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.


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

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

46 Comments

  1. Very useful post! I’ll certainly be referring to it regularly, as I make ganache quite often! A trick to remedying siezed chocolate is to actually add a tiny bit of hot water! The ideal option is to not let any water get in there in the first place, but wonder of wonders, adding a tiny bit of extra hot water fixes it!

  2. I’m confused. It’s says a 1:1 ratio of cream to chocolate, but recipe says 2, 8oz choc bars to 1 cup of heavy cream. Thanks for any clarification.

  3. Although my family makes ganache regularly, I myself rarely do it…..it always looked too complicated! However, this post gives enough detail to make it look easy – I love it when you add ‘troubleshooting’ for a recipe….thank you for sharing the mistakes you made so others can learn from them!! 😉

    P.S. I’ve never seen anyone pipe ganache before – it looks so shiny and delicious and ‘clean’, I’m definitely going to try it!

    1. Me too! I was actually thinking about making it with the coconut milk, whipping it, and putting it on top of Sally’s Chocolate Caramel Coconut Cupcakes to up the coconut flavor! Yum. Sally, I’m assuming the coconut version can also be whipped into frosting?

      1. YUM! The coconut version should be able to be whipped into a frosting, yes. I haven’t tried it, but it acts the exact same as the cream version. Let me know how it goes!

  4. Hi Sally, if I wanted to use the ganache as a filling in chocolate cupcakes, do I still allow to set in frig for a time or should I use while still thin?

    1. Hi Michelle! I recommend letting the ganache set at room temperature until it’s cooled and “spoonable” consistency. Then you can spoon or pipe it into the cupcakes.

  5. The piped and whipped ganache look amazing! I just recently made your chocolate buttercream (and it was heavenly!) but frosting is sometimes just too sweet for me. Can’t wait to try this!

  6. How many cupcakes will this recipe frost…just like your beautiful frosted cupcakes…thinking about the 4th of July.

  7. Thank you SOOOO much for this information, Sally. You don’t how many times I tried to make ganache and it never comes out right! Excited to try making some soon!

  8. Thank you for a wonderful tutorial on Chocolate Ganache. I have made it before and had some success. Your recipes usually have the clearest instructions and the best reasons for not skipping over any steps. I do not have any piping tools and have not begun to decorate cakes or cupcakes except with a spatula, but I think I am ready now. Could you recommend a beginner set that would be satisfactory and have the basic tools? I’ll let you know how it works out.

    1. Hi Judy! This is so nice to read, thank you so much. If you want to begin piping, give my Piping 101 post a read. Lots of helpful information there. Those are my favorite tips and each are very easy to use. You’ll need some piping bags. I recommend reusable piping bags or disposable piping bags, both linked in that post too. 🙂

  9. I always love reading your tutorials (whether I know about the subject or not)…your clear, concise instructions and reasons things work (or don’t) are so beneficial. I’ve been making ganache as frosting, topping, truffles, etc, for a long time, and I usually use dark chocolate (60% cacao or more) because the dessert is usually sweet enough (like Boston Cream Pie), but I agree that semi-sweet is great as a truffle base. Thanks for the tips!

  10. I didn’t think there was a difference between heavy cream and heavy whipping cream. What is the difference?

    1. Hi Linda! There isn’t a difference– both can be used interchangeably as they contain the same percentage of milk fat. But different brands either call the product heavy whipping cream or heavy cream. Same thing– can use either.

  11. Came out perfect, now to have it sit and set to use in my chocolate French Macarons! Thank you, I will use this recipe from now on

  12. Hi there,
    Thanks so much for such an informative post! If I use this recipe to make the whipped chocolate ganache (to frost the inside of a cake) how many cups will it yield?

      1. Thank you so much!! Sorry last question, can this be made in advance? Stored in the fridge before frosting?

  13. This is probably a silly question, but Is there a certain brand for heavy cream that you recommend and where is it located in the grocery store? I tried 3 different stores and all I can find is heavy whipping cream but no heavy cream? Thanks in advance for the help 🙂

    1. Hi Kellie! You can use heavy whipping cream. Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are similar and can be used interchangeably in recipes.

  14. Do you have any suggestions for how to use this as a frosting? I recently made an Italian rainbow cookie cake (think almond flavoring with the three colors – red, yellow, green and jam filling), and I was supposed to pour the ganache over the top. It looked beautiful on top of the cake, but it just oozed all over the sides and was a complete mess. It was unmanageable. Any tips?

    1. Hi Jackie! Let it thicken a but before pouring over a cake. It is VERY thin at first, but give it about 15 minutes and it’s much more manageable for pouring without dripping/oozing everywhere.

  15. I managed to salvage my ganache! I double boilers and added powered sugar! I brought it back to life and I sweetened to taste-yeah. I plan on using it as a frosting.

  16. Hi Sally! Love your site! I’m wondering if this recipe will work with REALLY dark chocolate, like 70-80% dark? I just happen to have a bunch of Lindt bars and thought I’d try them and add a bit of sugar to the cream for some added sweetness?

  17. Hi Sally,
    So I have made ganache before, and have always found it much easier than whipping the butter cream. But have mostly used it as a frosting to just cover the cake, never as a filling. I love the idea of whipping it up to use a filling which gives a feeling of butter cream.
    I just baked 3 6-inch chocolate cakes yesterday for a birthday party. Want to use this recipe for filling and frosting. How many cups do you think I would need for filling? And how many as frosting for covering the cake?

    1. Hi Natasha! This amount of whipped ganache will be plenty for frosting and filling the small 3 layer 6 inch cake. I would use 1/2 – 2/3 cup between each layer, then use the rest for frosting the layer cake.

  18. I used this recipe today for one Babka loaf and it turned out great! I totally recommend it. I spread it on the dough after it had cooled off for about 20 minutes and it baked wonderfully. As a plus, I used the leftovers for truffles. They needed to be refrigerated at all times because of the summer temperatures but it was a good use. Everything was decadent! Thanks for sharing Sally!

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