STUDY QUESTION Can the differences in patients' and professionals' perspective regarding essential endometriosis care be accommodated in one set of key recommendations? SUMMARY ANSWER Consensus between patients and professions on a key set of recommendations for essential endometriosis care was achieved. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY Guideline development alone will not lead to healthcare improvement. Quality indicators are needed to monitor actual care and guideline adherence. These can help with better implementation of the ESHRE guidelines in European hospitals and thereby improve the quality of endometriosis care. The first step in the development of quality indicators is to select a compact set of key recommendations. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE AND DURATION Using a RAND modified Delphi method, this study reports the systematic selection of key recommendations based on the ESHRE guideline 'Management of Women with Endometriosis' by an international expert panel of both patients and professionals during the study period of September 2015 and December 2015. PARTICIPANTS, SETTING, METHODS An international panel of patients (n = 10) and medical professionals (n = 11) rated and prioritized the 83 recommendations extracted from the ESHRE guideline for relevance in three rounds. A strict consensus methodology was used to select key recommendations. The main outcome measure was one set of key recommendations for endometriosis care. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE A representative set of 17 key recommendations was selected from the preliminary set of 83 recommendations. This selection covers all dimensions of endometriosis care, including diagnosis, treatment of endometriosis-associated pain, treatment of endometriosis-associated infertility and miscellaneous topics such as prevention, menopause and relationship with cancer. Of the 21 experts, 17 participated in at least one round while 16 (76.2%) participated in all 3 rounds. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION The feasibility of the selected key recommendations was not assessed in this study. As not all panel members took part in all three rounds, some response bias may have occurred. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS This set of key recommendations is the first step in the development of quality indicators for monitoring and improving endometriosis care. The set is generic and can be used in hospitals internationally. A practice test should be conducted to assess the feasibility of our key recommendations in clinical practice. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S) No funding was received for the conduct of this study. Members of the EndoKey study group did not receive payment. The authors and members of the EndoKey study group have no conflict of interest.