How to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes

Rich and fudgy chocolate lava cakes come together with 6 simple ingredients. Ready in just 25 minutes, this easy dessert recipe always impresses. If you don’t have ramekins, follow my instructions for using a muffin pan instead.

chocolate lava cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a white plate

Today, we’re making straight up chocolate lava cakes– though my peanut butter chocolate lava cakes are truly magical as well. I’ve gotten many requests for a plain chocolate version and I decided to finally make them because (1) chocolate molten lava and (2) chocolate molten lava. I love that these chocolate lava cakes are single serving just like my chocolate cupcakes— and that they’re even more rich and chocolatey than my chocolate cake recipe. If you enjoy this recipe but are looking for a gluten free option, try my flourless chocolate cake.

The secret for making chocolate lava cakes is… there’s no secret at all! You’ll be delightfully surprised at how easy these really are to make.


Chocolate Lava Cakes Are Easier Than You Think

I appreciate that making these lava cakes doesn’t involve anything complicated and if you don’t have the little ramekins I use– you can use a muffin pan. I’ll show you how to use both.

I worked at Chili’s throughout college– I know a good molten lava cake when I see one. While the molten cakes came to the restaurant frozen, a quick zap in the microwave made that chocolate completely ooze out with the first bite. Molten cakes are obviously a crowd favorite, but believe me when I say this: they’re infinitely better freshly made at home. Plus, they’re easy and here’s proof:

  • no mixer required
  • only 6 ingredients
  • bake time is extremely quick
  • no waiting for them to cool

chocolate lava cakes topped with scoops of vanilla ice cream on a white plates with spoons

Quick Lava Cakes Video Tutorial

Overview: Here are the Steps to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes

The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through it quickly so you understand each step before you get started. 

  1. Prepare four 6 ounce ramekins. Grease each ramekin with a little non-stick spray and a dusting of cocoa powder before filling with batter. This preparation helps the baked lava cake release seamlessly from the ramekin onto the plate for serving.
  2. Make the chocolate cake batter.
  3. Spoon the batter evenly into each ramekin.
  4. Bake. The high oven temperature cooks the outside of the mini cakes but leaves the center slightly gooey. The tops may look slightly soft.
  5. Invert the ramekins. Carefully flip the freshly baked lava cakes upside down onto plates.
  6. Add toppings & enjoy!

And, if 4 or 6 lava cakes are simply too many to have around, try this 2 serving recipe for chocolate fudge cakes instead.

overhead image of 3 glass bowls of ingredients for chocolate lava cakes

You Need Ramekins or a Muffin Pan

I highly recommend using ramekins for these lava cakes. Here are the 6-ounce ramekins I use and recommend. They’re the perfect size for these single-serve lava cakes. You can use the same ramekins for chocolate fudge cakes, chocolate soufflé, peanut butter chocolate lava cakes, and lemon pudding cakes.

If you don’t have ramekins, you can use a muffin pan: Grease 6 muffin pan cups and dust with cocoa powder to prevent the lava cakes from sticking. Your lava cakes will be slightly smaller– you’ll get 6 lava cakes instead of 4. Bake at 425°F (218°C) for 8-10 minutes. Use a spoon to release the cakes from the pan and place each upside down on plates.

Ramekins:

overhead image of white ramekins with a dusting of cocoa powder inside

Or the muffin pan option:

lava cake batter in a muffin pan

chocolate lava cakes in a muffin pan after baking

Optional Toppings for Chocolate Lava Cakes

Once you flip the warm lava cakes upside down onto plates, the fun really begins! There are so many toppings that pair wonderfully with these chocolate lava cakes– here are a few of my favorites: ice cream, chocolate ganache or red wine chocolate ganache, melted peanut butter, salted caramel, whipped cream, mocha whipped cream used on my flourless chocolate cake, sprinkles, chocolate chips, fresh berries, you name it. 🙂

Print
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chocolate lava cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a white plate

Chocolate Lava Cakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 14 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 or 6 cakes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Here’s how to make incredibly decadent homemade chocolate lava cakes!


