This chocolate souffle recipe, made using eggs, sugar, chocolate, and orange-flavored liqueur, is light and airy and far easier than you may imagine. We show you exactly how to make it.
If you’ve been hesitant to try your hand at a chocolate soufflé recipe for fear of a collapsed soupy dessert, worry not. This easy version, made with eggs, bittersweet chocolate, and orange liqueur has a slightly crisp crust and light, airy texture and remains at lofty heights even after sitting for a while, which means a no-stress, high-stakes dessert.–Angie Zoobkoff
☞ Table of Contents
Chocolate Soufflé FAQs
Is it true that loud noises or stomping around the kitchen can make a soufflé fall?
The good news? Nope. It’s a myth. Soufflés will inevitably collapse, but not because they’ve been bumped or jostled or startled. They fall because the air that is whipped into the egg whites has expanded during the heating process in the oven. When that air cools it will contract, and the soufflé will fall. It’s normal, it’s science, and it’s the reason soufflés should be served immediately. The bad news? It’s entirely possible that our Grandma was just telling us that we’d ruin dessert to keep us quiet and get us to sit still. Well played, Grandma. Well played.
What is cream of tartar?
Believe it or not, cream of tartar is a powdery byproduct of winemaking. The scientific name is potassium bitartrate (or potassium hydrogen tartrate). It can be found in the spice aisle of virtually every grocery store. It has a bit of a metallic taste, but you won’t notice that in most recipes due to the tiny amount that is used. Cream of tartar can be used as a leavening agent, but for this recipe, it accelerates the creation of those fantastic peaks of eggwhite foam. It also helps to stabilize air molecules as they heat up – helping you achieve the perfect soufflé.
- 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) pieces, plus 1 tablespoon, softened, for dish
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon for dish
- 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur such as Grand Marnier
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon table salt
- 6 large eggs separated, plus 2 extra large eggs whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Adjust the oven rack to a lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C).
- Butter a 2-quart (1.9 l) souffle dish, then coat the dish evenly with 1 tablespoon sugar and refrigerate until ready to use.
☞TESTER TIP: Don’t have a 2-quart souffle dish? You can instead use a generously buttered ovenproof saucepan or smaller individual ramekins and reduce the baking time to 20 minutes.
- In a medium or large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan filled with 1 inch (25 mm) barely simmering water, melt the chocolate with 4 tablespoons butter, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl and stirring the mixture occasionally until smooth.
- Stir in the liqueur, vanilla, and salt. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, beat the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until thick and pale yellow, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Fold the beaten egg yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture.
- Using a clean, dry mixer bowl and whisk attachment on medium-low speed, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Using a silicone spatula, vigorously stir 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then gently fold in the remaining whites just until incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and bake until fragrant, fully risen, and the exterior is set but the interior is still a bit loose and creamy but not soupy, 25 to 30 minutes.
☞TESTER TIP: To check doneness, use 2 large spoons to gently pull open the top and quickly peek inside the souffle.
- Serve the souffle immediately by bringing the dish to the table, accepting oohs and aahs, and then spooning it into individual dishes.
Mocha souffle variationAdd 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water along with the liqueur in step 3.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This chocolate souffle is a wonderfully rich and, at the same time, light and fluffy dessert that makes a great show-stopping presentation.
The dark chocolate and the airiness from the egg foam are a wonderful contrast. Warm and comforting!
My dish was 2.5 L (so slightly larger than in the recipe) but it fit all the souffle. Probably could have used half the butter for the dish but extra butter never hurt anything.
I did not have Grand Marnier and substituted Triple Sec
In my 6-qt Kitchenaid, the small amount of yolks and sugar weren’t really enough for the paddle to grab, so it took longer to get to a light yellow color, about 4 1/2 minutes total. Might be different with a hand mixer.
The 25 minutes was perfect timing for my chocolate souffle and I was super impressed that it didn’t deflate much even after sitting. It’s very rich so I would suggest 8 servings or maybe 10 if served with creme anglaise or ice cream. We did the mocha version and it was perfect for our coffee-loving household.
I had never made a chocolate souffle before so I decided it was time I attempt a dessert that sounds fancy and complicated but is no more complicated than a pudding or custard in cake form.
As I didn’t have an official 2-quart souffle dish, I chose the next best thing in my house. I used a 3-quart stainless steel saucepan. I used the softened butter to coat the entire inside of the pan, not knowing how high the souffle would rise, and coated the pan with 1 tablespoon of sugar, which was an ample amount.
The results of this chocolate souffle recipe were delicious and, although dark chocolate isn’t the preferred chocolate by the younger crowd in our house, they really did love the texture and taste of this souffle. It was a hit and a fun surprise dessert on a Thursday night during the time of quarantine.
I used Cointreau for my orange liqueur. I initially baked the souffle for 25 minutes, at this point it was set but the interior looked like uncooked batter. I opted to bake another 5 minutes, still a bit soft so I erred on the side caution and baked another 5 minutes. It was a perfect texture, almost like an airy mousse cake, rather delightful!
This will serve 8. With the addition of fresh whipped cream, it would be perfect!
This chocolate souffle is rich and creamy. I served it hot from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The leftovers were delicious—almost like an airy but very fudgy brownie.
The batter didn’t take long to make and the souffle was ready to go as soon as we finished dinner. I didn’t have Grand Marnier so I used Chambord. If I’d had them, a few raspberries would have been nice sprinkled on top.
My souffle dish was 1 1/2 quarts instead of 2. I used two 6-ounce ramekins for the extra batter. I should have used 4 extra ramekins. The smaller dishes baked in 20 minutes; the larger one in 25 minutes.
If it were up to my family, this chocolate souffle recipe would serve 6. But realistically, I’d recommend 8 to 10 servings.
By the end of the cooking time, the top of my chocolate souffle was a bit brown in spots. The recipe tasted of chocolate and not so much of orange.
I couldn’t find any Grand Marnier in the supermarket and so I had to substitute Cointreau. I didn’t really think the finished dish had much flavor from the liqueur, and so perhaps I would suggest trying Grand Marnier next time in case it has more flavor.
I would tend to temper the egg mixture with the chocolate mix, so adding a little at a time to prevent cooking the eggs. After 25 minutes of baking, I tested the souffle as suggested and thought that perhaps it was too soupy in the middle. Therefore I decided to cook it for an additional 5 minutes.
If I were to make this chocolate souffle recipe again, I would like to make it in individual souffle dishes as I think the rise would have been more impressive that way. Obviously the cooking times would be shorter with individual souffles.
I love chocolate desserts where the taste of chocolate is intense, like this one. A soufflé is a dessert that can be very impressive when you serve it, but technically demanding to make it, and about which we feel that the chances of success may be small. Not billowing as expected and to deflating upon barely leaving the oven are our biggest fears. But neither of these happened with this chocolate souffle recipe, and although it was the first time I’ve made a sweet soufflé, it came out perfect!
It has a very light consistency, which remains after taking it out of the oven, and a slightly crunchy crust, a rich chocolate flavor, and it isn’t too sweet. Simply delicious! It made me want to try other soufflé variations.
Originally published February 12, 2021