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.


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. 🙂

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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


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


  • 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


  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.


  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


  1. Just wow!! My 17 yo son and I just made these – so so amazingly good!! We just used half the batter (the other half is in the fridge for tomorrow). We put peanut butter in one of the ramekins and left the other only chocolate…… Served up with some ice cream – I’m usually not a chocolate dessert fan, but this is just awesome!! We are having friends over during the upcoming holidays and I know what dessert will be!!

  2. How would you prepare, and heat if you froze them
    I like to make ahead but only use one or two at a time. 
    I read heat them in a microwave but for how long?

    1. I’d thaw them in the fridge then heat for 20-30 seconds at high power until warmed throughout.

  3. Hi! 🙂 I would love to sub something dairy free for the butter (was thinking coconut oil). Do you have any advice on the quantity of coconut oil to use and if this would work? Thanks!

    1. I’m unsure of the outcome, but 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil could be subbed in.

  4. I am thinking of making these for my New Year’s Eve party. This would require me making the battle ahead of time. I read the make ahead tips but was wondering, can I make the batter, spoon it into the ramikins, refrigerate them, and then put them in the oven the next day? Would that produce the same results or would it be better to wait to divide the batter into ramikins?

    1. Hi Grace! You can divide up the batter and refrigerate overnight. Bring it all to room temp before baking though.

  5. Just licked my plate clean!  I had to use chocolate chips and it was glorious!  Thank you for the recipe.

    1. I make these all the time with chocolate chips and everyone raves. Made them with Ghirardelli the other night and didn’t notice a bit of difference!
      I love the tip for making them in a muffin tin! Why have I never thought of that?! There are six in my family and I always have to make two batches or pick my favorites! Ha!

  6. About how full should we fill the ramekin? ALSO is there a huge difference if we use bittersweet chocolate

    1. Divide batter between each 6-ounce ramekin. They will be nearly full. Bittersweet chocolate will yield a deeper, darker chocolate flavor.

  7. Tabatha Cyrus says:

    How long should I microwave it for if I am reheating it after freezing them?

  8. Hi Sally!
    I’ve been looking for a lava cake recipe and I thought about giving yours a try, as your recipes are always so good.
    Any chance you could make these in silicone muffin forms?

    1. Hi Sabrina! I can’t see why not.

  9. Aunt Charley says:

    Could you use 1 1/2 recipes and make 6 ramekins? I don’t like them the larger size, but need 6.

    1. Yes, absolutely! Or you can use your muffin pan to make 6 from this exact recipe.

  10. Anyone ever try to make these gluten-free using gf flour? We had them on a cruise and would love to recreate them! These sound delicious!

  11. These were so good! So much easier to make than I expected. I used muffin tins and 8 minutes was the perfect amount of time to bake them. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!

    1. You are welcome, Sophie! I’m happy you liked them!!

  12. Sally,

    I want to make these for my husbands birthday tomorrow, but I would like to view the video. It keeps saying that the page for the video can’t be found. Help!

    By the way, I’m excited about all the wonderful comments, because my husband thinks Chili’s lava cakes are the best he has ever had. I can’t wait to make these babies for him!!

    1. Hi Jasmine! I’m so sorry you’re experiencing issues with the video– I noticed the error codes yesterday and we’ve been working to fix the problem with the video player application we use. In the meantime, here is that video on Facebook:

  13. Hi Sally! Would using eight 3 inch ramekins work instead of four 6 inch ones in the above recipe?

    1. Hi Angela! The lava cakes would be pretty small in 3 inch ramekins, keep that in mind. The bake time will be shorter too.

  14. Hey i want to make these but i need a big amount .. do i just double everything or make 2 separate batches? I need about 12 or 16

    1. Hi Maria! You can double or make 2 separate batches.

  15. Can I use flax seeds to replace an egg?

    Here is the ratio:
    one tablespoon of flax seeds and three tablespoons of water to replace one egg.

    1. I don’t recommend it for this particular recipe. Eggs + yolks are the main ingredient for the lava cake.

  16. Hassan Iqbal says:

    If we bake them and freeze it right away take them out the very next day and microwave it will it still have the same effect?

