bowl of Bavarian cream

Have you ever had Bavarian cream? If not, it could be because this delicious dessert, which The Kitchn described as a kind of mousse/chiffon mashup, is actually pretty labor-intensive by modern standards. Despite its name, Bavarian cream may actually be of Swiss origin, but it was perfected by the French chefs of the early 19th century, and they were, shall we say, a very detail-oriented bunch (via The Kitchn). If you were to make the dish the traditional way, as previously mentioned, it’s a pretty labor-filled and time-consuming task. Delicious, no doubt about it, but kind of a pain in the you-know-what to put together.

Lucky for us, recipe developer and private practice registered dietician Kristen Carli has made it her mission to simplify some of these classic recipes that are simply too time-consuming for modern kitchens. As she puts it, "I love any ‘easy’ recipe. As a home cook, not everyone has time or resources to perform extravagant recipes." She continues, "These ‘easy’ recipes can make decadent recipes more attainable."

Gather the ingredients for easy Bavarian cream

Bavarian cream ingredients

If you need to make a special shopping trip to buy the ingredients for this Bavarian cream, don’t worry, it probably won’t take long, nor are you likely to strain your wrist (or thumb) typing out the shopping list. All you will need is a box of vanilla instant pudding and some whipping cream. (The kind in the carton, not pre-whipped cream.)

Carli does say, though, that you can switch up the flavors if you’d like. "You can use any flavor instant pudding as a flavor enhancer, or stick with vanilla and add extract," she suggests. Almond extract and mint extract, she thinks, would be particularly yummy. You could also reduce the amount of whipping cream by ¼ cup, and stir in ¼ cup of a liqueur such as Amaretto or Kahlua if you wanted a slightly boozy Bavarian cream.

The recipe involves just two simple steps

Bavarian cream in stand mixer

Got your ingredients? Good. No need to spend time arranging an elaborate mise en place, either. If you have a stand mixer, add both ingredients to the bowl, and attach the whisk. If you don’t have such an appliance in your kitchen, mix them together in a large, steep-sided bowl, and use an electric hand mixer.

In about five minutes, maybe less, your cream should be light and fluffy. At this point, that’s it! You’re done "cooking," since there’s actually no need to cook anything.

Bavarian cream is a pretty versatile dessert

Bavarian cream topping blackberry cobbler

So, what can you do with your Bavarian cream? Carli describes the cream as "very sturdy," something she says makes it "ideal as a cream layer within cakes." As she did not have any cake on hand when she made it, however, she notes, "I used this Bavarian cream as a decadent topping for cobbler," and says, "It was amazing!"

Other ideas for using it include as a filling for donuts or cream puffs, as a cake or cupcake frosting, or to make the traditional dessert known as a charlotte, where ladyfingers are used to line a mold, and the mold is then filled with Bavarian cream. You could also just mound the cream in a bowl, perhaps top it with some fresh fruit, and enjoy it as a dessert all by itself.

Be sure to use your Bavarian cream right away

bowl of Bavarian cream

One thing you can’t do with this Bavarian cream is to prepare it well in advance of when you plan to use it. While Carli does say, "The pudding allows this to be a very stable cream," she is talking about its relative stability as compared to whipped cream. She does say it can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for maybe one day, but it won’t last much longer. She also notes that this Bavarian cream "does not freeze well either alone or within baked goods, unfortunately," so bear that in mind when using it as a pastry filling.

  • 1 (3.4-ounce) box instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  1. Combine the instant pudding and heavy whipping cream in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Whisk the pudding and cream until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Serve, and enjoy!