Choux Pastry (Pâte à Choux)

cream puffs

Today I’m teaching you how to make choux pastry (pâte à choux) with about 100 pictures to show you how it’s done. If you’re not digging all the step-by-step photos, video tutorial, and explanations, scroll down to the recipe to get started. 🙂

overhead image of choux pastry after baking

By popular request, we’re tackling a French pastry dough: choux pastry, pronounced shoe pastry. Or, in French, pâte à choux. I learned how to make choux pastry in the French baking class I took earlier this summer. We spent an afternoon diving deep into this versatile classic and I’m sharing everything I learned with you today.

“Choux” means cabbage and pâte means paste. So, in other words, cabbage paste. Why is it called “cabbage paste” you ask? The name comes from the resemblance the pastry has to tiny cabbages. When baked, the pastry puffs up with little crinkles and ruffles– pictured above. Little cabbages! But instead of cabbage paste, let’s simply call it choux pastry.

Choux has the reputation for being difficult, but– as I witnessed with several other bakers in our French pastry class– it’s surprisingly simple. Master this easy recipe and you can make many pastries most bakers are scared to try. Pipe logs and fill with pastry cream for eclairs, pipe dollops and sandwich with whipped cream or ice cream for cream puffs and profiteroles, mix it with cheese and herbs for savory gougères, deep fry it for churros, French cruller donuts, choux beignets, the list goes on.

Choux pastry is a wonderful recipe to master because if you stick to the 1 basic recipe below, the door to DOZENS of other pastries is wide open.

cream puffs

Ingredients for choux pastry

Today I’m showing you how to make sweet cream puffs and profiteroles. Later this week, I’ll show you how to make eclairs. (Update: here is the eclairs recipe!) Feel free to use this basic choux dough in any of the pastries listed above!

TWO SIMPLE RULES FOR CHOUX PASTRY

  1. stick to the ingredients and measurements
  2. don’t open the oven while it bakes

The 7 ingredients are staples that you likely have in the kitchen right now: butter, water, milk, sugar, salt, flour, and eggs. Some recipes use all water instead of milk + water, but I find the combination yields a slightly softer and richer pastry. Not many choux pastry recipes call for sugar, but only 2 teaspoons provide a little flavor. The bulk of the pastry dough is eggs. Eggs provide some leavening, allowing the pastries to puff up when baked. The centers are soft, light, and airy. The exterior is golden and crisp. A beautiful marriage of textures!!

choux pastry dough in a saucepan

Choux pastry comes together in about 10-15 minutes. Most of the ingredients are cooked together on the stove; this initial cooking causes the starch in the flour to gelatinize, which will help the pastry hold onto steam and puff up. The Spruce Eats has an interesting article explaining the science of choux pastry if you’re into that!

choux pastry dough in a saucepan

After the choux pastry dough is gently cooked on the stove, transfer to a mixing bowl and add AROUND 4 beaten eggs. That’s the finicky part– the number of eggs in choux pastry isn’t really consistent between batches. Humidity, the exact size of egg, or an accidental extra 1/2 teaspoon of flour creates inconsistencies. 4 beaten eggs is an ideal starting point, though. Only add as much as you need to create a shiny, thick, and smooth dough with a pipeable consistency. I usually leave a few teaspoons of beaten egg behind, which can be used with the egg wash.

Beaten eggs in a glass measuring cup

The yolks in the eggs bring most of the flavor and color to choux pastry:

choux pastry dough in a stand mixer bowl

choux pastry dough in a glass bowl

At this point, our choux pastry dough is complete! Yes, that’s really all you need to do before shaping/baking it. Cook 6 ingredients on the stove, then beat in the eggs.

Now let’s make our cream puffs or profiteroles.

CREAM PUFFS

Filled with flavored whipped creams. Today I’m using homemade vanilla whipped cream, aka Crème Chantilly. Top with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar or a spoonful of chocolate ganache.

PROFITEROLES

Filled with ice cream and frozen. Topped with chocolate ganache. Profiteroles were my FAVORITE!!! We used butter pecan ice cream and coffee ice cream.

Choux Pastry Video Tutorial

Watch me make the choux pastry and shape/bake into cream puffs and profiteroles:

 

Do you have a better understanding of the process after watching the video tutorial? Not too scary at all, right? You totally got this!

brushing water onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

ONE TRICK I LEARNED

And it makes a huge difference in (1) how much the pastry puffs up and (2) how delicious the pastry tastes. Bake the pastries on parchment paper, the BEST nonstick surface for this choux pastry dough. But before you pipe the dough onto the parchment paper, moisten it with water. You can see me doing this in the video tutorial above.

Why? Think of cheesecake. We bake cheesecakes in a water bath, right? Cheesecake, like choux pastry, is egg-heavy. Eggs need a moist and humid environment in the oven to (1) properly rise and (2) avoid drying out and burning.

