An easy chocolate ganache recipe for smooth, shiny and deliciously dark, milk or white chocolate ganache
A perfect chocolate ganache recipe is no more than chocolate and cream. Add heat and stir! Depending on the temperature, chocolate ganache can become a glaze, a drip, frosting or even truffles.
But what happens when your ganache goes wrong? Read on to learn not only how to make the best chocolate ganache recipe but what to do to fix common problems.
I know making a chocolate ganache recipe sounds very intimidating and “hard”. The first time I made chocolate ganache, it was a total fail. The fact that it was only TWO ingredients and still failed made me even more intimidated! How do you mess up two ingredients?
It wasn’t until I understood a few key things about how chocolate and cream BECOME a ganache that I could figure out why mine wasn’t working.
What is chocolate ganache
A basic chocolate ganache is made by heating up cream and pouring it over chocolate. The heat from the cream melts the chocolate. The two ingredients are then stirred until smooth. Sometimes other flavorings are added. Butter or corn syrup can also be added to make the ganache extra shiny.
Depending on which chocolate ganache recipe you are following, you might use more chocolate than cream for a thicker chocolate ganache. Equal parts chocolate and cream (1:1 ratio) are typically used for very soft frostings, chocolate drip or for a glaze. A 2:1 ratio (twice as much chocolate as cream) is typically used for making truffles or a stiff chocolate ganache frosting. White chocolate ganache is usually made with a 3:1 ratio of chocolate.
The temperature of your chocolate ganache also matters. When your chocolate ganache is first made and still warm, it is very liquid. This is the ideal format for glazing, making drip cakes or for using on ice cream.
Letting chocolate ganache sit at room temperature allows the chocolate to cool down and become semi-solid once again. This sort of half-set stage is what I call the peanut butter consistency stage and is ideal for frosting a cake.
If your chocolate ganache is TOO cold, it can become too solid and unspreadable.
How do you make chocolate ganache
- Measure out your chocolate and chop it finely if it’s in big pieces so it melts evenly
- Heat your cream on the stovetop until steam just begins to rise from the surface. Whisk occasionally to prevent burning which tastes really bad. Don’t walk away or your cream could boil over.
- Pour your hot cream over the chocolate and push the chocolate down so it’s all under the surface of the cream. Let it the chocolate and cream sit for 5 minutes.
- Whisk the cream and chocolate together until it’s smooth. Start with small circles in the center until the chocolate and cream start creating an emulsion.
- If you have lumps or un-melted chocolate you can use an immersion blender to make your ganache super creamy and lump-free.
What ratio is best for perfect chocolate ganache?
A perfect chocolate ganache recipe all depends on the ratio of chocolate to cream that you use.
Ratio is a scary word for the baking newbie. I remember I totally did not understand what that meant at all. Basically, it just means how much chocolate to cream are you using. The first number represents chocolate, the second cream.
I always work in oz because I’m bad at math. So for instance, if I’m making my go-to ganache recipe and I use 32 of chocolate, I’m going to use 16 oz of cream (2:1). In this ratio, there’s always twice as much chocolate as cream so if you up the cream to 12 oz, then you’d use 24 oz of chocolate to keep the ratio the same.
Ganache ratios change depending on how you’re going to use it. I have listed below the ratios I use for my ganache. I only use semi-sweet dark chocolate or white chocolate (both from Guittard).
If you’re using a different brand and it’s not as thick or thin as you want it, just keep in mind, the darker the chocolate and the more cocoa %, the firmer it will set.
Dark Chocolate Ganache Drip Ratio – 1:1
- 8 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate
- 8 oz heavy whipping cream
This ganache uses equal parts of chocolate and heavy cream always stays a bit soft. It’s great to use for pouring over ice cream when it’s warm, using as a glaze for cakes or for a super creamy and soft frosting for filling your cakes and cupcakes.
This soft ganache can also be whipped to make a whipped ganache frosting.
Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting Ratio – 2:1
- 16 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate
- 8 oz heavy whipping cream
This ratio is most commonly used in the cake decorating world. It set’s a bit more firmly than the 1:1 ratio. When you let the ganache cool a couple of hours to room temperature (peanut butter consistency) it’s perfect for frosting wedding cakes or sculpted cakes.
I also like using this consistency for my sculpted cakes because when the frosting sets fully, it keeps a cake very stable. When the ganache is at room temperature it’s also the perfect consistency for rolling into truffles.
*pro-tip: you can flavor your ganache by steeping herbs or spices in the cream. Tea makes for some excellent flavors in ganache.
Milk Chocolate Ganache Frosting Ratio – 2.5:1
- 20 oz white chocolate
- 8 oz heavy whipping cream
Milk chocolate is great for making ganache but because it contains more sugar and milk solids, it is not as stable as dark chocolate. You will need to use a bit more chocolate for this ganache to set firm.
White Chocolate Ganache Frosting Ratio – 3:1
White chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa to help it set, only cocoa butter so you need to use a lot more chocolate to get it to set properly. I use a 3:1 ratio but I know some people go as high as 4:1.
