Gougères Recipe (French Cheese Puffs)

When you can’t go to France, bring Paris to you. My gougères recipe will give you a taste of Paris and instantly transport you there in your mind. The best part about this recipe is how easy it is to make. Even if you aren’t a baker, you can make these cheese puffs!

french gougères on a wire cooling rack with cheese scattered around on a white backdrop

What are Gougères?

Gougères are composed of pâte à choux dough and cheese. While my traditional pate a choux recipe is slightly sweet, this recipe is savory. These cheese puffs are soft and pillowy and have just the right amount of cheese. Traditionally, they are made only with Gruyère cheese, but I chose to use a combination of three cheeses for variety and depth of flavor.

What Ingredients Do I Need?

To make this gougères recipe, you need unsalted butter, kosher salt, flour, pepper, eggs, whole milk, water, Gruyère cheese, parmesan, and pecorino romano.

Always use whole milk when specified in a recipe because whole milk contains more fat and flavor than 2% or skim milk.

Best Cheese for Cheese Puffs

As I worked on this recipe, I found myself deep in thought about cheese and how the flavors play together. I absolutely love the combination of parmesan and pecorino romano, so I chose to use both along with Gruyère cheese. And the combination is so satisfying.

When you make this gougères recipe, buy wedges of cheese that you can grate instead of packaged shredded cheese. The pre-shredded variety is usually coated in cornstarch, and it doesn’t melt easily.

Fresh cheese is best, as you want it to melt into the dough easily and not be stringy or clumpy.

In addition, the flavor of real Parmigiano Reggiano, which is imported from Italy, is better than most American parmesan.

The same is true for Pecorino Romano and Gruyère cheeses. If you live in the U.S., you can often find imported cheese at Costco. I also like to buy my cheese at higher-end grocery stores because they tend to carry imported cheese.

How to Make Gougères

This is a general overview. Please see the full recipe below for in-depth instructions.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Combine butter, salt, pepper, milk, and water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Add flour, stir for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.
  4. Pour dough into a stand mixer and mix in the shredded cheese.
  5. Pour the eggs slowly into the mixer until the dough is soft enough to form a bird’s beak on the paddle.
  6. Pipe the 1 1/2-inch mounds onto a parchment-lined half-sheet pan. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and eat.
dough forming a bird beak shape on paddle
Dough forming a bird beak shape on paddle
piping bag piping gougeres on parchment
Pipe the gougeres on lined baking tray
pastry brush brushing the gougeres with egg wash
Brush the unbaked gougeres with egg wash
hand sprinkling cheese on top and baking
Sprinkle cheese on top and bake

Baking Essentials for Savory Puffs

You only need a few baking essentials to make this recipe. For Gougères, you’ll need the following:

  • Two half sheet pans
  • Medium-sized pot
  • A heatproof spatula (these are my favorite)
  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment
  • Piping bag
  • #12 tip (optional, but recommended)
  • Cheese grater with fine grating option
  • Thermometer (I prefer this one)
  • Kitchen Scale

Why Blend the Eggs?

While you can lightly whisk the eggs before adding them to the dough, blending is the best method. When you lightly mix the eggs in a blender for a few seconds, you end up with an evenly blended mixture of yolks and whites.

But why does this matter? As you pour the blended eggs into the dough, it’s important to add the egg in small additions so that the dough can absorb the egg properly.

As a baker, you want control over the ingredients and how they work together. Lightly blending the eggs might be an extra step, but it makes the mixing process easier. After you have added most of the blended egg mixture, you need to visually check your dough to know when it’s at the right consistency. If you add too much egg, the dough will be runny and won’t puff properly.

showing interior of gougere cheese puff

Best Baking Pan for Gougères

The type of baking pan you choose for your French cheese puffs matters. As a general rule, I always recommend using an aluminum, rimmed half sheet pan.

Your pan should be light in color. Dark pans are not as ideal because they cause the outside of the Gougères to brown too fast compared to puffs baked on a light-colored pan. You may notice this especially on the bottoms where the heat is more intense.

By choosing a light-colored pan, the cheese puffs can be baked evenly all around. In addition, use white parchment paper on the half sheet pan so that the puffs bake evenly and don’t stick. I have used black perforated air mats, and while they work well, they cause the puffs to brown a little more than desired.

3 Ways to Pipe Cheese Puffs

There are three ways to pipe the cheese puffs.

First, use a #12 or similar-sized tip. I prefer using a metal tip because it’s easy to make smoother, more rounded puffs.

