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Bear Claws and Bear Paws

Bear Paws and Bear Claws
These bear claws and bear paws are made with a tender, rich dough and filled with a luscious and sweet almond filling. Making homemade breakfast pastries may be a bit time consuming, but the results are oh so worth it!
Yield 18 claws or 12 paws




  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 (0.25oz) package (7g) or 2 1/4 teaspoons Platinum Yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups half and half
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 large egg


  • 1/2 cup softened (unsalted butter)
  • 1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 7 ounces almond paste
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour or very finely chopped almonds


  • 1 large egg white, beaten (for egg wash)
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Sliced almonds


  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 8-10 tablespoons half and half


  • Line 3-4 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.
  • Make the dough: In a medium sized bowl, place 3 cups of flour. With a pastry cutter, cut in the cold, sliced butter until large pea sized balls form, with larger chunks visible. Place the bowl in the fridge.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the remaining 2 cups flour and yeast; whisk to combine.
  • In a saucepan or microwave-safe dish, heat the half and half, sugar and salt to between 120 and 130°F. Add to yeast and flour mixture in stand mixer bowl. Add egg. Using a paddle attachment, beat until combined.
  • Add the cold flour and butter mixture; mix until combined. The dough will look kind of craggy at this point.
  • On a well floured surface, turn out the dough and knead a few times. Form into a rough square shape. Roll the dough into a 21×12-inch rectangle. Starting with the short side, fold dough into thirds, forming a 12×7-inch rectangle.
  • Give the dough a quarter turn and roll into a 21×12-inch rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, starting with the short side.
  • Repeat for a third time – give the dough a quarter turn and roll into a 21×12-inch rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, starting with the shorter side. You will end up with a 12×7-inch rectangle.
  • Place the dough that is now folded into thirds, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover and place in the fridge for 4 hours.
  • Make the filling: In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the softened butter and confectioners’ sugar until combined. Break off pieces of the almond paste and add to the mixer. Mix until smooth. Add the 2 egg whites, all-purpose flour and almond flour or finely chopped almonds. Combine until a smooth paste forms. Place in the fridge until you are ready to fill the pastry.
  • Take the cold dough out of the fridge and lightly flour your work surface. Let the dough stand for about 5 minutes before you attempt to roll it out.
  • Cut the dough in half width-wise. You will have two 6×7-inch pieces. Roll each portion into a 12-inch square and set one aside.
  • For the smaller Bear Claws: Cut the first square into three 12×4-inch strips. Spread about 3 heaping tablespoons of the filling down the middle of the each of the strips. Fold the long edges together over the filling. Press the edges and ends to seal. Cut into three equal pieces. Seal each end of the cut pieces as well, so the filling doesn’t spill out. With the seam side facing away, cut 4 equally spaced slits about ½-inch long. Slightly bow out (curve) the pastry. Place up to 8 bear claws on each lined baking sheet. Repeat with 2nd dough square. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  • For the larger Bear Paws: Cut the first square of dough in half. Fill the dough down the middle lengthwise with 8 heaping tablespoons of filling. Fold the long edges together over the filling. Press the ends and edges to seal. Cut into three equal pieces. With the seam side facing away, cut 4 equally spaced slits about ½-inch long. Slightly bow out (curve) the pastry. Place 3 pastries per lined baking sheet. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • In a small bowl, beat an egg white until foamy. Brush the tops of each pastry with the egg white. Sprinkle liberally with the Turbindo sugar. Sprinkle tops with sliced almonds.
  • Bake smaller bear claws for 14 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
    Bake larger bear paws for 22 to 34 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners' sugar and half and half until smooth and creamy. You may add more or less half and half until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Remove the pastries from the baking pans and place on wire racks with wax paper underneath. Make sure the pastries are cool before you drizzle them with the glaze.
  • If you have any leftover pastries, wrap each individually in wax paper and foil, then freeze for up to a month. You can microwave them for about 20 seconds to warm them up nicely before devouring them.


