5 Ingredients or Fewer

Hervé This' Chocolate Mousse

January  6, 2022
22 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

It took a brilliant, adventurous chemist to discover the simplest way to make chocolate mousse at home. Hervé This, the father of molecular gastronomy, discovered how to make a flawless, creamy chocolate mousse out of just chocolate and water. Yes, that's it! No need to ever go out for the store-bought stuff again.

This all happens fast as the mixture cools, so chances are you'll go too far on your first try. Don't worry—you can simply just return it to the pan, melt it, and start over.

As you're making this recipe, keep in mind that three things can go wrong. But don't you worry, here's how to fix them. If your chocolate doesn't contain enough fat, melt the mixture again, add some chocolate, and then whisk it again. If the mousse is not light enough, melt the mixture again, add some water, and whisk it once more. If you whisk it too much so that it becomes grainy, this means that the foam has turned into an emulsion. In that case, simply melt the mixture and whisk it again, adding nothing. Simple solutions to simple issues, making this recipe pretty foolproof.

Once you have the rhythm down, you can flavor it as you wish with liqueurs or coffee or spices, sweeten it to your liking, or just keep it dark and intense. In all of these scenarios, a little whipped cream up top is never a bad idea. Adapted from Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor (Columbia University Press, 2008) —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Hervé This' Chocolate Mousse
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) water
  • 8 ounces chocolate (we used 70% bittersweet; choose a high-quality chocolate you love)
  • Ice cubes
  • Whipped cream, for topping (optional)
  1. Pour the water into a small saucepan (which will be improved from the gastronomic point of view if it's flavored with orange juice, for example, or cassis purée). Heat over medium-low heat and whisk in the chocolate. The result is a homogenous sauce.
  2. Place the saucepan in a bowl partly filled with ice cubes (or pour into another bowl over the ice—it will chill faster). Whisk the chocolate sauce, either manually with a whisk or with an electric mixer (if using an electric mixer, watch closely—it will thicken faster). Whisking creates large air bubbles in the sauce, which steadily thickens. After a while, strands of chocolate form inside the loops of the whisk. Pour or spoon immediately into ramekins, small bowls, or jars and let set.
  3. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • JoanB
  • Ni$A  2022🍍
    Ni$A 2022🍍
  • bodhi_lisa
  • Jennifer Hull
    Jennifer Hull
  • Jackie Nobles
    Jackie Nobles
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

