Smoked Gouda and Pepper Cheese Puffs  

These cheesy puffs are practically guaranteed to be the hit of the party.

Smoked gouda pepper cheese puffs
Photo: Victor Protasio
Hands On Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
48 puffs

A subtle smokiness and just the right amount of pepper make these tender-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside nibbles utterly irresistible. Gougères, a French pastry made from a simple dough called choux, are easy to make and even easier to infuse with flavor. They're normally served as an appetizer or snack, and although they are decadent warm, they're still divine at room temperature. The key to perfection when making gougères is putting in some elbow grease when stirring the mixture in the pot. This allows it to come together into a smooth, uniform dough. A major perk: the cheesy puffs freeze magnificently—cool them completely and freeze flat in a zip-top bag.


  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish

  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) salted butter, cut into pieces

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 4 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, grated (about 1 cup packed)

  • 5 large eggs

  • flaky sea salt, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and pepper in a medium bowl.

  2. Combine 1½ cups water, butter, and kosher salt in a large saucepan; cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until mixture just comes to a boil.

  3. Add flour mixture to saucepan all at once. Stir quickly using a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms and dough pulls away from sides of pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until mostly melted and smooth, about 1 minute. Add eggs 1 at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition, until smooth. (Batter will appear lumpy after each egg but will smooth out as you stir.)

  4. Transfer dough to a large zip-top bag with a ½-inch tip of 1 corner cut off (or a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip). Pipe 1 ½-inch mounds, spaced at least 1 inch apart, onto prepared baking sheets (about 24 per baking sheet). Flatten any pointy tips with your fingertip. Top with flaky sea salt and more pepper. Transfer any remaining batter in bag to refrigerator.

  5. Bake until puffed and golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Repeat with any remaining dough, reusing parchment paper on slightly cooled baking sheet. Keep warm in a 200°F oven. Cheese puffs can be made up to 3 hours ahead; reheat in a 225°F oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until hot, about 15 minutes.

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