Easy Cheese Danish

Total Time:
45 min
10 min
15 min
20 min

8 Danish

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don't whip!

Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it's a 10 by 10-inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes.

Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.

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    187 Reviews
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    Best Danish ever, I made them for my girlfriends husband, he was crazy about them, then my girlfriend who hates cheese, tried one and she raved too. When I grow up I wanna BE Ina! You are the best...
    I thought that when I made this I had all the ingredients but I did not have the fresh lemon or the ricotta cheese so I left both those our and added a few splashes of lemon juice. These were very tasty and will make again for sure.. next time as written and maybe do some with cherry pie filling...
    Very flavorful and easy to make!
    Delicious! I didn't change the filling recipe at all, but I had to use pastry shells instead of sheets since the store was out of stock of the sheets. I rolled each shell out so each was a circle, 4-5 inches in diameter. They still came out delish, but I over filled a couple and didn't take too much care in sealing them, so a couple leaked filling. That being said, I am not ashamed to say I scraped off the leaked filling and ate it! Yummm
    ok so it was good but make sure to let the batter sit for about 10 min before putting it on the pastry also unless u love lemon flavor leave out the lemon zest it makes taste very lemony and you cant taste the cream cheese.
    I just made this exactly as written, and it was easy and delicious. The filling is a little runny, but sets up with baking; do not over-beat the filling (you just want to fold the filling together--and note that you are just using the lemon zest, not the juice. I let the thawed pastry get too warm, so I struggled with unfolding it--no worries, though: I just cut each sheet into fourths and rolled them out into 5"x5" squares. The final product was just as puffy and light. I used Pepperidge Farm--all butter puff pastry would taste better, but it is harder to find. I am going to try this with Trader Joe's puff pastry, just to compare. I wasn't overly fussy about sealing them (I just pressed the edges together, as directed, and only had one small leak. These are good-sized turnovers; you would want make them half the size if you are serving them as part of a brunch. I think the zest of one lemon would be plenty. Wonderful!
    I have made this 3 times and find the filling to be roo runny. I will try 1 egg yolk and 4 tablesp. ricotta next time.
    OH yum!! I didn't change a thing. We all burned our mouth trying to eat these straight from the oven...they're actually better once they've cooled a bit.
    Why would anyone leave off the zest of lemons? In culinary training we all know what value Lemon Zest has to any pastry ingredient. Absolutely LOVED this easy recipe and DON'T CHANGE A THING! The sizes are for a reason and cutting them down does effect the quality of the recipe. Love Ina, she is one classy cook, love her recipe.
    I've made these many times and I can't understand why people think they can improve on a great recipe. Why would someone use cardamon in these. They are super delicious just the way they are. Oh, and use the lemon, it is so yummy. There is no need to go to a bakery and pay a small fortune for cheese danish when it is so easy to make. Just follow the recipe and it will come out perfect each time. Who wants it smaller when they taste sooooooooo good.
    I was inspired to make this when I watched Giada make her Chocolate cheese Danishes. I preferred the traditional cheese Danish, so I settled with Ina's recipe. I cut the recipe in half, to test it out, being that it's my first time making cheese Danishes. I cut the pastry sheet however into 6 pieces instead of 4. I figured four would make it overly big. And I was right, cutting it into 6 pieces made it the perfect size. The cheese mixture was a little runny, maybe because I halfed the recipe, but I just put it into the fridge for 15 minutes before scooping it onto the pastry. Problem resolved ! It came out beautiful, especially when I sprinkled powdered sugar on top. One thing I would change next time is leaving the lemon zest out. I found it a bit overpowering, you couldn't taste the cheese through it. And this is after putting way less than 1 tablespoon of zest. But in all definitely fell in love. thanks Ina, your recipes never disappoint.
    EXCELLENT! I made this for the first time and everybody liked it. I didn't use the lemon zest only because I didn't have it. I only had a half of a lemon, so I just used the juice. I will make this again and again.
    DO NOT CHANGE THIS RECIPE ONE BIT!! It is SOOOOO amazing and my new favorite dessert...besides apple pie of course...but still it is super easy, very delicious, and makes you look like you are the best chef ever! When I brought this out for my parents and my brother, they were shocked that i could make this...but it was actually very easy (like the title says...make this recipe! I promise i will be a success =]
    Very easy to make and quite tasty. The only modifications I made was cutting it down to using the rind of 1 lemon, adding 1/2 tsp of cardamom, and adding a dollop of canned cherries to the filling before baking. Then I brushed the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkled sugar all over.
