How to Make Chocolate Ganache

Use this as your complete guide for making homemade chocolate ganache. Chocolate ganache is a 2 ingredient recipe with virtually endless uses. For the best tasting ganache, I recommend using semi-sweet chocolate.

chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache

Chocolate ganache is a 1:1 mixture of chocolate and warm cream. Stirred until smooth, silky, and shiny, ganache is a staple in any baker’s kitchen. It’s not only easy and quick, it’s uniquely versatile. Chocolate ganache can be a filling, dip, spread, frosting, topping, or layer in a cake. The uses are virtually endless!

Uses for Chocolate Ganache

Let’s dive into an in-depth chocolate ganache tutorial. If you don’t care to read through the tutorial, feel free to jump straight to the recipe below.

strawberry dipped in chocolate ganache


Chocolate Ganache Video Tutorial


2 Ingredients in Chocolate Ganache

  1. Heavy Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream: Do not use half-and-half, whole milk, or any other liquid because the ganache won’t set up properly. For a non-dairy alternative, use canned coconut milk. See recipe note.
  2. Pure Chocolate: You can use semi-sweet chocolate (recommended), bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate. See recipe note.

When making homemade ganache, you need a 1:1 ratio of cream to chocolate.

Did you know that chocolate ganache is the base for chocolate truffles? I actually use less cream when I make chocolate truffles because the 1:1 ratio is too thin and sticky. Instead of a 1:1 ratio, use 8 ounces of chocolate and 2/3 cup (160ml) cream for truffles.

chocolate and cream

Best Chocolate to Use in Chocolate Ganache

The best chocolate for chocolate ganache is a pure chocolate baking bar, such as Bakers or Ghirardelli brands. Pure chocolate is sold in 4 ounce bars in the baking aisle near the chocolate chips. Do not use chocolate chips because they will not melt into the best ganache consistency. If you absolutely must use chocolate chips, make sure they are higher quality chocolate such as Ghirardelli brand semi-sweet chocolate chips.

For traditional chocolate ganache, I recommend using semi-sweet chocolate. This is the most commonly found chocolate in the baking aisle. Semi-sweet chocolate contains 35 – 45% cacao and is usually sweeter than bittersweet or dark varieties and darker than milk chocolate and white chocolate.

I almost always use Bakers brand semi-sweet chocolate bars. (Not sponsored, just a genuine loyal customer!)

TIP: The best tool for chopping chocolate is a large serrated knife. The grooves help chip away the hard chocolate bar texture.

How to Make Chocolate Ganache

  1. Place finely chopped chocolate into a heat-proof glass or metal bowl.
  2. Heat cream on the stovetop until just simmering. If it’s boiling, the cream is too hot and could separate or even burn the chocolate. Once you see little simmers around the edges, turn off the heat and immediately pour the warm cream over the chocolate.
  3. Let the two sit for a few minutes before stirring.
  4. Stir until smooth.

After you stir the chocolate and warm cream together, use the ganache right away as a fruit dip or drizzle on top of cakes, cupcakes, pound cakes, ice cream, and more. But if you wait about 2 hours and let it cool completely, the ganache can be scooped with a spoon, spread onto desserts, or piped with piping tips.

warm cream and chopped chocolate

chocolate ganache

Piped Chocolate Ganache

If you’re craving a pure chocolate topping for your desserts, choose chocolate ganache. Once it cools and sets, you can pipe it onto your favorites including chocolate cupcakes. Super intricate piping tips aren’t ideal. Wilton 1M piping tip or Ateco 844 piping tip are my favorites for piped chocolate ganache. I used Ateco 844 in these photos.

chocolate cupcakes with piped chocolate ganache

Whipped Ganache

Let’s take chocolate ganache 1 step further. Did you know that you can beat ganache into a whipped frosting consistency? Think whipped buttercream, but not as sweet or heavy. Once the chocolate ganache cools completely, whip it on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy in texture, about 4 minutes. Now you have a decadent mousse-like frosting without an onslaught of extra sugar. It’s REALLY good!

whipped chocolate ganache

You can pipe the whipped ganache, too. I used  Ateco 844 piping tip in this next photo.

whipped chocolate ganache frosting

These 2 Tricks Make Chocolate Ganache Even Easier

Here are my 2 super simple tricks that make ganache even easier to make.

