Gluten Free Dairy Free Cream Puffs Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on January 11, 2010

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Gluten Free Dairy Free Cream Puffs Recipe

I have a new fetish. And while it sounds a lot like my old fetish, trust me, there are no Jimmy Choos or Manola Blahniks involved. I have a choux fetish. Pate Choux to be exact.

I spent the entire weekend testing batch after batch of this fabulous, basic dough. I made them using the gluten-free flour blend I developed for my book. I made them with sweet rice flour alone. I baked them and fried them. I tweaked the baking and resting times trying to get the perfect combo for crispy outsides and light, airy innards. I stuffed them with pastry cream, whipped cream and jam.

And then I decided to take it one step further and see how they would come out dairy-free. Concerns popped into my head as after all the dough is basically water, butter, eggs and flour. I was not happy with the results when I substituted dairy-free butter substitute for the butter and found they were flavorless with oil and water. So I tried coconut milk and grape-seed oil and voilà! Perfect. So perfect in fact that I actually prefer these babies to the regular ones.

The cream puffs can be frozen after baking, crisped in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes, cooled and filled before serving or you can just freeze them filled. I decided to freeze up a batch to take to a party the next day and forgot to thaw them and they were just as good frozen as they were when they thawed for about 30 minutes.

As a note I only use very finely milled sweet rice flour when baking. It is sometimes called glutinous rice flour but don’t let the name fool you. There is no gluten. I prefer Asian sweet rice flour as it is milled really finely (after all, Asian cultures have been making delectable rice pastries for centuries, so I think they have it down AND it is at least half the price of the stuff you get at the health food store).

Despite the use of coconut milk these do not really taste “coconutty” and only the people at the party with the most discerning palates picked up the coconut. BTW – this entire recipe (puffs, pastry cream and chocolate ganache) uses just under 2 cans of coconut milk – there’s just enough leftover for your cup of coffee.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Cream Puffs Recipe

Have all your ingredients ready before starting this recipe.


Cream Puffs

4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
½ cup grapeseed oil
1 cup coconut milk – shake can well before measuring
1 pinch kosher or sea salt
1 cup sweet rice flour (or you can use an all-purpose gluten-free flour mixture)

Dairy Free Pastry Cream

2 cups coconut milk
¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract

Dairy Free Chocolate Ganache

4 ounces (2/3 cup) dark dairy-free chocolate chips
½ cup coconut milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Cream Puffs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking sheets.

Crack the eggs and yolk into a liquid measuring cup or pitcher.

In a medium sauce pan, combine the oil, coconut milk and salt and bring just to a boil over medium heat. Stir to try and incorporate the oil into the coconut milk. It won’t completely happen but don’t worry. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil turn the heat down to medium-low and dump in the flour all at once. Stir quickly and in one direction with a wooden spoon. The liquid will start absorbing the flour and will form into a ball. Continue cooking and stirring for 1 or 2 minutes. You will see that some of the oil is separating out from the dough–that’s fine.

Dump the dough (separated oil and all) into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat the dough for about 1 minute on medium speed to cool it off slightly. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. As you are incorporating the eggs some oil may splatter to the sides of the bowl and it will look like a lumpy, gooey mess. No worries! Continue mixing until the dough is uniformly smooth, thick and shiny, about 3 – 5 minutes.

Using a small ice cream scoop, place the dough on prepared pans spacing them about an inch apart. If you are good at piping then you can pipe little mounds about 1 ½ inches wide by 1 inch high. Moisten your finger with water and push down the little peaks as they will burn.

Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned (time may be shorter or longer depending on the size). Turn the oven off and leave the pastries in the oven for another 20 minutes to dry out. The puffs should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from oven and pierce the side of each puff with a small, sharp knife to let the steam escape. Let cool completely.

Cut in half horizontally and fill with dairy free pastry cream.

Dairy Free Pastry Cream

Combine the coconut milk and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks with the sugar on medium high speed until the mixture is light yellow and thick, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and beat in the cornstarch. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer back to low and slowly add the hot coconut milk to the egg mixture. Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan and cook over medium heat until thick and it just starts to come back up to a boil, stirring constantly with a spoon or whisk. Continue cooking for 1 – 2 minutes. Do not cook more than 2 minutes or the cornstarch will lose its effectiveness. Don’t worry if your pastry cream looks curdled, just whisk it until it smooths out again.

Remove from heat and stir in the extracts. Strain into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap, placing the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 – 3 hours. Give the pastry cream a good whisking before filling the puffs.

Top with either dairy free ganache or dust with some confectioners’ sugar.

Dairy Free Chocolate Ganache

Pour the chocolate chips into a small heatproof bowl. Bring the coconut milk to a boil in a small sauce pan. Pour the hot coconut milk over the chocolate, add the vanilla extract and let set undisturbed for 3 minutes. Stir the mixture until the chocolate is fully melted and the ganache is glossy. Let the gluten free ganache sit for 5 minutes or so to thicken up.


