Cheese Puffs (Gougeres) Recipe
These cheese puffs make a perfect cocktail party appetizer! Also known as “gougeres,” they’re light as air and so snackable!
Very much like a savory cream puff, these bite-sized little flavor bombs are so perfect for snacking.
They’re made from pate a choux and loaded with yummy cheese!
This classic French pastry makes a great appetizer for your holiday party. It’s the perfect thing to add to your favorite Christmas recipes.
Table of Contents
- What are cheese puffs?
- Why you’ll love this recipe
- Ingredient list and notes
- How to make cheese puffs
- Recipe FAQ’s
- Expert tips
- How to serve
- How to store
What are cheese puffs?
Cheese puffs are a delicious little baked nibble, perfect with a glass of wine or champagne!
They’re super savory and garlicky, with tons of sharp cheddar cheese.
These babies are light as a cloud and so full of flavor.
In the United States, we call them cheese puffs, but they are a classic French pastry that also goes by the fancy-pants name of “gougeres au fromage.”
As much as I keep talking them up as cocktail party food, the truth is, kids go crazy for these too.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Irresistible flavor: Homemade cheese puffs boast a rich, savory flavor from the combination of cheese, butter, and often other herbs and spices. The blend of ingredients creates a taste that’s so bomb!
Light and airy texture: The texture of cheese puffs is one of their main attractions. They have a crisp exterior and a light, airy interior that’s just irresistible.
Versatile: Cheese puffs can be customized to suit various tastes. You can use different types of cheeses (Cheddar, Gruyère, Parmesan, etc.) or add herbs like thyme, rosemary, or chives for extra flavor.
Simple to make: Despite their fancy appearance, cheese puffs are relatively easy to make at home using simple ingredients and a fool-proof method.
All-natural: Unlike the cheddar cheese puffs snack you find in a chip aisle, these are the real deal, with natural flavors and no weird preservatives such as lactic acid or citric acid.
Ingredient list and notes
Water and Milk
Liquid is necessary to form the dough and bind the ingredients together. Some recipes use water, while others use milk. Milk can add a subtle creaminess to the dough, enhancing the overall flavor.
Use whatever kind of milk you keep on hand. Skim, 2%, whole milk, even a plant-based milk will work here.
Butter adds richness and a velvety mouthfeel to the cheese puffs.
It also enhances the flavor of the cheese and helps create a smooth dough.
I like to use unsalted butter because it lets me control the amount of salt in the dish. Different brands of butter can contain different amounts of salt, so this way you get a more consistent result.
Flour acts as a binding agent and thickens the dough. It provides the structure needed for the puffs to rise and create their airy interior while keeping the exterior crisp.
All-purpose flour is my go-to, but you can swap it out for any kind of whole-grain option if you like. You may need slightly less if you go that route.
A <a href=”https://amzn.to/45jDwQj” rel=”noopener nofollow” target=”_blank”>gluten-free flour blend that can sub 1:1 for regular flour should also work just fine, if you’d like to make gluten-free cheese puffs.
Eggs play a crucial role in cheese puffs by providing structure, moisture, and a delicate eggy flavor. They help the dough rise during baking and contribute to the puff’s light and airy texture.
Be sure to use large eggs when making this recipe.
The primary flavor component of cheese puffs comes from the cheese itself.
I use cheddar in these puffs, but you can also use Gruyère or Parmesan, or a combination of several different types of cheeses.
Salt, garlic powder, and dry mustard enhance the savory flavor and complement the cheese.
You can also add fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or chives.
How to make cheese puffs
Cheese puffs are easy to whip up in less than 30 minutes of active time, making your whole house smell amazing!
It all starts with choux dough, similar to what you do when you make cream puffs.
Step 1: Heat the liquids
Place water, milk, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan over low heat.
Warm on the stove until the butter is melted and it begins to simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Step 2: Stir in flour
Dump in the flour, all at once. I know it seems like an odd way to make dough, but I promise this is how it’s done!
Stir the flour in. At first, it will look like a lumpy mess.
Continue stirring until all the lumps dissolve and you have a smooth ball of dough.
Keep cooking this for a minute or so, stirring, to get the raw taste out of the flour.
Step 3: Add eggs
Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and start working in the eggs.
