Homemade gougères are an absolute delight, with a crispy exterior, light and airy inside, and plenty of cheesy flavor. Here’s how to make them.
When I set out to make gougères, I’ll admit I was a bit nervous, as they have a reputation for being fussy. That anxiety was unwarranted, though—I cannot adequately express to you how amazingly simple these are to make. You only need a short list of ingredients to make them, and the pastry comes together beautifully.
Why You’ll Love This Gougères Recipe
- One-of-a-kind texture. This is one of those recipes where the texture plays a key role in the overall experience. The combination of crispy outsides and airy centers is truly unique.
- Savory, cheesy flavor. Who doesn’t love cheese? These gougères are supremely cheesy, making them a delicious treat for any cheese lover.
- Simple yet impressive. Despite their fancy reputation, gougères are actually quite easy to make—but they’re sure to impress your guests when you serve them for a party.
What Are Gougères?
Gougères are savory French cheese puffs made from pâte à choux, the same pastry used to make cream puffs and éclairs. They are traditionally made with Gruyère cheese, but you can use any type of firm cheese in this recipe. The puffs rise in the oven, creating a light and airy interior encased in a crispy exterior.
Gougères are often served as an appetizer in France, paired with wine, and enjoyed before a meal. They make for a delightful snack or party food, but can also be served as a side dish with soups or salads.
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Milk – I recommend using whole milk, but any milk you have on hand will work.
- Unsalted butter – Butter is a key component in gougères, so it’s a great opportunity to splurge on a fancy European butter.
- Cayenne pepper – Just enough to add warmth; the goal is a slight kick, not fiery heat.
- All-purpose flour – Here’s how to measure flour.
- Parmesan cheese – Use freshly grated Parmesan. The shelf-stable kind that comes in bottles won’t melt smoothly into the dough.
- Swiss cheese – Emmenthaler or Gruyère are fabulous options.
- Coarse salt – For sprinkling on top.
How to Make Gougères
- Heat the milk and butter. Bring the milk, butter, salt, and cayenne to a boil in a medium saucepan.
- Add the flour. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the flour all at once, then stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball.
- Return to the stovetop. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is somewhat dried.
- Cool. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a food processor. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then process for 5 seconds.
- Finish the choux. Add the eggs and paprika to the food processor bowl. Process for 10 to 15 seconds, or until the eggs are incorporated.
- Cool again. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and let it cool for 10 minutes. While the dough rests, preheat your oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Set aside 1 tablespoon of Parmesan.
- Add the cheese. Stir the Swiss cheese and remaining Parmesan into the pastry dough.
- Form the gougères. Drop a tablespoon of dough onto the prepared pan for each cheese puff, leaving about 2 inches between them. Sprinkle coarse salt and Parmesan on top.
- Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until the exteriors are browned and crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tips for Success
- Have a mise en place. This is the French way of saying: get all of your ingredients ready before you start. I’m always a proponent of that practice, but I realize that isn’t a strict requirement every time. For making these beauties, though, I do highly recommend that you have everything measured and ready to go. Things move pretty quickly, even with some cooling and resting times built in to the recipe.
- Use quality ingredients. The cheese flavor is what these are all about, after all. So make the most of it with good quality cheeses. Shred your own cheese off the block rather than buying pre-shredded bags; the flavor is superior and you’ll get a smoother melt.
- Don’t open the oven. It’s tempting to peek at your gougères as they puff up in the oven, but opening the door can lead to a sudden drop in temperature that may cause them to deflate. Keep the oven door closed until they’re golden and puffy.
Serve these little cheesy bites before or after your meal. (Or both.) They’re delicious warm or at room temperature. They’re great for giving your dinner guests a little something to munch on before the meal. Then if there are any left, take them to the dinner table to go with your meal.
- Add herbs. Mix in fresh or dried herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, or chives.
- Try another cheese. Cheddar, Asiago, or even pepper jack cheese would be fantastic in gougères.
- Experiment with different spices. Freshly grated nutmeg is a classic pairing with Swiss cheese, or sprinkle everything bagel seasoning on top of the gougères before baking for extra savory flavor.
How to Store Leftovers
Gougères are best eaten fresh, but if you do have leftovers, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator up to 5 days. To reheat, place in a preheated oven or toaster oven at 350°F for 5-10 minutes until warmed through and crispy again.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
Gougères freeze exceptionally well, making them perfect for preparing in advance. To freeze, simply lay the unbaked gougères on a baking sheet, cover them with plastic wrap, and place them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 2 months.
When you’re ready to enjoy them, there’s no need to thaw. Bake the gougères straight from the freezer at 450ºF for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more.
More Savory Baking Recipes
- Cheddar and Chive Cornmeal Biscuits
- Pretzel Bites
- Sour Cream Corn Bread
- Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits
- Easy Herbed Quick Bread