Cheddar Cheese Puffs

Light and airy savory cheese puffs (gourgères) with cheddar cheese and thyme.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 2 dozen


  • 1 stick butter (8 Tbsp or 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (or rosemary)
  • Freshly ground pepper


1 Boil the water, butter, salt: In a medium sized saucepan, add the water, butter, and salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.

boil water butter salt to start the cheese puff dough

2 Add the flour and stir: Reduce the heat to medium and add the flour all at once. Stir rapidly. The mixture will form a dough ball that will pull away from the sides of the pan.

add flour and stir to make cheese puff dough heat cheese puff dough to make gougere dough

It helps to use a wooden spoon to stir as the dough will be rather thick. Continue to cook for a couple minutes.

the cheese puff dough should pull away from the sides of the pan

3 Let cool a couple minutes, then add eggs, one at a time: Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes. Stir so that the dough cools more evenly. You want the dough to be warm, just not so hot that when you start adding eggs they cook as they hit the dough.

Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition until the eggs are incorporated into the dough. (Do this part in a mixer if you want, or by hand with a wooden spoon.) The dough should become rather creamy.

add eggs one at a time to cheese puff gougere dough stir cheese puff gougere dough until creamy

4 Stir in the grated cheese, thyme, and a few grinds of pepper.

5 Scoop spoonfuls onto lined baking sheet: Heat oven to 425°F. Spoon out small balls (about a heaping tablespoon) of the dough onto a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet, with at least an inch separating the spoonfuls.

scoop cheese puff dough by spoonfuls onto a lined baking sheet

6 Bake: Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes at 425°F. Lower heat to 350°F and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until puffed up and lightly golden.

bake cheddar cheese puffs until golden

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  • Lynn

    OMG put beacon and cheddar cheese in puffs and everyone raved about them thanks for the recipe! Was easy to make and so good

  • Mom

    Excellent receipe. It turned out beautiful…thank you for the recipe


  • Sanny Ang

    Just made 1 batch of cheddar Cheese Puffs & came out BEAUTIFULLY. Tasted even better…I added 1 tsp of chilli flakes to give it a little zing

  • JC

    My mother used to make the best cheese puffs that she would serve at holidays and other special occasions, so I came upon this recipe looking for something similar. These were not those. My cheese puffs using this recipe turned out tasteless. The texture and color were good, but there just wasn’t the taste. More cheese, thyme and salt might help. Or maybe some other add-ins.


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi JC, the cheese puffs are only going to be as good as the cheese you use. Try using a high quality sharp cheddar cheese. I recommend Tillamook brand. I also like a good sharp Irish cheddar.

  • Reata Bush

    Have not made these yet they sound wonderful but reading the recipe it call for 1 cup of cheddar cheese then says 4 oz which is half a cup so which would I use?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Raeta! 1 cup of shredded cheese is 4 ounces by weight. If you’re measuring with measuring cups, use a 1 cup measure. If you’re measuring by weight, using a scale, measure out 4 ounces of shredded cheese. Enjoy!

  • Denise

    I made this with dried thyme instead of fresh and it worked out fine. I put an extra grind or 2 of pepper and enjoyed the little extra bite that gave these. They are better warm, but still good cold too. I made this a day ahead of time and put the dough in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, I rolled the dough into balls and baked them as the directions called for. I was impressed at how much they puffed up in the oven. I let them cool on the stovetop and put them in an airtight bowl for storage. These tasted pretty good but weren’t really a knock out, so I don’t know if I would make them again or not.


  • Hanna

    I have a bake sale at work today. Literally made this in the morning and it came out beautifully. I added more seasoning and herbs and i highly recommend it.


  • wendy

    do you have to use butter? can margarine be substituted?

  • Jessica

    First time making it today and it was a success! Thanks for the awesome recipe!


  • Suzanne Perry

    These look like rise as if they have leavening (baking powder) in them, yet there is none listed in the recipe. What is the leavener?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Suzanne, eggs are the leavener. With 4 eggs to one cup of flour, no additional leavener is needed.

  • Tami

    delicious every time


  • Liz

    the taste is delicious. but mine were flat like cookies.. what did I do wrong.?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Liz, I looked up “my gougeres are flat” in Google and the Interwebs are telling me that the likely culprit is that the paste needed to cook more, really pull away from the pan. Also, if you are cooking them on an insulated cookie sheet it won’t work because the bottom will not get hot enough to create the steam needed to make these puff up (don’t know if that’s what you used). If the rounds are starting out too flat and soupy though, it could be that you just need a bit more flour. Good luck!

