Chef John's Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe -
Chef John's Chocolate Lava Cake  Recipe
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Chocolate Lava Cake
Make rich and impressive single-serving chocolate cakes. See more
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Chef John's Chocolate Lava Cake

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"Legend has it that this dessert was the result of a major catering disaster. The dessert for this particular event was to be individual chocolate cakes, but someone took them out of the ovens too soon and the centers were not cooked enough and still liquefied. Well, there was no time to take them off the plates and bake them more, so the chef simply had his wait staff introduce the dessert as Chocolate 'Lava' Cake! Brilliant!"

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    5 mins
  • COOK

    25 mins

    1 hr 15 mins


  1. Generously butter the inside of 4 (5 1/2 ounce) ramekins. Place them in a casserole dish.
  2. Whisk together egg yolks, eggs, and sugar in a bowl until light, foamy, and lemon colored.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring after each melting, 1 to 3 minutes.
  4. Stir melted chocolate mixture into egg and sugar mixture until combined.
  5. Sift cocoa powder into the mixture; stir to combine.
  6. Sift flour and salt into the mixture; stir to combine into a batter.
  7. Stir vanilla extract into the batter.
  8. Transfer batter to a resealable plastic bag. Snip one corner of the bag with scissors to create a tip.
  9. Divide batter evenly between the prepared ramekins; tap gently on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
  10. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  12. Arrange the ramekins in a casserole dish. Pour enough hot tap water into the casserole dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  13. Bake in the preheated over for 15-18 minutes. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
  14. Loosen the edges from the ramekin with a knife. Invert each cake onto a plate and dust with powdered sugar.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Apr 10, 2012

I had a similar old recipe which I love, but then I tried to follow this recipe, just change a little bit of the way to melt the chocolate (I melted it on a steamer, beware of the condensation, and just melted it halfway then continue mix the mixture with spoon until completely melted, so it will not be lumpy). I served it in the ramekins, because the top of my cake was cracked, so I thought it will look cool just like that. And I served it with vanilla ice cream, perfect!! If you love chocolate then you'll love this recipe, I for sure will make it again and again. Picture uploaded :)

Most Helpful Critical Review
Jun 20, 2012

I hate leaving bad reviews, but this just didn't work. I went over the recipe last night 20+ times. I did everything as stated. The batter was so thick, and came out like a brownie. I even took them out at 14 minutes, just because I like things a little under done when it comes to cakes, and cookies. They were still hard, no liquid center.

May 12, 2012

This is a great easy recipe. Just a little note. If you are not as strong as John you should definitely use a hand mixer. So that you get the right consistency with your eggs and sugar mix. Mine came out a little flat but I believe that it was because of the consistency of my egg and sugar mixture. It still came out great! Thank you very much John! This turned out to be a great ending to our mother's day dinner.

May 05, 2012

Followed the recipe to the dot. Crunchy exterior until you hit the center---dark molten choco delight!!! This recipe is a keeper. Thanks Chef John.

Oct 18, 2012

Wonderfully rich! Warning however!! I tried this recipe to test it before I served it to company and made 4. With 4, as the recipe called for, it turned out exactly as expected at 18 minutes in my oven. The next day I adjusted the servings to 12. Instead of the nice cake-like batter I'd got the day before was more brownie batter-like. I baked, as called for 18 minutes and couldn't tell if they were done or not. Of course I can't poke the center with a toothpick, so I was uncertain to know when they were done as they looked OK, but didn't want to bake too long and loose the centers. So I took them out at 18 minutes and let sit for the 15 minutes. When I inverted them onto a plate, they were not done, even though I was able to run a toothpick around the edges and have it be clean. They could have baked 3 or so minutes longer. I then remembered the day before, when I got great results, the edges were JUST starting to pull away from the sides. So if you intend to make larger batches and bake them together, remember to bake a bit longer and watch for those edges, or you may end up with chocolate pudding instead, like I did. Good luck!

Jul 10, 2012

oh wow!!!! This is unbelievable! My daughter and I were watching MasterChef and they made a chocolate lava cake. I had to make it, so I went to my favorite website! This recipe was so simple and quick. I was amazed. I melted 4 oz of tollhouse chocolate chips with the butter because that was all I had. It tated like the ones I've gotten at a restaurant! My batter was not thick and I'm sure it is because I used my KitchenAid mixer and didn't attempt to mix it by hand. I did not put it in a bag (i just didn't see the point), I did not refrigerate and I didn't cook it in a pan of water. They did none of that on MasterChef :). Why make more work for yourself. Everyone's oven is different, but I cooked them for 11 min. Next time, I will cook it 1 min more. I will definitely be serving this when I have company over for dinner and to make it easier, I will refrigerate the batter so that all I have to do is pop it in the oven when we are finished eating.

May 21, 2012

Tried this recipe tonight for dinner. It was fantastic, just like you would get a restaurant. I made 4 of them. My hubby ate 2 right away! Was very easy, though I didn't use the ziplock bag method. I didn't have dark baking chocolate at hand, so I tried it with milk chocolate, it was still great.

May 12, 2012

Outstanding! I made it and I've never made anything as exotic before and it turned out incredible! Thanks for the detailed instructions!


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  • Calories
  • 394 kcal
  • 20%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 32 g
  • 10%
  • Cholesterol
  • 241 mg
  • 80%
  • Fat
  • 28.7 g
  • 44%
  • Fiber
  • 1 g
  • 4%
  • Protein
  • 6.9 g
  • 14%
  • Sodium
  • 207 mg
  • 8%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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