Water moistened parchment paper = perfectly puffed up pastries with a deliciously light center and crisp exterior. Pastry perfection.

piping choux pastry onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

For cream puffs and profiteroles, use Wilton 1A piping tip. Pipe 2-inch mounds about 3 inches apart. (Watch the video above for a good visual.) You could also use a zipped-top bag and cut off the corner for easy piping. Using a water moistened finger, smooth down the peaks and lightly brush each mound with egg wash.

choux pastry before baking

These mounds bake into this golden puffy pastry! 

choux pastry after baking

homemade whipped cream in a stand mixer bowl with whisk attachment

Split open the baked and cooled pastries, then fill with homemade whipped cream, lemon curd, jam, pastry cream, a combination of these, or your favorite filling!! You can also poke a hole in the pastries and pipe the filling inside.

Check out these beautiful hollow pastries, thanks to the steam created from the moisture inside and outside the baking dough!

spooning whipped cream filling into baked cream puffs

overhead image of cream puffs

zoomed in image of a cream puff

And for profiteroles, ice cream with a generous shower of ganache. I teach you how to make these pictured cream puffs and profiteroles in the recipe notes below.

pouring chocolate ganache onto profiteroles

profiteroles on a white cake stand

Print
clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon
zoomed in image of a cream puff

How to Make Choux Pastry (Pâte à Choux)

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 puffs
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French

Description

Choux Pastry can be used in anything from cream puffs, profiteroles, and eclairs to churros, croquembouche, French cruller donuts, choux beignets, and gougères! It only takes about 10 minutes to prepare and the options for filling and shaping are endless.


Ingredients

Choux Pastry

  • 1/2 cup (115g; 8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) 2% or whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk or water

Equipment


Instructions

  1. Watch the video in the blog post above; it will help guide you through the next few steps.
  2. Make the choux pastry dough: Combine the butter, water, milk, salt, and granulated sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted. Bring mixture to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and add the flour all at once. Stir until the flour is completely incorporated and a thick dough clumps into a ball. Mash the dough ball against the bottom and sides of the pan for 1 minute, which gently cooks the flour. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or, if using a handheld mixer, a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool down for a few minutes before adding the eggs in the next step.
  3. Read this step in full before starting. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the eggs in 3-4 separate additions mixing for 30 seconds between each. The mixture will look curdled at first, but will begin to come together as the mixer runs. Pour in the final addition of beaten eggs very slowly. Stop adding when the choux pastry has reached the desired texture: shiny, thick, and smooth with a pipeable consistency. I usually leave a few teaspoons of beaten egg behind, which can be used with the egg wash.
  4. Your choux pastry dough is complete! You can use it immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  5. For cream puff and profiterole shells: Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly brush the parchment with water, which creates a humid environment for the pastry shells allowing them to puff up without drying out or burning.
  6. Transfer choux pastry dough to a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1A piping tip. Pipe 2-inch mounds about 3 inches apart. Watch the video in the blog post above for a visual. You can also use a zipped-top bag and cut off the corner for easy piping. Using a water moistened finger, smooth down the peaks and lightly brush each with egg wash.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes then, keeping the pastries in the oven, reduce oven to 350°F (177°C) and continue to bake for 10-15 more minutes until golden brown. Do not open the oven as the pastries cook, as cool air will prevent them from properly puffing up. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before filling.
  8. Split open pastries and fill with homemade whipped cream, lemon curd, pastry cream, jam, a combination of these, or your favorite filling. You can also poke a hole in the pastries and pipe the filling inside. For my pictured cream puffs and profiteroles, see recipe notes.
  9. Cover and store leftover filled pastries in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Cover and store unfilled pastries at room temperature for 1 day, in the refrigerator for 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before filling and serving.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Prepare choux pastry dough through step 3. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before shaping and baking.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt-Head Glass Mixing Bowl | Glass Measuring Cup | Wooden Spoon | Copper Saucepan | Baking SheetWilton #1A Round Piping Tip | Piping Bags | Pastry Brush
  3. Cream Puffs (pictured): Crack open each cooled pastry shell and generously spoon homemade whipped cream (it’s vanilla flavored, so it’s called Crème Chantilly) inside each. Top with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar or drizzle of chocolate ganache (ganache instructions below).
  4. Profiteroles (pictured): Crack open each cooled pastry shell and fill with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Freeze for 1 hour or up to 1 day. Top with chocolate ganache. For the chocolate ganache, finely chop two 4-ounce semi-sweet chocolate bars and place in a medium bowl. Heat 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream in a small saucepan until it begins to gently simmer. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil– that’s too hot!) Pour over chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate. Slowly stir until completely combined and chocolate has melted. Allow to cool for 3 minutes before pouring over pastries.

Adapted from Baltimore Chef Shop, where I took my pastry class 🙂

one cream puff topped with chocolate ganache

360 Comments

  1. I was so surprised I was able to make the dough my first time! The tips and video tutorial were really helpful. Unfortunately, they started to burn about 20 minutes in. Maybe I need to check my actual oven temperature in case it runs high. Should I maybe drop the temp to 375 for the first 20 minutes and then to 350? Or drop the temps even more?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nicky! We always suggest using an in-oven thermometer for best results. You can try reducing the temperature – would love to hear how it goes.