  • Chris

    I used dill and multi colored pepper instead and baked and channel shapes it was a very big success.


  • Nitachia

    Love love love! So delicious and easy! Took about an hour to do two batches. The taste is fantastic! Not too bready. The dough is not as fluffy and holy as a cream puff pastry would be, but it tastes delicious nonetheless. My dough was firm enough to roll into balls. About the size you use for cookies. They are delicious warm. Wouldn’t change anything about the recipe.


  • ScottinSoCal

    I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for months – probably over a year – but the one attempt I made at choux a long time ago put it on my “one day, maybe” list. For anyone else in the same boat, I can’t recommend enough that you sit and binge-watch The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. The contestants on there do choux, over and over again through the episodes. They make every mistake possible, and do it right, too. They explain the consistency of the dough in the pan, how to mix in the eggs, and what to watch for in the oven. It gave me some confidence and finally – SUCCESS!

    I will say there are so few flavors in here, don’t scrimp on anything. No pre-grated store-brand cheese. Fresh herbs, minced fine. And if you want nice round puffs, don’t be afraid to shape the dough on the baking sheet before you put them in the oven. They’re really very good.


  • Jessica

    Please can you help me in doing this for a school function with about 978 children at the school how much would I need to prepare that?

    Thanks in advance xxx

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jessica, I have no idea how well this recipe scales, but if you are going purely on number of servings, I would multiply all of the ingredients by 15.

  • Michelle

    Pipe and shape and freeze before baking for later use. They will be wonderful, warm, fresh and take less space in freezer. Freeze on pan then put in a freezer bag or container. Extra few min in oven, just pop frozen puffs onto parchment lined baking sheet.

  • Erin

    Thanks for the great appetizer recipe. These turned out really well. Everyone at the party loved them!


  • Nahida

    can I freeze these puffs and how? Baked or unbaked?

    • Tina

      So I was wondering this myself and did a little research. According to Julia Child, in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, the puffs “freeze perfectly”, just before using set them in a 425 degree oven for 3-4 minutes to thaw and crisp. I haven’t tried this yet, but I would wager she knows what she is talking about.

  • Edel

    I’m cooking for 50 people this Sat and wonder if I made these the day before and reheated the next would they crisp up ok? Also if anyone has an idea for one other canapé that is possible to prepare the day before and won’t take too much time. I have a mammoth amount of preparing for the main and dessert!
    Sleepless and panicking in Ireland!
    Thanks in advance

  • Melissa

    Thanks for another great recipe, Elise. I have always been scared of making pate a choux but the photos in this recipe convinced me to try. I can’t believe how easy it was! What was I scared of all this time?


  • Sarah

    Just made these today and they turned out great! It was an interesting recipe. Very easy to put together. They are great as a salty snack with garlic butter but if you left out the cheese and spices and did something more sweet and desserty they’d be just as good. I like a recipe that can go either way. Thanks!


  • Vicky

    I made a half batch of these to test them out and they were all gone in minutes! After I took them out of the oven I brushed them with some melted butter and sprinkled with some grated Parmesan cheese.


  • Felicia

    I really enjoyed making this recipe! My husband love it!!!


  • Felicia

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I made them to accompany a soup and they were the best part of the meal!


  • Stephany Brisco

    I made your cheddar cheese puffs along with your split pea soup and it was just awesome! They are super easy and are truly what you call them, puffs! I made the same two recipes the next day for a friends who wasn’t feeling well. I just love your web sight! It’s all I cook from now.


  • Carrie

    I saw this picture this morning and immediately had to make a batch of these! I baked half the batch and fried the other half in little nuggets. They’ve been the perfect snack while being lazy around the house and watching the Olympics. It’s my first time making pate a choux – it was really easy. I’m definitely going to be experimenting with this recipe!


  • Nancy Buchanan

    I love this dough – easy, quick and versatile!! For those who like to plan ahead (yeah, that would be me!!) you can make the puffs ahead of time – they will soften but if you pop them into a 350 degree oven for 3 – 5 minutes, they crisp right up!!


