An Easy Chocolate Soufflé recipe anyone can master with just five pantry ingredients. This special chocolate dessert rises beautifully and won’t fall ~ it’s guaranteed to impress!
If you’ve always wanted to make chocolate soufflé but were intimidated, you’ll want to try this one. It’s quite straightforward, and we found it’s a sturdy little recipe, with wonderful chocolate flavor and an excellent success rate. So even though when most of us hear the word soufflé we immediately think disaster, I’m here to report that’s really not accurate. Here in the GI test kitchen we tested this recipe 4 different times (all before lunch!) and, despite several tweaks and issues, they all rose well and tasted divine. We think our final recipe is foolproof.
What you’ll need for individual chocolate soufflés
It’s such a short list!
- dark chocolate ~ bar chocolate melts the best, but we also made this successfully with dark chocolate chips
- butter ~unsalted
- eggs ~ large
- sugar ~ granulated
- vanilla ~ we also use almond extract on occasion
special equipment for soufflés
- individual ramekins, mine are 5 ounce. Soufflés are baked in straight sided cups so that they rise straight up, rather than dome like a cupcake.
- electric beaters to beat the egg whites
How to know what size ramekins you’ve got
If you use larger or smaller ramekins your yield and baking time will vary so it’s important to know your ramekin size.
- To measure your ramekins, fill a glass measuring cup with water and then fill a ramekin to the top.
- Note how many ounces it holds.
What makes a soufflé rise
A soufflé can be sweet or savory, but the basic principle is the same: a base (in this case melted chocolate mixed with egg yolks,) is gently folded into beaten egg whites. You’ll need to beat your whites until stiff peaks form. Too little beating and your soufflé won’t rise. Too much beating and your whites will be so stiff they won’t fold into the base easily.
When the mixture is baked in a straight sided soufflé bowl or ramekins, the heat of the oven causes all those air bubbles in the egg whites to expand, and the soufflé rises.
The protein in the eggs plus the fat in the yolks bakes into a structure along the sides of the ramekin which keep it up.
Good news: individual soufflés like mine are sturdier and less likely to be temperamental than large ones. The small size means that the structure around the edges of the cup can easily keep the soufflé aloft, even as it cools.
What makes a soufflé fall?
First let me say that a properly made soufflé will not ‘fall’ in the classic, comic sense that we all think of. It might sink a bit in the middle, where the batter is still somewhat molten, but the cooked sides should keep the soufflé aloft just fine, even as it cools.
The main reason a soufflé will fall is because it has not cooked enough. Pay attention to the recipe baking time, and make sure your ramekin is the correct size.
Most recipes will tell you to serve your soufflé the minute it comes out of the oven. But this is not for the reason they state, that it might fall. The reason is that you want to indulge in a soufflé while it is warm and fluffy, with a slightly molten center for the full experience.
Chef’s notes for chocolate soufflé
- Whip your egg whites with electric beaters rather than in a stand mixer with the balloon whisk. Hand held beaters give you more control and help prevent over beating.
- Be sure to thoroughly butter and sugar your ramekins, this helps the soufflé rise.
- If possible, fill your ramekins right to the top, this will create that fun high rise effect. If you can’t fill yours that full, your soufflés will still be delicious, but they may not rise above the tops of the cups.
- I don’t recommend making major substitutions in this recipe unless you’re up for some trial and error.
- Safe substitutions would be:
the type of chocolate. Feel free to use milk, semi sweet, dark, or bittersweet chocolate.
bar chocolate is preferred but chips will work.
if you want to go sugar free I would try a granulated sweetener that works in a 1 to 1 ratio.
More romantic chocolate desserts
Easy Chocolate Soufflé
- electric beaters
- 5-ounce oven safe ramekins
- 5 ounces dark or semi sweet chocolate, cut in small pieces Note: this is about 3/4 of a cup of chips)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for prepping ramekins
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar plus more for prepping ramekins
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Liberally butter 4 ramekins and coat all inside surfaces with granulated sugar.
- Gently melt the chopped chocolate and butter in a medium large bowl over barely simmering water, being careful not to have the bowl touching the water, or allow any water to splash into the bowl. You can also do this in a saucepan over direct heat if you are brave 😉
- When the chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat and whisk in the egg yolks, extract, and salt, until smooth.
- Meanwhile beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until foamy, then add the sugar and continue beating until still peaks form.
- Carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate until no white streaks remain. Try not to deflate all that air you just whipped into them. Note; you may want to do this in stages, starting with 1/3 of the whites first to loosen the chocolate, then add the rest. Chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Divide the batter equally between your prepared ramekins, and gently smooth out the top surface, if necessary. Run an offset spatula (or your finger) around the top rim of each cup, to separate the top of the mousse from the sides of the ramekin. This helps the soufflé to rise straight up.
- Bake for 10 -12 minutes until risen. The soufflés will still be a little wobbly. Note: depending on how full you filled your ramekins, the soufflés may or may not rise above the rims but they will be puffed up.
- Serve asap with a dusting of powdered sugar.
notes and variations
- If you have cream of tartar in your pantry you can add 1/4 teaspoon to the egg whites when you beat them. This helps stabilize them and helps them stay aloft after baking.