Chocolatiering DIY Chocolate Making

How to Make Chocolate at Home (3 Methods)

how make chocolate at home

So, you’ve decided to start learning chocolate making at home? Excellent! In this introductory ‘How Make Chocolate at Home 101’ article, we introduce you to three methods to make homemade chocolate, from very easy to advanced bean-to-bar.

Learning to craft your own chocolate at home is a rewarding activity, that you can share with friends and family, or simply enjoy for yourself. Like other cooking crafts such as brewing or fermenting, chocolate-making is a multifaceted artform that gives you the choice of delving deep into complex food science, or stay on the surface and still have a lot of fun making some sweet treats without ever knowing the intricacies of roasting times and alpha crystals.

While this freedom to explore the craft of chocolate-making as deeply or lightly as you want is refreshing, it does make the question ‘how to make a chocolate at home?’ very difficult to answer. That’s because it depends on your level of cooking knowledge, willingness to learn some new culinary skills, and how much time you have available to learn and make the chocolate itself. It also depends on the quality of the chocolate you want to make.

Authentic, bean-to-bar chocolate takes time, skill and patience to craft. Meanwhile, a chocolate treat made with cocoa powder and coconut oil can be done within an hour, but while it will satisfy your sweet tooth it certainly isn’t professional-grade chocolate. Either is fine, it just depends on what you want to achieve. Let’s look at the options.

How to Make a Chocolate at Home: Overview

Do you want to learn how to make real chocolate, or something easy and fun for the kids?

If you want to learn some quick hacks to make a tasty chocolate-like thing from cocoa, that’s totally fine. So is crafting chocolate from raw cacao beans using bean-to-bar methods. At Chocolatiering we cater to both ends of the spectrum.

Here are our three methods for how to make a chocolate at home:

Next, I’ll give you an overview of each method, so you can decide which one is best for you. I also share links to our tutorials for each method, so you can get straight into making.

EASY: How to Make Chocolate at Home with Cocoa Powder

  • Difficulty: Easy, fast to prepare (30 minutes)
  • Suitable for: Kids, school and family activities. Anyone with limited or no cooking experience.
  • Equipment: No special equipment required

The basic steps for making quick and easy chocolate from cocoa powder are:

  1. Mix cocoa powder, oil, sweetener and flavors
  2. Pour chocolate mixture into a mold

Making chocolate from cocoa powder is by far the easiest way of making ‘chocolate’ at home, but it is also the least authentic. The ‘chocolate’ you get from this method will not resemble real chocolate, but something more like chocolate icing or a soft fudge. To be honest, I’m uncomfortable calling this chocolate at all, since it is more like a cocoa treat.

easy chocolate making at home

Nonetheless, it’s a great one to make with kids, or for anyone without much cooking experience, because the steps are very simple and it uses basic ingredients and tools that you probably already have. With little more than a bowl and a spoon, cocoa, oil, sweetener and flavorings, you can pull together a sweet chocolate treat in almost no time.

While the recipe we’ve shared here is very simple and straightforward, you can make it a little more like real chocolate by substituting the coconut oil with food-grade cocoa butter, and powdered sugar for the honey. But if you’re thinking of doing that, then you may as well buy a bag of cacao nibs, too, and give the next method a try.

Full Recipe: How to Make Chocolate from Cocoa Powder, by Elily Temam

How to Make Dark Chocolate from Cocoa Powder (Easy)

INTERMEDIATE: How Make Chocolate at Home using Cacao Nibs

  • Difficulty: Some difficult steps, requires patience (2-3 hours).
  • Suitable for: Intermediate-advanced home cooks; Aspiring chocolate-makers and chocolatiers.
  • Equipment: Coffee grinder; Chocolate grinder/melanger/conche recommended.

The basic steps for how make chocolate at home from cacao nibs are:

  1. Process cacao nibs into cacao powder (using coffee grinder)
  2. Grind cocoa powder with sugar, milk powder, cocoa butter and flavors until smooth (using chocolate grinder)
  3. Temper and mold the chocolate.

If you’re looking for a more authentic style of chocolate, without committing to bean-to-bar making, then using cacao nibs is a good option. Making chocolate from cacao nibs is closer to bean-to-bar chocolate making, but you can skip the extra work and time involved in fermenting and roasting the raw cacao beans.

how make chocolate at home cacao nibs

This is also the time to decide how serious you are about this chocolate-making hobby, and whether you want to invest in some chocolate-making equipment. This is because, to get good chocolate results from this point onward, you’ll need some specialist gear. Specifically, a chocolate grinder, with we discuss a bit further down in more detail.

Aside from acquiring a machine for grinding, the other challenge with this technique is tempering your chocolate. Tempering chocolate correctly requires time and patience to learn, but is one of those essential skills for making professional quality chocolate. If you’re going to this level of effort to make chocolate, then it’s worth learning how to temper it properly, too. Next, we’ll look at bean-to-bar chocolate making.

Full Recipe: How to Make Chocolate from Cacao Nibs, by Simon Knott

How to Make Chocolate From Cacao Nibs

ADVANCED: How Make Chocolate at Home Bean-to-Bar

  • Difficulty: Several tricky steps, requires patience and time (up to several weeks)
  • Suitable for: Intermediate-advanced home cooks; Aspiring chocolate-makers and chocolatiers; Professional chefs.
  • Equipment: Coffee grinder; Chocolate grinder/melanger/conche recommended.

