This post may contain affiliate links, view our disclosure policy.
Chocolate Eclair Cake is a layered dessert with layers of graham crackers, soft and fluffy pudding, whipped topping, and a sweet chocolate ganache on top. This eclair dessert is no bake, super easy to make, and only requires 7 ingredients!
No Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake Recipe
Icebox cakes are a classic layered dessert with whipped topping, pudding, and graham crackers. It’s essential that an icebox cake gets enough chill time to help slight soften the graham cracker layer and set the pudding layer. For more be sure and try this Strawberry Icebox Cake, Oreo Icebox Cake, and this Fall favorite Pumpkin Icebox Cake.
The smooth and creamy (almost fluffy tasting) whipped cream pudding layers pair perfectly with the softened buttery graham crackers, and then it’s topped off with a chocolate ganache. All three layers just work perfectly together to create this magical dessert that tastes ‘light’.
Ingredients Needed To Make No Bake Eclair Icebox Cake
There are essentially three different parts to this recipe. Thankfully, each layer is an easy no bake recipe that involves only one ingredient or a few ingredients.
Chocolate Ganache Topping
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bars – Chop these up into smaller pieces.
- Unsalted Butter – Salted butter can be used as well, it just really depends on what you have in your fridge and if you prefer a slightly saltier flavor in the ganache. Typically I use unsalted with semi-sweet chocolate.
- Heavy Whipping Cream – No substitutes for this one!
Whipped Pudding Layer
- Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix – Don’t confuse this with the cook n’ serve vanilla pudding. They are not the same thing!
- Cool Whip – If you prefer making your own then beat 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream + 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form.
- Whole Milk or Half and Half – These are the best two milks to use for this recipe. You want a higher fat milk in order to help the pudding layer thicken and set nicely.
Graham Cracker Layer
- 21 Whole Graham Cracker Sheets – I prefer sticking with the classic honey graham crackers but the chocolate ones can be used with great results.
How To Make Chocolate Eclair Icebox Cake (With Step-by-Step Directions)
Make The Chocolate Ganache
- Add the chopped semi-sweet chocolate and butter into a mixing bowl. Make sure it’s a heat-proof bowl (like a glass bowl). Set aside for now.
- Add the heavy cream to a saucepan, over medium-low heat, and heat until it’s simmering around the edges. You don’t want it to boil. Just a light bubbly simmer along the edges of the saucepan.
- Dump the warm cream into the chocolate and butter. Let it sit for 3 minutes.
- Stir until it’s completely smooth and melted. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and put it in the fridge while you prepare the rest.
Make The Whipped Pudding Layer
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry instant pudding mix and whole milk until combined well and it starts to thicken. Let it sit for 5 minutes to thicken even more and set.
- Stir in the Cool Whip and stir until combined well.
Assemble The Eclair Icebox Cake
- Lay an even layer of graham crackers into the bottom of a rectangle shaped 9×13 baking pan. You may have to break some in order to cover the entire base of the dish.
- Evenly spread half of the whipped pudding mixture over top.
- Add another layer of graham crackers over top the pudding.
- Spread the remaining half of the pudding mixture over top.
- End with one final layer of graham crackers.
- Take the chocolate ganache out of the fridge and use an electric hand mixer to beat it until it’s lighter in color and fluffier looking.
- Spread it over top the final layer of graham crackers.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours, or overnight is even better.
- Cut into slices and serve!
Can I Make Any Changes To This Eclair Icebox Cake?
- Pudding : Use chocolate instant pudding mix, white chocolate instant pudding mix, or French vanilla instant pudding mix. You can even get really crazy and try using banana cream instant pudding mix for a banana pudding inspired dessert. I prefer to stick to the classic vanilla instant pudding. I have never tried using sugar-free pudding mixture in this recipe.
- Graham Cracker Layer : Use store-bought graham crackers, chocolate graham crackers, or honey graham crackers. You used to be able to find cinnamon and vanilla graham crackers (which would both be awesome in this!) but I have not been able to find those for awhile now.
