This easy single serve chocolate soufflé comes together in just 40 minutes, and is the perfect solution for your late night chocolate cravings! And if you find soufflé intimidating, don't worry, I am including all the tips and tricks you need to perfect it. You can do it!
WHAT IS CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE?
A chocolate soufflé is a light, airy, and decadent dessert that originates from France. It is made by folding a mixture of egg yolks, sugar, and melted chocolate into stiffly beaten egg whites. The mixture is then baked in ramekins, and the air trapped in the egg whites expands with heat, causing the soufflé to rise dramatically, resulting in its signature fluffy texture. It is a great chocolate dessert for those who want something that tastes rich, but isn't heavy.
I have lately been obsessed with simple, quick and small-serve recipes. Because sometimes you want dessert for just yourself (or for date night) and don't want to spend hours laboring in the kitchen. That is why I wanted to create a single serve recipe for you guys (ok, it's actually enough to feed 2 people, but that's nobody's business 😉 ).
Here's what you will need for this recipe - exact quantities are given in the recipe card below, so keep scrolling!
- Dark chocolate: The chocolate you use will determine the flavor of the souffle, so use good quality chocolate you enjoy the flavor of! I am using my favorite Valrhona Caraibe feves. Ideally, you want chocolate that is between 60-70% cocoa, but you can also opt for semi sweet or extra dark based on your taste.
- Unsalted butter: If you want, you can use salted butter, but skip the salt in that case
- Instant coffee powder: Optional if you don't want a coffee flavor!
- Eggs: Make sure the eggs are at room temperature. This is key for the egg whites to whip up properly!
- Granulated sugar: You can also use caster sugar
- Cream of tartar: Cream of tartar is an acid that helps stabilize meringue. It's added as a safety net to egg whites. If you don't have it, you can skip it.
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE
Now let's talk through the process to make the chocolate soufflé. First, check out my video tutorial here:
1. Preheat the oven
Preheat your oven to 400F (conventional, bottom heating only).
Take a 14oz ramekin, and generously brush it with butter and dust with granulated sugar. Shake out the excess sugar. This is the ramekin I used!
If you don't have a 14oz ramekin, you can use 2 6 or 8oz ramekins instead!
2. Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler
First, place the chocolate, butter, salt and coffee in a heat proof glass bowl. Bring water to boil in a small saucepan. Turn the heat to the lowest setting, and place the glass bowl on the saucepan. This is a double boiler, which slowly heats the chocolate and butter. Keep stirring until the chocolate and butter melt into a shiny, smooth mixture. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Make the meringue
Now, separate your eggs into whites and yolks. Make sure there is no yolk in the egg whites, as that will prevent them from properly whipping. Set aside the egg yolks.
With the egg whites, you will make meringue. Start beating the egg whites with an electric beater or stand mixer at medium speed for a minute or two until they look white and frothy. At this point, you will start adding in the sugar.
Make sure you add the sugar in very small additions while continuing to beat the egg whites on medium speed. This will help ensure your egg whites don't split or overwhip. The meringue will take several minutes to reach stiff peaks.
You will know the meringue is done when it is glossy, white, and forms stiff peaks. If you dip the whisk into the meringue and lift it, it should leave a spike behind that stands straight up.
4. Mix the yolks into the chocolate mixture
At this point, the chocolate mix should have cooled down in temperature. Add the yolks and whisk until combined.
5. Fold the meringue into the rest of the batter
Now, you will start folding the egg whites (meringue) into the chocolate, butter and egg yolk mixture. This step is crucial to get right: you need to preserve as much of the air whipped into the meringue as possible.
First add a third of the meringue to the chocolate mixture, and fold gently with a rubber spatula. Be very very gentle with your movements, and keep folding until the meringue is mixed in. Do not overmix.
Now, add the remaining meringue and fold gently. Try not to knock out any air. Stop folding when you don't see any more specks of meringue.
6. Transfer the batter to the ramekin
Carefully pour the batter into the prepared ramekin. Spread it out gently with a spatula.
Then, you need to take a butter knife, and make a well or gap around the edge of the soufflé! This will help ensure the soufflé rises up. This doesn't matter much if your soufflé batter isn't already filling up the ramekin, but is important if you're using smaller ramakins and the batter is almost reaching the top.
Transfer the soufflé to the oven, and turn down the temperature to 375F. The heat in the oven from 400F will encourage the soufflé to rise quickly, and turning down the temperature will ensure it doesn't overbake or crack while rising.
