Giant Gougeres

Gougere recipe - French cheese puffs

Every summer, we head to Burgundy to visit French friends who live abroad, but who return for the summer. They quickly get reacquainted with the more leisurely lifestyle in the French countryside, which include enjoying Chablis and visiting the small town markets. Because we’re such top-notch guests, pitching on with the cooking and making sure their pool gets used, we always get an invite and jump at the chance to go to see them.

While it’s nice to see them during their annual visit, it’s just as nice to be able to pop into the local town and grab a few of the giant gougères they offer up at the bakeries in the nearby town. My favorite activity is to sit at café in the center of Saint-Florentin, where the busy waiter will fill your glass right up to the top, making sure there’s not a single bit of wasted space in the glass.

Gougere recipe - French cheese puffs

I’ve never been able to find out why gougères, French cheese puffs, are associated with Burgundy, but I do know that they are best paired with the wine of the region, such as Chablis or Mâcon, made from Chardonnay grapes, and the red wines, which are made of mostly Pinot noir grapes, although Beaujolais is made with the racier Gamay grape. Parisians tend to favor red wines, but I’m doing my best to work on that, and if you haven’t had a nice Chablis (or Sancerre or Muscadet), you’re missing out on a wonderful experience.

Gougere recipe - French cheese puffs

Unlike the bite-sized gougères that most of us are used to, in Burgundy, bakeries often make them as large as hamburger buns. They make a great late morning snack after a visit to the market, along with a well-deserved glass of Chablis (yes, even at 10:30am), but are also a copious appetizer for those of us that, even after fifteen years, still can’t get used to eating dinner at 9 or 10pm, and need something to sustain us until we sit down at the table later than their usual bedtime.

Gougere recipe - French cheese puffs

I gave these a few tries in my kitchen trying to get them extra-cheesy. My first go at them involved crumbling blue cheese into the finished dough, which created some funny (albeit delicious-looking) fissures.

Knowing that I’d get some “What did I do wrong?” messages, I tried melting the blue cheese into the puffs instead. When I closed the oven door, after I put them in to bake, I wondered with self-satisfaction, “I am a genius. Why hasn’t anything else thought of this?” Unfortunately when I went to check them ten minutes into baking, I saw they had spread considerably. So had a douche froide (cold shower), with a visual reminder of the limits of my intelligence.

Gougere recipe - French cheese puffs

So went back to crumbling blue cheese into the dough, which like because the little bits ramp up the cheese flavor. You can expect a few mini-explosions of cheese in your puffs, which I don’t mind at all. We’re not making works of art for the Louvre, we’re making cheese puffs to enjoy.

Sometimes people write me in a panic that their cream puffs have collapsed. Don’t worry. Truth be told, I’ve seen more than my share of collapsed choux puffs in Parisian bakeries, and the gougères I’ve had in Burgundy haven’t been as high and lofty as some might expect. Still, there’s nothing better than one, tall or not, with a glass of very cold Chablis sitting in a town square at a café. You can take it from me.

