How Do You Make Chocolate From Scratch?

Updated on January 31, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Did you know that with the right equipment, some instructions and some time you can make chocolate at home?

Absolutely! Imagine being able to give chocolate gifts, not just chocolates that you had melted and molded but super luxurious chocolates that you had controlled at every step, from roasting the beans to pouring the melted chocolate into the molds!

Making chocolate is a difficult craft but one almost anyone can learn if they will invest time and patience. If you are up for the challenge of experimenting and creating creamy chocolate on your own - read on! Flower of the cacao tree Flower of the cacao tree

Step 1: Choose the Beans

This is an important step. Like coffee, cacoa beans come in different varieties and flavors. There are four main varieties in use today.

The Criollo beans are the original beans that Christopher Columbus "discovered" in 1502The are grown in South America, these beans are considered to be the best for producing the finest in chocolates. They grow in a mild climate and require rich soil. The beans are highly aromatic and have low acid levels, helping to create an incredible, fine chocolate.

Forasteros come from the Amazon. These beans account for about 80 percent of the world's cacao production. They are not considered as fine as the Criollo because they produce a weak aroma and have a bitter taste prior to processing. After processing, however, they can create a fine end product. They have a higher yield than the Criollos and are more disease resistant.

Less common for chocolate making than the Forasteros and not as high quality as the Criollo, the Trinitario is a hybrid bean. This combines the superior taste of the Criollo with the more generous yields of the Forasteros. It is a hardier tree, and is grown in several areas including South America, and various Caribbean islands.

The Nacional is mostly cultivated west of the Andes. It is difficult to grow, partially because it is disease prone, but does have an excellent aroma. It is the least known or used of the cacao bean varieties in common use.

Within the types of beans there are differences according to the area it is grown and how it is harvested. Because there is an upsurge in interest in making chocolate from scratch there are more varieties of beans showing up.

You can find more of them in the resources in the blue box to the right.

A Cocoa Plantation

Step 2: Roasting

Cacao beans can be roasted in your oven at home. If you are going to do this as a hobby, though, you are probably going to want to invest in a roaster which you should be able to find for about $200.00 or so. Usually cacao beans can be roasted from 5-35 minutes in a 250-325 F oven.

Initially the beans should be at a higher temperature and the temperature should slowly be reduced. The roasting process should be stopped when the beans are "cracking", but before they start to burn. This is similar to the way coffee beans are roasted.

The cocoa beans will begin to crack as water vapor is released. This begins when the cocoa bean temperature is around 300F. At this point you will know that the roasting process is about done.

As with so many food related processes experience is the key to knowing when the beans are finished roasting. There should be no burnt smell.

When the beans are roasted and have cooled try slipping the husk from one. If the bean has been properly roasted the husk will slip off and the bean will have a roasted flavor without any burnt taste.

Step 3: Winnowing

Now it is time to remove the husk from the chocolate.

First crack the cacao bean and then blow the husk away. A coarse grinder will crack the husks or, if you plan on doing this more than once, you can purchase a special roller to crack the beans. You can also, if you are just experimenting, crack them with a hammer and use a blow dryer to blow the loose husks away. A meat grinder does not work.

At the Chocolate Alchemy site (link below) they have instructions for using a champion juicer. This step must be done before grinding the beans.

Step 4: Grinding

You can buy a special grinder for chocolate or use a Champion juicer. The instructions for using the juicer are at the Chocolate Alchemy site (link below). Do not use a grain grinder! You will ruin the grinder and the chocolate.

As you grind the cacao beans they will exude liqueur and pulp. Continue to pass the nibs through the grinder to remove more husk and refine the chocolate.


Step 4: Refining and Conching

You are almost finished.

The refining process is one of the most important parts of making your chocolate. This is where you will add milk, cocoa butter, lecithin, sugar and any other ingredients that you will be adding to your chocolate.

There is a special machine needed at this point. Many people use a Spectra 10 melanger. This is an extremely expensive specialty item that you may be able to find on eBay. I fyou have to pay full price for it plan on spending over $800.00. This is the machine that agitates and folds the chocolate for a long time. Depending on the beans, the type of chocolate you are making, and the texture you want the process can take anywhere from 12 hours to a couple of days.

Conching is used to remove the grittiness from the chocolate and turn it into that melt in your mouth luxury that everyone loves.

The World's Most Expensive Chocolate?

Image: Courtesy ESRF.Eu Normal chocolate on the left, chocolate that was tempered incorrectly and experienced "bloom" on the right.
Image: Courtesy ESRF.Eu Normal chocolate on the left, chocolate that was tempered incorrectly and experienced "bloom" on the right.


