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 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
- Topping for chocolate cupcakes or no-bake cheesecake jars
- Filling for layer cakes
- Topping for brownies, pound cake, vanilla cake, or ice cream
- Filling for chocolate hand pies
- Dip for strawberries and other fruit
- Topping for chocolate cake or dark chocolate mousse cake
- Layered in trifles
- Filling for no-bake s’mores cake
- Topping for homemade eclairs, angel food cake, and peanut butter pie
- Filling for orange butter cookies and striped fudge cookies
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.
Chocolate Ganache Video Tutorial
2 Ingredients in Chocolate Ganache
- 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.
- 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.
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
- Place finely chopped chocolate into a heat-proof glass or metal bowl.
- 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.
- Let the two sit for a few minutes before stirring.
- 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.
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.
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!
You can pipe the whipped ganache, too. I used Ateco 844 piping tip in this next photo.
These 2 Tricks Make Chocolate Ganache Even Easier
Here are my 2 super simple tricks that make ganache even easier to make.
- 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.
- 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?!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- two 4-ounce quality semi-sweet chocolate bars (113g each), finely chopped*
- 1 cup (8 ounces; 240ml) heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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