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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. So, in other words, cabbage pastry. Why is it called “cabbage” 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 pastry, let’s simply call it choux pastry.

Like other French pastries such as croissants or even croissant bread, 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!


  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.


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.


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


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
zoomed in image of a cream puff

And for profiteroles, ice cream with a generous shower of chocolate 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

See Your Choux Pastry!

Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂

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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 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French


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.



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



  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.


  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 SpoonSaucepan | Baking SheetWilton #1A Round Piping Tip | Reusable Piping Bags or Disposable 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 🙂

Keywords: Choux Pastry, Pâte à Choux

one cream puff topped with chocolate ganache

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Very easy very fluffy! The video really helps, thank you.

  2. Perfect! I made 2 batches today and forgot to wet the parchment on the second batch and could tell a distinct difference so thank you for suggesting that in your recipe! These are so easy to make and so tasty!

  3. This recipe turned out great for making cream puffs! I used soy milk instead of dairy milk and it didn’t seem to be a problem. I omitted the sugar. My oven tends to run hot, so I reduced each baking temperature by 25 degrees. I turned off the oven at the end of the baking time and left them for 10 minutes so they wouldn’t collapse. They were light and perfectly hollow. I filled them with creme patisserie and topped them with chocolate ganache.

    1. Can I freeze these after making then set out to get to room temp before filling and serving?

      1. Yes, you can freeze after baking for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before filling and serving.

  4. Hi, Sally! (And Sally’s assistants!) I am thinking of making these for my parents’ anniversary. I want to make them like Gougères. How much cheese should I use and how should I go about doing this with this recipe? (Should I filled them with cheese after baking or fold cheese into the batter?)

    Thank you so much! I love all of your recipes and I hope you and your family are safe and healthy during these times! Peace be with you.

    1. Hi! I recommend finding a gougères recipe and using this pastry for them. It’s usually about 1 cup of shredded cheddar added right after the eggs.

  5. These turned out really well for me. Just one question though. My batter wasn’t as yellow or shiny as Sally’s. Is the color supposed to be as yellow and shiny in the picture, or is it just the lighting/camera?

    1. Hi Jenna, it could be the lighting, but also the amount of eggs. Did you use all 4 to reach the desired texture/look? (Shiny, thick, and smooth with a pipeable consistency?) I saw your other note about whole milk– best to use whole milk if you try this pastry again.

  6. I have a question. I’m unable to squeeze a pastry bag and am wondering if I dollop the dough and form it carefully with my fingers if that will work. Thank you.

    1. Hi Deb! Are you able to squeeze any bag at all? I recommend a regular zipped-top bag instead. Or you can dollop the batter with a spoon and smooth it down with a moistened fingertip as directed.

  7. I happened to make this and they turned out pretty good. I think they were in the oven too long. They were very crispy and VERY golden brown. I think that extra time in the oven was unnecessary . I filled them with pastry cream a ganache for sweet, and goat cheese for savory. Really tasty!

  8. Hi Sally,
    I was wondering how and why I should change the oven temp in the baking process. I tend to avoid recipes that ask to change the temp in the baking process because I don’t know how to. Can you answer this?

    1. Hi Alexis, You simply preheat your oven to 400°F (204°C) and bake your pastry for 20 minutes. Then without opening the oven door you turn your temperature dial down to 350°F (177°C) for the last 10-15 minutes of the bake time. Do not open the oven as the pastries cook!

  9. Very amateur baker here and loved making these! I wanted to try something a bit more challenging, the video helped a lot and I found the recipe very easy to follow. I made these with your lemon curd recipe (which also came out delicious). Thank you!

  10. I made these today, following the instructions exactly and they came out perfectly! Just like a bakery but even better. It was my first time with this kind of dough and the video was so helpful. Perfect recipe and I’m glad I gave it a try!

  11. Hi Sally! I made this recipe and it turned out almost great, with the only exception that the bottom was totally black but the rest of the pastry wasn’t burned at all. Can you please tell me a tip or trick because if I got them out earlier they would have been raw.

    1. Hi Sofia! So glad you tried these. I’m happy to help for next time, though. The uneven baking can be fixed with a couple small adjustments. I recommend lowering the oven temperature by 25°F. Lower the oven rack so the pastries are lower in the oven, too. Use a light colored metal pan. Go easy on the water when dampening the parchment paper– and try a lighter coating of egg wash, too. I suspect it was mostly excess water and/or egg wash burning on the bottom.

  12. hi sally made this and the taste is great using also the homemade whipped cream you shared as filling. The color us nice just like at the picture. However, the bottom has a hole? I mean not burnt but a space underneath has formed.

  13. Hi Sally, I have made the Cream Puffs and Eclairs with your amazing recipe. They really are much easier than I had thought they’d be!! I’d like to make a Cream Puff with a strawberry filling. Any ideas or recipes for a Strawberry Cream Puff??? My family and I LOVE your Strawberry Buttercream Icing; would a variation of that work?? Possibly using whipped cream with dehydrated strawberries??? Thanks for the great recipes!!!

