French Chocolate Mousse (Mousse au Chocolat)


Easy authentic French chocolate mousse recipe made with egg whites and without cream. The result is the lightest, yet intense, dark chocolate mousse – and the most typical dessert in France.

glass dish of chocolate mousse with cherries

Traditional Recipe Ingredients

Trust the French to transform just four simple yet good quality ingredients into a most elegant dessert. This recipe essentially consists of 70% dark chocolate with whipped, organic egg whites making it extremely light. It’s a fluffy yet still an intense, dark French chocolate mousse without cream!

It’s not unlike this egg white-based light-as-a-feather white chocolate mousse with orange blossom.

Is Mousse from France?

According to my Larousse Gastronomique, a Mousse is from France. French ‘Mousse‘ is literally translated as ‘foam’ and can be savoury as well as sweet. 

It’s created by whipping up many egg whites to achieve this and cream is normally not used – although many recipes add a touch of cream to lighten it up if you’re not used to intense dark (bittersweet) chocolate.  Personally I prefer it without the cream; that way the chocolate shines through completely.

arial view of chocolate mousse with spoon and a chocolate macaron geranium flower

What Chocolate is Best for French Chocolate Mousse?

In this chocolate mousse recipe, I use 70% bittersweet (dark) couverture chocolate. The better quality the chocolate, the better this mousse will be. One of my best-loved cooking chocolate is Nestlé’s Corsé tablets with 64% cocoa or Lindt’s intense dark cooking chocolate.

If you fancy something even more intense in chocolate, then I like to use Cacao Barry’s 72% Venezuelan chocolate: it has complicated flavours of wine, black olives and woodiness that comes from using two cacao beans, Criollo (the most sought after) and Trinitario. Alas, I’m not sponsored in mentioning them, but just sharing what I normally use for this recipe.

French Chocolate Mousse

What Can Go Wrong With Chocolate Mousse?

The recipe is easy, using a few best quality ingredients: good bittersweet (couverture) chocolate – I use 70% cacao; a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder, a little sugar, fresh & ORGANIC egg whites and only one egg yolk.

However, what can possibly go wrong when making chocolate mousse?
It doesn’t matter for the egg whites, but if the yolk is cold and added to the chocolate it will seize the chocolate up while added.  If this does happen, then just add a spoon of boiling water to fix it.

So, my recipe tips?

  • If egg whites are 2-3 days’ old, they will whip and mousse up even easier than if fresh;
  • Ensure your egg yolk is at room temperature.
  • Moreover, to make it EVEN EASIER, add the egg yolk to the whites at the END of whipping.

Seizing of Chocolate Problem completely solved!

dark chocolate mousse recipe method

French Chocolate Mousse Recipe – Without Cream

What makes an authentic French chocolate mousse? As you can see from the recipe below, it is made without any cream. The whipped egg whites make this light and fluffy to appreciate the good quality of the chocolate. So the result is an intense mousse for the most gourmet of chocolate lovers.

Melt (good quality) dark chocolate and unsweetened chocolate powder together over a pan of simmering water, then folding in whipped egg whites with a little sugar and an egg yolk as if as an afterthought. Although slightly tweaked with more dark chocolate, less cocoa powder and the addition of salt, this is my favourite recipe originally inspired by chef Raymond Blanc. I also added the yolk in the egg whites rather than adding it to the chocolate.

Perfect Egg White Dessert Recipe

How often have you asked yourself what you can do with egg whites for dessert?  You’re in luck! This recipe uses six fresh egg whites. Only ONE egg yolk is used, so I’d suggest making any of the recipes from the egg yolk recipe database in advance to put aside 5 egg whites. It also goes without saying that macarons are perfect desserts made using egg whites.  Get the macaron recipes from either of my books.

How Long do Egg Whites Last in the Fridge?

Egg whites can last for 5 days – even up to a week – in the fridge.  I normally store them sealed in a clean jam jar. What’s more, egg whites freeze well.

So if you’re making any of the egg yolk recipes, keep the whites aside and freeze them until needed. I like to defrost them overnight.

spoonful of chocolate mousse with a chocolate macaron on top and edible pansy

Low Sugar Chocolate Mousse

Little sugar is used in this healthy chocolate mousse.  As I have learned from many French pastry chefs, too much sugar not only makes the mousse become grainy but it also interferes with the flavour of the intense chocolate.
What’s the point of having good quality ingredients if you mask it with too much sugar?

How Long Does Chocolate Mousse Take to Set in the Fridge?

This light and fluffy French chocolate mousse only takes about 2 hours to set in the fridge.  What’s more, if you have any leftovers, it can keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

More Chocolate – in Montmartre Paris

While we’re on the subject of chocolate, stay tuned for the most incredible Parisian chocolate shop personality just 5 minutes’ walk from Le Moulin Rouge in Montmartre, à l’Etoile d’Or with Denise Acabo. Moreover, I have a chocolate shop self-guided tour around Montmartre too!

French dark chocolate mousse no cream

Chocolate Mousse Serving Ideas

What can you serve with it? In most French restaurants, it traditionally arrives with a simple dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder on top.

