If you need to know how to make chocolate ganache without cream, we’ve got you covered! We share how to make ganache with milk, and we put several brands of chocolate to the test to find out which makes the very best chocolate ganache!
PS. This is the ganache I used on my viral cosmic brownie recipe!
Why make chocolate ganache without cream?
Whether you’re avoiding heavy cream, or you’ve realized the carton you picked up at the grocery store went sour before you had the chance to use it (guilty!), you’re here because you’re wondering if you can make chocolate ganache with no cream.
The answer? Yes! You absolutely can. The only difference is that it won’t be as firm at room temperature than it would be if you used heavy cream.
Taste-wise, chocolate ganache with milk is just as rich and decadent as the original since we’re adding butter to replace some of the fat that’s missing by leaving out the cream. This chocolate ganache recipe is actually the same one I used in my TikTok viral copycat Cosmic Brownies, so you know it’s good!
Ingredient Summary & Substitutions
This is just an overview, click here to jump down to the full recipe card for the recipe amounts and condensed recipe instructions.
To make a chocolate ganache recipe without cream, you’ll need three simple ingredients:
- 1 ½ cups (12 oz. bag) chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (see my brand test below!)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup whole milk (we tested 1%, 2% and whole and all worked, but the lower the fat, the less firm it will be).
Because each of these ingredients is so important to this recipe, let’s do a deep dive into them!
The Best Chocolate for Making Ganache With Milk
While you can use any type of chocolate to make ganache with milk, from dark bittersweet chocolate to white chocolate, I find myself using semisweet most often (since it’s what I have on hand!). It has a good amount of depth and sweetness for ganache.
But…which type of semisweet chocolate is best?
To find out, I put four brands to the test: Costco, Ghirardelli, Hershey’s, and Nestle. (Spoiler alert: Ghirardelli is usually my favorite tasting brand, but I was surprised by the results when I tested it side-by-side with other brands!)
I used each of these brands of semisweet chocolate chips to make chocolate ganache without cream, then I evaluated how the ganache turned out based on four different criteria. Without further ado:
Flavor (blind taste test!)
This is the biggie! Above all else, you want your chocolate ganache to taste good.
- Costco: I ranked this #1 in my blind taste test; chocolately, rich, and creamy. It was a VERY close tie to Ghiradelli (which I will say I can taste the difference in cookies and Ghiradelli wins when eating them “plain”).
- Ghirardelli: This had a quality chocolate flavor and creamy texture. Can never go wrong with Ghiradelli.
- Hershey’s: This ganache was sweeter than the others, with a slightly weird aftertaste. Did not love.
- Nestle: Another one that was had a bit of a fake chocolate taste, and kind of nutty, too.
Firm in Fridge After 50 Minutes
Because no one wants to wait around for their ganache, I tested to see which has the best texture after 50 minutes in the fridge.
- Nestle (most firm)
Firm in Freezer After 50 minutes
What if you’re freezing the ganache? The results are similar to refrigerating.
- Nestle (most firm)
- Ghirardelli/Costco (tied in consistency & firmness)
Firm at Room Temperature After an Hour
And finally, here are the rankings for ganache at room temperature.
- Nestle (thickest)
🏆 The Results?
If you’re going for firmness, Nestle and Ghiradelli worked the best. If you’re going for flavor alone, Ghiradelli or Costco brand tasted the best (in my opinion). If you want a happy medium between the two, I’d go with the tried and true Ghiradelli 🏆. While it shockingly didn’t beat Costco in my blind taste test, it did rank the highest for firmness and flavor.
The Best Butter for Ganache Without Cream
There’s not all that much to say here, but I will note that you should use real butter (not margarine) since it’s replacing the butterfat from the cream. If it’s not gvood enough to spread on a slice of bread, it’s not going to taste good in your chocolate ganache!
The Best Milk for Making Chocolate Ganache
Whole milk is your best bet, but if you need to make chocolate ganache without cream because you’re in a bind, you might just have to use whatever you have on hand in the fridge.
That’s okay, because 2% and 1% milk will work too! Just keep in mind that the ganache won’t be as firm, so you’ll need to refrigerate or freeze it so it sets.
Although I haven’t tried it myself, readers have reported successfully using coconut, almond, and other nut milks when they’ve made this ganache for my Homemade Cosmic Brownies recipe!
How to Make Ganache Without Heavy Cream:
This is just an overview showing step-by-step photos, click here to jump down to full recipe card with exact instructions.
Step 1: Prep the Chocolate and Butter
Cut the butter into pieces and place it in a medium-sized mixing bowl with the chocolate chips.
Step 2: Warm the Milk
In a separate bowl or large liquid measuring cup, warm milk in the microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes, or until it begins to bubble.
