Classic Chocolate Eclairs

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Skip the bakery and make your own delicious eclairs at home! These cream-filled delights are a labor of love and are sure to become one of your new favorite dessert recipes.

I know, I know. Making pastries at home can definitely be intimidating! Especially if you’re new to baking. Trust me though, once you start, you won’t want to stop! Once you have these eclairs under your belt, you’ll have to give cream puffs or almond croissants a try! Now, let’s get in to all of the ins and outs of making the perfect eclairs.

4 eclairs on a plate. One is cut in half.

Foolproof Chocolate Dipped Eclairs

Making homemade eclairs may seem intimidating at first, with their perfectly piped shells and creamy filling. But don’t worry! With just a little bit of patience and practice, you’ll soon be whipping up eclairs like a pro. Just remember to take it one step at a time, and don’t be too hard on yourself if your first batch isn’t perfect. After all, the best things in life take a little bit of effort, and these tasty eclairs are no different! One bite of these bad boys and you’ll be a believer.

Let’s be real, store-bought eclairs just don’t hit the same as homemade ones. There’s something about biting into a perfectly baked pastry shell, filled with a creamy and decadent custard that just can’t be replicated. Plus, you can customize them to your heart’s content – want a chocolate filling instead of classic vanilla? Go for it! However you choose to make your batch, I’m sure you’ll absolutely LOVE how they turn out. Let’s get started with all of the ingredients you need to make them!

Ingredients Needed

Here is everything you need to make the soft pastry shell, vanilla custard filling, and chocolate ganache topping! I love a classic vanilla eclair with chocolate topping, but you can customize your batch however you’d like. I have some ideas for you in the tips section below! Note: all measurements can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

Shell Dough

  • Milk: Adds a rich and creamy flavor to the eclair shells. It also contains proteins and sugars that help create a tender and moist texture. YUM!
  • Water: Used with the milk to create the dough for the eclair shells. It helps to hydrate the flour and also create a smooth consistency.
  • Unsalted Butter: Adds a rich and buttery flavor to the shells while also giving them a flaky texture.
  • Granulated Sugar: Gives the eclair shells a touch of sweetness. Sugar also helps to brown the pastry as it bakes, giving it the perfect golden color.
  • Salt: Enhances the overall flavor of the eclair shells. Just a pinch is all you need!
  • Flour: The main ingredient in the eclair shells, providing structure and stability to the dough.
  • Eggs: Act as a binding agent and give the shells its classic texture.

Filling

  • Vanilla Pudding: For flavor and creaminess. Prepare as directed on the box.
  • Whipped Topping: Gives the filling the perfect light and fluffy texture!

Ganache

  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: Since the dough and filling is sweetened, I like using semi sweet chocolate chips for the ganache. You can also use milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate chips if you prefer. It’s fun to switch between things up! Whatever you go for, just be sure to use a high-quality baking chocolate. I always go for Ghirardelli with a high cacao percentage.
  • Heavy Cream: Adjusts the consistency of the ganache.

How to Make the Best Chocolate Eclairs

I’ve broken this recipe up into 3 simple parts. Follow the instructions step by step and you’ll be making eclairs like a pro! You’ll impress your friends and family with your amazing baking skills.

Shells

  1. Preheat Oven, Prep Pans: Preheat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment and then set aside.
  2. Milk Mixture: Add the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the butter is melted and the edge of the mixture is bubbling.
  3. Add Flour: Remove from the heat and add the flour. Then mix until a thick paste forms. Turn the heat back on to medium and stir for 2 minutes.
  4. Mix: Remove from the heat and transfer the dough to a bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the dough for 1-2 minutes to bring the temperature down.
  5. Add Eggs: Add the eggs one at a time, being sure to fully mix in each egg before adding the next. The dough should be thick and glossy.
  6. Fill Pastry Bag, Pipe: Fill a pastry bag ⅔ of the way with dough. Either pre-fir the bag with a large round piping tip or snip ½ inch off the end of the bag. Then pipe 4 inch lines of dough on the parchment lines baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between them.
  7. Bake: Bake for 10 minutes at 425 Fahrenheit before lowering to 325 and baking for 25-30 minutes more. Remove from the oven and then let cool completely.

