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.

2 images of chopped chocolate and cream in a glass measuring cup

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.

chopped white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate on a cutting board

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 in a glass bowl

chocolate ganache in a glass bowl

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 in a stand mixer bowl with whisk attachment

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

whipped chocolate ganache frosting on top of chocolate cupcakes

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 in a glass bowl

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 (see note about using white chocolate)*
  • 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

491 Comments

  1. Avery Fournier says:

    I have two questions. I want to use this ganache to completely cover my cake, so how long should I let the ganache sit out? Also, should I do a thin layer of frosting before I put the ganache on?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Avery, it depends on the final look you’re going for on your cake. You’ll want it to sit for a while to thicken, but if you want to pour it over the cake let it sit for less time, or if you want to spread it on the cake you can let it thicken more. Whether or not you want to do a thin layer of frosting is completely up to you. Enjoy!

      1. Hi sally, I had tried using the brand ‘CALLEBAUT’ dark chocolate 54.5% together with heavy cream to do it but it turn up to be slightly rich n sweet…. When u talk about semi sweet chocolate, are you talking about 70% dark chocolate or others? Appreciate n looking forward for your advise here.

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Yvonne! Semi sweet chocolate usually has around 60% cacao. You can use a bittersweet chocolate if you prefer!

    2. Elaine Murray says:

      Ive just covered my chocolate cake using your ganache recipe. So easy and it looks great. Thanks.

  2. Patricia Davis says:

    I followed the receipe and instructions to a T except I used a cheese grater to
    grate the chocolate baking bar and it turned out perfect. First time for me and I was so pleased with the results. Thank you for this easy receipe.

  3. I want to drizzle this over a chocolate cake (kinda like a poke cake), and then spread peanut butter frosting over it. How would that turn out?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Christy, We haven’t tried it but can’t see why that wouldn’t work. Just pour the ganache over the cake while it’s still warm and thinner. Wait for it to completely cool before frosting. Enjoy!

    2. Becky Crawford says:

      Can buttermilk be used in place of heavy cream

      1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Becky, We don’t recommend it. In order for the ganache to properly set, you’ll want to make sure you’re using heavy cream (around 36% fat). Using a lower fat milk/cream will cause the ganache to not set as well.

  4. Hi! I love your recipes. How far in advance can I make whipped ganache?

    1. Hi Nancy! 1-2 days in advance would be fine.

  5. Carmen Hildebrand says:

    It truly didn’t firm as much as I expected it to

  6. Hello,
    Can I replace chocolate ganache for the chocolate buttercream and chocolate chips called for in your Triple Chocolate cake ? I never use the chocolate chips called for in the recipe anyway, I normally just like the chocolate cake and buttercream frosting

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rory, you can absolutely use chocolate ganache instead of chocolate buttercream to cover the triple chocolate cake. Enjoy!

  7. Can you add coffee or espresso powder to give it a coffee flavor? I’d like to make chocolate cupcakes and then add a hint of coffee with the ganache.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kelly! We would start with 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp. It may take some trial and error to get the flavor you’re going for. Let us know what you try!

  8. Can I use almond milk instead of coconut milk?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Linda! Do not use any other liquid because the ganache won’t set up properly.

  9. Love this recipe! I’ve used it many times, for many things 🙂 I have a question though: I’d like to change things up and do a mint version. How much extract would you recommend adding to give it a minty flavour?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Cindy! You could add a very small amount of peppermint extract (it’s very strong, so start small and then adjust to your taste) with no other changes. Sounds delicious!

  10. Hi, I intend to try out this recipe for the first time. Can it be used on a marzipan covered cake? How long will the ganache keep outside the fridge? Thanks.

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Felix, that should be fine! Cakes with ganache should be fine at room temperature for up to one day. After that, you may wish to keep it in the refrigerator.

  11. Hi, Would chocolate ganache taste good as a topping for mini cheesecakes? I not talking about the no bake cheesecake. I’m asking about the cheesecake that is baked in oven.

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ricky, we don’t recommend baking this ganache. You can certainly use it as a topping for a cheesecake once it’s cooled. Enjoy!

      1. Thank you. But What I really meant was do you think this would taste good on mini cheesecakes?

      2. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Absolutely!

  12. Kathleen Lance says:

    I wish there were a 6 star option! Made this for the first time today. I whipped it to frost a Yule log cake and I think I ate more of the ganache than I put on the cake. Absolutely delicious.

  13. I tried this once with milk chocolate, and for some reason the ganache never set properly! Should I use less cream for milk chocolate?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kiersten, Are you using milk chocolate baking bars (not chips) and heavy cream. This is the only way the ganache will set up properly. You shouldn’t need to reduce the amount of cream for milk chocolate (only for white chocolate!) but you can certainly try if you make it again.

  14. i have a very long history of seizing my chocolate, and this recipe worked PERFECTLY. thank you so much for the easy method with the tips and tricks!

  15. Kelley Kennedy says:

    Hi! I’ve read that it is best to use ganache for the “glue” to hold sticks in cake pops. Will I have to refrigerate the cake pops after they are decorated or can I leave them at room temperature?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kelley, You can read all of our best tips for assembly and storage in our post on Cake Pops.

  16. Chris Neveaux says:

    I like everything you suggest for making ganache! I want to try it on a chocolate layer cake this week. I’m thinking that whipping the ganache might be best for between the layers and then the thin melted ganache poured over the top (and I like the idea of the darker look). The problem is, the whipped is cooled and the ganache on top is warmer. Any suggestions? Should I make 2 batches? Or could the warm thin ganache also be okay as the filling between layers(not sure it is thick enough?) Or can I heat it after it’s been whipped, will it thin out again? Thanks so much.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Chris, Depending on how much you need, you can make two batches. Or make one batch and divide it in half and only whip half for the filling and use the remaining ganache on top (you can gently re-heat the non-whipped ganache if it cools and thickens up too much before using it).

  17. I used 16 oz of Ghirardelli chocolate and 2 cups heavy whipping cream. Followed the melting instructions and the heating of the cream. It is not thickening. Help

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Brenda! Did they two combine into a smooth consistency? As the ganache cools it will thicken and become more spreadable / less drippy. It takes about two hours to cool completely.

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