Gougere recipe - French cheese puffs

Jumbo Gougères
Print Recipe
Makes 12
Use a very good, strong cheese. If you like, one that’s aged adds a particularly nice flavor. I used Gruyère but other choices could be Comté, Emmenthal, Jarlsberg, Gouda (perhaps mixing smoked with regular), or even sharp cheddar. Any blue cheese will work here, too. Like the other cheese, the stronger, the better. The cayenne can be replaced by a few turns of freshly ground black pepper.
1 cup (250ml) water
3 ounces (6 tablespoons, 90g) unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup (140g) flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup (100g) grated cheese (see headnote), plus about 1/2 cup (40g) for topping the puffs
2 ounces (55g) blue cheese (weighed without rind)
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
2. Heat the water, butter, salt, and cayenne in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted.
3. Dump in all the flour at once and stir the dough continuously until it forms a smooth ball, then keep stirring a another minute or two until it starts to leave a dry film on the bottom of the pan. (Drying out the dough will help the puffs rise.)
4. Remove from heat and, if using a stand mixer, transfer the dough to the bowl of the mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Let the mixer run at low speed for about a minute, to release the heat. If mixing the dough in the saucepan, let sit about two minutes, stirring it a couple of time to release the heat.
5. Add the eggs to the dough one at a time, beating vigorously on medium-high speed after each addition, making sure each egg is mixed in before adding the next one. The dough should be smooth and shiny. Stir in the 1 1/3 cups (110g) grated cheese, then crumble the blue cheese over the top and fold it into the dough. (Note: If you make pâte à choux frequently, you’ll notice the dough is softer than usual. There’s a photo at the top of the post showing how the dough should look.)
6. Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop, a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or two soup spoons, form the dough into six 2 1/2-inch (6cm) mounds on each of the two baking sheets, evenly spaced apart. Sprinkle the mounds of dough with the remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese.
7. Put the baking sheets in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375ºF (190ºC), and bake until the gougères are well-browned, turning and rotating the baking sheets in the oven three-quarters of the way through baking. Baking time will be about 30 to 35 minutes, but ovens can vary so use the baking times as a guide. If they are getting too dark, remove them from the oven sooner. If they are still too light at the end of the estimated baking times, continue to bake them until they’re deep golden brown.

Serving and storage: Gougères are best freshly made, served warm, although they can be kept at room temperature for about a day. You can freeze them in an airtight bag for up to two months, reheating them in a medium-hot oven, until crisp.


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60 comments

  • Shari
    September 21, 2016 5:19pm

    What size scoop do you recommend? And what speed do you use for mixing the eggs?

  • Monisha C
    September 21, 2016 5:20pm

    Those look amazing! Do I need to prick them to release the steam at any point? Also, since they’re best fresh out of the oven, could I make the dough and pipe it ahead of time, then bake it just before serving?

    • Anna
      September 21, 2016 9:38pm

      No need to prick. To make ahead, I would recommend baking them and then reheating them after your guests arrive.

  • September 21, 2016 5:22pm

    I’m saving this one to make later. :)

  • Pansori
    September 21, 2016 5:32pm

    Aged mimolette gives a beautiful color and lovely taste.

  • witloof
    September 21, 2016 5:32pm

    Ohhhhh, gougeres! I haven’t made them in years! I used to do them from a recipe in an old Sunset cookbook that had you forming them into a ring that you could pull apart when it had baked. I think I’m going to invite someone over and make this recipe this weekend! Thanks!

    • Pam
      September 22, 2016 8:33am

      That’s exactly the same recipe I was thinking of as I was reading this! I haven’t made them in years either but I’ll definitely add the blue cheese when I do.

  • Ella
    September 21, 2016 5:35pm

    Running to the cheese shop and then to pick up some good chablis for this evening on the deck. I agree, those who have never tried a really good Chablis simply don’t know what they are missing!!

    • Jun
      September 26, 2016 4:49pm

      Can you suggest one you love here, please? Would love to try a good one, under $20 if possible, but whichever is your favorite. Thank you!

  • Cathy Grafton
    September 21, 2016 5:38pm

    Merci David – I make gougeres for my Christmas party each year, people love them, will try these, love adding blue cheese. The pictures make me want to bake up a batch now.

    I do bake them in batches thru the evening, they keep well on my porch in the winter until ready to bake.

  • September 21, 2016 5:45pm

    They serve these large gougères at La Bourse et La Vie in Paris too – not made them but they are on my list!

  • Deborah
    September 21, 2016 5:48pm

    Hey, David. What is the diameter or volume of the ice-cream scoop?

    Thx!

    • June2
      September 26, 2016 4:50pm

      From the photos, it looks like just a regular ice cream scoop, yes?

  • Kathleen Sawtell
    September 21, 2016 5:52pm

    I’ve made these with gluten free flour blend for my sister. The mixture needs to be mixed a lot longer than the regular flour recipe. Wonderful!

    • Aleksandra
      September 27, 2016 11:37am

      Thank you so much for this comment! I was just wondering if this could possibly work as a gluten free version, and now feel more confident about giving it a go.