Bloom- The result of improper tempering chocolate. A dull, white film on the surface of the chocolate. The product is fine to eat.

Cacao Bean- the proper name for cocoa bean. Seeds from the pod of a Theobroma tree.

Chocolate Liquor-The ground up center or nib of the cocoa bean in a smooth, liquid state. This occurs during the grinding process. It contains no alcohol.

Chocolatier- Person who makes chocolate

Conching Chocolate-Putting the chocolate through a machine which is constantly agitates the chocolate, thereby achieving desirable flavors and liquefying the refined chocolate mass.

Fondant- A mixture of sugar, water and corn syrup used in the production of creamy-textured confectionery for chocolate centers.

Lecithin- A natural emulsifier made from soy beans, used to stabilize the fats and improve the texture of chocolate.

Molded Chocolate- individual chocolates or chocolate shapes made by pouring melted, tempered chocolate into molds and allowing it to set.

Nib- The center (meat) of the cocoa bean

Tempering-Preparing chocolate by cooling and heating so that it will solidify with a stable cocoa butter crystal formation.

Step 5: Tempering the Chocolate

Tempering changes the texture of the finished product as well as adding a glossy finish to your chocolate. Proper tempering will also prevent chocolate from producing "bloom" after a few days.. Bloom is the whitish discoloration that sometimes develops on chocolate.Although it is unsightly and may make the texture somewhat gritty it does not affect the taste.

Tempering brings the cocoa butter to the place where it is most stable and will have the longest shelf life with the best quality. It is important that it is done properly and that no water comes in contact with the chocolate during the process. Moisture will cause it to clump (also called seizing) and the damage is irreversible. You can invest in a special machine to temper chocolate or you can do it yourself with careful attention to the temperature.

Tempering Chocolate by Hand

To temper chocolate by hand you will need to melt it carefully. Chocolate Alchemy recommends using no less than one and one half pounds for best results. . The temperature should be between 110 and 120 degrees F. You can melt the chocolate by putting it in a gas oven with a pilot light on for a few hours or by using a double boiler.

If you use the double boiler be very careful that no water splashes into the chocolate or all your hard work will be wasted.

  1. Be sure that the water is simmering but not touching the bottom of the melting pan.
  2. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted.
  3. Maintain the chocolate at 95-100 degrees as you begin the next tempering process.
  4. Using a marble slab pour some of the chocolate out on the slab and begin working it back and forth with a rubber spatula for about 15 minutes or until the chocolate reaches 82-85 degrees. It will be thickened.
  5. At this point you will add more of the warm, 100 degree chocolate and begin the process of working it again.
  6. Carefully stir it back into the chocolate that is being held at 100 degrees.
  7. Stir gently and slowly so you don't introduce air into the melted chocolate.
  8. Check the temperature. It should now be between 90-92 degrees. Do not let it go over 92 degrees.
  9. The chocolate is now tempered and ready to pour into molds. If you find that there is a problem the tempering process can be repeated.

Tempering Chocolate in a Microwave

You can temper chocolate in a microwave if you are careful.

  1. Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave uncovered on medium (50 percent) power for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the amount.
  2. Using a rubber spatula, stir the chocolate gently after a minute and a half.
  3. Continue microwaving in increasingly shorter time increments, and stirring, until most of the chocolate is melted.
  4. Place the bowl on the work surface and continue stirring until the chocolate is smooth and shiny.

Tempering and Refining Chocolate

Step 6: Molding and Dipping

To Mold: You can use almost anything to mold your chocolate. Plastic molds are available at many craft stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby, as well as online at stores like Wilton. You can also find antique tin molds in fascinating shapes and patterns.

Carefully pour the melted chocolate into your chosen mold, using a syringe, a small ladle or a spoon. Tap to get any air bubbles out of the chocolate and place in the refrigerator until hard. For hollow chocolates you would remove the mold when there was a thick outside layer and pour the still melted chocolate out of the mold.

To Dip: While chocolate is in a liquid state carefully dip your chosen centers in it. You can dip the center first in dark chocolate and let it set, and then dip in milk chocolate, or vice versa, for an interesting coating.

Centers for Dipped Chocolate

Truffle- Bring ½ cup cream just to the boil. Remove from heat and add 8 ounces chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth. Chill until firm. Round into balls with a melon baller and, using a dipping fork, dip in melted chocolate. Refrigerate.

Earl Grey Truffle: Heat cream as above but then steep 2 Earl Grey tea bags (or loose tea) in it for 20 minutes. Remove tea bag (or strain) and heat just to the boil again and proceed as above.

Coffee: Proceed as above but substituting coffee for tea.



