Chocolate Eclairs

Chocolate Eclairs with a pat a choux dough and creamy vanilla custard filling topped with chocolate icing made easy with a perfect guide that’s easy to follow!

Breakfast pastries have always been a morning favorite, especially on the weekends. Check out the other Breakfast Recipes for ways to start your day.

Bite out of Chocolate Eclair

Chocolate Eclair Recipe

Put it out of your mind that eclairs can only come from a French bakery. You can easily make them at home and still get that same delicious flavor.

In fact, this dough recipe can also be used to make cream puffs and profiterole so you’re well on your way to becoming your own pastry chef.

If you want more fun pastry bakery flavors try the Cinnamon Sugar Cruffin for a fun mash up of breakfast flavors or if you’re looking for more of a classic French pastry, these Eclairs are just what you need to go along with your cup of coffee.

The Eclair Dough:

The dough we’re making for homemade eclairs is called Choux Pastry. It sounds fancy but broken down it just means that we are combining butter, water, salt, flour and eggs on the stovetop and beating the batter until it’s a thick and sticky texture.

Instead of using a rising agent, this process traps steam which gets released when baked creating a light and crispy pastry shell that’s hollow inside.

Even though the dough uses basic ingredients, getting the dough to the right texture is important.

  • Start by making sure to measure the ingredients correctly, especially the flour.
  • If the dough is too runny, your eclairs might come out of the oven flat or soggy.
  • Another tip is to make sure not to open the oven during the baking process until the end otherwise you’ll release steam resulting in flat eclairs. 

Chocolate Eclairs on baking sheet lined up

HOW TO FILL ECLAIRS?

  • To load a piping bag or ziplock bag with pastry cream, I recommend placing the bag inside of a shallow cup and folding the bag down around the outside of the cup. This gives you stability when spooning the cream into the bag.
  • Poke a hole in the shell and fill with pastry cream from both ends or make 2-3 holes on the bottom with a round tip and fill each one. Make sure to wipe away any excess filling.

CAN YOU MAKE ECLAIRS AHEAD OF TIME?

If you’re planning on making this eclair recipe ahead of time, I would suggest making the dough up until the point of baking. Once you’ve mixed in the eggs, place in a mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

MORE DELICIOUS BREAKFAST RECIPES

HOW TO MAKE ECLAIRS

  • For the Dough: Melt butter and add water until boiling then add  eggs and whisk well. Once the flour is added whisk well and keep going until it makes a ball. This is the hardest part of making eclairs.
  • Skip the piping bag: You can skip the piping bag and just spoon the dough onto your baking sheet.
  • Bake at two temperatures: First higher, then lower. You want to tap the eclair to listen for a hollow sound with a spoon.
  • Cool eclairs: Cool completely.
  • Make the Filling: You’re making a custard with milk and vanilla. Add the custard with a piping bag or you can cut your eclair in half if you want to spoon the custard in.
  • Make your Chocolate Icing: Similar to donut icing you’ll melt butter and chocolate and add in powdered sugar. Dip the top of the eclairs in upside down and let excess amounts drip off.

Filling of Chocolate Eclair

VARIATIONS ON ECLAIRS

  • S’mores: Use marshmallow cream filling and top with chocolate glaze and mini marshmallows. You can even torch the tops of the marshmallows or in a pinch, place them under a broiler but keep your eye on them so they don’t burn. 
  • Peanut Butter: Create a peanut butter mousse by mixing cream cheese, peanut butter, confectioners sugar and whipped cream. Dip the top into chocolate ganache.
  • Banana Custard: For a lighter, fruitier eclair, fold in mashed bananas into whipping cream for the filling. 

ECLAIR FILLING PUDDING HACK

You can use a box of instant vanilla pudding mix as a quick substitute for the eclair filling. Use:

  • 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Mix the pudding mix and milk and set aside.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until it forms stiff peaks.
  3. Mix the powdered sugar and vanilla into the whipped cream.
  4. Fold the whipped cream into the pudding mix.

More Pastry and Donut Recipes:

HOW TO SERVE AND STORE

  • Serve: Best eaten fresh but will last a day at room temperature. 
  • Store: Keep any leftover filled pastries in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Unfilled pastry shells can be kept at room temperature for up to a day or stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: You can store unfilled eclair shells for up to 3 months if kept in a freezer-safe storage bag or container. 

Chocolate Eclairs on baking tray

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Chocolate Eclair Recipe

Chocolate Eclairs with a pat a choux dough and creamy vanilla custard filling topped with chocolate icing made easy with a perfect guide that's easy to follow!
Yield 24
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine French
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

For the Dough:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs

For the Vanilla Pastry Cream Filling:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , room temperature

For the Chocolate Icing:

  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons water

Instructions

For the Dough:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Melt the ½ cup butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Once the butter is melted, add water and increase to high heat until boiling.
  • Reduce to low heat and add the salt, then add the flour gradually, stirring rapidly. Continue stirring until the dough begins to form a ball, not sticking to the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, whisking until completely mixed in after each egg.
  • On a greased cookie sheet or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, spoon the dough in 1 inch by 3 inch strips.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Lightly tap an eclair on the bottom with a spoon - if it sounds hollow inside, they're done baking; if not, bake for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  • Allow the eclairs to cool on a wire rack.

For the Vanilla Pastry Cream Filling:

  • In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer, stirring regularly to prevent a film from forming.
  • Is a separate bowl, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt, then add the egg yolks and mix until smooth and creamy (this may take a few minutes.)
  • Gradually mix in the milk while whisking constantly to prevent the egg from solidifying.
  • Return the filling to the saucepan and bring to a boil for 30 seconds to reduce to a pudding-like consistency.
  • Stir in 7 tablespoons butter and vanilla until creamy and smooth,
  • Rub remaining butter over the top of the mixture gently, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, 1-2 hours.
  • Load the filling into a piping bag (in a pinch you can put it in a plastic ziploc bag and just cut off the corner.)
  • Poke a hole in the bottom of each eclair shell and pipe in the filling.

For the Chocolate Icing:

  • Melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, stirring after each 30-second microwave period.
  • Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla until well combined.
  • Add in boiling water, one tablespoon at a time, until icing is smooth.
  • Dip the top of the eclairs in upside down and let excess amounts drip off.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 137mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 469IU | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Eclairs

Chocolate Eclair collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

    1. Just poke a hole in the shell to fill with pastry cream. I either poke both ends or make 2-3 holes on the bottom. Good luck!

  1. Hi, I followed this recipe carefully and after adding the flour, the “dough” did not become like a ball even though I stirred on low heat for 30 minutes. It would be helpful if you say about how long this should take. I thought it was too long to stir even at 10 mins, but didn’t want to give up. I was increasing the heat little by little too. It was not sticking to the sides of pan, but I kept looking for it become like a ball. So I proceeded with the eggs after 30 mins. Then it was so runny I couldn’t pipe it well at all. I know it shouldn’t be like that bc I’ve seen this made on TV. I followed the baking directions and they were already pretty brown at 15 minutes when I turned it down to 325 from 450. After about 5 minutes (not 20 like the recipe says) they were burning. Can you give any advice or more details on this recipe for when I try again? It sounds so easy but it didn’t work for me.

  2. There is butter listed in pastry cream ingredients but no direction for it?! Gonna add to sugar and cornstarch and cross my fingers

  3. Mmmm!! Chocolate eclairs are so yummy! The filling is the best part! I’ve honestly never made them, but I can’t wait to try!