Here’s everything you need to know to make a silky smooth chocolate ganache. Master this ultimate pastry element to elevate your baking to the next level.
What is chocolate ganache?
Chocolate ganache is basically an emulsion of melted chocolate and cream.
A basic all-purpose ganache is made with equal parts of chocolate and cream. But you can adjust the amount of each ingredients depending how you’re planning to use it and what consistency you need.
For example, if you’re making truffles, decreasing the cream amount to make thicker ganache for easy handling. Or if you want thin chocolate sauce, increase the cream amount. More on this in “ganache ratio” section below…
Since it takes only 2 ingredients to make a ganache, it’s important to use the correct products with the best quality you can get.
Heavy whipping cream
Heavy cream is crucial for proper consistency of your ganache. Don’t substitute milk, half and half, etc, because it’ll throw off the fat ratio. However, for dairy-free ganache, you may use full-fat can of coconut milk.
Since chocolate is the star of the show, I recommend a high quality chocolate, especially for chocolate chips.
- I highly recommend a bar of chocolate vs chocolate chips. More details below…
- Semi-sweet chocolate is my favorite. For richer flavor, you can use bittersweet chocolate as well.
- I don’t recommend milk chocolate, because milk chocolate contains less cocoa butter compared to semi- or bitter-sweet chocolates, and they’re likely to get separated.
- You can make white chocolate ganache, but add a little less cream. Here’s my white chocolate ganache recipe.
Can I use chocolate chips to make a ganache?
Yes, you can use chocolate chips to make a ganache. BUT keep in mind that chocolate chips contain stabilizers to hold their shape at high temperature (think, chocolate chip cookies!), which makes them harder to melt. Thus, you may need to heat the mixture to achieve the perfectly smooth texture.
My favorite chocolate brands:
- Ghirardelli – Ghirardelli Premium Semi-Sweet Baking bar is my go-to, as it’s available at any grocery stores!
- Cacao Barry – I love their Blanc Satin 29% white chocolate discs.
- Valrhona – This brand offers amazing flavored chocolates! One of my favorites is Raspberry Inspiration chocolate wafers.
My go-to place for premium chocolate is World Wide Chocolate website. (Not sponsored!)
As mentioned above, the basic ganache ratio is 1:1 chocolate to cream. You’ll get classic all-purpose ganache with this ratio, but you can tweak the ratio slightly depending on what you’re making.
This makes super runny and thin ganache – ideal for dipping fruits and glazing eclairs. This type of ganache doesn’t set, meaning it won’t get firm like 1:1 ratio. Example: 4oz chocolate and 8oz cream.
This makes a perfect ganache for many different applications, as described in this post. Example: 8oz chocolate and 8oz cream.
This makes thick, fudgy ganache, which is perfect for making chocolate truffles. Example: 8oz chocolate and 4oz cream.
How to make chocolate ganache:
It couldn’t be simpler to make a chocolate ganache.
- Chop chocolate into small chunks. It’ll be easier to melt them.
- Heat heavy cream – I usually use a microwave for this step, as it’s much quicker. But if I’m making a bigger batch, it’s more efficient to heat it on stovetop.
- Now, add salt and pour hot cream over chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Hot cream will do the most of the work for you, if you can be patient.
- Gently whisk the mixture starting in the middle, stirring in one direction.
As you stir the mixture, it’ll go through a few stages. At some point, it’ll look questionable, and you may wonder if you had messed up somehow.
But don’t you worry; it’ll come together in just a little bit. Keep stirring gently until the mixture is glossy smooth and flawless.
Now, if ganache is smooth for the most part, but you notice some solid chocolate in it (especially if you’re using chocolate chips), you may need to heat it up gently. Here’re 2 ways to go about it:
- Microwave it in 30-second increments at 50% power, stirring each time, until all the chocolate is melted.
- Place the bowl with ganache over double boiler and gently heat the ganache until all the chocolate is melted.
Why my ganache is separated? Oil separating from the chocolate?
- The mixture was mixed when it was too cold, or too hot.
- Or the ratio of fat and liquid is off. When you got too much fat, ganache splits.
- To fix it, add 1 tablespoon warm milk and whisk. Add 1 tablespoon at a time, until it’s nice and smooth.
Why my chocolate seized?
- If your chocolate turned gritty, that means your chocolate is seized, which happens if it got in contact with water. Be careful when you pour heavy cream. The bottom of the pan may have water drops for whatever reason.
1:1 Chocolate Ganache Consistency:
- Runny – Ganache is super runny right after you make it, while it’s still warm. It’s ideal for chocolate fondue and dipping fruits.
- Pourable – After about 10 minutes of cooling, ganache is thicker and perfectly pourable. This is an ideal stage for pouring over cheesecake, or dripping on a cake.
- Firm – Once completely cooled, or chilled in the fridge, a ganache firms up and becomes stoppable, which is perfect for frosting cupcakes.
- Whipped – If you take cooled ganache and whipped with a mixer, you’ll get super fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate frosting.
Once you master the art of chocolate ganache, you can truly elevate your baking.
- Decorate a cake with a perfect drip of chocolate ganache.
- Glaze éclairs with glossy ganache.
- Fill macarons with flawless ganache.
- Top your favorite cupcakes with whipped chocolate ganache.
- Make irresistibly decadent chocolate truffles.
- Serve a platter full of fruits along with ganache fondue.
- Smother a chocolate cheesecake with smooth ganache.
Possibilities are truly endless!
- White chocolate ganache – You can totally make ganache with white chocolate. However due to different chocolate content, the ratio is a little different.
- Fruit flavored ganache – You can use flavored chocolate to make fruit flavored ganache, as this raspberry ganache. Or you can even mix in fresh fruit puree into the basic ganache.
- Dairy-free ganache – For dairy-free ganache, you may use full-fat can of coconut milk instead of heavy cream.
- Herb-Infused Ganache – And last but not least, you can steep different herbs and seasonings in cream prior to making a ganache.
- Liquors add delicious twist to basic ganache!
- For richer flavor, add espresso powder.
How to Make Chocolate Ganache
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate Note 1
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter softened, optional, Note 2
- Roughly chop chocolate with a sharp knife and place in a arge bowl.
- Heat heavy whipping cream in a microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until hot. (Alternatively, you can heat the cream on stovetop until almost boiling, but not quite to a boil.)
- Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate and let it sit for good 2-3 minutes.
- Add salt and whisk the mixture gently from the center, stirring in one direction and slowly incorporating cream into the chocolate, until it's nice and smooth, about 2 minutes. (NOTE: As you stir the mixture, it’ll go through a few stages. At some point, it’ll look questionable, and you may wonder if you had messed up somehow. But don’t you worry; it’ll come together in just a little bit. Keep stirring gently until the mixture is glossy smooth and flawless.)
- TIP: If ganache is smooth for the most part, but you notice some solid chocolate in it (especially if you’re using chocolate chips), you may need to heat it up gently. Here’re 2 ways to go about it: 1. Microwave it in 30-second increments at 50% power, stirring each time, until all the chocolate is melted. 2. Or place the bowl with ganache over double boiler and gently heat the ganache until all the chocolate is melted.
- To add some shine, you may stir in butter, if desired.
- When ganache is warm, it's quite runny, which is perfect for glazing or drizzling. Ganache thickens as it cools, if you want more frosting-like texture. You can also reheat it in a microwave in 15-second increments at 50% power to make it runny again.