The rise—and inevitable fall—of the soufflé is a dramatic culinary masterpiece, and a spectacular addition to any cooking repertoire. Like many dishes that come from the classic French kitchen, the soufflé has a reputation for being beyond the grasp of the everyday cook. But is it really? Or is that notion all just part of the drama? We argue for the latter—after all, it’s only milk, eggs, flour, and a generous grating of cheese. Here, we’ve broken down the soufflé into four manageable steps—you’ll be conquering the savory showstopper by your next dinner party.
- 6 5- ounce ceramic ramekins
- Parchment paper
- Butcher’s twine
- 2 small saucepots
- Medium mixing bowl
- Stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment
- 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for greasing ramekins
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- ⅔ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese divided
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 2½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 6 large eggs whites and yolks separated
- 6 ounces Gruyère cheese grated
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ►Heat oven to 375°F. Butter insides of ramekins generously. Mix breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano. Sprinkle mixture into each ramekin to completely coat sides and bottoms. Cut 6 long strips of parchment paper and wrap one around each ramekin; trim to leave a 2-inch lip above the rim of each ramekin. Secure parchment paper with butcher’s twine.
- ►Warm milk in a small saucepot over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, melt butter in another small saucepot over medium heat. Stir flour into melted butter and cook, stirring, until mixture resembles wet sand, about 3 minutes. Whisk in warm milk. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and stir in salt, white pepper, cayenne, and mustard. Add egg yolks and whisk immediately to avoid clumps. Whisk in Gruyère and remaining Parmigiano Reggiano and set aside.
- ►Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of egg whites into warm cheese mixture. Fold in remaining egg whites until fully combined. Do not overmix; batter should be light and airy, without large pockets of egg white.
- ►Portion soufflé batter into prepared ramekins. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until soufflé centers are set but still have a slight jiggle. Open oven door very gently to ensure soufflés don’t deflate. Serve immediately.
Tips for Soufflé Success
- Serve with a zesty green salad to cut the soufflé’s richness.
- Add a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh herbs like chives, parsley, thyme, or tarragon to the batter before baking.
- Add ¼ cup of vegetable puree—try spinach, aspa ragus, or butternut squash—to the batter for added flavor and color (it’s also a great way to clean out your refrigerator).
- Replace half of the Gruyère with another flavorful melting cheese, such as aged white cheddar, fontina, Comté, or Manchego.