These Cream Horns (Lady Locks) are a must-have cookie recipe for my family. The flaky crust and creamy filling make them irresistible!

It’s Christmas Cookie Week on IBC. Just kidding! But it is Christmas Cookie Day. I’m sharing my recipe for Cream Horn Cookies (a.k.a. Lady Locks). Plus, some of my blogger friends (a.k.a. #ChristmasCookieSquad) are joining in for a cookie swap! Everyone is linked at the bottom of this post so you can continue on with this cookie adventure.

How to make classic Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks) | Inspired by Charm

You’re also in for a surprise today because I’m sharing my free printable Christmas recipe cards! Say what!? We’ll get to that in a minute.

Side note: I recently shared a full post with all my BEST Christmas cookie recipes. You can find that HERE if you need a little more Christmas cookie inspiration.


Download these printable Christmas recipe cards.

Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks):

Back to the cookies. . . Depending on where you live in the United States, you might be wondering what Cream Horns /Lady Locks are. I grew up knowing them as “Cream Horns,” and for years they have been a Christmas staple on my Dad’s side of the family.

I assume my grandma was the one who started making them (I don’t know for sure as she passed when I was quite young.) However, for as long as I can remember, they’ve been made by my Great Aunt Maggie.

Also, I recently made a version of these cream horns for fall: Pumpkin Spice Cream Horns! You can find that recipe HERE.

How to make Cream Horn Cookies for the holidays!

I did a little research and found out that Cream Horn Cookies are more commonly known as Lady Locks and are a tradition here in Pittsburgh. It’s customary here (and in St. Marys where I grew up) to have a cookie table at your wedding.This is literally a long table full of trays of homemade cookies. Apparently, Lady Locks are a staple on the cookie table.

I have never made them before, so I was super excited to give them a try and share them with you.

How to make Cream Horn Cookies for the holidays!

How to make Creams Horns (Lady Locks):

To make them, you’ll need a mold to form the horn around. My Aunt Maggie uses a clothespin wrapped in foil, so that’s what I did. You just wrap a piece of foil around a clothespin. It’s as simple as that. However, if you’re feeling fancy, you can certainly use a store-bought mold.

How to make Cream Horn Cookies for the holidays!

The filling is similar to a buttercream icing, but it also incorporates a milk-and-flour paste which felt very old-fashioned to me. Of course, you can fill these horns with whatever filling you like best.

How to make Cream Horn Cookies for the holidays!

The result is a flaky cookie horn filled with a sweet, creamy filling. What’s not to love? I think these cream horns might be my dad’s and brother’s favorite cookie. I do love them but nothing will top my Cream Wafer Cookies!

Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks) recipe

Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks) recipe

Now, just in case you need a place to write down this recipe for Cream Horns (or any others you come across this holiday season), you’re going to need some cute recipe cards.

Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks) recipe

Thankfully, I have you covered with my free printable Christmas recipe card!

Free Christmas Recipe Card Printable

As you probably know, I’ve been sharing a recipe card each season for the past two years. This year, I decided to add two more cards to the bunch including one for Halloween and this Christmas recipe card.

I think they turned out beautifully. Don’t you? You can crab the FREE DOWNLOAD in this post HERE.

How to make classic Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks) | Inspired by Charm

If you liked these Cream Horns, you’ll love these recipes too:

Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks) recipe

Happy Baking!

Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks) Recipe:

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookie, cream horns, holiday, lady locks
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
These Cream Horns (Lady Locks) are a must-have cookie recipe for my family. The flaky crust and creamy filling make them irresistible!


