The Complete Guide to Chocolate Ganache

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With just two ingredients, you can make a perfect chocolate ganache for just about any application. This easy recipe using only chocolate and heavy whipping cream takes 5 minutes to make and requires only a range or microwave.

To develop this complete guide, I used nearly $50 of chocolate and a half gallon of heavy whipping cream – so read up and save yourself some time and money as you learn how to make ganache like a pro.

Ganache dripping from a spoon

Depending on how much cream you use, ganache can be moist (like the filling for chocolate truffles) or stiff (like a cupcake frosting). Use it for cake filling, a poured glaze, a spread or piped frosting, a decorative drizzle, as the base for truffles, or as a bonbon filling.

The key to making this recipe the right consistency for your particular application is knowing both the ratio of chocolate to cream to use and the temperature the mixture should be at.

Ingredients

Overhead view of a bowl of dark chocolate chips

You’ll need heavy whipping cream and chocolate to make this recipe. That’s it.

Because there are only two ingredients, the quality of the chocolate really matters.

Choose the best semisweet, bittersweet, or dark chocolate that you can get your hands on. I suggest picking a chocolate that you love to eat all on its own (try to not eat it all before it goes into the recipe). If the chocolate isn’t already chips or thin discs, chop it finely so it will melt easily.

How It’s Made

The basic procedure is consistent across most ganache recipes, regardless of the ratio of chocolate to cream:

  1. Bring heavy whipping cream just to boil either in the microwave or on the stove (I prefer the microwave).
  2. Pour it over a bowl of small pieces of chocolate.
Hot cream being poured over dark chocolate discs
  1. Let the cream sit on the chocolate for a minute.
  2. Stir the ganache until the cream and the chocolate are fully combined.
Overhead view of stirring chocolate with hot cream to make ganache

Expert Tips and FAQs

Chocolate to Cream Ratios

As I mentioned above, the ratio (by weight) of chocolate to cream is very important. I present three options below, but you can use these as loose guidelines and experiment to find a ratio that works best for you.

Equal Parts Chocolate and Cream

Ganache dripping off of a spoon to show the consistency of ganache made with equal amounts of chocolate and cream

One of the most popular ways to make ganache is to use equal parts chocolate and cream.

  • While still warm, this ganache is pourable and can be used to drizzle chocolate ribbons or to glaze cookies, cupcakes, or cakes. It can even be used as a filling between layers of a cake. (I always love pouring this glaze on my favorite chocolate cupcakes when I make them for true chocolate lovers, but it’s also fantastic on peanut butter cupcakes!)
  • As it starts to cool, it thickens and takes on more of a spreadable consistency.
  • At room temperature (after it sits in a covered bowl on the counter for 1-2 hours), the texture is like brownie batter and the ganache can be rolled into balls for truffles or whipped at high speed to make a light, airy ganache frosting. Eating this straight it up is right up there for me with eating molten chocolate mug cakes.
Overhead view of different desserts prepared using chocolate ganache

Two Parts Chocolate to One Part Cream

Ganache dripping off of a spoon to show the consistency of ganache made with two parts chocolate to one part cream

Increasing the percentage of chocolate makes for a much thicker ganache. Ganache that is two parts chocolate to one part cream is a typical ratio for truffles. Although you can make truffles with a 1:1 ratio (as shown above), the 2:1 truffles will have a more fudgey consistency. Take a look at Cookie Rookie’s truffles for an example.

I also use the 2:1 chocolate to cream ratio for bonbon fillings. The 2:1 ratio is also perfect for a chocolate ganache for macarons.

Whipped ganache stuck to a mixer's whisk attachment

This formulation can also be used as a glaze or piped frosting, as shown above. The glaze will have the consistency of the top of a Hostess cupcake (of course, it will taste much better!). The 2:1 piped frosting is one of my favorites – it is intensely chocolaty!

Two Parts Cream to One Part Chocolate

Ganache dripping off of a spoon to show the consistency of ganache made with one part chocolate to two parts cream

A ganache with more cream than chocolate is very runny (like a soup) when warm and mousse-like at room temperature. While warm, this type of ganache can be poured over a cake to give it a beautiful chocolate glaze. Be sure to put something under the cake while you pour because the ganache will drip. It’s too thin for a truffle, but if you chill it first, you can whip it to create a pipeable frosting that tastes like chocolate whipped cream.

Handle the Heat uses this ratio to fill her chocolate blackout cupcakes. It’s the perfect gooey cupcake filling!

