Luscious & glossy vegan chocolate ganache can be yours in 5 minutes and 4 ingredients with this foolproof formula.
Just heat coconut milk with bittersweet chocolate and whisk for a deep, dark, gooey chocolate topping for cakes and cupcakes – or for licking off of spoons, you do you! Swirl this over coconut flour chocolate cake or pipe it on coconut flour cupcakes for dairy-free chocolate dessert bliss. Includes a paleo-friendly option.
If you prefer less-sweet frosting but can't ever get enough chocolate, let me introduce you to your new cake topping BFF: coconut milk chocolate ganache.
Made with loads of dark chocolate emulsified into enough liquid to make it creamy, ganache can be poured over cakes, piped or swirled over cupcakes or brownies, chilled and rolled into truffles, or simply eaten by the spoonful for those of us with no shame.
Ganache is traditionally made with heavy cream (or creme fraiche ganache!), but for this easy vegan ganache, full-fat coconut milk stands in seamlessly. This ganache doesn't taste at all like coconut, but the subtle floral flavor of the coconut milk enhances the fruity notes in the chocolate. Plus it's dairy-free for those of us with sensitivities.
I add a splash of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to up the flavors. And sometimes I add a slug of liqueur such as dark rum or GF whiskey if I'm feeling saucy.
Here's what one reader had to say about this recipe:
“This frosting was so decadent and rich! I needed a dairy free cake frosting and this was so simple.”—Lindy
Ingredients & Substitution Suggestions
Just a few pantry ingredients go into this dairy-free ganache.
- Full-fat canned coconut milk forms the liquid base. Be sure to use unsweetened coconut milk; I tested this with Thai Kitchen organic coconut milk. If your room-temperature coconut milk is chunky, pour the whole can into a saucepan, place over low heat, and stir until it's smooth and well-combined. Then measure out what you need and proceed with the recipe.
- Other plant milks such as oat and almond milk can be used, but since most are lower in fat than coconut milk, you'll need to use less milk so that the ganache doesn't become too watery. Try starting with half the amount and add more as needed. You can also add a tablespoon or two of plant-based butter for extra richness if you like.
- Bittersweet chocolate adds loads of chocolate flavor and sets the ganache softly. Choose a chocolate with a cacao mass of 70-75% for the correct set. I tested this recipe with Raaka Maple baking chocolate discs (75%) and Hu gems (70%). Both are free of refined sugar and make this ganache paleo as well as vegan.
- If using a chocolate with a lower cacao mass, you’ll need to increase the amount of chocolate to help the ganache firm up when cool. If using chocolate with a higher cacao mass, you’ll need to add more coconut milk so that the ganache will be soft.
- Vanilla extract and a pinch of salt sharpen the flavors. These can be left off if you prefer.
How to Make Chocolate Ganache with Coconut Milk
This recipe takes just a few minutes of active time plus a bit of cooling time to make. The recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of ganache which is enough to frost a single-layer 8 or 9-inch cake, and the recipe is easy to increase for larger cakes.
Here's how to make delicious vegan chocolate ganache in just a few simple steps.
Tips for Shiny, Glossy Ganache
Some ganache recipes use corn syrup or butter to add shine to the finished ganache. I keep it simple and don't add either. But here's a trick I learned at my first pastry chef job:
If the ganache has cooled and become matte, just before serving, wave a small kitchen torch or crème brûlée torch over the dessert, 6-8 inches away from the ganache. It will return the glossy sheen to the surface of the ganache. Just take care not to burn the ganache, as chocolate is sensitive to heat.
Variations between brands of chocolate and coconut milk can effect the consistency of the ganache. Here are two ways to fix your ganache if it turns out either too thick or too thin.
- If the ganache is too thick: gently melt the ganache over a water bath (or in a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over the lowest possible heat), stirring frequently. Add more coconut milk to thin the ganache. Let it cool again and check for consistency.
- If the ganache is too thin: gently melt the ganache over a water bath (or in a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over the lowest possible heat), stirring frequently. Add more chocolate and stir or whisk until smooth. Let it cool again and check for consistency.
How to Enjoy your Perfect Vegan Chocolate Ganache
This versatile ganache can be used on lots of different recipes. Here are a few favorites:
- Swirl it over cakes such as coconut flour chocolate cake (shown here), gluten-free banana cake, or gluten-free chocolate bundt cake.
- Pipe it over coconut flour cupcakes (also shown in this post).
- Spread it between warm almond flour crepes with berries or sliced bananas.
- Drizzle it over brownies.
- Chill and roll it into truffles.
- Melt it into warm almond milk for quick hot chocolate.
- Spoon it into tart shells and top with berries for an elegant dessert.
How do you like to enjoy ganache? Let me know in the comments below!
*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this vegan chocolate ganache recipe, I’d love to know. Leave a comment and rating below, and tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
5-Minute Vegan Chocolate Ganache with Coconut MilkPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 5 ounces (about 1 cup) coarsely chopped 65-75% bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips*
- ¾ cup (170 g) full-fat unsweetened canned coconut milk (well-combined, such as Thai Kitchen Organic)*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch fine sea salt
Make the Ganache
- Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.
- Combine the coconut milk, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and set over a medium flame. Heat, swirling occasionally, until the coconut milk is hot and steamy, just below a simmer, 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the hot coconut milk mixture over the chopped chocolate. Let sit 1 minute, then whisk gently until the ganache is silky-smooth. Whisk gently so as not to incorporate too many air bubbles into the ganache; they don’t look as pretty as smooth ganache!
Rest the Ganache
- Cover the bowl tightly (or pour the ganache into a jar with a lid) and let cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. If you’re in a hurry, pop the ganache in the fridge for 5 minutes, stir, then repeat once or twice until the ganache is firm enough to hold a soft shape when dropped from a spoon.
To Pour or Swirl
- Depending on how firm the ganache is, you can either pour it over your cake if it’s more loose. Or if the ganache is more thick and firm, you can swirl it over your cake.
- For piping ganache, let it set for several hours and up to 24 hours. Scrape it into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and squeeze out any air pockets. Pipe it onto your baked goods. If the ganache is cold and hard to squeeze, gently massage the bag in your hands to warm and soften it up.
To add shine
- If the ganache looks dull or matte, hold a creme brulee torch 8 or so inches away and wave it over the ganache to make it shiny. Take care not to burn the delicate chocolate.
- Ganache will keep at cool room temperature for an additional day; after that, store it in the fridge to be on the safe side.