How to make Choux Pastry

How to make Choux Pastry

Choux pastry is a really versatile pastry to have up your sleeve, it gives some people grief so I thought I’d do a quick how to before using it in a recipe.

Traditionally used for profiteroles, choux pastry can also be made into a great variety of lovely things, eclairs and gougere included!

120ml whole milk
120ml water
115g butter, cubed
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
140g plain flour
5 large eggs

Makes 45 profiterole balls, 24 x 8cm mini eclairs or 12 full size eclairs.

Place the water and milk into a large saucepan, with the butter, salt and sugar.

Have your eggs ready and the flour in a bowl on standby!

Heat the pan over a low heat until the butter is melted.

Turn up the heat and bring it to a rolling boil.  Turn the heat down to medium.

Add all the flour to the pan and with a wooden spoon mix for your life.

As the flour incorporates the mixture will come together and lift from the sides of the pan.

Turn off the heat and remove.

One by one add the eggs mixing well after adding each.

It will seem like it’s never going to incorporate but all of a sudden it does don’t worry.

You will need a strong mixing arm – keep going!

After the addition of one egg.

After two eggs

After three eggs

After four eggs

Five eggs added – the perfect choux pastry

Once all the eggs are combined you will have a thick glossy choux pastry that’s ready to use. It should hold it’s shape when you dollop or pipe it.

For profiteroles/choux balls shape with a desert spoon and lay on baking trays lined with greaseproof paper or bake o glide.

For long eclairs pipe the mixture from a piping bag fitted with a round open 1cm nozzle.

If your choux pastry has ‘tails’ use a dampened finger to push them back into shape.

Bake in the oven at 180c Fan/200c/Gas Mark 5 for 15-20 minutes until lovely puffy and golden.

Now here’s the important bit – although they are nice a crisp and golden on the outside there is still steam and moisture trapped inside.  Take a sharp knife and make a slit in each choux bun, place them back on the tray and pop them back in the oven for 3 minutes until they are nice and dry on the inside.

If you skip this stage and moisture in the bun will soften the choux and make it soggy and limp.

If you’re making long eclair type choux, instead of just a slit I cut them in half using a sharp pair of kitchen scissors before laying them open on the tray and then back in the oven to dry out. Just make sure you keep each pair together side by side so you know which is the right top for the right bottom!

You can keep choux shells once baked for 24 hours in an airtight container if you wanted to make them in advance.  If they seem less crisp refresh in a hot oven for two minutes before using.Once filled with cream, custard or whatever takes your fancy they are best served straight away as they will start to absorb the moisture from the filling and start to go soggy.You can bake and then freeze right away,  when defrosted refresh in the oven to crisp up for a couple of minutes before filling.You can also open freeze piped dough before baking.  Baking from frozen you will need to add five minutes or so to the baking time .

How to make Choux Pastry
How to make Choux Pastry

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

Finalist on BBC2 The Great British Bake Off

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29 Responses to How to make Choux Pastry

  1. Matt Walton says:

    You make it sound so easy! The one time I tried to make choux pastry it was a complete disaster. I suppose it might be time I tried again.

  2. Homeschool on the Croft says:

    Yummmmmm! I haven't made profiteroles for ages, and now you've definitely put me in the notion… just what my diet needs. Ahem.
    I normally m ake double and freeze half of them, and – as you say – give them a wee bit in the oven when I defrost them.
    Delicous…. but you are to blame for the extra couple of pounds I'm gonna be carrying this time next week. You do realise that?!

  3. At Anna's kitchen table says:

    Brilliant tutorial!
    I was just thinking the other day that I've never attempted choux.
    Maybe now I should….

  4. Victoria says:

    thanks ruth, choux pastry is one thing that totally terrifies me! actually…anything that relies on a piping bag terrifies me! will build up some courage soon!! 🙂

  5. Robyn Clarke says:

    I love choux pastry. I blogger some a while ago filled with maple mousse, they were devine!

  6. talesofpiglingbland says:

    I was surprised how easy choux is…and everyone is really impressed byt them 🙂 Great how-to as always. I'll be using it to make mine better and more reliable – thanks!

