The Best Eclairs Recipe

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This is the Best Homemade Eclairs Recipe ever! The pastry and frosting are made completely from scratch and the filling is absolutely to-die-for! Making this recipe is a labor of love, but it results in a delicious, elegant dessert that is perfect for every special occasion! Make-ahead and freezer-friendly!

front view of homemade eclairs with chocolate frosting

This Best Eclairs Recipe is my husband’s favorite dessert of all time. His mom has been making these homemade Eclairs for over 45 years and when Ritch and I got married, she taught me how to make them too. 

These Eclairs are good, like knock-your-socks-off delicious. But they are a lot of work. Making these for my husband is truly a labor of love.

This eclairs recipe is really three recipes: one for the Choux pastry, one for the chocolate frosting and one for the eclair filling. We have the process down to a science, and I will be sharing it with you step-by-step. 

I happily spend half a day making this eclairs recipe, or this tiramisu cake, for Ritch because they bring him so much joy (just like these brownies are my love language)! We always work as a team, which makes the process faster and more fun!  Plus, I love that this recipe is passed on from his mom. I always remind my kids that these are “Mema’s Eclairs” so that we always think of her when we make them, and will for the rest of our lives! 

front view of a homemade eclair cut in half so you can see the eclair filling inside

Homemade Eclairs Recipe: Ingredients

There are three components to this Eclairs Recipe, and I’ll show you the ingredients I use for each of them!

Choux Pastry

The choux pastry only has 4 ingredients, water, butter, eggs and salt! I do not recommend making any substitutions. The only change that can be made in using unsalted butter instead of salted butter! (Note: you only need ¾ cup butter for the recipe, although 1 cup is pictured below)!

overhead view of the choux pastry ingredients

Eclair Filling

The quality of ingredients used in this filling recipe matters. I don’t recommend making any substitutions. Especially do NOT substitute the french vanilla pudding for regular vanilla or any other brand. (If you love french vanilla pudding, try this dirt cake – it’s the best)!

True story: No joke, once I made these eclairs with a generic brand of french vanilla pudding and Ritch noticed. He took one bite and said, “What did you do to these? They are different!” I never ever change this recipe, because his mom made it and it’s perfect. So I told him I made them the same way I always do!

Then, Ritch found the generic pudding packages in the garbage and said, “You didn’t use Jell-O brand pudding! That’s it! The filling is different!” LOL! I about died. That man can’t tell the difference between ground turkey and ground pork, but he could detect that I tried to save 90 cents by buying a different brand of pudding. Never again did I make that mistake. 

overhead view of the eclair filling ingredients


Once again, the quality of chocolate used in the frosting matters!

overhead view of the chocolate frosting ingredients for eclairs
  • Chocolate:  I love Ghirardelli baking chocolate. This frosting is a little dark but still sweet! If you like a sweeter chocolate frosting, use semi-sweet or milk chocolate!
  • Milk: I use whole milk in this chocolate frosting, but you can use 2%, half and half or cream if you’d like! 
  • Butter. Unsalted butter can be used in place of salted butter for equally delicious results!
overhead view of two halves of a homemade eclair laying down so you can see the filling inside.

How to make Homemade Eclairs Recipe

There are three separate components that make these homemade eclairs:

  1. Pastry Filling.
  2. Pastry Puffs (Choux Pastry)
  3. Chocolate Frosting.

Since each part requires the use of a standing mixer, I have the process of making of these mini eclairs down to a science! Don’t forget to watch the video.

Make the Eclair Filling 

This best eclairs recipe begins with making the pastry filling! Since involves chilling and whipping, it’s important to start with the filling first! 

Mix milk & pudding

Begin by whisking together the milk and pudding mix, then letting it set up in the fridge for 5 minutes while you whip the whipping cream. Using a whisk ensures there are no clumps of pudding!

overhead view of a whisk mixing pudding and milk together in a glass bowl showing how to make eclairs

Whip the whipping cream

Next, add all the ingredients for the whipping cream into the bowl of your standing mixer and whip for about 60 seconds on high until stiff peaks form. 

