There are two-dozen Parmesan gougères in my freezer ready to bake off at a moment's notice. I have zero parties on the calendar, but the idea that I could have impossibly light and cheesy gougères warm from the oven in just minutes makes me want to host friends on any given day.
We often think whoever is serving these fancy French cheese puffs spent hours in the kitchen, but let me tell you a secret: Making gougères is about as hard as boiling water, and they are the best appetizer to make ahead and freeze, as they puff even better from frozen. Want to become the host with the most guest-ready freezer? Learn how to create freezer-ready gougères right now.
What Are Gougères?
Gougères are basically fancy cheese puffs made from pâte à choux — the French pastry dough that is also responsible for cream puffs and eclairs. Pâte à choux dough is made by cooking water and butter with flour to make a paste, then beating whole eggs into the paste. To make gougères, cheese is folded into the paste. The dough is then piped or scooped onto parchment paper and then baked.
Learn more: How To Make Pâte à Choux (Choux Pastry)
For Your Information
- Gougères require butter, flour, water, and salt, but you'll also need 1 1/2 cups of a dry cheese such as Gruyère or Parmesan.
- The gougères can be frozen for up to 2 months.
- Frozen gougères bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes, but you'll preheat the oven to 450°F for 5 minutes to give them a fast puff in the oven.
The Best Cheeses for Make-Ahead Gougères
You can use nearly any hard or semi-soft cheese for making gougères from scratch, but for cheese puffs destined for the freezer, I prefer a drier cheese like Parmesan, Asiago, or Manchego. With less moisture to drive out during baking, gougères made with these cheeses puff just a little bit better in the oven, making for crispier gougères.
How to Freeze Gougères
For make-ahead gougères, pipe the raw dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. It is incredible easy, and the gougères freeze well for about 2 months. Here are a few secrets for successful frozen gougères.
- Freeze the gougères close together. When baking gougères, you want them about an inch apart, but for freezing you can leave less than a half-inch of space between the dough domes. This means you can usually freeze one batch on just a single baking sheet.
- Cover the gougères during freezing. Avoid a skin on the frozen gougères by covering them lightly with plastic wrap before freezing.
- Move the gougères to an airtight container or zip-top bag for long-term storage. This protects the gougères and saves freezer space.
How to Bake Gougères from Frozen
When you are ready to bake off some or all of your gougères, heat the oven to 450°F. When the oven reaches temperature, remove the frozen puffs from the freezer and place them an inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake the still-frozen gougères for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375°F and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more.
How to Serve Gougères
You can serve fresh-from-the-oven gougères as is, but you can also slice them in half as a vehicle for chicken salad or pimento cheese. You can fill the gougères with a creamy filling like whipped goat cheese, hummus, or even hot pepper jelly. Or you can turn them into sliders with ham, more cheese, or roasted vegetables. Gougères are also a welcome addition to a cheese plate, as they pair well with wine.
How To Prepare Make-Ahead Gougères
What You Need
1 cup water
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (optional)
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (6 ounces), such as Gruyère or Parmesan
2- to 4-quart saucepan
Long-handled wooden spoon
Stand mixer (optional)
Silicone baking mats or parchment paper
- Boil the water, butter, and salt. Place the water, butter, salt, and mustard if using in a 2- to 4-quart saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring to melt the butter.
- Add the flour. Remove the pan from heat and add the flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and resembles mashed potatoes.
- Cook the dough. Return the pan to medium-low heat and stir for 3 to 5 minutes to dry out the dough. The dough is ready when it smells nutty, glistens, and is thick enough to hold a spoon upright. A film of starch on the bottom of the pan is normal.
- Cool the dough. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer or beat by hand with a stiff spatula.) Beat the dough on medium-low speed until it stops steaming and is just warm to the touch, about 1 minute.
- Add the eggs and cheese. Continue beating and add the eggs in 4 additions. Wait for each addition to be absorbed and for the dough to smooth out before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed between additions. In the end, the dough should come together in a very smooth, creamy batter. Beat in the cheese.
- Freeze the gougères. For make-ahead gougères, scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets lined with silicone mats or parchment paper. Place them as close together as possible without touching. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Freeze until solid, then transfer to an airtight container or a ziptop bag for long-term storage.
- Bake the gougères at high heat. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 450°F. Place the frozen gougères at least 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature. Reduce the heat to 350°F. Bake until puffed, deep golden-brown, and dry to the touch (the cheese may still be bubbling a bit), rotating the sheets between racks and from front to back halfway through baking, 20 to 25 minutes more. The finished gougères will feel light and hollow when picked up.
- Cool. Transfer the baking sheets to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Re-crisp in a warm oven before serving.
- Make ahead: Unbaked gougères can be frozen for up to 2 months.