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.

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!

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

206 Comments

  1. I’m dairy intolerant so I made mine with vegan butter and soy milk. They turned out great! My first attempt at piping, so they aren’t as beautiful as yours, but they taste wonderful with almond milk whipped creme. I’ll definitely keep trying this recipe until I’m better at it. Thank you!

  2. Hi Sally! I noticed other choux pastry recipes I’ve seen have you puncture the pastry immediately after baking to release air. Do you know what the reason is for that? And why is it not necessary for these?

    1. Hi Lydia, Every recipe is a bit different. Here as soon as you remove the pastries from the oven there’s still steam inside, and when you let it all escape before the pastry has cooled your dough might deflate. Other chefs argue that piercing them immediately after baking helps to dry out the inside. I did not find it necessary for this recipe but if you try it and your insides are still moist you can certainly try this method and see if it helps!

  3. I followed a different choux pastry recipe before, and it never came out good.
    This time, when I followed ur recipe, it came out PERFECT.
    Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!!!

  4. My choux pastry turns out nicely puffed, etc. The only problem I have is that the pastry sticks to the parchment paper (I misted the paper). Do you have any idea why this happens?

  5. Excellent instructions and great dough for so many things. I can’t believe I made this from scratch! Sally, thank you! We enjoyed cream puffs last night, which are my mother’s favorite. She can’t bake anymore with her health, so I was thrilled to make these for her.

  6. Hello
    I tried the recipe twice, and the result was a good shape and color but it is not crunchy on the outside.
    What is the reason and is it necessary to wipe it with eggs before baking ??

  7. Hello!
    I’ve tried this recipe multiple times, and the profiteroles turned out amazing each time. However, are there any changes I need to make to the recipe in order to make eclairs??
    Thanks!

  8. The most amazing recipe that I have ever used! 100 % successful thanks for sharing this. I was not successful with any other recipe so far.

    1. Hi Lesley, Once your choux pastry dough is complete you can use it immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

  9. Made them yesterday, I couldn’t believe I did it. I’m a good cook but a home cook, so I’m trying out things I haven’t done before, last week pavlova from your site which was divine and I will make again for sure, I served it with your recipe for strawberry topping, YUM. This week I tried this recipe, and am excited for lunch to taste it, it looks right! Thank you for all your posts, tips, and tricks!

  10. I love this recipe. Made it for a family reunion. Everyone was loving the taste. I Did a krokembouche with caramel drizzle, cream puffs with choc cream cheese and whipped cream filledtoo, and some custard filled too. And eclairs. Great reactions to all.

  11. I left my go-to choux behind in search of something better. I found it! I made the puffiest cream puffs of my life! Great tip with the steam, though it browned the bottoms a little quicker. Next time I’ll move my oven rack higher. Great recipe! I wish I could post a picture because they are clouds of perfection.

  12. I made these the other night – they taste amazing, but my puffs deflated. We still ate them, but I wonder what I did wrong?

    1. Hi Matt, I’m glad you enjoyed the taste! They may have been slightly under-baked. The steam inside is what helps them puff up, but it needs to be completely dry when you remove them from the oven. Even a little bit of moisture inside will cause them to collapse. Also be sure that you don’t open your oven door while they are baking so that you don’t let the steam escape.

  13. After trying a different recipe and failing, I decided to try yours and your explanation is so clear!! I was finally successful!! Even for a newbie like me, it was easy to understand and I was able to make them!! They are delicious!

  14. Hi Sally. I go to your site for all my baking recipes, but I can never find a link to the videos. Wonder why? But thanks for all the great pictures! Making these pastries today for my Granddaughter’s birthday.

    1. Hi Cynthia! Give the videos a few seconds to load in my blog posts. It’s a faded horizontal image of me or the baked good. Click on the play button in the center to play it. Make sure any ad blockers are temporarily paused on your browser. You can also find all of my videos on my Facebook page and YouTube!

      1. Thanks for your response, Sally. There is no play button in the center of the images. I will try turning off the Ad Blocker suggestion!!! BTW, my choux turned out Awesome!!

  15. Hi! I tried this recipe (after failing with a less detailed one) and the dough consistency was MUCH better. However, my pastries seemed not to rise as much as in your video. I had one that did but the rest stayed mound shaped. Is it possible I overmixed the batter?

  16. Wonderful tutorial for choux pastry and easier than I thought. Using this time at home to conquer some new recipes. I filled them with ice cream!

  17. Hi sally! Your recipes have become my favorite and my go to for everything baking! Question, I remember Costco selling mini cream puffs that were frozen. Could these be frozen? Would you recommend without filling or would it be ok with? It would be awesome to be able to make them, freeze, and eat whenever we want, instead of eating them all at once before they go stale thank you again!!

    1. Thank you so much, Tehani! Yes you can freeze these for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before filling and serving.

      1. My goodness I am so blind. I thought I read through the recipe but apparently not *face palm*. Thank you for clarifying haha!! Have a great day!

  18. Hi Sally,

    I have been trying to cut down on all purpose flour while baking and was wondering if there is a way to make these with almond flour?

  19. Hey really excited to try the recipe – Can choux be baked in silicon moulds to get a specific shape or am I wasting my time?

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