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

Overview: How to Make Chocolate Lava Cakes

  1. Prepare 4 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, peanut butter chocolate lava cakes, and s’mores chocolate mousse.

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. These were perfect! I followed the recipe exactly and they were an excellent addition to our cruise-from-home formal night! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Bakingphilic. says:

    Thank you so much for this amazing Recipe. Loved it..

  3. Tx for this super delicious recipe

  4. Superb and easy to make

  5. Bitter Sweet Cook says:

    This recipe was perfect in terms of presentation and the molten lava-ness of the whole thing. However, it was little too bitter for me. I would’ve preferred it to be a little sweeter. I think next time I will either add more sugar or sub in milk chocolate or white chocolate. Any suggestions?

    1. Justine Scicluna says:

      I’ve tried this recipe substituting the chocolate with white chocolate (and added 1 tsp vanilla extract) and it worked very well!

  6. We made this for dessert for our 44th wedding anniversary stay-at-home celebration. Wow!! Unbelievably luscious, rich, decadent. The perfect little dessert for our special day.

  7. I haven’t made these yet, but I’m wondering if it would work to use unsweetened baking chocolate and add sugar to the batter to make up for the lack in the chocolate??

    1. I ran out of semi-sweet chocolate baking bars, so I had to add a couple of squares of unsweetened chocolate. I added 1 tbsp of granulated sugar for every 1 oz of unsweetened chocolate. It turned out amazing!! No one could tell the difference, not even me…
      One mistake that I made with these was that once I took them out of the pan, we didn’t eat them right away. I baked them while we were eating dinner, but they ended up sitting on the counter for longer than I wanted. As a result, there wasn’t much lava, but the inside was still soft enough where it wasn’t solid cake all the way through. Regardless, my family loved them!! They couldn’t stop raving about these lava cakes and wished I had made more. It was for my brother’s birthday and he loved them. I was nervous about making lava cakes when he requested them, but I’ve made tons of your recipes Sally, and this one did not disappoint. Thank you so much!! Keep up the good work, you are amazing and so talented 🙂

  8. I’ve always wanted to make lava cakes, but never did thinking it would be too difficult. These, however, were easy and delicious! Served with vanilla ice cream and made a quick raspberry sauce to drizzle on top. Thanks for another fantastic recipe, Sally!

  9. immanuel kant says:

    I love this recipe! I used a muffin tin and was a little hesitant to take them out after only 8 minutes since the top looked a bit liquid, but they ended up SO perfect. Love love love. Adding this to my list of go-to’s when I need a quick pick-me-up 🙂

  10. Made these for my husband’s birthday last night! Perfect!

  11. Made these in muffin tins. So easy and so decadent! Friends were utterly impressed!

  12. Best lava cakes ever!!!

  13. Is there a way to make this into a larger version? Maybe a 5 or 6″ size cake? I want to make it for my husbands birthday. I was hoping to use this recipe but in a larger cake pan I just don’t know how long to bake it or if it just wouldn’t turn out well trying to make it bigger. Your lemon bars recipe is my back up plan, he loves them;)

    1. Hi Autumn, I don’t recommend it. To bake properly lava cakes need to be individual sizes. However I have a recipe for a Flourless Chocolate Cake that has an amazing fudge-like texture!

  14. Is it possible to bake these in 6 ounce Pyrex dishes instead of ramekins? By the way, I made your blueberry muffin bread yesterday and it was awesome!

    1. Any oven-safe 6 ounce dishes/cups/ramekins would be great.

  15. Very delicious. Great dessert for special celebrations!

  16. Can I use cake flour for these? I’m out of all purpose?

  17. adela Uribe says:

    We give it 5 stars my daughter in law made it today -she used Pilsbury Gluten free flour Quadruple the recipe it made (24) muffins for a birthday. it is so good thank you Sally as always.

  18. Sally, what did I do wrong? Cooked them 20 minutes and still so liquidy that I can’t even take them out of the muffin pan without falling apart. I did use a rubber muffin pan, if that makes a difference? Really confused, double checked the ingredient list and I definitely used every item as you said. So disappointed, this was my moms birthday dessert and now we’ll just be blowing out a candle minus dessert

    1. Hi Kari! I know silicone baking pans usually require a longer bake time, so I wouldn’t be discouraged if you try them again. Did you try to place them back in the oven to cook longer? Sorry they turned out to be a disappointment.

  19. Kathy DeKoter says:

    These lava cakes turned out perfectly, even on first try! I doubled the batch and used milk chocolate bars and they were so delicious…the lave just oozing out slowly is magical. Thanks!

  20. Has anyone used this recipe in a pressure cooker (Ninja Foodi) if so how long did you cook. Thanks

  21. I followed your recipe to the t. But, the cakes were too eggy and it was jelly like

  22. Hi Sally

    I’ve tried and failed countless attempts at this dessert for decades! yes.. no joke. From my 30s to nearly reaching 50… today, I gave 1 last shot and it was a SUCCESS!!!!!

  23. Made this tonight for daughter’s birthday. She loved it and so did hubby!

  24. Amanda G. says:

    These were delicious and easy enough for my child to help me with them. I love a recipe that’s quick and simple and doesn’t require me to pull out any gadgets!

  25. Thank you for this recipe. I’ve made this recipe more than 5 times. My husband loves it. It’s so good. God bless you.

  26. Joy Guarino says:

    Hi Sally, I’m excited to try them! Can I use dark chocolate (70% cocoa)? Thanks.

    1. I can’t see why not!

  27. I found these gross. I made two batches, hoping the second one would come out better but they didn’t. I wouldn’t recommend this recipe because they were very “eggy.”

    1. Hi Harriet, if the lava cakes taste eggy, they were likely overbaked. Did you use another size ramekin or keep them in the oven longer?

    2. Yvette Burgos says:

      Hi Sally – is the cocoa powder essential?

      1. Hi Yvette, The cocoa powder helps the baked lava cake release seamlessly from the ramekin onto the plate for serving. If you don’t have any you can use confectioners sugar instead, but obviously you will see the white powder on the finished cakes.

  28. Thank you so much! Im 18 and getting into baking and have been really nervous. This recipe was easy and tasted great!

  29. Hi Sally,
    If I use MINI muffin tray, how long should I bake?

  30. Hi..I tried your recipe exactly same using mini muffins pans and bake around 14 minutes. I was excited to eat these mini lava cake..but when I break them I did find any lava inside my cake…
    Didn’t understand what went wrong. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Kayva, If baking in 6oz ramekins the bake time is 12-14 minutes. If using a standard size muffin/cupcake pan the bake time will decrease to 8-10 minutes. I don’t suggest using mini muffin pans.

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