What You Should Know Before Melting Chocolate In The Microwave

If you're baking a dessert with chocolate, incorporating some chocolate into candy, or making a dip for fresh strawberries, then you'll need to melt some chocolate. And while using a double boiler may be the traditional method of choice for professional bakers, many home bakers find it easier to use their microwave instead. And while the microwave may seem to be the easiest method for melting chocolate, a lot can go wrong if you're not careful.

As Good Housekeeping explains, microwaves do not usually heat food evenly, which means there is a risk of overheating and potentially burning the chocolate if you try to melt it in a microwave, which would be a real shame indeed. Burnt (or "seized") chocolate is thick and dull, and pretty much useless to dip or coat anything with, and really should either be tossed out entirely or used in a recipe where you're meting chocolate with a liquid like butter or cream, warns Food52. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the risk of ruining your chocolate in the microwave.

How to avoid burning chocolate in the microwave

First, chop up the chocolate into smaller, evenly sized pieces. You should chop your chocolate before melting it regardless of how you are planning to melt it, but this step is particularly important when you're using a microwave. Depending on the type of chocolate you are working with, you should try to keep the pieces to ¼ inch or thinner (for milk or white chocolate) or slightly coarser (for dark chocolate).

Next, place a portion of the chopped chocolate pieces in a microwave-safe bowl, ideally ceramic or glass, per BBC Good Food. Make sure the bowl is completely dry and that no water comes into contact with the chocolate, as that could also cause the chocolate to seize. Use low to medium power on your microwave, and start heating your chocolate, uncovered, in short intervals of around 30 seconds at a time. Remove and stir the chocolate thoroughly with a dry spatula after each heating session, even if it doesn't look like the chocolate has melted at all. Continue to heat and stir until all of the chocolate has been melted. It is possible to safely melt chocolate in the microwave. You just need a little prep work and some patience.