Chocolate ganache is one of the simplest and most useful things you can make! Using just two ingredients, ganache can be used as a topping, sauce, filling, or frosting.
If you’ve been reading MBA for a while, you know that I love chocolate ganache. Whether I’m using it as a glaze for a bundt cake, a frosting for brownies, or even as a sauce for ice cream, it’s something that has so many uses.
I’ve included a lot of various ganaches with different dessert recipes on this site over the years, but I realize that I’ve never given you a standard, simple ganache recipe.
So today we’re going to talk all about ganache: What it is, how it’s made, how to use it, and so much more.
WHAT IS CHOCOLATE GANACHE?
At its simplest, chocolate ganache is a mixture of chocolate and cream that results in a mixture that can be used as a glaze, sauce, topping, filling, or even frosting for many desserts.
You can dress ganache up with different extracts and liqueurs and even different types of chocolate, but the simplest version of ganache is just cream and chocolate.
There are a lot of different ratios of chocolate to cream that you can use when making chocolate ganache.
Traditionally, ganache is made with equal amounts, by weight, of chocolate and cream. Often times the ratio will change depending on how you’re going to use the ganache and whether you need it to be thicker or more runny.
The chocolate ganache recipe here uses the ratio that I like best for the majority of uses. I have used it for a lot of different things and it works really well across the board, but don’t be afraid to experiment a little once you get the hang of things!
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
Ganache is such a simple thing to make, but that doesn’t mean we can just toss everything in a bowl and hope for the best. Let’s talk through the best way to make it.
Ingredients you’ll need
You will need two simple ingredients: chocolate and cream. But let’s talk about those a little bit more.
For a standard ganache, I like to use semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can also use finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate bars. I recommend splurging for a high-quality chocolate – Ghirardelli is a great brand to use here.
You can also use milk chocolate or dark chocolate in your ganache. Just keep in mind that the final flavor and sweetness of the ganache will vary if you use either of those.
You will also need heavy cream. Yes, you really must use heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream) instead of milk or half-and-half in this recipe – you need the fat from the cream to give the ganache the right texture.
Some recipes will include butter, which gives the ganache a beautiful sheen, corn syrup, which can sweeten the ganache and help it set up as a glaze, salt, and/or flavorings and extracts.
Add your chocolate chips or chopped chocolate to a heat-proof bowl and set this aside.
Pour the cream into a saucepan and heat it over medium-low heat, just until the cream starts to simmer.
Remove the cream from the heat and immediately pour it over the chocolate. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 5 minutes. Letting the mixture rest before stirring helps increase the temperature of the bowl and the chocolate, which will help the chocolate melt more consistently.
After 5 minutes, uncover the bowl and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is well combined.
And that’s it! You’ve made a basic chocolate ganache.
So exactly how do you use ganache now that you’ve made it? Well, there are a lot of ways to use this magical mixture, ranging from using it while it’s hot to chilling it before using it.
Using ganache while hot
When the ganache is still warm, it is very thin and pourable. Here are some ideas for using warm ganache:
- Pour it over cooled cakes, bundt cakes, or brownies such as easy chocolate bundt cake, chocolate zucchini cake, and salted caramel brownies.
- Dip cake donuts or scones such as chocolate glazed donuts.
- Use as a sauce on bread pudding, pancakes, waffles, ice cream, etc. It’s the perfect way to dress up no-churn ice cream or buttermilk pancakes.
Using ganache at room temperature
As chocolate ganache cools, it starts to thicken. When the ganache comes down to room temperature, it goes from being pourable to spreadable.
Some ways to use this spreadable ganache are:
- Spread it onto cookies in place of frosting, such as with my peppermint cookies.
- Use it as a topping for mini cheesecakes, like with my mini pumpkin cheesecakes.
- Use it as a filling for cakes, cupcakes, or pastries. Learn how to fill cupcakes to use it in your favorite cupcake recipes. It would also be a great filling for black magic cake or strawberry layer cake.
Whipped chocolate ganache
If you chill ganache in the fridge, it sets up. You can use this mixture to make chocolate truffles, or you can whip it into a whipped ganache frosting that can be used in place of buttercream frosting or homemade chocolate frosting.
To do this, let the ganache chill in the refrigerator for about an hour. Transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). Whip on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until the ganache is fluffy.
Now you can pipe it onto vanilla cupcakes or cake!
VARIATIONS AND FLAVORINGS
As I mentioned above, semi-sweet chocolate is often the most standard chocolate for ganache, but you can also make it with milk or dark chocolate for a different flavor.
You can also add different extracts to your ganache. Vanilla extract is a great choice for any ganache, but you could also use peppermint extract for a peppermint version, coffee extract or instant espresso powder for a mocha version, or orange extract and orange zest for a citrus version.
You can even use different liqueurs to flavor your ganache, such as Baileys, Grand Marnier, coffee liqueur, or even rum.
Feel free to have fun and be creative with your flavorings! Just remember that adding a lot of liquid to the recipe will change the consistency of the ganache.
Add any solid ingredients (such as espresso powder or citrus zest) with the chopped chocolate. Add liquids, such as extracts, corn syrup, or liqueurs, to the ganache after melting the chocolate.
What’s the best type of chocolate to use?
Semi-sweet chocolate is the most common chocolate used in ganache. You can use any semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you will get a better flavor and consistency if you use high-quality chocolate.
There are lots of high quality chocolate brands out there, such as Guittard, Callebaut, and Valrhona, but Ghirardelli is a very reliable brand that is available in most grocery stores.
Can you use white chocolate?
Yes, you can make white chocolate ganache. White chocolate differs a bit from dark chocolates, so you will typically not need as much cream. Try using a 3-to-1 ratio, by weight, of white chocolate to cream.
Can you store ganache for later?
Chocolate ganache can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. I recommend pressing a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ganache to keep a film from forming on the top.
It can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
Can it be reheated?
Unless you are making chocolate truffles or whipped ganache frosting, odds are good you will need your ganache to be room temperature or warm after storing it.
Remove the ganache from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Just note that this will take some time.
If you want to warm it faster or you need it to be pourable again, microwave it 10 seconds at a time until it is the consistency you are looking for.
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 ½ cups
- Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Set aside.
- Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring just to a simmer.
- Remove the cream from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Uncover and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is well combined.
- Use immediately or cool to room temperature before using.