    Made this for the first time today but will do it again. I saw Ina on a show about a month ago demonstrating this recipe and it inspired me to try it especially as I had a package of puff pastry in the freezer. One thing I'll be careful about next time is to not let the puff pastry come to room temperature as it was to soft to handle and I had to keep putting it back in the frig to unfold the pieces. I did notice after making the first four that one tablespoon of filling was going to leave quite a bit left so I started using more as I went along. I also may use some of the suggestions below and make the individual pieces smaller and try a higher oven temperature. But they were great.
    For my first time ever picking up a recipe from watching the food network and going through with actually making it I would say I was successful! However, maybe its just me not being a huge lemon flavored pastry fan, but I found the 2 lemons to be a little much. In fact, lemon was all I could really taste so calling it a cheese danish can be a tad misleading (I didnt taste cheese at all! In the future changes will have to be made! Maybe 1 lemon besides 2 and definitly more cream cheese and ricotta! I'm also considering adding more sugar and vanilla, because the filling did not satisfy my sweet tooth!; Plus, I would recommend adding a little more filling to each pastry! Overall, though, I thought my pastries looking delicious and came out golden, flaky, and perfectly crispy! Just a few tweeks here and there and they will be scrumptous!
    This is the best!
    WOW. The only cheese danish experience I had before these was entenmann's (sad, i know and I am forever changed. I took the excellent suggestion to cook them at 385 and they turned out perfectly. I also want to try blackberry or blueberry preserves with them, I'm sure it would be excellent. Big fan of these!
    My boyfriend and I love making these but over time we have made a few adjustments. We cook them at 385 degrees otherwise the ends burn and the pastry underneath the cheese is a little soggy. Also, we sprinkle turbinado sugar on the edges! Mmmm thanks Ina!
    I follow this recipe exactly regarding measurements. However, I use low-fat ricotta and neufchatel cheese. I also put a spoonful of strawberry preserves on top of the cheese mixture. And instead of just folding the two corners, I fold all four so it looks like a little square. I serve it with a sliced strawberry next to it so folks know what's inside. It is always a hit! My family and friends devour it every time.
    This is very easy, simple, and delicious recipe. I personally added an extra tablespoon of the cheese. I also suggest serving it with a raspberry/blueberry perseves or jam, but they are yummy plain: Oh and don't plan on leftovers, because these puppies go fast!! Haha, happy baking and eating to ya'll :
    my husband loves cheese danish so I thought I'd try this recipe for him. He raved about the flavor so much that although I don't eat cheese danish I felt I had to try a bite. The lemon and vanilla flavor makes this danish absolutely devine, so much so that I will now be eating this cheese danish also. 
    Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe Ina!
    This was a fantastic recipe. I love Barefoot Contessa. She is just the BEST! I saw that a few other reviewers had written about the taste and maybe it needed a bit more oomph.. so I added extra sugar, around 1/3 cup, 3T ricotta and just a little more lemon zest. Results were wonderful. Topped with some powdered sugar and voila!
    Very easy to make and were delicious!!
    I absolutely love these and they are very easy to make. They are a family favorite for the holidays!
    Excellent and easy to make after just waking up in order to serve it fresh out of the oven. My husband loved it as is! Only thing I would do is cut back on the lemon just a little bit. And my husband also requested specifically a glaze on top, which was easy enough.
    I used the danish dough recipe from Emeril on this website -food network(dotcom. It turned out great. I increased the ricotta to 3 tblsp and decreased the lemon zest to 1 lemon too. I found the cheese filling to be just fine on the sweetness scale but I tend to go more savory than sweet in my personal taste. Another great way to make it sweeter is Paula Dean's Danish Glaze. It is 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 3 or 4 tbls of milk, and 1/2 tsp of almond extract. You just drizzle that over the danish after they've cooled for a few minutes. I'm happy with this cheese filling recipe. I like the way it puffed up and grew with the danish dough. All in all, it turned out really fantastic.
    I made my own pastry dough and followed the previous reviewer's recommendation of using 3 T ricotta and the zest of 1 lemon rather than two. Best Danish I ever had in my life. Easy and a huge hit with the family.
    This Danish was simple to make. I do agree with others who say you need to add somethin extra for sweetness. It is not that sweet... The taste is great and working with puff pastry was easy.. I had no problem making this recipe and I will make it again with a few additions:
    Awesome! EASY, EASY, EASY! Soooooo Delicious! Thanks Ina!
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