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Choux Pastry Recipe (Pâte à Choux)

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Our choux pastry recipe is a foolproof way to make this classic French pastry right at home! This versatile pastry is perfect for profiteroles, cream puffs, or eclairs. All you need is a short list of basic ingredients and a few simple steps to make your own with that irresistible crispy outer shell and soft, puffy center. 

Several profiteroles made with pate a choux.

What is Choux Pastry?

Choux pastry (pronounced “shoe” pastry), or in French, pâte à choux, is a classic French pastry dough with so many uses!

In the world of pastries, this is considered to be a “master recipe” of sorts, since it can be used to make a variety of other sweets and treats.

Profiteroles, cream puffs, choux buns, homemade eclairs, the list goes on and on!

While it is known to be a bit tricky to master, our recipe will prove otherwise! We’ll guide you through the process with simple steps– from mixing the dough to piping and baking– so you get the best result every single time. 

Why This Recipe Works

When it comes to making crisp and puffy and delicious choux pastry, there are a few common problems that often occur.

You don’t want too much moisture or too much egg in the dough or it will be too thin. It should also bake long enough for it to turn firm and crisp on the outside. You don’t want it too soft or it won’t be able to hold delicious fillings (like our Vanilla Pastry Cream!). 

On the other hand, over-baking the dough will leave it tough and too hard. It’s also important to bake them at a higher temperature.

The cooking process, baking time and oven temperature are all crucial to getting the right consistency for this classic French puff pastry. We’re tackling all of this in this simple recipe!

Here’s why you’ll love it:

  • We’ll walk you through the best way to achieve the right texture so you get perfect choux pastries every time!
  • With only five ingredients required, this recipe is actually quite simple to make.
  • It’s versatile and opens up the door for so many other delicious desserts. 
  • We’ll share how to mix the dough, pipe it, bake it, and we’re including specific directions for how to make cream puffs and eclairs!
Cream puffs made with choux pastry.

​Ingredients Needed

Here’s a look at what you will need to make this traditional French pâte à choux. The ingredient list is incredibly short and includes basic baking staples! 

  • Water. This is your liquid in the dough.
  • Buter. ​What’s a French recipe with butter? This adds a flaky texture and buttery flavor.
  • Salt and flour. ​All-purpose flour and a dash of salt are the only dry ingredients you’ll need to make the perfect Pâte à Choux. 
  • Eggs. Four large eggs help the dough rise and create a firm structure. 

How to Make Pastry Dough for Eclairs and Cream Puffs

Here’s a brief look at the process for making the dough but be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to view the printable recipe card. 

​First, preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. 

Four photos showing how to make choux pastry.
  1. Combine the water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a boil. 
  2. ​Remove from heat then add all of the flour. Use a sturdy spoon to stir the mixture vigorously until combined. 
  3. Place the saucepan back on medium heat, stir continuously for 1-2 minutes. The mixture should become smooth and start to steam. The batter will start to look thick and shiny. Remove from heat and let it cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally. It should cool to about 125°F to 135°F so it doesn’t cook the eggs. 
  4. Beat in the eggs by hand or use an electric mixer. Add them in, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and beat for 5-10 more seconds. The batter should look smooth and glossy and fall off the beaters or a spatula in a V shape. 
  5. ​Use the Pâte à Choux right away or cover it and store in the fridge for up to three days. 
Pate a choux pastry falling off a spatula in a v shape.

Making Eclairs and Cream Puff Pastries

Here’s a quick how-to for making cream puffs and eclairs. Our Vanilla Pastry Cream is the perfect filling for these, so be sure to check out that recipe too!

  1. Fit a piping bag with a #6 round piping tip or cut 1/2 inch off the end of the bag. Spoon the Pâte à Choux into the bag. 
  2. Holding the piping bag straight up and down, pipe tablespoon-sized mounds onto the baking sheet to make profiteroles or cream puffs. Pipe 3 to 4-inch strips if you are making eclairs. 
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes for small profiteroles and up to 35 minutes for larger eclairs and cream puffs. 
  4. When they turn golden brown, open the door and check them. They should feel firm and hold their shape when you poke them with your finger. If they feel soft and sink when poked, bake them a little bit longer. 
  5. Remove them from the oven and quickly poke a small hole in the bottom of each one to let the steam out. Place them back on the baking tray and transfer it back to the oven. 
  6. Turn the oven off and prop the door open with the handle of a wooden spoon, leaving the oven door cracked for 30 minutes. 
Choux pastry piped into different shapes to make eclairs, cream puffs, and crullers.

