How to Melt Chocolate: Melting Chocolate in the Microwave or a Double Boiler

Melted chocolate can be used to decorate baked items, as a dip, or even re-hardened with new additions (like nuts and dried fruit) to make chocolate bark. No matter how you’re going to use the end result, melting chocolate is easy as long as a few simple rules are followed. There are two ways to accomplish this task: with a double boiler (or a heat-proof bowl and a small pot), or in the microwave.

Melting Chocolate Tips

No matter which method you’re using, there are a few tips that will always make melting chocolate go smoothly.

  • Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
  • Keep the heat low so that the chocolate doesn’t burn or curdle.
  • Make sure no water gets into the chocolate as it’s melting, as it may cause the chocolate to seize.

Melting Chocolate in a Double Boiler

If you don’t have a double boiler, you can use a small pot with another pot or a heat-proof bowl on top.

  1. Fill the bottom pot of the double boiler with water about 1” deep. Heat the water until it is just steam, but not simmering or boiling.
  2. Add the chopped chocolate pieces to the top of the double boiler, or to the heat-proof bowl. Place the bowl atop the pot. Reduce the heat to low.
  3. Stir continuously if you’re melting white or milk chocolate. Dark chocolate should be stirred often, but doesn’t need to be stirred as much. (Read the ingredients of the chocolate – dark chocolate often contains milk!)
  4. Once most of the chocolate has been melted, turn off the heat. Continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

Keep the chocolate over the pot of warm water to keep its melted consistency.

If you’re using a double-boiler, don’t put the lid over the chocolate at any time. The lid will allow condensation to form, and then water may drip into the chocolate, causing it to seize up.

Melting Chocolate in the Microwave

If you choose to melt chocolate in the microwave, make sure to use a low or medium setting. It may take a bit longer to complete the task, but the chocolate won’t be burned or turn grainy.

  1. Place the chopped chocolate pieces into a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Microwave the chocolate on a medium setting for about 2 minutes. If you are melting a lot of chocolate, increase the time a bit. Watch the chocolate carefully.
  3. Once the chocolate has turned shiny and soft, take it out of the microwave and stir for at least a minute. The stirring action should melt the chocolate completely.

Again, milk and white chocolate is more likely to burn due to the milk ingredients, so it should be removed from the microwave sooner, rather than later.

Now, enjoy that chocolate drizzled over cookies or with strawberries dipped into it. Melting chocolate is easy and quick to do as long as these few simple tips are followed.


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