How to Make Bear Claws

A few years ago when I first began baking in earnest, my results with yeast-risen breads and pastries were mixed at best. Sometimes I'd have gorgeous risen dough and other times I'd cry over brioche buns that could double as hockey pucks. I blamed the yeast.  Living things can be unpredictable, right?  That was my excuse.

I've corrected some novice mistakes since then. Simple things like checking the expiration date before purchase and use make a big difference, and proper storage is very important too.

I also have a brand of yeast I always use and recommend - Red Star dry active baking yeast.  It hasn't let me down yet. If you do a lot of baking then you may already have a favorite brand of yeast, but this is what works for me.  I keep some in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Bear claws are probably my favorite pastries, ever!  The quick danish pastry I use is really easy to make and just as buttery and flaky as classic danish pastry dough.  I've put together a picture tutorial of my bear claw making process to use along with the recipe. I hope it will encourage you to try them for yourself!

Slice butter and add to the flour in the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse until butter is the size of kidney beans.
Combine yeast and flour/butter mixture until just combined.
Pound out chilled dough with a rolling pin.
Roll to a 16x20 piece.
Fold dough into thirds.
Roll out folded dough.
Fold again into thirds.
Roll to 16x18 inches and cut into four pieces.
Spread with filling and roll up pieces.
Roll to flatten and seal edges.
Cut into pieces.
Cut "toes" into filled pieces.
Lay on prepared baking sheet and curve them slightly.

These are so crazy good right out of the oven.  It's impossible to wait for them to cool and you shouldn't wait.  They are worth the burned fingers, especially when there's milk and honey glaze ready for dipping!

Cinnamon Bear Claws 
with Milk and Honey Glaze
Yield: 13-16 pastries                                                                        [click for printable version]

This recipe is adapted from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book.

I suggest making this over the course of two days.  The dough can be made the first day and refrigerated overnight.  The dough can be rolled, filled and baked on the second day.

Make the quick danish pastry dough:
This dough can be used to make a variety of pastries including buns, braids, bear claws and kringles.

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, very cold
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water 105F -115F
1/2 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
  1. Add flour to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Cut butter into 1/4-inch slices and add to the flour. Process until the mixture until the butter is about the size of kidney beans.  If you don't have a food processor you can cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or other cutting tool.
  2. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in the cream or milk, salt, eggs and sugar. Turn the flour-butter mixture into the liquid ingredients and with a rubber spatula mix until the dry ingredients are just moistened.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours, or overnight (preferred) or up to 4 days.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Dust dough with flour. Pound dough with rolling pin; roll out to make a 16x20-inch piece. Fold into thirds making three layers. Turn dough and roll out again. Fold again into thirds. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Prepare the filling while you wait for the dough to chill.
Cinnamon filling:
1 egg white
2/3 cup almond paste
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. In a small bowl, beat all the ingredients with an electric mixer until very smooth. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
1 egg, beaten (for brushing pastries)
Sliced almonds
Large crystal sugar
  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled pastry out to make an 16x18-inch rectangle. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips.
  2. Remove filling from refrigerator and spread 2 tablespoons of filling down the center of each strip. Roll each strip from the long side jelly-roll style and place seam-side down. Roll lightly to flatten and seal the edges.  Cut each strip into 4-6-inch pieces, then cut 3-5 slits for "toes". Place pieces on the prepared baking sheets, curving them slightly. Allow them to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes or until puffy, or you can cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (after refrigeration let stand at room temperature until puffy).
  3. Preheat oven to 400F. Brush with the beaten egg and place a sliced almond on each bear "toe". Sprinkle with large crystal sugar. Bake 5-8 minutes for small pastries, 10-12 minutes for larger pastries.
  4. Let cool slightly on wire racks.
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp. honey
1-2 tbsp. whole milk
  1. Stir together ingredients until smooth. Add more confectioners' sugar if too thin, or add more milk if too thick.  Drizzle over warm pastries.


link How to Make Bear Claws By Published: How to Make Bear Claws Recipe


  1. Awesome! And how cute is that lil bear?! ;)

  2. So pretty! Those bear claws arewonderful and I bet they taste just heavenly.



  3. Bear claws are absolutely a family favorite and yours are gorgeous!! I will definitely be making these :)

  4. I am completely in love with the idea of making these!!!! maybe for Christmas this year!

  5. Oh my goodness!! You make me so happy!!!!!

  6. Pretty sure that is the cutest picture of bear claws I have ever seen EVER!!

  7. what I wouldn't give to hang out with you AND to see your "prop closet"
    I have no props sadly, but need some.
    These are just glorious my dear.
    You are mucho mucho talented.

  8. These actually look surprisingly easy! Well maybe not "easy" but doable. And maybe even a good practice pastry for croissants!

  9. I second the post by vanillasugarblog. I think you should give away a "One Day with SprinkleBakes" dream tutorial - assist the master and learn technique, tools, and trades! These are probably the most perfectly manicured bear claws EVA.

  10. These are BEAUTIFUL. You are, in one word, brilliant, my dear!

  11. I've only ever seen the fried kind of bear claw. These look waaaaaay better than the fried version. Kind of like a cinnamon roll... only, again, this looks waaay better than a cinnamon roll. I think while I'm on break from school I'm going to try my hand at a few yeast recipes.

  12. Red star yeast is the best! I've never had a bear claw, but after seeing these, I want one...right now. Also, I just got your cookbook, and it's rocking my world.

