This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Chocolate souffle has a bit of a reputation. It's exceptional and a tricky dessert to master. We are here to show you that if your heart (or tummy) desires chocolate soufflé, then you shall have it! And you don't have to be a French pastry chef to nail it, either! All the magic of a rich, spongey, crackle-topped soufflé coming right up!
On a chocolate kick? You have to also try this decadent chocolate pie!
If you've ever watched a cooking show you'll know that when any contestant attempts a souffle, it's made out to be a big deal. And although this chocolate souffle recipe requires less than 10 ingredients, and comes together in 40 minutes total, it's the baking steps that are the most important part. If you follow along closely, you can absolutely master this incredibly light, fluffy, airy, chocolaty delicious soufflé.
This is the perfect dessert for a dinner party, or truly just to satisfy your inner chocolate fein on a random Tuesday evening. And, if you're serving any gluten-free friends or family members, you will quickly have a new best friend! This chocolate souffle is naturally gluten-free.
What is chocolate soufflé
Chocolate souffle is a rich and impressive dessert that's made from basic pantry staples like eggs, sugar, and cocoa powder.
The magic of the souffle is in the egg whites which contribute to the airy and fluffy texture, as well as the dramatic rise on the dessert. You'll notice there are no rising agents in this recipe, like baking soda or baking powder, and that's due to the egg whites.
You'll typically see souffles served in small round dishes, called ramekins. The shape of the ramekin helps the souffle rise up and out of the dish contributing to that fancy puffed-up top. You can, however, make chocolate souffle in any oven-safe dish. If you're serving lots of people, you can make this recipe in a skillet, for instance, and serve it with a bunch of spoons for sharing.
This chocolate souffle is a sweet variation, however, you can also make savory souffles like cheese and leek.
For your grocery list this week, you'll need to add the following to make chocolate souffles:
- Butter & sugar: Grease each ramekin to the top with butter and then coat in sugar. This base coating will help your souffles rise evenly.
- Semi-sweet chocolate: This dessert isn't meant to be super sweet. You want to let the chocolate flavor shine, so a semi-sweet chocolate is perfect.
- Whipping cream: You'll combine the heavy cream with the semi-sweet chocolate to start the foundation of the batter.
- Eggs: Separate the yolks from the egg whites of 6 large eggs.
- Cream of tartar: Adding cream of tartar to the batter will help strengthen the egg whites and prevent collapsing when you take the souffles out of the oven.
- Granulated sugar: You'll slowly add the sugar to your egg whites one tablespoon at a time until you get stiff peaks.
- Cocoa powder: A key ingredient to a chocolate souffle is the chocolate. This will be added to your egg yolk-chocolate batter.
- Vanilla: Add a little warm, floral note to the souffles with some vanilla extract.
- Sea salt: Flaky sea salt and chocolate are such a divine pair. You don't need much, but it will balance and add to the chocolate flavor of this dessert.
- Optional garnishes: If you really want to up the wow-factor, serve your chocolate souffles with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, some fresh berries, mint, and/or ice cream!
How to make chocolate soufflé
The step-by-step instructions to make a heavenly chocolate souffle are outlined in detail in the recipe card below, however, here is the gist of how you'll make these desserts:
- Coat each ramekin: Butter each ramekin to the very top and then coat it with sugar. Put your ramekins on a baking sheet in preparation for the oven.
- Start the chocolate batter: Add the semi-sweet chocolate and heavy cream to a heatproof bowl and warm it until it's melted. It's important to let this mixture cool.
- Focus on the eggs: Separate the yolks and the egg whites, putting the egg whites into their own bowl. Add the cream of tartar and whip until frothy. Add the sugar slowly and continue to beat until you have stiff peaks.
- Carry on with the chocolate batter: Add the egg yolks, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt to the cooled chocolate.
- Combine your egg whites and chocolate mix: Add ¼ of the egg whites to the chocolate and mix. Add the outstanding egg whites by folding them in gently.
- Pour into ramekins: Divide your batter between the ramekins and smooth the tops.
- Bake and serve immediately: They'll need 13-14 minutes in the oven then serve them as soon as they're done.
