Chocolate molten lava cakes have never been easier! The simple batter for these cakes can be made ahead of time to be baked whenever the craving hits.

You won’t believe how easy it is to make chocolate molten lava cakes at home!

The combination of light as air chocolate cake and decadent hot fudge pouring out from within is what dreams are made of (at least mine).

Molten lava cake on white plate with ice cream and fudge sauce.

Molten Lava Cake Batter

This batter is really simple and can be made without a stand mixer, but it does rely on a few key steps:

  1. Don’t skimp on beating the eggs until very thick, creamy, foamy and light in color! This helps the chocolate batter bake up light and fluffy.
  2. For the melted chocolate, use a great-tasting chocolate and a chocolate that melts well. I almost always use Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips in this recipe. It’s perfect even for those that prefer a more semisweet chocolate vibe (it doesn’t make the lava cakes too dark and rich). Not all chocolate chips melt as well. I recommend using Ghiradelli or Guittard chocolate chips for melting with the butter in this recipe.
  3. After adding the flour, don’t over mix. Just give the batter some quick stirs until the flour is just combined.
Mixing eggs and chocolate and powdered sugar for lava cake batter.

The chocolate batter will be luscious and medium-thick but still pourable.

Small air bubbles throughout are fine!

Chocolate cake batter in glass bowl.

Best Size Ramekins to Use

I make the lava cakes in 8-ounce ramekins {aff. link}.

You can also use 6-ounce ramekins {aff. link} (if so, you’ll likely get eight lava cakes out of the batch instead of six).

AND…maybe the best kept secret is that these simple, super inexpensive glass pyrex custard cups {aff. link} work great for these cakes, as well. That’s what my Aunt Marilyn (originator of this recipe) uses mostly.

I have also made the lava cakes in a standard muffin tin (only filling 10 of the cups, not all 12). The baking time is a few minutes less if using a muffin tin, and it is harder to turn them out and have them look pretty, but it definitely works in a pinch!

Ramekins with butter and cocoa powder.

How to Grease the Ramekins

These chocolate molten lava cakes rely on a well-greased ramekin so that they pop out easily for plating and serving.

Yes, you can just dig into them right in the ramekin, but it’s fun and a bit more traditional to turn them out onto a plate to serve that way.

How To: Brush or rub butter liberally over the bottom and sides of each ramekin, paying close attention to the the crevices, especially where the sides and bottom meet. Then, sprinkle in cocoa powder evenly and tap out the excess. This seems to do the trick perfectly!

Scooping chocolate cake batter into ramekin.

Fill each ramekin about 2/3 full with batter.

Bake just until the edges and top are set but there is still some jiggle to the center.

Baked molten lava cake on sheet pan.

How to Turn out the Lava Cakes

Out of the oven, let the lava cakes sit for 2-3 minutes before loosening the edge with a thin knife.

*They can sit longer than that – just be aware that if they do, it’s likely that it’ll be harder to pop them out cleanly and cooling in the hot ramekin means the molten center may cook a bit more and not be quite as lava-y.

Place the serving plate over the top of the ramekin and tip so the plate is on the counter. Tap the plate and ramekin lightly so the cake slides out.

Use a hot pad to carefully lift the hot ramekin off the cake.

Loosening molten lava cake in ramekin and turning it out onto plate.

A Favorite Dessert

These chocolate molten lava cakes are so easy to make at home and are one of my favorite desserts EVER.

We serve them with ice cream and sometimes hot fudge sauce, but they are also delicious plain. Perfectly chocolatey and so rich and delicious, they are incredible.

Many of you have fallen in love with these at-home lava cakes, too!

Ashley writes: My 13 year old daughter made these today with just a little guidance from me. They were a huge hit. They are easy and we always have the ingredients on hand – this could be dangerous! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Brenda says: Super yummy! Big hit with my family ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Shelly says: These are SO GOOD!! I made these with my kids, and they thought the whole process was amazing!! We enjoyed them with some ice cream, and they are just so darn good! Thank you, Mel!!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Doris writes: Made these exactly as directed in the recipe for dessert on Christmas day. Made the cakes early in the afternoon and baked them after dinner when we were opening presents. Everyone absolutely raved about them! Definitely a keeper! Thank you. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Scoop of molten lava cake on spoon.

One Year Ago: Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Two Years Ago: Sweet Baked Ham
Three Years Ago: Garlic and Herb Butter Spread

Molten lava cake on white plate with ice cream and spoon.

My Favorite Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

4.75 stars (156 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (170 g) chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (see note)
  • 10 tablespoons salted butter
  • Pinch of salt, about 1/8 teaspoon – use more if using unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 ½ cups (171 g) powdered sugar
  • ½ cup (71 g) all-purpose flour

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees F (see note!).
  • Grease the bottom and sides of six 6- or 8-ounce ramekins by brushing or spreading a thin layer of butter evenly over the bottom and sides of each ramekin, paying close attention to the the crevices, especially where the sides and bottom meet. Sprinkle in cocoa powder to coat evenly and tap out the excess.
  • In a medium bowl, add the chocolate and butter and melt in 1-minute increments in the microwave, stirring in between, until melted and smooth (don't over heat). This can also be done in a saucepan on the stove.
  • Off the heat, stir in the salt and vanilla. Let the mixture cool to room temperature (it can be slightly warm but not hot).
  • In a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and egg yolks together until thick and light in color, 2-3 minutes (don't skimp this step!).
  • Add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add the cooled, melted chocolate mixture and the flour and mix with a spoon or spatula just until combined and no streaks remain (don't overmix).
  • Divide the batter evenly among the ramekins and place the ramekins on a large baking sheet with a couple inches between each dish.
  • Bake for 12-13 minutes until the sides are set and the cakes feel soft when touched in the center. The timing is really important here and a lot will depend on if your oven bakes hot or cool. You want the cakes to bake long enough to form a crust around the molten filling without baking all the way through.
  • Remove from the oven and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Run a small knife or metal spatula around the edges to loosen. Place a plate upside down on the ramekin, and holding onto both the plate and the ramekin, carefully flip so that the cake falls out onto the plate (tap very lightly on the bottom of the ramekin if the cake doesn't come out right away).
  • Dust the cakes with powdered sugar or serve with whipped cream and strawberries or ice cream and hot fudge sauce (or a combination of all!).

Notes

Temperature: the original recipe had a bake temperature of 425 degrees. Every oven varies in exact temp, but I found it was too high in my current oven, so I usually bake them now at 375 or 400 degrees F. If your oven bakes on the hot side, bake the cakes at 375 degrees F. 
Chocolate: I almost always use Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips in this recipe. Not all chocolate chips melt well – I recommend Ghirardelli or Guittard chocolate chips for melting with the butter.
Greasing the Ramekins: using a cooking spray with flour in it (like Baker’s Joy) works great but may leave a bit of a white or yellow-ish residue on the outer edges of the cake (not a big deal). Usually I grease the ramekins really well with butter and then sprinkle in cocoa powder to dust evenly and tap out the excess. 
Make Ahead: the cake batter can be made and spread into the ramekins 1-2 days in advance. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bake the cakes as directed (remove the plastic wrap, obvs), adding an extra 30-60 seconds to the baking time to account for the cold batter.
Serving: 1 cake, Calories: 557kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Cholesterol: 231mg, Sodium: 206mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 41g
Follow @MelsKitchenCafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from a recipe that’s famous in my extended family from my cousin Camille, given to me (and served to me countless times) by my Aunt Marilyn

Recipe originally posted March 2016; updated January 2023 with new photos, recipe notes, etc.

A chocolate molten lava cake with a bite taken out and fudge coming out the middle.