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I recently went to a fête for my birthday at a friend’s home in the Marais, whose family is renowned for making exceptional French wines. I don’t know a lot about wine, but I know that when combined with certain things, the effect is transcendental. Gougères, or cheese puffs, are one of those things.

But really, who are we kidding. They’re an appetizer that goes with everything! They’re truly one of my favorite pre-dinner snacks with wine, beer, or a cocktail.

Known in English as “cream puff dough,” gougères are cheese puffs made by folding cheese into the dough, then baking them in little rounds. You can vary the flavor by deciding what type of cheese that you’d like to use. I usually use Comté, Gruyère, Mimolette, or cheddar. The choice is up to you. You can also make them small or larger (or giant). Of course, smaller ones will bake in less time than larger ones. Just bake until well-browned and crisp.

The best thing about this recipe, aside from being easy to make from ingredients one normally has on hand, is that they can be made earlier in the day, which is a good thing for those of us who like to take a break before our guests arrive. A quick reheat in a moderate oven makes them as good as new. For forming the puffs, although some people like to use piping bags, because of all the grated cheese, it’s often easier to use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop if you have one.


Adapted from Drinking French. Three things to keep in mind when making these. One is that you should have all the ingredients ready to go before you start. Don’t let the water and butter boil away while you grate the cheese or you’ll lose too much of the water. Second, let the batter cool for a few minutes before adding the eggs so you don’t ‘cook’ them. When you stir in the eggs that you do it vigorously, and without stopping. I’m not a fan of extra dishes to wash, but a stand mixer is the best way to mix the eggs in quickly. And third, because these are unabashedly loaded with cheese, they won't rise as high as regular cream puffs, but they will get nice and crispy. Just don't expect them to rise to the same heights as standard choux puffs. Use a strong cheese, such as Gruyere, Comté, Mimolette, sharp cheddar, or a mix of cheeses. You can also add some smoked cheese or a bit of Parmesan to the mix. If you don’t have a pastry bag with a plain tip, you can put the dough into a freezer bag, snip off a corner, and use that. Or simply use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop or two tablespoons to portion and drop the dough onto the baking sheet.
Course Appetizer
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 3 tablespoons (40g) butter, salted or unsalted, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • big pinch of chile powder, or a few turns of freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (70g) flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (about 3 ounces, 90g) grated cheese, (See above for ideas)
  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Heat the water, butter, salt, and pepper in a saucepan until the butter is melted.
  • Dump in the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the sides into a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let rest two minutes, to cool it down a bit. At this point, you can scrape the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. If you don’t have a mixer, let it cool in the pan, stirring it a few times to let the heat escape.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring quickly to make sure the eggs don’t ‘cook.’ The batter will first appear lumpy, but after a minute or so, it will smooth out. After the eggs have been added, let cool until tepid. (So as not to melt the cheese in the next step.)
  • Add about 3/4s of the grated cheese, and stir until well-mixed.
  • Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a wide plain tip and pipe the dough into mounds, evenly-spaced apart, making each about the size of a small cherry tomato.
  • Top each puff with a bit of the remaining cheese, the put the baking sheet in the oven.
  • Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375ºF (190ºC) and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re completely golden brown.


For extra-crispy puffs, five minutes before they’re done, poke the side of each puff with a sharp knife to release the steam, and return to the oven to finish baking.
The puffs are best served warm, and if making them in advance, you can simply pipe the gougeres on baking sheets, refrigerate (or freeze) and bake them shortly before your guests arrive. Or bake them, and reheat the baked cheese puffs in a low oven for 5-10 minutes before serving.
The most common problem people have with pâte a choux, or cream puff dough, is deflated puffs. The usual causes are too much liquid (eggs) or underbaking. Make sure to use a dry, aged cheese, if possible. Because these have cheese in them, and cheese is not a standardized product, sometimes they won't rise so high. That's ok (they even sell deflated ones in French bakeries, too!) - they'll be just as delicious.
Be sure to bake the puffs until they’re completely browned up the sides so they don’t sink when cooling.

