The Ultimate French Lemon Soufflé

The Ultimate French Lemon Souffle

The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
302 Calories
13g Fat
37g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 302
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 7g 33%
Cholesterol 178mg 59%
Sodium 162mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 14%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 31g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 4mg 22%
Calcium 92mg 7%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 185mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

From the French verb souffler—to blow or inflatecomes the magical and delicious souffléliterally "puffed" or "inflated"that most home cooks seem to avoid, thinking it's too complicated to make. Truth is, soufflés are just like any other recipes that require well-beaten egg whites: they need patience and care. Fear not, as our delicious lemon soufflé is as easy as it is tasty, and requires just a tiny bit of attention to detail, 40 minutes of your time, and a proper soufflé dish with tall sides.

Sweet or savory, soufflés should be a must recipe in your repertoire, as they can be your next decadent dessert or elegant dinner. Chocolate or vanilla served with fruit sauces of creme Anglaise, sweet soufflés are a beautiful dessert and a wonderful treat with a cup of tea. Savory soufflés can center around bacon, vegetables, cheese, crab, ham, or herbs, which makes them ideal for brunch or lunch alongside fresh bread and a salad. However delicious all these sound, there is nothing as light and airy as a lemon souffle, sweet with the perfect amount of citrus flavor.

Before you start, be sure to have eggs at room temperature—or place them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes—and to work with neatly clean bowls and tools so your egg whites achieve the peak perfection needed to make an airy soufflé. Add some confectioners' sugar over the top of your lemon soufflé and serve with a few plump berries for a visually spectacular and amazingly delicious dish.

Ingredients

For the Soufflé Dish:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the Soufflé Mixture:

  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk, divided

  • 7 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cold

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 4 large egg whites

For Garnishing:

Steps to Make It

Make the Base

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    The Ultimate French Lemon Souffle ingredients

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a large soufflé dish and roll the granulated sugar throughout the dish, making sure to cover all the interior surfaces, especially the sides. Set aside.

    Butter a large soufflé dish and roll granulated sugar throughout the dish

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  3. In a medium saucepan set over low-medium heat, bring 1 cup of milk to just steaming.

    Bring 1 cup of the milk to just steaming in a medium saucepan

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  4. Stir together 5 tablespoons of granulated sugar with the all-purpose flour, the lemon zest, the remaining 1/3 cup milk, and the egg yolks until the mixture turns into a smooth batter.

    Stir together granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, lemon zest, milk, and egg yolks

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  5. Slowly whisk half of the hot milk into the batter, making sure to combine the ingredients well until they are completely smooth.

    Slowly whisk half of the hot milk into the batter

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  6. Add the tempered batter back into the hot milk in the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly.

    Add the tempered batter back to the hot milk in the pan

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  7. Stir and cook the mixture until it has thickened, or about 1 minute.

    Stir and cook the mixture until it has thickened

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  8. Stir the cold butter into the mixture and mix well. Allow it to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes.

    Stir the butter into the mixture and allow it to cool

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  9. Stir in the vanilla extract.

    Stir the vanilla extract into the mixture

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

Prepare the Egg Whites

  1. In a separate very clean bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they become foamy, and then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.

    In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with sugar

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  2. Continue beating the egg whites on high speed until they hold stiff glossy peaks.

    beat the egg whites on high speed until they hold stiff glossy peaks

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

Make the Soufflé

  1. Gently stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the vanilla mixture, then carefully fold in the remaining whipped egg whites.

    Gently stir the egg whites into the vanilla mixture

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  2. The vanilla mixture should be evenly colored and light and bubbly, without egg white streaks or marbling.

    The vanilla mixture should be evenly colored and light

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  3. Spoon the soufflé mixture into the prepared dish. Bake right away for 25 to 30 minutes, or slightly longer if at high altitude, until the soufflé has risen with a crusty exterior. If needed, cover it, and refrigerate it until ready for baking.

    Spoon the soufflé mixture into the prepared dish

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  4. Serve the soufflé with a dusting of powdered sugar and a few berries, if desired.

    The Ultimate French Lemon Souffle, served with berries

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  5. Enjoy!

Can I Make the Soufflé Ahead of Time?

Contrary to common belief, you can make your soufflé ahead of time and keep it refrigerated for up to 2 days covered tightly in cling wrap. Once ready to bake, simply place the dish at room temperature while the oven preheats, remove the plastic wrap, and bake as directed, allowing 1 or 2 additional minutes in the oven until golden brown and fluffy. The best results are achieved when the soufflé hasn't been sitting in the fridge for too long, but if needed this trick can help you bring a beautiful dessert to the table without missing out on the dinner table conversation.

For Best Results

Soufflés require patience and care, but also a few practical tips to achieve the desired fluffiness every time:

  • Crack the eggs on a flat surface and not on an edge, as the latter can push pieces of shell into the liquid egg, which will ultimately end up in your whites or yolks if too small to be seen.
  • Be careful when separating the egg whites from the yolks. There shouldn't be any bits of yolk in the whites because these won't peak as needed if there is any fat or other residual bits in them. Similarly, your bowls need to be spotlessly clean and dry before mixing the egg whites. Metal or glass bowls work best as they are easily cleaned, whereas porous materials like plastic can retain to other pieces of food from previous preparations.
  • Grease and roll the sugar thoroughly in your soufflé dish. The texture in the sugar allows the mixture to cling on to something and have a better rise in the oven.
  • Don't open the oven once the soufflé is in. As seen in multiple movies, if you open the oven door, the cold air that comes in can either deflate your soufflé or impede it rising. Peek using the oven light.

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