  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (Crisco)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • Clothespins wrapped in foil or lady lock molds


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the butter, vegetable shortening, and sugar for about 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Then mix in the egg yolks. Finally, mix in the flour and water until combined. Chill dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Sprinkle your work surface with flour. Roll out 1/4 of the dough at a time until it's about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into strips that are 1/2-inch wide and 10 inches long. Then wind the strips around the foil-wrapped clothespins (or lady lock molds.) Bake on a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes or until the horns are just barely starting to brown.
  • Remove the horns from the oven. Allow them to cool for about 2 minutes; then carefully remove them from the clothespins. (Don't let the horns cool completely on the molds or the horns will crumble easily. The horns will also crack more if they are overbaked.) Let the horns finish cooling.
  • In the meantime, prepare the filling. In a saucepan, heat the milk and flour over medium-high heat while constantly whisking. Cook 8-10 minutes until thick. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, vegetable shortening, and salt 5-6 minutes or until fluffy. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Then mix in the milk and flour paste and vanilla. Beat until combined and fluffy.
  • Put the filling in a piping bag and then fill each horn. Before serving, sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.

Made it? Share it!Tag @inspiredbycharm on Instagram and use the tag #myIBC so we can see what you're cooking in the kitchen!

Before you click away, be sure to check out the rest of the #CookieSwapSquad for more festive and tasty cookie recipes:


Christmas Cookie Recipes - Cookie Swap Squad 2017

Nordic Gingerbread Cookies – The Faux Martha
Oatmeal Lace Cookies – Julie Blanner
Orange Gumdrop Bars – Freutcake
The Best Peanut Butter Blossoms – The Sweetest Occasion
Cream Horns – Inspired by Charm (You are here!)

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  • Julie at

    These look heavenly!

  • Melissa at

    I showed these to Kev this morning and he said we have to make these!

  • Elisabeth Heien at

    We do not have shortening here in Norway. At least, I am pretty sure about it, as I needed to look it up some years ago, had at the time never heard of it. An American friend tried to explain exactly what it is, too, and I have never come across anything similar here. Can I use a substitute?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      You can use lard or just substitute with additional butter. Obviously the results would be slightly different.

      xo Michael

  • Cyd at

    These look kind of magical! And those recipe cards are gorgeous!!!

  • Haley at

    Native pittsburgher and just made these for the first time yesterday (with my moms recipe)! Did you have any trouble with yours unrolling during baking?i got many with little tails. But I did cheat and use frozen puff pastry. Do you think these can be frozen with icing inside? Thanks and Merry Christmas!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I just used a little water to secure my tails and placed them tail side down on the baking pan. However, puff pastry probably rises a bit more which probably gave you more trouble.

      I froze the ones I made – I’m hoping they are just as tasty for Christmas!

      xo Michael

      • Maureen at

        I don’t recommend freezing ones that have been filled. The filling may break down and make your cookies all mushy. You can freeze them unfilled and fill them before giving or eating though and they will be fine.


        • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

          Thanks for the tip, Maureen! Mine are already filled an in the freezer! Oops! I’ll report back after I take them out.

          xo Michael

          • Mich at

            Eat them frozen! My moms recipe is similar , including foil clothespins, and we have never had a problem. Keeping family members from snitching them out of the freezer is a little harder. lol Our family has always called them lady locks. And Pittsburgh wedding cookie tables are legendary.. Proud to be a Pittsburgh are resident.

          • Jeannie at

            I have been making & freezing these for over 50 years. You will be fine. I also eat them from the freezer & they are great. It is a favorite cookie of my friends. Enjoy!

          • vicki at

            my family loves these frozen . I’m from a Pittsburgh area Italian family and we all freeze these

        • Jeannie at

          I have been making these cookies for over 50 years. I use granulated sugar instead(2cups). I freeze them with the filling all the time & they are fine. Enjoy

          • Alvera at

            Hello there I want to make these for a wedding and I was wondering if I fill them would they get soggy or mushy when I take them out? Thanks

        • Sunny at

          Freezing is the only way my mother in law ever stored these. In fact, that is the way my husband prefers to eat them, right out of the freezer. Nothing happens to the crème, I promise, although we use a different recipe than this.