  • Linda H
    September 21, 2016 6:37pm

    After I made these, my brother said to his wife, “If you love me you will make these for me.”

  • Susan B
    September 21, 2016 7:01pm

    These are sold at the refreshments bar at performances at Versailles–I’d never seen them before. I’ll bet they’re even better warm from the oven.

  • Cheryl Hudak
    September 21, 2016 7:04pm

    I cannot wait to make these! Mmmm Mmmh.

  • Sabine Triplett
    September 21, 2016 7:16pm

    Tips on keeping them from collapsing at the end of baking when pulling out of oven?

    • Libby
      September 25, 2016 7:00pm

      My tip is even when you think they re done, continue cooking another 2-3 minutes. They collapse when they are too soft inside and need a bit more cooking.

    • catherineap
      October 1, 2016 6:50pm

      I’ve found the main reason for collapsing gougères (or any baked pate à choux preparation) is under-cooking. They need to be evenly and completely browned. Also, don’t take them out of the oven to check, just open the door and take a peek.

  • Grizelda
    September 21, 2016 8:11pm

    If these savory morsels are even remotely as good as the REVOLUTIONARY french tart pastry recipe I am now addicted to, there will be no stopping me coming to Paris to shake your hand!

  • Susan
    September 21, 2016 9:13pm

    I want to a Christmas party one yetar where someone brought Gougeres that had collapsed. I had never had gougeres before and found these to be so delicious that I just had to have the providers recipe. They were so cheesy and semi chewy, they were so good! Mine came out all puffed and crisp-tender but also fairly cheesy. I tried numerous times to get them to flatten to that semi chewy texture, but it’s never happened for me. What do you suppose would make them that way? More cheese? Less baking? Any other ideas?

  • phanmo
    September 21, 2016 9:28pm

    Nice to see a shout out to Muscadet!

  • Andrew
    September 21, 2016 11:32pm

    This looks very good. I use Alain Ducasse’s recipe. They are terrific at cocktail time!

  • Rick
    September 22, 2016 12:35am

    David – these look awesome. Have you see the ones that Tartine makes in San Fran, I always joke that there the size of my head, well maybe not quite that big but close. I wish I could make them as big as they do!!!

    Hope you’ve had a great summer, it’s been beautiful in Portland.

  • Victoria
    September 22, 2016 12:54am

    Jacques Pepin said in his latest cookbook to leave gougeres in the oven with the door open and heat turned off after they’ve baked until they cool to avoid the collapse.

    I make for them parties and at Christmas and people go crazy over them! Why didn’t I think to use my cookie scoop like I see in your photo. Also always wondered about the large gougeres in Burgandy, yet recipes always made them smaller. Must try making the larger ones, thanks for the post.

  • Diane from Boston
    September 22, 2016 1:13am

    I love these! I make Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, which is very similar to this. I put my tablespoon-sized scoops of dough on parchment on a baking sheet and freeze them raw; once they’re frozen, I pop them into a freezer bag. Bake them without defrosting, it may take a couple of minutes longer. Freshly baked cheese puffs whenever you want them!

  • Rikki
    September 22, 2016 1:25am

    oh we did have them in burgundy- not with blue cheese though. Have you tried white Beaujolais? We had it in oingt and have been searching for it ever since

  • Leah
    September 22, 2016 1:43am

    These look tasty! I also like to put a little dried mustard in the traditional version, which I usually make with Gruyere.

    For a non-traditional but very yummy version, try the Red Pepper, Garlic & Pecorino recipe on the Food & Wine website.

  • Donna Adams
    September 22, 2016 1:51am

    I make Gougers at Thanksgiving, but never with Blue Cheese, can’t wait to try these!
    Merci!

  • tim
    September 22, 2016 2:11am

    looks good. Can you skip the Blue Cheese?… guessing just adding more of a strong cheese such as the Gruyère?

