This shortcut recipe for a Cheese Danish is made with store-bought puff pastry dough and a lemony sweet cream cheese filling. Buttery, flaky, and sweet, this recipe is perfect for a decadent breakfast or brunch!
This is one of my Breakfast recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
I don’t know about you, but I could definitely go for a little sweet treat… for breakfast!
A cheese danish is my favorite pastry of all time, but a lot of the time, my patience for making my own dough (especially in the morning), is nonexistent.
Here’s where the store-bought puff pastry comes into play! I love to grab a box when I’m at the store and keep it on hand in my freezer. It thaws relatively quickly, so I can just toss it in the refrigerator the night before.
You’ll love how easy this is to put together (and customize!), and one bite of the perfectly flaky crust and sweet creamy center, and you’ll be in heaven!
I’ve kept the lemon flavor present, but not crazy over the top, so there’s plenty of options when it comes to other flavors to add.
How to make lemon cream cheese danish at home?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Make the filling. The trick here is to make sure the cream cheese is softened, otherwise you won’t be able to have a smooth creamy filling.
- Prepare the dough. Use a sharp knife here, or a pizza cutter.
- Fill the center. Try to leave a small border between the filling and the dough strips.
- Cross the strips. Start on the left, folding the strip over the filling, coming a little more than halfway across the filling. Repeat with the right strip, and continue on down the dough.
- Egg wash. This helps the dough bake to a beautiful golden brown color.
- Bake. After the pastry is baked, cool, then drizzle with glaze and serve.
Using store-bought puff pastry dough is a great shortcut that saves you tons of time, and take the intimidation factor out of making pastries. We like Pepperidge Farm brand (that’s found in the freezer section of most grocery stores), but feel free to use whichever brand you like best. If you feel ambitious, you can also make your own homemade puff pastry dough as well!
Variations of this recipe
- Less lemon – if you’re not a huge lemon fan, feel free to omit the lemon zest.
- More lemon – conversely, if you’re a lemon lover, feel free to use more lemon zest, and/or add some lemon zest as a garnish on top of the glaze.
- Almond – to accentuate the almond flavor, try adding some sliced almonds over top of the cream cheese mixture, and/or on top of the glaze.
- Berries – try dotting some blueberries, raspberries, etc over the top of the cream cheese mixture.
- Jam – some jam or preserves can be swirled into the cream cheese mixture (raspberry, strawberry, etc).
- Individual danishes – you can also make the individual square danishes you may be used to seeing at bakeries and coffee shops. See the “chef tips” section below the recipe for the full details.
I think it tastes similar, but with a more pronounced lemon flavor, as well as a bit more of the flaky puff pastry in each bite.
I’ve only tested this recipe with full fat cream cheese, however, I think it could work with lower fat varieties, as well as Neufchatel (which is lower in fat than cream cheese), or marscapone.
I tend to think it could be, but I haven’t tested it specifically. We never have enough leftover to freeze since we all love it so much!
Making cream cheese danish ahead of time
This shortcut danish is great to assemble ahead of time! I don’t recommend baking it entirely ahead of time, but it can definitely be prepped and assembled.
- Filling – the filling can be whipped up and kept refrigerated until ready to use.
- Assembled – the entire danish can be put together and covered tightly with plastic wrap, then refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Leftover danish should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To reheat, add a slice of the danish to the microwave for about 10 seconds to warm.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 12 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar whisked to remove any lumps
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- zest of 1 large lemon
- 1/2 large lemon juiced
- 1 sheet puff pastry thawed and rolled out a little until it's an even thickness
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbsp water
Sweet lemon glaze
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar whisked to remove any lumps
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 Tbps heavy cream or milk
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Make the filling
- In a large mixing bowl, add cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat with a handheld mixer until well combined and creamy.
- On prepared baking sheet, or a large cutting board, unroll thawed puff pastry sheet. Roll out a little to flatten the dough out.
- Carefully cut slits, about 1.5-2” long and 1” apart going down the side of the sheet. Repeat on opposite side.
- Spoon the cream cheese mixture down the center of the puff pastry sheet, leaving a small border between the mixture and the slits.
- Cross the strips over the top of the cream cheese mixture, alternating from one side, then the other, overlapping the ends in the middle.
- Whisk together the egg and water and brush over the top of the braided pastry.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until pastry is golden brown.
- Pastry will be puffed up, but will settle as it cools. Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet.
- While pastry is cooling, add glaze ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Whisk until creamy and smooth.
- Drizzle some of the glaze over the top of the pastry.
- Serve warm, or store in the refrigerator, and drizzle with any remaining glaze, if desired.
Want to save this recipe for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own recipe box!
- I estimate this recipe will serve approximately 6 people, but that can be adjusted based on your preferences.
- If desired, the almond extract can be substituted with an equal amount of additional vanilla extract.
Individual Cheese Danish Pastries
- Keep ingredients the same.
- Roll puff pastry dough out a little, then cut into squares (approximately 4 inches).
- Brush the edges of the squares with egg wash, then fold in each corner of the square (about 1″) towards the center. Press gently so they stick.
- Scoop a Tbsp or two in the center of the squares, then brush exposed puff pastry with egg wash.
- Bake at 375°F for about 25 minutes.
- Let cool, then glaze as directed.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
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