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4 min read

How to Melt Chocolate in a Double Boiler/Bain Marie

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The art of melting chocolate can be a tricky thing. The last thing you would want to do is throw chocolate into a pan and just turn on the stove. If you have ever melted chocolate directly in the microwave or saucepan, then you know how quickly the chocolate can become a mess. Chocolate heated directly on the pan will burn, melt unevenly, and create uneven lumps instead of the luscious melted chocolate you’re going for.

One simple method to melt chocolate is to use a double boiler, which involves a few steps. And even if you are a beginner, using a double boiler is arguably the best and easiest way you could learn to melt chocolate. 

You need two things to get a glossy and smooth melted chocolate, perfect for your recipe –quality chocolate and proper heating. You need to heat the chocolate evenly by applying the heat indirectly to avoid burning the chocolate. Proper heating will also help you achieve chocolate that is easy to pour, making your cooking mess-free.

what is a double boiler?

what is a double boiler

A double boiler, or bain-marie, is a piece of equipment for heating ingredients and foods by applying indirect heat. Simply put, it is a saucepan stacked on top of another. The lower pan holds water while the upper pan holds the ingredient or food. When heat is applied, the water in the lower pan simmers or boils and the steam generated gently heats the upper pan, creating a heated bath. 

Read more: What Chocolate Melts the Fastest?

melting chocolate in a double boiler

Now that you understand what a double boiler is, let's learn how you can use it to melt your chocolate properly. You will get some nice and smooth melted chocolate by using a double boiler.


  • Saucepan
  • Heat-resistant bowl
  • Serrated knife
  • Cutting board
  • Rubber spatula
  • Chocolate bar
  • Water

Make sure that the bowl is big enough to cover the whole surface of the saucepan. A stainless steel or glass bowl works perfectly. Just note that with different materials, the transfer of heat may not be the same. Stainless steel heats up quicker, so you’ll need to mix the chocolate more often to prevent burning.


Here are steps on how to melt the chocolate:

  1. Using a clean cutting board and serrated knife, cut the chocolate bar into small, evenly sized pieces. Alternatively, you can use chocolate in the form of coins. Using chocolate coins makes melting chocolate a simpler task since you don’t need to chop all that chocolate, and they are already in uniform size so it melts evenly.
  2. Fill the saucepan with 3-7.5 cm of water and place it on the stove. 
  3. Place the bowl on top of the pan to rest on its edges, creating a seal that will trap the steam from water when heated. Ensure the bowl doesn’t touch the water in the saucepan. 
  4. Add chocolate to the bowl. 
  5. Turn the stove on and apply low to medium heat to the pan. As the water warms up, the steam gently heats the bowl, and the chocolate melts.
  6. Stir the chocolate regularly as it melts using the rubber spatula. 
  7. The melting process might take longer or even quicker, depending on how much chocolate you're trying to melt. It's recommended to avoid melting too much chocolate at once to ensure the chocolate is melted thoroughly without any lumps.
  8. After melting the chocolate, remove the bowl from the saucepan to avoid burning the chocolate.

Read more: What Is the Best Chocolate to Cream Ratio for Making a Ganache?

additional tips for using a double boiler

To make sure your melted chocolate comes out perfect, take a look at these simple yet important tips for using your double boiler.

  • Don't melt chocolate on the stove directly, otherwise the chocolate will quickly burn.
  • Ensure the bottom of the bowl is dry before placing it in the saucepan.
  • Make sure the bowl you use fits well to seal the pan and that the bowl avoids touching the simmering water in the pan. 
  • Do not add water to the chocolate, and ensure the water doesn’t get into the bowl of chocolate as this can cause the chocolate to seize. Have a kitchen cloth or towel ready to absorb water on the bottom of the bowl as you remove it from the pan.
  • Only use low to medium heat. Excess heat could ruin the melting process and increase the risk of burning.
  • Keep stirring your chocolate as it's melting to avoid burnt bits at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Add a small amount of vegetable oil after the chocolate is melted thoroughly to give your melted chocolate a nice gloss and smooth texture.
  • If you're melting a large amount of chocolate, do it in batches. That way, each batch of chocolate will melt perfectly.


melting chocolate


If you don't have any access to a double boiler or cannot use a makeshift double boiler, you can melt chocolate in a microwave instead. Place chopped chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl and place it in the microwave. Use the medium setting for 30 seconds. Take out the bowl, stir the chocolate, and place it back in the microwave. Repeat these steps until your chocolate is melted thoroughly.


If you wish to melt chocolate bars, you have to chop them first before attempting to melt them. Otherwise, your chocolate bar won't be able to melt thoroughly. Some bits may even get burnt before the entire bar is completely melted.

Does this sound inconvenient? If so, try using Embassy Chocolate products! Since they're already in coin form, you don't have to chop your chocolate before melting and using them in your creation.


You don't have to temper your melted chocolate if you're using compound chocolate or wish to use it as a filling in your creation. That said, if you're using couverture chocolate and intend to use it as dipping chocolate, chocolate decoration, or shells, you'll need to temper your chocolate. That way, it will have a smooth and glossy appearance.

And there you have it; hopefully, you've learned how to melt chocolate using a double boiler properly.

Did you know, the quality of the chocolate also plays a huge role in the end result? So, aside from setting up a nice double boiler, make sure also to use some high-quality chocolate.

Consider using Embassy Chocolate products. Our couverture chocolate products are made with utmost care and consideration to give you the perfect result every time. Our versatile chocolate products are excellent for all kinds of applications such as for your pastry, baked products, and confectionery. 

If you have any questions about our products, feel free to visit our products page. For more information regarding the pricing, speak to one of our knowledgeable sales reps by visiting our contact page


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