Chocolate Ganache 101: Technique, Ratios, Uses

Chocolate ganache is a basic pastry component utilized for a wide variety of uses. Learn the process of how to make ganache, the standard ganache ratios, and how to use it for truffles, cake filling, frosting, and glazes. 

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Bowl of chocolate ganache

Chocolate Ganache Overview

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Techniques Used: Creating an Emulsion

What is Ganache?

Chocolate ganache (pronounced geh-Nahsh)  is a basic pastry component made up of only two ingredients: melted chocolate and cream. This rich chocolatey mixture is incredibly versatile and can be used to make chocolate truffles, dessert sauces, cake fillings, icings, whipped frostings, and glazes.

The combination of cream and chocolate creates a very rich and intensely chocolate mixture. A basic ganache mixture can also be flavored in a variety of ways. The cream can be steeped with herbs or spices, and extracts can be added into the final mixture.

How to Make Ganache

STEP 1: CHOP YOUR CHOCOLATE

Chop your chocolate up into small pieces so that they will melt quickly in the hot cream. You can also use chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate. Large pieces of chocolate will not be small enough to melt completely in the hot cream.

Chopped semi-sweet chocolate for ganache

STEP 2: HEAT THE CREAM & POUR OVER THE CHOCOLATE

Put the heavy cream (or double cream) in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Alternatively, you can heat it in the microwave until it starts to bubble, just watch it carefully so it does not boil over.

Once the cream is really hot and simmering, pour it over the bowl of chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes. If you are making a small batch (6 oz of chocolate or less) you only need to wait about 3 minutes, but if you are making a large batch (more than 6 oz) you might want to wait up to 5 minutes.

This waiting period allows the hot cream to melt the chocolate while at the same time bringing down the temperature of the cream. Whisking while the cream is too hot could cause the ganache to break, resulting in a gritty final texture.

Hot cream poured over chocolate to make ganache

STEP 3: WHISK THE CHOCOLATE AND CREAM MIXTURE 

After the chocolate has had enough time to melt and the cream has cooled down, whisk the two together. The best way to do this is to put your whisk in the center of the bowl and whisk in a small circle slowly moving outward. Keep moving in one direction, slowly making bigger circles.

This process ensures that you are slowly incorporating the cream into the chocolate, creating an emulsion. This motion works to suspend the fat from the cream and the butterfat from the chocolate into the water present in the cream and the liquid sugar from the chocolate (aka, an emulsion). A proper emulsion ensures a silky smooth ganache.

Three bowls of ganache, 1 bowl with 2:1 ratio, 1 bowl with 1:1 ratio, and 1 bowl with 1:1.5 ratio

Ganache Ratios

While the process of making ganache is always the same, the ratios of chocolate to cream vary based on the use. These are the standard guidelines for ganache ratios.

2 Parts Chocolate to 1 Part Cream (2:1 Ratio)

  • Uses: Chocolate Truffles, Stiff Piping Work
  • Consistency: When the ratio of chocolate to cream is double the amount by weight, the ganache cools to a very thick almost fudge like mixture.

This ganache can be piped before completely cooled to create intricate piping work for cakes or cupcakes. By chilling the ganache it will set up firm. Chilled ganache can be scooped and rolled into chocolate truffles.

Chocolate truffles being made with chocolate ganache

1 Part Chocolate to 1 Part Cream (1:1 Ratio)

  • Uses: Filling and/or Frosting for Cakes and Cupcakes, Thick Glaze, Whipped Ganache Frosting
  • Consistency: When ganache with an equal ratio of chocolate to cream by weight cools it becomes a pudding like texture.

This ganache works well to fill layer cakes or even as the frosting for the whole cake, like my favorite Devil’s Food Cake. After this frosting is cooled, it can whipped into a fluffy whipped ganache frosting and that is sort of like a super intense chocolate whipped cream!

This ganache can also be used as a glaze for a cake or cheesecake. It should be poured while still slightly warm, and an offset spatula can be used to spread it out to glaze the baked good.

1 Part Chocolate to 1.5 Parts Cream (1:1.5 Ratio)

  • Uses: Thin Glaze, Dipping Chocolate (for Fondue or Chocolate Fountain), Lighter Whipped Ganache Frosting, Drinking Chocolate
  • Consistency: Ganache with 1 1/2 times more cream to chocolate will be thin enough to pour as a glaze and is thin enough to drink. 

This ganache is thin enough to pour as a glaze over baked goods or to dip a variety of things in. Many ganache tutorials suggest a ratio of 1:2 parts chocolate to cream, but I find this to be a little too thin. This ratio works well for thin glaze or for dipping purposes like fondue or a chocolate fountain.

It is important to note that this ganache will not set up hard. It will remain soft but will become thicker as it cools. In its warm state, this ratio of ganache is the perfect rich sipping cocoa!

Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

  • You typically want to use semi-sweet chocolate for ganache. Ganache made with semi-sweet chocolate will be only slightly sweet but bittersweet chocolate can also be used for a less sweet version. Very dark chocolate is not desirable for ganache as it will be even less sweet once mixed with the cream.
  • One of my favorite ways to flavor ganache is to steep fresh herbs or spices right in the milk and then strain them out before pouring it over the chocolate. Fresh mint leaves and whole vanilla beans are some of my favorites!
  • Ganache can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It becomes much more stiff once cold. To soften it, allow it to come to room temperature or heat it in short bursts in the microwave until your desired consistency is reached.

Ingredient Functions

  • Chocolate is the flavor of the ganache. Because there are very few ingredients in this recipe, use the best quality chocolate you can.
  • Heavy Cream, Whipping Cream, or Double Cream thins out the texture of the chocolate. The final texture of the ganache depends on the ratio of the cream to chocolate.
  • Salt is optional but rounds out the flavor of the ganache and is highly recommended.

Chocolate Ganache for Truffles, Fillings, Frostings, Glazes, Fondue, Etc...

Make this ganache for truffles, cake frostings, glazes, fillings and many other uses. Made from only cream and chocolate, ganache can be used for so many things!

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Ingredients:

2:1 Ratio: For Truffles & Very Thick Piping Work

  • 8 oz (224 grams) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, 112 gr) heavy cream (or whipping cream or double cream)
  • large pinch of salt (optional but recommended)

1:1 Ratio: For Frostings, Thick Glazes, Fillings, and Whipped Ganache

  • 8 oz (224 grams) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz, 224 gr) heavy cream (or whipping cream or double cream)
  • large pinch of kosher salt (optional but recommended)

1: 1.5 Ratio: For Thin Glazes, Fondue, Chocolate Fountain, and Light Whipped Ganache

  • 8 oz (224 grams) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cup (12 oz, 236 gr) heavy cream (or whipping cream or double cream)
  • large pinch of kosher salt (optional but recommended)

Directions:

  1. Chop your chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.
  2. Put your cream in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Allow cream to heat until simmering and almost boiling. Alternatively you can heat the cream in the microwave.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let stand for about 3 minutes. Add your salt into the bowl at this point if using.
  4. Put your whisk into the center of the chocolate/cream mixture and begin whisking in small circles going in one direction and slowly moving outward in bigger circles until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Serve hot if using as for fondue, a chocolate fountain, or sipping chocolate. If using for a glaze or for stiff piping work, allow to cool for about 10 minutes before pouring. If using as a frosting, allow to cool at room temperature for about 4 hours and up to overnight. If making truffles, place the ganache in the refrigerator uncovered until the mixture becomes solid, about 1 hour, before scooping and shaping.

Recipe Notes:

  • Store unused ganache in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Variations

  • Fresh Mint Ganache: Roughly chop about 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves and add it into the pot with the cream. Bring the cream up to a boil, cover the pot, and turn off the heat. Let the mint steep for about 15 minutes. Remove the lid and bring the cream back up to just under a boil. Pour the hot cream over a fine mesh sieve into the bowl with the chopped chocolate. Discard the mint leaves. Alternatively, you can add up to 1 tsp mint extract into the ganache.
  • Vanilla Bean Ganache: Scrape a vanilla bean into the cream and add it with the pod into the pot with the cream. Bring the cream up to a boil, cover the pot, and turn off the heat. Let the vanilla bean steep for about 15 minutes. Remove the lid and bring the cream back up to just under a boil. Pour the hot cream over a fine mesh sieve into the bowl with the chopped chocolate. Discard the vanilla pod. Alternatively, you can add up to 1 TBSP vanilla extract into the ganache.
  • Coconut Ganache: Substitute the heavy cream for full fat coconut milk. Alternatively, you can add up to 1 tsp coconut extract into the ganache.
  • Expresso Ganache: Add 1-2 tsp instant espresso in with the heavy cream.
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14 comments on “Chocolate Ganache 101: Technique, Ratios, Uses”

  1. muy bien explicado, Gracias y Felicitaciones
  2. I loved this article, and I love your blog. So much good information.
  3. I LOVE CHOCOLATE GANACHE SO DANGED MUCH!!! With all the wedding cake stuff my family members keep asking "what's ganache?" and it makes me sad that they don't know. How empty their lives must be.
  4. Thank you for this awesome post! Lots of GREAT info here. Thank you for sharing!
  5. Just what I was looking for

    Rating: 5
  6. Very instructive!!! Thank you so much!! May I ask how we make white chocolate ganache??
    • Hi there! To be honest with you, I have never actually made it! I do know that you really do need to use a really good quality white chocolate so it does not seize up on you! You might try this tutorial! https://food52.com/recipes/31640-white-chocolate-ganache
  7. Kristin, I've always wondered what gives some 1:1 ganache a darker look vs lighter brown. The difference between your devil's foodcake and cupcake pictures sort of illustrate what I mean (maybe it's just the lighting). Does it have to do with how much air you get in it when whisking?
    • Hi Cameron! Regular 1:1 ratio ganache really shouldn’t vary in color too much, but the cupcakes pictured there are illustrating this ganache used for whipped ganache frosting. For this, the ganache is put into a mixer and a lot of air is whipped into it lightening the texture and color!
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