  • A helpful tip: when you whip the whipping cream in your standing mixer, start by placing the mixing bowl in the refrigerator. A cold bowl aids in the whipping process immensely!
two photos showing how to make eclairs - making the whipped cream

Combine the ingredients

After the pudding is set up and the cream is whipped, gently fold them together or stir on low speed in the mixer. Once they’re thoroughly combined, transfer the filling to a bowl (because we need to use the bowl of the mixer again),  cover it and place it in the fridge while you make the rest of the eclairs recipe – the puffs and frosting! 

two overhead photos showing how to make eclair filling

Make the Puff Pastry (AKA: Choux Pastry) 

Once the eclair filling is chilling in the fridge, it’s time to make the pastry shells (or puffs as we call them)! This Choux pastry is pretty straightforward, but can be a little finicky!

Make the panade

The first step in making Choux pastry is making a panade, which is just a starchy thickener. To do this, start by melting butter, salt and water together. Then add flour all at once and whip it with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball.

Cool the panade 

Transfer it from the hot pan to the bowl of your standing mixer to cool.  The panade needs to cool before the eggs are added so they don’t cook when they hit the hot dough!   

two overhead photos showing how to make choux pastry for homemade eclairs

Add the eggs

Once the dough is cooled, beat the eggs in one at a time. Then prepare to bake the pastry shells. 

If the batter is too runny, don’t worry it can be fixed!

If the batter is not thick enough to hold its shape when piped, you will need to add more flour. I have had to adjust the amount of flour if my eggs are larger than normal and my batter comes out too thin! Add 1 TBS at a time as needed. The dough should be slightly runny, but still hold its shape when piped onto the pan. 

two overhead photos of adding eggs to make choux pastry for eclairs

Measure the Choux Pastry onto a greased baking sheet 

You get to choose what shape you’d like to make the eclairs. Sometimes we pipe the filling into mini, oblong eclair shapes using a pastry bag and a wilton 1M decorating tip. I find it easiest to use a small (1 1/2 TBS) cookie scoop to just dollop a small amount of dough onto the greased baking sheet to make round eclairs! It’s really up to you! 

Do NOT use parchment paper

Please do NOT use parchment paper to bake this eclair recipe. The eclair shells will stick to the parchment paper and will be a nightmare to remove!

two overhead photos showing how to make eclairs - scooping and placing choux pastry dough onto baking sheet

Bake the Choux Pastry Shells

Bake the pastry shells until they are golden brown but not too dark (about 20-25 minutes). The yield in this recipe really depends on the size you make the shells. We get between 30 and 50. When we make larger (about 2 TBS per shell) round eclairs we get about 30, when we make smaller mini eclairs (about 1 TBS per pastry puff) we get about 50-60!

After they are finished baking, remove them to a wire rack to cool. The shells need to be completely cool before filling/frosting. However they are fairly thin and cool pretty quickly.

two overhead photos showing how to make eclairs - choux pastry shells cooling and filling & frosting in piping bags

Make the Chocolate Frosting 

While your shells are baking,  make the frosting. It’s a basic chocolate buttercream frosting that is a little on the dark side (insert Star Wars jokes here). Start by beating softened butter, melted chocolate and sea salt together until smooth. 

Next, add powdered sugar and milk and beat until the frosting is light and spreadable. 

two overhead photos showing the first two steps in making chocolate frosting

Add more milk if necessary to make the eclair frosting spreadable, but I have found that 3 TBS is exactly the right amount every single time! The more you whip the frosting, the lighter in color it will become!

up close view of chocolate frosting on a wire whisk beater over a mixing bowl

Assemble the Eclairs

Fill the homemadeeclairs

To assemble the homemade eclairs, begin by piping the filling into the shells using a small round tip. Using a tip is very helpful to ensure the homemade eclairs will be fully filled without making a mess.

Press the decorators bag full of filling into one side of the cooled pastry shell, then gently push the filling out until you see it start to ooze out a little bit.

