Danish Twists with Cream Cheese Filling are made with tender, sweet yeast bread dough, a sweet cream cheese center plus a generous drizzle of a powdered sugar glaze!  

Way before the Internet, my mom learned of all the latest finds from her bridge club, church or university friends. One summer it was all about the Sara Lee outlet in the metropolis of Des Moines, 30 miles south of my hometown, and their Cream Cheese Danish. What the heck was cheese doing in a sweet roll, my sisters and I wondered???

Danish Twists with Cream Cheese Filling on a white plate with a red handled fork.

Why You Must Make 

I was not thinking of cream cheese but instead cheddar or Parmesan when picturing “cheese danish” for the first time. What in the world, thought my pre-teen self? Who would eat those?? I loved breakfast pastries, but these sounded a bit strange!

  • If you’re a fan of cheesecake and/or danish pastries, you’ll love this cheese danish!
  • It reminds me of my childhood favorite Sara Lee Danish.
  • Homemade certainly beats storebought 100% of the time. This cheese danish is perfect for any holiday breakfast or brunch!

Well, I was pleasantly surprised when I finally tasted these cream cheese-filled danish after my mom purchased a case for the freezer. I was smitten after that initial nibble! These danish twists with cream cheese filling are reminiscent of those pastries I first tasted in the 1970s!

Danish Twists with Cream Cheese Filling on a parchment lined sheet pan.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Sugar, Salt, Milk
  • Bread Flour – Higher gluten helps the elastic formation and structure of yeast bread
  • Instant Yeast – Has smaller granules than regular yeast and does not need to be rehydrated or proofed before being mixed into the flour.
  • Egg – Have at room temperature for easier incorporation.
  • Butter – Salted butter is fine, melted and cooled
  • Milk – Warm milk, about 120°. Hotter may kill the yeast. You will also need additional milk to make the frosting. Use enough to make a good drizzling consistency.
  • Cream Cheese – Have at room temperature so it will be smooth when blended.
  • Egg Yolk – Separate the egg into the yolk and white when cold to minimize breaking the yolk. But allow the yolk to come to room temperature for the easiest incorporation into the dough.
  • Vanilla Extract – Read the label as it should be real vanilla extract, not imitation.
  • Powdered Sugar – Also known as Confectioners’ Sugar. Sift before using to remove any lumps for a smooth frosting.

Overhead view of aDanish Twists with Cream Cheese Filling on a white breakfast plate

Recipe Tips

From that moment on, I adored a cream cheese filling—whether in a Bundt Cake, Tea Roll or these cream cheese danishes, it pushes a recipe over the top!

  • Make sure your yeast has not expired before you start making the dough.
  • Using your stand mixer with a paddle attachment is the easiest way to knead the dough, but it can be done by hand, too.
  • Have your cream cheese at room temperature when making the filling. It will make a smoother filling than if it’s mixed when cold.
  • My tip for filling these rolls is to scrape the cream cheese mixture into a Ziploc bag, snip off one corner, and pipe it into the centers. The result will be neater than if you use a spoon.
  • You can use a fork to crisscross the drizzle over the baked and cooled cheese danishes, but you can also utilize another Ziploc bag and snip off a smaller corner to attractively ice these rolls.

Bill, AKA the picky hubby, eyed these after a long day at work. “Are these up for grabs?” he inquired. “Why yes, but let’s freeze most of them, to keep them fresh,” was my practical reply. Day after day, he started his day with one of these marvelous cheese danishes and loved every bite. I think you will, too!

Danish Twists with Cream Cheese Filling on a parchment lined sheet pan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Danish Pastry the Same as Puff Pastry?

They are both varieties of pastry, but Danish Pastry is leavened with yeast and Puff Pastry rises due to the layers of butter that produce steam when the pastry is baked.

What Else Can Be Used to Fill Danish Instead of Cream Cheese?

There are many filling alternatives including fruit jelly, jam or preserves, fruit pie filling, lemon curd, ganache, and Nutella. You can even go the savory route, but you may want to decrease the sugar in the dough and eliminate the frosting.

Do Cream Cheese Danishes Need to Be Refrigerated?

Yes, keep these danishes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Longer than that, place them in a freezer-safe container and keep them for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.

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Danish Twists with Cream Cheese Filling

Danish Twists with Cream Cheese Filling

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 12

Sweet yeast bread twists with cream cheese filling!



  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 4 ½ tablespoons sugar, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup warm milk, about 120 degrees

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk (or enough to make a good drizzling consistency)


  1. In a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, mix together 2 cups of the flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, salt, and yeast.
  2. Add the egg, butter, and milk. Continue mixing, then add in the remaining cup of flour.
  3. Replace the paddle attachment with a dough hook and knead for 5 minutes, until the dough is soft and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl. Turn the dough around in the bowl to apply a light coating of oil.
  5. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  6. Make the filling while the dough is proofing. In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar, then mix in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
  7. When the dough has doubled, punch it down in the bowl, then place it on a lightly floured work surface.
  8. Roll out into an approximate 12 x 10-inch rectangle. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons of sugar.
  9. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  10. Gently fold the dough in half widthwise to make a 12 x 5-inch rectangle. Cut dough into 12 1-inch wide strips.
  11. Twist each strip and shape twist into a spiral and place it on the baking sheet. Press the dough down in the center to create a well for the filling.
  12. Place twists on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for 20 minutes in a warm spot or until puffed.
  13. Use the tips of your fingers to make a center well for the filling in each twist.
  14. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  15. Divide the filling between the danishes, placing some in the center of each one.
  16. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until twists are golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
  17. Make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and enough milk to make a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over twists when cool.


Dough adapted from A Kitchen Addiction.

Total time does not include proofing time.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 Danish

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 313Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 228mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 7g


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