132 Reviews

JoanB January 1, 2023
I made this yesterday for our New Year’s Eve Dinner. It is the second time I’ve used the recipe and it is very good. I thought it was not going to come together. After about 4-5 minutes of vigorous whipping - by hand - I reached for my mixer. By the time I got it ready, and as it sat with no whipping, the mousse had thickened and was just right. My suggestion is to eat it immediately after making it. I chilled it for about 3 hours since we had guests and I didn’t want to make while we were entertaining. It became a little gritty - not terrible but not the best.
Ni$A 2. January 2, 2022
This is the coolest recipe. I love it soooo much, I especially love how you get the full rich chocolate flavor. Yum 😋!!
bodhi_lisa August 12, 2021
I've tried Hershey's chocolate, gourmet chocolate, chocolate chips, etc. Milk, semi sweet, dark. Combined with water or chocolate. I heated up the chocolate and liquid in a saucepan and then tried a microwave and it has worked out everytime. The mousse is amazing!! Use a balloon whisk, super ice cold water and patience and keep on trying. ;-)
CrimsonRose December 17, 2020
I tried this with Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate but it was just liquid. I may try adding less water or more chocolate next time. Anyone have any other things I should try? (I'm trying to keep it dairy free/vegan fyi)
Deepika December 17, 2020
If you are precise with the chocolate & water measurements by using a scale you should be good. You just need to keep whipping it until thick. It might take a bit of time but itll come. Also trader Joe's chocolate chunks are supposedly vegan so you can try that.
Deepika November 1, 2020
This pure magic! So easy and delicious. I would suggest adding a pinch of salt to round out the flavor and to err on the side of under whipping the chocolate mixture so you get a softer mousse. :)
Andrea2del September 3, 2020
This recipe was amazing, and it couldn't be any easier! I used 70% chocolate, and I thought the texture was perfect, very much like a mousse...I plan to top it with some whipped coconut cream, yum:) Thank you for this winning recipe!
Jennifer H. August 12, 2020
While I know chefs enjoy the gimmicky aspect, this is really a waste of good chocolate. Just after whipping, the texture is like a Swiss buttercream; chilled, it’s like a truffle center. Neither is remotely like a mousse. Sure, ganache (and truffle centers) are yummy in small bites, but not something to eat in a dish with a spoon. Presenting it as a dessert is a disservice to readers, sadly.
Are you serious? The texture is great. I'm no mousse expert but I ate a small bowl of this, topped with crumbled almond cookies and honey. It was velvety and delicious and not a "waste of chocolate", imo.
Jackie N. August 5, 2020
I haven’t made this yet, but I have been playing around with a keto ganache fudge. For that I used a bar of baking (100% cacao) Chocolate, heavy cream and sucralose. For this mousse I would like to try the same thing using baking choclate, water and sucralose . How much fat do you think I may need to add To get the right texture?
Deb V. October 26, 2019
If you add meringue to this recipe, just 1 egg white and a little sugar? I’m assuming no cream of tartar.....
Smaug January 1, 2020
Why not cream of tartar? I found this recipe interesting, if a bit heavy handed; I've done some experiments involving egg whites, but they all lightened the mixture some before adding them; this may be a bit dense to effectively fold in the meringue, but why not try it? Some commenters below say it's worked for them..
KP J. October 7, 2019
how long does it take to whisk? im getting nowhere. it still looks like soup.
Lorelei M. August 20, 2019
This is amazing! I added a pinch of salt for flavor, plus a drizzle of olive oil instead of more chocolate when it seemed to thin. It was think for awhile, then all of a sudden it was creamy and thick-like a magic trick!
Ahuvah B. June 9, 2019
I decided to place my mixer's boxel and whisk in the freezer before I started the process so that I could be "lazy" and not use a hand whisk. Worked out perfectly - whisked on med high for appx 4 minutes.
hlhambrick May 26, 2019
Absolutely brilliant recipe. Used quality Guittard 70% chocolate (2/3) and 1/3 semi-sweet. It thickens as described and the texture was great. I also made meringue and folded in for an even lighter texture. This will be a go-to dessert.
mywaterdr July 21, 2019
thanks for the tip....i did the same!
mywaterdr July 21, 2019
Totally Agree! I did the same thing as you (as far as the chocolate goes), that was a good idea. Made my own whip cream too as the topper and added some walnuts.
Laura415 May 8, 2019
This is great! I imagine if you want a pure vegan dessert you could try making whip cream out of aquafaba. (unsalted cooking liquid from garbanzo beans) Look it up on youtube it's neat. Otherwise I could also see adding some cocoa butter if extra fat is needed and you have no more chocolate and you have that. I will def flavor the water with instant coffee and try some liqueurs as well. I'm also thinking summer fruits would be nice with this. Raspberries or maybe raspberry juice. Yum! If the mousse hardens in the fridge does it soften back up if left on the counter for a while to warm to room temp? Neat trick and quick dessert when there isn't any in the house.
Josho May 7, 2019
Has anyone tried this with milk chocolate? Most of my family prefers milk chocolate to dark chocolate, so I'd like to accommodate them. (Don't want to waste the milk chocolate if it won't work, though!)
hlhambrick May 26, 2019
Maybe add in some milk chocolate? I did 2/3 70% to 1/3 semi-sweet and it was good. All milk might be too sweet.
chefrockyrd May 2, 2019
Just caught this video on facebook - it looks great and I will try it asap. I have a question. Not about the mousse but about your whipped cream that you served on the side. Was that whipped in an unlined copper bowl? I was taught in culinary school never to use them except for sugar work and egg whites. Are there new rules to that?
miriam S. May 1, 2019
"If the chocolate does not contain enough fat....." Please offer the percentage of chocolate to fat recommended - perhaps a brand you know an can offer.
J M. May 10, 2019
recipe says 70%
Smaug May 1, 2019
OK, that was pretty cool. Only problem, I usually use these culinary experiments to pass the morning, this one only took about 5 minutes. Worked exactly as advertised.
Eric K. May 1, 2019
Hah! Awesome.
Smaug December 31, 2019
In the interest of passing more time, I came up with the following recipe;
2 eggs, separated
2 1/2 oz. chocolate (78%), broken
2 oz. heavy cream
1/2 c. orange juice
2 Tb. butter
2 Tb. sugar
salt (optional)

Beat whites to stiff peaks, set aside in a largish bowl
Heat juice, yolks, sugar and butter (and optional salt) in a double boiler, stirring constantly, to 140 deg.
off heat add chocolate and cream, whisk until smooth
cool to a coolish room temperature and whip (no need to wash bowl and beater from whites) until lighter colored and 2 1/2-3x volume (if it won't whip, cool a bit more)
fold in whites

this is enough for an 8" tart or a 6" pie (filling can be mounded)
you could warm the cream and infuse with orange zest, then strain for more orange flavor
also works well with tangerine
Austin B. February 13, 2019
So if I was gonna use OJ or coffee, what proportion to water would I use? Or would it just be a straight swap, 6 oz?
Kristen M. February 13, 2019
Hervé suggests merely "flavoring" the water, but Renee below says she's done a straight swap of both and liked it—depends on how strong you'd like it, but the chocolate can likely stand up to a lot.
Lisa W. October 25, 2018
Interesting, but looks very similar to a truffle in terms of richness and maybe even texture? I do like the quick ease of it, though. I will have to try.
I think the best chocolate mousse recipe is Lyndsay Shere-- Chez Panisse. Not a complicated recipe.