This Gluten Free Dairy Free Cream Puffs recipe makes 12

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owner’s. This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Affiliate links may be included in this post.

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Categories:    Dessert

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Jas. January 12, 2010 at 3:43 am

mmmm…they look delicious! I love it when testing and testing (and testing) works out!


GF Gidget January 12, 2010 at 6:57 am

WHAT?! THEY ARE DAIRY FREE, TOO?!… i think i love you…


H.Peter January 12, 2010 at 7:26 am

You did fantastic.
Somehow I see them on the cover of the book…..


MelMM January 12, 2010 at 8:11 am

They look wonderful! Can you tell me exactly what the "sweet rice flour blend" is?


Divina Pe January 12, 2010 at 8:17 am

Really, gluten and dairy-free cream puffs? That is so awesome. I have to try this.


Simply...Gluten-free January 12, 2010 at 8:40 am

MeIMM – oops there was a little typo which I corrected now. I used just sweet rice flour – no blend. You can buy it at Asian markets and in larger cities with a big Asian population sometimes in the ethnic section of the grocery store or on line – here is a link for just one place to buy


Federica January 12, 2010 at 10:36 am

mmmmm..che buoni!


Charlotte January 12, 2010 at 10:37 am

Can't believe how good these look, seriously; Congratulations. I am hopeing the ice and snow will allow me to take my daughter to pre-school tomorrow (1st day alone for a month) and I now know what to do with myself. Thank you so much for your generous hard work and for sharing this…
love Charlotte x


karenk January 12, 2010 at 10:44 am

Wow, Im so impressed and can't believe its Dairy Free.
If I do not have a stand up mixer can I just use an electric hand mixer? Or should I mix if strickly by hand?


The Short (dis)Order Cook January 12, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Very impressive idea. I love cream puffs and I never would have thought to make pastry cream with coconut milk!


Mrs. Ed January 12, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Wow!!!!!! This is great!!! I haven't had cream puffs in soo long. Cream puffs and chocolate eclairs were on of my favoites!


Iris January 12, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Those look so amazing! I'm really impressed by your persistence in making these perfect for your lucky readers.


Lauren January 12, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Hehe choux shoe. You're so cute! These sound like heaven.


Toni January 12, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Who cares if there's no dairy in these? When they look this good, and I'm sure they taste as good as they look, all I can say is "Please help me to not lick the screen!"


Tasty Eats At Home January 13, 2010 at 6:14 am

Wow….these are gorgeous! I can imagine they'd be a hit at any party!


thewholegang January 13, 2010 at 7:59 am

Can you please send these over to my house STAT. My son (16) who can't eat anything can eat what you have in here. He'd kill for these. Actually he's the baker in the family. I'll give him this as a project. You may be his first girlfriend.


Carrie January 13, 2010 at 10:56 am

I was just thinking about altering a julia child recipe to make something like this!! Your recipe looks wonderful though!!


Christine January 13, 2010 at 6:51 pm

These look fabulous. Just the ticket for a dessert-hungry gluten free newby. I think you're my new hero.


The HealthNOW Doctors January 19, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Oh aren't you the brilliant one!
Dairy-free, gluten-free AND delicious…you deserve an award!


noosh. January 21, 2010 at 9:52 am

these truly look amazing! i can't wait to try them- coconut milk continues to amaze me and all the doors that it has opened up for those of us who are gf and dairy free! (i also think it tastes better than milk ;)) thank you so much for sharing this recipe!


noosh. January 30, 2010 at 8:37 am

i just had to comment again and tell you HOW MUCH i enjoyed these! my husband took a look at the recipe before i made it and was like- "no way. some things you just can't make gf or dairy free." boy did he eat his words! we had his whole gluten and dairy eating family over and i served these and everyone loved them. thanks again for such an incredible recipe and i will definitely be making these again! :)


glugleglutenfree May 7, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Hi Carol,

I just wanted to tell you that I made these for the Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger at Book of Yum. Even with my lack of baking skills, they turned out pretty good. Very tasty, for sure. Here is the link to my post, if you care to look.

Keep posting these wonderful recipes.

Thanks so much,


Casey September 10, 2010 at 7:51 am

I know I'm late to the cream puff party but these look amazing!

Do you think that sweetened almond milk would work instead of coconut milk? We are on a low salicylate diet and coconuts are a no no for us.



Simply...Gluten-free September 10, 2010 at 11:04 am

Hi Casey,

I wrote you an email with this answer but am posting in case anyone else is interested.

I think that almond milk would work very well! A traditional pate choux is made with water and butter. I used coconut milk to amp up the flavor since obviously no butter was going into this recipe. So having said that, any type of non-dairy milk should work fine, rice, almond, whatever. In fact it works just fine with plain water but as I said the "milk" just gives it a touch more flavor.

