Bake

Maman's Cheese Soufflé From Jacques Pépin

March  9, 2021
30 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Kate Buckens.
Author Notes

If the intimidation of making a soufflé has kept you away, it's time to change that: This recipe is the easiest soufflé you'll meet. This unusual recipe from Jacques Pepin's maman (which just means "mom" in French) is one you might have heard of—it's made the rounds for decades, and its genius is all thanks to a simple miscommunication.

Unlike traditional French soufflés that call for separating the eggs, adding the yolks to the white sauce, beating the egg whites till stiff, and gently folding them in, this recipe has you beat the eggs straight into the sauce. When Jacques' mother was newly married at seventeen, no one told her the eggs needed to be separated—and it worked! The results are slightly less airy, but some might argue they're even more delicious.

The brilliance of this move, in addition to ease, is that it means you can make the whole thing well ahead of time. Let the mixture hang out at room temperature for a couple hours, or in the fridge for a day. When you're ready to bake, heat your oven and go. As mentioned in The Washington Post, this recipe is also built to adapt. Use Gruyère, cheddar, or other cheeses. Switch up chives for another herb. Or make the soufflés in individual ramekins and customize the toppings. As Pépin's daughter Claudine writes, “We usually serve it as a first course, but we love it for brunch and meatless dinners as well.”

Jacques Pepin's maman's cheese soufflé is simple and comforting enough for a weeknight meal, yet impressive enough for a dinner party or holiday feast. Recipe slightly adapted from The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2003). —Genius Recipes

Watch This Recipe
Maman's Cheese Soufflé From Jacques Pépin
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional to butter a 5- to 6-cup gratin dish
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 extra-large eggs (or 6 large ones)
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese, preferably Gruyère (about 6 ounces), plus three more optional slices for garnish (roughly 2-inch by 3-inch)
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 5- to 6-cup gratin dish (we used the 12.75 x 9” Staub Medium Cast Iron Oval Roasting Dish from the Food52 Shop), sprinkle the bottom and sides with half the Parmesan, and set it aside. Melt the 6 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, then add the flour and mix it in well with a whisk. Cook for 10 seconds, add the cold milk in one stroke and mix it in with a whisk. Keep stirring with the whisk until the mixture thickens and comes to a strong boil, about 2 minutes. It should be thick and smooth. Remove from the heat, and stir in the salt and pepper.
  2. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat well with a fork. After about 10 minutes, the white sauce should be cool enough to proceed. Moving quickly, add the eggs, cheese and the chives to the sauce, and mix well to combine. Pour into the buttered gratin dish and cook immediately, or set aside until ready to cook. If setting aside for a few hours, the soufflé can remain outside at room temperature. If assembling a day ahead, refrigerate and bring back to room temperature before baking.
  3. Sprinkle the surface with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan and arrange the 3 slices of Gruyère in a circle in the center, if using. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until puffy and well browned on top. Although it will stay inflated for quite awhile, it is best served immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • AliceToo
    AliceToo
  • Nina Pulis
    Nina Pulis
  • Sinv TK
    Sinv TK
  • Sheila Barron-Teggart
    Sheila Barron-Teggart
  • Allyson Rennie
    Allyson Rennie
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

42 Reviews

JOELOP February 18, 2021
This was easy and tasted fantastic, the whole family enjoyed it!
 
cosmiccook February 6, 2021
Love this recipe! Love, love, love Jacques Pepin! I had a lot of cheese pieces left over from the holidays and I just combined them all. I added some Fine Herbs from Spice House and Quatre Epices for added flavor.
 
AliceToo January 24, 2021
I just made this - So good! I made 1/3 of the recipe - 2 large eggs - in a traditional 2-cup souffle dish. Baked at 375 in my convection oven for 20 min. Perfect!
 
