Seized chocolate: what it is and how to fix it 

9 Jun 2022

Chocolate Knowledge

Seized chocolate? Here’s how to keep both your cooking experience and your melted chocolate silky-smooth

Whether you’re a professional chocolatier or a home baker, we’ve all had the experience of our deliciously smooth melted chocolate turning out more disaster than dessert. The culprit? Seized chocolate

Perhaps you’re making your own chocolates, dipping your favourite treats or swirling together some luxurious marbled chocolate for your millionaire’s shortbread. You bring out your double boiler and get to melting. But somewhere along the way, the chocolate has turned into a thick sludge. It doesn’t seem burnt, so what happened?

Unfortunately, that’s your chocolate seizing. In this article, we’ll explain exactly what’s going on here and how you can fix your seized chocolate.

Person measuring the temperature of melted chocolate in a silver bowl

What do we mean by ‘seized chocolate’?

Seized chocolate occurs when the chocolate you’re melting comes into contact with moisture. Chocolate itself doesn’t contain any moisture, so adding a small amount of liquid can disrupt the melting process.

Usually while melting chocolate, the ingredients disperse evenly to make the smooth, luxurious liquid chocolate we want. But adding even a small bit of moisture into the equation will cause the water and sugar to mix together into a substance that the cacao attaches itself to, and those clumps of cacao create the sludgy consistency you want to avoid.

The result is a thick and lumpy chocolate mixture that definitely isn’t suitable for dipping or pouring. We understand how important it is not to waste good chocolate (which is why we’re committed to reducing our food waste) so the next question: how do you fix it?

How to fix seized chocolate

Seized chocolate won’t go back to its original form, unfortunately. So if your heart was set on coating juicy fruit with delicious pure chocolate, you’ll have to start from scratch with a new batch. But fortunately, if you’re willing to get creative, it doesn’t have to be the end of the line for your seized chocolate.

One method you can use is mixing teaspoons of boiling water into your seized chocolate over a double boiler. Add the teaspoons one at a time, mixing thoroughly each time, until your chocolate is liquid again. The diluted chocolate won’t be suitable for recipes that call for pure chocolate, but it will work just fine for hot chocolate, drizzling, making sauces, and mixing into recipes that contain enough liquid.

Did you know that the cacao percentage of the chocolate can also have an effect on how it seizes? If you’re melting chocolate into a sauce or other mixture, the higher the cacao percentage is, the more liquid you need to add to stop the chocolate from seizing.

So if you’re thinking of going off-recipe and adding dark instead of milk, you might want to add an extra splash of liquid. If that isn’t enough and your chocolate still seizes — no need to worry! Simply stir in a bit more liquid until your sauce is delectably smooth.

Pouring smooth melted chocolate over strawberries

How to avoid seized chocolate

Although seized chocolate isn’t the end of the world, it isn’t the best-case scenario — and can add extra time and stress to your kitchen creations, which is the last thing you need. To that end, the best option is to try and avoid it in the first place! Make sure everything you use to handle the chocolate is as dry as possible, including your hands, the bowl, and any other utensils you use to mix it.

Keep the chocolate dry and melt it slowly, and within no time you’d have yourself some silky smooth, irresistible liquid chocolate ready to use for baking, dipping, or swirling into a warm mug of hot chocolate.

Other chocolate mistakes and how to avoid them

Seized chocolate isn’t the only possible setback. Here are a couple of other chocolate mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.

Burning chocolate

Unfortunately relatable to almost anyone who has worked with melting chocolate, burnt chocolate is as disappointing as it is smelly. Do your nostrils a favour by melting your chocolate over water that’s hot (not simmering or boiling) and stirring frequently. Or if you’re using the microwave, take the bowl out at 15-second intervals to check on the chocolate and give it a good stir.

Storing chocolate in the fridge

Popping the bar of chocolate you just bought into the fridge seems like common sense — you want to keep it fresh and tasty for as long as possible. But contrary to this, chocolate doesn’t really go off. And the extreme temperature change of the fridge can cause fat blooms on your chocolate.

The best place to store chocolate is in a cool, dark cupboard or pantry, away from direct sunlight. That will help it stay in the best possible condition for a long time.

Open fridge close-up

Luxury chocolate for melting

To get the rich flavours and smooth texture for the perfect melted chocolate, you can’t go wrong with high quality, high cacao chocolate. Luckily, our Batons & Slabs are just the thing for melting.
Whether you need dark, white, or even dairy-free nutmilk, there’s something for your recipe here. But watch out — you might find yourself having to resist taking a nibble from the ingredients!