  • S Mckay

    Can you please advise if these cheddar puffs will freeze? I am thinking of making them for a cocktail party with about 125 guests.
    Appreciate any feedback. – Thanks

    I think this question may have already been asked in the comments. I do not know the answer, as I have not attempted to freeze them yet. ~Elise

  • Alissa

    Is it possible to prepare the pate a choux ahead of time
    and refrigerate the dough before baking?


  • Ayesha

    I tried it and don’t really like it. It came out looking great but I don’t really like the taste.

  • Thang

    This looks like a really good recipe, but I’m an amateur chef and I can’t make these the way shown! They end up burnt on the outside and still quite raw on the inside. I’ve tried making smaller balls but that doesn’t help. Can anyone help me?

  • Star

    I have a little tip for the collapsing. When I take puffs out of the oven I set the tray on the oven top for them to cool. Because when you take puffs out of the oven and the cool air its them, most likely they will collapse. So if you set them on the oven top to let them cool as the oven cools off from being on, the puffs will cool at the same time. Mine have never collapsed doing this trick.

  • Tamara

    Lovely, light, and kid-friendly! I made these with leftover cheese — a mix of queijo minas (like queso fresco) and parmesan. Also did not have parchment paper, so I oiled the pan for the first batch, but these were so buttery, I’m not even sure that was necessary. I baked one batch with minced garlic on top–gorgeous!

  • jennyblue

    Made these today for a little get together. They were still a bit wet in the middle at the end of the time so I popped them back in the oven. Brushed them with some garlic butter when they were cool. So yummy!

    One question. Some of the puffs puffed more than others. I tried to make them as uniform as possible, but did have two trays in the oven at the same time. Do you think the two trays might have hindered the puffiness?

    Yes, the two trays may have interfered with the movement of heat around the trays to make the cooking less even. ~Elise

  • Dawn Bagnetto

    I’ve made these Cheddar puffs twice now (see my comment posted on 8/17/2010) and the second time I made them, they crisped up & browned nicely and were absolutely delicious. After cooling and storing in a zip-top bag, they became soft and rubbery – no crispness left. Is it possible I didn’t cook them long enough, or that I made them too large? Thanks!

    Hi Dawn, great question. Yep, the cheddar cheese puffs are meant to be eaten immediately. As with anything crispy, if you seal them in a plastic bag, they will lose their crispiness. Actually this is a good trick with overly hard cookies. If you want to soften them up a bit, just put them in an airtight plastic container. ~Elise

  • Dawn Bagnetto

    These Cheddar Puffs had excellent flavor – I used fresh rosemary and the results were amazing! Unfortunately I didn’t cook them long enough and when they cooled down, they collapsed! I was very aggravated at myself! I will try again, though – thanks for all the wonderful recipes!!

  • ronna

    Mine turned out to be more like mini-popovers… definitely too eggy for my tastes. Any suggestions on how to modify these to be less eggy, other than adding more cheese? Maybe using fewer eggs and a touch of baking powder?

    • Sandra Paul

      I tried this receipe, and I do have the same comment of adding a little baking powder. I added more cheese, and I reduced the eggs because during mixing it smelled eggy after the third egg.
      I did not read all the comments, but I was hoping someone mentioned something abouth the puff. As soon I removed them, the puff disappeared within a minute and the became flat. Did anyone experienced this?

  • Shirley

    Yours came out puffy and beautiful! Mine were closer to discs. I was a little disappointed. I also like your use of cheddar, instead of the Parmesan and gruyere my recipe called for. If I ever make them again, I’m using your recipe!

    Hi Shirley, I found that of all the cheeses I tried (Parmesan, cheddar, queso fresco) the cheddar ended up the most dense, and the queso fresco the fluffiest. Still they all tasted great. ~Elise

  • Esther

    Tried these a couple days ago… LOVE them! Soooo much easier to make than what I imaginged, and turned out awesome!

  • Melissa

    I was so excited to try something completely new tonight, but… although the apartment smells great and my puffs are crispy and browned, the inside of the puffs is still a bit wet and doughy, even after cooking for 20+ minutes. The outside is so perfect that I probably will stop cooking in a little bit and maybe just dry them in the oven overnight. Any guesses as to what might have gone wrong? They taste okay, I’m just a bit worried about the whole 4-eggs-not-cooking situation.

