How to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate lava cakes with their deliciously rich molten chocolate center come together with 6 simple ingredients. Ready in just 25 minutes, this surprisingly easy dessert always impresses. If you don’t have ramekins, follow our instructions for using a muffin pan instead.

Today we’re making straight-up chocolate lava cakes. Even though peanut butter chocolate lava cakes are truly magical, we’ve received a lot of requests for a plain chocolate version. So we decided to make them. It IS chocolate molten lava cake, after all.

Molten cakes are always a crowd favorite, and they’re infinitely better when freshly made at home. You’ll love that lava cakes are single servings just like chocolate cupcakes. If you prefer a gluten-free option, consider making rich and fudge-like flourless chocolate cake.

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

Tell Me About These Chocolate Lava Cakes

  • Flavor: There’s no doubt about it: chocolate is front and center in this lava cake recipe. They’re more indulgent and chocolatey than our reader-favorite chocolate cake!
  • Texture: This lava cake pairs moist chocolate cake with an ooey-gooey molten center. Be careful not to over-bake these.
  • Ease: The secret for making chocolate lava cakes? There is no secret. These lava cakes require zero complicated steps and equipment. In fact, you’ll be delightfully surprised with how remarkably simple the prep is.
  • Time: The best part about this recipe is that it whips up fast: Make a quick cake batter and bake in ramekins or a muffin pan. Then, serve immediately with your favorite toppings.

In Short:

  • Ultra molten-like center
  • No mixer required
  • Only 6 ingredients
  • A super quick bake time
  • No cooling time

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

Overview: How 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-oz ramekins. Grease each ramekin with a little nonstick 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 somewhat soft.
  5. Invert the ramekins. Carefully flip the freshly baked lava cakes upside down onto plates.
  6. Add toppings and dig in while warm.

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

Ramekins Versus a Muffin Pan

We highly recommend using 6-ounce ramekins for these lava cakes – they’re the perfect size for these single-serving desserts. Plus, you can use the same ramekins for chocolate fudge cakes for 2, 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. Since 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

lava cake batter in a muffin pan

chocolate lava cakes in a muffin pan after baking

Optional Toppings for Chocolate Lava Cakes

Once the warm lava cakes are inverted onto plates, the fun really begins! So many toppings pair wonderfully with these chocolate lava cakes. Here are a few of our favorites:

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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. HELP!! I don’t know what I’m doing wrong! I’ve tried this recipe twice now and both times I never got the lava!! The first time It just came out like a fudge-y brownie, and I think I knew what I did wrong: ie I didn’t have 6 oz ramekins but I had 5 oz ones which I used, and then just used 5 of those instead of 4, I baked them towards the end of the recommended time frame (13 min) even though I know my oven runs hot and cooks quicker, and i had it cooling for almost 5 min (I got distracted) before transferring them out of the ramekins. The second time I attempted these I used a muffin tray and did the 8 minutes though when I checked them it looked liquidy on top so I kept it in for an additional minute before taking them out and transferring it to a plate. The second time it came out a little burnt and completely brownie like (no fudge aspect) with no lava, again. Both times it was still delicious and goes great with ice cream but its disappointing not having the lava in these lava cakes. What am I doing wrong? Obviously, the second time being burnt a little means I kept them in too long but should they then have little pools of liquid on the top when I take them out? Any advice would be great!

    1. I recommend checking your oven with an oven thermometer, especially since you know it runs hot, and adjusting the dials. They should look soft on top, but not liquid. Sounds like the first time they would have turned out right with a minute less in the oven and turning them out right away!

  2. Hi sally i wanted to ask you that I baked these last time in a muffin tin for about 7 minutes and when I took them out if the pan they broke and when I baked it for 10 minutes it wasn’t even molten what do u suggest?

  3. Perfect recipe! You are amazing, Sally!

  4. Just made a trial batch before my mother’s birthday–husband loved it and devoured it. I was thinking of making this batter prior to going to my mother’s and making them after dinner there — I know the notes say to bring to room temperature, but any guidance on how long to leave the batter out for? An hour?

    1. Hi Paige! I wouldn’t leave the batter out for longer than about 2 hours. But use your best judgement, keeping in mind there is dairy and eggs in the batter.

  5. If you are doubling the recipe can you fill a 12 spot muffin pan or should you do 6 twice?

    1. You can fill the 12-count muffin pan.

  6. Hi Sally,

    I have the batter in my refrigerator right now. How long should it need to come to room temperature? I am planning to make it after our dinner. Thank you. 🙂

    1. 15-30 minutes is plenty. 🙂 Enjoy!

      1. Thank you Sally. I ended up taking it out and leaving it for about 45 minutes and it came up to 67 degrees F. It turned out beautifully! Thank you for the recipe. @michelleboatbaker

      2. These are fantastic!! I did the muffin pan method, with vanilla ice cream and strawberries as toppings. Delicious!

  7. Anita Ground says:

    Loved it! I wish I had an online recipe box to keep it in!

