These are the best homemade Chocolate Eclairs you will ever have. It's an original French recipe! Light and airy Pâte à Choux filled with super creamy chocolate cream filling and topped with delicious chocolate ganache.
Chocolate Eclairs are a French classic and beyond delicious. It's a light and airy choux pastry, called Pâte à Choux, filled with a pastry chocolate cream filling and glazed with chocolate ganache.
It's for sure not the easiest recipe, but I made a detailed step-by-step tutorial for you on how to make chocolate eclairs with tons of photos and a video. So please don’t be afraid of trying this recipe. I know that making Chocolate Eclairs can be intimidating, but if you follow the directions carefully, you will master this recipe!
If you love French baking goods as much as me, have a look at my Croissant, Crème brûlée, and Chocolate Soufflé recipes. They are all original French and fully translated into English and measured in cups and grams.
How to make a chocolate cream filling for Chocolate Eclairs
Start with the filling because it needs to chill at least 1-2 hours but preferably overnight. In a medium bowl whisk egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch to combine.
Bring milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Slowly stir about ½ cup (120ml) of the hot milk into the egg yolks to slowly warm it. Stir until smooth and fully combined. This method makes sure that your egg yolks warm up steadily. If the egg yolks were too fast too hot, you would end up with scrambled eggs.
Then slowly pour the warmed egg mixture into the saucepan. Whisk constantly.
Cook until the filling is thick and looks like pudding, for about 1-2 minutes. Whisk continuously.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in chocolate and salt until smooth and fully combined for about 1-2 minutes.
Pour the chocolate cream filling through a 6-inch (15cm) mesh strainer into a bowl and let cool for about 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add butter and stir to combine. The best is when you cut the butter into a few pieces and add one at the time to the filling.
Cover the chocolate cream with plastic wrap to prevent forming a skin. Refrigerate at least 1-2 hours or overnight.
Making pastry chocolate cream filling can be tough for the first time. You need to get a feeling for the right consistency. Undercooking leads to a too liquid pastry cream that can't be piped. Overcooking leads to scorched and lumpy pastry cream. So keep an eye on the photos to see how the required consistency looks like and follow each step closely.
How to make Pâte à Choux (Choux Pastry)
Making choux pastry is not as hard as you might think though you need to be careful not to overcook or undercook the dough. But I provided detailed step-by-step photos below to give you confidence during the process.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan bring water, butter, sugar, and salt over medium-high heat to a boil.
Once it reached a boil, add flour and constantly stir with a wooden spoon. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until it starts to form a film on the bottom of the pan. Don't be scared if it looks lumpy when you start stirring the flour into the butter mixture. This is normal, see photo below.
After 2-3 minutes of cooking, it will look like in the photo below. The dough is compact and lumpy but sticks mostly together. You can see that there is a film of dough on the bottom of the pan. Don't scratch that away. Let it how it is.
For easy cleaning the pan, just fill warm water and a drop of dish liquid into the pan and let stand until the film is soaked through and can be easily removed from the bottom.
Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let cool for about 2 minutes. Then add the first egg to the dough and stir to combine. It will be quite hard to whisk, and the dough will separate and be a lumpy mess. Don't panic that is absolutely normal. Just keep whisking until it comes together. Free the whisk from the dough before you add the second egg.
Add the second egg. The dough should look like this at that moment:
The dough will separate again, just keep whisking that it comes together. Free the whisk from the dough before you add the third egg.
Add the third egg. The dough should look like this at the moment:
And again, the dough will separate but comes together while whisking. Free the whisk from the dough before you add the fourth egg.
Add the fourth egg. The dough should look like this at the moment:
The dough will again separate and come together. That's all normal. As you can see in the photos, the dough gets smoother with every egg you add.
In the end, the dough will be very sticky and firm enough to hold a stiff peak as you can see in the photo below.
Transfer Pâte à Choux to a piping bag fitted with a star tip (I used the Wilton 1M tip). The easiest way to fill the dough into the piping bag with the fitted start tip is to place the pastry bag over a tall glass. Overlap about 4 inches (10 cm) of the piping bag down the outsides of the glass. Then use a spatula and fill the bag about ½ to maximum ⅔ full that you can twist the ends and no dough is popping out at the top of the pastry bag while piping.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and stick a bit of dough in all 4 corners to fix the paper. Otherwise, it will move around while piping.
Pipe ten about 4-inch long and ½-inch wide (10x1,5cm) strips on the 2 prepared baking sheets with enough space in-between (about 2-3 inches) and spin the tip.
Press down the tip with wet fingers that they don't get too brown or burn.
In a small bowl combine egg and water and stir to combine. Lightly brush on top of each eclair.
Bake one baking sheet at the time for about 30-35 minutes until eclairs are puffed and golden brown. I baked mine for 33 minutes. Don't open the oven while they are baking or the eclairs will collapse. I’m serious. Don’t look inside the oven while your choux pastry is baking. This is the number one reason for collapsed Pâte à Choux.
Bake them long enough until they are golden brown and puffed. Every minute is crucial. Make sure that you don’t take them out of the oven too early because they are already lightly browned after 25 minutes.
You know when the choux pastry is done when the sound hollow when knocking on the bottom.
Let eclairs cool for 30 minutes then cut in half horizontally. You see in the photo below that they are completely hollow.
Fill chocolate cream into a piping bag and pipe into the bottom of the eclairs. Place the tops of the eclairs on top of the filling.
For the chocolate ganache, place chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Microwave heavy whipping cream until very hot and simmering for about 1-2 minutes. Pour over chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes. Stir until smooth, and the chocolate is completely melted.