Ingredients

  • 6 ounces (170g) high quality semi-sweet chocolate*
  • 1/2 cup (115g; 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks*
  • optional for topping: ice cream, raspberries, and/or chocolate syrup

Instructions

  1. Spray four 6 ounce ramekin with nonstick cooking spray and dust with cocoa powder. This ensures the cakes will seamlessly come out of the ramekins when inverted onto a plate in step 7. *Or spray half of a 12-count muffin pan and dust with cocoa powder. If baking in a muffin pan, the recipe will yield 6 cakes.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
  3. Coarsely chop the chocolate. Place butter into a medium heat-proof bowl, then add chopped chocolate on top. Microwave on high in 10 second increments, stirring after each until completely smooth. Set aside.
  4. Whisk the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt together in a small bowl. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks together until combined in another small bowl. Pour the flour mixture and eggs into the bowl of chocolate. Slowly stir everything together using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. If there are any lumps, gently use your whisk to rid them. The batter will be slightly thick.
  5. Spoon chocolate batter evenly into each prepared ramekin or muffin cup.
  6. Place ramekins onto a baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes until the sides appear solid and firm– the tops will still look soft. *If baking in a muffin pan, the cakes only take about 8-10 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool for 1 minute, then cover each with an inverted plate and turn over. Use an oven mitt because those ramekins are hot! The cakes should release easily from the ramekin. *If you used a muffin pan, use a spoon to release the cakes from the pan and place each upside down on plates.
  8. Add toppings. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can prepare the batter through step 4. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Allow to come to room temperature before continuing with step 5. You can freeze the baked lava cakes for up to 3 months. Allow them to cool completely before freezing. Re-heat in the microwave.
  2. Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls, Rainbow Whisk, Muffin Pan, Ramekins, and Baker’s Chocolate
  3. Chocolate: Make sure to use high quality chocolate, not chocolate chips. You won’t have much “lava” with chocolate chips! I suggest high quality chocolate baking bars sold in the baking aisle such as Baker’s, Ghirardelli, Nestle, or Lindt. They’re all typically sold in 4 ounce bars, so you will need 1 and 1/2 bars total.
  4. Eggs: For this recipe, you need 2 whole eggs plus an addition 2 egg yolks. (Use the 2 extra egg whites in an omelet or in any of my recipes with egg whites.) After 10-14 minutes in an oven this hot, the eggs should be cooked to 160°F which is considered safe to eat. If you’re concerned, you can take the temperature to be sure!

Keywords: chocolate lava cake, lava cake

 

chocolate lava cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a white plate

464 Comments

  1. I made these last night as a late Valentine’s dessert for me and my sisters! OMG…so incredibly rich and delicious! So much lava! I topped these little lava cakes with a little mint flavored melted chocolate, whipped cream and shaved chocolate curls! This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Bridget Richard says:

    I made them for Fat Tuesday. They came together in no time. I can’t believe it was this easy. The kids think I am superwoman!

  3. Hi Sally,
    I’m about to try these out for my sister’s birthday and I was wondering if I could use a 6 inch cake pan and just increase the baking time by a couple minutes?
    Thanks! Love all your recipes. Just made your granola bars this morning!! So good!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Phoebe, we haven’t tested that so can’t say for sure. You may love this 6 inch chocolate cake recipe instead!

  4. I only have 4oz ramekins…. how long should I bake them?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Renee! Bake time will be shorter, but we’re unsure exactly how long the smaller cakes will take.

  5. Sheila Calnan says:

    Made these yesterday. I did half the recipe, as it was only me eating them. Only concern I had was when half of something ended up being “.5”, my scale is whole numbers. Tried to get as close as possible. Guess I did OK as they turned out great. Used 2-6oz Pyrex ramekins. Made the batter early and stuck in the fridge. Took them out after I ate dinner and baked them off. Thanks Sally for a quick and easy dessert.

  6. Hi Sally! We love this recipe. The richness of the chocolate is amazing!! I’m making them again this evening but hoping to freeze a couple for a later date. Do you have a recommendation on how to wrap them for freezer? Thanks in advance! Your website and all of your tips has been so incredibly helpful to me!!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kim! Allow them to cool completely before freezing. You can either cover them tightly with plastic wrap or place them in an air-tight container (or both for best protection). Enjoy!

  7. These are soooooo good! I totally recommend them and i think they are great and I don’t think any changes are needed. I made them in a muffin tin and worked great! perfect size as they are rich and fill you up quick! Thank you sally! 🙂

  8. Very good / family loved. Easy to make but was wondering if batter is made and put into ramekins & then refrigerated – how much if any, is cooking time increased?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessica, you can make the batter ahead of time and refrigerate for up to two days. We recommend then bringing it to room temperature before spooning into the ramekins. See recipe notes for more details. Glad to hear this recipe was a hit for your family!

      1. Jessica McGee says:

        Appreciate this info. Will make it easier to serve. Can be with friends/family and just have to put lava cakes in oven. Great desert!

  9. Hi / I only have 8 oz ramekins – should I make less servings or fill them up less? Also how full should the ramekins be?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi LF, you can use the 8 oz ramekins and simply divide the batter equally among the four. The baking time will be a bit longer, but we’re unsure of the exact amount. Try another 1-2 minutes, keeping a close eye on them.

