Skip to Content

Pâte à Choux (Choux Pastry)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

I'm walking you through how to make a simple choux pastry, also known as pâte à choux. This classic French pastry is used to make a variety of desserts and it's much easier than you may think!

Side view of cream puffs filled with whipped cream and dusted with powdered sugar.
You only need a handful of staple ingredients to make pâte à choux at home. This recipe is traditional and yields perfect results every time.

Choux pastry, pronounced shoo pastry, is made with water, butter, salt, flour, and eggs. That's it!

I've seen some recipes use half milk and half water. This will give the final pastry a rich golden color. But today we are focusing on the traditional way which uses only water.

Instead of using a rising agent, the dough uses a high moisture content. This moisture releases steam during cooking which causes the pastry to puff up.

Once the pastry is cooked, it is often filled with pastry cream, whipped cream, or chocolate ganache.

Overhead of baked eclair and cream puff shells.

What can you make with choux pastry

Choux pastry dough is a versatile dough that is used to make a variety of desserts.

It's often piped or spooned onto a baking sheet and baked into profiteroles, cream puffs, or eclairs. These are filled with flavorful fillings and topped with chocolate glaze, caramel, or powdered sugar.

Cheese is added to the dough to make gougères. My bacon garlic gougères are loaded with flavor. You must try them!

Beignets are made by piping the dough then frying it. These are also filled with pastry cream and dusted with powdered sugar.

No matter how you decide to use the dough, you can have light, airy, and crisp pastries with just a few simple steps.

Why is choux pastry called choux?

According to the History of Choux Pastry, published in 2014, choux is the French word for cabbages. And when the little mounds of pastry are baked, they resemble small cabbages.


Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make this classic pâte à choux recipe. Nothing special, just 5 simple pantry ingredients.

  • Water: Water is traditional so we are sticking with that.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter is best. It doesn't need to be softened but I recommend cutting it into small pieces so it will melt quickly once heated.
  • Salt: A small amount of salt is needed for flavor.
  • Flour: Make sure to use unbleached all-purpose flour and sift it well. Sifting will remove any large clumps making it easier to mix thoroughly.
  • Eggs: Make sure the eggs are at room temperature. This will make them easier to mix into the dough.

Can I use milk instead of water?

You can use half water and half whole milk. The milk will give the final pastry a richer color.

Avoid using only milk. You need water in order to get the correct amount of steam. Remember, steam is how the pastry gets its rise.

Can I make dairy-free choux pastry?

You can turn this into a dairy-free version by replacing the regular butter with vegan butter.

I have not tested this method, though. And can't guarantee how it will turn out.

Overhead of eclairs topped with chocolate glaze.

Tools needed

  • Heavy bottom saucepan: I prefer to use a nonstick pan for easy cleanup but stainless steel is best for beginners.
  • Wooden spoon: All you need for mixing is a wooden spoon.
  • Piping bag with tip: You need a large pastry bag to pipe the pastry. And a Wilton 1A piping tip for cream puffs or an Ateco 869 French star piping tip for eclairs.
  • Scoop: I prefer to scoop my dough for cream puffs and profiteroles. For this, you need a 1.5 tablespoon scoop.

How to make pâte à choux

  1. Bring water, butter, and salt to a full boil.
  2. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring constantly until the paste forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pot. A film will be visible on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Stir in the eggs in 3 additions, mixing until fully incorporated after each addition. Cool completely before using it.
  5. Pipe or scoop desired shapes and bake until golden brown and firm.
Process shots for how to make choux pastry.
Process shots for baking choux pastry.

How do you fix runny choux pastry dough?

Runny choux dough happens when you don't cook the dough long enough, or you add too much of the eggs.

Make sure to cook the dough after adding the flour until a film forms at the bottom of the saucepan. This can take up to 5 minutes. If you're new to making choux, use a stainless steel pot because the film won't form on a nonstick pot.

You may not need to add all the eggs. The eggs are added in 3 additions and you only use as much as you need to get a shiny dough that is the right consistency. The batter should fall off the spoon in a v-shaped ribbon.

Why did my choux pastry not rise?

First, make sure to allow the water/flour mixture to cool before adding the eggs. If it's too warm, it will cook the eggs and the dough won't rise in the oven.

Next, make sure not to add too much egg. I mentioned this above. You only need enough to get the dough the correct consistency.

Finally, DO NOT open the oven as the pastries bake. This will cause them to deflate.

How do you keep choux pastry from getting soggy?

Immediately upon removing the pastries from the oven, use a skewer to poke a hole all the way through. This will allow steam to escape and help prevent the pastries from becoming soggy.

You can also place the skewered pastries back into the warm oven, with it off, and let them continue to dry out for 5-10 minutes. This will keep them crisp.

Side view of profiteroles topped with chocolate glaze.