Related links

Cream Puffs

Salmon Rillettes



    • sam

    I just woke up and as I was reading this was in the middle of eating 3 cold, leftover (still perfectly puffed-up) gougeres from last night that I found on the kitchen table. I know you are probably surprised there were leftovers but there were only two of us at the ‘party’ and we ate over 20 between us yesterday evening. I have been practicing the art of making gougeres for 25 years and just this week I have discovered some great new tricks that I think might even help make a pastry chef’s life easier. I might even do a post about it. I’ll let you know when I get around to that. Might be 2010…

    Happy New Year


    • Patricia Shea

    Bonne Annee…Happy New Year, I look forward to reading your blog with great glee over the next year and thank you for all the excellent entertainment and wonderful recipes you have provided since I discovered your blog a few months ago. Now I am off to make these delightful petit gougeres to go with my hollandaise and poached eggs, oh happy me!
    with appreciation from a FRIGID Maine landscape…8F without the windchill, and it’s blowing a gale out there…..keep warm in Paris with your hot water bottle, Patricia

    • Milena

    I have some good aged mimolette and some pecorino right here. I’ll try a reducted version of this recipe. Sounds delicious. Don’t mix alcohol. What you are going through has nothing to do with age and all with the mixing. And my friend Thomas recommends the following for a hangover (look below). I wouldn’t know whether they in fact work by the way so try at your own peril.

    “My drinking days are far behind me, but for the benefit of those who still imbibe, I can attest to two sure-fire hangover remedies:
    Codeine. Seriously.
    Two Sudaphed and a BC Powder, washed down with Gatorade.”

    Happy New Year to you and Romain and thank you for all the great reads and recipes in the past one.

    • Amber

    Now wait a minute. I like Miracle Whip, especially with tuna, red onion, celery and relish on good wheat bread with lots of romaine. Mayo just tastes like Crisco when it comes to sandwiches. But for potato salad? Mayo. I think it is a southern thing liking Miracle Whip. And you gotta give the South credit for amazing biscuits, so they can’t be all bad.
    But cheese, I agree, why color it? It makes me question the relationship to coloring margarine from gray to white to yellow. And no, I do not eat margarine, ever.
    Unfortunately good cheese is so damn expensive and difficult to find where I live.
    Love the line “And now that I’m in my declining years, recovery is much harder than it was just a mere week ago. I’m going downhill, fast, my friends.” 50 is such a slap in the face, I just sort of wallowed in pity for a year, but I promise 51 is far better.
    Be blessed this new year!

    • Earline

    Happy birthday and happy new year, David! Thank you for another wonderful recipe. I’ll be trying it this weekend for a family get-together.

    Not just any regular mayo–Best Food’s. Without it, life as we know would cease to exist.

    • Sean

    My friend Jim makes these frequently, but didn’t know until I told him that they were called gougères. He called them cheesy poofs. Whatever you call them, they’re delicious, and as you say, so easy to make.

    • Susan

    I love gougeres and make them often for parties. I poke them before the end of baking then split them to serve instead of crackers with some spreads because their form makes that nice little cup. You can do alot with the dough too, I add poppy seeds and all kinds of things. Some aren’t so good, but I had fun playing!

    Fifty. It rears it’s ugly head when you attempt to do those (crazy) things you did back in the day, and some new antics you hadn’t as well. Damn.

    • Sunny


    Bonne Annee, David — you must have been reading my mind.

    I was just thinking today about finding a good recipe for gougeres, and you slipped it right there in my RSS feed, and I didn’t have to do a thing.

    Hope your head has stopped its drum practice…

    • Martha

    David, Happy Birthday and a very Happy New Year.
    I thank you for all the wonderful recipes you have given us and look forward to more.
    I love your toffee, which has become a holiday tradition.

    Keep warm in Paris.

    • Teresa

    I LOVE gougeres! They are so easy to make ahead, freeze, and reheat for quick appetizers. I don’t know why I don’t make them for just myself. It seems guests spurs me to make them. I suppose if I made them for myself, I’d eat them all. I’ve used Emmental cheese for these with excellent results.

