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How to temper Chocolate in the microwave- tempering chocolate should not be a daunting task. It is really easy to do in the microwave

How to Temper Chocolate in the Microwave (Bold Baking Basics)

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Hi Bold Bakers!

When it comes to my baking I am all about technique. But there are just some things I think life is too short for and Tempering Chocolate is one of them. Rather than do it over a bain-marie, I make it quickly in the microwave. It’s easier and you get the same result. Be sure to watch my video below for the method and get the written recipe and rationale below.

Why does chocolate need to be tempered?

Tempering chocolate is used mostly in Chocolate making or creating chocolate decorations. Tempering chocolate yields you a silky smooth product that gives your chocolate a glossy sheen and a nice bite to it. Tempering also makes chocolate more pliable and easier for pastry chefs to manipulate for dessert decorations and edible art. You know that kind of chalky, dusty color you can get on chocolate sometimes? Tempering will stop that from happening.

Here’s the science:

Chocolate is made up of various crystals. If they are not aligned correctly, chocolate will not have that nice, glossy snap when it sets, and will streak and “bloom,” developing a white, sandpaper-like exterior made of cocoa butter. Tempering chocolate by heating, stirring, and cooling aligns the chocolate crystals so that the chocolate sets up correctly when it hardens. Traditionally, one step involved melting chocolate over a double boiler, which adds time and runs the risk of moisture — chocolate kryptonite — getting on the chocolate.

This time, it’s easy. With little more than a bowl, a spatula, and a microwave, you can have perfectly tempered chocolate, every time.

Here’s how to temper chocolate in the microwave:

You will need: a spatula, glass bowl, microwave, and a good, accurate thermometer with a range as low as 70°F (21°C). Since you have to end up in a very specific temperature range, a good thermometer is key.

Now, chop the chocolate into small pieces. Divide the chocolate into 2 batches: 3/4 of the chocolate in 1 bowl and then the leftover 1/4 in another to be used later. 

Put the bowl with the large amount of chocolate into the microwave and melt on high in 20 to 30 second bursts, stirring gently, until it is melted and glossy, in between 114 to 118° F (57oC-59oC). You may even need to microwave in 5-second bursts toward the end. The goal is to hit the temperature “sweet spot” and not burn or overheat the chocolate. 

The temperature range is different for milk and white chocolate. Milk chocolate should be melted to between 108 and 113° F (42°C-45°c); White chocolate’s range is 105 to 110° F (40°C-43°C). White can burn very easily — be careful.

Next, begin “seeding” the melted chocolate by adding the reserved (1/4 amount) chocolate pieces, a bit at a time, stirring gently. The seeding and stirring will realign the chocolate crystals into temper. Stir and seed until the temperature of the chocolate is 88 to 89° F (31°C-32°C), and the seeding pieces are fully melted. Milk and white chocolate should cool to 85 to 86° F(29°C-30°C). Done! 

Your chocolate is now in temper. Work with the chocolate in its tempered range. If it starts cooling too much, you can microwave it at half power to bring it back up. 

I used FOOD52.com as a reference for this method. If you would like to read their full article on Microwave Tempered Chocolate click here.

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You can make Homemade Chocolate Bars and Chocolate Truffles just like these with Tempered Chocolate.

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Recreate some of your favorite chocolate like I did here. I made Rolos.

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58 Comments

  1. Al on December 31, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    Hi Jemma just came across your recipe. Just a question what is the difference between adding the final part of chocolate to bring down the temperature as opposed to heating the chocolate to the desired heating stage and just letting it cool down naturally before using it.
    Cheers Al

    • Kevin Kurtz on January 1, 2018 at 9:09 pm

      Hi Al,

      great question. it will cool down faster if you add in chocolate rather then just letting it cool down by itself. This makes a difference to the finished chocolate.

      Hope this answers your question.
      Gemma.

  2. Carol Abnett on December 17, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    I have just used your recipe and it worked a treat, I am just wondering as I have some left over and wish to use it at a later date do I need to temper it again or just reheat it in the microwave and if so to what temperature.
    Thanks Carol

    • Gemma Stafford on December 18, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      Hi Carol,

      So generally you don’t temper it again so what I do is let it set and chop it up and add it into my cookies, cakes, whatever. It will work perfectly melted into a recipe.

      Hope this helps,
      Gemma.

  3. William Sucaidy on July 20, 2017 at 12:44 am

    Hi Gemma!I have a questions to ask.I have a melting pot and I want to dip my cake pops on my tempered chocolate.Can I use the warm setting on the melting pot so that my chocolate won’t cooled quickly after it’s tempered?Thx ?!