Make pâte à choux in advance

Prepared choux dough can be stored for later use. Allow the dough to cool to room temperature. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap touching the surface and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Baked and unfilled shells can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 2 months.

Filled shells can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Side view of cream puffs filled with whipped cream and dusted with powdered sugar.

Basic Choux Pastry

Yield: about 20 small cream puffs/profiteroles
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

You only need a handful of staple ingredients to make pâte à choux at home. This recipe is traditional and yields perfect results every time. Use it to make cream puffs, profiteroles, eclairs, and so much more.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (130 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 4 (200 g) large eggs, room temperature & lightly beaten

Instructions

Make the choux pastry

  1. Measure out all the ingredients and have them set out on your work surface. Use weight measurements for best results.
  2. Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium stainless steel pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the butter melts completely and the mixture comes to a full boil.
  3. Add all of the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until no traces of dry flour are visible.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes, until the paste pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a smooth ball. You will notice a skin has formed on the bottom of the pot.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally, until the paste feels slightly warm to the touch. If it's too hot it will cook the eggs and ruin the pastries.
  6. Add about ⅓ of the eggs and use the wooden spoon to vigorously mix until smooth and creamy. The dough will break but it will slowly become creamy. Once the dough is smooth and creamy, add another ⅓ of the eggs. Mix until the dough become smooth and creamy again then mix in the final ⅓ eggs. Stir until the mixture becomes smooth, stiff, and shiny. (You may not need all the eggs. Test the batter as you go. It should fall off the spoon in a v-shaped ribbon. Or drag your finger along the surface of the dough to create a trough. If the sides stay up, the dough has enough egg.)
  7. Let cool to room temperature before using.

To make profiteroles or cream puffs

  1. Set the rack in the middle of the oven and heat at 400°F for 30 minutes before baking.
  2. Fit a large piping bag with a Wilton 1A piping tip. Fill the bag with the dough and push the dough to the tip.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Use a little of the dough in the corners to secure the parchment paper in place.
  4. Pipe mounds 2-inches in diameter and space them about 3-inches apart. (You can also use a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop and drop mounds of dough on the prepared baking sheet. This technique yields uniform pastries.)
  5. Use a moistened fingertip to gently press down any pointed tips on the mounds.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until they are brown and completely hard on the outside. Do not open the oven during baking or they might collapse.
  7. Transfer the pastries to a wire rack and immediately poke a skewer all the way through to release the steam trapped inside.
  8. Cool completely then slice the pasties in half and fill them with pastry cream, whipped cream, Swiss buttercream, whipped chocolate ganache, or any filling you desire. You can also poke a hole in the bottoms and fill them that way.

To make eclairs

  1. Set the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F for 45 minutes before baking.
  2. Fit a large piping bag with a French star piping tip. Fill the bag with the dough and push the dough to the tip.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Use a little of the dough in the corners to secure the parchment paper in place.
  4. Holding the pastry bag at a 45° angle, pipe lines of dough about 4 to 5-inches long and space them about 3-inches apart.
  5. Use a moistened fingertip to gently press down any pointed tips on the ends. And brush the tops with melted butter.
  6. Bake the eclairs for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 20 minutes or until the shells are brown and completely firm. Do not open the oven during baking or they might collapse.
  7. Transfer the pastries to a wire rack and immediately poke a skewer all the way through to release the steam trapped inside.
  8. Cool completely then use the tip of a clean French star piping tip to cut two holes into the bottom of each eclair. Fill with pastry cream and top with chocolate glaze.

Notes

To prevent the baked pastries from getting soggy, place the skewered pastries back into the warm oven, with it off, and let them continue to dry out for 5-10 minutes. This will keep them crisp.

Make ahead tip

  1. Prepared choux pastry can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before using it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the surface of the dough to prevent a skin from forming.
  2. Baked and unfilled pastry shells can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day or freeze them for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Filled pastry shells will keep for up to 2 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 78Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 68mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

Tried this recipe? Share it on Instagram!

Mention @introvertbaker or tag #introvertbaker!

Pastry cream in a glass jar.
Previous
Pastry Cream (Creme Patissiere)
coconut macaroons on wire rack
Next
Classic Coconut Macaroons

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

Jennifer

Saturday 6th of February 2021

Can this recipe be doubled or would it need to be made in two separate batches?

Jen Sobjack

Tuesday 9th of February 2021

I've never attempted to double this recipe so I'm not totally sure. But I do imagine it would be fine to do.

Paola

Saturday 18th of April 2020

Hello, Love your site! I think the recipe is incorrect, should it not read 1 cupe of water, you have 1/2 cup 240 ml? Thanks

Jen Sobjack

Saturday 18th of April 2020

It's been corrected. Thank you!

Natalie

Tuesday 14th of April 2020

I can’t see how much milk in the ingredients list?

Jen Sobjack

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

There is no milk in this recipe.

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

Skip to Recipe