Choux Pastry (Pâte à Choux)

Deliciously soft and creamy cream puffs with homemade light and airy choux pastry! Easy pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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. 🙂

How to make light and airy choux pastry for cream puffs, eclairs, and profiteroles. Homemade pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

Deliciously soft and creamy cream puffs with homemade light and airy choux pastry! Easy pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Ingredients for homemade choux pastry on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!!

How to make light and airy choux pastry for cream puffs, eclairs, and profiteroles. Homemade pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!!

How to make light and airy choux pastry for cream puffs, eclairs, and profiteroles. Homemade pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 for choux pastry on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

How to make light and airy choux pastry for cream puffs, eclairs, and profiteroles. Homemade pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make light and airy choux pastry for cream puffs, eclairs, and profiteroles. Homemade pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

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!

Moisten the parchment paper when baking choux pastry. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

How to pipe choux pastry on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

How to make light and airy choux pastry for cream puffs, eclairs, and profiteroles. Homemade pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

These mounds bake into this golden puffy pastry! 

Light and airy choux pastry recipe and video tutorial. The BEST homemade pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade vanilla whipped cream on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!

Light and airy cream puffs with homemade choux pastry and vanilla whipped cream! Easy pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Deliciously soft and creamy cream puffs with homemade light and airy choux pastry! Easy pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Deliciously soft and creamy cream puffs with homemade light and airy choux pastry! Easy pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

The BEST profiteroles with homemade choux pastry and decadent chocolate ganache. Fill the airy choux pastry shells with your favorite ice cream. Homemade pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The BEST profiteroles with homemade choux pastry and decadent chocolate ganache. Fill the airy choux pastry shells with your favorite ice cream. Homemade pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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Deliciously soft and creamy cream puffs with homemade light and airy choux pastry! Easy pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 🙂

Deliciously soft and creamy cream puffs with homemade light and airy choux pastry and rich chocolate ganache! Easy pate a choux recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

162 Comments

  1. I made eclairs using your Choux pastry recipe and your cream and glaze from your Boston cream pie and my son said they were fantastic!! My son is 35 so it was quite a compliment! I love your videos and all the pictures and they helped me conquer my fears about making something like this. Thank you SO much for sharing your knowledge and expertise! Now I want to try making something like cream horns, but I can’t find those on your website. Have you made these? I have already recommended your website to my friends and look forward to trying more of your recipes.

    1. I’m so glad that you enjoy this pastry recipe! I haven’t made pastry horns before, but let me know if you do and how they turn out. 🙂

  2. Thank you for this wonderful technique based article! I love the science behind it and your tips (and the history). I’m a notorious scroller as most gals go on about how hard it is to get their kids to eat veggies or the problem their husband had with the stove. Who cares?! Thanks for sticking to the relevant topic and making it an interesting and useful read!

  3. Hi Sally
    Thanks for the meticulous recipe!
    For dinner patties, I like preparing things ahead. So I am planning to make the choux in the morning, fill with cream chantilly and jam (lightly stirred before piping) then freeze and get out 10 minutes before pouring the chocolate ganache and serving.
    My question is, can I also prepare my chocolate ganache in the morning? And how to best reheat it?

    Cheers

    1. You are welcome, Tania! For the ganache if you make it ahead of time you can slowly reheat it on the stove on low heat or in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time, stirring between each until the desired consistency is achieved.

    1. Hi sally love ur recipe. I have a question. Im will be making this for event party. If i bake them and use filling nutella whipped cream,will the cream melt in room temperature?

  4. Yours is the best instructional on Profiteroles that I have found (believe me, I looked at a lot of utube and read many recipes). The one question I haven’t seen addressed is whether to use a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. Does it make a difference?

    1. Hi Cheryl! In my experience testing the choux pastry, a flat baking sheet or jelly roll pan does NOT make a difference. Use whichever is more convenient for you.

  5. I used this recipe to make eclairs and I loved them! Such an easy recipe to do and so little time! These taste amazing!

  6. Thank you very much for this recipe, Sally (and all of the work that you put into helping us. I filled half of the pastries with cream and poured ganache over them and filled the rest with homemade lemon curd lightly mixed with beaten cream. They were delicious!

  7. Hi Sally! I was wondering, for your baking temperatures, is it based on a regular oven or a convection oven?

  8. Hi, Sally! Thanks for the great recipe! I have a question: I had these once, but they were much smaller, almost bite-sized. If I want to bake them smaller (like 1-2 in diameter), is there a bake time difference? Thank you!! 🙂

  9. Made them this morning and could not believe how easy it was. Your step by step instructions were great. I filled them with vanilla bean whipped cream.

    1. An average large egg is 56.7 grams, an average Extra-Large egg is 66.2 grams. The math is easy, a dozen large eggs is 24 oz and a dozen XL is 28 oz. Just do the math and convert to grams. Eggs can differ within a carton as long as the total for the dozen meets the standard. You can eyeball larger and smaller eggs in a carton.

    1. Hi Jacquie! I don’t have any experience baking with gluten free flour but other readers have reported back that they use it successfully in my recipes. Let me know if you try it!

    1. Hi Laura, bake them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. After reducing oven temperature to 350 degrees F, keep them in the oven for an extra few minutes past the 10-15 minutes instructed. I can’t give the exact bake time, but when they’re golden browned all over, they’re ready.

  10. Hi Sally, I made your choux pastry filled it with pastry cream and topped with ganache for my daughters birthday yesterday….they were amazing, thank you so much for the recipe. Also made ur salted caramel and chocolate bars..too good it was

  11. High Sally…great recipes and instructions.
    Have you ever used WHITE Chocolate ganache with these recipes? (Family favors Vanilla and white chocolate with recipes).

  12. Hi Sally. It’s been a while since I’ve been here but boy am I happy to be back. This is the recipe I’ve been looking for. I’ve seen others but you’re the only one I truly trust!! I just made 2 batches of lemon curd and a batch of vanilla pastry cream. I already used one batch of curd on a Pavlova but wasn’t sure what to use the 2nd one on. Putting it in choux didn’t even cross my mind (thanks for that suggestion) but I knew I’d need a choux recipe for the pastry cream and thankfully you have one. As usual when I’m attempting to do something for the first time I’m a bunde of nerves but I know with your detailed instructions and should I have any questions, you’ll be there to help/answer. That’s one thing that sets you apart from so many other online bakers. Thank you for all of the recipes and support you’ve given me, as well as many others here. I’ll come back to let you know how well they come out…

  13. Thank you so much for this easy to follow Choux recipe. I tried to these last Christmas from a different website but they looked terrible! I tried this today cause I really wanted to master it and these came out so much better. Beautiful rise and I filled them with pastry cream. Delicious! I can’t wait to try out your other recipes!

  14. I made these with the creme Chantilly for my French club, and everyone said how great they were! I loved them, they just didn’t seem as “puffy” as I was expected. They were sort of like a biscuit density. What could I do better?

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