Filling

  • Prepare Pudding: Prepare the pudding as directed on the package.
  • Add Whipped Topping: Once the pudding has set, fold in the whip topping.
  • Fill Shells: Transfer the filling to a piping bag fitted with a #8-#10 round piping tip. Use the tip to gently poke 2 holes in the bottom off the eclairs and gently squeeze the filling inside, being careful to not overfill.

Ganache

  1. Chocolate Chips: Add the chocolate chips to a bowl.
  2. Heat Cream, Combine: Heat the cream for 30-40 seconds in the microwave, until steaming. Then pour over the chocolate and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Stir until smooth.
  3. Dip Eclairs: Dip the tops of the filled eclairs into the Ganache and let them sit until the Ganache sets.
Top-down view of multiple chocolate dipped eclairs.

Tips and Tricks

Here are a few more things to keep in mind as you make your delicious homemade eclairs. They’ll turn out so good, you won’t want store-bought ever again!

  • Practice, Practice, Practice! Don’t be afraid to practice! Making eclairs takes some trial and error, but the more you make them, the better they’ll turn out. You’ll be making them like a pro in no time!
  • Room Temperature Eggs: Use room temperature eggs for the shell dough. Cold eggs can result in a denser texture and affect the rise of the pastry.
  • Switch Out Filling: Get creative with the filling! While classic vanilla custard is delicious, there are so many other flavors to try, like chocolate, coffee, or even fruity fillings! Lemon curd, anyone?
  • Toppings: Add chopped nuts, a drizzle of white chocolate or salted caramel on top!
  • Piping Tip: To get the perfect pastry shell shape, use a piping bag with a large, round tip. It’ll give you control and precision when piping the dough onto the baking sheet.
  • Chill: Let the filled eclairs chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving. This will allow the filling to set and the flavors to meld together for the best eclairs possible.

How Long Do Eclairs Last?

Speaking from experience, it’s hard not to eat all of these in one sitting. I swear, it’s like my family knows as soon as they’re out of the oven, then they’re gone in a snap. If you’re lucky enough to have some left over, here’s how to keep them fresh!

  • In the Refrigerator: Your eclairs will last for up to 2-3 days in an airtight container so they don’t dry out.
Closeup of an eclair being picked up. The filling can be seen.

Eclairs

5 from 1 vote
Skip the bakery and make your own delicious eclairs at home! These cream-filled delights are a labor of love and are sure to become one of your new favorite dessert recipes.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 24 Eclairs

Ingredients
  

Shell Dough

  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 large eggs room temperature

Filling

  • 1 3.4 ounce box vanilla pudding prepared as directed on the box
  • 1 8-ounce container whipped topping thawed

Ganache

  • cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • cup heavy cream

Instructions
 

Shells

  • Preheat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside
  • Add the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the butter is melted and the edge of the mixture is bubbling.
  • Remove from the heat and add the flour. Mix until a thick paste forms. Turn the heat back on to medium and stir for 2 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and transfer the dough to a bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the dough for 1-2 minutes to bring the temperature down.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, being sure to fully mix in each egg before adding the next. The dough should be thick and glossy.
  • Fill a pastry bag ⅔ of the way with dough. Either pre-fir the bag with a large round piping tip or snip ½ inch off the end of the bag. Pipe 4 inch lines of dough on the parchment lines baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between them.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 425 Fahrenheit before lowering to 325 and baking for 25-30 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Filling

  • Prepare the pudding as directed on the package.
  • Once the pudding has set, fold in the whip topping.
  • Transfer the filling to a piping bag fitted with a #8-#10 round piping tip. Use the tip to gently poke 2 holes in the bottom off the eclairs and gently squeeze the filling inside, being careful to not overfill.

Ganache

  • Add the chocolate chips to a bowl.
  • Heat the cream for 30-40 seconds in the microwave, until steaming. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Stir until smooth.
  • Dip the tops of the filled eclairs into the Ganache and let them sit until the Ganache sets.


Nutrition

Serves: 24

Calories94kcal (5%)Carbohydrates6g (2%)Protein2g (4%)Fat7g (11%)Saturated Fat4g (20%)Polyunsaturated Fat0.4gMonounsaturated Fat2gTrans Fat0.2gCholesterol42mg (14%)Sodium63mg (3%)Potassium42mg (1%)Fiber0.3g (1%)Sugar2g (2%)Vitamin A216IU (4%)Vitamin C0.02mgCalcium16mg (2%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Keyword eclairs, homemade eclairs
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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