A chocolate soufflé
Type Egg-based dish
Place of origin France
Main ingredients Egg yolks, egg whites
Cookbook: Soufflé 

A soufflé (French: ) is a baked egg-based dish which originated in early eighteenth century France. It is made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a savory main dish or sweetened as a dessert. The word soufflé is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means "to breathe" or "to puff".[1][2][3]


  • History 1
  • Ingredients and preparation 2
  • Variations 3
  • In popular culture 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


The earliest mention of the soufflé is attributed to French master cook Vincent de la Chapelle, circa the early eighteenth century.[1] The development and popularization of the soufflé is usually traced to French chef Marie-Antoine Carême in the early nineteenth century.[4][5]

Ingredients and preparation

A berry soufflé served in a coffee cup

Soufflés are typically prepared from two basic components:

  1. a flavored crème pâtissière,[6] cream sauce or béchamel,[6] or a purée[2][6] as the base
  2. egg whites beaten to a soft peak[2]

The base provides the flavor and the egg whites provide the "lift", or puffiness to the dish.[1][2] Foods commonly used to flavor the base include herbs, cheese and vegetables[1] for savory soufflés and jam,[7] fruits,[8] berries,[9] chocolate,[10] banana[11] and lemon[12] for dessert soufflés.

Soufflés are generally baked in individual ramekins of a few ounces or soufflé dishes[13] of a few liters: these are typically glazed, flat-bottomed, round porcelain containers with unglazed bottoms, vertical or nearly vertical sides, and fluted exterior borders. The ramekin, or other baking vessel, may be coated with a layer of butter to prevent the soufflé from sticking.[6] Some preparations also include adding a coating of sugar, bread crumbs, or a grated hard cheese such as parmesan inside the ramekin in addition to the butter; some cooks believe this allows the souffle to rise more easily.[6]

After being cooked, a soufflé is puffed up and fluffy,[2] and it will generally fall after 5 or 10 minutes (as risen dough does). It may be served with a sauce atop the soufflé, such as a sweet dessert sauce.[14][15][16] When served, the top of a soufflé may be punctured with serving utensils to separate it into individual servings.[17] This can also enable a sauce to integrate into the dish.


There are a number of both savory and sweet soufflé flavor variations.[18] Savory soufflés often include cheese, and vegetables such as spinach,[2] carrot[19][20] and herbs, and may sometimes incorporate poultry, bacon, ham, or seafood for a more substantial dish. Sweet soufflés may be based on a chocolate or fruit sauce (lemon or raspberry, for example), and are often served with a dusting of powdered sugar.[21] Frugal recipes sometimes emphasize the possibilities for making soufflés from leftovers.[22]

Another variation is an ice cream soufflé, which combines a soufflé with ice cream.[23] Fruit or a hot dessert sauce, such as chocolate sauce, may also be used.[16]

In popular culture

Soufflés are frequently depicted in cartoons, comedies and children's programs as a source of humor. Often this involves a loud noise or poke causing the soufflé to collapse, evoking the dejection of the character being served the anticipated dessert.[24]

In the popular science fiction television show Doctor Who, companion Clara Oswald's echo Oswin Oswald was known to the Doctor as "Soufflé Girl".[25][26]

On the animated children's television series Arthur, the episode "Arthur's Family Feud" involves a ruined soufflé.[27]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Peterson, J. (2012). Glorious French Food: A Fresh Approach to the Classics. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 130–132.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f Taylor, Carol. "How to Make a Soufflé".  
  3. ^ "Soufflet". Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Wells, Patricia (22 February 1978). "Perfect Souffles Don't Require Expert Skills". The Eagle. p. 26 – via  
  5. ^ Mallet, Gina (2004). Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 52–54.  
  6. ^ a b c d e Cloake, Felicity (15 September 2011). "How to cook perfect cheese soufflé".  
  7. ^ McCoy, J. (2009). Healthy Meals for Less. Baker Publishing Group. p. 231.  
  8. ^ Beard, J. (2015). The James Beard Cookbook. Open Road Media. p. 356.  
  9. ^ Brownlee, H.; Caruso, M. (2007). The Low-Carb Gourmet: A Cookbook for Hungry Dieters. Random House Publishing Group. p. 73.  
  10. ^ Rombauer, I.S.; Becker, M.R.; Becker, E.; Guarnaschelli, M. (1997). Joy of Cooking. Scribner. p. 1033.  
  11. ^ Pellaprat, H.P.; Tower, J. (2012). The Great Book of French Cuisine. Vendome Press. p. 1383.  
  12. ^ Zuckerman, K.; Rupp, T. (2009). The Sweet Life: Desserts from Chanterelle. Little, Brown. p. 170.  
  13. ^ "The best way to prepare soufflé dishes or ramekins". Le Cordon Bleu. Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  14. ^ Waldo, M. (1990). The Soufflé Cookbook. Dover Publications. p. 225.  
  15. ^ "Shivi Ramoutar's coconut soufflé with rum sauce". Metro. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  16. ^ a b Lewis, E. (2013). In Pursuit of Flavor. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. pp. 488–490.  
  17. ^ Child, J.; Bertholle, L.; Beck, S. (2011). Mastering the Art of French Cooking (v. 1). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 331.  
  18. ^ Hesser, Amanda. "The Modern Souffle: Bastion of Strength". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  19. ^ Tijerina, Edmund (7 May 2015). "Recipe Swap: Carrot Soufflé". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  20. ^ "Chef John Folse's Holiday Carrot Soufflé". WAFB 9 News. 6 November 2001. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  21. ^ Mushet, Cindy (2008). The Art and Soul of Baking. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 375.  
  22. ^ "Good Cookery: Souffles, alias Puffs". Fitchburg Sentinel. 9 May 1899. p. 11 – via  
  23. ^ "Warm Milk Chocolate Souffles with Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe".  
  24. ^ Walker, Jennifer A. (5 June 1997). "There is No Mystique to Making Mistake-Free Souffles". San Bernardino County Sun. p. 65 – via  
  25. ^ Nguyen, Hanh (18 May 2013). "Doctor Who Finale Explains the Impossible Girl and Introduces a New Face".  
  26. ^ "Oswald for the Win! 13 of Clara's Best Moments...".  
  27. ^ "Arthur's Family Feud / Muffy Gets Mature".  

Further reading

  • Waldo, M. (1990). The Soufflé Cookbook. Dover Publications. 241 pages.  

External links

  • "Endangered Souffle" at TV Tropes – cites many examples of the delicate soufflé trope in television, comics, and other popular culture