How to Make Choux Pastry (Pâte à Choux)

How to make choux pastry (pâte à choux) perfectly every time to use in recipes for profiteroles, éclairs, cream puffs and so much more. Recipe with step-by-step photos.

how to make choux pastry, choux pastry buns on wire rack

Pâte à Choux

Pâte à choux is the French term for choux pastry in English. And in case you were wondering “choux” is pronounced like shoe in English 😉

What is Choux Pastry Used For?

If it sounds unfamiliar, you might definitely recognise it in desserts such as cream puffs, profiteroles, and éclairs, all of which are made using choux pastry.

Choux Pastry Recipe

Unlike the more commonly known pastries, such as shortbread pastry or puff pastry, choux pastry is a cross between a batter and a dough. This is due to the fact that it is first prepared on the stove, and it contains more eggs than other types of pastry to form a thick batter which is later baked or deep-fried.

If you are not familiar with choux pastry or pâte à choux, Harold McGee offers the following description:

“Choux paste … is prepared in a very distinctive way. It’s a cross between a batter and a dough, and is cooked twice: once to prepare the paste itself, and once to transform the paste into hollow puffs. A large amount of water and some fat are brought to the boil in a pan, the flour is added, and the mixture stirred and cooked over low heat until it forms a cohesive ball of dough. Several eggs are then beaten sequentially into the dough until it becomes very soft, almost a batter. This paste is then formed into balls or other shapes and baked in a hot oven or deep-fried.”

how to make choux pastry, choux pastry buns on wire rack on metal tray

How to Make Choux Pastry

Step 1

To make choux pastry, you start by heating some of the ingredients on the stove, namely the water, butter and salt. For this task, you can use a medium-sized saucepan.

How to make choux pastry. Melt the butter, water and salt in a saucepan.

Step 2

Once the butter has melted and the water just starts to simmer (but before it starts to boil), take the saucepan off the heat.

Add all of the flour, and use a wooden spoon to beat everything together until a ball of thick dough forms.

If the mixture looks a bit thinner or runnier than that in the photo below, return the saucepan to the heat for a minute or two, and continue beating the mixture with the wooden spoon until it thickens to the right consistency.

How to make choux pastry. Beat in the flour.

Step 3

Beating the eggs into the dough requires a bit of muscle power, so I highly recommend using an electric stand mixer for this task. However, my husband’s 90+ year old great-aunt makes choux pastry by hand until this day, so I’m sure anyone can as well!

Add the eggs one at a time and keep beating until it has been thoroughly incorporated into the dough before adding the next egg.

The choux pastry should ultimately be thick and smooth; it should be a thick enough consistency to pipe through a piping bag.

If you think the pastry is the right consistency before all of the eggs have been added, it is completely fine to not use all of the eggs. This is because eggs vary in size, and even flour absorbs at different rates depending on the conditions. But what is important, is that your choux pastry is thick enough to work with.

How to make choux pastry. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Step 4

Scoop the choux pastry into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle (the size of each will depend on what you are ultimately baking).

Pipe the choux pastry onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.

choux buns on baking sheet with piping bag

Step 5

Bake the choux pastry buns until they are lovely and golden. Do not open the oven door during this time as this might cause the buns to deflate.

Please refer to a specific recipe using choux pastry for oven temperatures and baking times (please see below for some recipe suggestions).

baked choux buns on wire rack with piping bag

Step 6

Let the choux buns cool completely on a wire rack before you start to fill them. You can even pierce the underside of the buns to let out the steam.

how to make choux pastry, choux pastry buns on wire rack on wooden board

Choux Pastry Tips

Thick dough: Once you have added the flour to the water and butter, the mixture should form into a thick ball of dough. If the mixture still looks on the runny side, return the pan to the heat for a minute or two, and continue to stir the mixture until it thickens.

Thick and smooth choux pastry: After you have added the eggs, the choux pastry should be thick and smooth; it should be thick enough so that you can pipe it through a large nozzle.

If the choux pastry is thin and runny: A thin mixture means that you have added too much liquid, or that your eggs might be too large.

Add the eggs one at a time: When you are adding the eggs to the mixture, beat each egg until it is thoroughly combined into the mixture before adding the next egg.

You may not need all of the eggs: When adding the eggs, watch at this stage if you need all of the eggs or not. Don’t be afraid to leave out an egg if you think the pastry has reached the right (thick) consistency. Eggs come in different sizes, and even different brands of flour absorb liquid at a different rate.

Use an electric stand mixer: Making choux pastry requires a bit of an upper-body workout, so unless you have strong arms, I highly recommend making choux pastry in an electric stand mixer which can do most of the hard work for you.

