Chocolate Eclair Bars

This content has been sponsored by Inmar Intelligence and Midwest Dairy. All opinions are mine alone. #UndeniablyDairy #gotmilkrecipe

An old-fashioned recipe made by generations with creamy pudding layered on top of soft graham crackers and topped with a homemade chocolate topping. This version is made on a cookie sheet to create a bar format that stretches the recipe to feed a crowd (like my family was ;)). Note: keep reading for some fun old photos of my family!

chocolate eclair bars with milk

My favorite place to be as a child was my grandparent’s home. My grandma and grandpa’s home was always full of good food, happy noises, and great places to curl up with a book and hide.

making old-fashioned chocolate eclair bars
My little sister Tessa and Gma. Gosh…13-14 years ago?

My grandma had a handful of recipes she made year after year, for the holidays. She was a master at taking classic recipes and stretching them to feed her giant family (my father was 1 of 6 and I was, of course, the oldest of 10—my grandma had a clan!).

One of those recipes was the old-fashioned chocolate eclair cake. Usually made with multiple layers in a 9 by 13 pan, this recipe creates only a single layer in a cookie sheet allowing a single recipe to feed aLOT of people. And honestly, this dessert is so rich, so creamy, and so wonderful…the smaller size is needed!

chocolate eclair bars that feed a crowd
See if you can find my Gma, my bro (#2), and Nate. Missing is my bro (#4) who was in Iraq.

Key INgredients for Chocolate Eclair Bars:

  • Graham Crackers. Graham Crackers create the yummy layers the pudding sits on.
  • Whole Milk. Go ahead and use skim milk if you need to but you’ll get the best flavor from whole milk.
  • Vanilla Pudding. Try using French Vanilla Pudding for a rich flavor.
  • Frozen Whipped Topping. Mixing frozen whipped topping and vanilla pudding creates a fluffy, creamy filling.
  • Sour Cream. Sour cream makes the filling even tangier and tasty…trust me!
  • Cocoa. Use a great quality cocoa for the chocolate. So good!

How to Make Chocolate Eclair Bars:

  1. Make the pudding and fold in the whipped topping and sour cream.
  2. Gently spread the pudding mixture on top of the graham crackers.
  3. Add another layer of graham crackers.
  4. Make the yummy, creamy chocolate frosting.
  5. Warm the finished frosting in the microwave until it is easy to spread.
  6. Pour the frosting on top of your pudding mixture and gently spread it on top of the pudding.
  7. Cover the cake and chill overnight, longer if possible.
My sweet grandparents when Katie was a baby.

Grandma would let me gather the milk and butter, sometimes even pour the milk into the measuring glass, and ALWAYS let me stir and stir the chocolate topping while pretending to ignore my little finger dips and licks. Only I got to do the chocolate topping because I was the oldest.

Luckily, this recipe uses a good amount of milk (maybe why she chose it?) that let EACH big kid pour a cup of milk into the recipe. The little kids lined the pan with the grahams, eating what was left in the package. Somehow she always needed 2 pkgs opened and OOPS…didn’t need that many! And “oh my gosh, how did she manage to get a cinnamon graham”. Clever, grandma, clever.

And the BEST PART…we often stuck that pan of dessert out on the porch instead of the fridge. Minnesota has its perks, after all.

Sometimes grandma would ask one of us to run out to the porch to “check on the dessert”. Of course, that was absolute nonsense. But we would run out in the cold, pretend to look hard, and then come back in shivering and say “a little bit longer” like we had any idea what we were looking for. She would nod like we were very wise.

Today, I often half the recipe still using a cookie sheet (a half-sheet), and always grab whole milk for this recipe. It is, after all, the way Grandma did it and that will always be the best way. Plus, those sweet memories sneak in while I’m making this recipe. Friends, the recipes tied to good memories are always the best ones…..aren’t they!

Can you make your own pudding?

Of course! In fact, I often do. You need enough vanilla pudding to equal about 4 cups. And friend, be sure to use a great dairy product when making your pudding! Whole milk gives the pudding a rich flavor that works wonderfully in this dessert.

Can you skip the frozen whipped topping?

Yes, but it is a bit trickier than skipping the pudding. Because this dessert gets its yummy flavor from hanging out in the fridge for a long time, you need a whipped topping that is stable and won’t get runny on you. You’ll need to use gelatin in your whipped topping to create that. It isn’t hard but it CAN be intimidating. Truly though, nothing beats good heavy cream whipped topping!

Can I purchase my chocolate frosting?

Of course! Simply warm it in the microwave before pouring it on. But be warned, it isn’t nearly as good as this chocolate frosting recipe made with real dairy ingredients!

Click here for more recipes with dairy!

Chocolate Eclair Bars (no-bake recipe that feeds a crowd!)

| 24 bars
Prep Time | 15 minutes
Chilling time | 12 hours
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Classic no bake chocolate eclair cake is stretched to bar format to feed a crowd!


  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1.5 pkgs graham crackers
  • 2 3.5oz. pkgs instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 16oz container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
Check out our Kitchen Reference Guide for help with unfamiliar terms.