  10. Great recipe, I love it. It came out amazing. I made 4 ramekins, 12 min in oven, but I should let its for 13-14 because it’s was big ramekins. I tried a few recipes and i need to ajust its a lot to came out right….. This was perfect. Love it, al my family love it. Thank you Sally ❤️

  11. Karen Logan says:

    Delicious and simple. Came out perfect. This is a save for sure

  12. Hi Sally! I have the jumbo muffin pan for the blueberry muffins and was wondering if that would work for this recipe/how long should I cook it for? I’ve been loving every recipe I’ve made of yours (specifically the Nutella brownies!) Thanks so much!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emily, we haven’t tested it but other bakers have reported using a jumbo muffin tin with success – they should be about the same size (and bake time) as the 6 oz ramekins, though you can measure yours to make sure (will yield 4 lava cakes).

  13. Hi can I double the plain chocolate recipe and just add peanut butter to half if it?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Julia! Yes, the chocolate cake batter recipe can be doubled. Feel free to add peanut butter to half of them!

  14. quick question, wondering if I could use cake flour to make this?

  15. Behzad haider says:

    I tried it was delicious but can we use 8 oz muffin tins

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      You can use the 8 oz ramekins and simply divide the batter equally among the four. The baking time will be a bit longer, but we’re unsure of the exact amount. Try another 1-2 minutes, keeping a close eye on them.

  16. I was thinking of trying to make these for Easter dessert. If I make them in the morning, I am guessing they will need reheated by the time we will have dessert in the afternoon. How long would they need microwaved for? Any other suggestions? I will be using a muffin tin.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rebecca, how long you warm them up really depends on your microwave and their starting temperature. Try just 10 seconds at a time until you reach your desired temperature. Hope this helps!

  17. Hi just wondering if you could sub chocolate for coco powder.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      For best results we recommend sticking with cocoa powder in this recipe.

  18. Juliana Loewen says:

    Do these work exactly the same with gluten free flour? Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Juliana, We haven’t tested these lava cakes with gluten free flour, but let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

  19. Juliana Loewen says:

    Ok, I replaced the flour with cornstarch to make them GF and they totally worked. I also used the Costco bag of semisweet chipits. I over cooked by about a minute but still very gooey! Delish!

  20. I made this lava cakes but they did not lava they cooked right through I followed the recipe. Is it because I used cabary chocolate and may be cooked them to long I did the time on recipe
    Michelle

  21. hi, sally love this site. I have so many things bookmarked. I cant wait to make them and eat them.

  22. I began making them when I realized I didn’t have enough chocolate chips! I used up a chocolate bar and some old Hershey’s Kisses in the freezer and it still tasted fantastic. My family loved them and I will definitely make them again! Thank you!

  23. Had a box of new ramekins sitting around for years. I just never got around to using them. Found your site with this recipe and finally busted them out of the box. Made and served them with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries. Thanks for this easy and delicious recipe.

  24. Can I use paper liners in muffin tin?? If so, any recipe adjustment needed? TY

  25. I love this recipe! However my cakes didn’t lava at all, I use ceramic ramekings and bake them for about 13 min. Is it posiible I overcook them? They are moist and really good flavor though. I also let them cool longer than I wanted but i reheat them in the microwave and nothing ooze.

  26. Can I omit the confectioners sugar?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jenny, we don’t recommend it. The taste, texture, and structure will be compromised without it.

  27. I made this and OMG it was sooo good!! Thank you so much for this recipe. If someone hesitates to make this cake I can assure it’s delicious!

  28. Hey, I was thinking about trying out this recipe because it looks really tasty, but I was wondering if I could refrigerate the batter for 2-3 days?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gillian! You can prepare the batter through step 4, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. See recipe notes for more make ahead details.

  29. Stephanie R Rapp says:

    How long should I put these in the microwave to reheat them from frozen? I would normally just test it myself but I only have 2 left and can’t afford to experiment with them.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Stephanie, how long you warm them up really depends on your microwave and their starting temperature. Try just 10 seconds at a time until you reach your desired temperature. Enjoy!

  30. This is a great recipe! I used Nestle Toll House semisweet chips and it worked great!! I doubled it and made them in a silicone cupcake mold. I did half as described and half with dollops of peanut butter in the middle. (PS- If you don’t know this already, put your mold on a baking tray BEFORE you fill them!) I had to bake mine for about 14 minutes and I had to let them cool for somewhere around 10 minutes. I was able to gently pop mine out with my fingers. Gently palpitate the bottom and sides of the cup and carefully pop the cake out. I wrapped the extras individually and I will be freezing some of them for a ray of sunshine on a rainy day or for a special occasion.

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