    • Gemma Stafford on July 20, 2017 at 1:52 am

      Hi William,
      Lucky you to have a melting pot! Yes, this is perfectly possible, all will be well. Post a pic for us!
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  4. teto on March 9, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Hey Gemma!I am So excited to try your method of tempering chocolate its look fantastic!I its Easy and its save alot of effort thanks alot

    • Gemma Stafford on March 10, 2017 at 3:50 am

      Hi Teto,
      Yes, this is a great way to do this for the home cook, it gives a great result, very impressive!
      Gemma 🙂

  5. PHYLLIS VICK on December 1, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    check your thermometer in boiling water, and adjust it.
    it can change in altitude and weather.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 2, 2016 at 11:53 am

      Good idea, yes, altitude really changes temperature settings, water boils at a lower temperature too, which explains why Airline tea/coffee is always cool. you need to get used to this!
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Minahil Ishaq on September 12, 2016 at 5:04 am

    does the chocolate SETS when we temper it or melt it

    • Gemma Stafford on September 12, 2016 at 9:58 pm

      I’m not 100% sure if I understand your question. It sets hard after tempering. If is best used for making truffles and coating homemade chocolates 🙂

  7. Minahil Ishaq on September 10, 2016 at 12:40 am

    hey gemma i have a dumb question and never got its answer what is the DIFFERENCE between tempering and melting the chocolate

    • Gemma Stafford on September 12, 2016 at 3:03 am

      Good question. Tempering prevents the grey color and waxy texture that happens when the cocoa fat separates out of the melted chocolate. Whisking the chocolate to cool it prevents this from happening, and allows the chocolate to have a crisp finish, Gemma 🙂

  8. Tanners Mom on September 6, 2016 at 5:34 am

    Hi Gemma! I love watching your videos, you make everything look so easy. You are so pretty and have a great camera prescence. It’s because of you that I want to start baking again. I guess I should have more faith in myself! I also need to get some of the equipment I need. Everything I had was stolen so now I have to start over. Thank you for everything you do to help us become better bakers!

    • Gemma Stafford on September 7, 2016 at 3:18 am

      Ah! I am sorry that you have had your things stolen, that is really too bad! Baking is a great pastime, fun and productive too, I am happy that you are with us here on BBB 🙂

  9. Filomena Bautista on July 31, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    Can I put the tempered chocolate on a warmer pot to maintain the right temperature of 31C? coz I’m just wondering what happens when the chocolate cools down below 31C.

    • Gemma Stafford on August 1, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Filomena,

      humm, I suggest using it for your recipe after you make it. If you want chocolate for a fondu or something then don’t go to the trouble of tempering it.

  10. Rabya on July 26, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Hey Gemma
    Can you please tell me which chocolate should be used for tempering??

    • Gemma Stafford on July 27, 2016 at 3:26 am

      Rabya,
      any chocolate can be tempered, as long as it is chocolate, and not a chocolate substitute like you sometimes find in the baking aisle.
      Gemma 🙂

  11. thinuroxz999 on July 25, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Gemma, What do you do if you don’t have a candy thermometer?

  12. Super star on June 18, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    Hi Gemma that was a Reall short video and it was soooo easy to do to. In fact it’s so easy that I’m going to ask my mum if we have chocolate so I can start being creative. Also I have a reaquest can you please make an ice-cream cake. It’s simple and tastes sooooooooo good. If you don’t know how all you do is bake an Alderney cake and decaration it with ice-cream. Doasn’t it sound yummy? ???Mmmmmmmmmmm

    • Gemma Stafford on June 19, 2016 at 2:38 am

      Hi there,
      Yes it does sound yummy! check out my ice cream cake here on my website too, it is also delicious!
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Ananya on June 11, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks me qnd my friends love your recipes

    • Gemma Stafford on June 12, 2016 at 1:51 am

      Hi Ananya,
      Thank you for your kind comments and for getting in touch, stay tuned!
      Gemma 🙂

  14. Ananya on June 8, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    hi Gemma ,
    can you show me to make unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate ?

    • Gemma Stafford on June 9, 2016 at 2:23 am

      Hi there Ananya,
      No! the making of chocolate is a highly specialized process. It is not for the home cook. You would not be able to source the necessary ingredients, such as cocoa beans, which need to be prepared for the process. I can buy good chocolate here in the US. I know that this can be a problem for some people.
      Gemma 🙂

      • Ananya on June 9, 2016 at 8:56 am

        ok but do you know any subsitudes

        • Gemma Stafford on June 11, 2016 at 3:15 am

          Hi Ananya,
          In a word, no! Chocolate is chocolate. I am lucky that I can buy a good quality chocolate at a good price, I do know this is not possible everywhere, I am sorry,
          Gemma 🙂

      • Sally on September 16, 2016 at 4:36 am

        Ooh, I’ve made my own chocolate from scratch. I use cocoa butter, cocoa powder and a small amount of agave syrup as I don’t like my chocolate too sweet. I have a Thermomix and I do the chocolate in that. After it has set, I temper it in the Thermomix. I add roughly chopped roasted almonds and pop it into my moulds to set. It’s a bit softer than shop bought chocolate and I keep it in the fridge. I’m not a professional so I can’t get the texture of a professional chocolatier but people who’ve tried it like it. And I adore the fact that I know exactly what’s in it. I would never attempt this without the machine though as I’m sure you’re right, Gemma: it’s really a professional job. And it’s for eating, not for cooking with. I got the recipe from Cyndi O’Meara.