    I’m afraid American supermarket orange cheddar cheese is a hopeless cause. Some people might not recognize cheddar without its orange color.

    Your talk about New Years eve reveling reminds me of an image I have from my first trip to Paris. We were walking in the park adjacent to the Eiffel Tower where perfectly manicured trees line both sides. Looking at the bare ground I realized that squashed Champagne cages have become part the ground under the trees much like how you’d find beer bottle caps in American parks. The contrast in seeing all those Champagne tops worked into the ground of a Parisian park stuck me as ‘mais, bien sur!’ moment.

    • peevish

    I hear you on the holilday/birthday season exhaustion. My birthday is today, New Year’s Day. The older I get (today I’m 44), the less inclined I am to even go anywhere for New Year’s Eve. So I applaud you for staying up and having fun, even if you pay the price afterward.

    I can’t wait to try your recipe for gougeres. I’ve been using an old one from Saveur magazine (circa 1997 maybe?), and have been quite happy with it. They really are one of the most satisfying foods in the entire world, and nothing is better with wine or cocktails. Nothing. AND I can even manage to throw them together while halfway drunk, especially if I commandeer someone with strong arms to help me stir in the eggs. My recipe uses 4, so by the time I start mixing in the last one with my wooden spoon, my right arm is done for.

    Happy Birthday, and Happy New Year!

    • Sandra

    Gougeres or cheese puffs–whatever you want to call them–they sound simply de-elish!! Anyway, I’m a lazy American and can easily go to the supermarket and buy pre-shredded cheese, but will at least buy a very good quality for your recipe. Or I will buy a block of very good quality cheddar from Vermont ( maybe some Cabot private stock) and break out my hand shredder. I think that using a food processor to mix sounds good. Did you try using Martha Stewart’s hand idea of a cookie dough scoop to put out the dough on the sheet? This is another one to print and save in the David binder!!
    Happy New Year,cuz!!

    • Diane Duane

    Happy Birthday, David! Hang in there! The fifties get better. :)

    Try the gougere with Appenzeller cheese some time. (The strong “raess” type if you can get it.) Yum!

    • Linda H

    I’m the only person around here that makes gougeres. Everyone thinks I’ve done something fancy, and I don’t tell.
    In the summer, fresh sweet corn and bits of bacon are good in gougeres. To make ahead and freeze, the corn tastes freshest if the gougeres are frozen uncooked rather than cooked then frozen.
    Your recipe looks great. I’ll try it tomorrow when my headache subsides. (Champagne cocktails and martinis.)

    • Vielleangalise

    Even though you’re forgiving to the cheese, I find you to be hard on Mimolette.

    The industrial variety – like industrial Camembert, Comté, Cheddar, Stilton, or Gouda, Mimolette’s cousin from the North of Europe – can be okay, but good Farmers Mimolette is wonderful. I often stay in the North of France, in a little town on the Somme estuary. On the market there, they sell aged Mimolette which is so sharp and tangy it almost hurts the mouth.

    I think you misunderstood—I love aged Mimolette! It’s the rubbery, flabby industrial versions that I don’t like, nor would I want to use them to make gougères. Unfortunately it was impossible yesterday when I was making these, but will be getting some to make another batch this weekend. -dl

    • krysalia

    ah ! la mimolette extra vieille…
    One of the unforgottable pleasures of the table. Golden medal, 24 months d’affinage, its nearly unbreakable and so tasty, salty, dry… un régal !

    I love to fill those gougères with a cream, made by crushing nuts and camembert with a fork, to the moment they become a smooth, silky, odorant dough. It is also pretty good with fresh goat cheese, garlic and parsley, crushed the same way.

    (it is “pâte à choux“, by the way, but you’re somewhat right with what you wrote : c’est un met de choix :) )

    • Kristin

    Merci David! Happy new year and bonne sante!
    I love reading your blog, as you transport me back to France which I miss so.
    Hope you have a relaxing new year and keep up the funny stories and wonderful recipes.
    I am going to make these gougeres for my boyfriends birthday next week as an appi. Yum!!