    PS.. Emailed to be added to the list for the paris tour and have not hear back.. even with a reply that my name was inputted ,jtrose@gmail.com

  • Katie
    September 22, 2016 3:40am

    I never knew I was missing out on Sancerre until I first tried it on my honeymoon to Paris…if only it were
    more widely available in the states! Could you recommend a Chablis? It seems I am missing out on that too!

  • September 22, 2016 4:47am

    Wow, those are beautiful! So much for the granola bar recipe I was working on these are calling my name!

  • September 22, 2016 7:16am

    Hi David – Long time no “see.” I have had my head in the laptop and barely come up for air except for forays out and about Japan. Giant Gougères caught my eye because those are the only kind I ever make. I use the recipe from Patricia Wells’s Bistro Cooking and I guess did not bother to read the size of the dough dollops. I just made them the chou size I make for desserts. When my CP friends came for Thanksgiving one year, they exclaimed at the large size but thought them tasty. The small ones lose heat so quickly and don’t have enough room to puff, so I still prefer these jumbo ones over the traditionally teeny bite ones. Thanks for sharing and nice to know that in Burgundy, giant gougères are not an oddity. -Nancy

  • September 22, 2016 8:24am
    David Lebovitz

    Shari + deborah: My scoop is about 4cm, which is around 1 1/2-inches.

    Katie: I can’t recommend one in particular but if you live near a good wine shop, you could ask them for advisement.

    tim: Yes, you could skip the blue cheese. Sorry you didn’t hear back from the admin. for the tours. I forwarded your message to her. Thanks for your patience.

    Susan: A lot of places in France put them in a basket (all together!) while warm, which I think flattens and softens them. I prefer mine crisp but if you want yours softer, you might want to try that.

    Nancy: Glad all is well. I sent you a message a while back & didn’t hear back, so figured you were busy. Happy all is ok!

    • September 22, 2016 8:51am

      Cannot find the message so sent you an email. As Gloria sings it, “I will survive!”

    • Katie
      September 23, 2016 8:55pm

      Thank you!

  • Helen in CA
    September 22, 2016 8:31am

    So, you’re suggesting to use a strong flavored cheese (from Comte to aged Gouda) and then fold blue cheese into the dough?

  • September 22, 2016 1:05pm

    I love these and became hooked since visiting Burgundy back in June. This gives me some direction for trying to make gougeres myself along with other foods I tried over and over in Burgundy. I do see the attraction to Burgundy white wines too. I’ve always been big into Chablis since it has so many price points and is approachable without going broke. The only white wine from Burgundy I like more is Puligny Montrachet but those bottles will put me in the poor house if I buy too many.

  • September 22, 2016 3:29pm

    Hi David – have you ever used bread flour for your chou paste? Madeliene Kamman suggested it it one of her books. I found it is sturdier and bakes up without a lot of unbaked dough in the center. I have also found it works well with puff pastry.

  • Margaret
    September 22, 2016 4:03pm

    Jacques Pepin said in his cookbook, Heart and Soul in the Kitchen, that if you take gougeres out of the oven too fast, the humidity can soften them. He recommends cooling them in the oven with the door open for 10-15 minutes. I always wondered why my gougeres collapsed, and his tip has helped make them crispier and more sturdy.

    • September 23, 2016 3:10pm
      David Lebovitz

      Most of the choux puffs I’ve had in France were on the softer side, less-crisp than we usually make them in America. I’ve gotten used to them and part of me doesn’t mind the softer texture, as it seems to allow the taste of the cheese to come through better. But poking hole in the side and/or leaving them in the oven longer than the recommended baking time will make them crisper for sure.

  • Queen
    September 23, 2016 1:52am

    I’m-a need to make these soon! Question, though, and it may be the drugs from my surgery talking, but I can’t figure out what happens to the extra half cup of grated cheese. Is it for if you decide to not use blue cheese? Thanks!!!

  • September 23, 2016 10:18am

    I’ve only ever made little ones, and with gruyère, so these are an interesting new twist.
    I find them easy to make but that’s likely the result of being oblivious and lucky. Best when still warm!

