Easy French Pain au Chocolat

Easy French Pain au Chocolat Recipe

The Spruce / Nita West

Prep: 3 hrs
Cook: 15 mins
Rising Time: 3 hrs 10 mins
Total: 6 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
480 Calories
31g Fat
42g Carbs
10g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 480
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 39%
Saturated Fat 19g 94%
Cholesterol 65mg 22%
Sodium 405mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 51mg 4%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 258mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Pain au chocolat, which means "bread with chocolate," is one of the best-known French pastries. Just the mention of the name conjures up French breakfast with fresh coffee and pastries, warm from the oven, with delicious melted chocolate

This recipe may look daunting, but be assured, it isn't. There are simple steps, and the dough has to rest a lot, so the time at the counter is much less than you think. Do try them fresh and warm from the oven. 


  • 4 teaspoons instant dried yeast

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water

  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 tablespoons milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy pain au chocolat recipe

    The Spruce / Nita West

  2. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water for 5 minutes.

    Yeast divided into cups

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  3. Add the bread flour, milk, sugar, melted butter, and salt to the dissolved yeast and water, and mix the dough on medium speed for about 2 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 tablespoon of extra flour at a time, until the dough is just firm enough to shape without sticking. 

    Add bread flour, milk, sugar

    The Spruce / Nita West

  4. Form dough into a ball and loosely cover it with plastic wrap. Allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

    Plastic wrap over dough

    The Spruce / Nita West

  5. Roll the dough into a 10- x 15-inch rectangle.

    Roll the dough

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  6. Cover it loosely and allow it to rise for 40 minutes.

    Cover and let rise

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  7. Brush the rectangle with the softened butter and then fold the dough into thirds, like a letter.

    Brush dough with softened butter

    The Spruce / Nita West

  8. Roll the long, thin rectangle back into the original 10 x 15-inch shape.

    Roll out dough

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  9. Fold the dough into thirds, again, and then cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

    Fold dough

    The Spruce / Nita West

  10. Repeat this process one more time.

    Repeat process

    The Spruce / Nita West

  11. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough crosswise into 12 rectangles.

    Cut up

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  12. Arrange 2 teaspoons of chopped chocolate across one of the short ends of the rectangle.

    Arrange chocolate

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  13. Fold that third of the dough over the chocolate, toward the center.

    Fold dough

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  14. Repeat the process on the opposite side of the dough, folding it over and tucking the end under to create a cylindrical shape.

    Repeat process

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  15. Arrange each finished pain au chocolat on a lightly greased baking sheet with at least 1 1/2 inches between each pastry.

    Arrange on tray

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  16. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and allow them to rise until almost doubled in size, approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

    Wrap loosely with plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Nita West

  17. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Whisk the egg and 2 tablespoons milk together to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash across the surface of each pastry.

    Whisk egg

    The Spruce / Nita West

  18. Bake the pain au chocolat for 12 to 14 minutes, until they are puffed and golden brown.

    Bake until golden brown

    The Spruce / Nita West

  19. Serve and enjoy.

    French pain au chocolat on wire rack

    The Spruce / Nita West


  • Make the dough the night before and put it in the refrigerator to be used the next day. Learn how to properly retard the dough.

How to Store and Freeze

  • They're best consumed the same day they're baked, as we're partial to them fresh out of the oven. However, these pastries can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days in an airtight container.
  • The good news is you can freeze baked French pain au pastries. Let them thaw out at room temperature and then enjoy.