Wavey January 19, 2021
I made Claudine's version with cauliflower puree and slightly less cheese (though a very good gruyere). It was delicious and still plenty rich. I added a little grate of nutmeg in a nod to both the gruyere and the cauliflower.
 
caswat2016 December 29, 2020
I have made this recipe many times. Such a delicious and easy thing to whip up for brunch that really impresses people (while you secretly gloat over how little effort you had to expend). I usually just do Gruyere and Thyme, but for Christmas brunch I mixed in some local smoked salmon, dill, and some Emmental. Paired well with a simple green salad with citrus supremes (another way to make your friends feel like they are getting a four star meal with a few slices of the knife for you ;)).
 
caswat2016 December 29, 2020
I have made this recipe many times. Such a delicious and easy thing to whip up for brunch that really impresses people (while you secretly gloat over how little effort you had to expend). I usually just do Gruyere and Thyme, but for Christmas brunch I mixed in some local smoked salmon, dill, and some Emmental. Paired well with a simple green salad with citrus supremes (another way to make your friends feel like they are getting a four star meal with a few slices of the knife for you ;)).
 
Merry December 29, 2020
This was excellent and smelled delicious while baking. Since there are only two of us, we had a lot leftover. Happily, the next day, we cut some of it into serving size pieces, placed them in a dry nonstick pan and heated. The slight crust that formed on the bottom as the slices warmed made it even more delicious.
 
Nina P. November 21, 2020
Thank you for such a versatile, easy and elegant recipe! We made with cheeses (sharp cheddar and pecorino) we had in the fridge and some fresh scallions. Delicious and can’t wait to make this again! My 8 year old approved!
 
Sinv T. November 7, 2020
Hi Can you kindly advice 6 tablespoon of butter is how many grams? Thanks
 
NCdana November 7, 2020
One tablespoon of butter equals 14.1 grams.
 
TK November 22, 2020
thank you
 
daisy G. October 6, 2020
I used cheddar cheese and added finely ground ham, it was fabulous. I don’t think there is any way you could not make this basic recipe work!
 
Sheila B. September 25, 2020
I’m going to do two side by side. Should I increase cook time ? I did each one separate. Didn’t double receive.
 
Celi September 1, 2020
I made this recipe and was easy and delicious, my kids and my husband loved it!!
 
Allyson R. June 12, 2020
I think my husband would travel over the moon for this. It's so simple yet perfect in everyway. It's not just a do once or twice recipe. This is a forever recipe to be repeated throughout life. Once I ran out of grated cheese and used the cheap grated parmesan, you know - the one that comes in a green labeled plastic shaker, for the sides. It worked well and crusted beautifully. I'm going to try Mahon and some other cheeses next. Excellent recipe. Love Jacque Pepin!
 
Pam May 28, 2020
This came out sooo good! It’s super easy to put together, beautiful to look at and really delicious. One of those rare recipes that doesn’t need modification. I love that it’s specifically listed how much salt to use, too many people shy away and just add a pinch and end up with bland dishes. Trust the recipe here, it’s perfect.

My 8” round cake pan worked perfectly for this. I also replaced 1/2 cup of the gruyere with sharp cheddar for a little extra zing.
 
Lori April 28, 2020
Made this for dinner tonight, and after a busy day, this recipe was perfect! Sophisticated yet simple, and easy to put together... I may never make a soufflé the traditional way again. We served it with steamed asparagus and fresh berries. Delicious!
 
WIC February 10, 2020
I've made this twice now. The first time I was very nervous as I'd never made anything like a souffle before and was cautiously precise with the directions. DH and I agreed it was delicious. Second time was this evening, and I was a more comfortable and almost cavalier with the directions. It was even better than the first time, took it out of the oven at about 5 minutes earlier and allowed it to set a bit before digging in. It was creamy, fluffy, smooth and cheesy. Hats off to Food52 for having Chef Pepin in the kitchen and sharing his mothers delightful creation.
 
slocol February 5, 2020
The printed recipe calls for a 400 degree oven. In the video, I believe Chef says 375. Which is correct?
 
Jean-Pierre A. January 22, 2020
Why not using standard measures = KGs Grams...spoons ?
 
Kileuer January 19, 2020
Yes! My first time making this...and it was amazing. A couple tweaks, and it will be perfect! I highly recommend it!
 
Kate January 13, 2020
What size baker did you use? I know its the Staub but didn't know which sized quart dish to purchase. Thanks!
 
Pamela T. January 14, 2020
The recommendation is for a dish that will hold 5-6 cups and four cups = one quart. I used 2.5 quart (I think) oval baking dish and that worked well for me.
 
Kate January 14, 2020
Thank you!!
 
Pamela T. January 14, 2020
🙂👍