  7. Matthew says:

    I have never tried to make this pastry but have always wanted to, gonna give this a go this week and make some Chocolate Eclairs. Lush

  8. Franziska says:

    In my family we fill them with fresh whipped cream and raspberries. I've never made them myself though, but as always, with your step by step explanations I'm sure I'll manage. Well, I hope I'll manage! Thank you Ruth!

  9. Carolyn says:

    Profiteroles is one of my specialities but I don't use milk though, just the water, butter, flour and eggs. I might try yours though as they look slightly richer.

  10. PiWi says:

    Hi Pink Whisk, this looks like a very instructive tutorial and may be helping me to get over my fear of Choux pastry. However, what do you mean by "Turn up the heat and bring it to a rolling ball. Turn the heat down to medium." (just when the butter is melted).
    I am Dutch, so it's probably a lack in my vocabulary. It's just that I can't see myself forming a liquid into a ball…


  11. Ruth says:

    Hi PiWi – no it's me it should read bring it to a rolling boil, so a vigorous boil that covers the surface in a rolling motion of bubbles then turn down the heat to medium. Hope that makes sense now xx

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hello, what is the best piping bag to use?
    x x

  13. Heather says:

    Hi, I’ve never made choux before but your instructions made it look really easy!! My profiteroles turned out excellent, but I don’t think I cooked the eclairs for long enough so they sank 🙁 still, I’ll give it another go and leave them alone this time!! Thanks for an easy to follow recipe!

  14. Lucy says:

    OOOh – just had a baking disaster!! I decided to make one big one and it puffed up hugely in the oven and then collapsed when it came out and was impossible to cut in half. My plans for impressing my mother-in-law tonight has just flown out of the window!! Saying that, it was very tasty choux pastry!!

  15. Ash says:

    Hi, I baked profiteroles two days ago and they wer perfect, but did not place in air tight container so have become dry. Is there any suggestion for refreshing them before filling?

  16. June Lee Atkins says:

    Hi Ruth, if I want to make 12 full size eclairs, how long should I pipe the batter? Thank you. Enjoyed watching you in GBB reruns. Well done on your book!

  17. Stephen says:

    Have just attempted eclaires, I have never been successful at these yet.
    Using this method, the second I took them out the oven they all collapsed flat…. HELP!

  18. Professional mama says:

    Hi, thanks for this recipe, I have been struggling with a delia recipe and could never get it right! My family are enjoying them as we speak!

  19. Thanks for the recipe. I have never tried choux pastry before. Mine tastes rather eggy. Do you think I need to cook them longer? They are probably not as crisp as they could be. Any thoughts would be be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Bec x

    • Yes I think they need cooking longer, if they’re not fully cooked and more dried out they will taste eggy like an undercooked Yorkshire pud! Hope that helps Bec, let me know how you get on x

  20. Najeeda says:

    Thank you so much for this amazing recipe and simple techniques! I’ve just made a batch and it did not collapse!!!

  21. Sharon says:

    Hi Ruth, I’ve just tried my second attempt at your eclair recipe from your book ‘Creative Eclairs’ I’m having no joy. They don’t seem to be rising, don’t look soft and fluffy and feel hard & snap like a biscuit. I cooked them 160 fan for 45 minutes as instructed. What am I doing wrong?

    • Hi Sharon, a couple of things to watch out for, hopefully you can watch out for one of the following and hopefully that will fix it if you give it another go? – it’s important to cook out the flour after adding in the pan so that the roux dries out before you get to the adding the eggs stage. Once the mixture is chilled it should be firm and should hold it’s shape when piped? If it seems too runny at this point then they won’t rise but will rather stay flat. When making the next time make sure that the mixture is cooked well in the pan when the flour is added as I mentioned above.
      You could try using medium eggs instead of large if the mixture is runny or add one less egg.
      They should be crisp on the outside when they come out of the oven, but a good risen tube/eclair shape. The inside should still be just soft, so not crisp right the way through. They soften quickly on filling and topping so the crispness at this stage is to stay one step ahead of that! If yours are crisp right the way through then it could be your oven is running hot and sometimes its a good idea to test whether your oven runs true to temp with a removable oven thermometer. You could try turning down your oven temp by 10degrees and see if that makes the difference. Similarly if the oven is too hot then the crust of the eclair would set too quickly in the baking process and not allow them to expand. Hope something in there helps, feel free to to email me at ruth (at) if you don’t get it fixed! Ruth x

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