    I would just cook them longer. ~Elise

  • Leslie

    Hi Elise,
    I am new to your site and just love it! These cheese puffs are wonderful and are so simple! Thank so much for sharing your recipes! For those that don’t have silpat or parchement paper, I just LIGHTLY greased my baking sheet with Crisco and they turned out light on the bottom with no sticking!
    Thanks again!

  • Steve

    Hi Elise,

    As a couple other peoples above commented on the egg-y taste just like my fiance did. Are you supposed to be able to taste egg in them? Thanks so much for the delicious recipes!

    Good question. I guess cheese puffs are a little eggy. The eggs are the leavening and they provide structure to the cheese puffs. Perhaps with a stronger cheese like gruyere you don’t notice it as much. Just make sure you are using large eggs, and not extra large or jumbo. If so, then reduce the number of eggs. ~Elise

  • Joy

    I normally love your recipes but this one was far too eggy for my taste. I guess I didn’t expect it even though there are 4 eggs in the recipe because it was called a Cheese Puffs. My husband liked them for his breakfast though. And the idea is very cool.

  • Regina

    OK – made these today, and I had a friend tell me I should open a bakery! I didn’t have any cheddar, so I used Swiss…. I think they could stand up to a more flavorful cheese than Swiss – maybe even a good Bleu cheese or feta…. if I did feta, I would probably do oregano for the herb…. Bleu cheese, maybe dill…… hmmmmm…. time to hit the cheese case @ the grocery store!

    SUPER easy, by the way!!!

  • Amy

    Well, I decided to run out and get parchment since every single other cheese puff recipe on the web also called for it. I’m glad I did because there was absolutely no sticking. I’d have to say that they didn’t have as much cheese flavor as I’d expect and I felt like I could taste the egg flavor a bit. I wonder if I let the dough cool down too much before adding the eggs…I’ve had custard traumas, so I was super carefuly about that…still warm, but not hot, but maybe not warm enough? I dunno! They were absolutely light and airy! I loved that!!


  • Amy

    Hi Elise, maybe a dumb question–what if I don’t have parchment or silpat? Can I use foil or something?

    Good question. Foil should work. You might want to grease it first with a little oil. ~Elise

  • greyeagle

    Just wonderful! Came out so light and soft/crispy.
    Haven’t made a pate a choux in a long time, forgot how simple and quick it can be and so versatile.I used the mixer for the egg additions and really didn’t add or take away anything. We had these with just plain old spaghetti and sauce and they sure did turn a regular old meal into something a bit more special. Simple, dependable recipes are what we need in this depression and yours fit the bill nicely.

  • Garrett McCord

    Made these using some aged New Zealand cheddar. They lasted about two hours between three of us. Filled some with some slow braised chili pork that we made a few days before which made for some delicious sliders. Super easy recipe and great results, Elise.

  • elizabeth

    Does anyone know if I could make these and then freeze the leftovers for another occasion? There are just two of us and I’m dying to try these. I am afraid that if they’re as good as everyone says we’ll eat them all ourselves! Thanks.

  • Gregory Lyons

    Or use gruyere and call them gougeres? N’est ce pas?

    Exactement. ~Elise

  • Jackalyn

    These were amazing, although I messed up and thought I could use wax paper which made them stick, my fault. I will definetly be trying these again as I couldn’t get them out of the oven fast enough to satisfy my guests. I may try to make garlic and cheese ones next time! YUM!

  • Patricia

    To say you changed my life is an understatement. I have become a better cook because of your recipes and tips. I constantly refer to your as my go to “what’s for dinner” guide. I recommend your site to anyone who will listen. Your recipes never disappoint. I made these cheddar puffs tonight and they came out perfect! Thank you for your insight, your website is my absolute favorite! Thank you! Thank you!

    Wow. Thank you! I’m so glad you are finding the site so useful. Happy cooking! ~Elise

  • Christine

    This looks super intriguing, and I intend to make it very soon. One question; would I be able to use whole wheat flour and still have it behave correctly?


    Great question. I don’t know, but if you try it, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  • Mrs.TeaPie

    I made these and they were delish!
    Of course I made a few changes :-)
    Instead of just boiling the butter and
    water, I browned the butter first.
    Waited for it to cool and then added
    the water.
    To the water, I added my thyme and heated
    it in the microwave and made thyme tea.
    When the butter cooled enough, I added the
    water and brought both to a boil and
    proceeded with the rest of the recipe.
    Since I had a piece of unnamed hard cheese
    in my fridge, I grated about a 1/4 of it
    (probably romano) and added it to about 3/4 c.
    of white cheddar.