      1. Thanks. I did try read several other recipes and watched some videos before trying again. I think the egg wash and brushing the parchment with water affected the bake. I’ll try your recipe again without doing those and see how it goes!

  2. I followed the recipe exactly and at 15 minutes they were burned black. Sad day. I’ll try again.

  3. First time!! Excellent recipe. Great detail. Will do again and again!!

  4. Chris Whittemore says:

    Not sure what happened. I followed recipe but when I took out of oven they collapsed. Also doughy in the middle. Maybe needed to allow to cook longer and not worry about the light brown color during the 400 degree cook time and lower to 350 and cook longer?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Chris! You’re right, it sounds like they needed to bake longer. It’s possible your oven runs a bit hot (which would cause the outside to darken before the inside is cooked) – we always recommend using an in-oven thermometer for best results. Thank you so much for giving these a try!

  5. Perfection on the first try! Thank you!

  6. YUM! My mom used to make the puffs a bit smaller and then fill them with tuna salad or egg salad and have them as an horduerve at cocktail parties. Super good!

  7. Hi, Sally my father ate one and said that they were delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. going to attempt a dairy-free version to top with ganache-ish. not expecting anything near perfection; but i’ll be mindful with the substitutions and careful with the baking, so i’m sure i’ll end up with something the kids will be excited to eat!

  9. Migdalia Castro de Matos says:

    Love this recipe, however, I skipped the sugar in the dough since the filling was sweet enough. I set the oven at 415 and cooked for 16 minutes with the convection on…turned out perfectly browned. My husband was surprised at how quickly I made around 24 delicious melt in your mouth puffs and he ate six at once, lol. Will be making again when guests arrive since they are so easy to make, no pastry bag needed =) Thanks for sharing.

  10. Absolute perfection on the first try!

  11. These turned out great but I did taste a strong egg flavor. Anything I did wrong that may have caused this?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shaelah! Choux pastry will naturally taste a little eggy. How was the consistency? Very thin? If so, maybe there was too much egg. Thank you for giving this recipe a try!

  12. Thank you so much for the video tutorial, detailed instructions, pictures and tips. This will be my go to recipe. I made profiteroles and they turned out great! I felt like a star baker 🙂

  13. Mery Ariza Lemus says:

    Thank you so much for sharing, excellent explantion.

  14. Hi Sally, planning to make this pastry at the weekend. I was wondering if it is completely necessary to use a stand mixer when mixing in the eggs or could I just do it very slowly by hand?
    Thanks

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Eno, you can do so by hand, but it will take some arm muscle!

  15. This is an awesome recipe!!! I was able to follow the instructions ver easily, and I am twelve. This are super delish and fun to make! Thank you so much Sally for all your amazing recipes! They are all so good at explaining every step, and walking you through it! Do you think these would be goid with nutella pastery cream or whipped cream? Thanks again!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sophie, yes, either of those would be delicious! We’re so glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe.

  16. Suzanne Bagheri says:

    Way too many eggs, mine turned out super runny and I only added half the eggs suggested.

    1. I had the same issue. Tried making the dough twice and used half the eggs the 2nd time and it was still runny

    2. Make sure you are using Large eggs and not Xlarge eggs as it will change the consistency of the batter. Another thing is fresh chicken eggs are NOT uniform in size as the store bought eggs are. You may need to weigh the eggs to get the correct amount that you would from store bought large eggs

  17. Made these and first time came out perfect. If I wanted to make cream puffs 2 to 3 times larger how would I adjust baking time?

    1. Hi Nancy, thank you! It’s hard for me to say since I haven’t tested it myself. I would add at least 4 more minutes to the bake time, but keep a close eye on them.

  18. I read all the above comments. Like a few others mine came out too thin…runny batter I presume. My question is Should I beat 4 eggs in a glass and add only enough to the mixture to reach the pipeable consistency? Will this not result in less eggs in the batter?

  19. Nicola Corlett says:

    Great recipe, perfect every time.

  20. Pamela Morgan says:

    I wish we could share pictures when we do a review. These came out great but I pulled them early otherwise they would have been overcooked. Love this recipe. Will make again. Love another review who said to use for egg salad. Great idea. Will have to freeze some. Hope they can go into freezer.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Pamela! You can freeze baked Choux for up to 3 months. Enjoy!

  21. Thank you for the recipe and video! This was my first time making choux and they came out perfect! I just need to practice piping more. I cut the recipe in half and it worked great. Thanks again!

  22. Loved the recipe. Knowing my oven, I baked at 375° for 20 minutes; later lowered to 330° for 10 minutes. Filled them with your Homemade Whipped Cream and dusted with Confectioner’s sugar. They came out perfect! Thank you for the recipe and all the tips. Will do them again and again

  23. Hi Sally, I made these and they were super easy. Perfectly golden brown and delicious. Great detail!!! So easy to follow and I am only 10 years old. Love all the recipes!

  24. Hi! If I make the choux one dah advance and refrigerate overnight, how long do I need to leave it out before I use it the next day?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elsbeth! You should be able to use it right away, though letting it sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes may make it easier to pipe. Enjoy!

1 5 6 7

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×