      • judith judge at

        i have been making them for years and always freeze very well

  • Sandy at

    Back in the day, you couldn’t go to an Italian wedding reception and not be overjoyed at the cookie table. Trays and trays of beautiful, delicious, assortments of cookies. When our daughter married fifteen years ago, a friend gave me the phone number of a lady in Sharon, PA who made Lady Locks. I ordered six or eight dozen, left my home in NE Ohio and traveled to Sharon. Beautiful, delicious, and the price was right.Thank you for all your cookie recipes. I’m trying your favorite, but in a small circular cut out.

    • marylou at

      Sandy..would love to have contact information on the lady who made these. we are from cleveland and my son is getting married in Pittsburgh and i am looking for someone to make these for the cookie table. thank you

    • Jessica Hall at

      That lady from Sharon, PA was my Grandma!!!! I grew up surrounded by these cookies baking often. For many years, she would hand out order sheets to anyone in the area that wanted to buy cookies. Her and my Grandpa would bake and freeze over 70,000 cookies every fall to fill all the orders by Christmas! She also filled orders for so many weddings! I have all her cookie recipes and plan on making these “clothespin cookies” this year 🙂

      • Veronica at

        Hi I’m from Girard… I am looking for a the old recipe.. is yours the same as this one? I don’t want to use the “fluff”…

        • Teres at

          I was unable successful making these. The dough would not bake and stay together.

  • Maureen at


    I worked with a lady who made these at Christmas time. She took a dowel rod and cut it into the length for these cookies. Wrapped the rod pieces with the foil and used them that way. After she was done baking, she rewrapped the rods with foil so they were all ready to be used the next time.


    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Yep! You can totally use a dowel rod too. Same concept. Thanks!

      xo Michael

    • Jessica Hall at

      That lady from Sharon, PA was my Grandma!!!! For many years, she would hand out order sheets to anyone in the area that wanted to buy cookies. Her and my grandpa would bake and freeze over 70,000 cookies every fall to fill all the orders by Christmas! She also filled orders for so many weddings! I have all her cookie recipes and plan on making these “clothespin cookies” this year 🙂

  • Kristi at

    I’m not a huge cookie lover (I know I’m weird) but these sound (and look) absolutely delish. And how adorable are those recipe cards!

  • Leah at

    I grew up in Pittsburgh, Go Steelers, and when I saw this recipe I almost cried: My all time favorite childhood memory is of these wonderful treats. I am so happy to be making Ladylocks this year. It would have made Mr Hainer (Hainer’s Bakery) in Wilkensburg proud, thank you

  • Sabrina B at

    Nice, like a cannoli in concepts but without the ricotta, and whatever else is in those, hadn’t ever heard of lady locks, so am happy to be introduced to them here, thank you!

  • Beth Blank at

    These look so lovely! Must make. I’ve been enjoying your blog since I found your Christmas cocoa bar a few years ago. Still making your cocoa. A very merry Christmas to you.

  • shar at

    The Lady Locks look fantastic; I must give these a try. And thank you for the recipe cards!! Merry Christmas, Michael

  • Jeannie at

    I have been making this same recipe for many years. The only difference is the filling has two cups granulated sugar in the filling instead of the powered sugar. This is a favorite of all my family and friends.

  • Sherry at

    Really would have like to make these, howevet everytime i tried to read the recipe an add kept popping up and the recipe kept going down the page☹

  • Sarah at

    These look so elegant and delicious!!How long do you think these will keep please? Thank you so much for sharing 😃

  • Paula at

    Moved south a few years ago after growing up in Pittsburgh. I miss all the bakeries and the ethnic foods. These were always my favorite cookies but I’ve never made them. I need to give it a try.

  • Sarah K at

    Oh these look delish!! 😃 I’ve never made them but have enjoyed eating them for years!! I’m from Pittsburgh as well, so happy to Pin a local blogger!! FYI: the best Bakery lady lock I have eaten is from Lincoln Bakery in Bellevue.

  • Marilyn at

    Can’t wait to try your cream horn cookies,

  • Marilyn at

    Can’t wait to try your cream horn cookies! Thanks!