Fondant is one of the most popular centers for chocolates. It is a little tricky to make but with some practice you can make smooth, sweet fondant centers just like the professionals.


  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Combine the first five ingredients in heavy pan and place over low heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils.
  2. Cover and cook 3 minutes and then remove cover and cook without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 240F.
  3. Without scraping pan pour fondant onto a marble slab. Add butter, but do not stir. Let sit until center of fondant is lukewarm.
  4. Beat with a broad spatula or (clean!)putty knife until the fondant is white and creamy. Use a pushing motion to turn it over and fold it into itself from underneath.
  5. When it is cool enough, knead the fondant with your hands until completely smooth.
  6. Add vanilla and knead it into the fondant. Cover and let ripen in the refrigerator at least 24 hours before using.

How Good Is This Fondant?

4 stars from 1 rating of Homemade Fondant Center

Most of All-

Most of all have fun! Chocolate making, like anything else, is a learning experience. It is an unusual hobby that could lead to many other opportunities. Who knows, perhaps your recipe will be the next luxury chocolate!

Questions & Answers


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      • howlermunkey profile image

        Jeff Boettner 

        5 years ago from Tampa, FL

        Could you imagine roasting your own beans?..

        Sounds like fun and I bet the house smells fantastic.

      • donmanual profile image


        6 years ago from Playa del Carmen, Mexico

        Very tasty hub. ;)

      • kayyluh profile image


        6 years ago

        Very informative hub! Nice job Mary. I really enjoyed reading about how to make your own chocolate, I have always wanted to learn and now I can. Fascinating is all I can say about how to make your own chocolate. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, it will definitely come into good use in my kitchen. Keep up the great work:) Voted up!

      • LHpyFace profile image


        6 years ago from Lompoc, California (Central California Coast)

        Wow, fasinating info about DIY chocolate! I recently posted a Hub about being a Chocoholic, so your Hub was right up my alley. Thanx for sharing all this info.

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        very lish

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        Okay, I think this is a great hub but, if I want to make chocolate, what amounts of milk and cocoa butter should I use and how can I extract the cocoa butter from the chocolate liquor?

      • That Grrl profile image

        Laura Brown 

        6 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

        I don't think I'd ever do all this but I love to have read about it. Funny how often I land on a post from you when I look up something interesting on HubPages. :)

      • Trudy Chappell profile image

        Trudy Chappell 

        6 years ago from Gloucestershire UK

        Thank you for this hub. I wondered why my homemade chocolate never looked as good as other chocolate. Now I know what I've missed out. Great hub. Voted up.

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        that sounds so Yum!

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        Interesting article, but the home chocolate maker cannot afford a conching machine, and I can't think of a substitute that would work. Better to try making home made chocolates with a base product that has already been conched. No?

      • profile image

        Daniel, Nigeria. 

        6 years ago

        Great and interesting info.

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        i too think its gr8 n i will try

      • profile image

        chocolate lover 

        7 years ago

        i love chocolate so going to try and make it.

        thamks for your help


      • profile image


        7 years ago

        i really love thius chocolate wanna make it but i cant find that cocoa beans in mongolia ;{

      • profile image

        RUBY BENGOA 

        7 years ago


      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Hi i realy love chocholate and i will make the chocholate

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Thank a lot

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        thanks for all the info great hub. i am so interested in working with chocolate and tired of using the melts this could be dangerous!

      • pepsharada profile image


        7 years ago from Hyderabad

        looking a the pictures i feel i should make it today itself. thanku for the posting.

      • almasi profile image


        7 years ago

        A very thorough hub. Thanks for the inspiration.

      • WillSteinmetz profile image


        7 years ago

        WOw, Great Idea, thanks for sharing this.

      • celeBritys4africA profile image


        7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

        I like the idea. A very useful hub.

      • profile image

        Oreoluwa Deru 

        7 years ago

        IT IS DEADLY!!!!!!!

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        really helpful but way to complicated for me, i cant be bothered doin all that. But thanks Hub for the ideas, i may just trie it one day.

      • fbolbol profile image


        7 years ago

        This is really a great hub, great job! But it sounds too complicated to me. I would rather just buy the chocolate readymade.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        wth im so confussed :O

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        after reading about the whole process, I feel like tasting the end product!

      • profile image

        teacher in China 

        7 years ago

        You cannot imagine how I love chocolate, and here in China it is difficult to get good chocolate. Thanks.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Thanks for the info, would like to know how you cool it to maintain the temper

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Great article! Very informative! I can't wait to try it out!

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        i would like something less complicated !

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Nice! seems like it takes a while but well worth waiting 4! thanks!

