Gluten Free Gougeres (Profiteroles)

People just LOVE these. I bring these savory french cheese puffs over to my dear friend’s house often when we have our small pot luck luncheons together. The last time, she greeted me at the door with a hug and the exclamation, “You smell wonderful!” About to demur that I was not wearing any perfume, she added, “You smell like Gougeres!”

Perfume indeed.

Gluten Free Gougeres

Gluten Free Gougeres

This unbelievably good little treat is just one of a whole family of delicious items using Choux Paste, a technique of mixing butter, eggs, water and flour that has been around almost 500 years and is used in many parts the world. The end result depends on the treatment. It can be sweet or savory, filled or unfilled, topped or plain.

A few familiar guises of Choux Paste as sweet treats are eclairs, croquembouche or cream puffs. Fried instead of baked – crullers. Add some fruit and you have beignets. I’ve seen profiteroles recipes in both savory and sweet versions. Filled with cream and topped with chocolate, or filled with herbed marscapone and sun dried tomatoes and served as h’ordeuvres. Call them what you will, these flexible and yummy treats rock.

Oh yeah. Once you master this recipe (and it’s really easy) a whole world of puffy, crispy, rich and delicious goodness is at your fingertips. And you’ll look like a professional pastry chef when you whip these babies out for your guests. You don’t have to tell them they only took you a few minutes to make, It’ll be our secret.

The Gougeres are wonderful with the Traditional Gruyere cheese, but go ahead and use different kinds of cheese to match what you are serving. Try a good swiss cheese or fresh grated Parmesan. Opt for sharp Cheddar and you have robust cheese puffs ready to pair up with a spectacular soup for supper. Gougeres make a very special light and airy bread to serve with almost any meal, and are just about the world’s best easy appetizer.

And nobody will know, or care, that these are gluten free.

I cannot take any real credit for the recipe for these little lovelies. I found the original recipe in a Betty Crocker’s International Cookbook (now out of print, but you can still get it on Amazon.com). Dear old Betty. Many years ago, her unfussy and ingredient practical versions of classic international dishes led me into a whole new world! The recipe in question was for a Gruyere Cheese ring (gougeres) – a beautiful presentation of a french classic. Over the years, I made a few alterations, including simplifying the presentation slightly and de-glutenizing it but it is, in its essentials, unchanged.

Gluten Free Gougeres

(Pronounced Goo-gehr)
Preheat oven to 400º

  • 1/2 cup of butter (that is one whole stick)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup grated cheese (Gruyere for classic Gougeres, but regular Swiss, Parmesan and Cheddar are all wonderful)

Cook the milk and butter together in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil.

Stir in the rice flour all at once and beat/stir with a sturdy wooden spoon until the mixture comes together in a dough – 1 minute or so. Remove from heat.

Gougere showing the hollow center

Gougere showing the hollow center

Pour in the eggs and continue to beat until the mixture combines completely and becomes smooth. You may also transfer the hot dough to a food processor, and the eggs and pulse until smooth and thick.

Stir in 2/3 to 3/4 of the cheese

Drop by rounded soup-spoon full onto a greased cookie sheet leaving space for them to expand. If you prefer, you may also pipe them onto the sheet using a pastry bag.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the tops.

Bake about 25 minutes or until they are puffed and golden brown. Makes 16 Gougeres.

Gougeres can collapse as they cool. If it is important that all the centers are hollow – like if you want to fill them, turn the oven off about 8 minutes early leaving the gougeres in to finish cooking at a lower heat. After you take them out, poke small holes in them to let the steam escape. You can also try letting them cool slowly in the turned off oven with the door propped open.

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Comments

  1. Oh my, these look SO good. They look like popovers. Delectable! What would you fill them with? I think my son will really love these, and using just plain white rice flour makes them super easy.

    Do you use a certain brand of white rice flour?

  2. Hi Misa! Yep, they are a lot like popovers. I actually never fill them, they are so rich and good as is, they don’t last long enough at my house to put filling in ’em.

    I tested the recipe with Bobs Red Mill White Rice Flour, and also with brown rice flour, both with excellent results (in fact the ones in the picture were actually made with brown rice flour). My guess is as long as the flour is not too coarsely ground, you can use any regular rice flour (not “sweet white rice flour”) with good results.

  3. they look perfect for a ham and cheese filling! Very nice.

  4. Amazing. I am so looking forward to making these. They will be a perfect accompaniment to soups and petite salads. Would you mind sharing the sweet variation? Do you replace the cheese with a bit of sugar? Thank you! Will report back once these are made.

