Crisp hollow golden brown shell filled with creamy vanilla custard-like filling, topped with a simple chocolate ganache. Classic Eclairs dessert that will wow the crowd at your next gathering!
These classic eclairs a great dessert to share anytime. Make ahead. Freeze for later. Enjoy now. Make minis or regular-sized classic eclairs or choose a size in between.
This classic eclairs recipe is simple and simply delicious. Fool-proof if you follow the easy recipe directions and ingredients.
The crowd will be wowed by this scrumptious dessert especially when they find out it’s a homemade fool-proof easy recipe!
HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC ECLAIRS
Eclairs are quite easy to make at home especially if you use this recipe. There are 3 parts to this recipe:
- Crisp golden shells (choux dough)
- Cream filling (my recipe is super easy and delicious!)
CRSIP GOLDEN ELCAIR SHELLS:
Start by heating butter, water, milk, salt and sugar over the stove. Once simmering, turn down heat and add the flour. The flour will immediately begin cooking. Stir it vigorously for 1-2 minutes. Make sure to keep the heat low as you do this to avoid burning but allow moisture to be released.
Once the flour is fully incorporated and the dough has been heated over low heat for 1-2 minutes turn off heat and let the dough cool. This step is very important as you can cook the eggs if added to soon. Once the dough reaches 125-135F begin adding the eggs one at a time. Each egg needs to be fully mixed in before the next is added.
SIZE MATTERS… when it comes to your eggs!
When using medium eggs you will need 5 eggs. If using large or XL (costco eggs) you will only need 4.
This important to follow as too many eggs will make the dough too soft. It will not hold its shape and you risk too much moisture being retained during baking which can contribute to the shells collapsing.
Once the eggs are all incorporated, pour into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
PIPE AND BAKE:
Pipe 5-6 inch lines of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I can usually fit about 16-18 eclairs per sheet. Bake time will be directly related to how large or small you make your eclairs (or cream puffs).
The eclairs will be baked at a higher temperature at first then lowered toward the end. This allows the shell to puff with steam then crisp on the outside. This process helps release moisture from the dough to create that crisp outside and hollow inside.
Let shells cool completely before filling and dipping in chocolate ganache.
I prefer this semi-homemade, super easy cream filling over a pastry cream because it is smooth, cream, sweet and so easy to make.
Start by mixing the vanilla pudding mix and cold milk together. Set aside until the whipped cream is ready. Next, whip the heavy whipping cream and small amount of powdered sugar until stiff peaks are reached. Carefully fold in pudding mixture. That’s it!
Using a small circle pipping tip or filling tip, pipe cream filling into cooled eclairs.
To make this simple chocolate ganache add 1 part cream to 2 parts chocolate. Melt in the microwave 30 seconds at a time. It usually only takes 30 seconds to a minute to get warm enough.
Start stirring the cream and chocolate using small circles in the center. You will begin to see the cream and chocolate form a thick rich chocolate sauce. Make the circles larger to allow more cream to be mixed in. It may seem like it will never come together but trust the processes and keep stirring.
It will become a shiny, rich chocolate color when it’s ready with no signs of cream or white streaks.
Simply dip the filled eclairs tops into the ganache. Enjoy!
Q & A: CLASSIC ECLAIRS
HOW DO YOU MAKE THE ECLAIR SHELL HOLLOW?
This recipe is really cool and will make a hollow shell as it bakes. It’s magical!
The dough-like mixture is filled with eggs which, while it cooks, creates air pockets as it puffs up. As the dough continues to release moisture during the baking process the outside will become crisp and the inside will become hollow. When the shells are done they will be mostly hollow and ready to fill with delicious cream.
CAN I USE THE SHELL RECIPE TO MAKE CREAM PUFFS?
A cream puff is a round ball-shaped shell filled with cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Find my recipe post on cream puffs HERE.
You can use this recipe to make your own cream puffs. You can also use the same cream filling. Just omit the chocolate and sprinkle with powdered sugar… you have a delicious cream puff!
We love eclairs but cream puffs are great too. If you plan to serve a crowd, cream puffs are great because they are very “stackable” (no sticky chocolate). You can make them large or small, bite-sized puffs.
Bake time will vary depending on what size eclair or cream puffs you make. This recipe is for 18 large eclairs.
Other sizes you can make. Size of dough line BEFORE baking:
- Large classic eclair: 5-6 inch
- Medium classic eclair: 4-5 inch
- Small classic eclair: 2-3 inch
- Small cream puff: 1- 1 1/2 inch ball
- Large cream puff: 2-inch ball
Other filling options:
- 3-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse like in these Inside Out Eclairs
- Easy Raspberry Mousse
- Mint Mousse
- Easy Lemon Cream like in these Lemon Cream Puffs
- Chocolate Espresso (chocolate pudding with mocha or coffee extract in place of vanilla pudding)
- Lemon Custard (or lemon pudding in place of vanilla in this recipe)
HOW HARD IS IT TO MAKE CHOCOLATE GANACHE?
Chocolate ganache is a simple, elegant touch you can easily add to chocolate desserts like these classic eclairs.
This simple ganache is made from 2 ingredients: cream and chocolate. That’s it!