  • Line a cookie sheet with a single layer of graham crackers.
  • Whisk the instant pudding mix and 3 cups of whole milk together until thick and smooth.
  • Fold in the whipped topping and sour cream into the pudding mix.
  • Gently spread the pudding mixture on top of the graham crackers.
  • Add another layer of graham crackers.
  • In a medium microwave safe bowl beat the butter until creamy.
  • Slowly add the milk (cover the bowl and mixer with a cloth to prevent splattering, if needed).
  • Beat in the vanilla and salt.
  • A little bit at a time, add the cocoa and beat well between additions (again use a cloth to cover the bowl and mixer to prevent splattering, if needed.)
  • Repeat the process with the powdered sugar stopping to scrape the sides, if needed.
  • Warm the finished frosting in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until it easy easy to spread (you want it to have the texture of sour cream or salad dressing).
  • Pour the frosting on the top of your pudding mixture and gently spread to cover all of the pudding.
  • Cover the cake (I use toothpicks inserted into the cake to help keep the plastic wrap from sticking to the frosting) and chill overnight, longer if possible.


Calories: 280kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 4gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 308mgPotassium: 142mgFiber: 2gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 351IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 1mg

20 thoughts on “Chocolate Eclair Bars”

  1. 5 stars
    Can’t go wrong with fluffy creamy goodness sandwiched between graham crackers and topped with chocolate!

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe was so easy to make! Makes enough to take to a party or family gathering. Mine is still chilling but the filling (I had to sample) is delicious.

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe was VERY easy to make and easy to size down. I used an 8×8 pan and 1/4 of the ingredients. These are absolutely delicious! I’ll make these again when I have a crowd to feed!

  4. 5 stars
    My 15 year old daughter made these in a disposable 13” x 21” aluminum pan with 3” sides on Friday after school. We brought them to a Scout event on Saturday late in the afternoon and they disappeared within 30 minutes. With the pan with 3” sides there was no worry about the plastic wrap falling in on top of the frosting. So yummy! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    These were so awesome. I was hesitant because I don’t care for graham crackers and I’ve never had an eclair but they were amazing. I loved the frosting. I’ll never go back to canned frosting again. Having a no bake option was great and these were loved by all my coworkers.

  6. 5 stars
    Okay, I was hesitant to make these because 1. I don’t like graham crackers and 2. I’ve never had an eclair.

    Whoa whoa whoa. They were so easy and so good and I will NEVER go back to canned frosting.

    I took these to work and they were gone before 10:00.

    Easy to make in my cookie sheet and I loved having a no bake option.

  7. 5 stars
    This is a super simple recipe to throw together and taste like you slaved away for hours rather than minutes. It’s easy to 1/2 the recipe for a smaller group or multiply to feed a REALLY big crowd!

  8. 5 stars
    I love how easy this recipe is. And, OMG soooo good!!! I made a half sheet pan & it still would a feed a bunch of people. The full size would be an excellent economical dessert for a crowd. Pinning this because I’ll definitely make it again.

  9. 5 stars
    Just made this over the weekend and it is absolutely delicious! Very easy to make and even better because it’s “no bake” :) .
    Definitely take her word on using a towel to cover the mixer while mixing the cocoa & powdered sugar though or else you’ll have quite the mess! Haha! Fun to make though and I feel like it’s such a perfect dessert to whip up for any occasion whether it’s for a get together with friends or a special treat on any holiday. The chocolate frosting is so delicious but if ever in a bind or hurry, I could see store bought frosting working just as well (but as she said, definitely not as amazing!). My son and husband kept trying to eat the frosting alone while I was trying to make it! I will definitely be making this again in the future and will recommend this recipe to anyone.

    The only thing I would change is there was a little confusion towards the end of the recipe where it said to spread the chocolate frosting over the pudding instead of the second layer of graham crackers but I see it’s been mentioned/ corrected. :)

  10. 5 stars
    This is fantastic!! It’s so easy that my kids can do it, but so yummy that everyone wants the recipe. I love how you take us through each step. I actually halved everything to make a smaller size and that worked perfectly. Thanks for another stellar recipe!!!!

  11. 5 stars
    Simple enough for my 7 year old to make! Put it in a covered 8 x 11 tupperware and seemed to use more Graham Crackers…. But maybe different brands have different sizes. We also used a store bought can of chocolate and warmed and poured. Saved a little cool whip for garnishing. It’s now cooling in our “MN refrigerator”.

  12. Ok who doesn’t love an eclair! This recipe just means everyone gets more! A great old fashioned recipe that’s so yummy!

  13. 5 stars
    We made this last night and so I just tried it – it’s amazing! I was actually able to spread the frosting on the pudding so it IS doable (I didn’t see the edit until now) :) I didn’t have cool whip so I made stabilized whipped cream and it came out perfectly. This is simple and delicious.

  14. Oh my gosh I could hug you…thanks for catching that! I’ve updated the recipe. I hope it would be something understood (awfully hard to spread chocolate on pudding) but it absoulutely needs to be included. Thank you!

  15. I have a question. In the video, it shows putting another layer of graham crackers on top of the filling before putting on the chocolate frosting/icing. However, you don’t mention a second layer of graham crackers in your recipe. So, do you use a second layer of graham crackers or not?

5 from 13 votes

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