These Classic Cheese Gougères (French Cheese Puffs) are light, fluffy and packed with Gruyère Cheese. The Savoury Choux Pastry Buns are a delicious appetiser for your next dinner party or finger food for a wine tasting!
This recipe was originally posted in March 2019 and updated in April 2021.
Why we love this recipe
If you love Choux Pastry and Cheese, these Gougeres will soon become your favourite cheese bite. They are fairly quick and easy to make and great for a fancy cocktail party. They are so light and airy, you won't be able to stop at one!
These Savoury version of a Choux à la Crème are probably my favourite finger food ever. They are simply perfect for any fancy occasion - or just because you feel like it.
These Cheese Puffs are also the ultimate snack to enjoy with a glass of wine. They always look great on a charcuterie, cheese or grazing platter too.
What is a Gougère
A "Gougère" is a Savoury Choux Puff made with grated cheese - traditionally Gruyère Cheese inside the batter. These little French Pastries are usually served as an appetiser or along a wine tasting.
Gougères can be enjoyed either warm or cold. They are often served plain, but could also be filled with other preparation for an even fancier bite! These cheese buns are often referred to as the savoury version of Chouquettes or Cheese Profiteroles.
The ingredients required to make these cheese puffs are basically the same than the ones you would use for any Choux Pastry like these Choux au Craquelin, Chocolate Choux or Coffee Choux Buns. You will simply need to remove the sugar and add some grated cheese instead.
What are gougères made of (scroll down to recipe card below for all quantities):
- Water: can be replaced with Full Cream Milk for a richer Choux, or half-water half-milk. I personally prefer to use water only for a very light puff.
- Butter: unsalted. Can be used straight from the fridge or at room temperature.
- Salt: I used a Fine Table Salt here as you want it to dissolve into the water.
- Flour: Plain / All Purpose Flour, sifted to avoid lumps in the batter.
- Eggs: medium size, at room temperature. You might need a little bit more or less depending on their size (if small or large eggs are used) and how dry the batter is - see tips below on how to know you have added enough eggs.
- Grated Cheese: I used Gruyère Cheese here, finely grated. You could use another firm cheese if preferred, or even mix a few cheeses together!
Optionally, you could also add a little bit of Nutmeg Powder. You can play around with different spices like Cayenne Pepper or Black Pepper, add some Powdered Garlic or even finely chopped Herbs Finely chopped Herbs.
How to make French Cheese Puffs
Making the Choux Pastry
Making Gougères is exactly the same as making any other Choux Pastry recipes, with one big difference: the cheeeeese!
If you are not familiar with the making of Pâte à Choux, the main thing to know is that it is a batter that needs to be cooked twice: first on the stove, where you will want to remove as much moisture as possible from the batter, then secondly in the oven where the steam created by the cooking eggs will make the choux puff.
- Preheat your oven on 180 degrees celsius or 350 degrees F. Line a large baking tray with baking paper, parchment paper or a baking mat.
- Photo 1: Place the Water, Butter and Salt in a small to medium saucepan. Heat up until the Butter has melted. No need to boil here, you just want to make sure all the ingredients are combined.
If adding some extra spices, add it at the same time than the salt.
- Photo 2: away from the heat, drop the Flour in at once. Stir to combine with a stiff heat-proof silicone spatula or wooden spoon then place back on the heat. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes while continuously stirring to dry out the dough as much as possible. To do so, press the dough against the edges and bottom of the pan.
- Photo 3: you should get a thick batter. Seeing a thin film of dough at the bottom of the pan is usually a good sign that the batter has been cooked enough.
- Transfer in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the Paddle attachment and mix on low to medium speed for a few minutes to cool down the dough. This is to avoid cooking the eggs if too hot.
If making by hands, just transfer into a large mixing bowl and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes to cool down.
Adding the Eggs
- Photo 4: add the Eggs, a little bit at the time (I like to whisk the eggs in a separate bowl first to very slowly add them in). Mix on low to medium speed until fully combined before adding a little bit more Eggs.
The dough will look like it is splitting and does not want to mix but that's normal. Give it some time and it will come together.
As explained above, you might need a little bit more or less Eggs, which is why I like to whisk them first separately to be able to control exactly how much I add. Always add the Eggs in very slowly, and test the batter for the right consistency before adding more eggs.
To know you have used enough eggs, dip a finger in the batter and pull to lift up a thin string of choux pastry. Flip your finger up, so that the batter is facing up. If the string of batter falls back down on itself, it means that you have added enough eggs. If it stays up, you need to add a little bit more eggs.
Adding the Cheese
- Photo 5: you should get a smooth, thick batter that is slightly sticky.
Once the pate à choux (choux pastry) has reached the desired consistency, you can add the grated cheese.
- Photo 6: Grate the Gruyère Cheese and stir for a few seconds just to combine.
- Photo 7: Place the choux dough in a pastry bag fitted with a large round nozzle. Pipe small mounds of batter on the baking tray, leaving some room between each choux for them to puff in the oven. Optionally, grate more Cheese over each choux before baking.
- Bake for 20 minutes on the middle rack of your oven. Open the oven door for a couple of seconds just to let the steam out, then continue baking for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. The gougères should have puffed and look lightly golden brown. They should feel dry to the touch.