If you prefer, you can warm up the milk in a saucepan on the stovetop; once the milk begins to steam, it’s done.
Tip: It’s important that the measuring cup or bowl is at least three times taller than the milk line, as it will expand when heating and can easily overflow. You don’t want a milk explosion in your microwave!
Step 3: Pour the Milk Over the Chocolate and Butter
Use an oven mitt to carefully remove milk from the microwave. Pour the milk over the chocolate chips and butter. Let it sit for about 3 minutes, then use a whisk to stir everything together.
Tip: It may take a minute or two for the chocolate ganache to come together; it often looks separated at first.
Step 4: Use!
Cool the ganache for about 30 minutes, then use it! It’s great for drizzling over my Giant Thin Mint Cookie Cake, Triple Chocolate Cookie Cake, or Homemade Cosmic Brownies!
Tip: Because milk doesn’t harden as well as heavy cream, you will need to refrigerate the ganache to get it to set. Note that the photo of my cosmic brownies below is of the ganache after being in the fridge.
Storage & Freezing
Storing: Refrigerate, covered, and let the ganache come to room temperature before stirring and using again. You can microwave it in 10 second increments to reheat and add a splash of milk if needed.
Freezing: You can transfer the ganache to a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze it for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator before using (you will also likely need to restir).
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can you make ganache with milk?
Yes, that’s what I’m here to show you! Chocolate ganache can be made with milk and butter instead of heavy cream. Just keep in mind that the consistency will be a little different—when you make a chocolate ganache recipe without cream, it will be softer at room temperature.
How can I thicken chocolate ganache without heavy cream?
If you feel your ganache is too thin, you have two options. First, you can pop it in the freezer or refrigerator to set up a bit. Second, you could stir in more chocolate chips or try adding something like coconut oil.
For more recipes with BIG chocolate flavor:
Chocolate Ganache Without Cream
This milk chocolate ganache is made without cream! A combination of butter, milk, and chocolate chips are all you need for rich, fudgy homemade ganache. Note that because we're using milk vs. cream, it won't be as firm at room temperature as traditional ganahce. Makes enough to cover a 9×13 pan of brownies.
- 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (i.e. 12 ounce bag) *see notes section below for notes on certain brands; we found Ghiradelli or Nestle Toll House brands firmed up the best.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter chopped into small cubes
- ½ cup whole milk (you can also use 2% or 1% but the ganache will be less firm so you will need to refrigerate and/or freeze brownies so the frosting sets; see notes below)
Before you begin! If you make this, will you do me a huge favor and leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe? This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
Before you begin: Note that the ganache will not completley "harden" as a traditional ganache with heavy cream would. See notes section below for tips & tricks, as well as an alternate recipe using heavy cream.
In a medium-sized bowl, place chocolate chips and chopped butter.
In a separate medium-sized bowl or large liquid measuring cup, heat milk in the microwave for 1 ½ – 2 minutes, or until it begins to bubble (it’s important that your measuring cup or bowl is at least 3x taller than the milk line, as it will expand when it’s heating and can easily overflow). You can also heat this on the stove; remove it once it begins to steam.
Use a hot pad to carefully remove milk from the microwave and pour over the chocolate chips and butter (do not stir yet!). Allow to sit for about 3 minutes, then use a whisk to stir until smooth and creamy. It may take a minute or two for it to come together; it often looks separated at first. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes before using.
Storage: Refrigerate, covered, and let the ganache come to room temperature before stirring and using again. You can microwave it in 10 second increments to reheat and add a splash of milk if needed.
Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe! This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
Will the ganache harden? Since we’re doing a simple ganache using butter & milk, the ganache won’t be as “hard’ at room temperature as a traditional ganache would be.
Can I use 2% or 1% milk instead of whole milk? We knew you’d ask, so we tested the ganache with both! Both actually work just fine, but if you don’t use whole milk, the ganache won’t be quite as firm.
A note on chocolate chip brands: The brand you use in the ganache will impact how firm it will set in the fridge. We tested this ganache using 4 different common semi-sweet chocolate chip brands. Nestle Toll House was #1 in producing the firmest ganache, Ghiradelli #2, Hershey’s #3, Costco brand #4. All are comparable taste-wise (see my critical taste test in the post above!) but do firm up a bit differently. Ghiradelli won the overall test for flavor & firmness.
Nutrition is just an estimate and calculated with an automated system; based on 24 servings.
So simple I can’t believe I never made ganache before.
Alice Thomas says
This was easy to make. Thank you so much! I wanted to use this to crumb coat my cake
Holly Hussey says
I needed Ganache for my flourless chocolate cake, but I didn’t have heavy cream. I was thrilled to find your recipe. I just finished topping my cake with it. The Ganache tastes delicious, and the texture was much better than I expected. It’s going to be delicious!