How to Make Mousse
We think that chocolate mousse might just be the perfect dessert. It's wonderfully indulgent while still feeling light as air. We break down how you can make it (it's easier than you think!).
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The best part is that chocolate mousse doesn’t take long to make. About 20 minutes of hands-on time yields a decadent treat that all your guests will swoon for.
What Is Mousse?
Mousse is a creamy dessert that’s made by folding either whipped egg whites or whipped cream into a dense, creamy mixture. The latter can be a ganache (as is the case with chocolate mousse) or a custard.
The resulting dessert maintains that light-as-a-feather feel while still having that richness that custard provides. Simply put: Mousse just might be the perfect dessert.
How to Make Chocolate Mousse from Scratch
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
- 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Optional: Whipped cream and raspberries to garnish
- Small saucepan: Chocolate mousse starts with melting chocolate chips. You’ll need a compact saucepan to tackle this step.
- Hand mixer: Whipped cream is a big component of chocolate mousse. An electric mixer makes this step go quickly and effortlessly.
- Flexible spatula: A flexible spatula makes the scooping and folding of delicate ingredients easy.
Step 1: Melt chocolate
Start this recipe by melting the chocolate chips and coffee over low heat. Stir until the mix is nice and smooth.
Test Kitchen Tip: Use the best chocolate chips you can find for this recipe. Since this is a chocolate-forward recipe, you’ll really be able to taste the difference in quality.
Step 2: Temper the eggs
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks together (save the egg whites for another recipe).
Then stir a small amount of the warm chocolate mixture into the egg yolks. Work quickly while tempering the eggs so the yolks don’t scramble. Pour this egg and chocolate mix back into the saucepan with the remaining chocolate. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously until the ingredients have thickened—about 2 minutes.
After thickening, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Move this mixture to a clean bowl to cool. Give the chocolate an occasional stir as it cools down to room temperature.
Step 3: Make whipped cream
As the chocolate cools off, you can work on making the whipped cream component of this chocolate mousse recipe.
In a clean, cool bowl, whisk the cream with an electric hand mixer until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
Test Kitchen Tip: Why a cool bowl? A chilled mixing bowl (and beaters and cream for that matter), helps whipping cream beat up extra fluffy.
Step 4: Fold together
All that’s left to do is to combine the whipped cream and chocolate. Fold in a third of the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate mixture. Continue adding the whipped cream in batches with smooth, sweeping motions.
Once the two mixtures are fully incorporated, cover the bowl and refrigerate for two hours or more before serving.
How to Serve Mousse
The easiest way to serve mousse is on its own. Spoon individual servings of chocolate mousse into small serving dishes and top with fresh whipped cream and berries. You can add more flavor by finishing with some orange zest (that’s the secret to Julia Child’s chocolate mousse) or flavored whipped creams—think bourbon or coffee.
Mousse can also be used as a component of other desserts like these:
- Cakes: Move over, frosting—there’s a new filling in town! Swap out classic buttercream and layer mousse in between layers of cake for a towering mousse cake.
- Cheesecakes: You can also take a tip from the Cheesecake Factory and spread a layer of homemade mousse over a cheesecake.
- No-bake desserts: After you make mousse from scratch, transform it into no-bake treats. Spoon homemade mousse into a crumb crust to make a chocolate mousse pie. You can do the same in a springform pan to make Oreo mousse cake.
- Tortes: If one type of mousse isn’t enough, you can layer a few flavors together to create a layered mousse torte.
- Trifles: While old-fashioned English trifles may use custard, mousse lends a lighter more velvety feel to these treats. Try mousse in this pumpkin trifle or cappuccino mousse trifle.
Remember: When you’re using mousse as a component of a dessert, that dessert needs to stay in the fridge until it’s time to serve. For this reason, mousse-filled cakes and trifles aren’t ideal for transporting long distances.
How do you store mousse?
Store chocolate mousse in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Can you freeze chocolate mousse?
You can freeze chocolate mousse and mousse-based desserts. For best results, divide the mousse into individual portions. Wrap tightly or seal in airtight containers. Enjoy within two months.
Is chocolate mousse gluten-free?
Good news: Chocolate mousse is gluten-free. Chocolate chips don’t use any grain-based ingredients.
However, if you’re particularly sensitive to gluten, check the labels to make sure the chocolate isn’t processed in a space that also makes products that do contain gluten.
What other flavors of mousse can you make?
Chocolate is just the start! Check out some more of our favorite mousse flavors: