Chocolatiering DIY Chocolate Making

Chocolate Panning by Hand: How to Guide

chocolate panning by hand tutorial guide

In this hands-on guide, chocolatier Simon Knott explains how to do chocolate panning by hand, using basic kitchen tools, to coat nuts, candies and other hard centers.

When it comes to coating chocolates, you have two methods: dipping or panning. We recently explained how to coat centers such as nuts and candies with chocolate using the dipping method. Today, we share another method for coating, which is chocolate panning by hand.

Simon Knott, award-winning chocolatier, will step you through the chocolate panning process, so you too can connect with this artisan ‘lost art’ to coat your nuts, candies and other hard centers.

Related Article: How to Make Chocolate Coating (Dipping Technique)

Chocolate Panning by Hand: How To Guide

By Simon Knott, Chocolatier

Panning chocolate by hand is one of the oldest artisan chocolate techniques. Numerous thin layers of tempered chocolate are applied around different centres, such as nuts, dried fruits, or candies. Originally, small-scale panning operations were widespread, but with the advent of efficient, larger commercial machines, there are now far fewer chocolate panners.

Even so, it is still easily achievable to produce quality hand-panned chocolates with the simplest ingredients and readily available equipment.

Chocolate Panning Ingredients & Tools



Use good quality milk or dark couverture chocolate. It is easier to temper, giving a more durable and shinier finish.

For help with choosing chocolate brands, check out our article on the Best Melting Chocolate.


The chocolate can be flavoured, for example, with vanilla or a liqueur; however, use only vanilla seeds or a small amount of liqueur as the alcohol in vanilla extract or liqueur can inhibit the tempering.

Pre-sealing the centre:

Fat in nuts and other centres can migrate into the chocolate coating over time, causing bloom and discolouration. However, the centres can be easily sealed with a caramelised syrup of sugar or honey and water before being coated in chocolate.


You can coat many different types of centres, such as nuts, dried fruits, freeze-dried fruits, or pieces of candy. Ideally, they should be nearly round to make the coating process more uniform.

Equipment for Chocolate Panning

  • A light, shallow, circular cake tin
  • A bowl for the tempered chocolate
  • A spoon to transfer the chocolate to the mixing tin
  • Disposable gloves
making panned chocolate by hand with a glossy finish is difficult
Making panned chocolate by hand with a glossy finish is difficult. For a glossy finish, you’d need a chocolate panner machine.

Chocolate Panning Instructions

1… Prepare the centres

Ensure the centre ingredients are clean and dry. Any excess moisture may cause the chocolate coating to seize.

If pre-sealing, make a syrup with 125 ml water and 60 g sugar and heat to 124° C. Dip the centres in the syrup so they are fully coated and then allow them to cool separately on parchment.

2… Temper the coating chocolate

Temper the coating chocolate according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Full instructions, check out our article on How to Temper Chocolate.

3… Chocolate panning

Transfer a small handful of the sealed nuts to the circular tray.

Using the spoon, drizzle a little tempered chocolate over the nuts as you roll the tray around with your other hand. This helps the nuts roll evenly in the melted chocolate to coat them.

The chocolate will soon start to set, so use your fingertips to dislodge the centres, allowing them to roll across the remaining melted chocolate.

Allow the chocolate on each centre to harden fully before adding another layer.

4… Repeat the chocolate panning, for more coats

Repeat the same process several times – slowly building up thicker layers around each centre.

You can use a spoon to keep the centres moving around the tray, but it’s often more effective using a bare or gloved hand, even though it’s messier. Minimise the handling of the chocolates, as the heat from your hand can affect the chocolate temper.

The aim is to build up numerous thin layers of chocolate rather than a few thick ones. This gives the chocolates a smoother finish at the end which is more appealing.

How to Create a Glossy Finish on Hand Panned Chocolate?

Creating a high gloss finish on a small quantity of hand-panned chocolates is complicated. However, briefly turning the chocolates in either sifted cocoa powder for dark and milk chocolates or powdered sugar for white chocolates creates an attractive finish.

Panned chocolate is complete

As with any chocolate product, panned chocolates are best stored in sealed containers in a cool, dry atmosphere away from sun and heat.

after chocolate panning is complete roll them in cocoa for an elegant finish
OPTIONAL: After chocolate panning is complete, lightly roll them in cocoa for an elegant finish.

For further reading and visual demonstrations:


That wraps up our how-to guide to chocolate panning by hand. We hope this tutorial from Simon Knott has given you a good starting point for making your own panned chocolate sweets at home.

If you’re loving the panned chocolate process, but want to step it up a notch, be sure to check out Simon’s article on Chocolate Panner Machines, with his tips for purchasing a chocolate panner and recommended brands/models for home use.

Lastly, if you want to try a different technique for coating your centers, head over to Chef Prish’s article on How to Make Chocolate Coating (Dipping Technique), using simple kitchen tools you may already own.

Happy chocolatiering!

Article Author

  • Simon Knott

    Simon Knott studied a BSc Hons in Catering Management, Food Science, and Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University and started writing in 2006, specialising in food and drink. He worked as Food & Drink Editor for two county magazines, interviewing chefs and local food producers. In 2010 Simon started a company making traditional fudges and chocolate products. The company quickly grew, supplying local outlets and Simon was awarded five Gold Great Taste Awards for his products. Simon recently completed a Diploma in Copywriting, and continues to write about food and drink, business and skiing.

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