Let me know how this works for you.


Angelita September 18, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I'm so proud of myself for successfully making the puffs! However my cream didn't come out as thick as yours. I only have a hand mixer and I used evaporated cane juice (Sucanat) instead of granulated sugar. I'm a novice at baking, so can someone tell me where I went wrong?


Simply...Gluten-free September 20, 2010 at 11:38 am

Hi Angelita,

I sent you an email with this but in case anyone else is curious the most common problem with recipes with cornstarch is that people either d not boil long enough or boil too long. You need to do at least 1 minutes but no longer than 2 – after that the cornstarch looses its effectiveness. Hope this helps.



Vixandra September 30, 2010 at 5:55 am

Made the pastry cream to use in a different recipe. I cooked it until nape- where you can dip a spatula in it, turn it sideways, run a finger across it and the pastry cream doesn't drip down. That's how I was taught to make traditional pastry cream and it worked for this. Wonderful recipe. Thank you so much!


Mun Cutest Design October 15, 2010 at 9:55 am

Wow wonderful recipe.


Casey January 21, 2012 at 11:31 am

I so want to try this recipe, for the pastry cream do you think I could substitute almond milk for the coconut milk?


Carol Kicinski January 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm

To be honset I haven’t tried it but I see no reason why not – in fact the more I think of it, I believe almond milk would be delish!


cathy johnson August 4, 2012 at 11:46 am

Tried these… all went well except puffs are more flat than round? they did puff but look more like swedish pancakes than puff balls. Great job with making them available to GFDF people. thanks


Carol Kicinski August 5, 2012 at 11:07 am

Hmmm – they should have puffed. If you walk me through exactly what you did maybe I can figure out what happened.


Rachael January 31, 2015 at 10:36 am

I had the same problem with my first batch. I ended up with flat pastries (that tasted great) but not puffs.

I tried a second time with a few changes and all went well.

1) I used light coconut milk instead of full-fat coconut milk.
2) After adding the flour (I used my own GF mix with xanthan gum in it) I did not transfer the mixture to a separate bowl to add the eggs. I added the eggs right to my saucepan after mixing the dough for a few minutes to cool it down (and taking it off the stove!). Maybe the extra heat from doing it this way was helpful? From that point the dough already looked different than the first time I did this… it had more cohesiveness and body to it–so much so that I could almost form it into balls with wet hands.
3) The first time I put the dough in the fridge after making it and didn’t cook it until the next day. This time I did everything all at once. I don’t think this was the issue though because as I said in my second point, things were already different when I was mixing the dough.

The only other possible difference I can see is that maybe I didn’t heat the coconut milk/oil mixture enough the first time I made these. All I know is the first time they were a flop, but the second time they puffed like champions!

Thanks for a fabulous recipe! I have to be GF and dairy-free, so I struggle to find recipes that work for me. I end up doing a lot of trial-and-error adapting other recipes.


Carol Kicinski April 6, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Hi Rachel – glad they worked out in the end for you.


Leah November 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I might have to go buy some grapeseed oil! Or could i use something else, such as melted coconut oil?


Carol Kicinski November 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm

You can use vegetable or coconut oil, the coconut oil may give it a hint of coconut but that may not be bad! :) Enjoy!


Leigh December 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Approximately, how many cream puffs does this recipe make?


Carol Kicinski December 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Approximately 12 – 18 depending on the size.


Danielle February 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm

This sounds odd but my dr put me on no dairy but he doesn’t count butter as dairy since its 99% fat. Can I use butter in replacement of the oils here? I prefer butter when I can use it. Just curious for us ‘modified paleo’ folk!!! Will be making these soon!!


Carol Kicinski February 13, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Yes you can use butter instead. The original non-dairy free vesrion uses butter. And I understand, my doctor had told me the same thing. I do not personally have to be dairy free, she was just explaining it to me :)


Isabella March 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Can one substitute reg white rice flour for sweet rice flour??


Carol Kicinski March 29, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Regular white rice flour is not as starchy as sweet rice flour. You would be better off substituting a gluten free flour blend if you can’t get sweet rice flour as it would have some starch in it.


Carol December 14, 2015 at 8:53 am

Can this work with a hand-held mixer, rather than one with the paddle?


Carol Kicinski December 18, 2015 at 10:21 am

Yes it will work Carol!
xo, Carol


Karen Gordon February 20, 2016 at 8:06 pm

I used half rice and half gluten free flour blend. The puffs came out a little dry in the first batch. I reduced the baking to 20 minutes at 425 and 10 minutes after turning off the oven. Much better. I use Mexican vanilla; used with the almond extract, the cream is too strongly flavored. It made 45 mini Cream Puffs.


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