Easy Cheese Danish – Let the Baking Begin!

 

Cheese Danish is a pillowy soft breakfast pastry that’s perfect for eating any time of day. A rich cream cheese filling topped with an easy streusel recipe made this one of my most shared Instagram posts of all time! It’s fantastic.

If you love cheese Danish, you’ve also got to try my Hot Cross Buns, Easter Bread Recipe, and these amazing Apricot Almond Pastries. Yum!

Baking dish filled with freshly made cheese danish, some with strawberry filling.

Breakfast Pastries

I’ll admit it – it isn’t very often that I enjoy breakfast pastries. Mornings are quite too often a hectic rush at our home. I’m much more likely to eat a bowl of oatmeal or a chunk of farmer’s cheese and toast.

However, isn’t the point of the weekends to slow down and do all the fun things we don’t get to do during the week? Why not set aside one morning to make a batch of fresh breakfast pastries? I guarantee these will drive your family straight to the breakfast table once they get a whiff!

Make creating breakfast pastries a part of your Saturday morning routine. You won’t regret it! I’ve found this is a great activity to do with my girls and teach them one of my favorite things in the world…baking. It makes for a fun (and delicious) way to pass the morning. ?

Close up of breakfast pastries with a cream cheese center and streusel topping on a white plate.

They’re so, so soft and fluffy!

Cream Cheese Danish

One of my favorite recipes to bake is this cream cheese Danish. I sometimes call these cheesecake buns, but they are so similar to a Danish that my family uses the term interchangeably.

The cream cheese Danish is known for it’s characteristic sweet and slightly tart cheesecake-like filling. This recipe is no exception!

In fact, the filling is what makes this treat so good. It’s easy to make and contains just three ingredients: cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Whip them together until smooth and you’ll be amazed at how delicious the simple combination becomes!

Cream cheese danish before baking with freshly made cream cheese filling.

Pastry Dough

On the other hand, I’m not giving this recipe justice if I don’t stop to talk about the pastry dough. I often see people use pre-made dough for recipes like this. That’s fine in a pinch, but I highly encourage you to make your own, delicious, highly enriched pastry dough if you have the time!

It’s not hard to make (mixer does all the work for you), and the end result is so worth it. This dough makes pillow-like, perfectly airy pastries that your teeth can sink into.

Another reason I really like this pastry dough recipe is that this dough is also super versatile. You can use it to make any kind of pastries, rolls or sweet breads. I’ve made poppy seed rolls, apple-filled piroshky and even Challah type bread with this pastry dough.

Woman pulling apart the pastry dough with a freshly baked cream cheese danish.

Tips for Making the Cheese Danish Pastry

  • Make sure the butter is softened. If your butter is too firm, it will crumble and disperse unevenly. Melted butter will not give you the correct consistency. Let your butter sit out for a few hours before baking with it to get it softened..
  • Use good flour: high protein all-purpose flour like Canadian Flour or King Arthur’s flour is your best friend when making pastries. Otherwise, use any other regular all-purpose flour.
  • Use Red Star platinum yeast is possible: it’s highly forgiving, so if you’re not much of a baker with this yeast your chances of extraordinary perfection are very high.
  • Use a scale: Use it not just for weighing your ingredients (to get consistent good results), but to divide the dough into equal pieces which will help with even baking of the cheese danishes .
  • Brush your dough with egg yolk before baking. This adds shine and will enhance the golden color of the cheese Danish pastry.
  • Choose your toppings. The basic recipe below for the cheese Danish pastry doesn’t include this, but if you like you can add a few frozen cherries to the hallowed center along with the cheesecake filling before baking. You can also top it with slivered almonds.

Rows of cheese danish pastries baked on a metal baking dish. Several of the pastries have cherry-cheesecake filling while others have simply cream cheese filling.

For detailed recipe instructions see the recipe card bottom of the post.

1. Before starting, ensure that your yeast is active by combining yeast, milk, sugar and then allowing it to proof.

2. The kneading process of the dough can be done either in a bowl of a stand mixer or by hand. Your choice. Either way, you’ll want to knead all the ingredients except for the butter until the dough is fairly smooth. Lastly, you’ll add the butter and continue kneading until it’s tacky to touch and stretchy without tearing.

3. Next is the proofing process. I preheat my oven for 3 minutes at 250F, then turn it off and set my bowl with the dough in there.

4. While the dough is proofing, you’ll make the cream cheese filling, egg wash, and the streusel topping.

5. Once doubled, punch down the dough and divide it into 16 equal pieces. Shape into balls and make an indentation with a bottom of the glass in the middle.

6. Fill each indentation with cream cheese filling. You can also add a teaspoon of jam to the middle of cream cheese filling or sprinkle with plumped up raisins if you wish. Now allow the danishes to proof until doubled in size.

7. Brush the tops with egg wash, sprinkle with the prepared streusel and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.

Easy Cheese Danish

This simple Cheese Danish recipe is the perfect breakfast pastry to make for the entire family. The pillowy soft dough is filled with a cheesecake-like topping, then topped with a sugar streusel before baking – yum!