Bake for 18-20 minutes if using a 14oz ramekin. You want the souffle to have a thin crust on the top, and lightly jiggle in the center when you shake it. I found that at 18 minutes the souffle was slightly on the moist / wet side (which I prefer), so if you want a completely cooked, set souffle, you will want to bake for 19 or 20 minutes.
Soufflés are best eaten right away! As you let them sit, they will start to deflate and become a bit more dense in texture. They still taste great, but the best eating experience is when they're coming out of the oven.
You can serve the soufflé with powdered sugar, cream, ice cream, or ganache. Anything you prefer, really.
TIPS TO MAKE THE PERFECT SOUFFLE
Since soufflé can be somewhat technical, here are some of my best tips to perfect them:
- Properly coat the inside of your ramekin(s) with butter and sugar to help the soufflé rise evenly and prevent it from sticking to the sides
- Use good quality chocolate. If your chocolate doesn't taste good, the souffle won't either!
- Make sure the eggs are at room temperature. Room temperature egg whites are more stable and whip up more easily
- Make sure you don't underwhip the meringue! If the egg whites are underwhipped, the souffle will be dense instead of light and airy. You need to keep whisking until you reach the stiff peak stage: if you dip the beater into the egg whites and lift it, it should leave behind some spikes that stand straight up
- Use a clean bowl for the egg whites! Make sure the bowl (and the whisks) are completely clean and dry. No egg yolks should get into the egg whites. If you can, dab a little vinegar onto a paper towel and rub it in the inside of the bowl - this will help get rid of any residual grease in the bowl and ensure the egg whites whip up nicely
- Add cream of tartar to the egg whites for extra stability
- Make sure to whip the meringue at medium speed. If you whip at high speed and try to get it to stiff peaks quickly, there is a chance it will separate or overwhip. Mixing at medium speed creates smaller air bubbles in the meringue which are more stable
- Make sure to add the sugar gradually to the egg whites. Once the egg whites are white and frothy, add the sugar in small increments. This will ensure the meringue doesn't deflate
- Don't overwhip the meringue! Once you reach the stiff peak phase, stop whipping. Meringue can be overwhipped, at which point it will start "weeping" or leaking moisture.
- Fold gently! When folding the meringue into the chocolate mixture, be very slow and gentle to avoid deflating whites
- Bake immediately. Be sure to bake it immediately after assembling the ingredients. Otherwise it will start to deflate
- Don't open the oven. Avoid opening the oven door while the soufflé is baking, as this can cause it to collapse or crack. To check for doneness, wait until at least the 15 minute mark, and if opening the oven, don't leave it open for too long
- Serve immediately! Serve the souffle warm and enjoy it within 15-20 minutes of coming out of the oven. This is when it will be at peak souffle texture
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You can also use a 12oz ramekin or soufflé dish. If you don't have anything around that size, divide the soufflé batter between 2 6oz or 2 8oz ramekins, and bake for 13-14 minutes
There are several reasons why a soufflé may collapse, including under-beaten egg whites, overcooking, or opening the oven door too soon. To avoid this, be sure to follow the recipe instructions carefully and resist the temptation to open the oven door while baking.
This can happen if you overwhip and split egg whites. It can also happen if you don't fold in the egg whites properly and leave some specks.
It's not recommended to make a soufflé in advance, as it's best baked and served immediately. You can prepare the ingredients ahead of time and make the soufflé before you need to serve it.
While dark chocolate is typically used in chocolate soufflés, you can use milk chocolate if you prefer a sweeter taste. Just keep in mind that the flavor and texture may be slightly different.
It's not recommended to freeze a soufflé , as it will likely lose its texture and become dense when reheated. It's best to make and enjoy your soufflé fresh.
There are eggless soufflé recipes which use aquafaba instead of meringue - I suggest following those instead of modifying this recipe.
It is normal for soufflé to lightly crack while baking, don't worry. Large cracks can occur from opening the oven door too soon, or from overbaking.
You can skip cream of tartar as long as you follow all the other tips for perfecting meringue.
You can bake the souffle in an oven proof glass or ceramic bowls for the closest result to a ramekin. If you don't have those either, you can use a muffin pan!
Looking for more chocolate recipes? Try these:
- Simple chocolate cake: It comes together in 1 hour and has been a FAVORITE in the Bake With Zoha fam!
- The ultimate chocolate chip cookies
- The perfect fudgy brownies
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