The Best Chocolate Sauce Recipe


I have to admit that this is my “Little Black Dress” that many women…and perhaps a few men (since I’m from San Francisco), consider their multi-purpose, never-fail-to-impress sexy black number hanging in their closet. I’m normally wary of recipes that call themselves “The Best” since often you make them, and they ain’t all that.

But of all the chocolate sauce recipes I’ve tasted over the years, this is the absolute favorite in my repertoire. I came up with it years ago when I was compelled to create a chocolate sauce that was rich, thick, glossy, and not loaded with butter or cream—this sauce has neither!)

chocolate cake

From golden profiteroles filled with vanilla ice cream, to a warm wedge of tender chocolate cake, I can’t imagine any chocolate dessert that wouldn’t be improved by being doused with a nice drizzle of this. I keep a container of chocolate sauce on hand, especially during the holidays, to dress up a simple dish of ice cream after an impromptu dinner or for a little treat in the afternoon when I crave something very chocolaty.

But often I just sneak a spoonful direct from the container.

The Best Chocolate Sauce
About 2 1/2 cups

  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (160 g) light corn syrup, agave nectar, or glucose
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
  • 2 ounces (55 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the water, sugar, corn syrup (or agave or glucose), and cocoa powder.

2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once it’s just begun to simmer and boil, remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until melted.

Serving: You should let the Chocolate Sauce stand for a few hours before serving, which will give it time to thicken a bit.

Storage: Store the chocolate sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Rewarm before serving.

(For those of you who have asked, the chocolate cake is the Gâteau Racines, from Ready for Dessert.)

Related Recipes and Links:

Chocolate FAQs

Cocoa Powder FAQs

Ingredients for American Baking in Paris

Chocolate-Almond Buttercrunch Toffee

Chocolate Biscotti

Very Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Scotcheroos

Coconut-Chocolate Macaroons

Chocolate-Covered Caramelized Matzoh Crunch

Chocolate-Dipped Florentines


  • Hi David,
    Do you know where I could find those ingredients in Paris by chance?
    Thanks. Marie

  • Or, you could just drizzle it over yourself for that little black dress effect!

  • O la la!

  • Perfect! I was just wondering where I’d find a chocolate sauce with no cream. Looks delicious. Thank you!

  • Marie:

    In the words of Meg and Alisa…Monoprix!

    You can get chocolate, cocoa powder and sugar there. Corn syrup can be bought at the Grand Epicerie or Thanksgiving, or you can use glucose, available inexpensively at G. Detou on the rue Tinquetonne.

  • you need a warning on your site for when there is chocolate displayed so seductively like this.

  • Could you use golden syrup instead of the corn syrup?

  • Yum. I’m having a big celebratory party on Sunday, and I’m making some of this, certainly. Thanks, David.

  • How funny.. I promised my hubbie to make him profiteroles today.. perfect timimg!
    I also love the light shiney sauces..

    Go down to the beach and breathe in some sea air for me!

    I will be there in March…

  • David,

    Would it be possible to add a little esspresso powder to this to give it a bit of a mocha edge or do you think it would change the profile of the sauce too much?

  • Try adding a little coffee liqueur like Tia Maria or Kahlua instead of espresso powder for superb results.

  • I made this today. It is really wonderful, so thick and smooth with great deep chocolate flavor. I’ll never buy ready made again.

    I know you probably know this trick..but I’m always late to the party and just figured it out so I had to tell someone…like, You!. I hate to chop chocolate, I dread this step of the many recipes that require it, so…This time, I chilled my bittersweet for about 15 minutes, stuck it in a plastic baggie and whacked it good and hard several times with the butt of my chef’s knife handle. It shattered it into the perfect size tiny shards that melted so easily. took longer to unwrap the chocolate than to smash it to bits! I am so proud of myself for thinking of doing this! Damn I’m good! (I’m easily pleased and a shameless braggard, I know)

  • I just made this chocolate sauce. Mine separated. Perhaps I should not have had a few cocktails beforehand? Nice flavor, though I would probably not make again. I don’t really understand why people leave comments on how fantastic a recipe is before they actually make it. It’s food, not porn, it has to be delicious in real life, not just photographs..