  • Hope at

    These cookies look delicious. I really want to try my hand at making them. One question what type of flour did you use?

  • Lisa at

    I can’t wait to try these! I’ve made cream horns for years but have been looking for a different filling. These look awesome!

  • Carol Allen at

    These look wonderful, wish I had came across this recipe before Christmas but will be on the to do list next year. Just wondering it you grease the molds before adding dough or if any trouble getting the cookies off the molds. Love your site!

    • Kat Rudeck at

      Try using wooden dowels from the hardare store. Just have them cut the dowels to the size of the cookie sheet. I think I greased them the first time and I haven’t since. They never stick.

  • Kat Rudeck at

    I make these all the time. I’ve found that using a wooden dowel works even better. I just got a few from the hardware store and had them cut them to the size of a cookie sheet. You can fit like 4 on the dowel and there’s no breaking. I’ve had the same dowels for like 15 years now.

  • Carol at

    I grew up in Bethel Park, Pa. My mom made these every year and now my sis and I carry on the tradition using the same round clothespins my mom used. We make them for special occasions. Thank you for great memories! It is nice to hear similar comments from so many in the Pittsburgh area! Happy New Year!

  • Glenna at

    Just ran across this post. The local bakery where I grew up always had these in the case. I will have to give them a try.

  • Kathrin Roberts at

    We have this in UK but they are a cake not a biscuit, (american cookie). They are called Cream Horns the same but are probably slightly larger and more cone shaped with the narrow end closed. Always were my favourite cake when I was a child.

  • Carrie at

    I adore this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing. Perfection!

  • Jamie at

    Hi Michael. I’m making these tomorrow. How many cookies will I get out I don’t this recipe? Because the Hubs will eat them all! Lol.

  • K. at

    So none of the buttering and folding of dough to make the lamination that is the hallmark of cream Horns? Of course i am a Pennsylvanian!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I’m not sure what you mean? This is my grandmas / great aunts recipe. I’m just making and sharing what I know. I assume that there may be several ways to make cream horns. 🙂

      xo Michael

  • SharonSharon at

    Approximately how many clothes pin should I prepare? Would be helpful to know. We love these things!
    Thank you

  • Karen at

    Maureen, what size dowel rod, diameter j mb ean?

  • Kathy at

    I make these every year and now use frozen puff pastry. I used to make my own dough and , yes, had to roll, spread Crisco and fold 3 different times to create the flaky layers. Also, I freeze mine filled, but they must be in a cardboard box, or they will come out soggy. Use wax paper between the layers.

  • Mary at

    Your lady locks are beautiful!! Trying my mother in laws recipe for first time and she made delicious lady locks. How many do you get out of this recipe?

  • OSUDebbie at

    Cream horns! I’m from Steubenville, OH–40 miles west of Pittsburgh, but I think this tradition goes up and down the Ohio Valley. Thanks for the recipe–these were always a favorite of mine so I can’t wait to make them.

  • Heidi Delleman at

    These are delicious but they don’t stay together! They separate at each ring even though I overlapped them. I’m hoping freezing them with the cream will hold them together!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Hmmm. Maybe there was too much flour on the dough when you rolled them? Or they weren’t rolled tight enough? That’s happen to me a couple times with one or two, but not the whole batch. The filling will help to hold everything together too.

      xo Michael

      • Joyce at

        I’m getting ready to make these for the first and I’m super excited! I have a question though. Do they HAVE to be stored in a refrigerator? I’ve never heard of these being kept cold before. Is that standard? I’ve only ever enjoyed them at room temperature. I don’t think I’d particularly care for them cold. Thoughts? Advice?

        • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

          My family has always kept them refrigerated. I suppose I’m not sure if that’s preference or necessity. However, you could store them in the refrigerator and take them out an hour before serving to they are room temp to eat.

          xo Michael

      • Roseanne Dibernardo at

        I have been making these for years and I use fields cut about 4inches long that way they are easier to take off rods.I always deal the end with water and make sure the goes on top of the last wrap of the cookie, it’s saved you from getting tails.Never let them cool completely on the rods, they will break. My filling recipe is the same only I only use granulated sugar and let it best until you don’t taste sugar crystals,about 7 to 10 min. I add marshmallow fluff and never never use Crisco it has no transfers any more the cheap shortening have just a little this is very very important the filling will not get thick of you use Crisco!

        • judith judge at

          i have made lady locks for years i am 80 yeard old i finnaly bought the rods but liek useing the clothes pins better.i see where some people put foil on the pins i have never done that i just wrap the dough around the pin and when they are baked wiat a minute or so and they slip right off

  • LORI at

    These are so delicious!! I’m so excited I finally got to make them. Thank you for sharing your family recipe!!

  • Tonya at

    I just made them but my filling is too soft. What did I do wrong? Can I add anything to make it thiskcer?

  • Nadya at

    Success! Thank you so much for the recipe. It will be my go-to moving forward. It’s the easiest dough I have tried so far and the results are pretty much the same. I think I might not add all the milk/flour “paste” moving forward, to the filling, but that’s a matter of personal preference. These cookies made a lot of people VERY happy at the Christmas Eve gathering. Thanks again!

  • Sharon at

    Could you please tell me how many cookies this recipe makes?

  • Ri at

    Hi, MICHAEL. Thanks for the recipe!. Can be filling done without shortening, by only using butter? I don’t want to feed my family hydrogenated stuff.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I’m not sure. I haven’t tried it with only butter.

      xo Michael

  • Tricia at

    How many does this make? I have someone special in mind to make these for

  • Tillie Endress at

    Question. Is the amount of butter in the recipe for the cream horns 2 cups of butter plus 4 more sticks or just 2 cups of butter

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      2 cups total. I added in some parentheses. Sorry for the confusion.

      xo Michael

  • Jan Lees at

    I am a cookie monster, also from the Pittsburgh area. Forget the food and head straight for the cookie table. I have been trying to reproduce Barkus Bakerys’ ladylocks since it closed quite a few years ago. Your crust is delicious and so much easier. However; I always use Swiss buttercream for the filling (not so sweet and creamy smooth). I adjust the sweetness by the amount of the powdered sugar dusting. Oh… and don’t forget to dip the ends in real chocolate jimmies. Mmmmmm

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Great tip! I’ve never had them with Swiss buttercream, I’ll have to try that!!

      xo Michael

  • Heidi at

    Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe. These cream horns are a lot of fun to make and they are always a big hit! 🙂

  • vicki at

    I just made these for a friends birthday . Love the flavor of the filling ,however I noticed that after adding the milk flour mixture to the butter shortening I got clear almost tapioca like globs . I was able to filter out most thru a colander . But what did I do wrong ? Grew up in Aliquippa, Pa all time favorite cookie

  • Kt at

    Hi:) Im dying to try this out. So, to make the cream horn cookies i don’t have to fold and laminate? I just refrigerate the dough for 2 or more hrs and start shaping? No need to fold the dough or anything? Hope you help me out. Thanks

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Nope. No need to fold. Enjoy!!

      xo Michael

  • Austin Baker at

    We LOVED these delicious cream horns! We’re making them again for Christmas.
    One change: we did not add the flour and water to the filling. The filling was sooo yummy without it that we decided not to add the flour and water mixture.

  • Lisa B at

    This brings back so many wonderful memories. I grew up in Pittsburgh, the 4th generation from my grandparents and great grandparents who immigrated from
    Poland and Germany. I’ll never forget the first time I saw my mother make these. I would hand her the foil wrapped clothespins to use. I’m ashamed to admit, with all I bake, that I have not made these myself….yet! I saved your recipe, which is better written out than others I have.

    Thanks for the memory and directions to make them myself.