      • PaperNotes profile image


        7 years ago

        Awesome and yummy hub!

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Devine with capital letter Passionate and mad bout your heres a tip for the Man, everytime you upset your lady, you can make your very own personal style choc, she will definetly forgive you.........lolz...after all this will the be cheapest way to your expensive mistake, Own your own chocolate factory from home...enjoy it...tem chocolate, raw from Gods Green Plants...

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Yum Yum I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LlLOoOVvVEeE chocolate.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        really usefull

      • profile image

        not good fondant 

        8 years ago

        I have just finished making my fondant. Its not good. it didn't turn out white as i wanted it to be. and it beacame greasy and soft.i have added powder confec sugar to make it a a dough. if i didn't it woulld have been worse.

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        im ten and you just helped me with my new gifted and talented project thanks

      • kezan98 profile image

        Kerrie Giles 

        8 years ago from UK

        excellent hub, makes me want to eat chocolate now though

      • profile image

        fm transmitter 

        8 years ago

        When I pass here,I found it's benefit for me.Thank you !

      • telltale profile image


        8 years ago

        I was looking for an article on how to make chocolate, and found it through Google - did not check hubpages first, unfortunately. You really put up a fantastic hub with so much details on the process. Don't think it's complicated, complex perhaps, but doable, with the right equipment (which I don't have at present). My problem may be getting the cocoa beans. :) Thank you for the Great Hub!

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        thanks for the resipe how a good day

      • profile image


        8 years ago from Who knows?

        I LOVE chocolate and look forward to making my own now!

      • profile image

        alice gorgia lannexs 

        8 years ago

        hi im alice im 31 years of age i have two children a boy and a girl[twins] they are 11 years old me my husband and my two kids love making your choclate truffle even better eating it. so thank you so much for putting a smile on our faces . we cant wait to make your grasshoper cream pie tonight so again thank you. 2010 2nd july .alice !!!!

      • 2patricias profile image


        8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

        We had no idea it was possible to make chocolate at home. This is an amazing hub, and we will put up a link from our hub "Chocolate for all Occasions" - hope you don't mind.

      • stars439 profile image


        8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

        Very interesting and useful information. GBY

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        If making dark chocolate, what would be the quantities and proportions of other ingredients to add like lecithin, sugar, vanilla and cocoa butter? Is it just a guess or is there a recipe?

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        Wow that looks yummy and i will enjoy it because i love chocolate and anything that has to do with it

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        this is the most informative page ive found on making chocolate. im sure if your trying to match quality of Herhey or Cadbury this is the way to go. still, there hs to be a mor primitive way of making chocolate. they sure as heck didn't have machines to do all this in the 18th 0r 19th century, so how did they do it?

      • profile image

        Balogun Temitope Misturat 

        8 years ago

        Ifeel like like having some chocolate right now

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        wow awsome chocolate recipe it tastes really good

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        I will never come on this web site again oh n hay u did a great job at explaining jk u ned 2 mak it ezy

      • GmaGoldie profile image

        Kelly Kline Burnett 

        8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

        Love chocolate - love your photos and video! Great Hub!

      • earl.depolennche profile image


        8 years ago from Sta. Fe, New Mexico

        very informative!

      • profile image

        APRIL SMITH 

        8 years ago


      • nettech profile image


        8 years ago from London (UK)

        What a fantastic hub,

        Now I'm certainly not a cook, it takes time to even make toast so this hub definately helped me to get motivated and get myself in the kitchen. I honestly didnt know that you could make chocolate like this, since everybody loves chocolate I think Im going to get more involved in the kitchen....looking forward to more eye opening hubs.

        Keep it up

        Zaheer :-)

      • Greenheart profile image


        8 years ago from Cambridge

        Interesting hub.

        Thanks a lot.

        Happy Christmas.


      • RTalloni profile image


        8 years ago from the short journey

        Oh my. Can I come live at your house?

        Your hubs are informative and thorough. So glad I found them!

        Will be your fan in 2 seconds.

      • profile image


        9 years ago

        Wow ... I just love chocalates .... and I love this recipe ...

        Thanks for it ...

        Keep the goood work up .... and post more ....

      • profile image


        9 years ago

        We love chocolate too and this is great information to make some very good chocolate.

      • profile image


        9 years ago

        wow very interesrting where do i find coacoa beans

      • profile image

        Frank McMullan 

        9 years ago

        A recipe I think I am going to try.

      • profile image


        9 years ago

        Melanger can be used to grind the cocoa nibs into chocolate liquor. It also conches in additon to grinding. You can buy them from or

      • profile image

        mirta negroni 

        9 years ago

        I love chocolate and will try to do it.