  5. I made these and they were SOOOOO good! Everyone, gluten eaters and non gluten eaters LOVED them. These are on our GF Hit List. =)

  6. Misa – So glad everyone liked them. I made them for a large family gathering the other day and got raves too! :)

  7. CinnamonQuill – For the sweet version simply omit the cheese. Classic cream puffs are not sweet in themselves, but it what you put on, and in, them. For instance filled with sweetened whipped cream and drizzled with melted chocolate or filled with vanilla pudding (or a boiled custard) and topped with powdered sugar. The possibilities are endless. Let me know what you come up with.

  8. Tried these today in my convection oven. The top rack rose but fell – the bottom rack of cream puffs were amazing!! I just haven’t had any success baking gluten free in a convection oven :(

    I was quite surprised that the white rice flour didn’t leave the cream puffs with a gritty texture – thanks for the recipe – I’ll make these again – just without the convection setting. :)

  9. Betsy – Thanks for the input about convection! I have also had spotty results baking GF in my convection oven. I agree it is interesting how these don’t have the normal gritty rice flour texture. Glad you liked the recipe. :)

  10. Just want to say thanks for this recipe! Prep is so easy and I love that I can pop them in the oven just before a dinner party and they’re piping hot and gorgeous by the time cocktails are over. They’re a consistent hit and no one ever notices they’re GF. Celiac husband loved them so much that I’ve started making eclairs based on this recipe (minus cheese, plus sugar) filled w/Julia Child’s custard recipe and lightly drizzled w/chocolate. Delicious!

  11. So glad you enjoy it! This is one of my favorite recipes ever, gluten or no gluten! Your eclairs sounds yummy too!

  12. Bungalow Bill says:

    Had no luck at all with this recipe – looked ok up until the baking stage, but they just spread out on the tray as they cooked, and stayed that way – no rising in the middle at all. After 25 mins they were crisp to touch on the outside, and starting to go beyond golden, but in the middle had a gooey texture like uncooked pastry mix. Still, they made the kitchen *smell* nice!

  13. Hi Bill! This is normally a fool-proof recipe if you follow ingredients and directions exactly. Reasons why you may have had trouble? a.) using low fat margarine instead of butter – they are not interchangeable – Low fat margarines contain too much water. b.) Not beating the dough long enough either before or after you add eggs (your arm should get tired) and the dough should be a thick smooth paste. c.) Leaving the pan over heat while adding eggs – this causes the eggs to cook prematurely so they won’t rise later or d.) getting the wrong amounts of ingredients, for instance, too much milk, too much butter, or too little flour. (Or any combination of those.) I hope you try again, these are worth it!

  14. Shawn Wild says:

    OMG! Thank you sooo much for this wonderfully versatile recipe! Our son has Celiac so g/f recipes are my obsession! I made these for his Harry Potter birthday party (called ’em Buckbeak Bites) and they got gobbled up! We loved them so much that I made another batch 3 days later, this time adding 3 minced up green onion to the mix. DELICIOUS!!!!! Again, they disappeared. I’m hooked and so happy to have this yummy recipe in my arsenal, now! THANK YOU!!!!

  15. Hi Shawn, Thanks for writing! Buckbeak Bites, I love it! I also love the idea about minced green onion, I’ll have to try that.

  16. These are so amazing. I use them to make little gluten free tea sandwiches for brunch. They are excellent! Thanks for sharing!!

  17. Jerry Gaughan says:

    I made these last night and they turned out perfectly. They are actually easier to work with and make than the standard recipe with wheat flour. I added some cayenne. I do think they needed a little salt, so next time will add 1/4 teaspoon and maybe a little dry mustard. Perfect snack with some serrano ham.

  18. Hi Jerry! Awesome! Glad they came out well. I sometimes add a bit of salt too, depends on how salty the cheese I put in is (and I usually add extra cheese). The dry mustard and cayenne for bit of pop sound like good additions to try. Thanks!

  19. Christine says:

    These look delicious. Can I use Gluten-free flour instead of rice flour?

  20. Hi Christine! Because of the high egg content, this should hold together no matter what flour you use, but, depending on the flour you might end up with a more muffin-y than puffy texture. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it went and what brand or mixture of flour you used!

  21. Christine says:

    Hi Judy. I just made these today. They came out pretty good. Had very good flavor, I used Gruyere cheese. The only thing is after I finished baking them, the insides were a bit wet. Hopefully by tomorrow they will dry out:) I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free flour. I’ve read you should use Xanthan Gum when you use GF flour, but I didn’t have any. Maybe that will help with the wetness.

  22. Howdy Christine! I’m so glad you tried them and they tasted good! They should be a teenie bit damp and “eggy” inside, but wet doesn’t sound quite right. You might try baking them a bit longer too. Changing flour can mean a lot of little adjustments. You’re right, the xanthan might help them puff up more and dry better inside. Let me know! Thanks!

  23. Christine says:

    Hi Judy. I didn’t let them cool down, because I was excited to try them out. But after 20-30 mins. Or so, they dried up. They weren’t as puffy, but they were pretty good.

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