Use a ruler when rolling out the dough.
Recipe by Sweet Things by Lizzie.

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Review & Comments

Lisa W. | Reply

Can the dough be refrigerated overnight? I don’t have time to complete the forming of the claws after the 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Lisa,

It can but you will need to reduce your temperature of your half & half, water and sugar to 100-110F. I would not leave it more than 10 hours in the fridge. Since it will be in the fridge overnight, the dough also may need to sit out a bit longer before rolling it out.

Happy Baking!

Alicia | Reply

5 stars
Oh wow. These are amazing. I have been wanting to make homemade pastry, most especially, bear claws, for a very long time. I saw this recipe, then went to Lizzie’s website, so I could follow her step by step instructions and I was very happy with how they turned out. It was so worth the time and effort and my family fell in love with them. Thanks so much for posting this!! I love Red Star Yeast too!!

Diane Marie Prendergast | Reply

Would really like a video for the cutting of the dough and assembly. I’ve read the instructions twice and am hesitant about even trying. I am truly unclear on how to make the claws.

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Diane,
You can find step-by-step pictures on Sweet Things by Lizzie‘s website.
Happy baking!

Gigi | Reply

Thanks for this recipe. This my first time trying claws. I love this treat. I was ok with the way they turned out for a first time. I thought I sealed the dough well but apparently not because after letting them rise (which they got larger than I thought they would), and baking them, they did open up somewhat….so it will just take a little practice. But I was not unhappy with the outcome. I usually bake cookies, cakes and pies so I wanted to challenge myself. I look forward to perfecting the claws so they look like your pictures.

Lizzie | Reply

5 stars
Thanks so much for posting my recipe…I am always happy to answer any baking questions about my recipes …xo

Carm | Reply

I’ve tried them at Panera Bread so happy to see your recipe. Can you do a video showing how you cut and form the pastry? I am having a hard time understanding your instructions. Do you have the strawberry scone recipe?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Carm,
Thank you for the comment, we’ll pass it along to our recipe content team. We do not have scone recipes, they are not a yeast-raised baked good.

Happy baking!

Penny | Reply

5 stars
These are fantastic! I freeze the completed shaped (raw) dough as if ready to go in the oven, but freeze on cookie sheet, wrap then refreeze to give to friends and family with instructions to let rise before they bake. (also provide them with a snack sized zip-lock baggie filled with icing so can they drizzle on after cooled and baked. (NOW AM CONSTANTLY MAKING RUNS TO COSTCO because I run out of Almonds…..high demand for more bear claws!) GOOD LUCK 🙂

Midori | Reply

Will there be a difference between using instant yeast vs. regular yeast?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Midori,
You can use these 2 yeasts interchangeably. Just keep an eye on your dough, rise times may vary.
Happy baking!

Mcauley | Reply

How to make the almond paste

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Mcauley – you can purchase almond paste or search google for a homemade recipe.
Happy baking!

Logan | Reply

2 stars
Maybe I did something wrong but my dough turned out more like a crumbly pie crust than danish dough… the filling inside was delicious though I did add a touch more sugar and almond extract to kick up the flavor!

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Logan,
It is possible that you added too much flour. Be sure to use the spoon and level method for measuring the flour: Also, when adding the remaining 2 cups of flour, add in 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is soft and pliable, but not too stiff. You may not need the entire 2 cups.
I hope you will find this information helpful.
Happy baking!

Shelley A. | Reply

These are DELICIOUS!! My kids and I made them this weekend and they were so good. Thank you for posting. I love Red Star Yeast.

Michelle | Reply

5 stars
I am a serious Bear Claw fan from way back and these look soooo delicious!!!
I have baked several recipes from Sweet Things by Lizzie before and all have turned out to be as delicious as they look…very simple clear directions too!
Thanks for featuring these here…I can’t wait to try them!

Candace | Reply

5 stars
This looks amazing. I cannot wait to try it!! Love all your recipes

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