Did you know that white chocolate ganache doesn’t sweat and is ideal to use in really hot environments like Florida, the Caribbean and Texas?
Cynthia White from CAKED By Cynthia White uses white chocolate ganache exclusively for her high-end clients and never has issues with cakes melted or shifting in the super hot weather.
Water Ganache 6:1 (for drip cakes)
- 6 oz white chocolate or colored candy melts
- 1 oz warm water
Water ganache is ganache made with water instead of cream. The taste is still just as good but with no added dairy. Water ganache makes the most perfect little drips for drip cakes.
Melt your white chocolate in a glass bowl over a double boiler or in the microwave. Do not over-heat
Stir in your water until combined and smooth. Add in colorings as desired.
Let cool to 90 degrees before piping onto the cake or if using to frost your cake, let thicken to peanut butter consistency before using.
What Kind Of Chocolate Is Best For Ganache?
Sometimes, the problem with your ganache could be the chocolate you’re using. I know that when I first started baking I did not know that chocolate actually came in many many MANY different forms. But don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds. Basically, the higher the quality of chocolate you use, the better your ganache is going to taste.
What does that mean?
It means leave the Hershey’s kisses and toll house chocolate chips in the cupboard and get yourself some real chocolate. Chocolate candies often have other ingredients like stabilizers that STOP them from melting so they hold up in packaging or don’t lose their shape during baking.
Really cheap chocolates like chocolate bark don’t taste very good because they have a lot of fillers like vegetable shortening instead of cocoa butter. If the chocolate doesn’t taste good, the ganache isn’t going to taste good.
You can buy chocolates in bars at the grocery store but that can get expensive. Your best bet is to look for good quality chocolate either from a restaurant supply store or cake decorating store near you or you can buy on Amazon. Look for a chocolate that’s at least 53% cocoa like Callebaut Chocolate (it should list it on the label).
I use Guittard semi-sweet dark chocolate wafers because I can buy them at my local Winco in bulk and they are a good price. If you can find a place near you to buy in bulk or in large bars, that’s the best for your money because chocolate is heavy and can be expensive to ship.
Plus I always seem to be out of chocolate when I need it and I never have time to order!
How To Fix Lumpy Ganache
- If you have any lumps you can re-heat the whole thing in the microwave for 30-second increments until it’s smooth or you can use an immersion blender to make it super creamy.
How to fix broken ganache
- If your ganache is breaking (oil separating from the chocolate) you can whisk in a tablespoon of warm water or milk. Keep adding warm water a tablespoon at a time until it comes together.
How to fix grainy ganache
Ganache can get grainy from whisking when the milk is too hot. Always let your chocolate/cream stand for 5 minutes before whisking.
- If your ganache is grainy, just re-melt the whole thing over a double boiler and let it re-set. If you don’t re-melt it, the ganache will have a very bad mouthfeel.
How to fix runny ganache
- If your ganache is too thin and isn’t setting, add more melted chocolate and whisk to combine. I would start with 2oz and see where you’re at before adding more to avoid making the ganache too stiff.
- If your ganache is too stiff you can add 1oz of warm cream to loosen it up.
Is it safe to leave ganache out overnight?
Ganache can be left at room temperature for 48 hours, refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for 6 months. Warm ganache up in the microwave in 15 second bursts or let it come to room temperature naturally.
Be sure to watch the video below on how to make chocolate ganache and I hope this post has helped you have the confidence to go forth and make some ganache! I swear it’s not scary and if you have any questions at all, just leave them for me down in the comments and if you’re looking for a community of cake decorators to help you at any time of the day, join our facebook group!
The Best Chocolate Ganache Recipe
Firm Setting Ganache 2:1
- 16 ounces (454 g) dark or semi-sweet chocolate
- 8 ounces (227 g) heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoons (1 tsp) fine salt
- 1 teaspoon (1 tsp) vanilla extract or any other extract
Soft Ganache Frosting 1:1
- 8 ounces (227 g) 60% high quality chocolate Such as callebaut - about $8/lb
- 8 ounces (227 g) heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon (1 tsp) fine salt
- 1 teaspoon (1 tsp) vanilla extract
White chocolate Ganache
- 18 ounces (510 g) white chocolate
- 6 ounces (170 g) heavy whipping cream
- 1 ounces (1 tsp) fine sea salt
chocolate ganache Instructions
- *Note* using a scale is recommended for accuracy and to ensure your ganache turns out.
- Weigh out your chocolate in a heat proof bowl
- Heat cream in a sauce pan until steam starts to rise from the surface but isn't boiling yet.
- Pour hot cream over the chocolate, push the chocolate down so that it's all under the surface of the cream and let it set for 5 minutes.
- Add salt and vanilla and whisk everything together until it's smooth. If any lumps remain, put the mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds and whisk again. If you have an immersion blender you can use it to remove any remaining lumps as well for a super cream ganache
- Ganache can be kept in the refrigerator for 1 week for frozen for up to 6 months.