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Thelma’s Chocolate Eclair

I love eclairs, but making the actual pastry is difficult. So I came up with this recipe as a substitute. It still satisfies my cravings with the same wonderful flavors. —Thelma Beam, Esbon, Kansas
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + chilling
  • Makes
    15 servings


  • 14 to 15 whole graham crackers
  • 3-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Line a 13x9-in. dish with half of the graham crackers, breaking crackers to fit as needed.
  • Whisk milk and pudding mixes 2 minutes; let stand until soft-set, about 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping; spread evenly over crackers. Top with remaining crackers.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate and butter until melted; stir until blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread over top. Refrigerate, covered, 8 hours or overnight.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Fold 1/2 cup canned pumpkin and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice into the filling for a no-fuss fall take on this classic.
  • Want a refreshing version of this super easy dessert? Substitute softened vanilla frozen custard for the pudding mixture. Be sure to store the finished product in the freezer.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 piece: 238 calories, 8g fat (5g saturated fat), 12mg cholesterol, 229mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (26g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.


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    Average Rating:
    • AvidcookGAtoCA
      Jul 22, 2020

      I made this today and made it three layers but using the same ingredients. This is always a big hit at potlucks! I realized I had never made it for my husband, so today was the day. When I plan ahead, I use a tub of chocolate frosting melted in the microwave for the top layer. Today was spur of the moment, so no tub of frosting in the pantry. I know hubby will love it - it is in the refrigerator, and I hope he can wait a few more hours.

    • shelley tiffany
      Apr 16, 2020

      I make this but microwave a tub of chocolate fudge frosting and pour over the top instead of from scratch. Easy and delicious!

    • avonlady54555
      Apr 2, 2020

      I have been making this since the 60's. Mine has 3 layers. The grands favorite dessert. I also use French vanilla pudding.

    • A
      Aug 29, 2019

      I made this because I was looking for a simple recipe with simple ingredients that I didn’t have to cook. I made 2 batches both tasted amazing. The ONLY things I changed was the suggestion about using French vanilla pudding instead of regular vanilla (good idea), and I used Truwhip instead of cool whip, because there is no high fructose. That being said any changes to this recipe should include how much sugar used or if they used a different kind of milk or used almond instead of vanilla, Different pudding flavors etc. Not those negative comments about using puff pastry, when you use puff pastry or custard you are making something different entirely and not this SIMPLE yet delicious recipe.

    • Sandie
      Jul 16, 2019

      I have made this twice now, changing nothing and it is fantastic. I gave half to our nephew, asked hi the following day if he tried them them. His reply was "they're gone". It took my husband and me a bit longer to finish the balance of the pan and when gone, it was a definite remake.

    • Janet
      Jul 14, 2019

      Like Donna I use French vanilla pudding and do three layers. I also line the side with graham crackers. My topping is blending together 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 cup cocoa. Add 3 tbs softened butter and 1/3 cup milk. Mix well. Add 2 tsp light corn syrup and 2 tsp vanilla. Stir unti creamy. To Joseph, I think of this more as an eclair 'cake' that tastes like an eclair, I never thought of it as a replacement for eclairs. Also, since I eat this with a spoon, for me, it's less messy than an eclair that I eat with my hand.

    • Joseph
      Jun 19, 2019

      I made per the recipe changing nothing and the texture is horrible and gritty with the graham crackers. Making a "real" Chocolate Eclair isn't that difficult. "I love eclairs, but making the actual pastry is difficult. " puff pastry dough (shue ) is one of the easiest doughs to make. Why cut corners to make something that IMO is not really that good?

    • Donna
      Apr 20, 2019

      I've been making this for years. Got from an old church cookbook probably from the 60s. I do switch out the pudding for the french vanilla one. and I make it in two batches so I don't have uneven layers. And I also do three layers of crackers. Crackers, pudding mixture, crackers, pudding mixture, crackers then (not from the old recipe) I use a can of chocolate frosting melted and poured on top. Just made the last week for the grandkids. They love it.

    • Carol
      Apr 15, 2019

      No comment left

    • Eileen
      Jan 10, 2019

      I've been looking for something like this, something without cream cheese in it.