Learn how to make chocolate crepes to add a rich cocoa flavor to French pancakes. Fill with your favorite fillings or toppings for a gourmet breakfast or dessert.
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Try these easy chocolate crepes for a decadent breakfast or sweet treat. I often make my classic crepe recipe as the kids love adding different toppings and building their own pancakes. However, adding rich cocoa powder takes the flavor to the next level. These are perfect for chocolate lovers!
The crepe batter is straightforward to prepare. Whisk it together by hand or use a blender to quickly bring the ingredients together in under a minute. You can make it a day in advance and use it the next day. Customize with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or chocolate sauce!
Cocoa powder adds the chocolate flavor to the crepe batter. It’s naturally bitter and acidic in taste, which is balanced by adding extra sugar. I use regular 100% cocoa powder in the recipe. It is slightly lighter in color and more acidic than dutch-processed cocoa powder, which is sold as “dark cocoa powder.”
The alkalized cocoa tastes less acidic, and the treatment makes the powder deeper brown in hue. Either can be used. The dutch-processed will give darker-colored crepes, and the powder dissolves easier in the batter.
Chocolate crepe batter ingredients
To make chocolate-flavored sweet crepes (crêpe sucrées), you only need a handful of kitchen staples. All-purpose flour and eggs provide structure. No additional leavening agents are added, just the eggs to keep the texture light and delicate. Whole milk and water help with gluten formation, using a higher amount than American tall and fluffy pancakes to keep them thin.
A pinch of salt and vanilla extract enhances the flavor. Melted butter keeps the crepes tender instead of rubbery. Cocoa powder gives the characteristic chocolate flavor, combined with granulated sugar, for a lingering sweetness to balance the bitter notes.
How to make the crepe batter
The chocolate crepe batter can be made using a whisk or blender. I prefer the latter for quick and easy preparation. They both require straining and resting for 1 hour in the refrigerator to create a smooth consistency. The crepe batter can be made two days in advance, stored in the fridge, then mixed right before cooking.
Method 1) Make the batter by hand
Mix the dry ingredients, the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt, together in a separate bowl. This will make it easier to disperse the cocoa evenly. Add the melted butter to the mixture.
Then a wet mix of eggs, milk, water, and vanilla is combined with the flour mixture. This briefly develops gluten bonds for structure, making them easier to roll or fold. However, you don’t want harsh, rubbery crepes.
Method 2) Make the batter in the blender
Using a high sheer countertop blender is the easiest way to make a smooth batter in minutes. However, it will create a lot of air bubbles that can weaken the pancake structure, making it more susceptible to tearing.
Add all the wet ingredients first, followed by the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. This prevents pockets of flour from getting stuck at the bottom of the blender cup. Mix for about 45 seconds on medium speed.
Strain for a smooth consistency
Strain the batter to remove any lumps or flour from hand mixing or large bubbles from blending. Cover and refrigerate to let the flour hydrate and the proteins rest.
Let the batter rest
Although it’s tempting to make the crepes immediately, chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. This allows the starches in the flour to hydrate for optimal gelling. When cooked, it makes the crepes pliable. The gluten proteins formed get a chance to relax, so the texture isn’t rubbery.
The cocoa powder and salt fully dissolve for a better-tasting crepe. The batter will thicken and should be the consistency of chocolate milk. If it’s too thick, stir in 1 tablespoon of water at a time to dilute.
Suppose you don’t have a special crepe pan, spreader, and crepe turner; no problem! I recommend using a nonstick skillet. I use a 10-inch size, but they can be easily made in an 8 or 12-inch pan, using less or more batter as needed. Heat the pan over medium heat before adding the batter. Add a small amount of butter to grease the surface lightly.
Add ¼ cup of batter to the 6’o clock position, then lift and tilt the pan until it creates a thin, circular shape. The cocoa and sugar will brown quickly. Cook until the edges lift from the sides and become dry and golden brown. This will take about 45 seconds. Flip the crepe with a rubber spatula, and cook the other side until set, about about 10 seconds.
Filling and topping suggestions
There are endless ways to customize chocolate crepes. They are delicious as is, especially dusted with powdered sugar. But it’s always more fun to add fillings and toppings.