Mix in the eggs one at a time, allowing each one to fully incorporate before adding the next.
Once all the eggs have been mixed in, you’ll have a very stretchy and slightly loose dough.
Step 4: Flavor the dough
Toss in the cheese and spices.
I like to use extra sharp cheddar cheese, garlic, and a little bit of dry mustard.
But you could use any cheese you like!
I’ve made blue cheese gougeres and they are fantastic! Gruyere cheese and parmesan cheese are also excellent choices.
You could even fold some finely crumbled sausage, chopped ham, or bacon. That would be outstanding!
Step 5: Shape the puffs
Next, pipe or spoon the cheddar cheese puffs batter onto baking sheets.
Remember that these will puff up and expand quite a bit as they bake, so you need to give them some breathing room!
Step 6: More cheese!
The last step is to hit them with another pinch of cheese on top, and then into the oven they go!
You’ll know they’re done baking when they’ve doubled in size, and they look nicely browned on the bottom.
You may notice when you take a bite that these are hollow in the center!
That’s the magic of baking and one of the things that makes these cheese puffs so impossibly light and airy.
It also makes for a perfect little hidey-hole to fill with something delicious. Think about stuffing your gougeres with any savory mousse or soft herbed cheese.
Homemade cheese puffs can be a healthier option compared to commercially produced ones, but whether they are considered healthy or not depends on a lot of different factors.
But by choosing high-quality ingredients like organic flour, real cheese, and unsalted butter, you can avoid the additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors commonly found in commercial cheese puffs.
- Use high-quality ingredients, such as real cheese, unsalted butter, and fresh eggs. The quality of the ingredients you choose significantly impacts the cheese puffs’ final flavor and texture.
- Experiment with different cheese varieties to find the flavor that suits your taste preferences best. Combining multiple cheeses can also add complexity to the flavor.
- When adding the flour to the wet ingredients, mix just until the ingredients come together. Over-mixing can result in dense, heavy puffs instead of light and airy ones.
- Use a cookie scoop or pastry bag to ensure consistent puff sizes. Keeping the size of your cheese puffs uniform will help them bake evenly and look more appealing.
- Leave enough space between the puffs on the baking sheet. This allows them to expand properly without sticking together.
How to serve
Cheese puffs can be tumbled into a basket like you see here or served on a charcuterie tray if you want to be a little fancier.
Try garnishing them with fresh or dried fruit for a really nice contrast, or with finely chopped herbs such as sage, rosemary, or thyme.
These cheese puffs can be enjoyed warm from the oven OR at room temperature.
They’re fantastic with a cocktail, and they’d be a gorgeous addition to your cheese/charcuterie/fruit/crudites platter.
How to store
Room temp: These will keep at room temperature for a few days. Just slip them into a zip-top bag so they don’t get stale.
Refrigerate: Pop them in the fridge; they should last around a week.
Freezer: Pate a choux puffs freeze beautifully! Allow them to cool completely, bag them up, and they’ll last in the freezer for months. And because they’re mostly air, they thaw very quickly at room temperature.
Reheating: If not serving immediately, reheat the cooled cheese puffs in a 170 degree F oven for a few minutes before serving. This will bring back their fresh-baked texture and flavor.
More cheesy appetizer recipes
As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment.
- Place the water, milk, butter, and salt in a medium pot and cook over low heat until the butter is melted and the liquid is simmering.
- Add the flour, all at once, stirring over low heat until the dough forms a ball.
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, and beat in the eggs one at a time, allowing each one to fully incorporate in before adding the next.
- Fold in the cheese, garlic powder, and dry mustard.
- Spoon or pipe 1-inch balls onto the prepared baking sheets, and bake for 25 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned on the bottoms.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the water, milk, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the flour, over medium heat. Continue to stir until well combined and pulling away from the sides of the pot and into a ball.
- Place the dough in a mixing bowl and let cool for about a minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Add the garlic powder, dry mustard, and cheese, and stir to combine.
- Pipe into 2 inch mounds, onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Top with more cheese, and bake for 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
The gougeres are puffy and lighter than air!
Yet somehow, rich and buttery at the same time…
And they have an intensely cheesy, garlicky flavor. So addictive! They are our new favorite snack.