    • Melissa

    Happy New Year! What perfect timing, had some friends drop by today and whipped up a batch of these for snackies. Your recipe is so quick and easy, plus it makes the perfect amount for pop in guests. The recipe I usually use makes a ton (which I freeze). Added a little whole grain mustard for additional flavor. So yummy, thanks!

    • CM

    I love mimolette and have never thought of using it in gougeres! Thanks for the idea!

    • alina

    Happy Birthday. Best wishes for a wonderful 2009!

    • MH

    Happy New Year and Happy Birthday. I’m insulted! :-) As an American foodie who loves her orange cheese, I have come to defend it. It just happens to be one of those food items that comfortingly reminds me, and I’m sure others, of childhood. Goey grilled cheese sandwiches with orange cheese (we’re not talking velvetta, just orange cheddar), which I was served well before I even knew what gougeres were, will always be part of my comfort food menu. Eventhough my tastes have evolved, this food memory will remain no matter what and I’m sure that’s why orange cheese still exists. I’m sure Parisian children have their own comfort foods that adults scratch their head at! Love the blog! Thank you!

    • Joanne

    I was going to comment much more, but writing over 2 paragraphs was taking too long.

    So I’ll leave you with this:

    Men who who love spongy textured, bright yellow, marshmallow concoctions shouldn’t be the first to throw day-glo plastic bricks.

    Sinatra said 50 is just the half-way mark. ;-) you’re gonna survive to 105 because you’re young at heart.


    • Faithy

    Hi David! I just came across your site and i enjoy reading your posts. I love your writing style and also your recipes..(ps: i made some coconut macaroons yesterday using your recipe but haven’t bake them yet :P).

    Happy Birthday! Life begins at 50! And have a blessed new year!

    • Oakjoan

    I can’t stop laughing about Sean’s post about his friend who calls gougeres “cheesy poofs”. I can just hear the voice of Cartman from South Park yelling at his mother “Mom! Where are my Cheesy Poofs!”

    Gougeres were the first things I made upon getting my first Cuisinart and I haven’t made them since.

    Btw, my son and daughter-out-law were in Paris last week and claimed that there was a store selling foie gras in EVERY block. I can feel my arteries clogging as I write this.

    • Sunny

    Oakjoan, I was surprised when I read this, too…but the old folks in the Dordogne (where duck and goose production is highest) attribute their documented longevity and cardiac health to goose fat.

    Seems they’re on to something — goose fat is significantly different than most other animal fats, and is actually healthy.

    It has less saturated fat than margarine or butter, very high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats (the healthy ones!), and is high in oleic acid, which actually helps reduce cholesterol levels.

    Duck fat has similar qualities.

    So…bring on the foie gras and the pommes de terre Sarladais!

    • Judith in Umbria

    The only real alternative to turning fifty is death, so is that what you are telling us to do? Long walk…etc.?
    The Gougere look splendid and eminently edible. Shall make them instanter.

    I know another possible pate a choux problem. It happened to me in August, but I do not think it happens often. If you are cooking in really high heat, the pastry may spread before it puffs. They do look deflated, but they are actually as big as ever, just wider rather than taller. It only happened once, and it was 104° F that day, who knows how hot nearer the oven. They were very good eclairs, just squatty.

    • Judith in Umbria

    PS anyone who thinks mayo tastes like Crisco is making it wrong.
    There is no excuse for Miracle Whip. The miracle is that it survives to this day.

    • David

    MH: Well, I’m kinda scared of you ‘orange cheese’ people…you guys are as fierce as the Miracle Whip folks ; )

    Kids here like Tagada, which are strawberry-flavored, sugar-coated marshmallow domes. To me, they’re icky-sweet and fake-tasting (which I think is their appeal), but I prefer orsons guimauve, and will defend those little bears ’til the end!