  1. Chop the chocolate as fine as possible. The finer you chop the chocolate, the quicker it melts with the cream. If the chocolate is in large large chunks, it won’t fully melt. And if the chocolate is not melting, reference Troubleshooting Chocolate Ganache below.
  2. Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit before stirring. After you pour the warm heavy cream over the chopped chocolate, let it sit for a few minutes. During this time, the chocolate will soften and begin to melt which means that you won’t need to over-stir it. I’d rather spend extra minutes doing nothing than extra minutes stirring chocolate that won’t melt. Wouldn’t you?!

thickened chocolate ganache on spoon

Troubleshooting Chocolate Ganache

After writing an entire cookbook (Sally’s Candy Addiction) on chocolate and candy, I’ve seen it all when it comes to making chocolate ganache. Seized chocolate? Yep. Grainy ganache. Yep, that too. Here are 3 problems you could encounter and how to fix each.

  1. Chocolate Isn’t Melting: If the chocolate isn’t melting, it wasn’t chopped fine enough or the cream wasn’t warm enough. Chop the chocolate into very small pieces and warm the cream until it’s just simmering. The microwave doesn’t evenly warm cream like the stove does, so I always recommend the stove. If you’re left with chocolate chunks swimming in cream, do not microwave it. Instead, place the mixture into a double boiler OR place the glass bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water. Do not let the surface of the simmering water touch the bottom of the glass bowl. Stir the ganache constantly over the indirect heat until it’s smooth.
  2. Chocolate Seized: When chocolate seizes, it creates a gritty and solid mass of chocolate. Simply put, seized chocolate will not melt. Chocolate seizes when it comes into contact with water. Don’t let even a drop of water into the bowl! Here is a wonderful article on overheated and seized chocolate.
  3. Greasy or Grainy: Use a glass or metal bowl. A plastic bowl could melt or leave you with a dull or grainy ganache. Use real chocolate; cheap chocolate chips result in a grainy ganache. Use a spoon or small rubber spatula to stir the chocolate and warm cream together. Do not use a whisk. The whisk incorporates too much air into the delicate melting chocolate, which could cause the fat to separate and turn greasy.
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chocolate ganache

How to Make Chocolate Ganache

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stirring
  • Cuisine: American

Description

You only need 2 ingredients and a few minutes to make pure chocolate ganache. For ganache success, I encourage you to read the troubleshooting tips above and recipe notes below before beginning.


Ingredients

  • two 4-ounce quality semi-sweet chocolate bars (113g each), finely chopped*
  • 1 cup (8 ounces; 240ml) heavy cream or heavy whipping cream

Instructions

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to gently simmer. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil– that’s too hot!) Pour over chocolate, then let it sit for 2-3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate.
  2. With a metal spoon or small rubber spatula, very slowly stir until completely combined and chocolate has melted. The finer you chopped the chocolate, the quicker it will melt with the cream. If it’s not melting, do not microwave it. See Troubleshooting Chocolate Ganache in blog post above.
  3. Ganache can be ready to use as a drizzle or you can let it sit at room temperature to cool and thicken. It will fully cool within 2 hours. Refrigerating speeds this up, but the ganache will not cool evenly. Stir it a few times as it sets in the refrigerator so it remains even and smooth.
  4. Once completely cool and thick, the ganache can be piped with a piping tip or scooped with a spoon. You can also beat the cooled thickened ganache with a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until light in color and texture, about 4 minutes on medium-high speed.
  5. Cover tightly and store ganache in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Once ganache cools completely, you can cover it tightly and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. To rewarm or thin out again, stir constantly over low heat on the stove in either (1) a double boiler or (2) in a heatproof bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. Don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the simmering water.

Notes

  1. Chocolate: Ganache will only set if the correct chocolate is used. You can use high quality chocolate chips if needed (I prefer Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips), but I recommend using pure chocolate baking bars. You can find them right next to the chocolate chips in the baking aisle. They are sold in 4 ounce bars. I like Bakers or Ghirardelli brands. You can use other varieties of chocolate too, such as milk chocolate (aka German Chocolate) or Dark Chocolate. If using white chocolate, reduce the cream to 2/3 cup (160ml). White chocolate is softer, so you need less cream.
  2. Halve or Double: You can easily halve or double this recipe. No matter how much ganache you are making, you always need equal parts chocolate and cream.
  3. Dairy-Free Alternative for Heavy Cream: Use full-fat canned coconut milk. Shake it up before opening. Whisk on the stove as it heats and bring to a simmer. Measure 1 cup (8 ounces; 240ml). Use instead of warm heavy cream.
  4. Yields 1 and 1/2 cups liquid/drizzle/scoop-able ganache. This is enough to cover 1 dozen cupcakes. For piped cupcakes, you may want to double the ganache to ensure there is plenty for piping. If whipping the ganache, you’ll have close to 3 cups. This is enough for 1 dozen cupcakes.

