Have you ever tried making homemade chocolate or candy that you have to dip into melted chocolate that turned into a complete mess? Perhaps your chocolate is too thick and you can’t get it to set like it’s meant to.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong when working with chocolate, but the most common issue that people run into is that the chocolate melts down too thick, making it hard to work with. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be like this.
How do you thin chocolate melts? There are a couple of different options to help thin your chocolate melts, including adding fat like milk, cream, butter, oil, or shortening, and using food-grade paraffin wax.
Of course, there are also some tricks you can use when you are melting chocolate melts that should thin it down well when you really put it to the test.
In this guide, we will walk you through how to thin chocolate melts. We will cover some different methods you can use to thin chocolate melts and even talk specifically about thinning chocolate for cake pops as well.
There is much to know and learn, so stick with us to learn how to thin chocolate melts and more.
How To Thin Chocolate Melts
Before we get started, we want to point out that the tips in this article are specific to chocolate melts. There is a common misconception that candy melts and chocolate melts are the same thing, but we want to clarify the differences.
As just a quick overview, the basic difference between the two is that chocolate melts have added cocoa powder while candy melts are typically just a sweet confectionery coating and not really chocolate in most cases or have very little chocolate in them.
Here, we are referring specifically to chocolate melts, which is a melt that uses imitation chocolate similar to candy melts but also includes cocoa powder and typically vegetable oil as well.
This misconception is actually one of the leading reasons that people tend to have a hard time thinning chocolate melts. They are simply taking the wrong approach!
Thankfully, there are many different things you can do to try to thin chocolate melts and they are all pretty simple. You can try a variety of solutions to get your chocolate thinned out perfectly for whatever it is you might be making today.
We will cover each option that we feel is suitable in detail.
1. Thinning Chocolate Melts With Butter Or Oil
What you will find to be true is that you can typically thin chocolate by adding something that has a little bit of fat.
This could include something like butter or oil. What you really need to know is that you won’t want to add those additional ingredients for the entire process.
You should always melt the chocolate first and then add the additional ingredients to help thin the chocolate out after it has been melted.
This is because fats tend to have a very low smoke point, so they are more likely to smoke up a storm or even burn if you add them from the beginning.
If you use oil, it might actually benefit you to add the oil before you start melting but this is only true of oil. These are very similar so we lumped them together because the concept is the same.
The trouble with adding before you melt is you really don’t know how much you need. So, if you decide to wait to add the oil until after the chocolate is melted, it will still work just fine and you can be sure you won’t add too much by mistake.
We recommend either canola oil or coconut oil. Coconut will not have a lot of flavor and will melt nicely to create a good texture for the melted chocolate. It also has a higher smoking point than some other oil options, as does canola oil.
2. Thinning Chocolate Melts With Paraffin
One traditional secret that many people don’t know about is adding paraffin to your chocolate. You’ll have to make sure the paraffin wax you use is food-grade.
A little bit of wax goes a long way and you can add the wax at the same time you are melting your chocolate to melt it down. This is typically found with the other baking goods and even typically stocked near melting chocolate in the grocery store.
You will most likely see what is called “Gulf Wax” and that is what you need if you decide to go with this method. Using this paraffin will not affect your flavors and it also will not have any effect on the drying or setting process of the chocolate either.
Paraffin is commonly used for preserving with canning processes so it might actually preserve whatever you are making a bit longer.
Here are the steps to thinning chocolate melts using paraffin:
- Determine how much chocolate you plan to melt and begin the heating process.
- You can add paraffin while melting or towards the end to determine just how much you need.
- Add paraffin in small amounts. Adding too much will make your chocolate too thin, so add small portions and then add more if needed.
- Stir until the wax and the chocolate is mixed and melted and you reach the consistency you are looking for.
This is a very simple process and perhaps one of the most overlooked solutions. Of course, if you don’t have wax on hand, it sometimes is easier to grab things from your pantry instead.
If you’ll be making a lot of chocolate candies and want to keep some of this paraffin on hand, here is a great option for you.
Suggested Product: Gulf Wax Household Paraffin
This is a simple wax that is safe for use in food, among other uses.
It will not alter the flavors or tastes of what you’re making and a little bit will go a long way.
This is a simple option that will stay good in your pantry and can be used for canning and other purposes as well.
3. Thinning Chocolate Melts With Shortening
This process can be applied to butter or oil as well. We will talk about that but the concept is that you’re adding something with a little bit of fat to the melted chocolate and that helps to thin it out.