While these are all guidelines, you can also be flexible and use something in between. For example, That Skinny Chick Can Bake uses 12 ounces of chocolate to 16 ounces of cream (a 3:4 ratio) for the topping on her amazing looking Chocolate Caramel Twix Cheesecake.

Cooled Ganache

Cooled ganache on spoons, made three different ways - 1:1, 2:1, and 1:2 ratios of chocolate to cream

Here’s how the three different types of ganache look after they have cooled in a bowl for two hours. The two parts cream version looks just like caramel in this photo, but I assure you that it’s made with the same bittersweet chocolate as the others! If any of the warm varieties are poured on cupcakes, cakes, or cookies, they will look smooth and shiny when they cool – the difference will just be in the thickness of the chocolate.

FAQs

How much chocolate do I need for different applications?

To make 24 truffles, you’ll need 12 ounces of chocolate.

To frost 24 cupcakes with a dipped or spread ganache, you’ll need 16 ounces of chocolate.

To frost 24 cupcakes with a piped ganache, you’ll need 20 ounces of chocolate.

To use to decorate a two-layer 9″ round cake, you’ll need 20 ounces of chocolate.

How can I flavor ganache?

If you want to add other flavors to your ganache, you can mix in extracts, flavoring oils, or alcohol to the warm ganache. I’m a huge fan of red wine ganache. You can also add flavor by steeping the cream in tea or herbs and straining before heating and pouring over the chopped chocolate. Melting a little butter with the heavy whipping cream can give a richer flavor and add a little more shine to the finished product.

What’s the best way to store ganache?

In general, it can be kept at room temperature for two days; the sugar in chocolate keeps bacteria from growing.

However, storage suggestions vary based on the percentage of cream you are using. I tend to refrigerate my ganache that’s made with twice as much cream to chocolate just to be on the safe side. I’ve been told that ganache can last in the refrigerator for a month, but it’s never lasted that long at my house.

Can I use milk chocolate or white chocolate?

Because there is a higher fat content in milk and white chocolate than in semisweet, bittersweet, or dark chocolate, use a higher percentage of chocolate to cream than you otherwise would for the thickness of ganache that you would like. For example, instead of a making ganache using a 2:1 chocolate to cream ratio, use a 3:1 chocolate to cream ratio.

Related Recipes

While you may be tempted to drink this ganache hot, I suggest that you instead use leftover chocolate chunks or discs to make my favorite hot chocolate. It has a similar preparation method – milk is poured over chocolate – but it’s even richer because it’s made with butter and a sugar syrup.

If you’re looking to decorate your confections after you’ve poured or piped ganache all over them, try making chocolate leaves. They’ll impress with their flavor and appearance.

Finally, if you’re still looking for something to do with all of the chocolate left over after making this recipe, try your hand at making edible chocolate cups. They’re a perfect serving vessel for berries, nuts, or other small desserts.

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Ganache dripping from a spoon
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Chocolate Ganache Recipe

How to make perfect chocolate ganache using cream and chocolate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 222kcal
Author Stefani

Ingredients

  • 20 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 20 ounces dark chocolate chips, discs, or any chocolate chopped into small pieces

Instructions

  • Bring heavy whipping cream just to boil either in the microwave or on the stove (I prefer the microwave).
  • Pour it over a bowl of small pieces of chocolate.
  • Let the cream sit on the chocolate for a minute.
  • Stir the ganache until the cream and the chocolate are fully combined.

Notes

  • While still warm, this ganache is pourable and can be used to drizzle chocolate ribbons or to glaze cookies, cupcakes, or cakes. It can even be used as a filling between cake layers.
  • As it starts to cool, it thickens and takes on more of a spreadable consistency.
  • At room temperature (after it sits in a covered bowl on the counter for 1-2 hours), the texture is like brownie batter and the ganache can be rolled into balls for truffles or whipped at high speed to make a light, airy chocolate frosting.
 
Double the cream in this recipe for a ganache that can be poured over a cake to give it a beautiful chocolate glaze. Be sure to put something under the cake while you pour because the ganache will drip. It’s too thin for a truffle, but if you chill it first, you can whip it to create a pipeable frosting that tastes like chocolate whipped cream.
Double the chocolate in this recipe for very fudgey truffles. This ganache can also be used as a glaze or piped frosting. The glaze will have the consistency of the top of a Hostess cupcake.
If you use milk chocolate or white chocolate, increase the amount of chocolate used for your particular application. You’ll want to experiment to learn the ratio that works with your favorite chocolate. I’d start with 1.5:1 for the base 1:1 ratio.

Nutrition

Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 186mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 2.8mg
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The Complete Guide to Chocolate Ganache