Generally speaking chocolate starts to melt from 30 to 32 Celsius or 86 – 90 Fahrenheit, just a little bit lower than your body temperature (that’s why chocolate tastes so good, when you melt it on your tonque!). But the exact melting temperature depends on the content of the chocolate you are melting (or try not to melt!).
The chocolate melting point is important for understanding how to temper your chocolate correctly and it’s something that I teach my students right at the beginning of my Chocolate Tempering Course as without this knowledge it’s difficult to understand why it’s important to temper chocolate in the first place.
So, whether you are a budding chocolatier or a home baker I hope that my practical guide to chocolate melting points will help you to improve your chocolate making and inspire you to continue on your chocolate journey.
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Different melting points for different types of chocolate
Before we go into the scientific explanation of chocolate melting, what you probably want to remember is that white chocolate melts at the lowest temperature, milk chocolate somewhere in the middle, whereas dark chocolate takes the longest to melt.
This is because of the different content in the chocolate, such as different amounts of cocoa butter, cocoa solids, sugar, powdered milk and any emulsifier (usually soy lecithin).
The reason why white chocolate melts the easiest is because it has the highest amount of powdered milk and milk fats, which reduces the melting point.
Melt first at 40 C, then lower the temperature to 24-25 C and bring up to 27-28 C to pour
Melt first at 40-43 C, then lower the temperature to 25 C and bring up to 28-29 C to pour
Melt first at 40-45 C, then lower the temperature to 25-26 C and bring up to 29 C to pour
Melt first at 45-55 C, then lower the temperature to 26-28 C and bring up to 32-33 C to pour
How forming the correct cocoa butter crystals is important for chocolate tempering
The most important element of chocolate melting is related to the crystallisation of the cocoa butter. This is because cocoa butter helps to thicken and set the rest of the mass of liquid chocolate.
This process is absolutely crucial for making any chocolate treats at home to make sure you end up with a bar of beautiful shiny chocolate, that snaps when you share it with others and doesn’t melt immediately in your hands (i.e. withstands a temperature that’s up to 35-37 Celsius or 95-100 Fahrenheit)
To achieve this, you need to temper your chocolate. The process of chocolate tempering focuses on controlling the crystallisation of cocoa butter, which goes through several stages, before it’s set, making the final chocolate product firm and able to withstand a bit of temperature.
At this point, things do get complicated, because cocoa butter can crystallise in several different forms, usually named as type I to type VI (there are six most common types).
The cocoa butter crystals are so strong when tempered, so that you can temper your chocolate by tempering cocoa butter only and then gently blending with the rest of the cocoa mass and cocoa solids. This is particularly useful technique if you are working with raw chocolate or have a limited space where you can’t temper large batches of chocolate.
Melting points of the different crystallisation forms of cocoa butter
Type I – 17 Celsius (63 Fahrenheit)
Type II – 23 Celsius (73 Fahrenheit)
Type III – 25.5 Celsius (77 Fahrenheit)
Type IV – 27 Celsius (81 Fahrenheit)
Type V – 34 Celsius (93 Fahrenheit)
Type VI – 36 Celsius (100 Fahrenheit)
The chocolate tempering process – step by step
The chocolate tempering process is easy enough to go through in a tempering machine, but if you are doing this manually, the chocolate needs to go through a process where the chocolate is fully melted, then the right cocoa butter crystals are formed and finally the chocolate is brought to a working temperature, when you are ready to pour your chocolate in your moulds or use for chocolate truffle dipping or other chocolate work.
To start this chocolate tempering process, you need to melt the chocolate completely at 40-45 Celsius (104 – 113 Fahrenheit) before reducing the temperature gradually to 28 Celsius (82 Fahrenheit).
Next you need to reduce the temperature either by tempering the chocolate on a marble which agitates the crystals and makes them stronger or by adding fresh chocolate callets (buttons)which cools down the chocolate and the fresh callets help to make the melted crystals stronger.
Either the seeding method (fresh chocolate callets) or the table tempering technique creates the Type IV and Type V crystals which are crucial for the perfect structure of your chocolate and to make sure that the chocolate withstands highter temperature, it’s shiny when finished.
The final step is to reheat the chocolate up to 32 Celsius (89-90 Fahrenheit) which melts out the Type IV crystals and your chocolate is ready to be used.
This fairly complex tempering process makes sure that chocolate is completely seeded with Type V crystals before you use your chocolate to create your chocolate treats.
These chocolate tempering temperatures are for dark chocolate, and you will probably notice that white and milk chocolate has a slightly lower melting point, so you need to be extra careful when you are working with these.
When you buy your chocolate couverture, you will find the exact melting points of each chocolate and the temperatures you need to use written at the back of the packaging.
And since we are on the subject of chocolate melting, here are a few other questions you might be asking:
Do all chocolates melt at the same temperature?
No, they don’t!
