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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 1x
  • 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

Scale
  • 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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I have used this recipe several times, using Kirkland Brand Chocolate Chips (Costco). Turns our perfect every single time. Just did a chocolate cake, peanut butter buttercream in the middle layer and covered the cake with the ganache. Can’t wait for dessert tonight! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Lesley! 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).

      1. Is there a way to keep ganache shiny if cake must be refrigerated?

      2. Hi Sheila, a bit of corn syrup can help make the ganache extra shiny, though I’m uncertain if that would continue if refrigerated. Let us know what you try!

  2. This ganache was delicious and extremely easy to make. Since I was making it for a sweet cookie cake, I opted for the bittersweet chocolate and it was the perfect choice. I really appreciated that you posted how much your recipe made since I only needed half the amount. Thanks so much!

  3. This recipe didn’t really work for me, but that’s okay, I’m sure I did something wrong. But it tasted good and it was easy to make.

  4. On a plant base plan, used the canned coconut milk, turned out wonderful.
    Thank You

      1. Hi Amanda, we don’t suggest it as the end result won’t be as rich and thick.

  5. I would like to add Bailey’s to the ganache for a St. Patrick’s Day Party. How would I incorporate the liquor?

    1. Hi Theresa, You can stir Bailey’s into the warm ganache right after you stir in the heavy cream until it’s smooth. Start small, such as 2 Tablespoons, and leave out 2 Tablespoons of cream.

  6. How much cream do we need for 3 bars of Bakers chocolate? can the ganache be poured over after 15 minutes of cooling?

    1. Hi S, No matter how much ganache you are making, you always need equal parts chocolate and cream. So if your chocolate bars are 4 ounces each and you are using a total of 12 oz, you would need 1.5 cups or 12 oz of cream.

      1. I doubled the measurements in the recipe but the ganache was liquidy and not thick at all, and when i poured the cream it looked like way too much compared to the chocolate

  7. I need something that will harden like the chocolate coating on a HOHO is this the right thing to use? If not where can I find what I need, thank you

  8. I am making ganache for an important birthday party and I opted for a chocolate strawberry cake with buttercream layers and chocolate ganache on top. I was wondering what kind of chocolate I should use, I’m worried that using dark chocolate will be to much

    1. Hi Olivia, We recommend sticking with the semi-sweet chocolate for your cake.

  9. What is the shortest time for a ganache to set before I put it on a cool cake?

    1. Hi Joanne, 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.

      1. Yes I am making a Chocolate poke cake with Maraschino Cherries. After cake is cooling could I fold in whipping Cream into melted Chocolate Ganache???? For a topping of the poke cake ???

  10. Many years ago my mother made chocolate frosting for her cakes. That frosting would thicken to candy bar consistency which I loved. I have no idea how she did it or what ingredients she used but I would like to recreate this frosting. Does this sound like ganache? I have seen tips for thickening chocolate frosting but that seems totally different from your ganache recipe. Which would be best; thickening a regular frosting recipe with cornstarch and/or powdered sugar or following your ganache recipe? The consistency is what I am after. A stiff chocolate frosting. Thanks for any help and advice you can provide will be appreciated.

    1. Hi Frank, Did it taste more like pure chocolate than like chocolate buttercream? If so, see above in the post where it says, “Piped Chocolate Ganache” and try that!

    2. My mom made a frosting like you described and called it a Chocolate Fudge frosting, similar to the recipe she used to make fudge.

  11. I love this recipe! Do I have to refrigerate the cupcakes once filled with ganache since it’s made with cream?

    1. Hi Brandy, they should be fine for up to one day at room temperature, but we’d recommend refrigerating them after that. Use your best judgement and do what you’re comfortable with!

  12. I just made a white buttermilk, chocolate chip cake with a ganache frosting, and it turned out so well people asked me for the recipe. I added 2 ozs of rum to the ganache and it was heavenly.

  13. Hi there. I noticed you listed the chocolate ganache as an option to be used with your cheesecake recipe. Would you put it on top or swirl it inside !? Thanks

    1. Hi Niki, we make the ganache separately and then drizzle it on top. Enjoy!

  14. I am making the chocolate fudge tarts this weekend and am looking for alternatives to the icing. Would this work well drizzled on top of the tarts?