If you like sweeter chocolate you can use milk chocolate. If you’re a dark chocolate lover, you can use dark chocolate.
WHAT PIPING TIP SHOULD I USE TO MAKE CLASSIC ECLAIRS OR CREAM PUFFS?
You don’t need a piping tip although I would recommend it. You can use a plastic bag with a large 1/2 inch cut in the tip. If using a tip, I’d recommend a plain round piping couplet (the piece you put inside the bag then put the piping tip on and screw a nut to secure the tip), large round size 806 piping tip, A1 piping tip, or a large star size 829 piping tip. When I make eclairs or cream puffs I use a regular round piping couplet.
WHY DID MY ECLAIR SHELL COLLAPSE OR FLATTEN?
It’s frustrating when you pull your beautifully piped éclair shells from the oven only to have them collapse or flatten. If this has happened to you it might be because:
- too much moisture. There are two segments during cooking that the dough will loss or lessen moisture content: during the cooking process of the choux dough (before piping) and during baking. If there is too much moisture during either of these sections the shell may collapse. To avoid having too much moisture in the dough make sure to cook the dough on low for 1-2 minutes after adding the flour.
- too much egg. Make sure to use the right amount/size of eggs. It can make all the difference. Too much egg will make the dough too soft. Steam and moisture releases during the baking process. If there’s too much egg, not only will your shells not look as pleasing or round but they may not be able to release enough moisture to allow the shell to become crisp (add structure that will hold after the steam in side is release upon removing from the oven).
OVENS CAN VARY
- oven temperature is off or inaccurate. It’s always a good idea to check your oven temperature with an external thermometer every once in away to make sure it’s baking at an accurate temperature. If you’re oven is off by 10 or 20 degrees that can effect the eclairs during baking. Too low of a temperature they may not puff as fast or well. Too high of a temperature and they may burn or become too crunchy.
- it baked to long or not long enough. This one goes along with the last. Not all ovens are the same. They can vary quite a bit. I highly recommend checking your oven temperature ever few months to make sure it is actually baking at the temperature you set it to. My mom checked her oven this last Thanksgiving and discovered one of her ovens was off by 15-20 degrees. It’s worth checking every once in a while.
READY TO MAKE YOUR OWN CLASSIC ECLAIRS?
Find the full printable recipe below. ENJOY!
Shell (Choux dough):
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 4 to 5 eggs, one at a time, if using large or XL eggs you may only need 4, if using medium eggs you will need 5, dough should be soft enough to pipe but firm enough to hold it's shape.
Vanilla Cream Filling:
- 1 3.4 oz vanilla pudding, dry mix
- 1 2/3 cup cold milk, 2% or whole
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Simple Chocolate Ganache:
- 1/2 cups chocolate chips, milk or semi-sweet
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 tsp vanilla, OPTIONAL
Eclair Shells (Choux dough):
- In a large saucepan bring to boil, water, milk, butter, salt, and sugar.
- Once butter is melted, reduce heat to low, add flour, and stir vigorously for 1-2 minutes. This helps remove extra moisture and gives the flour time to cook.
- Remove from heat. Let cool to 125-135 degrees (hot to the touch but not burning).
- Add eggs, one at a time. Incorporate completely before adding the next egg. Add 4 (large or XL) OR 5 (medium) eggs until the mixture turns into a soft paste that will still hold its shape.
- Using a plastic piping coupler or piping tip of your choice (large opening) and Ziploc bag, immediately pipe paste in the desired size (small- 2-3 inch, medium 4-5 inch, large 5-6 inch, cream puffs- round balls). Bake time will vary depending on size.
- For large eclairs, bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 for 12-20 minutes or until the shell is golden brown and hollow inside. See notes for additional bake times.
- Cool completely.
Vanilla Cream Filling:
- Whisk pudding mix and milk together. Mix 2-3 minutes. Set in fridge until ready to use.
- In a large mixing bowl, whip cream to soft peaks, add powdered sugar. Whip to stiff peaks. Don't over whip or you'll end up with butter.
- Remove pudding from fridge. Stir until smooth. Fold in whipped cream.
- Using a bag with round piping tip, carefully insert tip into cooled shell. Fill slowly until shell is full. You may need to fill from both sides to fill entire shell.
Simple Chocolate Ganache:
- In a microwave-safe bowl, add cream and chocolate chips. Heat 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted. Usually only takes 30 seconds to 1 minutes. Don't over heat.
- Stir chocolate mixture until cream is fully incorporated into chocolate. Mixture will look rich, smooth and chocolatey when done (1-3 minutes).
- Dip top of each filled eclair into chocolate ganache. Let ganache cool. Store in fridge or freeze for later.
- Additional cook times:
- For cream puff (about 1 inch round dough) AND small 2-3 inch eclairs bake 425ºF for 10 min then 375ºF for an additional 5-10 min or until hollowed and golden brown.
- For medium 4-5 inch eclairs bake at 425ºF for 12 min then at 375°F for an additional 8-12 minutes or until hollowed and golden brown.
- Best if served fresh but can be frozen for later enjoyment. If frozen, allow eclairs to come to room temperature before enjoying.
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OP: 1.15.19 Updated photos: 4.20.23