We prefer shortening or oil over butter but you need to keep in mind that because of the water content of butter, you may have to add more shortening than you would butter to really get this to work.
Otherwise, it may cause what is known as seizing, which turns your chocolate thick and clumpy. That’s why we’re warning you about this upfront.
The way to fix that problem is to add enough of the product that you surpass that seizing amount and avoid the issue altogether.
This is one of the most effective ways to thin chocolate melts and it’s typically easier than paraffin wax since you most likely have butter, oil, or shortening on hand already. This also makes it one of the most popular solutions to try!
Here are the steps to thinning chocolate melts with shortening:
- Start by melting down your chocolate melts. It’s best to melt the chocolate first and then add what is needed to thin it later.
- Add in very small amounts at a time. The amount you need can vary depending on how much chocolate you have and the consistency you’re looking for. Add a little bit at a time, starting with a dollop, and then add more in very small doses as needed.
4. Thinning Chocolate With Milk Or Cream
Another option for thinning chocolate melts is to use milk or even half and half.
This process is a bit more challenging to get things right because milk does have a high water content, so you have to get your amounts just right, or else the chocolate will seize.
This will create a clumpy mess rather than perfectly thinned dipping chocolate. Again, we want to warn you of the downsides ahead of time so that you can try to prepare for them and be aware.
If your chocolate is seizing, you need to add more milk. You need enough milk to get you past that seizing point but you also don’t want to add too much.
Here are our steps for thinning chocolate melts using milk:
- Start by melting your chocolate melts on their own.
- Heat the milk slightly before adding it to the chocolate. We also recommend using whole milk.
- Add about a capful of milk at one time and add more as needed.
- Stir and add until you reach the desired consistency.
As an alternative, you can also add warmed cream instead of milk. Remember to warm it first to prevent seizing and add more if you feel it is seizing.
How To Thin A Large Amount Of Chocolate
If you’re working with a large amount of chocolate, you may need to consider using an option that will better accommodate your project.
Paramount Crystals are a really great solution here and are popular with professional bakers and chefs for just that purpose.
These crystals are made with vegetable oil but they are a hardened product that you can scoop in, which just makes them very easy and effective for the thinning process.
You only need a small amount of these and you can adjust and add as needed. You can use these for small amounts of chocolate as well but they are typically recommended for large batches.
Here are the steps for using Paramount Crystals to thin chocolate:
- We recommend melting your chocolate first so you can determine if you need more crystals.
- Once the chocolate is melted, add approximately 1 teaspoon of Paramount Crystals for each 1 cup of melted chocolate.
- Add additional amounts if needed but add them in very small increments.
- Allow to melt and mix until you reach the desired consistency.
If you’ve never seen or heard of these, here is a quick option for you if you need one!
Suggested Product: Paramount Crystals
These are the original Paramount Crystals and they work quite nicely.
This comes in a 16-ounce package that is resealable but the brand does also have other size options.
These are cut into small pieces so you can add small pieces at a time to melt into your chocolate and a little bit goes a long way.
We hope that you find this guide on how to thin chocolate melts to be a helpful and valuable resource.
It’s pretty simple but there are some common mistakes that can make it much more challenging. Check out these common questions for some additional information as well.
How Do You Thin Chocolate For Cake Pops?
Cake pops are just like any other melting chocolate process. You can use any of the processes that we have provided above.
Cake pops are perhaps one of the most popular things that people look for when melting chocolate so we wanted to be sure to touch on the subject.
For cake pops, our favorite option is to add vegetable oil of some sort to your chocolate melts. You can start by adding about 1/2 of a teaspoon beforehand and then add additional oil after the melting if needed.
What Is The Difference Between Chocolate Melts And Candy Melts?
Chocolate melts are made similarly to candy melts but they include the addition of cocoa powder as well as vegetable oil.
Candy melts, on the other hand, are made to be imitation chocolate and are really just a confectionary coating instead.
Can I Use Water To Thin Chocolate Melts?
Never use water! This actually will have the opposite effect and you will most likely end up being frustrated and disappointed with the results.
Can You Save Seized Chocolate?
Yes, you can still use that seized chocolate but you may need to start over. Typically, the chocolate seizes because you needed to add more of your additive.
You can try to save it by adding more but if it’s too late, go ahead and set it aside to cool and solidify. You can try to melt it down again and add things or you can use that chocolate for some other purpose.
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