This is when we tag-team it! Ritch fills the shells, then passes them to me to frost! Seriously having a partner to make these is a necessity! Also…if your helper is good at washing dishes that is a total bonus! 😉

front view showing a piping bag filling a pastry puff with eclair filling

Frost the Homemade Eclairs

Use your favorite decorators tip to frost the filled eclairs! For these photos I used the Wilton 2B tip (basket weave tip). I also like using the Wilton 1M decorators tip! You can frost them however you’d like! 

I don’t recommend spreading the frosting onto the eclairs with a knife because the filled pastry shells are delicate! If you apply too much pressure you run the risk of crushing the eclair!

front view of an eclair being frosted with chocolate frosting


Place the finished eclairs in a single layer on a baking tray or in a container and store them in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (until the frosting hardens). Then serve cold after chilling.


Once the homemade eclairs are chilled and the frosting is hardened, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

overhead view of 7 Homemade Eclairs with chocolate frosting

Recipe Tools

Having the right tools aids in the process of making these eclairs immensely! These are the tools I use to make them, as well as many other baked goods! I especially use these things to decorate cakes using our favorite homemade frosting recipe (another 45-year-old Mema recipe)!

front view of 8 Homemade Eclairs, some on a serving plate

Recipe FAQS

How do you store eclairs?

Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer!

Can you freeze eclairs?

Yes! Store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month (if they last that long)!

How long do filled eclairs last?

These eclairs will last for 5 days in the refrigerator or 1 month in the freezer. They keep longer than that, but for their optimal taste and texture that is the timeframe I recommend!

What happens if my pastry shells fall flat? 

As long as they puffed up in the oven this isn’t as big of a problem as it might seem. Obviously it’s not ideal, but the shells will puff up again as they are filled with the eclair filling. 
Making the choux pastry is the most “advanced” part of this recipe, and it does take practice. So if at first you don’t succeed, try again! 

Why did my pastry shells fall flat? 

When baked, the liquid in the choux pastry evaporates and creates steam, expanding the egg protein, causing the rise in the puffs. The eclair shells needs to be fully baked to ensure there is no moisture left on the inside. Even a small amount of moisture will cause the shells to deflate and go flat when they are removed from the oven. 
You want the shells to be a deep, golden brown all the way around the shell. I honestly could’ve baked the shells pictured below for longer and they would’ve held their shape better. 

overhead view of a half of a homemade eclair laying down so you can see the filling inside.

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Best Eclairs Recipe

This is seriously the Best Eclairs Recipe ever! The pastry and frosting are made completely from scratch and the filling is absolutely to-die-for! Making this recipe is a labor of love, but it results in a delicious, elegant dessert that is perfect for any special occasion! Make-ahead and freezer-friendly! 
4.95 from 18 votes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, French
Servings 40 mini eclairs
Calories 183.8
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time30 minutes
Chilling1 hour
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes


Filling: (You will have extra)

Pastry Puffs:

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 4 oz (1 cup) unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 TBS milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar



  • Mix together the French vanilla pudding and milk. Set aside in the refrigerator until it becomes thick (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the whipping cream, vanilla and powdered sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer and whip on high speed until firm peaks form and hold their shape.
  • Fold the pudding and whipped cream mixture together.
  • Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease three jelly roll pans and set aside.
  • Measure your water, salt and butter into a 4-quart saucepan. Heat water salt and butter to boiling. Continue to boil the mixture until the butter is melted.
  • Add the flour to the saucepan all at once and whip with wooden spoon. Mixture will form a ball in middle of the pan.
  • Cool for about 5 minutes stirring to cool faster.
  • Add eggs one at a time whipping with wooden spoon well after each. [Or transfer your mixture to a standing mixture and add eggs individually, beating well after each].
  • Check your batter, if it is not thick enough to hold a shape when piped, gradually add more flour until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Put mixture into pastry bag and pipe out eclair shapes about 1 ½ to 2 inches long and 2 inches apart on your prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake at 400 for about 25 minutes or until lightly brown. Let cool completely before assembling the eclairs.


  • Melt chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave (60 seconds, then 30 second intervals until smooth), set aside.
  • Place softened butter in the bowl of your standing mixer.
  • Add chocolate vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Add salt and powdered sugar and beat until well combined.
  • Add milk and beat until the mixture reaches spreading consistency, wiping down the sides as you go. You may need to add more milk.
  • Set aside (but keep at room temperature).