Lastly we come to the final and most authentic manner of making chocolate, which is bean-to-bar. Making bean-to-bar chocolate is a true artform, and requires significant dedication, time and patience to both learn and carry out each step. Learning how make chocolate at home from bean-to-bar should be treated in the same manner as learning a new hobby or craft, such as woodworking. Anyone can learn the craft if they put the time and effort into understanding, practicing and doing it, but you can’t expect to make a beautifully crafted wooden cabinet overnight. Instead, you need to learn each individual step, starting small and working up to bigger projects incrementally, and there will certainly be some fails along the way.

bean to bar chocolate making at home

Fortunately, with bean-to-bar chocolate-making, there are several different points at which you can choose to begin, so you don’t bite off more than you can chew. For instance, the full bean-to-bar chocolate making process technically begins with harvesting and fermenting the cacao beans (even growing them yourself, if you’re really serious). However, when learning how make chocolate at home using the bean-to-bar method, you can buy some already roasted cacao beans and craft your chocolate from that. That way you can focus on grinding, tempering and molding the chocolate. When you’re ready, you can go back and learn how to roast the cacao beans, and how to ferment using raw cacao pods.

Unless you’re an experienced chef or highly motivated, we suggest you begin with making chocolate from cacao nibs, or if you really want to get into bean-to-bar, then start with some roasted cacao beans. While bean-to-bar is certainly the most advanced method for how make chocolate at home, it will yield the most authentic and impressive results with practice.

Full Recipe: How to Make Chocolate with Cocoa Beans (Bean-to-Bar), by Chef Prish

How to Make Chocolate with Cocoa Beans (Bean to Bar)

Equipment Needed to Make Chocolate at Home

To start making homemade chocolate, you will of course need some equipment. Thankfully, most of the equipment you need to learn how make chocolate at home are common kitchen implements, or inexpensively available from your local cookware store. There is, however, one piece of heavy equipment that you cannot get by without if you want to make ‘real’ chocolate, and that is a chocolate grinder, also known as a chocolate conche or melanger. But don’t worry, you can buy small benchtop models for a few hundred dollars, so if you decide to get one, it won’t put you out of pocket too greatly.

Chocolate Grinder

To achieve the silky-smooth texture of chocolate you buy from the store, you’ll need the help of some heavy-duty equipment that can crush and grind the cacao for you. That piece of equipment is a chocolate grinder, also known as a melanger or conche.

If you’re making chocolate from cocoa powder, you can skip this. However, if you’re making chocolate from cacao nibs or bean-to-bar, then you need to know about chocolate grinders.

Why would I need a chocolate grinder?

Think of it like photography. Sure, you can take pretty good photos on your phone or tablet, which are fine for sharing with family and friends. However, to take the next step into creating photographs that you will sell or use for serious work such as graphic design, you need to buy a good camera. Good technique is important, but without the proper equipment you will never be able to produce exceptional photos.

The same goes for chocolate-making. The most physically challenging part of making chocolate is grinding, the process in which the cacao is ground with other ingredients until it resembles the smooth chocolate we know and love.

You can achieve OK results from grinding the cacao by hand in a mortar and pestle, however, the chocolate will be gritty… and your arm will ache from all that physical work.

Can you use a food processor instead of a chocolate grinder?

No, you cannot use a food processor or coffee grinder to replace a chocolate grinder.

Food processors and coffee grinders chop food into small particles, but what we need is a device that crushes the particles into a paste, to release their fats and reduce the particles to a microscopic size that a food processor cannot achieve. Also, food processors are only intended to be used for short bursts. For making chocolate, we need a device that can grind for hours at a time. If you try to use your food processor for this, you’ll burn out the motor.

Are there any machines you can substitute for a chocolate grinder?

There is no common piece of kitchen machinery in the American or European home that can be used as a substitute for a chocolate grinder.

The closest equivalent is an Indian spice grinder machine, which is used to grind and crush spices to make spice pastes. If you have a spice grinder machine, then yes, you can use this as a substitute for a chocolate grinder.

While you can theoretically make chocolate by physically grinding cacao with a mortar and pestle, for the best results, you should get a spice grinder or chocolate grinder machine.

You can get a simple one for a couple of hundred dollars. For recommendations and buying tips, check out our article on how to choose a chocolate grinder for home use.

How Make Chocolate at Home SUMMARY

By now, you should have a good starting point for learning how make chocolate at home, using three different methods based on your time and level. Anyone can learn chocolate making at home, but for the more advanced techniques, it just requires a more commitment of time and effort to master, like any other hobby or craft.

This article has been an overview of the different methods for how to make a chocolate at home, and for more detailed guides please check out the tutorials for each method:

Article Author

  • Ayla Marika

    Ayla Marika is the founder and manager of the Chocolatiering website. She is a website producer, visual artist and graphic designer based in Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) from Curtin University of Technology and an Advanced Diploma of Public Relations from Canberra Institute of Technology. Her interests include permaculture, implementing self-sufficiency strategies on her small hobby farm, music, cooking, brewing, plant medicine and food activism. She is the author and illustrator of the critically acclaimed Amazon bestseller book How Food is Made: An illustrated guide to how everyday food is produced, and manager of Forssa Light Publishing.

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