  • Hannah
    September 23, 2016 3:03pm

    This recipe turned out amazingly delicious. And so easy! Will make these again and again…

  • Lee
    September 23, 2016 11:10pm

    Question. Would this recipe work for smaller gougere? They are nice with drinks standing around.

    And, what about those sad to-be-pitied of us who do not have stand mixer? Are we out of luck in gougere world?

    Thanks for your site. It is a bright spot in this world!

    • September 24, 2016 9:59am
      David Lebovitz

      I thought I had added instructions for doing them by hand, and you can see in step 4, that I did mention you could beat the batter by hand. If you want to make individual gougères, I have a recipe here.

      • Lee
        September 26, 2016 11:48pm

        Merci David for your reply. I will try them for (Canadian) Thanksgiving which is early October. I love your recipes and writing and book. The corned beef was a hit. Your blog is a bright spot in these trying times. Vive la cuisine!

  • Kathi in Iowa
    September 24, 2016 1:09pm

    My husband and I enjoyed gougeres and a glass of Champagne at Le Caveau des Arches in Beaune. We were there for dinner a few weeks ago to celebrate my birthday. So, there’s another beverage that pairs well with gougeres. When I serve them to our dinner guests, they devour them so quickly that I have to jump in and grab one for myself!

    David: I love your writing style and all that you teach us about French life in your posts & cookbooks.

  • Meredith Strang
    September 24, 2016 8:19pm

    These look so toothsome! Question – do you still use that paddle attachment when beating in the eggs? Although I have a stand mixer it’s a classic [read: old] 2-beater one, like today’s hand mixers – is there any way to compensate for not having that single paddle attachment?

    • September 25, 2016 10:50am
      David Lebovitz

      You could probably use the whip attachment. Different mixers have different kinds of whips, beaters, and dough hooks. Use one that will allow you to mix a fairly soft, but not too-soft, batter.

  • Rusty
    September 24, 2016 9:12pm

    I initially made beignets (no cheese and deep fried) and was surprised that none of the writers mentioned how eggy they taste.

    As an experiment I decided to try using whole wheat flour and instead of water I used Carnation evaporated milk. Half with cheese and half plain, baked. I used Cotija cheese; crumbly, salty, and it doesn’t melt. They tasted heavenly. Even the ones without cheese tasted great. Many of them even had the big bubble hole in the center, which I wouldn’t have expected from whole wheat flour. I had to use a bit more flour or the dough/batter was too runny. I’m slightly obsessed with using whole wheat flour and this was a great success. The flour and/or the evaporated milk also made them not eggy tasting.

  • Lidia
    September 25, 2016 12:16am

    What blue cheese is pictured in this post? Bleu de Bresse? What do you recommend?

  • Deborah Kindel
    September 25, 2016 10:55pm

    My dough is still way too liquidly even after I added another half cup flour. What did I do wrong?

    • September 25, 2016 11:01pm
      David Lebovitz

      Sounds like you mismeasured the ingredients. As mentioned, this will be slightly runnier than standard choux dough (due to the extra cheese) but it follows the standard proportions for cream puff dough/pâte à choux.

  • arthur
    September 26, 2016 1:02am

    what am i missing? my gourges didn’t rise…they’re as flat as a pancake.

  • Lynn
    September 26, 2016 1:22am

    The first time I heard about gougeres was when Molly Wizenberg wrote about them in Bon Appetit. She discovered them during a trip to Beaune, Burgundy and said they were the size of large dinner rolls. I always wondered why the gougeres recipes I found after that said to make them bite size — the larger ones must be peculiar to Burgundy? Anyway I agree with her when she said they remind her of a cheese souffle — only smaller and more portable. Every time I make them people rave about them, even my sister-in-law who never seems to notice anything I do :)

  • September 27, 2016 6:47pm

    Oh gosh, my favorite appetizer ever!! The only problem is I can’t stop eating them. Now I want to try making them with some blue cheese.

  • Christine Scott
    October 1, 2016 3:25pm

    David, thank you SO much for including weights in your recipes. I am a fine cook, but always thought I couldn’t bake until you and (too few currently) other chefs started including weights. Changed everything!