        Very interesting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • profile image


        9 years ago

        wow i dont understand a bit of what you said...

      • earnestshub profile image


        9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

        I can barely boil water, so after reading your fantastic hub I am off to the local chocolate shop! I toured the Hershy chocolate factory once, and that was great, but I sure ate a lot of chocolate. We have wonderful chocolate in Australia, but unlike our intrepid lissie I have not visited the Cadbury factory. I get cravings for certain chocolates, and I should be fat with the amount of chocolate I eat.

        Love it love it love it!

      • 397268 profile image


        9 years ago

        Great to see how it's done. Though probably a little complicated for me to do it at home.

      • Denny Lyon profile image

        Denny Lyon 

        9 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

        Wonderful hub! - blogging this on over to my chocolate blog for the serious chocolate folks who will enjoy this one, thanks, so glad to find it! Great tutorial.

      • Hendrika profile image


        9 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

        We had a little chocolate business once. I never tried making it from scratch though. One day when I have more time I'm really going to try this, it looks really fun and rewarding.

      • nancydodds1 profile image


        9 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Nice recipe! Thankyou.

      • profile image


        9 years ago


      • betherickson profile image


        9 years ago from Minnesota

        what a very nice piece of information! great hub! thumbs up!

      • profile image


        9 years ago

        Informative article, but what about chocolate liquor? I have read on other sites that after your Step 4, Grinding, the liquor is Pressed to remove most of the cocoa butter. This is the step I'm interested in the most, because I want to leave in a lot more of the cocoa butter, or does it have to be added back in later?

      • blessedmommy profile image

        Carisa Gourley 

        9 years ago from Oklahoma City Metro, Oklahoma

        WOW! This hub is amazing! I didn't realize so much went into the yummy stuff. Thanks for filling us in. ~ And out ;)

      • Geneva Vinas profile image

        Geneva Vinas 

        9 years ago from Wisconsin

        Earl Grey truffles sound lovely - subtle and classy.

      • profile image 

        9 years ago

        scratch dipping milkchocolate that will harden for toffee

      • profile image


        9 years ago

        specific quantities? otherwise very interesting, thanx.

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        love chocolate, parents own a cocoa plantation but dont know anything bout making chocolate..great info!!

      • profile image

        How to chocolate guru 

        10 years ago

        I also love chocolate. And excellent lens by the way.

      • profile image

        Homemade Chocolate 

        10 years ago

        Hello, I am a big fan of homemade chocolate. I just love chocolate.

        I must tell you, your lens is awesome. Lots of great tips, very informative and also impressively detailed. Great job.

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        very informitive . thanks.those noka truffles looked soo good;p

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        this so helped me on my speech

      • lio_mess profile image


        10 years ago

        Chocolate is very delicious, i have recipes of CHOCOLATE BLANC-MANGE and CHOCOLATE CREAM RENVERSEE. Have you tried?

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        How much milk nad cocoa butter do u need to put in?

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        This website is great i would rate it over i million This helped me with my 5 to pages of essay.

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        that looks gr8. thanks 4 posting this. ive been searching for how to make chocolate from scratch, but haven't found information anywhere else. very thoughtful of you!

      • Bobbi Payne profile image

        Bobbi Payne 

        10 years ago from Chicago

        Very informative and well thought out. Scharffen Berger and Dagoba both have been acquired by Hershey. I am interested to see how it affect the gourmet chocolate industry.

      • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

        Marye Audet 

        10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

        Someone...sorry to have made it complicated. Here is the easy method.

        Go buy a Hersheys.

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        Why do you have to make it so complicated. Please just make it simple for once will you.

      • kismet1403 profile image


        10 years ago from philippines

        wow... and all the while i thought that our cacao trees are useless... thanks!

      • cgull8m profile image


        10 years ago from North Carolina

        Chocaholic Marye :), this will be pure heaven making the chocolate from scratch and making great dishes out of it.

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        Fabulous Hub...really interesting facts about Chocolate..of which I am a huge fan, unfortunately!!

      • Lissie profile image

        Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

        10 years ago from New Zealand

        Closest Igot to this was touring the Cadbury's chocloate factory in Hobart, Tasmania Nice hub!

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        yuuuummmyyy,i will try it,gr8 hub,Keep it up.

      • gabriella05 profile image


        10 years ago from Oldham

        yum yum hmmmm yummy I can just test it. Nice hub

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        Ummm, I love chocolates and this recipes... are going to make me fat .. before Christmas !! Great Chocolates Hub !

      • MrMarmalade profile image


        10 years ago from Sydney

        This is something I want to experiment with


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