Easy authentic French recipe for dark chocolate mousse. Made with egg whites and without cream or butter, it's healthy too. The result is the lightest, yet intense mousse - and the most typical dessert in France, popular on many restaurant menus around Paris.
I LOVE this chocolate mousse! I have made other recipes and eaten many chocolate mousses in France but this recipe is the best! I also like that it is light. Thanks so much for sharing! - Kathleen
Traditional Recipe Ingredients
Trust the French to transform just four simple yet good quality ingredients into a most elegant dessert. This French 'mousse au chocolat' recipe essentially consists of 70% dark chocolate with whipped, organic egg whites making it extremely light.
It's a fluffy yet still intense French recipe for dark chocolate mousse - without cream or butter.
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.
What Chocolate is Best for Dark 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.
Even more intense in chocolate, then use Cacao Barry's 72% Venezuelan chocolate. It has complicated flavours of wine, black olives and a woodiness that comes from using two cacao beans, Criollo (the most rare) and Trinitario.
I'm not sponsored in mentioning them above, but just sharing what I normally use for this recipe.
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 (which is optional).
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, here are 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!
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 (bain-marie or water boiler), then fold 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
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, although it's optional as I've discovered it's a recipe that works well also without it.
More egg white recipes
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.
Mousse Low in Sugar
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, dark chocolate.
What's the point of having good quality ingredients if you mask it with too much sugar?
For another recipe, see my white chocolate mousse - it's made with cream but no added 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.
Serving Ideas for Chocolate Mousse
What can you serve with it?
In most French restaurants, chocolate mousse traditionally arrives with a simple dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder on top.
C'est tout (that's it)!
However, if you like the extra frills and garnishes, serve with
- Coconut macaroons;
- French tuiles, or edible flowers;
- If you love nuts, top with some toasted nuts or this delicious soft caramel nougatine.
- Fruits: I love to top it with fresh cherries in summer or in winter with pears, boozy cherries, clementines or candied chestnuts.
- Macarons (recipes in my books);
- Palets Bretons (French salted butter biscuits) using some of the remaining egg yolks.
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.
This recipe is also on video.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
- 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/ 2 tbsp) sugar
- 1 organic egg, separated (at room temperature)
- pinch salt fleur de sel (Maldon or Celtic sea salt)*
- Separate the extra egg, keeping the yolk aside for later (at room temperature). Add the egg white to the rest of the whites (to make to about 200g).
- 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.
- In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites (using a stand mixer or electric beaters) with the sugar until soft and strong peaks form.
- 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.
This post was originally published on 8 October 2018 but is now completely updated with a video.
More Chocolate - in Paris
Planning on a trip to Paris? I have a chocolate shop self-guided tour around Montmartre. Plus check out the best chocolate candy or sweet shops and my growing list of the most wonderful chocolate shops and pâtisseries in Paris in French Food Guides.
Was looking for a mousse without cream this turned out a big hit. Thanks!
So happy you liked the video - and thanks so much for your feedback!
Superbe recette - bravo !
Thanks so much for your feedback, Aayusha - glad you liked the video!
Question, if one is uncomfortable with uncooked eggs, can the egg whites be whisked over the Bain Marie?
I would suggest if you really can't find good quality organic eggs and don't want to use them in the mousse to make this, use either whipped cream or make a chocolate mousse cake style which is my fondant cake. I have never had any problems using egg whites and don't believe it's a problem as long as your egg whites are within the sell-by date and organic. Hope this helps.
I haven't tried it yet! But I'm wondering what happens if you omit the yolk?
You can omit the yolk no problem if you prefer. It just has a bit less richness but works well nonetheless. Let me know how you get on x
This was quicker to make than Nigellas! Most of time is seperating the eggs. Good for a chocolate craving emergency indeed!
So glad you like this, Agnes. Thanks so much for popping in!
Daphne Helen Kenworthy
first class like all your recipes
Thanks so much, Daphne. So happy you like it!
Delicious mousse and easy to make with so few ingredients.A big hit with family and friends.
Thanks so much for popping in and sharing this, Jason. Much appreciated!
My husband and I both love dark chocolate and this recipe is light and delicious. Thanks for sharing it with us.
So happy you like it, Peggy. Thanks for popping in to say so.
Hi Jill, can you use this mousse in a layer cake?
Hi Alex, I haven't used this in a layer cake but don't see why not. However, you'll need to chill the mousse first to make it easier to work with.
I LOVE this chocolate mousse! I have made other recipes and eaten many chocolate mousses in France but this recipe is the best! I also like that it is light. Thanks so much for sharing!
So thrilled you like it too, Kathleen. I've tried many too and so it makes it all worthwhile, then!
yes i like the idea of having it not too sweet so you get the lovely chocolate flavour.
Agreed, Sherry. That's another reason why we love to cook at home - we can control these kind of things x
The one of my childhood! Thanks for this Madaboutmacarons !
It's a pleasure, Guy - but please just call me 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!
Christina | Christina's Cucina
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.