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

463 Comments

  1. Vicki Skonieczny says:

    Yeah Me!!! Better late than never. Sally, I admit that I procrastinated with this challenge because it is a recipe that I have never made and never actually thought about making until your post. I was a little intimidated but I really wanted to participate. It was so fun, so simple and quick to make and sooooooooo delicious. Your blog is a joy to read each day and this new monthly challenge is just another thing to look forward to. Thank you for adding another little ray of sunshine to my already beautiful life. With much gratitude.

  2. Brenda Carpenter says:

    Made these tonight and they were delicious. Thank you Sally for a small chocolate fudge dessert.  They turned out perfect per your instructions. Can’t wait to see what March’s challenge is.

  3. I just baked this last night! I had a blast and it was so delicious! It was so fun to share it with my girls and husband. Thank you for doing this challenge! It’s the perfect start to my baking adventure! I can’t wait to try it again once I get my ramekins!

  4. Melissa Dotson says:

    Hi Sally,

    I guess since it is the last day of February, I better get my post out there — What fun the lava cakes challenge was — Looking forward to March : Here’s the link to my results : let me know if I need to do anything else in reguards to credit! Thanks again

    http://www.thesugarsandbox.com/2017/02/28/cabernet-lava-cakes/

    1. Love it. Absolutely love the use of cabernet chocolate!

  5. Niki Daugherty says:

    Hi Dally! I finally got this months challenge done, and let me say they are delish! I’m a chocoholic, so of course I love them. But my husband is not really a chocolate kinds guy, and he even loved them because they’re not a super sweet kinda chocolate. I’m guessing that’s because of the semi sweet right? Anywho, I can’t wait for next month’s challenge (hopefully I’ll get it done before the end of next month this time!)

    1. Yep, that’s because you are using a dark semi-sweet chocolate. I’m glad he loved them! Here is this month’s challenge. I hope you both love it!

  6. I’ve been meaning to make these all month, but I finally got to them last night.  My four year old watched the video you attached and was able to help me with so many of the parts.  She cracked the two whole eggs and after I added the egg yolks, she whisked it all.  Then she helped with the mixing and when I poured the flour mixture into the chocolate first, she said, “That’s not how the lady in the video did it.  She put the eggs in first.”  Lol  I love the short video though, so she knows what to expect in the recipe.  They were delicious by the way.  I never knew they were such a fast and easy thing to bake!

    1. Hahaha! Cracking up at “the lady in the video” 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story and I’m so glad you all loved them!

  7. It took me until the very last day of the month, but I managed to make these finally! (I’ve been fighting the flu pretty much all month, so food in general hasn’t been that appealing.) They were so delicious. Definitely a keeper recipe. My one mistake was that after setting the timer for 13 minutes, they just didn’t look quite done. *Too* gooey, if that’s possible, lol. So I put them back for one more minute, which still put me in the 12-14 range … but that one minute was too much. So my cakes, while wonderfully gooey and amazing with vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce, they weren’t really “lava” in the middle. More just “fresh-out-of-the-oven-gooey.” Still delicious, but not very accurate to the recipe. But now I know for next time! And there will definitely be a next time. 🙂

  8. I have made these 2 times in the last week! They are so easy and goooood. Love your recipes!

  9. I got in just under the wire on the last day of February. Never have made Lava Cakes before. They were so easy and so good. I can’t wait to make the peanut butter ones I have drooling over for a while on your blog. I love the monthly challenge. Great idea!

  10. Victoria O. says:

    I have 2 oz ramekins and I’m wondering about the bake time?

    1. Quite short. But I’m unsure of the exact time. I’ve never baked lava cakes in that small of a ramekin before. Sorry I don’t have more advice!

  11. Made these for dessert tonight. 12 minutes was the perfect amount of baking time to get just the right lava flow. They are literally sooo much better than any molten lava cake I’ve ever ordered in a restaurant. These will definitely earn me brownie points with dinner guests in the future! Thank you thank you for writing and posting such an easy-to-follow delicious recipe! Love the video too 🙂

  12. Great recipe!!! Amazing taste! I made these last night using the muffin pan. I baked them at 425 for about 6 minutes. But I had one issue, (not the recipe, all me…by myself) my lava wasn’t as flowy it was more tacky, gluey. If that makes any sense. Do you have a clue as to what I may have done wrong? I used Ghiraldelli chocolate and followed everything in the recipe accordingly. Although I did melt my butter and chocolate on the stove, I hate doing it in the microwave. I appreciate your advice! Thank you for the video as well! 🙂

    1. I usually melt my chocolate on the stove too! I baked mine for about 9 minutes and the inside wasn’t really that lava-y just the bottom section was. I also didn’t have any cocoa powder and it worked just fine without it. I don’t know but maybe you didn’t leave them in the oven long enough.