    These turned out wonderful. I will be making
    this recipe again.

  • Purvis

    Like Jennifer, I thought these were pao de queijo, but these are much drier, and are really good dropped in soup. Thanks for the recipe–these were great, and SO. EASY. I tried not to think of the fact that I was eating something that’s basically made up of flour, eggs, butter and cheese, lol.

  • Bob


    Gougeres will be more airy than the Red Lobster biscuits, but a savory treat nonetheless. Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio also discusses making biscuits, and that would be a good starting point for what you’re trying to do.

  • Jenn

    I made these tonight. They are so yummy and easy! I’ll make these again for sure!!!

  • Lynn

    The cheese puffs are calling my name — I would love to be having one with my wine right now. I am wondering if my altitude (3800 feet) might cause problems?

    Hmm. Good question. I think 3800 is still low enough that there shouldn’t be a problem. That said I wouldn’t know if there would be a problem at a higher elevation. ~Elise

  • Dan

    Just made these tonight with our dinner and they were fantastic! Also, very easy to make. I had never made this dough and will be experimenting…I was thinking a little brown sugar or cinnamon chips and enjoy them with Sunday brunch.

  • Joe

    I just saw these this morning (I always watch your website for new recipes) and I made them but for some reason mine didn’t really puff up that much. I think it might be because my dough looked a little drier than yours after I put the eggs in. Do you have any suggestions as to what I might have done wrong?

    No idea. Maybe your eggs were old? Maybe your oven temperature is off? ~Elise

  • Hannah

    Wow, these look good, and don’t sound too tricky either. I wonder if they’d work well with blue cheese?

    I think they would be excellent with blue cheese, though you might want to use a little less cheese to compensate for the more intense flavor of the blue compared with cheddar. ~Elise

  • Jennifer

    Does anyone know if these are the same thing as pao de queijo (cheese bread in portugese)from brazil? I’ve been looking for a good recipe for those…

    Hi Jennifer, not the same. Pao de queijo is made with tapioca flour, and it isn’t cooked first the way this recipe dough is. But they sure look the same! ~Elise

  • Thom

    Merci Mille Fois! I just made a batch of these and, yes, even a boob baker like me can make them. (The only scary part is when you start adding the eggs.)
    The possibilities for other flavors are as big as your imagination.
    And thanks for the link to the tart dough by Lebovitz.
    All of a sudden, I feel like a real baker!

  • Di

    Yummy! They look so good! Thanks for sharing the recipe. :)
    Do you think they can be made with gluten-free flour?

    Don’t know, but if you try it, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

    • Barb

      Hi Di. Did yôu ever try these with gluten free flour? Wondered about using almond or coconut flour or a mix of both?

  • lindsay a

    Love this recipe :) Quick! Is there a tool on this website to cut the recipe in half?

    (p.s. yes I know how to MENTALLY cut it in half, but that invariably turns disastrous when I forget to cut ALL the ingredients in half :( thanks!)

    No tool, sorry! ~Elise

  • Liza (Jersey Cook)

    Elise – these look wonderful and can’t wait to make them!

    One question though: Is it 1 cup or 4 ounces of sharp cheddar? 1 cup is 8 ounces, so I am thinking you meant to write 1/2 cup?

    Thanks for the great recipes!

    16 ounces (1 lb) of cheese grates up into 4 cups, so 4 ounces grates up into 1 cup. 1 cup of fluid is 8 ounces of fluid, but here I’m talking about weight, and when you grate cheese, there is a lot of air in there. ~Elise

  • Rose

    Just made these to go with some spiced blue crabs! Wonderful recipe – much easier than it sounds. Thank you!


  • Moira

    I’ve made pate a choux since I was a small child. Such a versatile dough. You can deep fry it or bake it. If you use a piping bag and just do a small dab of dough (teaspoon size) you have a terrific one bite size when baked for a small amount of cream, ice cream, a savory filling such as ham or clams with cream cheese or making a petite version of a St Honore. For the cheese recipe above, I also add about 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard when beating in the eggs.