  13. What a great tutorial. I always have mixed results when working with yeast. I love these bear claws and the flexibility of adding different fillings.

  14. So cute! I love the little bear at the top. :) Looks so tasty!

  15. What a cute idea and they sound absolutely delicious. I love that top picture.

  16. Aww love these! Bear claws are such a classic in my family, but I love your take on them even better! (don't tell Grandma).

  17. these look so heavenly! definitely will need to give them a go!

  18. i love this!!!! i love your blog, which i just discovered!!!! i will absolutely follow :)

    come visit me,

    PS don´t forget to enter my giveaway: http://homesweetbakery.blogspot.it/2012/11/giveaway.html

  19. Love. They are adorable. They look so complicated and then you break them down so well. Thank you Heather!

  20. They look wonderful! Love the flavor, and much easier then I ever thought they would be!

  21. Ok, I do not store my yeast in the fridge and find the same kind of "hit or miss" in my baking. Thanks for the tip!

  22. Yummy! Thank you for the great photos too!

  23. Hmmm I am wondering if I could use my breadmaker for this? After adding the ingredients cut up the butter to into 1 inch pieces and placing it on the dough cycle. However that is only an 1.5 hr rise .... is this long enough?

  24. I can't cope with all the deliciousness. Flaky pastry, sweet glaze, and gooey spicy-sweet insides? I wish I lived in the northern hemisphere!

  25. Loved the tutorial. Things can look so complicated but are actually easy when it's explained.

  26. my kids would love these. Thanks for posting

  27. These would be so good for breakie on Christmas morning...

  28. I made croissants twice from homemade pastry dough and it was a process, but not very difficult. Just took lots of time. I love this 'quick' version of a bear claw!

  29. Yum! And so cute with the bear in the photo. :)

  30. Ever since my little grandson and I watched "The Bear" movie together I have wanted to make some bear claws...now I have the perfect recipe with your fabulous step-by-step included...woo hoo! I'll almost feel like I am baking alongside you:) I love almond paste and these look amazing!

  31. They look fabulous and so beautifully presented. Just stunning. Love the spicy filling you used

  32. Maravilloso y muy bien explicado, parece facilísimo y seguro que está delicioso. Enhorabuena!

  33. I cannot get over how not cute these little treats are but how tasty they sound! Definitely need to try them out for the holidays!



  34. Never had almond paste.... is there another yummy filling that could be used perhaps?

  35. Just googled it and found that Pillsbury's recipe uses bread crumbs??? Ok, that is just wrong and gross. http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/crescent-bear-claws/6a06b3f6-be64-4b92-8f10-062a16b2cd5d

  36. These look amazing! My husband loves bear claw so I will definitely have to try this!

  37. This looks awesome! I love eating bear claws as a child for breakfast. Now, I can make my own homemade. :D

  38. I never knew why this pastry was called "bear claws" until I saw your take on it. Perfect looking little toes!

  39. Never thought bear claws could be this elegant!

  40. You are amazing Heather, incredible post!

  41. If I was a raccoon, I would want to live near your garbage can.

  42. I made these today and they are amazing!!!!!!!

  43. Ok So I know I just posted a comment, but I seriously can't thank you enough for posting this recipe. It was the first time I've ever worked with a laminated dough and I did not expect it to be this successful. Everyone who has tried the bearclaw can't believe I made it from scratch or didn't buy it from a bakery!

  44. Hi Janet! I'm so glad you tried the recipe. That quick pastry is the trick, isn't it?

    Thanks for sharing your results!


  45. Wow i really love your receipes and it all seems yummy

    Greetings from holland

  46. Is there anything that can be used instead of almond paste? I am deathly allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts and run a nut-free baking business. Would butter work?

  47. You can replace the almond paste with with finely chopped apples.

  48. Hi! I was wondering if these bear claws would taste okay if I refrigerate the claws that I have filled and cut overnight and then bake them the next morning? Would the texture of the claws be okay overnight?

  49. Hi Tiffany! They will be fine left in the refrigerator overnight. The texture won't be diminished.

  50. These are so amazing! I made them today and they turned out just perfect! Simple to follow and just tasted fantastic, thank you! Will definitely be making these again

  51. These are amazing! I made them today and they turned out great. The recipe was easy to follow and they just came out wonderful! I will definitely be making these again :)

  52. s there any other way to blend flour and butter? Don't have a food processer Than kyouj

  53. I made these for Easter and they are wonderful! I made 16 bear claws, baked 8 right away, and froze the rest. The frozen ones have baked up great straight from the freezer, just need longer to bake. I was amazed at how they puffed up! Thanks for the great post and pictures.

  54. This recipe is fantastic!! Thanks for the great post!! I have even made my own almond paste and it worked great in the filling. I have also used half of the dough to make a raspberry cream cheese braid- awesome! It is so amazing to me how you add the wet to the dry, mix a little, chill, and in the morning it is a totally workable dough!

  55. Just made these today. What a hit! They looked just as if I bought them at a professional bakery. The pastry was to die for and not hard at all to make. I baked half immediately and froze the other half to make this weekend. Thanks for a wonderful recipe. My new "wow" for the next potluck brunch!

  56. This recipe is perfection. I got 24 large bear claws out of it, and did make a second batch of the filling so that it was generous. My husband took six of them to work and they got raves. And, he has eaten almost all of the rest of them. Definitely making them again. Very easy dough, and it is superb! And so much fun, I love a challenge.


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