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

451 Comments

  1. Hi! I just wanna give a quick feedback on this recipe… IT IS GOOD!

    my son used this recipe for their home economics project. He followed everything on the recipe (though we adjusted the sweetness by tuning it down a bit than asked) and I came out very very good on the first run.

    Our encounter with this is the cooking time. It took us longer than 10 minutes to achieve the results. So I guess the rule of ovens apply.

    This is my 3rd recipe I tried from your site and I must say… Thank you! Not only are your recipes friendly it is very yummy too!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you for your positive feedback, Sochie — we’re thrilled you and your son enjoyed this recipe!

      1. We tried this recipe and the insides were completely cooked through. We baked them for 12 min on the middle rack on a tray. We didn’t use cooking spray perhaps that was the issue.

    2. Great at first attempt itself. I must say you are among 3 baker’s I trust online! Thank you!

      1. I love this recipe it worked the first time

  2. Arsala ashraf says:

    Hi i have 8oz ramekin can i still make this recipe and how long should i leave it in for in oven? I dont want it to overbake or undercook how will i know its ready?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes the baking time will be a bit longer, but we’re unsure of the exact amount. Maybe another 2 minutes? Bake until the sides appear solid and firm– the tops will still look soft.

  3. Dana Fernandez says:

    Hello Sally,
    Would it be good if I added Espresso powder to this recipe? You have it in your German Chocolate Cake recipe and it turned out so incredibly good!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, espresso powder would be delicious!

  4. Can you double this recipe?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes this recipe can be doubled. Enjoy!

  5. Hi Sally
    Love this recipe! Wondering if i freeze them, do i microwave from the freezer or let them thaw? And how long do i microwave for?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mona, you can thaw them if you’d like, but they can go right into the microwave from frozen. 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!

      1. Whats the best way to freeze them? Saran wrap or foil?

  6. Hi! I just made this recipe for my family and it was a ABSOLUTE hit! We all loved it so much the whole dessert tray was gone in less than 10 minutes! Thank you soooooo much for the amazing recipe Sally! Will definitely be using this recipe many more times in the future!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you so much for this kind review, Julia!

  7. Love this recipe! Also want to add that I don’t eat gluten, and I’ve made it with both cassava flour and coconut flour and both times it came out great. The chocolate taste is very strong so I imagine you wouldn’t notice even if you used buckwheat or other strong-tasting flours too.

  8. Hi Sally. Plan to do this in muffin tin. Was taught yrs ago to put water in unused muffin cups.. I think either to prevent scotching or warping. Do we still do this? Just got the USA brand muffin tins and don’t want to wreck it. Thx

    1. Hi Mary! That’s a heavily debated topic and some research proves it’s not necessary to add water to un-used cups. I usually do, just in case, but do what you feel is best for your pan.

      1. LOL! Makes sense it is debatable b/c sometimes you see this recommendation and sometimes not. Thanks for clearing this up for me!

  9. Elaine Berger says:

    Hi Sally. I made these in a cupcake tin for our intimate Super Bowl party (just the two of us). At 7 minutes, there was a butter chocolate mixture bubbling around the edge, so I left them in for another 4 minutes. What a disaster! I let them cool for a few minutes but when I tried to carefully remove them, they broke apart. They still tasted great but I had no success with this recipe, although I have made lava cakes before from different sources. I think I followed the recipe to a T and consider myself an accomplished baker 🙁

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elaine! They can definitely be a little tricky to remove from the muffin tins. Thank you so much for giving them a try!

      1. It was the bubbling up around the edges which concerned me. I put them in the refrigerator overnight. The next day they were like rocks and unmovable, so I put them in the toaster over for a few minutes to loosed. Worked like a charm and they tasted unbelievable, but not for my mini Super Bowl Party.

  10. Hi, love this recipe! I don’t have regular ramekins. Can I use stainless steel bowls instead? Thank you

    1. Hi Akki, I wouldn’t recommend those for the oven unless there is an oven-safe manufacturer’s guarantee/stamp on the bottom. If you don’t have ramekins, try the muffin pan method.

  11. Hi,
    Do you have the high altitude adjustment for this recipe?
    Thank you

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jessica, I wish we could help, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  12. Is this a recipe that must be eaten immediately (like the chocolate soufflé)? I see it makes 6 but I’m making it for twins for Valentine’s Day so want to save the remainder for others. Thank you.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gina! These are best served immediately. We recommend freezing the extras – see recipe notes for details.

  13. Hi, Could you substitute unsweetened cocoa powder for the baking chocolate?

  14. Would this recipe work as well with bittersweet chocolate? Or perhaps with half semisweet and half bittersweet? We are dark chocolate lovers.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ellen, absolutely. Bittersweet chocolate will yield a deeper, darker chocolate flavor. Enjoy!