- Whipped cream
- Cream cheese frosting
- Chocolate sauce or caramel sauce
- Fruit like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or jam
- Chopped nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, or walnuts
Frequently asked questions
All you need is eight common ingredients; all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, sugar, eggs, milk, water, butter, and vanilla. The thin batter creates flat, delicate, and tender French-style pancakes.
No! The crepe batter is very smooth and runny. This yields skinny pancakes using eggs for binding and making a pliable wrapper. It can be filled, rolled or folded, and topped. Pancake batter is thicker and more clumpy. It contains chemical leavening agents like baking soda and baking powder to make them tall and fluffy.
Processed at lower temperatures, cacao powder will retain more enzymes and nutrients. It can be used to make chocolate crepe batter but will give a more bitter taste. This will be balanced with the sweetener in the recipe, but more can be added if needed.
Using dutch processed cocoa powder
At the store, you can purchase regular cocoa powder or dutch-processed. The difference is that the latter has been treated with an alkaline solution to reduce the acidity of the powder. The result is a darker color product with a less acidic and bitter flavor. Use dutch-processed cocoa if you like a slightly sweeter taste.
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- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for cooking
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, or table salt
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup whole milk
- ¾ cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Melt the Butter – Microwave the 2 tablespoons of butter on high power in 15-second intervals until just melted, stirring to dissolve any pieces. It should not be above 140ºF (60ºC) when added to the batter, or the eggs will curdle.
- Method 1) Make the Batter by Hand – In a medium bowl, add the flour and sugar. Sift the cocoa powder on top, add salt, then whisk to combine. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the milk, ½ cup water, vanilla extract, and whisk to combine. Make a well in the flour mixture. Add the melted butter. Gradually add the wet mixture, stirring until a smooth batter forms.Method 2) Make the Batter in a Blender – Add the eggs, milk, ½ cup water, vanilla extract, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and melted butter to the blender. Mix on medium speed until smooth, about 40 to 45 seconds.
- Strain the Batter – Strain the batter into a medium bowl to remove any large bubbles and cocoa clumps. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. The batter should be like chocolate milk after chilling. If needed, whisk in 1 tablespoon of water at a time to thin out the consistency.
- Grease the Pan – Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Add ½ teaspoon butter, swirling to coat. When melted, wipe the excess off with a paper towel. A thin film of butter should be left in the pan, coating the bottom and sides. Alternatively, brush on a thin layer of melted butter with a silicone pastry brush.
- Add the Batter – Add ¼ cup (60ml) of the batter to the 6 o’clock position of the skillet. Moving quickly, lift the skillet, tilt it slightly to coat the pan, and then swirl it several times in a circular motion to create a thin layer that evenly covers the entire bottom. Fill in any holes with additional batter as needed.
- Cook the Crepes – Place the pan back over the heat. Cook until the edges of the crepe pull away from the skillet, lightly brown, and crisp, about 30 to 45 seconds. Adjust the heat as needed. Use a rubber spatula to flip. Cook until the other side sets, about 10 to 15 seconds. Transfer onto a plate. Clean the pan and add a thin layer of butter between each batch.
- Keep Warm – Stack the crepes on each other to keep warm while making the next one. Loosely cover with foil if needed. Serve warm or cool with desired toppings.
- Pan Size: For an 8-inch nonstick pan, grease with ¼ teaspoon butter and 3 tablespoons of batter. For a 12-inch nonstick pan, grease with ¾ teaspoon butter and 5 tablespoons of batter.
- Using Dutch Process Cocoa: Yields a darker color and slightly sweeter taste.
- Greasing the Pan: Instead of butter, try vegetable oil, avocado oil, clarified butter, ghee, or coconut oil.
- Making Batter in Advance: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. It may separate as it sits—mix before using.
- Storing: Cool the crepes entirely and stack them on a plate. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, then foil. Alternatively, place it in a resealable plastic. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Freezing: Place parchment paper between each crepe. Cover tightly and place on a plate in the freezer or inside a large resealable plastic bag for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator the day before using.
- Reheating: In the microwave, place a damp paper towel over the plate of crepes and microwave for 30 seconds. In a skillet, reheat over medium-low heat until warmed through. In the oven, place on a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil and warm at 275°F (135°C) for about 10 minutes.
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