        • Gemma Stafford on September 17, 2016 at 2:27 am

          Sally, that sounds amazing, well done, The Thermomix is a super machine 🙂

  15. Rachel on May 31, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Hi ! Gemma,thans so much for this recipes .can i put in nuts and other things while i am stirring the chocolate or do you need to wait ?

    • Gemma Stafford on June 1, 2016 at 1:32 am

      Hi Rachel,
      You can incorporate the nuts to make a bark for instance, once the chocolate is melted. Remember this chocolate will be brittle, it is designed to be thin, to coat other things, like truffles. I hope you enjoy the end result,
      Gemma 🙂

  16. Corrinne Snyder on May 30, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Gemma! I’ve watched many of your videos and tried out a few of your mug recipes and loved them! Thanks for sharing your method for tempering chocolate, I was wondering how to do it. I just was wondering, is it was absolutely necessary to have a candy thermometer?

    • Gemma Stafford on May 31, 2016 at 2:38 am

      Hi Corrinne,
      Well, this is a good question. I use one, because that is my training. My mother, who likes to fly by the seat of her pants (lol) is well able to judge it. The melted chocolate needs to be warm enough to melt the cold chocolate, but if you over heat it it will burn. Use your finger to judge it with a small amount to test this out.
      Gemma 🙂

  17. Phoebe on May 27, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    wow looksssssss so yummy

    • Gemma Stafford on May 28, 2016 at 11:55 am

      Thank you Phoebe,
      Gemma 🙂

  18. Natalia on May 25, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Hi Gemma, this doesn’t work for me 🙁 I’ve tried this method but the temperature doesn’t go down to 31-32°C but stays at 35-36. I’ve tried leaving it on the counter to reach 32 but still nothing happens. What can I do?

    • Gemma Stafford on May 25, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Natalia. Thousands of viewers have tried this recipe with success. The chocolate will eventually get down to 32. Just let it sit. For the best results I recommend following the recipe exactly. Hope this helps.

  19. Angel on May 25, 2016 at 3:11 am

    Hi ,could i use this to make chocolate petals which you have to spread very thinly onto baking paper because the recipe calls for tempered chocolate

    • Gemma Stafford on May 25, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      Sure, this technique will work great 🙂

  20. Shriya Moitra on May 25, 2016 at 2:53 am

    Hey Gemma!I tried your method of tempering chocolate and it turned out to be absolutely fantastic!I used it to make an edible cup by dipping the base of a balloon into the chocolate and then I covered it with sprinkles and let it set.After it set,I slowly cut thetop part of the balloon and all the air came out.My bowl was ready!Thank you for showing us how to temper chocolate? I also wanted to ask you that what would be a perfect gift for my friend,who’s birthday is next to next week.She loves sweet stuff….oreo cookies,red velvet cake….the list is endless!Can you show us a no bake recipe?Thank you❤
    ~Shriya?

    • Gemma Stafford on May 25, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      Thanks so much for your feedback. I’m delighted you liked these tips. You can find all of my no-bake recipes in the recipe section here on my website. Hope this helps 🙂

  21. Simran on May 24, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    This video is great & very helpful. Recently I subscribed to your channel . Great videos , loved the tiramisu cheesecake recipe . I have noticed that you use such pretty measuring spoons. Can u pls tell from where did you get those.
    Thanks ?

  22. Zoe on May 24, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Gemma you are my idol, I love how easy you make baking

    • Gemma Stafford on May 25, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      Thank you so much, Zoe. I really appreciate it 🙂

  23. Cateraar Den Haag on May 24, 2016 at 4:32 am

    This looks incredible! Yum!!

    • Gemma Stafford on May 24, 2016 at 8:34 am

      Hi there,
      Thank you for your kind comment and for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  24. shruthi on May 24, 2016 at 12:08 am

    can we use this as chocolate sauce

    • Gemma Stafford on May 24, 2016 at 8:47 am

      Hi Shruthi,
      Yes, but this one will set hard. For a chocolate sauce just melt the chocolate with a little milk, a small dash of caster sugar, and a touch of butter. Melt it in short blasts, 10 secs, and add more milk if you need to,
      Gemma 🙂

  25. Debra on May 23, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    I’ve noticed that some tempering temperatures vary from one site to another. Do you know why? I worry because some of them are off by several degrees than others.

    • Gemma Stafford on May 24, 2016 at 9:03 am

      Hi Debra,
      I do not know why, but this is the one which works for me, and the one I used in professional kitchens.
      Gemma 🙂

  26. Phee on May 23, 2016 at 9:07 am

    wow!! very helpful!! thank you so much Chef Gemma!! 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on May 23, 2016 at 11:42 am

      Hi Phee,
      you are welcome, thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  27. Mashal Fatima on May 23, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Awwwww thats a very easy way to temper chocolate……… I am choco addict ….this technique is surely for me.

    • Gemma Stafford on May 23, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Good, I am happy to be of help,
      Gemma 🙂

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