    1. Hi Amanda, ganache is much thicker than icing, but it will work if you don’t mind the added texture (and extra chocolatey taste!). We recommend letting the ganache cool for a bit so it thickens before spreading it on the tarts.

    1. Hi Anne! You can use this chocolate ganache with a number cake, yes. It would make a nice topping or whipped as a filling.

  15. This could not have been any easier. Thank you. It’s so good. I was in a hurry and didn’t see the part about not using chocolate chips and grabbed those at the store. Still turned out great with Ghirardelli chips. I’ll use bakers chocolate next time.

    The birthday boy decided he didn’t want it on his cake after I made it but I have another bday in 2 weeks. Think I can freeze it?

  16. Hi. I followed the recipe/ingredients exactly and it could not be used as a glaze immediately. Made two batches shortly before serving cream puffs and had the same runny results. I was strangely out of confectioners sugar so I couldn’t make a regular glaze. Should you cut the cream by half to use immediately? Thank you.

  17. Great recipie good taste though should let the ganache cool for maybe 5-10 minutes as it was water thin when I poured it, following the directions stating to use right away. Cake was not warm had been in fridge all day, just letting you know you may want to add a note about cooling time

  18. Curious, I have been using a recipe similar with just 1/2 C of heavy cream , 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate. I do add 1 t espresso most of the time. I hesitate on the increase of cream as I am not sure how the consistency will be. I like the thick texture from the one I use as it pours well and drizzles well. I use this mostly to top Bundt cake but have used also on large cupcakes.

    1. Hi John, we can’t speak to the other recipe we’re using, but if using our recipe, we recommend following the measurements as is and letting it sit for a while. That will help thicken it but still keep it at a pourable consistency. Would love to know if you give it a try!

  19. What ratio would you recommend for white chocolate? I assume bars best even if white chocolate?

    1. Hi Mary, see recipe notes for white chocolate details. If using white chocolate, reduce the cream to 2/3 cup (160ml). White chocolate is softer, so you need less cream. Correct, baking bars are best!

  20. Okay so, here is my vision. I have made your Black forest cake for every event in the past few years – its a favourite chocolate cake. Its a must. Now, I even use cake recipe alone with butter cream and cupcakes. I am intending to make two 6 inch layer cakes for my daughter(s) birthday (joint birthday… two cakes). I have this vision of attempting your swiss buttercream, with the black forest cake and I really want to use whipped ganache for the filling between the layers. My actual question is, i would love to make these cakes ahead of time (in full) and freeze them. Can do this with the assembled cakes and just take them out of the freezer the day of? will the buttercream survive on the cake? will the ganache survive in the layers? Thanks!

    1. Hi Gillian! It’s best to freeze baked cake layers separately, then assemble the day of. Here’s our post on how to freeze cakes with more information!

  21. Gillian… you can freeze frosting in a layered cake. I make my son an ice cream cake every year and it includes layers of this frosting : 1 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup light cream, 1 cup butter. Melt in small saucepan. Put in a bowl after melted and put over a larger bowl with ice in it. With mixer blend in 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar. It will lighten in color. You can also just refrigerate the frosting after mixed together and beat it after chilled a bit. Best frosting ever. Enjoy!

  22. Do you have a recommendation for how much espresso powder to add if I want to make this a mocha ganache?

    1. Hi Cori, 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!

  23. I made this today and it was very watery. Qauntities were correct, so I’m not sure what happened?

    1. Hi Rita, the ganache will be thin at first, but it thickens considerable as it sits and cools. Did it thicken up after 15 minutes or so?

  24. This turned out great and was shockingly easy to make! I wanted a mocha ganache and added 1 tsp espresso powder as previously suggested. It wasn’t quite enough for me (I like a STRONG coffee flavor) so I ended up adding 2 tsp total. I waited for the ganache to cool then whipped as directed before piping onto chocolate cupcakes and topping each with a chocolate covered espresso bean. They were AMAZING.

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