If you don’t have a #12 piping tip, you can use a piping bag and cut the end off to pipe the cheese puffs. The main drawback to this method is that it’s easy to cut the hole too large or too small. If the hole is too large, it’s more difficult to control the size of the Gougères. If too small, the puffs will be harder to pipe and may be too narrow and tall.

The third method uses two spoons to shape and place the dough on the pan. This old-fashioned method works well. The main drawback is that it takes much longer to form each cheese puff on the tray. Making them the same size and shape is also a bigger challenge. If you are making large quantities, this isn’t the most efficient method.

But, as I always tell bakers in my baking program, do what works best for you. Not everyone has a piping tip; you may be out of piping bags; or maybe you just enjoy using the spoon method. Either way, they will taste delicious even if they aren’t all uniform in size and shape.

a stack of French gougères (cheese puffs) on a wire cooling rack with a black background

Variations for This Recipe

One of the best things about this Gougères recipe is that you can easily change up the types of cheese to give them a different flavor. For example, you can use just one type of cheese, such as cheddar or parmesan. Choose a harder cheese because it is the easiest to grate (stay away from soft cheeses, like Brie).

You can also add fresh herbs to the dough, like rosemary or thyme. Add them when you mix the cheese into the dough or sprinkle some fresh herbs on top of the puffs before baking.

How to Store Gougères

After baking and cooling the gougères, store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days. They won’t dry out easily because they are still soft and tender inside after baking. However, as with most pâte à choux recipes, they don’t stay fresh forever. So they are truly best eaten on day one or two, but they will still hold up another day for snacking.

Can You Freeze Cheese Puffs?

Yes, you can definitely freeze these French cheese puffs. They will freeze well for up to a month in an airtight container. When you want to eat them, remove them from the freezer and thaw for a few hours.

You can serve them at room temp or warm them in the oven at 300 F for 2-3 minutes.

gougeres on a wire cooling rack with cheese scattered around on a white backdrop

How to Serve Gougères

These savory choux puffs are very versatile in terms of serving. You can eat them with dinner as an appetizer or use them as your “bread” instead of rolls.

These are also a huge hit for any dinner party or shower. You can serve them as is or fill them with a savory filling. But if I’m being completely honest, you don’t need to fill them. They are perfect as is!

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Gougères Recipe (French Cheese Puffs)

gougereres on a wire cooling rack with a white and black background

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Learn how to make these addictive Gougères (aka French cheese puffs). They take 15 minutes to make, and 15 minutes to bake. These puffs are easy to make, and even better to eat.

  • Author: Camille
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 65 1x
  • Category: Choux
  • Cuisine: French

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 155 ml (2/3 c) whole milk
  • 78 ml (1/3 c) water
  • 113 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (Morton’s)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 120 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 g Gruyère, finely grated
  • 30 g Pecorino Romano, finely grated
  • 30 g Parmagiano Reggiano, finely grated
  • 34 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 egg + 1 Tbs water (for egg wash)
  • Piping bag
  • #12 tip or other similar-sized tip
  • Extra grated cheese for garnish

Instructions

To Make This Gougères Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 C). In a medium-sized pot (3 quart), add water, milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil.
  2. When the mixture starts to boil, remove it from the heat, add the flour, and stir quickly. Return the pot to medium heat and cook for 2 minutes to remove the flour taste, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove the dough from the heat and pour it into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and add the shredded cheese. Mix until the dough temperature reaches 125 F (50 C).
  5. While the dough is cooling, put the eggs in a blender and blend for 2-3 seconds. Slowly add the egg mixture to the choux pastry in 7-10 additions. You know you’ve added enough egg when you can draw a line in the dough, and it slowly comes back together. You can also lift the paddle out of the mixer, and if the dough is at the right consistency, it will look like a bird beak.
  6. Spoon the choux pastry into a piping bag fitted with a #12 tip, and clip the top end so it doesn’t leak.
  7. On a parchment-lined half-sheet pan, pipe choux mounds that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 1/2-3/4 inches tall (see photo in post). Leave one inch between each gougère, so they have room to expand.
  8. After piping, gently brush with egg wash and sprinkle with extra shredded cheese.
  9. Bake gougères for 15-20 minutes at 425 F (220 C). They should be golden brown on the outside and still soft on the inside. 
  10. Transfer the cheese puffs to a cooling rack and cool them for around 30 minutes or until they are at room temperature. Serve and enjoy!
  11. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. However, they are best eaten fresh out of the oven on day one.

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