      1. I made these last night for Valentine’s Day and they were delicious. I used a combo of mostly bittersweet and some semi-sweet chocolate. Served with fresh raspberries. I saved two in the fridge that I’ll bake tonight for my daughters. Thanks as always for a great recipe.

  15. Hi Sally,
    Can these be made in the jumbo muffin tin (6 cups)? How filled should each cup be and how long in the oven? Thanks – Susan

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Susan! 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).

      1. Thank you! I will be trying them for Valentine’s Day and will let you know❣️

  16. Is it possible to half the recipe? Any tips on doing do?

    1. Doing *so

    2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, you should be able to halve this recipe without any issues. Let us know how they go!

  17. Hi Sally,

    What do you recommend if I want to make these in the afternoon to eat for dinner time (same day). Should I let them rest on the counter or put them in the fridge? When it’s time to serve them, I should put them in the microwave quickly, right? Thank you in advance for your reply 🙂

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Helene, These are best served immediately, but you can prepare the batter in advanced. See that recipe notes for details!

  18. Delicious and rich yum… but.. any advice on why 50% of the time it bubbles and oozes butter while baking and other times puffs right up perfectly? I feel like I’m following the same steps… any experience with where I might be messing it up unwittingly?

    1. Hi Sabzi, we haven’t experienced that before– are you using different chocolate each time or different size ramekins? See if reducing the butter down to 6 Tbsp helps for more regular results.

  19. Hi, is it possible to replace the bitter chocolate with milk chocolate? None of my family enjoys chocolate
    Thank you in advance and looking forward to trying the recipe 🙂

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Zainab, you can replace it with milk chocolate baking bars if desired. Hope your family enjoys these!

      1. Thank you

  20. I’ve made this recipe a handful of times. Always a massive hit. Thanks for such a easy delicious recipe!!

  21. Why can’t you use semisweet chocolate chips? If you melt the chocolate with the butter what difference does it make?

  22. Fantastic taste and presentation, Sally. And easy to make!
    Perfect Valentine’s Day dinner treat! THANK YOU as always for your detailed instructions. They really help so much. I appreciate you and your team so much!

  23. Deb in Overland Park says:

    I’m preparing to make these for our Valentines Day dessert. I do not have ramekins, so will use the muffin tins with spray and unsweetened cocoa powder instead, and appreciate that you gave instructions for both. Just so I know, is there a reason not to use the small, flat bottom, clear glass pudding bowls?

  24. Virginia Marie Cuce says:

    I made these for Valentine’s Day dessert. They came out of the ramekin effortlessly and tasted delicious.
    I was hoping the chocolate would flow out a bit… but it did not. The center while moist wasn’t very gooey. I baked them for 14 minutes.
    Perhaps more chocolate next time or a bit shorter baking time?
    There will definitely be a “next time!” Yum! Yum!

  25. Sally never fails! I have become obsessed with your recipes since the Pandemic. I probably try a new recipe every 2 weeks. And they all become favorites. This recipe is perfect! I wish I could post my pic of how my dessert turned out. The “lava” was not a liquid, but it did flow out. I probably needed to bake for 30-60 seconds less.
    Can this recipe be doubled to fill a 12 cup muffin tin? Thanks Sally!!

  26. These are delicious and SUPER easy to make. I used 70% chocolate and it worked well – they weren’t too sweet. I think you could even go darker with the chocolate. Thank you for this recipe!

  27. Made these for Valentines Day and they were a great hit! Also made the mocha whip cream to serve with them and raspberries! Super delicious.

  28. I just made these choc lava cakes for a late valentine’s Day dessert, topped them with vanilla Ice cream and sliced strawberries, they were absolutely delicious!!! I followed the recipe and notes exactly and it all turned out perfect, we all loved them! Thank you Sally thank you, well worth making and sharing

  29. My batter split and the resulting cakes were a disaster. They tasted wonderful but overall inedible. Any suggestions to avoid broken batter?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Andrew, batter usually splits when your ingredients have too much variation in temperature. Make sure to let the chocolate cool so it’s not piping hot when you add the other ingredients. Bringing your eggs to room temperature before beginning should help next time as well. Thank you so much for giving this recipe a try!

  30. I made this for my wife (and me) for Valentine’s Day. At age 75, I decided that it might be fun to start baking. I’ve only baked a few things so far, this being one of them. I used ramekins as suggested. I found the recipe very easy to follow, and the results were great. My wife who is somewhat of a chocoholic was impressed that I could make them and that they tasted so good. Thanks for your help.
    I am not sure why you say, “And, if 4 or 6 lava cakes are simply too many to have around, try this 2 serving recipe for chocolate fudge cakes instead” because the ingredients are very easy to cut in half and make just 2 ramekins which is what I did.

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