  • Put filling in a large piping bag fitted with a small, round tip. Gently pipe the filling into one end of the pastry puff. Repeating for each puff until they are all filled.
  • Fill a large piping bag with your chocolate frosting and frost the eclairs in any way you’d like!
  • Refrigerate until serving.



Ingredient Substitutions:
  • I do not recommend any ingredient substitutions. The only changes that can be made are: using unsalted butter in both the puffs and frosting, or a different kind of chocolate in the frosting (e.g. semisweet or milk) for a sweeter taste. 
  • Store these eclairs in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 1 month in an airtight container. 
  • Simply remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving!


Serving: 1eclair | Calories: 183.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.5g | Protein: 2.6g | Fat: 12.6g | Saturated Fat: 7.7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3.5g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 151mg | Potassium: 75.7mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 11.6g | Vitamin A: 425IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 0.8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have a question? Leave a comment below!

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Ritch’s feelings about these this best eclairs recipe:

“These Eclairs are BY FAR the best dessert that I have ever had! Nothing else comes close. In fact, It’s not even fair to compare other desserts to this one. I’m actually tearing up a little bit as I write this….they are…so…(sniffle) amazing. I obviously have the best wife in the world–for lots of reasons–not least of which is because she makes these Eclairs for me. Just like anything else in life that is good…this recipe is a lot of work. But worth every second.” -Ritch

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  1. Hello,
    I saw this recipe this past week and immediately put the ingredients on my grocery list. I made your chocolate chip cookies last summer and they were amazing! I only have one jelly roll pan. Can I just keep the pastry bag in the fridge while each pan cooks? I do have a couple shallow baking sheets. will those work as well? Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    For someone who has baked as much as I have, I found myself surprised I’d never made eclairs. CHANGED THAT! These were super easy, not super messy, and not time intensive. So fun! I cut half the powdered sugar from the filling mixture, and that was just perfect for us!! I also used a small cookie scoop to portion out the puff pastry dough. That worked fabulously for even sized, beautiful puffs!! They turned out looking and tasting stunning. I will definitely make these again! And again and again…thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes you could make the filling and frosting ahead of time. The frosting does need to be room temperature to pipe it easily on the eclairs!

  3. 5 stars
    I made these with my kids last week and oh my they turned out perfect. The pasty puffed up perfectly. We made them into bite size. The were a total hit and froze a bunch and take them out when we want a little something sweet. Absolutely delicious. Thank you so much for this recipe. I never attempted anything like this but trying out new recipes with the kiddies as we have all this time at home together right now and loving it. Stay safe and thank you again. The recipe worked perfectly.

  4. The recipe says salted butter for the pastry, but then you also add salt. Will it come out too salty?

    1. Hello Noor! I have only ever made this recipe the way I have it written. Do you mean a box of custard mix or pre-made custard?

    1. Hey Nicole! Can you give me a few more details? Did you follow the recipe exactly? Why kind of pan are you baking them on and in what kind of oven?

  5. 5 stars
    Ohhhh my goodness! My family was blown away with these delicious lil morsels! I’ve never made eclairs, I thought to myself “well, she says you will get some that don’t puff but not to waste them (oh, trust..I wasn’t!) Totally thought since this is my first time, I’m probably going to have more than a few flat. NOPE! Dead serious, not one was flat! They are so beautiful and so delicious, my husband and boys can’t stop eating them. So, as I’m writing this review I have a batch in the oven of just “bite size!” Because, I’m afraid we will all become a bunch of cream puffs if they devour the rest lol. Going to deliver some to my sisters family tomorrow because this recipe makes plenty to share! Perfect recipe, will def be making again! PS, wish I could post a pic, they’re so cute!

  6. These look amazing! Quick question, for the frosting the recipe show 4 oz 1 cup of unsweetened chocolate, can you clarify the correct amount?


      1. Thank You! I made these today and all rave reviews! My neighbor boys were over too and they said this is the best dessert ever! We will be making these for all the special occasions, and the regular days too!