Tips for the best chocolate soufflé
To make sure you satisfy any chocolate lover out there (even if that's yourself), here are some tips to serving a perfect chocolate souffle:
- Pay close attention to the baking instructions: It's very easy to confuse or misread steps that include egg yolks vs. egg whites, for instance, so make sure you're reading and following along closely for best results.
- Air: Souffles need air to create the light and fluffy texture. Whipping the egg whites using electric beaters will bring in lots of air. Keep whipping until you have nice stiff peaks.
- Fold gently: When it comes time to combine your stiff egg whites with the chocolate mix, fold them together gently. There shouldn't be any white streaks, but you don't want to over-mix at this point.
- Help them rise: Once your batter is in the ramekin, run a knife around the edge of each one to create a channel for the chocolate souffle to rise.
- Serve immediately: This is no joke. Chocolate souffle needs to be served immediately after done baking. The reason for this is because the rich, airy dessert will rise out of its ramekin and without any warning begin to fall. Make sure that dramatic, tall height makes it to the table by serving them fresh out of the oven.
What to serve with chocolate soufflé
Chocolate souffles are the perfect finishing note for any dinner you serve! Here are some ideas of what to serve before your souffles come out of the oven and/or alongside your dessert:
Dinner menu to complement your chocolate souffle:
- Creamy Roast Carrot Soup
- Herbs de Provence Chicken
- Sauteed green beans
- Roasted Mini Potatoes with herbs and garlic
What to serve alongside your chocolate souffles:
How do you know when a chocolate souffle is done?
One way to eyeball it is to see if the edges are set and there's a small wiggle in the middle. If baking in ramekins, it should take 13-14 minutes to bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
What causes chocolate souffle to fall flat?
All souffles will fall at some point. When the egg whites are warmed they rise and create that height, so as they cool off they tend to fall. That's why you should serve your chocolate souffle immediately.
Can I make these chocolate souffles ahead of time?
No, these need to be served right away. If you happen to have an extra (maybe one guest was too full from dinner) then you can absolutely keep it to eat tomorrow. Just know that it will shrink and become more dense – but it will still be chocolaty and tasty.
- Butter and sugar ( for greasing the pan)
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate ( chopped)
- ½ cup whipping cream
- 6 large eggs (separated)
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Fresh berries and mint (for serving)
Tonka Bean Cream
- ½ cup whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ½ tonka bean (see notes)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter six 6-ounce ramekins right to the very top. Sprinkle granulated sugar into the ramekins so that all the butter is covered in sugar. Tip out any excess sugar. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet.Butter and sugar
- Add the chocolate and cream to a large, heatproof bowl. Melt the chocolate either in your microwave or over a double-broiler. Stir until the chocolate is smooth and then set the bowl aside so the chocolate can cool.½ cup whipping cream, 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks and place the whites in a large bowl. Add the cream of tartar and beat the egg whites with electric beaters until they're frothy. Slowly add the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, and continue to beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks, about 4 minutes in total.6 large eggs, ½ cup granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Whisk the egg yolks, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt into the mostly cooled chocolate.¼ cup cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon vanilla, ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Add ¼ of the egg whites to the chocolate and mix them in well to lighten the batter. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold them in, making sure that no white streaks remain.
- Divide the batter between the ramekins then smooth the tops with an off-set spatula. Then, run a knife along just inside the ridge of the ramekin to create a little channel for the chocolate souffle to rise. Wipe the edges of the ramekin clean with a paper towel for the prettiest souffles.
- Bake the souffles for 13-14 minutes, until the top and edges are set and the center only gives a tiny jiggle when you tap the ramekin. Serve immediately with a little powdered sugar sprinkled on top and some fresh berries and mint on the side.Fresh berries and mint
Tonka Bean Cream
- Add the whipping cream and powdered sugar to a medium-sized bowl. Use a microplane to grate in the tonka bean.½ cup whipping cream, ¼ cup powdered sugar, ½ tonka bean
- Beat with electric beaters on medium speed until medium-soft peaks form, about 5-6 minutes.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.