However, if you like the extra frills and garnishes, serve with macarons (recipes in my books), French tuiles, or edible flowers. If you love nuts, top with some toasted nuts or this delicious soft caramel nougatine.  I love to top it with fresh cherries in summer or in winter with boozy cherries, clementines or candied chestnuts.

Even better, serve with Palets Bretons (French salted butter biscuits) using some of the remaining egg yolks.

glass pots of chocolate mousse topped with nutty caramel, passion fruits, macarons and scrabble letters for amour

More French Chocolate Desserts

Like this mousse? Then for an exotic version also made without cream, make this fluffy chocolate mousse with passion fruit, topped with soft, nutty caramel.

Please do browse this full list of chocolate recipes on le blog, including more gluten free desserts.

What Can I Make with the Leftover Yolks?

As this recipe uses 5 egg whites, don’t waste the yolks! I have plenty of egg yolk recipes to choose from.
What about this Black Sesame Ice Cream, which uses exactly 5 egg yolks? Otherwise make a few batches of these irresistible salted butter biscuits, Palets Bretons.

glass dish of chocolate mousse with cherries
5 from 10 votes

French Chocolate Mousse Recipe

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Chilling Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : French
Keyword : lightest chocolate mousse recipe, French chocolate mousse recipe, chocolate mousse recipe without cream
Servings : 5 people
Calories : 243kcal


A French authentic dessert made without cream. The result is a light and fluffy, intensely bittersweet dark chocolate mousse - so a little goes a long way.


  • 170 g (6oz) 70% dark (bittersweet) cooking chocolate (a cup)
  • 10 g (2 tsp) unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)
  • 170 g (6oz) organic egg whites (from 5 large fresh eggs)
  • 30 g (1oz) sugar
  • 1 organic egg, separated (at room temperature)
  • pinch salt fleur de sel*


  • Melt the chocolate and cocoa powder together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (Bain-marie), taking care not to overcook the chocolate (don't have the water at a rolling boil, just simmering gently). As soon as the chocolate begins to melt, switch off the heat and stir until completely smooth, then take the bowl off the heat.
  • Separate the extra egg, keeping the yolk aside for later (it's important the yolk is at room temperature).
    In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites (using a stand mixer or electric beaters) with the sugar until soft and strong peaks form. Add the extra egg white and continue to whisk.
  • When the whites are strong and hold well, continue to whisk in the egg yolk and add the fleur de sel.
    Gradually add the whipped egg whites to the chocolate using a strong yet flexible spatula, folding each carefully until well blended together. Repeat folding gently until the consistency is completely mixed together, light and airy.
  • Either transfer the bowl to the fridge or pour/spoon into serving glasses and place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours until ready to serve.
    Serve chilled and top with fresh fruit, shaved chocolate or a sprig of mint.


Serve chilled with chocolate macarons (see the recipes in both my books), tuile cookies, or garnish with a sprig of mint, edible flowers, boozy cherries or clementines. If you really want the cream, add a dollop of freshly whipped Chantilly cream.
* Variations: Omit the salt and add a teaspoon of soluble coffee granules for a mocha treat - or add the zest of an orange or lime for a citrus take on the recipe. Add a tablespoon of Cognac or Grand Marnier liqueur for a special occasion (adults only). 
Note: see list of egg yolk recipes for the leftover egg whites needed for this recipe.
See recipe on video.

Have you made this recipe?

I’d love to know how it turned out. Please let me know by leaving a rated review below. It means so much to have your support.
On Instagram? Share a photo and tag @JillColonna and hashtag it #madaboutmacarons. À bientôt!

This post was originally published on 8 October 2018 but is now updated to better explain the recipe process along with a video.

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Comments (20)

5 stars
The one of my childhood! Thanks for this Madaboutmacarons !

It’s a pleasure, Guy – but please just call me Jill 😉

Hi Jill!
Thank you for posting this recipe.
Can this be used with a semi-sweet or a milk Chocolate?
Dark Chocolate gives me migraines.

Hi Charlie – I already responded privately by email as I couldn’t answer here as on my travels but just for other readers who pop in here:
Yes you can use semi-sweet or milk chocolate instead of dark (bittersweet) chocolate but as long as you know it will not be the same recipe, as normally this uses no milk or cream and both types of chocolate have added sugar. In this case, I’d recommend reducing the sugar and adding another couple of egg whites, just to keep it as light as possible. Enjoy!

5 stars
Yet another crazy coincidence: my French friend Marie and I were talking about food last week and our pet peeves, when she brought up REAL French chocolate mousse. “It must NEVER contain any cream!” she ranted. So incredible that you post chocolate mousse today! It sounds lovely and I just have to try it since I’ve never had the authentic French kind!

Well we must have some kind of telepathic gourmet cravings – how funny! (Although, admittedly, we could just be craving more chocolate as the Autumn weather kicks in?) Yes, she’s right about no cream in a real French chocolate mousse. If you’ve never tried it, then put these egg whites aside… with good quality chocolate, this is heaven.