From the flaky puff pastry to the sweet creamy filling, to the bright lemon glaze, this Cheese Danish is an easy, yet irresistible, brunch recipe.
This recipe for Cream Cheese Danish comes together easily with the help of puff pastry to make a show-stopping addition to any brunch, especially when paired with Spinach Frittata, Quiche Lorraine, Strawberry Spinach Salad, and/or Oven Baked Bacon.
I have been making Cream Cheese Danishes with Puff Pastry for decades. Whether served as part of Christmas Breakfast, Easter Brunch, or for overnight guests, this is one recipe my friends and family beg me to make again and again.
And because this Puff Pastry Danish is one of the easiest brunch recipes to make, I am happy to oblige to their request!
why you'll love this Puff Pastry Danish
- Super Easy Recipe. By using store-bought puff pastry, you can make a homemade cheese danish is light, flaky, and tender with very minimal effort. We can keep that our little secret and wow our guests at brunch😉
- Only 6 Ingredients. This simple cream cheese pastry only requires a handful of ingredients to create something truly spectacular.
- Mass Appeal. Buttery, flaky, sweet, creamy, and kissed with tartness, no one can resist this Cream Cheese Danish!
- Can be Prepared in Advance. This cream cheese pastry is perfect for entertaining at breakfast or brunch, not only because it is an easy, show-stopping recipe, but also because it can be prepped in advance, making it that much easier when entertaining.
Notes on Ingredients
- Puff Pastry: This is one recipe in which I rely on a packaged ingredient. Store-bought puff pastry is puff pastry makes these danishes incredibly easy to prepare. Both refrigerated and frozen puff pastry work for this recipe. If you do use frozen puff pastry, be sure to place it in the refrigerator to thaw the day before making these danishes, as you want the pastry to thaw slowly in a chilled environment. And while I opt to use puff pastry without hydrogenated oils, this recipe works with any brand of puff pastry you have on hand.
- Cream Cheese: You can use regular cream cheese or low-fat cream cheese, but do not use fat-free cream cheese as the flavor will not be the same.
- Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar is the best choice of sweetener to use for this recipe, as it will dissolve perfectly into the cream cheese and is used for the glaze on the pastry as well.
- Eggs: An egg yolk is used for the filling of the danish and a whole egg is used for an egg wash that helps give the pastry its beautiful golden color.
- Fresh Lemons: I use the lemon zest and lemon juice in the cream cheese filling for a pop of flavor and the fresh lemon juice to make the glaze. The lemon pairs beautifully with the sweetened cream cheese to add citrus notes and balance the overall sweetness of these danishes.
∗Flavor Options for Puff Pastry Danish∗
You can add flavor and variety to this Cheese Danish by topping the cream cheese mixture with one of the following additions.
- Chocolate Chip Danish: Sprinkle ¼ to ½ cup of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks on top of the cream cheese mixture before baking. The chocolate will melt slightly into the cream cheese mixture as the Danish bakes.
- Blueberry Danish: Top the cream cheese mixture with ½ cup fresh blueberries, blueberry jam, or blueberry pie filling before baking.
- Raspberry Danish: Use ½ cup of raspberry preserves or jam on top of the cream cheese mixture before baking. I do not recommend fresh raspberries for this recipe.
- Lemon Danish: Top the cream cheese mixture with ⅓ cup of lemon curd before baking.
- Strawberry Danish: Use ½ cup of strawberry jam on top of the cream cheese mixture before baking. I do not recommend fresh strawberries for this recipe.
- Cherry Danish: Use ⅓ cup cherry pie filling on top of the cream cheese mixture before baking.
How to Make a Puff Pastry Danish
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Prepare the cream cheese filling. Be sure to use room-temperature cream cheese so that your filling combines easily and will be nice and smooth inside the Danish.
Fill Danish. You want to dollop the cream cheese filling down the center of the pastry, being sure to leave a 2-inch border on either side of the filling. This will allow enough pastry to cover the cheese filling. If you are adding any toppings to your danish, add them to the top of the cream cheese mixture at this time.
Braid Danish. While the braid on this Cheese Danish looks impressive, it is super simple to do. Simply cut ½ inch diagonal strips up each side of the dough and then fold those pieces over the filling, alternating sides to resemble a braided pattern. Don't worry if it isn't perfect, just be sure that the cream cheese filling is nearly completely encased with the puff pastry.
Brush with Egg Wash. This will help the puff pastry to get golden brown with baked.
Bake Puff Pastry Danish. Bake until golden brown and the puff pastry has browned and is cooked through.
Prepare Glaze. While the pastry is cooling, mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. You want the mixture to drizzle slowly off a fork. Add 1 tablespoon more powdered sugar at a time to thicken or ½ teaspoon more lemon juice to thin.
Glaze Pastry. Drizzle the lemon glaze over the Cheese Danish after it has fully cooled.
This Puff Pastry Danish can be prepped in advance, making it that much easier to entertain guests or host a holiday brunch.
- Prepare the Danish as directed up to the egg wash. Place the baking tray, with the assembled Danish, directly in the freezer and freeze for several hours or overnight until the Danish has frozen solid.
- Once frozen, you can carefully remove the danish and tray from the freezer, and place it in an airtight container, or wrap it well in plastic wrap and foil.
- When ready to bake, place frozen pastry onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and brush with an egg wash. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees F, or until golden brown.
- Glaze as directed.
More Delicious Brunch Recipes
- Mini Breakfast Quiche
- Easy Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole
- Green Chile Egg Casserole
- Homemade Breakfast Sausage
- Overnight Breakfast Strata
- Overnight French Toast Casserole
- Blueberry Coffee Cake
If you enjoyed this Easy Cheese Danish recipe, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Easy Cheese Danish with Puff Pastry
- 1 (13-17 ounce package) puff pastry thawed if frozen
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 400℉.
- Mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon zest, egg, vanilla, and lemon juice until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Unroll the puff pastry and place it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly roll out the puff pastry just to remove lines from the packaging. Spread cream cheese filling down the center of the puff pastry, in about a 2-3 inch wide section. If you are adding any toppings to your danish, add to the top of the cream cheese mixture at this time.
- Cut ½ inch diagonal strips up each side of the dough and then fold those pieces over the filling, alternating sides to resemble a braided pattern. Tuck any excess dough under the ends to seal the danish.
- In a small bowl, mix together an egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the exposed puff pastry with the egg wash.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before glazing.
- For the glaze, mix together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. You want the mixture to drizzle slowly off a fork. Add 1 tablespoon more powdered sugar at a time to thicken or ½ teaspoon more lemon juice to thin.
- Drizzle the lemon glaze over the cooled Cheese Danish. Let the glaze harden for 5-10 minutes and then slice and serve.
This post was published in 2019 but was updated in 2023.