    Am not sure whey our sauce separated, but I’ve been making this sauce for twenty years and never had a problem, nor heard of one. Be sure you’re not using unsweetened chocolate (use bittersweet or semisweet) which is too acid and could cause the problem. -david

  • hi David – I’ll get around to making your sauce as-is someday, but I came up with a variation recently that used Irish Stout instead of water. I was quite pleased with the result:

  • Sezz: Yes, you could use golden syrup, or another alternative liquid sweetener, in this recipe. If you follow the link in the ingredients list, there are some suggestions for others.

  • ooh lady, found one more use for this little black dress.

    pour less than a whole batch of choc sauce in about 3 or more cups of homemade yogurt with a dash of vanilla and pinch of salt.
    churn and bingo, chocolate frozen yogurt.
    awesome, David!

  • I adore this! Just made this for the first time last week and yum! these are so good!

  • Hi David!
    Will it stay in a pouring consistency for a few hours in room temp or do I need to keep it warm?
    And this is a good opportunity to say THANK YOU for this wonderful blog!

  • It depends what the ambient temperature is but I usually re-warm it before serving.

  • hi david..
    If possible, do you have any recipe about hand-made chocolates??

    I really appreciate it..thanx..

  • Ilyani: There’s recipe for hand-dipped chocolate truffles, there’s one in my book, The Great Book of Chocolate, but if you’re looking for a book and specific recipes for coated & molded chocolates, I highly-recommend Chocolates & Confections.

  • Dear David,

    Let me take this opportunity to tell you that of all the blogs I subscribe to, yours is the only one that really catches my attention. I love your humor, your style, your pictures, and your recipes! :) In fact, I am reading your book, “A Sweet Life in Paris” right now… and it is just awesome. I am moved to Paris a year and a half ago — and everything in your book is spot on. Totally can relate to ALLL of them! :)

    Also: I was enslaving myself doing a Giant Cream Puff with Chocolate Sauce the whole afternoon… and I had to toss my first giant cream puff. Made a second one, which was an improved version of the first. Still not perfect, but it will do. Then, my chocolate sauce was sooooooo watery and I had to find a fix to make it much much thicker! I read this recipe of yours — and bang! Of course! Add more chocolate bits! It thickened the sauce instantly… and now… I can go to sleep with a smile on my face.

    Thank you for saving the day! :)

  • Hi David, I have rice syrup from the fantastic granola recipe you posted. Do you think that would work in this sauce?

  • Yes, you can use rice syrup, although it does have a slight taste, which you may or may not mind with the chocolate.

  • David,

    I love your recipes!

    I just made your chocolate sauce recipe and wrote about it on my blog at

    My modifications were an extra 1/4 cup of cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt!

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  • do i have to use foil,or is it ok to just spray non stick spray. what is the reason for the use of the foil.

  • If I make this with less water and corn syrup, could I use it as a spread (for toast)?

  • I’m making a giant cookie for my friend’s good-bye party, and I was looking for a perfect chocolate sauce, and this seems to be it. The thing is, I live in Argentina, and we don’t have corn syrup, nor golden syrup, and I’m not sure where I can get glucose (I’ll look for some, but by glucose do you mean ‘pure’ glucose?). I ready your article on light corn syrup, but none of the substitutions you’ve stated work for me :( I’ve heard of making a 2 cup sugar, 3/4cup water mixture to replace light corn syrup. Do you think it would work? Thank you!

  • Irina: I’ve not tried that but you’re welcome to give it a go. If you can get rice syrup, which many natural food stores carry, you can use that in its place.

  • David, is it possible to preserve this sauce long term by canning it with a pressure canner?

  • Gemmie: I’ve not tried canning it as it’s so easy to make and serve. But you might want to consult your local cooperative extension for advice about canning various kinds of sauces.

  • Has anyone ever tried this white chocolate? Sauce sounds great — going to make the recipe as is tonight — but just wondering if the white would work too.

  • Used agave syrup w/great success as a drizzle for a large dessert…cut the recipe in half….read the posts and therefore saved the sauce from unsweetened chocolate. Thanks.