Light, airy, cheese puffs are a versatile addition to a meal or appetizer plate. Tiny, they're like soup nuts. Larger, they pair well with beer or wine. Even bigger, they can be split and filled with ham, chicken, tuna salad, or even more cheese! These are easier to make than the recipe sounds, yet the result looks impressive enough that you can tell your friends you slaved over them.

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Ingredients

12
Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

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  • Combine the flour with the salt, black pepper, thyme, chili powder, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.

  • Put the milk and butter in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. When the butter melts, turn heat to low. Add the seasoned flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball. Remove from heat.

  • Separate the white and yolk from one egg, reserving the yolk for glazing.

  • Put the dough into a large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed for one minute. Then beat in one egg and the extra egg white. Beat until completely absorbed into the dough. Then add the remaining 4 eggs, one at a time, waiting each time until the previous egg is completely absorbed. After all 5 eggs (plus the one egg white) have been incorporated, the dough should be smooth and satiny.

  • Add the Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses, and pepperoni if you are using it. Incorporate thoroughly into the dough.

  • Use a pastry bag to pipe dough onto 2 ungreased baking sheets. You can also drop dough from a teaspoon. For tiny puffs, mounds should be about 1/2 inch in diameter. From small appetizers, mounds should be 1 inch in diameter. For puffs large enough for filling, mounds should be 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Keep the size of the puffs uniform so they bake properly. Space puffs about 1 inch apart.

  • Beat the remaining egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of milk to make a glaze. Lightly brush the tops of the puffs with glaze before baking. Sprinkle tops with your Parmesan cheese.

  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 10 minutes (5 minutes for tiny puffs). Reduce heat to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Bake 10 minutes more for tiny puffs; 15 to 20 minutes longer for medium or large puffs, or until puffs are golden brown. Test by removing a puff from the oven and breaking it open. The inside should be baked through. If it is still doughy or wet, bake another 5 minutes.

  • Remove pans from oven and leave puffs on pans until cool enough to serve.

Substitutions

Different cheeses allow you to tailor the flavor of the puffs to pair with your meal. Use an assertive cheese to get a full flavor, and grate or crumble it so it mixes easily into the dough. In place of the Gruyere cheese, you can use Swiss, sharp Cheddar, Gouda, pepperjack, or even crumbled blue or feta cheese.

Tips

Instead of topping the puffs with grated Parmesan, you can use sesame or poppy seeds, or 1 tablespoon of coarse salt.

Make ahead

You can refrigerate the dough (covered) after step 6. Bring dough to room temperature, then proceed from step 7.

Nutrition Facts

219.3 calories; 9.7 g protein; 9.5 g carbohydrates; 130.8 mg cholesterol; 326.9 mg sodium. Full Nutrition

Reviews (29)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
12/18/2007
This recipe really worked well. I read the one review ahead of me who said they turned into cookies and I have to admit that mine didn't do that. The only thing that was confusing was the matter of the eggs. You're going to separate and reserve 1 egg. The egg yolk you will mix with 2 Tablespoons of milk to make the glaze and the white you're going to beat into the mix. When you incorporate the eggs do so one at a time. Ensure that you mix them all very well after each addition. When I piped them out I just used a Ziploc bag that I cut a 1/2 inch tip off one corner then piped them out. Don't flatten them make nice little mounds. I also added a pinch of baking powder just to ensure they puffed up. It works everytime. I'm too much of a puss not to do that! Happy Baking! Read More
(104)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
07/09/2009
This recipe is good - no doubt. But I made a 2nd version using already bought flaky biscuit dough and just adding the cheese and herbs/spices and then followed baking directions. What a time saver! Sandra Lee - whatch out! Read More
(23)
35 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 17
  • 4 star values: 8
  • 3 star values: 7
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
12/18/2007
This recipe really worked well. I read the one review ahead of me who said they turned into cookies and I have to admit that mine didn't do that. The only thing that was confusing was the matter of the eggs. You're going to separate and reserve 1 egg. The egg yolk you will mix with 2 Tablespoons of milk to make the glaze and the white you're going to beat into the mix. When you incorporate the eggs do so one at a time. Ensure that you mix them all very well after each addition. When I piped them out I just used a Ziploc bag that I cut a 1/2 inch tip off one corner then piped them out. Don't flatten them make nice little mounds. I also added a pinch of baking powder just to ensure they puffed up. It works everytime. I'm too much of a puss not to do that! Happy Baking! Read More
(104)
Rating: 5 stars
12/18/2007
This recipe really worked well. I read the one review ahead of me who said they turned into cookies and I have to admit that mine didn't do that. The only thing that was confusing was the matter of the eggs. You're going to separate and reserve 1 egg. The egg yolk you will mix with 2 Tablespoons of milk to make the glaze and the white you're going to beat into the mix. When you incorporate the eggs do so one at a time. Ensure that you mix them all very well after each addition. When I piped them out I just used a Ziploc bag that I cut a 1/2 inch tip off one corner then piped them out. Don't flatten them make nice little mounds. I also added a pinch of baking powder just to ensure they puffed up. It works everytime. I'm too much of a puss not to do that! Happy Baking! Read More
(104)
Rating: 5 stars
01/05/2008
These came out great! The recipe -- which is really justcream puffs with cheese added -- is foolproof if you follow it correctly. Make sure the oven is hot enough and make sure you beat each egg in completely before you add the next. You can't rush things or you get cookies like another reviewer said. I made mine a little smaller than ping-pong balls poked a hole in each and piped in fillings: crab salad bacon-cheese dip and Borsin cheese spread. Yum! Read More
(46)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/17/2008
I used pepper jack cheese instead of the Gruyere cheese to make them kind of spicy. I thought the recipe was easy to follow and made delicious puffs! Read More
(30)
Rating: 3 stars
07/09/2009
This recipe is good - no doubt. But I made a 2nd version using already bought flaky biscuit dough and just adding the cheese and herbs/spices and then followed baking directions. What a time saver! Sandra Lee - whatch out! Read More
(23)
Rating: 4 stars
11/30/2008
I doubled the recipe following the recipe exactly but did not use leftover egg yolk for puff tops. Dropping dough by teaspoons made the "puffs" flat. Next batch I used a ziploc bag snipped the corner and piped the dough out in small drops; baked one sheet at a time. This was successful but it did take a long time. I liked them but my daughter's class thought they were a bit spicy. Read More
(17)
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Rating: 5 stars
07/09/2009
With puffs like this you have to watch the weather. If it is rainy and cloudy they will not always puff. I used the pepper cheese and my husband loved them. Dropped them from a pastry tube and they puffed fine. I am going to play with this with some other cheeses and let you all know how they turn out! Read More
(14)
Rating: 5 stars
01/09/2008
This recipe turned out great but I was wondering if you could let these turn cold then reheat them because my daughter has to do a project on french cuisine and I haped that she could bring them to school and then reheat them in the oven there? Read More
(12)
Rating: 4 stars
12/07/2009
Excellent Recipe. They are a big hit. I followed recipe and they came out fine. I added Salmon filling and they were very very tasty. Read More
(11)
Rating: 4 stars
10/20/2008
My batch puffed up fine. I thought the taste was a little eggy like cream puffs All in all pretty good alternative to making buscuits when wanting a lighter more airy texture but the same taste. Read More
(10)