  14. Hi Sally, is the mound created by piping in little circular motion or just squeeze on top. The video is quite fast or my eyes might be the prob, i am not sure how you did it Thanks!

    1. Hi Kath, For these just hold the piping and squeeze straight up.

  15. Great recipe for rusty chef like me. Always delivers fabulous results!

  16. Hi Sally! If my oven is fan forced (I don’t have an oven thermometer), does that change the temperature setting for the oven?
    Thanks (:

    1. Hi Marina, The general rule of thumb for convection/fan settings is to lower your temperature by 25 degrees. Your bake time may also be slightly shorter as fan forced heat can overbake things quickly so just keep you eye on them!

  17. Hi! The first time I made this recipe for eclairs they turned out absolutely perfect and amazing! Everyone loved them and they finished very quickly. I decided to make them again, but this time doubled the recipe for more eclairs. This time, when I added the flour into the milk and water mixture, the proportions seemed to be off. There wasn’t enough flour and the mixture was still liquidy and had not turned into dough. I ended adding a lot more flour to finally get a somewhat dough like consistency. It still seemed to be very greasy and rubbery. Also, my mixture seemed to have boiled before adding the flour so I ended up waiting 10 min for it to cool down before adding the flour. It didn’t seem to simmer first.

    I still tried to bake these eclairs but they were completely flat, didn’t rise and burnt from the bottom. It had turned into some sort of hard biscuit… Did these errors occurred because I doubled the recipe? Should I try making the recipe twice instead of doubling it? Does the end product get affected because the mixture simmered or boiled? Please let me know what I can fix and any tips to make sure it turns out good. I absolutely loved this recipe the first time I made it, and my family claimed it was one of the best eclairs they had ever had!!

  18. Thank you for the fantastic recipes as always Sally! I finally gathered the guts and tried this! It looked lovely when out of the oven but all of them stuck to the baking sheet ‍♀️‍♀️So I had big holes just wanted to ask what I could have done wrong!! Too much water on the parchment paper?? Batter too thin at the bottom? Oven temp? Please let me know because am determined to try it again tomorrow
    Thank you

    1. Hi GP! Thank you so much for trying this homemade pastry. I’m happy to help for next time. The oven temperature shouldn’t be the issue, but I recommend a little less water on the parchment. You can also try baking them for a little longer so you can be sure they’re thoroughly cooked on the bottom (and therefore won’t stick). These suggestions should both help!

  19. Just made these and they turned out amazing!!! My parents gobbled them up. I have a question though because I am paranoid about dough being raw. How do I know they are done on the inside? Should they be completely dry?

    1. Hi Joanna, We are so happy these were a hit! Turn the light on in your oven toward the end of the bake time. When they outside is golden brown they should be finished baking!

  20. My choux pastry came out awesome Sally. Thank you ever so much. I had this fear in me against choux pastry but you helped me overcome it and made it so easy for me.

  21. Thank you so much! My choux pastry came out amazing! It was a total hit with my family, and I just filled it with homemade whip cream! Thanks again!

  22. Hi Sally!

    All of mine fell except one! They fell during the cooling process What did I do wrong? Thanks!

    1. Hi Carol, 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.

  23. My Choux Pastry came out flat!!!! This is the first time this has happened to me!!!! What went wrong? My Choux Pastry looked just like yours.

    1. Hi Heather, 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.

  24. Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I was glad to see that I can use my KitchenAid to mix it with since I have severe arthritis. I had a problem the butter making the mix oily, and I needed more flour, but I only added 2 Tbsps. since I was worried about adding too much extra. It was still kind of Currdle-like when I piped it. I also think my pot got too hot.

  25. This recipe is awesome! It is so easy to follow and the result is delicious. I used a silicone mat I instead of parchment paper and everything still turned out very well. (I did still wet it slightly.) I did learn that my estimate of 2 inches is not very accurate as I got twice as many cream puffs as the 16 stated… not complaining about having to eat more whipped cream though! Super yummy Thanks Sally!

  26. I made this recipe, following directions exactly, and found this to be a wonderful first-time experience with choux pastry! Thank you for the multiple pictures, video and detailed written instructions. Now, I’m addicted. 😉

  27. I made this recipe and it is soo yummy! Easy to follow and baked perfect according to the time and instructions.

  28. I’m a rookie in the kitchen. This has always been one of my favorite desserts. I NEVER would have thought I could ever make something like this. I watched the video more than a few times, read and re-read the instructions. They came out perfect and I’m seriously addicted! I still can’t believe I made this! Thank you so much for all the info you included and the time you took to share this. Now I want to branch out and try different fillings and toppings. You have a new follower. Thank you!

  29. Lyn asked if making a larger sized Choux makes a difference and about cooking temperature differences. I have not tried this recipe yet but have a couple of store-bought jars of lemon curd I’m thinking about using.
    Please advise about using lower temperatures and/or making the choux in a different shape (like an oval shape or eclair shape) and just making it larger in general.
    Thank you for this recipe!!!

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