- Chocolate Frosting : I love the rich homemade chocolate ganache layer on top but there are a few other things you can do instead. Buy a container of store-bought chocolate frosting and use that instead. You can also make a homemade classic chocolate frosting (I would probably half this recipe) and use that. The ganache will harden while chilling and crack when cutting so if you prefer a softer frosting, or a non-cracked frosting, then use store-bought frosting or add the chocolate ganache right before serving (after the chill time).
Storage Instructions for Eclair Cake
Refrigerator : This is the recommend way to store leftover eclair icebox cake. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a lid, and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Leftovers are delicious (even on day 3!) but please note that the graham crackers get very soft the longer it’s in the fridge.
Freezer : I personally don’t recommend freezing icebox cakes but you can if wanted. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and then again in foil. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before serving. The ganache is best made fresh, so I recommend freezing it without the chocolate ganache topping. The pudding layer and graham crackers will change in texture slightly from the freezing and thawing.
- Chill Time : It’s important that this eclair icebox cake gets some chill time in the fridge before serving. I recommend anywhere from 6 hours to 18 hours (overnight). I don’t recommend making it more than 24 hours in advance of serving it, as the graham crackers will soften quite a bit in the fridge. If you love the soft graham cracker layer then go ahead and refrigerate it for longer.
- Slicing Tips : The chocolate ganache topping will become very firm when chilled and you may get cracks in it when you’re slicing the eclair icebox cake. There are two fixes for this. 1) If you prefer a softer chocolate ganache topping you can either use a can of chocolate frosting (store bought) OR top the eclair icebox cake with the ganache topping right before serving. So make the eclair cake, refrigerate it for at least 6-8 hours, and then make the ganache right before serving. I’ve also had success by leaving the eclair cake out at room temperature for 10 minutes, before slicing it, to avoid the chilled ganache from cracking. Even with the cracks, this dessert is still so crazy yummy!
Chocolate Eclair Icebox Cake
- 2 bars (4 oz each) semi-sweet chocolate baking bars (chopped)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 box (5.1 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
- 3 cups whole milk (or half and half)
- 8 ounces Cool Whip (thawed)
- 1 box (14.4 oz) honey graham crackers
Make The Chocolate Ganache
- Place the chopped chocolate and butter into a mixing bowl (make sure it's heat-proof, like a glass bowl, because you will be adding hot milk to it). Set aside.2 bars (4 oz each) semi-sweet chocolate baking bars, 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Pour the heavy whipping cream into a small saucepan and heat, over medium-low heat, until it starts to simmer around the edges of the pan. Do not let the cream boil.1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Pour the heavy whipping cream into the bowl of chocolate and butter. Let it sit for 3 mintues. Stir the mixture with a spatula until it's completely smooth and combined.
- Loosely cover the bowl of chocolate ganache with a lid or plastic wrap and let refrigerate while you make the rest of the icebox cake.
Whipped Pudding Layer
- In a mixing bowl, add the dry instant pudding mix and whole milk. Stir with a whisk until it starts to thicken (about 2-3 minutes). Let it rest for 5 minutes so it can set and thicken more.1 box (5.1 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix, 3 cups whole milk
- Stir in the Cool Whip until well combined.8 ounces Cool Whip
Assemble Eclair Icebox Cake
- Line the bottom of a rectangle-shaped 9×13 baking pan with graham crackers. You may need to break some in order to get them to fit in an even layer and to cover the bottom of the pan.1 box (14.4 oz) honey graham crackers
- Spoon half of the whipped pudding mixture over top the graham crackers and spread it out evenly.
- Place another layer of graham crackers over the pudding.
- Spread the remaining whipped pudding mixture over top.
- Add a final layer of graham crackers.
- Take the chocolate ganache out of the fridge and use an electric hand mixer to whip it until it's fluffy looking and lighter in color. Spread the ganache over top of the final graham cracker layer.* Drop the ganache all over the graham cracker layer and then spread it out. This is much easier than trying to spread it out from one big pile in the center.
- Cover the pan with a lid, or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before slicing and serving. * The ganache does harden in the fridge so if you prefer a softer chocolate frosting then wait to add the ganache until after the chill time (wait to prepare the ganache until after the fridge time) OR you can just use a store-bought container of chocolate frosting and skip the ganache.