Although most chocolates starts to melt around 30C, quality dark chocolate, containing high percentage cocoa solids (say 85%) and original cocoa butter will withstand much higher temperature – around 37C.
This is very different to for example a white chocolate snack bar, that contains different additives milk powder, vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter and of course has much lower percentage of cocoa solids (usually around 27%) and will start melting at much lower temperature 29-30 Celsius.
The speed at which different chocolates melt, depends on the cocoa solid content in each chocolate. White chocolate, chocolate melts and ruby chocolate starts to melt at a lower temperature than milk chocolate or dark chocolate.
Will chocolate melt after taking it out from the fridge?
This depends on several things. If you’ve tempered your chocolate correctly, you shouldn’t have any problems with your chocolate, providing that you store your chocolate correctly at around 18 Celsius (64 Fahrenheit).
If your chocolate wasn’t tempered correctly and you might have for example white streaks on your chocolate (meaning that your chocolate has bloomed), this means that your chocolate will melt a lot quicker and at a lower temperature.
Does chocolate melt at room temperature ?
Chocolate normally doesn’t melt at room temperature unless your room is very hot (over 30 Celsius or 86 Fahrenheit) or your chocolate is not properly tempered (which means that the chocolate structure is not strong enough to withstand the heat).
Can you melt white and dark chocolate together?
I like your creative thinking, but ‘no’ not quite! If you want to use your melted chocolate for baking or making chocolate ganache or similar, then, by all means, melt away!
But if you try to melt white and dark chocolate together and temper it, you might not have much success.
This is because white chocolate has much lower melting point than dark chocolate and it’s very difficult to find a temperature that will suit them both. It’s unfortunately not as simple as, mixing it together and thinking it will be a ‘milk’ chocolate.
Do white chocolate and dark chocolate have the same melting points?
No, white chocolate and dark chocolate do not have the same melting points, in fact there are on the opposite spectrum when it comes to melting chocolate.
The lighter the chocolate (in terms of cocoa solids content), the lower the melting point. White chocolate contains no cacao solids and is primarily made up of milk fats cocoa butter, powdered milk, and sugar.
As a result, it has the lowest melting point of all chocolate types, melting at around 32-36°Celsius (90-96°F). On the other hand, dark chocolate usually contains a much higher percentage of cacao solids (55-90% cocoa solids) and has a melting point of about 37-43°C (98-109°F), which is much higher than white chocolate.
What chocolate is best for melting?
It’s difficult to melt and temper chocolate that you normally find in the supermarkets. This type of chocolate is usually manufactured using extra additives, bulking ingredients (such as flour) and extra vegetable or animal oils. This is great chocolate for eating, but not so great for melting and tempering.
To have a better rate of succeeding with your tempering, you should get a proper chocolate couverture. This kind of chocolate is ready for you to work with, and it doesn’t contain any extra ingredients that it shouldn’t.
You can also use candy melts or candy melts substitutes to create your chocolate treats.
Is it OK to eat chocolate that has melted?
Yes, absolutely! As long as the chocolate hasn’t come into contact with something inedible or an ingredient that is ‘off’ you can safely eat melted chocolate even if it forms back up again.
How long does chocolate take to melt?
It doesn’t take very long – small bowl of chocolate will only take 30-60 seconds to melt in a microwave and about 2-3 minutes on a hob in a bain marie. Make sure you steer your chocolate constantly, so that it doesn’t burn.
How long can you keep melted chocolate?
Ideally, you want to use up your melted and tempered chocolate straightaway, but if you can’t there are way of keeping your chocolate coverture or candy melts warm enough to help you to finish your chocolate making project. Make sure that you have your moulds ready before you melt your chocolate so that you can quickly pour the chocolate and leave it to set.
If for example, you are using your melted chocolate to dip your cake pops in, keep the chocolate warm by gently re-heating the chocolate as and when needed. The chocolate needs to be nice and flowing for you to be able to use it.
What temperature does chocolate melt in a car?
The temperature at which chocolate melts in a car depends on various factors, such as the type of chocolate (white chocolate will melt quicker than dark chocolate), the outside temperature, and the amount of direct sunlight shining through the car windows. Even if the outside temperature is not that warm, the sun can easily make the temperature in the car warmer than it really is.
As a general rule, chocolate will start to melt at temperatures above 75°F (24°C), and it can melt rapidly at temperatures above 90°F (32°C). Because of that, I would not recommend leaving chocolate in a car during warm or hot weather as it can melt really quickly.
Chocolate can also melt in the car even if you have the air conditioning on, if you leave the chocolate exposed to direct sunlight (for example on the dash board or back seat).
Some chocolates, such as filled American candy bars or British chocolate snack bars have other ingredients in them that actually makes them more stable in heat and they don’t start melting as soon as a regular chocolate bar.
Have any more questions about melting chocolate? Feel free to leave me a comment below, and I’ll do my best to come up with an answer!
This blog post was originally written on 1 July 2019 and last updated on 11 April 2023