- Take out of the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool down slightly. Either serve straight away or leave to cool down completely and store at room temperature until ready to serve.
Tips & Troubleshooting
- Whisk your eggs in a separate bowl before adding it to the choux pastry to easily control how much you are adding. Make sure to stop adding the eggs when the pastry reaches the right consistency. You might need a little bit more or less egg than indicated in the recipe.
- If you don't have a Pastry Bag, you can use a small Ice Cream or Cookie Scoop or basic Tablespoons to scoop out the choux pastry on your baking sheets.
- Cook the cheese puffs for longer than you think: it is the best way to insure they do not collapse once you take them out of the oven! And the most important tip when making choux pastry is: never open the oven door too early, or they will collapse.
- Why did my gougères not rise or collapsed after baking? Not rising or collapsing could be caused to a few reasons: you didn't dry out the dough enough on the stove, you added too little or too much eggs or you opened the oven door too early.
These cheese puffs have a very airy texture with a soft yet crispy sponge-like crust and a light cheese flavour. If the choux have a strong egg flavour, it could mean that they are underbaked.
Absolutely. Gruyère Cheese is the one traditionally used to make Gougeres but you could basically use any grated hard cheese like Parmesan Cheese, Comté, Cheddar, etc...
Yes, these cheese puffs are great on their own but also an amazing base to create decadent appetisers when filled! The possibility are infinite, but here are a few ideas: some Smoked Salmon Mousse, a Mushroom Cream, Whipped Cheese (Goat Cheese for example) or a Basil Pesto.
These cheese puffs can be serve warm, lukewarm or cold. The main question is more: what to drink with these Gougères! They are usually served with a Red Wine or even Champagne. They will be a great addition to any grazing, charcuterie or cheese board.
Gougères are best eaten very fresh within a day, preferably as soon as baked to retain the best texture. If not served straight away, they should be stored at room temperature. You want to avoid refrigerating them because the moisture of the fridge will make them go soggy.
Gougères can be made ahead but since they are best eaten as fresh as possible, it is best to freeze them for later if you can. You can freeze gougeres either baked or unbaked. I highly recommend freezing them unbaked and baking them just before serving for the best texture.
- Un-baked: prepare the gougeres and pipe them on the baking tray. Place in the freezer until fully frozen, then transfer into a freezing bag or container. When ready to serve, place them back on a baking tray, top with grated cheese and bake as instructed. You will probably need to bake them for an additional 5 minutes.
- Baked: bake the puffs, leave to cool down completely then freeze on a flat tray. When frozen, transfer into a freezing bag or container. Leave to thaw at room temperature for a few hours, and/or reheat in the oven for a few minutes. Note that with this freezing technique, the choux might be more soggy and / or collapse.
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Gougères (French Cheese Puffs)
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) Water - or half water, half milk
- 60 gr (1/4 cup) Unsalted Butter
- 1/3 teasp. Salt
- 75 gr (1/2 cup) Plain/ All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Eggs - medium size, at room temperature
- 20 gr (about 1/3 cup) Grated Gruyère Cheese
- 1 pinch Nutmeg Powder - optional
I highly recommend using the measurements in grams & ml (instead of cups & spoons) for more accuracy and better results.
- Preheat your oven on 180'C/350'F and line a baking tray with baking paper or a baking mat (see note 1).
- Place the Water, Butter and Salt (and nutmeg if desired) in a small pot. Heat up until the butter has completely melted. When it starts to simmer, remove from the heat and drop in the Flour at once.
- Using a wooden spoon or stiff spatula, stir the mixture until it comes together. Place back on the stove on low to medium heat and stir for a couple of minutes to dehydrate the dough (see note 2).
- Transfer into the bowl of your mixer and stir on medium/low speed for about 5 minutes to cool down the dough (see note 3).
- Slowly add the Eggs (see note 4), stirring well until fully incorporated before adding more. To know you have added enough eggs, dip a finger into the batter, pull a little bit out and flip your finger facing up. The batter should slowly fold back down on its own (see note 5).
- Add the Grated Gruyere Cheese and stir until just mixed.
- Place the Choux batter in a piping bag with a large round piping tip. Pipe small mounds of batter on the tray, leaving a little bit of space in between each Choux.
- Optional: grate a little bit more Cheese over each Choux.
- Bake for 20 minutes without opening the oven door. Open the door for a couple of seconds to let the steam out and close it straight back. Continue to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until puffed and golden.
- Leave to cool down and keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
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- The water can be replaced by milk, or by half milk, half water.
- You might need more or less eggs depending on their size and how dry the dough is. Always add a little bit of egg at the time, and stop when you reach the right consistency (even if you still have some eggs left).
- To make sure the baking paper or mat doesn't move while you are piping the Gougeres, place a little bit of batter in the four corners or your tray then cover with the paper.
- A good way to dry out the dough is to press the batter against the sides and bottom of the pot while stirring.
- You can also just set it aside for 10 to 15 minutes if preferred or if making by hands. You just want to make sure it isn't too hot when you add the eggs or it might cook them.
- I like to pre-whisk the eggs in a separate bowl first so that they incorporate more easily. It is also a good way to make sure you don't add too much or too little eggs.
- If the batter remains stiff and doesn't fall back, continue adding a little bit more eggs. Be careful not to add too much, so continue to do the test between each addition.