French cooking France

The soufflé: technical but so good and so French

Soufflé is so French that the name is spoken in French in almost every language on the planet. It's technical to make, but so tasty... How do you make it? How do you make a successful soufflé? By following our tips and discovering the recipes of Monsieur de France.


What's a soufflé?


Basically, it's a (sometimes individual) hotdish that puffs up in the oven, making it very light and flavorful. It can be made savory or sweet, and is so typically French that it's pronounced "soufflé" in almost every language. The French have been cooking it for over 3 centuries. It was the king of family dinners in the 1960s and 1970s, before being somewhat forgotten. But we still come across it in many families and restaurants.


The soufflé: A delicacy since the 18th century


Although it's not known who came up with the idea for soufflé, the first references to it are French, indicating that the French were the first to take the plunge. François Massialot (1660-1733), to whom we also owe the crème brûlée, refers to a "crème soufflée" in his culinary work "le cuisinier royal et bourgeois". It's a entremet, in other words, a small dish served between main courses. Joseph Menon (1700-1771) spoke of a crème soufflée, served hot, at the Court in 1755, but the first to truly speak of a "soufflé" was chef André Viard (1759-1834) in a work published in 1817. The 19th century adored soufflés. They were made with game, mainly feathered game such as pheasant and woodcock, with vegetables such as potatoes, and often sweetened versions: with frangipane, champagne, tea... Later came chocolate and caramel soufflés, and the great chef Antonin Carême proposed Parisian soufflés with dried fruit (so without flour, butter...). Escoffier, the other great chef, as gifted as Carême, proposed a crayfish-tail soufflé à la florentine (in other words, with spinach).


Traditional cheese soufflé: Photo chosen by studioM via Depositphotos.

Traditional cheese soufflé: Photo chosen by studioM via Depositphotos.


Nowadays :


Savory versions can be served as starters or main courses. For example, mushroom soufflé, green asparagus soufflé, broccoli soufflé, the classic cheese soufflé, or ham soufflé. If the sea inspires you, you can make a shrimp or crab soufflé, or even a salmon soufflé. For a sweet version, and therefore a dessert, you can treat yourself to a vanilla and caramel soufflé. It's easier to make in small ramekins than in large dishes, but there's always a risk: the soufflé may burst and you end up with a kind of big, greasy sauce. Still, it's worth a try. A soufflé always makes an impression.


Our recipe for cheese soufflé.


The ingredients


  • 150 grams Comté or grated Gruyère cheese
  • 100 grams butter
  • 80 grams flour
  • 1/2 liters of milk
  • 8 fresh eggs
  • Salt and pepper.


The process


  1. Preheat your oven before you start. Thermostat 6 (180 degrees).
  2. Separate the whites from the yolks
  3. Butter a high-sided baking tin.
  4. Heat the milk and season with pepper.
  5. First make the béchamel by melting the butter in a saucepan.
  6. Then add the flour and mix (to prevent lumps).
  7. Now add the 1/2 liter of milk and mix again.
  8. The mixture should be fairly thick.
  9. Take the pan off the heat for a minute, then add the egg yolks, stirring again.
  10. Add grated cheese (Comté or Gruyère)
  11. Beat your egg whites until stiff
  12. Stir the egg whites into the mixture (the egg whites will make your soufflé puff up).
  13. Pour the mixture into the buttered mould.
  14. Place in oven thermostat 6 / 180 °C for 40 minutes



To make with mushrooms: 50 grams of grated cheese and 100 grams of mushrooms. To make with ham: 80 grams of grated cheese, 200 grams of ham and just 4 eggs.


Our tips and tricks for a successful soufflé :


Above all, butter the mold or ramekins well. This is what allows the soufflé to rise and the filling to slide down the sides. It's the soufflé that decides: you've got to serve it as soon as it's ready , otherwise it'll deflate, so don't wait, and you've got to be pretty good at managing to wedge a soufflé into a dinner party with friends, because it's pretty unpredictable as to how long it will take to cook.

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme is "monsieur de France" the author of this site.