For a super glossy finish like in my photos, you can add ½ tablespoon of corn syrup to the ganache. This is not original French, but I love how shiny the glaze is with the corn syrup. The corn syrup is optional. Let stand for about 10 minutes.
Place Chocolate Eclairs on a wire rack and carefully spoon chocolate ganache (about 1 tablespoon of ganache per eclair) on top of the eclairs and let dry.
Troubleshooting common Choux Pastry Problems
Why did my Choux Pastry collapse?
Undercooking the dough: Cook the Pâte à Choux for 2-3 minutes until it starts to make a film on the bottom of the pan. The dough is firm and holds together at this point. If you cook it shorter, the dough will be too wet, runny, and won't hold its shape once combined with the eggs. The choux pastry won't rise that much and collapse after you remove it from the oven.
Using the wrong egg size: I used large eggs for the recipe. Please make sure not to buy extra large eggs, or you face the same problems as if you undercook the dough.
Opening the oven door during the baking time: Please never ever open the oven door during the baking time. There is no reason to look inside the oven while your eclairs are baking. If you open the door, cool air comes into the oven, and the temperature change causes the not fully baked eclairs to collapse. Pâte à Choux needs to be baked through and dry to handle temperature changes.
Underbaking the eclairs: Bake them long enough until they are completely baked through and sound hollow when knocking on the bottom. I bake mine for 33 minutes. Every minute is crucial. Make sure that you don’t take them out of the oven too early just because of the browned color. They are already lightly browned after 25 minutes. TIP: Place an additional oven thermometer in the oven to be sure you have the correct temperature. This saved me in so many situations.
Why is my Choux Pastry too dry?
Overcooking the dough: Please make sure that you don't cook the choux pastry longer as described. If you cook the dough too long, it will get crumbly and too stiff. Dry Pâte à Choux batter leads to dry eclairs.
Too much flour in the dough: If you use a kitchen scale you will be saved from this problem. If you bake with cups, please make sure to spoon and level the flour in the measuring cup. A packed cup of flour equals 1.5x spooned and leveled flour. So, in this case, you would have 1+½ cups of flour in the dough instead of 1 cup.
Overbaking the eclairs: When using an oven thermometer, overbaking is almost not possible when you bake them around 33 minutes as I do. So, again, use an additional oven thermometer to avoid that problem.
More European desserts to try
If you love European desserts, you've come to the right place. The following recipes are some of my favorites and are loved by family, friends, and readers worldwide.
Best Homemade Chocolate Eclairs
pastry chocolate cream filling
- 4 large egg yolks
- ⅜ cup granulated white sugar (75g)
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch (24g)
- 2 cups milk (480ml)
- 1+⅛ cups milk chocolate, melted (7oz / 200g)
- pinch of salt
- 2+½ tablespoon butter, cubed (35g)
Pâte à Choux (choux pastry)
- 1 cup water (240ml)
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113g)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (120g)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoon water
- ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (4.6oz / 130g)
- ⅜ cup heavy whipping cream (90ml)
- OPTIONAL: ½ tablespoon corn syrup (for extra gloss)
- Make the chocolate filling: In a bowl whisk egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch to combine. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan bring milk over medium-high heat to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir about ½ cup of hot milk into the egg yolks to slowly warm it. Then pour warmed egg mixture slowly into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Cook until filling is thick, for about 1-2 minutes. Whisk continuously.
- Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and salt until smooth and fully combined for about 1-2 minutes. Pour through a mesh strainer into a bowl and let cool for about 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add butter and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent forming a skin. Refrigerate at least 1-2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Make the Pâte à Choux: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan bring water, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil. With a wooden spoon stir in flour and cook for about 2-3 minutes until it starts to form a film on the bottom of the pan. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let cool about 2 minutes.
- Stir in one egg at the time. After every egg, the dough will separate. Keep stirring until the dough comes together again. In the end, the dough will be sticky and firm enough to hold a stiff peak.
- Make the egg wash: In a small cup stir egg and water to combine. Set aside.
- Transfer Pâte à Choux to a piping bag fitted with a star tip (I used the Wilton 1M tip). Stick a bit of dough on the baking sheets underneath the parchment paper to fix the paper. Pipe ten about 4-inch long and ½-inch wide (10x1,5cm) strips on the 2 prepared baking sheets with enough space in-between (about 2-3 inches) and spin the tip. Press down the tip with wet fingers that they don't get too brown or burn. Lightly brush with egg wash.
- Bake one baking sheet at the time for about 30-35 minutes until puffed and golden brown. They need to sound hollow when knocking on the bottom. Don't open the oven during the baking time or the eclairs will collapse. I baked mine for 33 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
- Fill the cream puffs by cutting the eclairs in half horizontally. Pipe the chocolate filling into the eclairs. Set aside.
- Make the chocolate ganache: Place chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Microwave heavy whipping cream until very hot and lightly simmering for about 1-2 minutes. Pour over chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes. Stir until smooth, and the chocolate is completely melted. Add corn syrup and stir until combined if desired (for extra gloss, totally optional). Let stand for about 5 minutes.
- Place eclairs on a wire rack. Spoon chocolate ganache (about 1 tablespoon of ganache per eclair) on top of the eclairs and let dry. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days.
- Watch full tutorial on how to make choux pastry and pastry cream in the blog post above.
- Watch 67-seconds video to see the whole process.
- Read blog post above to learn more about troubleshooting common choux pastry problems.
You can find the video in the post above. If you don't see a video, please check your browser settings.