pictures. I did splurge on the toppings a bit and used a chocolate ganache and salted caramel sauce.
How to make gluten free cream puff dough (also known as gluten free pate choux):
If you’ve never made cream puffs before, the recipe will look a little odd. It starts with boiling water with melted butter, that you then add gluten free flour to and stir to make a very thick paste.
As you stir the gluten free flour into the water, the gluten free pate choux will pull away from the sides of the pan because the proteins in the flour will gelatinize.
This actually helps to create the bonds that hold the gluten free pate choux together, allowing it to be puffed up with steam and without exploding.
The hot water is crucial to getting the right texture and shape for your gluten free cream puffs.
Allow the gluten free flour paste to cool, and then stir in the eggs one at a time.
It is easiest to use a stand mixer (transfer the dough) or an electric hand mixer to mix in the eggs. You can also use a sturdy wooden spoon and get your workout for the day in. It take a lot of elbow grease to get everything mixed together!
How to pipe gluten free pate choux?
Gluten free cream puffs and eclairs are some of the easiest shapes to pipe.
Dots and lines, it doesn’t get any easier than that!
I used a large french tip to pipe my cream puffs and eclairs, which is why you can see those little faint ridges. The dough puffs up a lot when you bake it, so the ridges aren’t as distinct. I just love how fancy they look!
You can also use a round tip, or simply use a large ziploc bag and snip the tip off of a corner so you have a hole about 1/2 inch in diameter.
Scoop the gluten free pate choux into your piping bag or plastic bag and line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.
To make gluten free eclairs: Hold your piping bag at about a 45° angle and pipe a line 2-3 inches long.
To make gluten free cream puffs: Hold your piping bag perpendicular to the baking sheet and pipe a dot about an inch tall. Alternatively you can use a spoon to scoop a heaping teaspoon of gluten free pate choux.
How to bake gluten free eclairs?
When baking gluten free cream puffs, eclairs, or anything made from pate choux dough it is very important that you let the the oven preheat BEFORE you put the dough in the oven.
There isn’t any leavening in gluten free pate choux to help the dough puff up, it needs steam.
The dough puffs up because as the moisture in the dough heats up it creates steam which lifts the dough up and fills the inside of the gluten free cream puff or eclair with air.
The steam is created when they are baked. If the oven is too cool, they won’t rise and puff up.
It is also important not to under-bake your gluten free cream puffs.
I’ve found that when I under bake them the quickly deflate, and then where are you supposed to put the whipped cream?
Pro tip: if you are making both gluten free eclairs and gluten free cream puffs with the same batch, don’t put them on the same pan or bake the pans at the same time. The gluten free cream puffs will cook faster than the gluten free eclairs. If you open the oven to remove the gluten free cream puffs, your gluten free eclairs will deflate.
I really love how versatile gluten free cream puffs are, and pate choux in general.
This time I filled my gluten free cream puffs with whipped cream, sweetened with just a touch of powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla.
I drizzled the tops with some chocolate ganache and salted caramel just for fun!
You can also fill cream puffs with pudding, custard, mousse, or one of my favorites: go for a savory approach and stuff it full of chicken salad. The possibilities really are endless!
Can you make gluten free cream puffs dairy free or vegan (egg free)?
I’ve made dairy free gluten free cream puffs many times and they turn out just as good. Simply use your favorite gluten free vegan butter instead of the dairy butter called for in the recipe. My favorites are Earth Balance and Melt.
Because of the number of eggs in this recipe, I don’t have an egg substitute that I would recommend. If you try one, comment and let me know how it worked!
Just a quick reminder before the gluten free cream puff recipe:
Tips to the perfect gluten free cream puff or eclair:
- Use a sturdy wooden spoon to stir the gluten free flour into the boiling water and butter. It will get very stiff!
- Wait the full 10 minutes before adding your eggs. If the flour paste is too hot, your eggs will scramble on contact!
- Use an electric hand mixer or transfer our gluten free pate choux to a stand mixer to beat in the eggs.
- Make sure your oven is preheated. Consider getting an oven thermometer if you don’t have one, since this is a recipe where oven temperature is crucial. You can find an oven thermometer for less than $10 on Amazon. I discovered my oven often runs 25°-50°f hotter than it is supposed to.
- Don’t put gluten free eclairs and gluten free cream puffs on the same pan, or bake them in the oven at the same time.
- Do not underbake your gluten free cream puffs, they will deflate.
- Don’t open the oven to check! Even opening for a few seconds can deflate your gluten free cream puffs.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or dairy-free butter substitute (like Earth Balance, Melt, or Coconut Oil)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup my gluten free flour blend
- 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 4 eggs
For the Filling
- approx 3 cups of your desired filling choice whipped cream, pudding, mousse, citrus curd, or savory chicken salad(I used whipped cream today)
- Optional- powdered sugar, salted caramel, or chocolate ganache for topping
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat bring the butter, water, and salt to a boil.
- Remove from heat and immediately stir in the GF flour blend and xanthan gum, working quickly to avoid large lumps. The dough will pull away from the sides of the pan and appear quite gummy.
- Let cool at least 10 minutes and then beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth. (I find using a mixer, heavy duty hand or transferring the mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer, is easiest.)
- Load the dough into a piping bag fitted with your tip of choice (I used a french tip) OR a large ziploc bag with the corner snipped off.
- Preheat your oven to 400F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Pipe your dough onto the prepared baking sheets leaving at least 3 inches between shapes.
For Cream Puffs
- Pipe approx 1 heaping tablespoons worth of dough into a ball shape (hold bag perpendicular to pan, pipe and then release. You can smooth the top off using a slightly wet finger)
For Mini Cream Puffs
- Pipe just as the cream puffs but use about half as much dough, about 2 teaspoons worth.
- Pipe a line of dough approx 1 inch tall, 1 inch wide and 3 inches long, OR make them larger and pipe 1 1/2 inches tall, 1 1/2 inches wide, and 5-6 inches long
- Bake for approx 30 minutes, the dough will be a darker golden brown and firm to the touch and the puffs will have risen quite a bit. If you make larger eclairs or larger cream puffs they may require slightly longer baking time.
- Let cool completely. Split in half, scrape out any soft dough, and fill with your desired filling. Alternatively fill using a pastry bag fit with a round tip.
- Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with ganache or caramel sauce.
Serving Size:1 cream puff
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 136 Total Fat: 8g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 51mg Sodium: 83mg Carbohydrates: 13g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 8g Protein: 3g