    1. Judith Bradbury says:

      I use the Paprika app. You can add a recipe easily by using the “browser” function and pasting the url for the recipe. The url for this recipe is:
      I love this app!

  8. Who knew these were so easy! The gooey center is to die for. Great easy recipe.

  9. Hi, which setting should the oven be on? Top element, bottom, both?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Frances! I recommend both.

    2. So according to this to make 20 servings I just need to multiply the amount right??

  10. An absolute winner!

  11. Kelly Cattermole says:

    Can you use gluten free flour with this recipe?

    1. Hi Kelly! I don’t have any experience baking with gluten free flour but other readers have reported back that they use it successfully in my recipes. Let me know if you try it!

    2. Yes! I did it with a basic Walmart brand gluten free flour and it turned out beautifully. I had concerns about dryness, so i added a bit of extra butter to the mix and it was delightful

  12. Shanza Nayyer says:

    Hi Sally,
    Thank you for the recipe. I tried and turned out amazing. I just don’t like too much sweetness as I add ice cream to it. So I added some cocoa. Next time I’ll also reduce some sugar for lesser sweetness.

    1. So happy you enjoyed this recipe!

  13. Made last night. Big hit!!! Thanks!!!

  14. Sneha priya says:

    Hey Sally! I just love your website and your super cute recipes. One query while baking this lava cake in 6 count muffin tray is there any particular temperature ?as it is mentioned 8 to 10 minutes. Is it necessary to refrigerate the batter for 2 days ? Does this recipe need baking powder ,cocoa powder and essence . I’m 15 years old please help me to bake my 1st cake well.
    This is Sneha from India
    Love you

    1. Hi Sneha! Thank you so much. You don’t need to refrigerate the batter for 2 days, but you can if you would like to prepare it ahead of time. The ingredients needed are listed in the recipe and the temperature is 425°F (218°C). Hope you enjoy!

  15. If I don’t have the nonstick cooking spray to spray the ramekin, what can I use?

    1. Hi Bella! You can use melted butter.

  16. Hi sally, what temperature should the oven be on?

    1. Hi Maya- the oven should be at 425°F (218°C).

  17. Hi Sally, Am not able to view or play the video. It says service not available.

    1. I was just about to write the same comment… 🙁
      I even try to use another browser, but still get the same error.

      1. Try turning off your ad blocker.

  18. How do I double this recipe?

    1. Hi Mel, you can double each ingredient or make 2 separate batches.

  19. Hi! I love your recipe, so simple and delicious! I have a question, somehow I bought 4 oz ramekins instead of 6 oz, do I adjust the bake time!?

    1. Exactly. Just reduce the baking time. I’m unsure exactly how long the smaller cakes will take.

  20. If love were a taste, these would be it! They are simply delicious!

    1. Haha – I’m thrilled you enjoyed these!

    2. My family has always asked for these cakes. I thought it would be too hard so I made excuses.
      Finally I gave in and just tried them. They came out perfectly. Thank you so much.

  21. They were perfect but just as a matter of interest how come plain flour is used and not self raising flour?

  22. Nicole Thiang says:

    if I use a convection oven, do i still keep the temperature to 218 degrees and does the time still remain?

  23. Karen Thompson says:

    Can these be made ahead and baked later?

    1. Sure can! See recipe note.

  24. My son requested chocolate lava cupcakes for his 16th birthday (New Year’s Eve). I made them at his request for a previous birthday, but couldn’t remember which recipe I had used. I chose yours this time around because it had simple steps and few ingredients. It was so quick and easy to put together, and they taste great even warmed up! This will be our recipe from now on. Maybe he’ll make them for my birthday. 😉

  25. Judy anderson says:

    This recipe did not work for me. The cakes were dry and had way too much chocolate. We took a few bites and through them away.

  26. Have you tried baking these with bittersweet chocolate? Was thinking about using Swerve sugar replacement to cut down on sugar intake so was wondering if you had any advice on the amount of sugar replacement amount. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

    1. Hi Lanie, You can use bittersweet chocolate but these are not overly-sweet using semi-sweet. I have not ever baked with Swerve sugar replacement but let me know if you try it!

  27. Hi Sally,

    I had been wanting to make this lava cake…! I thought it would be more complicated, but nope…! Using your recipe is the simplest one..! I made one and shared it to my neighbour…! Love it….!!!
    Thank youuuuu!!!!’

    1. You are welcome, Susan! I’m so happy you tried it and enjoyed it!

  28. Hi Sally!

    Can we reduce the ingredients by half to end up with 3 cakes?

    1. Yes you can, Amber!

  29. Hi Sally,
    Thanks for putting up this amazing recipe. My family and I enjoyed it so much! I am new to this blog but I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  30. Hello! I’m planning to make this recipe but I’m wondering what will happen with the cakes if they sit one day? Could they dry out or something? (I would like to make them for my parents but they live a bit far, so I have to make the cakes the night before I’m traveling home)
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Nora, I do not recommend letting these sit at room temperature. You can prepare the batter in advance or freeze the baked cakes – see recipe notes!

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