  • Tina at

    I made these for the first time, when you get it right they are really good, but make sure you roll on the thin side, my first ones were too big and doughy, the thinner, the better crisp on the outside. Also I used half vanilla/half almond in my cream filling with an extra pinch of salt, the original recipe was a bit bland for my taste… a lot of work but very good and the clothes pin wrap idea worked great!

  • Crystal at

    Does anyone know about how many this makes? Trying to plan batches.

    • RaShell at

      This was my first time making them. I got about four dozen. I used 24 clothespins and just reused them. Hint… make your tinfoil a little longer and twist the ends so you can grab one end and pull them out the other end.

  • Sherran Slaska at

    the dough is very soft it rolls right off the dial?? what can i do to get them to stay on dial rods??

  • Becky at

    I came to this page for guidance on spiraling the dough onto the dowel rods I just bought this week for my first attempt at ladylocks and was shocked to see that you were from St. Marys, PA! I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and my parents are from St. Marys. I mentioned it to my mom because my cousin Bobby’s last name was Wurm, and she actually knew your dad through the marriage of one of her sisters. Small world! Wish me luck—lady locks have always intimidated me!

  • LauraA at

    Made the dough to the “T” and went to bake they feel completely apart I would suggest using puff pastry because these are hard and a complete disaster,…. Another Pinterest stumble upon that’s a load of hockey. Didn’t make filling because the cookie was a waste and yes I efrigerated them, for 24hrs.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Laura, I’m so sorry this recipe didn’t work out for you. However, this is the recipe me and my family have been using for years. It’s not “a load of hockey” at all. However, they definitely are a tricky cookie to make and do require lots of patience and a little practice.

      Thanks for sharing your feedback. Merry Christmas.
      xo Michael

  • Janet Daniels at

    Is the flour all purpose or self rising?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      All-purpose. 🙂

      xo Michael

      • Janet Daniels at

        Thank you

  • Hailee at

    Hi there! Going to try to make these for my sister in laws wedding in Pittsburgh! 🙂 wondering if you can tell me how many this recipe makes?

  • Rosemarie Hughes at

    Just wondering when you eat these, are they Melt in your mouth Delicious?

  • Elisha at

    Can the dough be made and frozen ahead of time? Or is it best to only refrigerate the dough before using?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I wouldn’t freeze the dough.

      xo Michael

    • LYNN at

      Originally from Pittsburgh, now in Akron, OH. Baking Lady Locks for Christmas with my mom was a holiday tradition. Such a well loved cookie that my father cut aluminum pipes to ease the baking process. He thought he’d get them more often! Baking these each holiday is like having my folks pull up a chair in my kitchen. Thanks for reminding me of all the memories tied to baking.

  • Laurajay at

    So excited to try this recipe, growing up we called these clothespin cookies. Could not find my moms recipe!

  • Melissa Singer at

    Thank you for sharing the recipe. My family loved them! I filled mine with cream cheese/whipped cream filling because I wanted the filling to be light. They are delicious!

  • Melissa at

    How many cookies does this recipe make?

  • Paty jo at

    I love these ant the cookies turned out perfect but My filling was sooooo thin I doubled the sugar to thicken, not much luck, now refrigerating with fingers crossed. Totally bummed I have a boatload of empty cookies … any suggestions?

  • Sandra Ashley at

    I just want to know how many this recipe makes. Couldn’t find that info. Maybe mmissed it

  • x at

    If it weren’t for the fact that you’re using powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar in the cream filling, I’d say that’s Ermine Buttercream. It actually has about a dozen different names: magic frosting, heritage frosting, boiled milk frosting, cooked flour frosting, roux frosting, gravy frosting, etc. It used to be the frosting that was typically used on red velvet cake, but it’s been replaced by cream cheese frosting.

    Personally, I’ve never really had it setup properly because most recipes call for too much sugar. The lower sugar German buttercream tends to work better.

  • Robyn McIlwain at

    I’m also from Pittsburgh but have never made these! I’m excited to give them a try. Long love the cookie table!

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