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overhead view of melting chocolate in a double boiler

How to Melt Chocolate in a Double Boiler

How to melt chocolate quickly and easily using a double boiler. This simple method is so much more reliable than melting chocolate in the microwave, and you can create a double boiler using kitchen tools that you already own.
5 from 2 votes
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Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 double boiler (saucepan + heat-safe bowl)
  • 1 rubber spatula
  • 1 cutting board (if chopping chocolate)
  • 1 serrated knife (if chopping chocolate)


  • water
  • chocolate (chopped chocolate baking bar, chocolate chips, or chocolate melting wafers, whatever amount you wish to melt)


  • Place a saucepan on the stove and add 1-2 inches of water to the pan.
  • Place a dry, shallow, heat-safe mixing bowl over the saucepan.
  • Add chocolate to the mixing bowl.
  • Turn on the stove to medium heat. As the water begins to simmer and release steam, the steam will heat the chocolate and the chocolate will begin to melt. As the chocolate melts, keep stirring with a heat-safe rubber spatula until all of the chocolate has melted.
  • Use the melted chocolate to dip or drizzle, or add it to a recipe. If dipping or drizzling, let the chocolate cool and harden before packing up your treats to store them.


  • The mixing bowl should fit over the pan so that the outer edge of the bowl touches the upper edges of the saucepan (to create a "seal" that will trap steam within the saucepan).
  • Check to make sure the water in the pan isn't touching the bottom of the bowl by lifting the bowl up and checking the bottom to be sure it's dry before replacing the bowl in the pan.
  • If you're melting a chocolate baking bar, use a serrated knife and cutting board to chop the chocolate into small, even pieces before melting.
  • Do not let any water come in contact with the chocolate. Water causes chocolate to seize, causing it to become thick and lumpy.
  • Chocolate that is melted but not tempered will begin to re-solidify as it cools. To keep the chocolate nice and smooth while you're using it, say if you're dipping strawberries, keep the chocolate over the water pan of the double boiler - but off of the stove - so that the steam continues to keep the chocolate warm. If you find that the chocolate does begin to cool, simply return the double boiler to the heat until the chocolate re-melts.
  • If you'll be using the melted chocolate for dipping - or if you want to know how to thin melted chocolate - I like to add a small amount of neutral oil (like vegetable or canola oil) to the chocolate as it's melting. The oil gives the melted chocolate a glossy sheen. I recommend using 2 teaspoons of oil for every 8 ounces of chocolate.