    • Aran

    i like them plain too. they are an addiction. i remember when i had to make them for one of the savory chefs in the hotel, i always had to bake a few extra. no one could resist them! happy new year david!

    • pam

    I turned 50 this year too. Have you seen the articles about the celebrities who also turned 50? We are in good company…Madonna, Michael name a couple.

    • Scott

    Happy New Year, David! When I woke up on New Year’s Day, Rachael Ray was on the TV with Jerry Springer as a guest. Rachael was intro’ing her bit in the kitchen when Jerry came out from backstage and asked for a to go box to take the snacks from the green room with home when he left. The snacks were gougères! Too funny!

    Happy Birthday and Happy New Year!

    • David

    Scott: It’s nice to know that I have something in common with Jerry Springer.

    Well, sort of…!

    • Erin

    I feel you about the trifecta, I am in the same boat. Only instead of fifty I am coming to terms with thirty and the glasses I am avoiding. Thankfully it is time to relax.

    • Joanna

    I started making gougeres, oddly, when I was about 9 years old – not the most likely dish for a 4th grader living in Eugene, OR in 1980 to master. I think there was a recipe in the newspaper, or something, and my mom thought it would be a good idea for me to tackle it.
    The way I made it was to plop the dough in big heaps into a ring – on a cookie sheet. We would place the golden, crispy cheesy ring in the center of the table and tear into it – along with soup and salad – for dinner. Ashamadly, the featured cheese was Monterey Jack, only because my dad would not abide any sort of vaguely stinky strong (i.e; flavorful) cheese. But even with the Jack, it was a fancy feast. I must revisit this soon with the Mimolette.

    • David

    Joanna: My grandmother made cream puffs all the time, then filled them with whipped cream, and stored them in our freezer that way. So we could reach in and grab one whenever the mood struck!

    I just got back from the market with a nice wedge of aged Mimolette, and plan to make these again for my guests coming for Sunday lunch. I think a very sharp cheddar, if available, is every bit as good as Mimolette, depending on where one lives and availability. Although I do recommend the non-orange versions ; )

    • ErikaK

    Happy New Year, Happy belated Birthday too!
    I love, love, love these. I made them for NYE with a raw milk cheddar (non orange) that I found at Trader Joe’s. I still panic a bit when I add the eggs & the dough comes apart :) because I’m not much of a baker. I think I will make some more for my son and I to snack on while hubby is out of town!

    • Laurie Plotner

    David, I love your blog. Thank you so much for all the great information. I am working on several cookbooks and think the way you explain everything is good for any level of reader. I am learning to write and explain a recipe and like your form. I am currently working on a bread pudding cookbook with 120 different recipes and sauces.I love your humor too.Thank you again so much.

    • Erika

    What a coincidence….Yesterday (New Year’s Day) we had an impromptu dinner for a few families, and as the first ones arrived I found myself in the mood for gougeres as well. I made mine with an aged goat cheese and some Grana Padano, because that’s what I had, and, well, mine did deflate a bit (I don’t think I baked them long enough), but they were well received and quickly demolished, which is what counts. A new tradition, perhaps?

    • Jen

    Happy birthday (I keep hearing that 50 is the new 30), Happy New Year and many more Gougères to come! Your recipes always sound divine, the creation of which surely must contribute to longevity and vitality for many years. :)

    • Claudia

    Thank you for an always enjoyable blog – may you have a New Year filled with many more good things. I made those little cheesey poofs yesterday, using a nice sharp cheddar (Cougar Gold from Washington State) and they were terrific with a glass of my year old Lemon Mead (just slightly fizzy).

    • Snowpea

    I’ve been invited for drinks tomorrow and I was pondering bringing gougères, which I’ve never made. This post of yours is A Sign.

    • joyciel

    OMG that looks so good!! And it just has to be something with cheese in it, doesn’t it? Now I’m very, very hungry…

    What about us folks who just doesn’t like Mayonnaise D=.

    • David

    Joyciel: I’m actually one of those people, like Judith (who commented above) who doesn’t really like mayo unless it’s homemade…preferably as aïoli, with lots and lots of garlic added!

