The simplest and quickest way of melting chocolate is in the microwave. It's ideal when you're making something quickly like cornflake cakes or chocolate bark.
For recipes where the chocolate just needs to be melted and drizzled over or stirred into something else before baking, melting it in the microwave is quick, simple and convenient.
To get a shiny professional finish for more complex chocolate work – like making an Easter egg, for example – you're best tempering the chocolate using a bain marie, marble slab and a digital thermometer. See our guide to what you need for chocolate work.
Pick the right bowl for the microwave
You must use a microwave-safe bowl, ideally borosilicate glass or a ceramic. Look for bowls marked as being microwave safe on the base or without any metallic designs. The process of melting chocolate involves stirring, so make sure you take the spoon out of the bowl each time before returning it to the microwave, especially if it’s a metal spoon.
The bowl will heat up quite a lot, so use an oven glove or tea towel to protect your hands when lifting it in and out.
Make sure the bowl you’re using is completely dry and clean. If there’s a little water or oil in the bowl, the chocolate could split and become grainy and unpleasant.
Stir every 20-30 seconds
Melting chocolate in the microwave isn't totally without perils. As the heat from a microwave can be fairly fierce and starts from within, you must make sure that you pause cooking every 20 to 30 seconds to give it a stir – otherwise your chocolate could burn, and burnt chocolate has a terrible flavour.
Basic recipe for melting chocolate in the microwave
- 50g milk chocolate
- 50g white chocolate
- your choice of marshmallows or biscuits
- Break or chop the milk chocolate into small pieces, ideally all very similar in size, then put them in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Do the same with the white chocolate, putting it in a separate microwave-safe bowl.
- If your microwave has multiple heat settings, switch to ‘low’ or ‘defrost’.
- Microwave the milk chocolate for 30 seconds (or 20 seconds if at a high temperature) then take the bowl out and give it a stir.
- Place the bowl back in the microwave and repeat the process of cooking for 30 seconds, stopping, stirring and returning to the microwave until the chocolate has melted.
- If there are one or two lumps that still have not melted, keep stirring it outside the microwave to melt the last few pieces in the residual heat of the bowl.
- Once the chocolate has melted, leave it to cool for a minute or two before using, because microwaved food continues to cook for a little while afterwards.
- Repeat this method with the white chocolate. Use the melted chocolate to dip and coat marshmallows, to drizzle over biscuits or use in your recipes.
Top 5 melted chocolate recipes
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