      1. *UPDATE* I finally had a chance to remake these! I was able to get a glorious lava flow this time by stirring the batter with a whisk until completely smooth. Last time I used the spoon but didn’t stir the batter to a smooth finish afraid of over stirring. But the whisk was great and the “lava” had a beautiful flow! So the lesson… make sure you stir to a smooth finish! 🙂

  13. Love this recipe! Do you know if this would work with GF flour? have you ever tried it?
    Thanks!

    1. I’m not the best baker to ask about GF/wheat free baking. I have very little experience. Sorry!

    2. Keto lava cakes might be the answer for you, look them up on pinterest. Anything keto or paleo is usually gf.

  14. Priyanka Kothari says:

    Wow….Love this recipe….Such a mouth watering recipe for the chocolate lovers like me. Easy & amazing. Thanks for the sharing.

  15. This recipe is totally awesome. The cakes are divine. An absolute hit with hubby and kids. Thank u Sally for sharing this treat.

  16. Thank you so much for posting this recipe! The lava cakes were absolutely delicious:)

  17. Lori Michel says:

    Can you make the batter ahead of time and let it sit for an hour before you bake it?

    1. That would be fine!

  18. My husband and I enjoyed a sweaty labored 5 mile walk in the lovely South Carolina heat after dinner and I thought “how best to celebrate this effort and hard work???”… hmm… “chocolate lava cakes”! Trust me, since we’ve been careful about calorie intake to lose weight, I knew I’d need the effort to enjoy a baked dessert without guilt (and these puppies were over 500 per serving). I had your recipe saved for a while now waiting for the perfect chance to make it. But after I baked them, thought for sure I failed, turned them over into bowls and added our chosen accompaniments we both declared “the work was SO WORTH IT!” Turns out they came out perfect, but I hadn’t made them before so didn’t know what exactly to expect. These were absolutely the best chocolate lava cakes I’ve ever had… the restaurant I used to get them at absolutely pales in comparison to this recipe, just sayin’. You blew this one out of the water, it was super easy, quick, and utterly decadent! 
    I halved the recipe to make two ramekins and it worked perfectly. My husband chose our breyers PB dairy free ice cream to go with his (that stuff is amazing), and I poured homemade raspberry coulis on mine… each of us loved our choice, and we will absolutely make this again! And again, and again! Guess there’s a lot more long walks in my future 🙂

    1. Yay! Wonderful that you waited for the perfect moment to enjoy these!! So happy you loved them!

  19. Hi Sally, 

    I’d like to make these for a family picnic tomorrow.  Can I make today and then pop in the microwave before serving?

    thanks 

    1. Absolutely!

  20. Made these last night after saving so many yummy looking treats from Pinterest. So glad I chose this one to attempt. So easy to make, simply follow the directions, though I used a jumbo muffin pan which has the same capacity as the 6 ounce ramekins. They were perfect, delicious, rich, chocolatey (I could go on!). Oh, and definitely add some vanilla ice cream on top. Thank you for this recipe!

  21. Using this recipe, I baked the best lava cakes I have ever eaten! Sally, thank you so much for taking time to create this recipe and share it with us. Much appreciated!

  22. I finally got a chance to make these last night and they turned out perfect. They were amazing! My family loved them!

    1. Yay! Happy they were a hit!

  23. I would like to make these for a friend’s birthday. Would these be just as delightful warmed up? I don’t know if it’s going to lose it’s fabulousness because they won’t get them fresh. 🙁

    Thanks!

    1. They’re great! Just reheat in the microwave until warm.

  24. would it be okay to make them and let them sit in the fridge overnight, baking them the v nxt day?

    1. Definitely!

  25. I have made these chocolate lava cakes several times. Every single time they have come out perfectly. This is a recipe that I will for sure use for a very long time. I did use cheap tollhouse chocolate chips and they turned out amazing. I’m sure better quality chocolate would make them even better, but this is one of the few recipes where cheap chocolate works just spectacularly.

  26. can you reheat them in the oven 

  27. Cassandra Keaton says:

    I made these tonight & they were divine! So chocolatey & very rich. I used the ramekins & as my electric oven is a bit slow, I ended up cooking them for 14 mins, checked them, then put them back in for another 2 mins. Can’t wait to make these again & share with my chocolate loving friends!

  28. Hi Sally. I made these yesterday. And my family loved them. Thank you so much for posting this incredible recipe. Lots of love all the way from Sri Lanka ❤️

  29.  These look fabulous, however I am Looking forSomething similar that doesn’t need to be served immediately. Something  as easy as this,  hopefully with a bit of a shelf life. Any suggestions?

  30. Tuhina Deshpande says:

    Hi Sally I love your recipes and recently tried this.it tasted awesome !!! But though I waited a minute to take it out some was still stuck to muffin pan.pls advise

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