    • S and N

    We brought in the New Year with gougères too. The recipe we used was from Anne Wilan’s fantastic The Country Cooking of France.
    We had your sticky toffee pudding (with your addition of candied ginger) to finish our Christmas dinner. It was a great success. Thank you. Your writing and recipes are a pleasure.

    • joyciel

    OMG I just tried your recipe, and it is fan-FREAKING-tastic!

    • Andy

    I believe the reason orange cheese exists is that the color covers up the variation in milk color at different times of the year. That, at least, is the story I remember about its origins.

    • Grommie

    Happy procrastinator’s new year and happy birthday. I liked your previous photo a lot (you in the chair) but I like this new photo more. There isn’t much to see in the background but I always imagine you’re in an airplane seat… off to the next fantastic destination, I guess.

    Good for you!

    • Andrea Therese Ulbrick

    Hello and Happy belated birthday David,

    We occasionally make these for friends, but we put fried, crumbled chorizo sausage in them as well, it’s one way of ensuring a conga line of friends following the host around with a tray of gougeres fresh from the oven, very funny sight and everyone always asks when will we be baking these again!

    • Sarah

    My mouth is watering. Those look divine!

    • Zaphia

    Okay ..

    The first batch just came out of the oven and they are every bit as delicious as promised :)

    Thanks David!

    • Coleen

    You mentioned that if I wanted a crispier “puff”, I should piece a small hole in the side to let steam escape. Just how crispy will this make the puff? Will it break apart when eaten?

    • Zaphia

    Someone just asked me for this recipe! Gave them your site address :)

    • Joy in DC

    Thanks for the recipe. With two feet of snow out my door this evening, these were a tasty addition to dinner. The recipe came out perfectly, with your great directions. I used parmigiano reggiano this time, but look forward to trying with other cheeses in the future.

    • Jung

    I made your chouquette recipe today for my son and 5 of his friends for their last French tutorial. They loved them. The only issue I had was that the chocolate chips burned from the high oven temperature. Otherwise, they puffed up beautifully. Any suggestions? I’m planning to make the gourgeres for pre-dinner drinks on Friday. How do you think these would go with Champagne? I am open for ideas. My husband wants to serve oysters as well.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Hi Jung: I’ve never had the chocolate chips burn, but perhaps you can put them in the dough and not on top, so mitigate that problem.

    • Laurence

    A few weeks ago, we were at a wine tasting and one of the canapés they were serving was gougeres filled with a little mornay sauce. We’re going over to friends tonight and my wife said I should make some to take. Google for a recipe, and see your blog listed, a blog I have only been following and posting to for years, so I know immediately which recipe to use. The only thing is, I just gave them the initial 425 degree part, but for 12 minutes. I like the color and texture that way, because my cherry tomatoes must be smaller than yours and the full bake was a bit much. Those will go as a soup garnish. Filling the little buggers with sauce is going to be a hoot/bitch – I have a syringe but I think it’s going to be more fun to watch me struggling.

    Also, I’m about a month older than you, and I am sure you’ve found as I have that the fifties don’t suck like you feared.

    • Laurence

    I forgot to say I used gruyere and they were awesome!!

    • Katie

    I’ve been wanting to make these for a while and am so glad that I finally did. These were absolutely delicious and were literally gone in 5 minutes. Thanks for the great recipe.

    • liz

    fantastic recipe! and to make the forming idiotproof, i used a #40 spring release cookie scoop. i also substituted smoked spanish sweet paprika for the chile powder. and i may eat them all myself…yum!

    • Sabrina

    Very easy and delicious! I wanted to try it and I haven’t had time to go to the grocery store, so I ended up using some pre-grated Parmigiano Reggiano and dried thyme leaves from the spice cabinet and they were still delicious, nice and puffy and the parmesan made a little crust. I ended up wrapping them in some good pancetta and they worked very well together. I ate most of them by myself and only left 6 or so for the rest of my family =/


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