Tips for the Best Results

  • Cooling the dough to 125°F to 135°F is crucial, otherwise the eggs may cook once you beat them in. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, test the temp with your finger. You should be able to hold your finger in the hot mixture for a few seconds. 
  • After you add each egg, the Pâte à Choux will look like it splits apart but it will come back together as you continue beating it. 
  • Make sure to leave the oven door cracked open for 30 minutes before removing the pastries. This helps them dry out and get that perfectly crisp shell.

Storing

  • If you’re not using the dough immediately, store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can transfer it to a piping bag or place it in a bowl with plastic wrap pressed directly on top so it doesn’t form a skin. 
Cream puffs made from choux pastry.

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Cream puffs made from choux pastry.

Pâte à Choux (Cream Puff Dough)

This foolproof Choux Pastry (Pâte à Choux) recipe is perfect for profiteroles, cream puffs, or eclairs. We guide you through mixing a simple dough to piping and baking the pastry to golden perfection.
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 36
Calories: 45kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water (227 grams)
  • 8 tablespoons butter (113 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1-¼ cups all purpose flour (150 grams)
  • 4 large eggs

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • In a large saucepan, combine water, butter, and salt. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter has fully melted and the mixture reaches a boil.
  • Take the pan off the heat, then add all of the flour at once. Using a sturdy spoon or a stiff spatula, stir the mixture vigorously until well combined.
  • Place the saucepan back on medium heat and stir continuously for about one to two minutes. The mixture should become smooth and start to steam. At this point, the batter will appear quite thick and have a shiny texture.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The dough needs to cool down to between 125°F to 135°F so it doesn’t cook the eggs when you add them. If you don’t have a thermometer, guess the temperature with your finger…it should feel hot but you should be able to hold your finger in it for a few seconds.
  • Once it reaches 125°F to 135°F, beat the eggs in (either by hand or with an electric mixer). Wait until each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next one. After you add each egg, the pastry will look like it splits apart but it will eventually come together if you keep beating it. Once all the eggs are incorporated, scrape down the bowl and beat it for 5 to 10 more seconds. The batter should look smooth and glossy and it should hang from the beaters or a spatula in a V shape.
    If the batter is too stiff, whisk an egg in a separate bowl. Then, gradually incorporate the beaten egg into the dough, adding just a couple teaspoons at a time. Continue to beat the mixture until it reaches a smooth consistency. You'll know it's just right when the dough forms a distinct V shape as it falls from the spatula.
  • At this point, you can use the pastry right away, or cover it and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can store it in a piping bag or in a bowl with plastic wrap pressed directly on top of the dough so it doesn’t form a skin.

Making Cream Puffs and Eclairs

  • Fit a pastry bag with a #6 round tip or cut the end of a pastry bag making a ½ inch cut. Spoon the pastry dough into the bag.
  • Holding the piping bag straight up and down, pipe small mounds (about the size of a tablespoon) onto the baking sheet to make profiteroles or cream puffs. Pipe 3 to 4-inch strips if you are making eclairs. Space them about 1-½ inches apart.
  • Bake for 15 minutes to 20 minutes for small profiteroles and up to 35 minutes for larger eclairs.
  • Keep an eye on them through the oven window and don’t open the door until they turn golden brown. When they turn golden brown, you can open the door and check them. They should feel firm and hold their shape when you poke them with your finger. If they feel soft and sink when you poke them, let them bake a little longer.
  • Remove them from the oven and quickly poke a small hole in the bottom of each pastry to let the steam out. Place them back on the baking tray and return them to the oven.
  • Turn the oven off and prop the door open with the handle of a wooden spoon. Leave them in the oven for 30 minutes with the door cracked. This will allow them to dry out and get crispy and have the right texture to hold up to the pastry cream.

Nutrition

Serving: 1small profiterole | Calories: 45kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 60mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.03g | Vitamin A: 104IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Dahn Boquist

Dahn is a retired nurse, recipe creator, home cook, baker, and self-proclaimed foodie. She loves creating in the kitchen and cooking for family and friends. She lives in Washington State with her husband and dog. When she isn't cooking or baking, you can usually find her spending time with her grandchildren or exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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Recipe Rating




angiesrecipes

Monday 8th of April 2024

Choux pastry is one of my husband's favourites.

Dahn Boquist

Monday 8th of April 2024

He has good taste!

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