    1. It should, yes!

  17. Jennifer Letitia says:

    Hi. Have you ever tried to freeze the chocolate molten cake batter and then defrost and cook it at the time of use?

    1. I personally haven’t tried it. Let me know how they turn out if you do!

  18. I usually don’t write reviews but this recipe was great, excellent. it was sweet but not overbearing, 10/10 I would definitely recommend (this entire blog is excellent as well) I am very pleased how each recipe of yours turn out I’ve made about 8 of your recipes and everyone has exceeded my expectations. Keep the great work.

    1. Hi Trey, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I truly appreciate the kind words and am thrilled that you have tried so many of my recipes 🙂

  19. finally made these tonight… turned out okay… I think I should have cooked it shorter time

  20. Juleiny Benjamin says:

    Hi thanks for the recipe for the lava cakes I am going to make the for An New year’s Eve party but I was thinking if a could change the 1/2 cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar to granuated sugar?

    1. Hi Juleiny! For best results, I recommend sticking to the recipe.

  21. Hi Sally,

    Thank-you so much for this recipe. I made chocolate lava cake for the first time using your recipe, in fact, I made a gluten free version since my husband can’t have gluten and it was delicious. For anyone curious, I did the cupcake pan version and I used Bob Red Mill’s Gluten Free 1 to 1 baking flour. My husband said the cake was on-par with a restaurant’s lava cake that is made with regular flour.

    I’ll definitely be making this recipe again :).

  22. Hi Sally! I’m from the UK and I was just wondering what is classed as semi sweet chocolate?? What percentage of cocoa?? We only really have white, milk and dark

    1. Hi Farha! I recommend using dark. Semi-sweet chocolate has a cacao content of around 60%. 🙂 I hope this helps!

  23. That’s imazing recipe! My husband sad it’s restaurant lava cake. I’ll try another your recipes, can’t wait to make a real cheesecake.

    1. I’m so glad you both like it! Let me know how the cheesecake goes!

  24. Kimberly Alcantar says:

    I frequently use your Website for recipes and I’m always pleased. I am trying this one out now. I’m visiting family and want to impress them with my skills. THANK YOU SALLY. You make it easy for me too.

  25. Hi Sally!
    I want to make this for a friend’s birthday and was wondering if you think this recipe would work as a whole cake instead of the individual ramekins? I love your recipes!

    1. Hi Hannah! No, I don’t recommend using this recipe for a big cake. Instead, try my triple chocolate layer cake 🙂

  26. I have made lava cakes in the past with good and ok results. This recipe gets 2 thumbs up from me. Each cake came out of its ramekin in one piece with its gooy yummy centre left as a surprise for the recipient. I needed 7 cakes so made the recipe twice with one leftover. I will try in the muffin tins next time I need more then the ramekins I have. Thank you Sally.

    1. You are welcome, Sandra! I’m so glad you gave this one a try!

  27. I am not sure what I did wrong, but this recipe just did not turn out. The cakes were bitter and did not lava at all. I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet baking chocolate and followed the recipe just as you said. The cakes just simply did not taste good at all. It’s like they were missing something perhaps a bit more sugar and some vanilla. I’m not sure.

  28. Hi Sally! I have a bar of 70% chocolate. Do you think that’ll be too bitter?

    1. Not at all. It will be dark, yes, but shouldn’t be overly bitter.

  29. Sally, if you’re using cupcake tin, is it ok to just line them with pretty paper cups? I’ve tried this recipe and it’s perfect! ❤️

    1. Hi Mary! You may want to leave the paper cups off and just used greased pans. The lava cakes may stick a little bit unless you really grease them.

  30. Made these tonight using 85% Green & Black Organic Dark Chocolate bars. Dusted them with powdered sugar, added fresh raspberries and whipped cream for a little pizzazz. They were very decadent and rich. My guys really enjoyed them! I baked them for 10 minutes, with a nice lava, but may try a 9 minute bake next time for more flow. Thank you for yet another amazing recipe!

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