Keywords: chocolate, sauce, frosting

219 Comments

  1. Hi Sally
    1st attempt at baking a birthday cake for my 2 year old. I plan to use this for both the filling and the frosting. I want to cover the whole cake with a thin layer of this and then place smarties etc into (top and sides). Would you recommend drizzling and spreading over the cake while the ganache is still warm, or letting it cool completely and spreading it on? I understand that it won’t set totally – does it have a bit of a sticky texture?
    thanks

    1. Hi Rebecca, It really depends on the look you are going for. If you want a super smooth surface or a drip side then use the ganache while it’s still warm. For more of a traditional frosting look you can let it cool (and even whip it) and then spread like frosting.

  2. Your recipe indicates that the ratio of chocolate to cream should be 1:1. Is this always correct? The chocolate would be a dry measure (before melting) and the cream, obviously, would be a liquid measure.

  3. Jayati Bali says:

    If I might make an addiction, add one table spoon of rum to make it extra shiny and a little more bitter. It’s really nice.

  4. Can caramel candies be used to make ganache?

  5. THANKYOU for sharing the best ganache recipe everrrr.

  6. Hi Sally,

    Do I use this 1:1 ratio if I’d like to pipe the ganache in grape-size dots between a number cake? Or do I use a 3:1 (chocolate to cream) ratio? Is it the more chocolate, the firmer the ganache? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Christine, To pipe this follow the instructions in the post above for Whipped Ganache. Enjoy!

  7. Can I rewarm my cooled refrigerated ganache if I want to drizzle on something another day? Wondered if I did it over a double boiler type of set up and did it gently?

    1. Hi Jo! See the last step about re-warming.

      1. Duh. Totally missed that. Thought I’d read it all. Using my phone. Thanks!

  8. Hi sally! Love all your recipes – I am making a chocolate orange cake and am wondering if you think I could use Terry’s dark chocolate oranges for this ginache? Thanks

    1. Hi Carolanne, This ganache will only set if the correct chocolate is used. You can use high quality chocolate chips if needed (I prefer Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips), but I recommend using pure chocolate baking bars.

    2. Try adding a few drops of concentrated essence of orange. You’ll find it with the vanilla extract in the baking aisle. Might have to go to Walmart because I can never find it in Food Lion or giant. Addit wow still warm and it mixes in nicely

  9. Thank you for the non-dairy alternative!!!!

  10. Hi Sally. I want to use your ganache recipe to drip over the top of a traditional Chocolate Wafer Icebox Cake, the kind with a whipped cream frosting. I thought it would be OK to use after the cake has set overnight in the fridge. Do you think that will work?

    1. Hi Ellen, It should work as long as the frosting is very cold and you let the ganache cool down a bit before using. Enjoy!

  11. I used metal bowl over simmering water and bottom of bowl not anywhere near water (3 inches at least) to remelt ganache….2x. 2nd time even lifted bowl off the pot for a good part of time. Used a heat proof spatula to stir it. Separated both times. Did not melt it completely 2nd time over heat but stirred it and it melted within 20 seconds maybe. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Jo, Be sure that you are using high quality pure chocolate. Anything else won’t melt properly.

      1. I was. Belgium large bar chocolate I have been using for years. 72% cacao. Not chips.

    2. Hey I shredded my bar chocolate ( I’m partial to Sharfenberger simi or bitter sweet ) with a cheese grater into a metal mixing bowl then poured my heated cream into the mixing bowl with the mixer on low. It works beautifully .

  12. Hello, if I am pouring this over a cheesecake, how long do you recommend letting the Ganache cool before pouring/spreading?

    1. Hi Cindy Joy, let it cool until you are pleased with the consistency– you also don’t want it too hot. For a cheesecake, I recommend about 20-30 minutes.

  13. Earam Hassan says:

    Hi can we use this as a filling in your 3 layered choclate cake instead of the choc buttercream?

    1. Absolutely. Let it cool and thicken before using as a filling.

  14. I made a mocha ganache with some instant espresso powder in the cream and it tastes EXACTLY like a chocolate covered espresso bean. I’m planning to whip it and use it to ice cupcakes for my brother-in-law’s wedding. His fiancee LOVES coffee.

  15. I am so glad found this recipe. It’s easy, delicious and has such a rich chocolate favor!!

  16. Hi Sally- If i want to use this as a ganache over a 3 layer – 8 in cake. I am looking for a nice sheen over the top and sides (not a drip) Is this the right recipe for this, and is 1.5 cups enough to do this?

    1. Hi Mary Pat, yes, this is enough ganache to cover the exterior of a 3 layer 8 inch cake.

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