Do not open the oven door: Like for most cakes, it is important to not open the oven door during the baking time, otherwise the choux pastry buns might deflate. It is generally safe to open the oven door once the pastries are nicely golden, but if you find that they are still uncooked on the inside, you can quickly close the oven door and bake for a few more minutes.

cooked choux buns on a wire rack

FAQs

How long does choux pastry keep? The uncooked choux pastry can be kept in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. Once baked, the choux buns can be stored for 1 to 2 days in an airtight container, or frozen for up to 3 months.

How to freeze choux pastry? Once the choux buns have been baked, allow them to cool completely before wrapping them carefully in clingfilm. You can freeze the cooked choux buns for up to 3 months. To serve, defrost them and crisp them up in the oven at 150°C (350°F) for 5 to 10 minutes.

How to pipe choux pastry? When making éclairs and profiteroles, I recommend using a large piping bag fitted with a plain 1 cm nozzle. If you are making larger choux buns, I recommend using a wider nozzle.

How to keep choux pastry crisp? Choux buns will start to soften once they are covered as moisture starts to form on the pastry, causing it to soften. Hence, it is often best to eat choux buns the same day they are baked. However, you can keep cooked choux buns in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days, and crisp them up again in the oven at 150°C (350°F) for 5 to 10 minutes.

How to pronounce choux pastry? “Choux” in French is pronounced like “shoe” in English.

More Choux Pastry Recipes

If you are looking for recipes using choux pastry, you might like:

Chouquettes (French Pastry Puffs)

Chocolate Éclairs

profiteroles with chocolate sauce on white plate

Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce

Print

Choux Pastry

5 from 1 reviews

How to make choux pastry (pâte à choux) perfectly every time to use in recipes for profiteroles, éclairs, cream puffs and so much more. Recipe with step-by-step photos.

  • Author: eatlittlebird.com
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French

Ingredients

  • 350ml (1 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) water
  • 150g (1 1/3 stick) unsalted butter, diced
  • pinch of salt
  • 200g (1 1/3 cup) plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 4 eggs

Instructions

  1. Place the water, butter and salt into a medium saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes until the butter has melted and the water has just begins to boil.
  2. Take the pan off the heat.
  3. Add the flour.
  4. Beat everything together with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together in a thick ball of dough and comes away from the sides of the pan. What you are also trying to do is make sure that the liquid has been absorbed by the flour and that any excess moisture has evaporated.
  5. Tip the hot dough into the bowl of an electric stand mixer (see Kitchen Notes if you are making the choux pastry by hand).
  6. Using the flat paddle attachment, beat the mixture for a few minutes to knock out the air and to cool it down slightly.
  7. Add one egg, and beat until the egg has been fully incorporated.
  8. Add the remaining eggs, one at a time, and continue beating until the pastry is thick and smooth. You may not need all of the eggs.
  9. The choux pastry is ready to use. Please refer to a specific recipe using choux pastry for oven temperatures and baking times (see recipe suggestions below in Kitchen Notes).

Kitchen Notes

RECIPES USING CHOUX PASTRY
Chocolate Chip Chouquettes
Chocolate Éclairs
Profiteroles with Chocolate Ganache

EQUIPMENT
If you don’t have an electric stand mixer or electric beaters, you can, of course, make the choux pastry by hand if you don’t mind an upper-body workout. Simply use a wooden spoon to beat the egg into the mixture, one at a time, until the egg is fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth before adding the next egg. As you add each egg, the mixture will look like it has curdled, but keep beating the mixture until it comes together.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: Serves 4 to 6
  • Calories: 2090
  • Sugar: 1.4g
  • Sodium: 885.9mg
  • Fat: 142.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 152.4g
  • Fiber: 5.4g
  • Protein: 47.1g
  • Cholesterol: 1066.5mg

Did you make this recipe?

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4 comments

  1. Chloe (Musings on Dinner) 5 October 2018

    I recently made a Paris-Brest and really struggled to bake the choux pastry correctly – I don’t know if it was my not-great oven or the inherent difficulties of baking a single large choux ring (as opposed to smaller choux pastries like profiteroles, which I have done successfully!). If I try it again I’ll look back to this guide!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 7 October 2018

      If you get the consistency of the choux pastry right, it shouldn’t be too different in baking a large choux ring vs smaller buns. I do love Paris-Brest and think they always look so spectacular. I think you have given me an idea for a future post 🙂

      Reply
  2. Rose 30 January 2019

    Thank you for this helpful guide! I made cream puffs today using this choux pastry recipe and it was so much easier than I thought! I filled them with whipped cream and made a chocolate sauce to decorate the tops. My family devoured everything!

    Reply