Learn how to make chocolate ganache, a decadent yet simple, 2 ingredient dessert topping with an endless number of uses. This creamy chocolate mixture is pourable (for using as a shiny glaze on cakes and cupcakes), pipeable (for filling pastries or piping atop your favorite desserts), and whippable (for creating airy yet rich whipped ganache). Plus, this small batch recipe can easily be scaled up to fit bigger baking needs.
If you're looking to take your desserts to the next level, you need to know how to make chocolate ganache. This rich, creamy, chocolate topping is incredibly versatile for enhancing desserts, despite the fact that it's incredibly easy to make and requires just two ingredients.
What is Chocolate Ganache?
Chocolate ganache (pronounced guh-naash) is a decadent dessert staple made from chocolate and heavy cream. When mixed together, these two simple ingredients create a creamy, indulgent chocolate glaze or filling.
The ratio of chocolate to heavy cream impacts the texture of the ganache. In this post I'm focusing on classic chocolate ganache with a 1:1 ratio of chocolate to heavy cream, which creates a thick but pourable glaze. Chocolate ganache is also commonly used as the base for chocolate truffles (like my Irish cream chocolate truffles), though for truffles you'll need a firmer consistency and will therefore want a 2:1 ratio of chocolate to heavy cream. Conversely, for a highly pourable chocolate glaze with a consistency that's more loose, you'll need more heavy cream and may opt for a 1:2 ratio of chocolate to heavy cream. Again, we're focusing on a 1:1 ratio here.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Chopped Chocolate - A finely chopped chocolate baking bar is best for making ganache. Be sure to use a nice quality bar (I like Ghirardelli's or Baker's brand), and you can choose semi-sweet, bittersweet, or milk depending on your flavor preference. Skip the chocolate chips, which will not yield the proper consistency since they also contain stabilizers.
Heavy Whipping Cream - You'll need cream that's labeled 'heavy cream' or 'heavy whipping cream'. Both have a milk fat content of 36%. Whipping cream (30%) and whole milk (3.5%) don't have quite enough milk fat for a perfectly creamy chocolate ganache.
See recipe card at the bottom of this post for full ingredient list and measurements.
This recipe requires basic kitchen equipment that you most likely already have on hand.
- Heat-safe mixing bowl, for mixing the ganache.
- Small saucepan, for warming the cream.
- Rubber spatula, for stirring the ganache.
- Electric hand mixer (or stand mixer), only needed if you want to make whipped ganache.
Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions
Step 1: Place finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
Step 2: Add the cream to a small saucepan and heat just until simmering.
Step 3: Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes.
Step 4: Stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny.
See recipe card at the bottom of this post for detailed recipe instructions.
Whipped Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate ganache is incredibly indulgent on its own, and you can certainly stop there. Or you can continue on to create whipped chocolate ganache, which will be much more light and airy than classic ganache. Whipped ganache is perfect for piping on top of desserts, as I did with these brownie bites.
Step 1: First let the ganache cool to room temperature, gently stirring occasionally as it cools.
Step 2: Use a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment to whip the ganache on medium-high speed for about one minute, until it becomes light and fluffy in texture and lighter in color.
Uses for Chocolate Ganache
Besides simply eating it with a spoon (no judgement!), there are plenty of uses for chocolate ganache:
- Glazing cupcakes or cakes
- Filling layer cakes
- Topping ice cream
- Dipping fruit
- Filling pastries
- Glazing donuts
- Topping brownies or bars
- Topping tarts or single-crust pies
- Piping onto cupcakes or cakes (once it's cooled and has set/firmed up)
- Whipping to create whipped ganache (read more about whipped ganache below)
The more finely you chop the chocolate, the more quickly and easily it will melt when the warm cream is added.
Be careful not to overheat the cream or it will scald the chocolate. The cream should be just beginning to bubble and should not yet be fully simmering or boiling before adding to the chopped chocolate.
Stir the ganache with a rubber spatula. Do not use a whisk, which could add to much air into the ganache when mixing.
If you'll be pouring the ganache over a cake or other dessert, let it sit for about 10 minutes to thicken slightly before pouring. Ganache that's just been mixed will still be fairly running and may run off the dessert, while ganache that's had time to thicken slightly should run just a bit before setting, creating beautiful drips. Just don't wait too long before pouring, because it could become too thick to pour. Whipped ganache will also firm up a bit as it sits, so it's best to pipe or use it right away.
The basic formula for chocolate ganache is a 1:1 ratio (by weight) of chocolate to heavy cream. This creates a thick but still pourable glaze. To create a thicker ganache for making truffles, you'll want a 2:1 ratio of chocolate to heavy cream. For a highly pourable chocolate glaze you'll want a 1:2 ratio of chocolate to heavy cream.
Both can be used to top desserts, but they're not the same. Chocolate frosting is a spreadable mixture typically made with butter and powdered sugar that's flavored with chocolate or cocoa powder. Chocolate ganache is a pourable glaze that's made with just chocolate and heavy cream.
No. Ganache will firm up and thicken as it cools, but it will not set hard like royal icing.
If storing ganache on its own in a jar or bowl, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the ganache to keep a "skin" from forming. Then seal the container as you normally would.
Room Temperature: Thanks to the fat in both the cream and the chocolate, it's safe to store ganache at room temperature for up to 2 days. If the weather is hot and humid or if you want to store it for longer, then the fridge will be your best bet.
Refrigerator: Ganache can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
More Recipes with Chocolate Ganache
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How to Make Chocolate Ganache
- Heat-safe mixing bowl
- Small saucepan
- rubber spatula
- Electric hand mixer (or stand mixer), only needed for whipped ganache
- 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate baking bar finely chopped*
- 4 oz. heavy whipping cream (or heavy cream)
- Place finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
- Add the cream to a small saucepan and heat just until simmering. (The cream should be just beginning to bubble and should not yet be fully simmering or boiling.)
- Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes.
- Stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny. Use as desired.
Whipped Chocolate Ganache
- To create whipped chocolate ganache, first let the ganache cool to room temperature, gently stirring occasionally as it cools.
- Use a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment to whip the ganache on medium-high speed for about one minute, until it becomes light and fluffy in texture and lighter in color. Use immediately.