How to melt chocolate
Learn how to melt chocolate perfectly, then use it it one of our top bakes. Turn your chocolate into a silky ganache, swirl into a cake, make chocolate curls or drizzle over ice cream.
Melting chunks of chocolate into a silky liquid is a skill you need to learn, if you want to make chocolatey bakes and desserts. It can be beaten into a ganache, swirled through a cake batter or drizzled over ice cream.
There are a few key points to remember when melting chocolate – watch the video below to get it right, every time. Once you've mastered the technique, try our top chocolate recipes and bake a range of delicious treats, including brownies, chocolate tortes, chocolate fondant and more.
Start by watching our easy video tutorial on how to melt chocolate and try your hand at making chocolate curls:
Preparing the chocolate
When melting bars of chocolate, it's best to chop the chocolate first so that it melts quicker and more evenly. There’s no need to be precise when it comes to chopping – in pieces or chunks is fine, as long as they're all roughly the same size.
Many chocolatiers or pastry chefs will favour chocolate drops over bars of chocolate for melting. Chocolate drops are small and uniform, and come in different percentages of cocoa. Their shape means they are more likely to melt at the same time, avoiding burning.
Choosing your chocolate
Chocolate melts faster the higher the percentage of cocoa butter and fat, so dark chocolate melts the fastest. Once melted, it's glossy and has a good viscosity. Good-quality dark chocolate with no less than 70 per cent cocoa solids will leave you with a darker, richer flavour. Anything lower than that is usually too sweet.
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Milk and white chocolate has a higher sugar content and can catch and burn quicker, so it must be stirred continuously when melting. It has a slightly thicker overall consistency than dark chocolate when melted.
How do you melt chocolate on the hob?
Melting chocolate on the hob is the most controlled method. Make sure your chocolate never comes into contact with water, as it will become grainy and clump together – this is called ‘seizing’. Try these easy step-by-step instructions:
- Fill a medium saucepan with 4cm of water. Place over a medium heat and bring to a very gentle simmer.
- Place a heatproof bowl on top of the pan so that it fits snugly but doesn’t touch the water.
- Lower the heat to a very gentle simmer.
- Break up the chocolate and add to the bowl, then leave to melt for 4-5 mins, stirring regularly.
- Carefully remove the pan from the heat and allow the chocolate to cool a little before using.
- Make sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water and that no water comes into contact with the melting chocolate. These may cause the chocolate to seize and become unusable.
- Don't let the water get too hot – the chocolate may burn and then split.
Want to expand your chocolate skills? Learn how to temper chocolate for a smooth, glossy mixture with a satisfying snap.
How do you melt chocolate in the microwave?
Be especially vigilant with this method. Checking the chocolate regularly is important, as chocolate can catch and burn really quickly in a microwave.
- Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
- Microwave for 20 seconds. Check the chocolate, stir and keep cooking and checking every 5 seconds or until it has completely melted.
Read our guide on how to melt chocolate in the microwave for even more top tips and recipe suggestions.
How to make chocolate curls
- Once the chocolate has melted, spread it over a baking sheet in a thin layer.
- Leave to set until firm but not completely solid.
- Hold a knife at a 45 degree angle to the surface of the chocolate and push along so that it causes a thin layer to curl up.
Our top 10 chocolate baking recipes
Bake a batch of our double-dipped shortbread cookies for a pretty afternoon treat. These will go down a treat with kids and adults, and they're really easy to make. They only need a handful of ingredients, most of which you probably already have in the cupboard.
Master the art of buttery, crumbly biscuits with our shortbread recipes.
Chocolate and thick caramel always work well together. These flapjack squares take just ten minutes to prep, making them perfect for an after-school treat or bake sale.
Transform oats into a delicious dessert with our fantastic flapjack recipes.
Treat guests to these moreish chocolate puddings with a fruit and nut twist. Rich and deliciously decadent, they're the perfect dessert for a dinner party. Enjoy with some cold cream or impress guests with homemade vanilla ice cream.
Make the most of juicy pears with our pear dessert recipes.
Decorate your favourite bakes with our easy chocolate shards, made with a mix of melted dark, white and milk chocolate. Create eye-catching swirl designs, cut the chocolate into shards and use them to top this easy chocolate cake. The pretty marbled effect is easier to make than you might think.
Discover more chocolate cake recipes.
Raid your storecupboard to make this moist and buttery chocolate cake. Using ground hazelnuts delivers an incredible texture and flavour, or try almonds if you prefer.
Try these hazelnut recipes for both sweet and savoury inspiration.
Indulge in chunky salted caramel brownies with our easy, step-by-step recipe. Each chocolatey treat has a thick layer of salted caramel running through the centre and a deliciously fudgy texture. The mix of dark chocolates makes for an extra-rich mixture and an intense flavour.
Discover salted caramel and chocolate recipes that combine these two heavenly flavours.
This chocolate and orange rice pudding is the perfect warming, comforting dessert after a long cold day. Taking only five minutes to prepare, they also make an excellent dinner party pudding, as they are stress-free, rich and decadent.
Discover more rice pudding recipes.
Try a twist on your favourite nostalgic childhood dessert with our simple (but stunning) coffee ice cream terrine. You only need a handful of ingredients to recreate this layered masterpiece, ideal for an easy dinner party pudding.
Discover more ice cream terrines and frozen desserts with our semifreddo recipes.
This easy no-bake dessert makes a fantastic centrepiece and only uses five ingredients! Transport in its tin, and when ready to serve, invert so the cornflake side is face up. Don't forget to sprinkle with more honeycomb.
Discover more of our most indulgent chocolate torte recipes.
These chocolate fondants are the perfect dessert for entertaining, because you can prepare them beforehand – just pop in the oven when guests arrive. The timing is tricky, but when you perfect it, you’ll have the perfect crisp exterior with an oozing centre.
Discover more molten puddings with our chocolate fondant recipes.
Enjoyed these recipes? Try our other cookery techniques:
What's your favourite way to bake with chocolate? Leave a comment below...