This buttery, flaky, vanilla-scented Cheese Danish recipe is so ridiculously delicious that Beth hasn’t stopped talking about it since I made it for her. This is one of my all-time favorite recipes because this breakfast pastry is a total breeze to put together, is ready in under a half hour, and it’s incredibly budget-friendly. PS I’m going to show you how to make this easy Cheese Danish at home for a third of what you’d pay at the fancy bakery. (Seriously. They sell them for $18 for a half dozen on Gold Belly.)
What Is Cheese Danish?
Cheese Danish is a classic Danish breakfast treat made with a flaky puff pastry dough and a lightly flavored cream cheese filling. This easy Cheese Danish is also perfect for brunch or a quick after-dinner dessert and will score all of the compliments at the potluck or work party. (Pro Tip: Whip up a quick batch of Cheese Danish when a loved one has a bad day and get ready to collect All. Of. The. Hugs.)
What You Need To Make Cheese Danish
This is one of those recipes I use all of the time, so I stockpile the ingredients because when it comes to dessert, I stay ready. PS Once you make it, you will stockpile them too. TRUST. Here’s what you’ll need to make my easy recipe for Cheese Danish:
- Puff Pastry – this buttery dough forms the base of flaky Cheese Danish. Find it in the frozen aisle section of most grocery stores. If you don’t have puff pastry, I don’t recommend making this recipe.
- Cream Cheese – forms the filling of Cheese Danish. It must be at room temperature for you to mix it easily with other ingredients. In a pinch, leave it in its airtight foil wrapper and place it in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to raise its temperature quickly straight from the fridge. If you don’t have cream cheese, I don’t recommend making this recipe.
- Powdered Sugar – sweetens the filling and the icing. If you don’t have powdered sugar, use 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and mix it into the cream cheese until completely dissolved. You will need to skip the powdered sugar icing. Instead, thin out 2 tablespoons of your favorite jam with 1 teaspoon water and spoon over the pastry.
- Vanilla – helps to flavor and lightly scent the cream cheese filling and the icing. If you don’t have vanilla, use 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon or 1/4 teaspoon of lemon zest for the filling. You can omit the vanilla from the icing and substitute it with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
- Egg– You will use the egg yolk to help bind and add color and a velvety texture to the filling. You will use the egg white to brush on the puff pastry to seal it and add a golden sheen.
- Milk– creates a velvety icing and helps thin it.
Tips For Making The Best Cheese Danish
- Thaw the puff pastry in the fridge for an hour or two, or it will crack when you try to cut it. Don’t thaw it at room temperature, as the butter will melt into the dough, and you won’t get the flaky finish puff pastry is known for.
- Add a teaspoon of lemon or orange zest to the filling to boost flavor.
- Use an oven thermometer to ensure the oven is at the correct temperature.
- Rotate the baking sheet, front to back, halfway through cooking to ensure even baking.
- Mix a tablespoon of melted butter into the icing to add flavor and an even more velvety finish.
- Cool the Cheese Danish before adding the icing so it doesn’t melt into the pastry. To get lines of icing instead of pools of icing, use a fork, not a spoon, to drizzle the icing.
How To Store Cheese Danish
Cool the Cheese Danish completely and then store in an airtight container with wax or parchment paper between layers and over the top surface. Store in the fridge for up to seven days or in the freezer for up to two months. Thaw in the fridge before serving or reheat in a 350°F oven, until warm, about 5 minutes.
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened ($2.19)
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar ($0.11)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract ($0.58)
- 1 pinch salt ($0.01)
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed ($2.75)
- 1 egg, yolk and white separated ($0.09)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar ($0.16)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract ($0.15)
- 2 Tbsp milk ($0.03)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your oven's rack in the center and preheat it to 400°F. Mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, egg yolk, and salt until smooth and light in texture.
- Unfold the sheet of puff pastry, dust off excess flour, and place it on the baking sheet. Cut down the seams of the folds so you have three equal-sized strips. Cut the strips into halves.
- Use a fork to perforate around the sides of each puff pastry rectangle, leaving a half-inch border. This prevents the puff pastry from rising in the middle.
- Add 2 heaping tablespoons of your cream cheese mixture to each square. Spread evenly, making sure to leave the borders clean.
- Beat the egg white until frothy. Dip a pastry brush into the beaten egg white and trace lightly along the borders. This will give the puff pastry a glossy finish and golden color.
- Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes then rotate the baking sheet, front to back. Continue to bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the borders of the puff pastry have risen and are golden brown. Use a spatula to remove the pastries from the sheet pan and cool on a rack.
- In a separate bowl, mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Finally, drizzle over cooled Cheese Danish and watch your loved ones gobble them down! Optional: drizzle with 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam thinned with 1 teaspoon of water.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Cheese Danish – Step by Step Photos
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your oven’s rack in the center and preheat it to 400°F. Mix 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1/3 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 egg yolk, and 1 pinch of salt until smooth and light in texture.
Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry, dust off excess flour, and place it on the baking sheet. Then, cut down the seams of the folds so you have three equal-sized strips. Cut the strips into halves. Do not pull your knife through the dough, as it will make it lose its shape. Just press down.
Use a fork to perforate around the sides of each puff pastry rectangle, leaving a half-inch border. This prevents the puff pastry from rising in the middle.
Add two heaping tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture to each square. Then, spread the mixture evenly, making sure to leave the borders clean.
Beat 1 egg white until frothy. Then, dip a pastry brush (in a pinch, just use your finger) into the beaten egg white and trace lightly along the borders. This will give the puff pastry a glossy finish and golden color.
Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet, front to back. Continue to bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the borders of the puff pastry have risen and are golden brown. Next, use a spatula to remove the pastries from the sheet pan and cool on a rack.
Then, in a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk. Finally, drizzle over cooled Cheese Danish.
It’s optional, but I love to drizzle the Cheese Danish with 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam thinned with 1 teaspoon of water. Now all you have left to do is chow down and collect compliments!
You can easily double this recipe to use both sheets of puff pastry that come in the package (especially if you’re serving the Cheese Danish for brunch because they will go fast!). You can also use the second sheet of puff pastry to make our Easy Quiche Lorraine or Spinach Pie!